Why Relationships Are KEY to a Healing Journey

You deserve healing. You deserve to be free from anything that haunts you. You deserve to live a life filled with love, peace, and joy.

You have every right to live your best life. Just know that healing is going to take a lot of work; you'll face many challenges (as well as celebrations), and a key to your healing journey success is the people in your life.

Thus, before you begin a healing journey, one of the critical elements you have to explore is the quality of people in your life. I don't mean to sound negative, but the reality is that as you start on a healing journey, you will need a lot of support, especially during some of the challenging parts.

Just about all of us have people in our lives; some of us wish they were different or better people... people who support us, get us, validate us, love us.

We truly need our "tribe." As we begin healing, as we begin the road back to self-love and acceptance, the people in our lives can make or break our journey. We need to be surrounded by deeply supportive and loving people.

It takes a village -- not only for raising children, but for healing. Community not only provides love and support, but structure and guidelines. We need a small set of friends/family who will laugh with us, cry with us, celebrate with us, mourn with us... let us just be us. We are enriched and feel richer with true friends, companionship, and loving relationships.

And relationships are not just important for healing, but for health and longevity. Research shows that strong social relationships help in preventing premature death -- including having the support of strong and loving life partner. Furthermore, we know social isolation can lead to depression, decreased immune support, long-term illnesses.

"Having nurturing relationships is protective of mental health and overall brain health," says Dr. Jennifer Gatchel, a Harvard Medical School psychology professor.

How to Build Healthy Relationships & Community

There are numerous buzzwords in healing, and community is one of them... but it showcases the absolute requirement that healing requires support from others. Even the most "lone wolf" among us needs that emotional support at times.

Begin with the folks already in your circle. Typically, most of us have a set of close friends and a larger set of acquaintances, so start with this group and see who you might cultivate into that close friends group. You can also look to your family (including your extended family), though many family dynamics are layered in so much family/generational trauma that you may not get the support you seek -- or need.

Once you have exhausted your current network of people, it may be time to get creative in finding a few new folks to add to your inner circle.

How and Where to Find Your People
  1. Volunteer. Just about every nonprofit organization needs more people helping out. Find one or two organizations that align with your interests and attend a few meetings, work sessions.

  2. Join a Group. Whether in-person or online, there are lots of groups that meet to share their interests, hobbies, and passions. Find a book club, support group, or sports organization. For online, Meetup is a great tool for searching in your area.

  3. Attend a Class, Lecture, or Opening. Learning a new subject or celebrating a new artist or author is a great chance to meet like-minded people.

  4. Build Your Online Social Network. While online relationships can be wonderful, they can also be isolating, so use this one with care. And no comparisons if someone else already has 5,000 "friends." Again, the goal here is finding like-minded folks.

  5. Ask Current Friends for Recommendations/Introductions. The best advice saved for last. If you have a couple of truly wonderful people in your life, celebrate them, but also ask them for suggestions and introductions to like-minded folks from their network.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Relationships

Relationships should bring us love, joy, support, and peace -- and it's our responsibility to nurture and grow those healthy relationships. Providing support for others, a key part of relationships, also helps us stop thinking just about ourselves (via our ego) and get focused on the needs of others.

We are all born storytellers. It's in our DNA. We're also hardwired to have interpersonal relationships. Finally, we know the power of sharing our stories, especially ones of trauma and healing.

Find your people... find your tribe. You may already have a good collection of them, but if not, now is the time to build the positivity in your circle by adding people who truly love, understand, and support you.

Relationships matter -- and have a direct impact on your health and healing -- just as nutrition, exercise, spirituality, and nature do. One study found that the size and quality of a person's social ties affect key health measures. We also know from loneliness studies that social isolation has a direct impact on health and healing.

Final Words of Wisdom: You can do a healing journey alone, but it will be a much harder road. There's a storyteller from my first book, Triumph Over Trauma, who had an accidental healing journey with psychedelics; in his story, he shares how the medicine told him he no longer needed to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs -- that he had the healing within him. He was so elated from that message, but all the people around him were drug-users who had no interest in healing or becoming clean... leaving him further isolated and alone. He actually fell into a deeper depression for about another 2-3 years before finally finding the support he needed to restart and continue his healing journey.

Relationship/Community Additional Resources

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.