If relationships are often the key ingredient to anxiety in our lives, why should we even bother with pursuing them? Why should we worry ourselves about seeking to heal broken relationships? Wouldn’t it make more emotional sense to just distance ourselves from the other person? Wouldn’t that save everyone involved from more heartache and pain?
Of course, people do this. When faced with relationship problems of a certain magnitude, they turn and run. Or they pursue unhealthy coping mechanisms (e.g., drinking to excess, porn, excessive social media use, etc.). Or they clam up and play the silent game. I’m willing to bet we’ve all been guilty of these types of actions in our relationships. But when a flight response kicks in, a relationship can’t be mended. After all, a relationship requires at least two people to even be called a relationship.
Yet we need relationships. We seldom consider how deeply we need relationships. As human beings, we have a deep, intrinsic need for healthy intimate relationships. This is why we will weather almost any storm in order to bring equilibrium to our relationships.
As I wrote in Chapter 13 of The Stories We Tell Ourselves:
Nothing is as fulfilling in life than a deep connection with another person. Few things in life bring such lasting fulfillment as knowing others and being known by them. When we can shed our masks of pretense and offer our true selves to those in our lives, the stress of keeping up the charade fades away. Conflict and misunderstandings will still occur, but the sure foundation you’ve worked to establish in each of your relationships will hold firm so that any shifting ground beneath your feet won’t ruin your relationships. True connection leads to solid relationships that can withstand nearly anything.
Do you believe that? If so, how does your life reveal that?