Resilience: The importance of positive relationships

Part 3 in the series looking at Resilience.

How does our relationships with others help us to build resilience?

Our relationships with other people are an important part of developing resilience.  For example, if you are struggling to manage your emotions finding someone that you can talk to when you are feeling upset, anxious or angry can help you to not hold the feeling inside. 

Sometimes, you might feel the people in your life are the ones causing you to have negative emotions in the first place.  This may be the case, but recognising what has happened and how you feel, can help you to move on.

Further on in his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul says:

‘ … Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love …’ (The Bible – Ephesians chapter 4 verse 2; NIV)

‘… Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry …’ (The Bible – Ephesians chapter 4 verse 26; NIV)

‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (The Bible – Ephesians chapter 4 verse 31-32; NIV)

Being able to talk about how you are feeling, knowing if someone has upset you and then trying to sort it out quickly, can help build up resilience and cultivate positive relationships in your life.  It may not be easy to have these conversations but, as I said previously, sometimes our own thoughts can turn a difficult situation into something completely different if we are playing over the narrative in our heads.

Positive relationships in life can help you to stay grounded when difficult situations arise; they can be a listening ear, they can help you to remember the things you are good at when you are struggling, they can encourage you to try new things when you are apprehensive.  Healthy relationships, which includes friendships as well as romantic relationships, are built upon trust, honesty, respect, equality, kindness, being able to have fun together, healthy conflict and independence.  An unhealthy relationship could be where someone is trying to manipulate you, be possessive, not let you see your friends, say horrible things about you repeatedly or where someone deliberately sets out to hurt you. 

Being able to recognise the effect different relationships have on us is vital in helping to build up our resilience.  We will all have bad days with our family and friends; but if you find that they make you feel bad about yourself more than they build you up it is important to recognise that.  In addition, if you notice that someone special in your life is being influenced negatively by another person, it is part of being a good friend to them to be there to help and support them during this time.  Sometimes that person may not want to hear what you have to say but they may still need your support.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us:

‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.’ (The Bible – John chapter 13 verse 34; NIV)

If we love each other, are kind and patient with each other, looking for the good in people and not the bad in will increase the positive relationships in our lives and in turn increase our resilience.

If you are, or know someone who is in an abusive relationship, some of these agencies may be able to offer help and support: ChildLine:      Tel 0800 1111 National Domestic Abuse : Tel 0808 2000 247 / ww.nationaldahelpline.org.uk