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Dr. Esther Yi:All right. So hi everybody. My name is Dr. Esther Yi, and thank you so much for joining Zoom with you tonight. Tonight, we’re going to be talking about quality relationships. And as always, thank you to Rhombus University for hosting our free Zoom sessions during COVID-19.
Dr. Esther Yi:I’m going to go ahead and jump in. Welcome. I’m so glad you guys are here. And I wanted to start by just painting this picture of relationships in general. I hear a lot when I’m working with different types of clients and with my background, I’ve worked a lot with just relational problems. When you are working with people who have a lot of trauma family disputes going on, domestic violence, sibling problems, drug and alcohol counseling, a lot of that just has to do with relationships in general. So I wanted to put it out there to be a reminder to all of us that we were created to be in relationships.
Dr. Esther Yi:We all need relationships. And I’m sure with COVID-19 that we can all feel this, a lot of us are probably feeling antsy now having been home for over a month, maybe not getting regular social interaction, especially not being able to really see people physically and just kind of like this, on the computer. And so within us, we’re created to be in relationships. We need it. And so that’s why in research, we find so much. For those that are struggling with loneliness, we see that it really cuts into people’s lives. What I mean by that is people live shorter lives when they’ve experienced more loneliness. And so I want us to remember that relationships, regardless if we love them, or if we hate them, we’re all going to be in relationships with other people and we need them.
Dr. Esther Yi:I’m going to go ahead and start by talking about what a quality relationship looks like. I want to describe it for us. The first thing that I want us to do is I want you to look into your own family relationships. Think about what does it look like and consider how has it changed over time. I know that some people they might think, “Okay, well, Dr. Yi, like I didn’t have a good relationship with my parents or I still don’t, or I, you know, I don’t even talk to my family.” That’s okay. I just want you to consider what your relationship looked like as when you were a child and how it’s progressed and changed now that you’ve become an adult.
Dr. Esther Yi:The reason why I want to start with that is because our concept of relationships starts from when you were born. That’s when relationships, this idea of relationships actually probably starts. Your first relationship was probably with your caretaker, your parents, your mom, or your dad, whoever was taking care of you. That’s probably where you learned a lot about relationships. So they probably modeled what relationships look like, what happens if you’re in distress, did they respond to you? Did they not respond to you? Were they there for you? Did they neglect you? Did they hear you out in your problems? Did they ignore you? That’s kind of where the beginning of where we get an idea of how to navigate relationships with other people. And so I say that because you may be surprised that some of the things that you’ve experienced from when you’re a child to adolescence to teenage and adult, and later in life, you might notice that there are similar patterns.
Dr. Esther Yi:Now, that’s not to say that if you had an unhealthy upbringing in your childhood, that now all of your adult relationships are going to be unhealthy. That’s definitely not what I’m saying, but I do want you to notice that there could be possible patterns, that you may still be living out in a place of wounds rather than a place of health. And so the beginning of quality relationships is you getting healthy first. That’s the biggest thing about this. So consider that as I continue to move forward, and we talk about the various topics regarding quality relationships.
Dr. Esther Yi:People talk about the 3 C’s of what it means to have a healthy relationship. They say communication is huge, compromise, and commitment. So when you take a look at the 3 C’s, I just want you to take a look at those in terms of not just your romantic relationships, but also your parental relationships, your friendships, your work relationships. Think about the 3 C’s. Are you guys communicating well? What does that even look like for you? How do you like to communicate? How do they like to communicate? Are you a good listener? Is that how people describe you as, as someone who’s a good listener? Because I would say that’s a huge part about communication.
Dr. Esther Yi:Compromise, we know that no two people are identical and I don’t mean just like twins. I mean, in general, there’s not two of you in this world. There’s not two of me, which means that all of our life experiences are incredibly different. No matter how similar we may seem, we’re all different. So there’s probably going to be a time where you disagree, when you don’t see the same situation a hundred percent identically, and that’s okay. And this is where compromise, kicks in.
Dr. Esther Yi:Think about commitment, how committed are you in terms of your relationships? Consider, are you the type of person who just will leave as soon as something happens? Are you a runner, or are you the type of person who maybe wants to avoid conflict at all costs? And so maybe your commitment level is really low, or are you in the commitment stage of no matter what I’m always going to be there for you in any of your relationships, and what does that look like?
