Build Your Resilience By Building Great Relationships


Build Your Resilience By Building Great Relationships

We interact with people every day.  Whether you work in a large city office or by yourself at home, you still need to talk to other people.  Saying good morning to the receptionist, thanking the bus driver, ordering your coffee, making arrangements for a meeting all involve relationships, sometimes fleeting ones. You also have more important relationships – with your partner, your family friends and clients.

But how often do you really talk to them? I mean, how well do you know each other and would you be there for the other person if they really needed some help? Or would they be there for you?

Not long ago, I read a quote by Ralph Peters, which said:

“The great paradox of this century is that, in this age of powerful technology, the biggest problems we face internationally are problems of the human soul”.

We email, text and write reports, and we forget to talk directly to the person we want to communicate with.  It is so important to recognise that building a relationship means sharing time and verbal words, not screen time or texted emojis.

What we really crave is human connection.  In fact, the seventy-five year longititutional study conducted at Harvard, shows us that “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier”.

Quality relationships help us to be more resilient in stressful situations.  These relationships will nurture and support us when we need an emotional ‘leg-up’.  In general, optimistic people are more resilient than pessimistic people, because they can see that whatever situation they are in now, it is transient.

Graeme Cowan, an Australian speaker and author on resilience, recently sent out a survey to help us understand the greatest threats to our personal resilience. One of the responses was ‘not enough time with family and friends’.  In sharing some of research, he says, “I’m certain that we often forget to prioritise our own needs, and those of our loved ones, when things get overwhelming.”

What can you do to build your relationships, with people close to you and people you’d like to be more open with?

  1. Look another person in the eye and give them your full attention.  What colour are their eyes?
  2. Listen. Really listen without judgement to what they are saying and hear their story.
  3. Ask a question which contributes to the conversation instead of a statement to ‘top’ them, or show off, that you have a better story.
  4. Put time in your diary in ink or block out a chunk of time in your on-line calendar for relationship building – with a friend, work colleague or possible client.
  5. Look for a way to help the other person.  How can you be of service to them?

Remember, it takes time and effort to build a relationship.  However, a smile, a hello to your regular barista or bus driver and a kiss to your partner as you walk in and out of the door goes a long way to building your sense of well-being and resilience.

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  • Linda Wilson

    Great article Valerie, look people in the eye and notice their eye colour!

  • Felix Balwin

    Focusing on past experiences and sources of personal strength can help you learn about what strategies for building resilience might work for you. By exploring answers to the following questions about yourself and your reactions to challenging life events, you may discover how you can respond effectively to difficult situations in your life. Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps.

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