10 Important Relationships That Could Change Your Life
Many of us can identify at least one person who made an extraordinary impact on our lives. We are all, in many ways, ultimately shaped by all of our relationships – from the family we grow up with and the friends we make along the way, to the many people that come in and out of our orbit as we evolve. Some relationships are short-lived and some are with us for the long-haul, but even the briefest ones can have a profound effect on who we are and where we end up – whether that person knows it or not. Some inspire and encourage us, while others teach us how we don’t want to be – and that can be a blessing too. Here are some of the relationships that can’t be underestimated when it comes to informing who we are.
The Messy Bestie
Some friends are impeccable – turning up on time and never forgetting your birthday. Other friends are more chaotic. The messy bestie might leave your messages on read for days and can’t keep track of any money they owe you, but you still don’t doubt that they will respond when it matters or that they love you fiercely. This friend will teach you about accepting all the imperfect parts of someone you love, implementing boundaries, and that sometimes it’s ok to loosen up.
The Angry Boss
If you’ve ever suffered under a manager that takes all their stress out on the team, you’ll know exactly how not to treat people to get the best out of them. Experiencing a boss that demeans and bullies their employees might just be the driver of your success as a positive leader.
The Companionable Pet
From the mighty horse to the tiny mouse, pets can make the best of friends. Animal companions are proven to benefit your mental health, provide purpose, and stave off loneliness. That’s a powerful relationship at any stage of life, whether it was your childhood canine playmate or the kitty you’ve just given a forever home.
The First Love
Falling in love for the first time is an exhilarating experience that affects you in a big way. You’ll likely make your biggest mistakes in emotional intimacy during this partnership, and either learn lessons or establish patterns that, for better or worse, you’ll carry into future relationships. But you’ll also be seen and appreciated in a way that creates a whole new dimension to your self-perception.
The Enduring Character
For many, a first love might come in the form of a TV or book character, and that can be an entire form of emotional and sensual awakening in itself. But there are all kinds of fictional characters that can have a profound impact on the way you think and see the world, acting as the role models you might not have had in your own life.
The Gorgeous Godchild
Children can be such valuable teachers, whether they are your own, your sibling’s, your cousin’s kid, or a friend’s little rascal. They can show you the power of play, the joy of being fully embodied, and the importance of putting everything down and having a nice long snuggle.
The Difficult Housemate
Cohabiting is not always easy and there are some people that seem to make it particularly difficult. Yet the challenges that come from living with someone can hold a mirror to your own unresolved issues, teach you how to ask for what you need and establish boundaries, and increase your compassion for what someone else might be going through.
The Spiritual Guide
This might come in the form of a yoga teacher, religious leader, or facilitator of any number of spiritual practices. It can also be a super wise friend or family member, or even a colleague that you meet who opens your eyes to a whole new perspective of the world. Your spiritual guides help you understand and connect to something bigger than yourself while creating a sense of community and participation.
The Fitness Coach
Someone who gets you moving in ways you might not otherwise can help you connect to your body on a deep level. A personal trainer, class instructor, sports coach, fitness mentor, or even a workout buddy can show you what you’re capable of when you really put your mind to it.
And then we have the absolute most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one you have with yourself. This is the only person in the world that can answer to your deepest needs and consistently be there for you through every nuance of life. Deepening your self-intimacy can be a lifelong pursuit, but the rewards are rich – for mental health, physical wellbeing, and life satisfaction alike. Pour as much acceptance, love, and care into this relationship as you can, because it’s here for life.
All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Important relationships in a multilevel world: The role of network structure in explaining closeness of relationships and access to resources in later life; The Link Between Self-Esteem and Social Relationships: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies.
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