Dr. Esther Yi:I found this really interesting because over time and with age, they found that it’s more important and it’s more about quality than in quantity of relationships. Sometimes I think we get caught up in social media, so we think we have to have a lot of friends, we have to have a lot of likes, and that is important for us. But I think sometimes that just boosts our ego. It’s not actually about being in quality relationships. And we find those later in life, they tend to be happier when they have a lot more quality relationships. Well, how do you get there? You can’t just age and get a lot older and think, “I’m going to have a lot of good relationships when I’m older.” A lot of it takes practice right now. So what are you doing right now to build quality relationships so that you may be able to even experience to be more happier when you’re a lot older?
Dr. Esther Yi:I wanted to share this first really quick. It’s from Proverbs 22:24-25, it says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” Now, this can seem hard because who hasn’t lost their temper before, but I know that we can also see patterns and I think we’re very much well aware that when somebody has a pattern of anger issues, this verse is just warning us to not be super close with them.
Dr. Esther Yi:Now, we have different ranges of friendships. We have those that are like our best friends that we’re super close with. And maybe you have three or four or five people who you’re really, really close with. And then you have a next group of friends that are a little bit further out and not to say that you’re not close with them, but they know what’s going on in your life, you share details with them, but they’re not your core group, your tribe. And then on the very outside, you have people who are more of your associates or you may know in passing, but you don’t know too many details about them.
Dr. Esther Yi:And so I say that because there’s value in different types of relationships, not all of your relationships have to be super best friend relationships, and that’s okay. That’s normal. You’re not going to be best friends with the person that’s checking you out at Vons. That’s not normal. That’s probably uncomfortable for them and uncomfortable for you in that instance. And so consider that there’s a time and place for different types of relationships, and I think this verse is a good warning to be careful, to be cautious when you see somebody who has a hot temper, because you may get caught up in that and also become like that.
Dr. Esther Yi:Let’s talk about some friendships. First, there’s this myth that in order for people to be good friends, they all have to be alike. Their personalities have to be the same. And if they’re the same, then they’re going to be happier in their friendships. And we find in research, that’s not the case. We’re noticing that even if you do not have the same personality traits, people still tend to be happy in their same sex friendships and in their cross sex friendships. So different gender friendships also. And when people are friends, you don’t have to have the same type of personality in order to be friends with them. What is really important that we find it says, knowing we matter to our friends is associated with happiness. So think about your friendships, do they know that you matter? Do they know that they matter to you because that’s incredibly important. And we find in research that people are saying that, that is truly associated with happiness.
Dr. Esther Yi:I have a really good question here, and the question is, “How do you process a friend who regards you as a best friend when you don’t see them as a best friend?” I think that’s a good one. And you know when this comes up a lot is when people get married. I don’t know if you guys have friends who are getting married and they expect to be maid of honor. They expect to be a bridesmaid, and you’re like, “No.” And that’s okay. Do you have to define every single relationship and say, hey, you’re my best friend or you’re not my best friend? I don’t know. It’s okay that you guys don’t see eye to eye in your friendships. I think sometimes that can be a place of hurt for one person, especially when they feel like they’re not as treasured, but that’s not what it means at all. They’re just maybe not your best friend. Maybe they’re not your childhood friend. Maybe they’re not the person that you went through thick and thin with, but maybe you’re that person for them. I think that can be honorable place to be in.
Dr. Esther Yi:So you cherish them, you love them, and that’s okay. And you can leave it as that. I would be cautious and I would be curious as to why that label is so important for that person. You know, if they’re saying I have to be your best friend. Well, okay, but why? Why is that so important to you? Because I think in friendships, as long as you’re communicating, like I’m going to be there for you, I care for you, I want to understand you, I want to see perspective through your lens. I think that’s a very honorable friendship to have. And so ask them about it. You can talk to them about it if this is a sore spot for you guys. And I think that conversation will shed light a lot on the type of friendship that actually is.
Dr. Esther Yi:If they get super offended, and they’re like, “I can’t be friends with you.” I think that speaks volumes as to the person that they are. You might even be surprised that this person is somebody that you hold a lot closer to your heart than you thought that you were going to. And so I would say start by having a conversation.
Dr. Esther Yi:The 4S’s when it comes to healthy relationships, the first thing is safety. When you’re building a healthy relationship and any type of relationship, you want to know that that person is going to be a safe place for you, a safe haven for you, that no matter what topic, no matter what you talk about, they’re going to be there for you. You’re going to feel grounded. You’re not going to feel anxious when you’re around them, but you’re safe in their presence and together. You’re going to feel secure is another S, and that’s when you have relationships or friendships, you want to make sure, hey, like, just because I say something that doesn’t mean I’m going to leave you, I’m going to stop being friends with you. I’m going to be there with you no matter what. We may live our lives differently, and that’s okay, because I’m not here to judge you and I’m not going to say we can’t be friends anymore.
