Healthy Living: Relationships

Healthy Living / Christine Harness

Relationships can be very satisfying, pleasurable experiences, and then again, they can be misery-instilling and frustrating ones. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could bring more caring and thoughtfulness into our relationships with each other? We’ve all had the pleasures of those warm and tingly feelings you get, automatic smiles that broaden across our faces whenever someone says something or does something to or for you which we call ‘kindness.’ Parents strive so hard to incorporate the qualities of politeness, consideration, caring and thoughtfulness, all definitions of kindness, into their children. Many religious groups’ basis of teaching emphasizes these same qualities.

As we age together through a healthy, happy marriage, husbands and wives develop a pattern of blending their thoughts together as we witness common conversations where one begins a sentence and the other fills in the rest of the words. You hear, “I was just thinking the same thing!” Or, “I feel the same way!” This blending is also noticeable in a change I have recently detected with my husband’s and my driving habits. Driving on the freeway to Bakersfield, he and I weren’t always in agreement as to timing our lane changes as we prepare to exit, and lately, I notice he has adopted my more cautious habit of allowing more time, less pressure, for making the changes.

A bonding develops with compatible long-time friends who, when they meet after a long time of not seeing each other, pick up where they left off, enjoying the closeness as though they had continued seeing each other on a regular basis. Friendships such as these are priceless and we’re fortunate if we have even a few.

The pains we experience with contentious relationships are lasting ones that affect more than your mood. Your healthful state suffers with a myriad of negative stressors such as increased blood pressure, digestive tract discomfort and depression as a few examples.

I vividly recall my high school principal’s commencement address to us graduating seniors so many years ago. “As you go on with your lives, many of you will choose a mate with whom you manage a mediocre relationship and barely get by. But some of you will make the mistake of bonding with what we call a ‘loser,’ one who holds you back and because you believe he loves you, you can help him. There will be a few of you who wisely choose that special compatible one and together you help each other achieve the best life has to offer. May you have that good fortune!”

Christine Harness has worked in the field of Occupational Therapy throughout her adult life, both in and outside of the Kern River Valley. She has helped countless individuals to maintain or regain their independence. Christine believes that enjoying and taking satisfaction in one’s day-to-day activities is the key to a meaningful life.

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