Having a strong social support network is crucial for our wellbeing. Spending time with our people is important for our own personal happiness. Oxytocin is released in our bodies from long-term loving relationships and optimism and resilience stems from connectivity and having strong familial and friendly bonds.
A friend is “a person with whom one has a consistent bond of mutual affection”. The problem with modern society is that many of us want lots of “friends”. Having a large group of friends allows us to appear to be cool or to look popular. This has led to a lot of us developing and sustaining mediocre relationships with people with whom we do not have any consistent bond of mutual affection. These people are not our friends.
The solution to this problem is to shift our focus from quantity of friendships, to the quality of our friendships.
We should try to cultivate friendships with happy, positive, inspiring people who bring out the best in us, not the stress in us. We should try to find people who push and challenge us; who respect us for who we are and truly want the best for us. We should radiate toward people who lift us up and make us feel happy; people who make us laugh and smile; people who make us feel good about ourselves.
We should surround ourselves with people who love us during our hard times (when we may not be particularly lovable) and celebrate with us during our good times (when we might feel on top of the world!).
The company we keep is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Having self-respect is surrounding ourselves with people who show us respect.
Once we have formed a supportive community around us, it is now our responsibility to nurture these relationships. We can do this by making sure our people feel seen, heard and appreciated. It is our duty to listen to our people and to show genuine interest in their lives. We should remember names, dates of birth and important facts about our people. We should smile and try to bring them positivity and inspiration.
We should make our people feel important, because they are important. They are our people.