Dr. Esther Yi:The third S is seen and understood. So many people I find, they feel like I’m not being seen, I’m not being understood, they don’t understand me. And so when they come into therapy, they have this sigh of relief like finally, somebody who just is trying to understand me and trying to walk in my own shoes rather than trying to tell me how I should feel or how I should do things. And so when you’re approaching a relationship, when I’m describing one, I want you to think a healthy one looks like a person and in a relationship that’s willing to go beyond just hearing things, but really trying to understand from that person’s perspective.
Dr. Esther Yi:And then soothe, in a healthy relationship, you’re able to soothe one another. This may be your tone, where you find that your tone is much more calm and you’re not raising your voice and yelling at them. Maybe it’s a hug that no words have to be exchanged, and you’re just hugging them to say, “Hey, I’m with you. I don’t know exactly how you feel, but I’m here with you.” And then if you’re in a romantic relationship, even kissing them is a way that you can help soothe them. I find that you can kiss a child, you can kiss their… If they get hurt, they want to be soothed. And so we find that in healthy relationships, you’re able to soothe one another.
Dr. Esther Yi:I want to go back to the question that says, “I have a best friend who doesn’t have the same connection needs as me, I wish to connect with them once a week or every other week, but she still reaches out once a month and not reach out until I do, but I have other close friends where our connection needs are the same. Should I reconsider if this best friend is worth being my best friend?” Okay, I’m going to start there. You may have different communication needs, different level languages than that person, and that’s totally okay. I’ll give you an example. I’m married and have a kid and in our relationship, I’m the talker. I am the talker and my husband will completely agree to that. And he will just nod his head and, “Uh-huh, uh-huh.” I remember in the beginning of our relationship, when I was still getting to know him, I would look at him and be like, “That’s it, that’s all you got for me?” And sometimes it felt offensive because I felt like I was talking and pouring out my soul to him and he just was nodding.
Dr. Esther Yi:That was his love language, and that was his ability to listen so that I could just be me and that space was there so that I could just be me. Now, we’ve worked through that and he’s definitely learned how to communicate and talk more. And I’ve learned to hold back so that I could provide that space for him to share too. And so that is a way that we’ve had to kind of navigate and compromise and figure out what’s best in communicating with each other.
Dr. Esther Yi:So you may need to be specific with this friend. Can we set up a time where we talk every single week or every other week? How does every Friday at 8:30 sound to you? If you don’t have time to talk on the phone every month and maybe they’re not a phone talker. My husband is not a phone talker. He really does not like it. Even if I’m traveling without him, he’s not on the phone with me for hours and hours. I know that I need to be very direct in my questions and make sure that I’m being effective with the time that I have with him, because for him to be on the phone with me, that means I’m special. And so maybe that’s it for your friend. Think of like, okay, well, what can I do to meet her halfway? And if she is willing to talk once a month on the phone, maybe we can get to every three weeks. Maybe it could be an email every other week and then a phone call every month.
Dr. Esther Yi:I would say be creative and then consider having a conversation with her. And what does it mean to you to connect every single week? Is there a way that you can still connect with her? I also want to say that not one relationship, one friendship can meet the needs of everything. There is this, I think it’s Jerry Maguire and it’s the famous movie. It’s like, you had me at hello, right? And people think, “Oh wow, you complete me. That one person completes me.” Well, that’s not true at all. Like, have you met one person who can do everything for you and everything with you? It’s not possible. Like, you need lots of different types of people in your life. You need teachers, you need your boss, you need your family, you need your friends, you need the person who’s picking up, you know, taking your trash and the people who are checking you out at Vons, and you need all types of people. And so consider if I’m not getting my needs met with this friend and this relationship, how can I get my needs met? How can I get my needs met? So consider that.
Dr. Esther Yi:And when we have conversations with people and we feel like we keep going back to the same issue over and over again, I’d say that’s normal. It’s frustrating. It’s normal. And the reason why I say that is our brains tend to learn in layers. Think about when you have to create a healthy habit, how long it takes to create healthy habits? A super long time, repetitively and consistently. And so maybe your friend just needs a constant reminder of like, sending her a text like, “Hey, don’t forget. We’re going to talk this week.” It may seem vulnerable and hard for you to initiate that conversation. It may seem like you’re putting yourself out way too much. But if you’re okay with that, I’d say try it. If you’re not okay with that, pull back and figure out maybe a different way to communicate with her. But you may need to just give your friends some space to learn how you communicate, because that may not be the way that she functions.
