DR. JANET SCOTT
By Dr. Janet Scott
The Mid-South Tribune
The Mid-South Tribune ONLINE
And the Black Information Highway
People Who Need People
Human beings need to belong and relate. Nobody is born knowing how to relate. All social structure is created through social interaction between two or more people. The concept of social interaction is based on the observation that humans need each other to survive. Social interaction happens in many different ways, on a continuum that includes the totally impersonal at one end of the greatest intimacy on the other.
During a day’s time, a variety of interactions take place. When an interaction develops on a consistent basis and allows for a relatively stable set of expectations to be created, the interaction becomes a relationship. Most people have little or no conscious awareness of how they relate. Many form relationships with little or no conscious choice.
Is It Good for Me?
Not all relationships are good for us. The ability to recognize characteristics of a healthy relationship is a first step in minimizing the possibility of becoming involved in interactions and relationships that aren’t nourishing.
One way to check the health of a relationship is to ask yourself honestly “is it good for me?” Assessing one’s relationship by its outcomes or what the participants are receiving is important. If one is giving more to another person than one is willing to give to oneself this is unhealthy. A healthy relationship involves giving and taking. Relationships frequently end because one or both participants are no longer receiving enough from each other.
A relationship is only as healthy as its participants. In order for a relationship to be satisfying and nourishing, the people involved must possess some of the following traits:
1. Love for self – The beginning of a healthy relationship lies within self. Only when you know and love yourself can you reach out positively to others.
2. Being able to nurture self – Being responsive to your own needs as well as the needs of others.
3. Genuineness – Being sincere and honest creates trust.
4. Warmth – This is having unconditional positive regard
5. Acceptance – This is appreciating each other’s unique personalities and allowing for mistakes and flaws.
6. Empathy – This includes being understanding and utilizing listening skills.
7. Self-disclosure – This is revealing some of the hidden self. This creates a basis for trust and closeness. This can also end a relationship.
8. Encouragement – This includes being supportive and affirming.
9. Fairness and dependable – This is being impartial and doing what you say you are going to do.
10. Enjoyment – Having fun; getting some pleasure.
11. Confident – Being able to keep information to yourself
12. Sense of humor – Being able to express or enjoy that which is funny.
Having Quality Relationships
Be mindful of the types of relationships you form. Often times a pattern is created when one is seeking to fulfill some needs. You can influence the quality of your relationships by utilizing the following”
1. Having realistic expectations of the relationship
2. Sensitivity and cooperation
3. Being assertive
4. Negotiation skills
5. Being supportive in times of crisis
6. Doing little acts of kindness
7. Learning how to forgive
8. Letting go of the past
9. Creating a bottom line
10. Dealing with conflict immediately
Have a variety of meaningful relationships. When one builds one’s world around another person, this is very unhealthy. You isolate yourself from others. All relationships involve risks. There will be pleasure, pain, and some disappointments. Being alone is not a positive way to live life. When you exist only to avoid pain, you forfeit all opportunities for the joys of relationships.
Dr. Scott is a contributing columnist for The Mid-South Tribune. She is a National Board Certified Counselor and a Tennessee licensed professional counselor with a mental health provider designation offering individual, group, couple and family therapy. Her office is located at 1331 Union Ave., Memphis, TN. 38104; phone: 901-722-8751.