Human life and the context of relationships.
Human life takes place within the context of relationships.
Modern individualist societies place a high value on independence, self-reliance, and autonomy, but these values often contradict our true human nature. We are a social species, and from the moment we are born, our development and wellbeing are being shaped by our interactions with those we are in relationships with. Throughout the lifespan this continues to be true.
As infants we are born dependent on our caregivers to regulate our stress and emotions. If our emotions were effectively soothed and regulated by our caregiver most of the time (necessary for a secure relationship to develop), then we will slowly develop the capacity to participate in the process of regulating our emotions and managing our stress (this is known as co-regulation). But even when childhood experiences have been optimal and we have developed the ability to tolerate, regulate, and manage emotion and stress fairly well, our relationships will continue to be an essential resource for maintaining emotional balance and regulating stress.
Examples of co-regulation in adulthood, include:
- Feeling calmer after talking to a friend / partner / parent / therapist
- Feeling soothed by a hug or other types of physical affection
- Feeling more relaxed after quality time with a loved one
- Feeling less stressed and more confident after receiving guidance and support from a loved one .
How do your relationships help you to regulate your emotions and manage stress?
Supportive relationships lead to resilient individuals.
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