Dr. Esther Yi:Let’s talk about what negative social support looks like. So not a healthy support. We find in studies, this is super interesting because in a study they found that people who are the closest to you, sometimes they’re the people who tend to be very overprotective of you because they care so much. Like you think of mama bear, or you think of a friend that just fiercely loves you and wants to protect you. These people can sometimes be negative social supports. They’re not bad people. I think their intentions come out in a way that sometimes can be negative, how? Because it interferes with your behavioral choices. It interferes with your ability to make decisions and choices for yourself. Sometimes when somebody is so large and their opinion is so big, it makes us feel like we can’t make our own choices.
Dr. Esther Yi:Maybe they’re giving you unwanted info or advice. I can’t tell you how many times that I have therapy with people who are like, “I don’t even know what I want.” It’s like, how come? “I don’t know what I want because all the voices around me are so loud. Everybody’s telling me what I should do or what I should think. I don’t know what I want.” And they get lost in it. And they’re drowning in that. So be careful if you’re somebody who you’re super close with them and you feel like I have this right to tell them what I think, it may be more negative or more hurtful than you actually think. And it may also determine how that person may be determining how much effort a person should exert in the degree that they should attempt to resume full functioning.
Dr. Esther Yi:So maybe you give them advice. Now, you’re starting to determine like, yeah, you tried hard enough or maybe you didn’t try hard enough. Well, did you say this? And did you do this? Well, what about this? Did you try this? How come you didn’t try that? And it makes it seem like, well, whatever I do is not good enough. I need to do what you’re telling me to do for it to be good enough. I hope that’s making sense. And why is this negative social support? Because what you’re communicating to that person is you’re saying, “Hey, you lack skills or strengths to figure out your own problems. You’re not capable of doing it without me. So here, do what I’m telling you to do.” Or when that person walks away from that conversation after you’ve told them all those things, they may feel guilty, they may feel incompetent. Like, I really don’t have any strengths and skills to be able to face this conversation or this problem. They may feel resentful. Like, you might resent the people who tell you how to live your life. I think that’s very normal. You may lack autonomy, or you may feel coerced. Like, they manipulated me into doing it. I didn’t even want to do that, but I felt like I had to do that because of what you said.
Dr. Esther Yi:Sorry, I’m getting to the PowerPoint here. Okay. So conflict in friendships. They’re very, very normal. Super, super normal. Conflict in friendships are really, really normal. Okay? I’ll say that again. Conflict and friendships, very normal. The reason why I say that so many times is so many people do not think it’s normal, and they see that as a red flag. It’s not a red flag. We find that when most people who are in friendships, when they have some type of conflict or disagreement, they are passive and they try to avoid it. Those are the two things that we see. People, they passively avoid their conflict in their friendship. And we find that, that is least helpful, that does not help the situation at all. It’s kind of like, they’re just trying to put dirt under the rug and ignore it and hopefully it’ll just go away. It typically does not go away. Neither party feels satisfied when that happens.
Dr. Esther Yi:You know, when conflict happens the most in friendships, it’s when there’s changes in life that take place. Have you started dating? Did you get married? Did you have a child? Did you move to go to a different school? Are you changing career paths? Are you trying a different hobby? Did you quit something? These are all changes in life. These are usually when conflicts and friendships arise. Something has changed, the relationship has changed. The healthiest response that we typically see that both parties benefit and they are appreciative of is when you work through the conflict. Okay? It doesn’t mean avoid it, it doesn’t mean ignore it, it means to work through your conflict, to talk through these things, to address the problem of what’s at hand.
Dr. Esther Yi:This is something that I typically say to my clients in any type of relationship, if you have won the argument, the relationship has lost. So if you walk away from a disagreement and you’re like, “I won, I got my point across. And yeah, you agreed with me. So you’re wrong and I’m right.” Maybe you’re not saying that directly. Okay? But the relationship didn’t win. Because when you’re working on a relationship, that’s who you want to be the winner, all the time, is the relationship.
