Relationships are one of the few concepts that are truly genuine and have the potential to be a safety net in times of confusion, despair, fear, and happiness. That is because the relationships we build upon have special meaning for each individual. Relationships can also be of varying types and not all of our relationships need to be with just other people. We can have relationships with animals, food, nature, others, and of course ourselves. Individuals will initiate, build, and maintain relationships for different reasons, and to varying degrees, however; the concept of socializing is inherently an important function for the survival and continuity of all life (Young, 2008).
Building relationships requires skill, time and commitment that ultimately allow us to reasonable choose the type of relationship we build on and which relationships we choose not to pursue. The acquisitions of such skills begin at birth, and require the give and take influences of their immediate environment. As children develop, their relationships also evolve in function and in benefit. The early relationships have the most significant impact on the development and growth potential of the lifelong process of building and maintaining relationships. Research has shown that early childhood relationships build on cognition, emotional, physical, social development that promote self esteem, emotional regulation, trust, language and industry (Osher, Cantor, Berg, Steyer & Rose 2020), just to name a few.
Non human relationships like those we have with animal present other facets of the relationship concept. One of the most obvious influences of animals, particularly of dogs, cats, birds, and young versions of wild creatures, are their ability to promote feelings of joy. For those who have pets, there is an inherent need to care for them and to ensure that they are loved and protected. Further, if the love is reciprocated in the animals, response to its stimuli, then the relationship is further enhanced (Borgi, & Cirulli, 2016).
Another non human relationship is that which we engage in with nature. Having a relationship with nature may seem different that those we have with our pets and other humans, however; nature provides an added benefit for our wellness and adds to the strength of the relationship (Seymore, 2016). The benefits of the person/nature relationships are vast, and secure their place for further research, unfortunately, that means that only a few samples will be used for the purpose of this writing. Let us consider the fact that the sounds of nature are infused into a variety of contexts that help relax out minds. We can usually find these applications in a spa, at doctors’ offices, and in meditation. For those of us who have had the opportunity to live near oceans, rivers and creeks, we understand the soothing component of the sounds of water. The sounds produced by the living things in our environment allow us to take a moment to and discover how animals communicate with one another. There is also an element of nature to which I am particularly fond of; gardening. Gardening has the availability to create spaces, provide sustenance, and encourage pollinators to thrive. Let us not forget the playfulness that getting our hands dirty has on the happy sensors of the brain.
Each of the elements for relationships will yield personal benefit and to varying degree for all individuals. The amount of work we put in to any particular relationship will have to benefit of a lifelong engagement and a fostered desire to make it a part of the important things in your life. For me, the human relationships that I have built upon throughout my years have formed a very tight knit safety net that is always willing to catch me if I fall. While the non-human relationships that include nature and animals reinforce a sense of responsibility to care for all living things. To complete my sphere of relationships, I must include my relationship with music, which can help to put a pep in your step when you are feeling down, help you concentrate, and help alleviate the ails of the day.
Borgi, M., & Cirulli, F. (2016).Pet Face: Mechanisms Underlying Human-Animal Relationships. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 298. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00298
Osher, D., Cantor, P., Berg, J., Steyer, L., & Rose, T. (2020) Drivers of human development: How relationships and context shape learning and development1, Applied Developmental Science, 24:1, 6-36, DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2017.1398650 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10888691.2017.1398650?scroll=top&needAccess=true
Seymour V. (2016). The Human-Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review. Frontiers in public health, 4, 260. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2016.00260
Young S. N. (2008). The neurobiology of human social behaviour: an important but neglected topic. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN, 33(5), 391–392. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2527715/