Having strong relationships is one of the single greatest predictors of wellness, happiness, and longevity. And our connections flourish when we take time to get to know ourselves, and others, better.
Here are three ways to strengthen the relationships you have, and nourish the ones that might need some work:
1. Start with kindness
Kindness is like a magnet. People like to be around others who are kind because they feel cared about and safe with them. The age-old Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you” still rings true today.
It’s also reciprocal. When we practice kindness, not only do we feel better, but we help others feel good, too. And this just increases opportunities for positive connections throughout our day, which, in turn, contributes to our own health and well-being.
2. Let go of toxic people
Take an inventory of your relationships to a get a sense for who’s nourishing you and who’s depleting you. A strong friendship will make you feel comfortable, confident, and fully supported.
Once you know who is really there for you, try to spend a little less time with those who deplete you. This isn’t always possible, of course (ie: family members, coworkers, etc.), so in those cases, see if you can change your relationship a little bit by recognizing that those people may be dealing with some instability in their lives. Practice sending them some kind intentions using a loving-kindness mediation and see what comes up.
3. Focus on similarities, not differences
If you want to foster a greater sense of connection in your life, it’s helpful to think of what we share as human beings—even with the people you might not always see eye to eye on.
As you go through your day and encounter someone who you think is different from you, silently say, “Just like me,” and see what you notice. You may just experience the awareness that each of us wants the same things: to feel cared for and understood, and to experience a sense of belonging.