Dr. Esther Yi:And so I want you to consider that the next time you get into a conflict, the next time you get into a disagreement with a family or a friend or a coworker, and to think like, did our relationship just win or did our relationship lose? Did we take a couple steps back because of this conflict? Because a conflict is an opportunity where your relationship can grow. And we see that a lot. We see that usually it’s through conflict that relationships just really flourish. It’s an opportunity for growth. And so during your disagreement, was that a chance where you guys got closer together? You’re more intimate now as friends or family or as partners, or are you guys more separated due to this?
Dr. Esther Yi:So what are some benefits of quality relationships? Psychologically, we find that it fosters wellbeing. It increases your self-esteem and it reduces your risk of depression. Now think, do your friendships do this for you? Because we find in research that these are some of the benefits of healthy relationships. Also, asking, are you the type of person that helps foster these things? Do you help foster wellbeing in another person? Do you help increase self-esteem in another person? Do you help reduce the risk of depression because of the type of friend you are?
Dr. Esther Yi:Being a friend is no small feat. It is a huge thing, and it can make a huge difference in a person’s life. We find that there’s a positive association between social support, community engagement, and mental health recovery. This is why when somebody is going through a difficult thing related to mental health, maybe it’s anxiety or depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, family issues, whatever it may be, we find that there’s a positive association. So when you have healthy, good social support, you tend to recover better. When you are involved in your community, you tend to recover better. So remember the next time where you think it’s not a big deal if I don’t show up to something, “Oh, I don’t really need to call them. They don’t really need me.” Actually, we find that people tend to recover, they heal because of the social support of other people. That means your relationships have the power to heal. You have the ability to help heal another person. Wow! I hope that you’re taking that platform and utilizing it for good
Dr. Esther Yi:Other benefits of social support. It helps you cope with stress. So if you’re feeling stressed right now, find good social support. It allows for people to embrace opportunities of growth. When you have good, healthy, social support. When you talk with somebody, they’re the ones who encourage you to embrace opportunities for growth. They’re the ones who are like, “Yeah, you should apply for that job. Yes, let me help you put your resume together. I will network with you. I will… Yeah, I will call them for you and set you up so there’s a connection there. And so that they know that you are a reliable person.” Those are the types of friends who encourage you to have growth, rather than have you had a friend who is like, “No, you shouldn’t do that. You’ll never get that job. That’s not good for you. You should just stay here where you’re comfortable. Why are you trying to grow? Why are you trying to change things?”
Dr. Esther Yi:And so think about the benefits of a good social support, because this might be a really good way for you to figure out whether or not they’re a good social support for you or not. It helps you in terms of your health and wellbeing, and I’ll talk about this in a couple later slides. I want to talk about adversity. We all know that suffering is going to come. I’m sure many of us are experiencing some type of suffering right now, or we feel like it. We’re going to face suffering at some point of our life. It’s not a matter of if we’re going to suffer. It’s more of a matter of when we’re going to suffer.
Dr. Esther Yi:So then to consider when you’re going through difficult times, a good social support, they’re a safe haven for you. They’re the people that you go to and they provide comfort. They reassure you. They offer you practical support. You feel comforted and relaxed and rested when you go to them when you’re going through a hard time. When you are in a calm place in your life, they’re the relationships where they provide a secure base. They provide you with the emotional support so that you can explore the other things that maybe you’ve never done before. They’re the ones who encourage you to be brave and to be curious about things. Having that social support allows you to accept your life opportunities. They are the ones to encourage you and provide a space so that you can progress towards your goals. They want to support you in your goals.
Dr. Esther Yi:And for those that are going through recovery. And so what I mean by recovery is like drug and alcohol counseling. I find it super, super important that you have some type of support system there. And we know that in research, it tells us time and time again. So that also means for those that are not in a life of recovery, if you know somebody that has previously struggled with drug and alcohol, the presence of a social support is incredibly important. And it would be almost to the point where I would say they may not succeed without you guys. And so remember that, remember the next time you know that somebody’s struggling with these things and show up. Show up for your people.
Dr. Esther Yi:When people who have a social support, when people who are there to support their progress, they’re more realistic about their expectations and it promotes a higher perception like, “Yes, I can do this. Yes, I can recover from these things.” Also, we find that having a meaningful job is incredibly important for higher recovery. It’s not just about having a job. It’s about finding meaning in the job that you are doing. So yes, it is important for somebody who’s going through recovery to find a job that they find meaning in.
Dr. Esther Yi:Close social relationships and health. We find that it reduces your risk for infectious illnesses. So I’m talking more about your physical health here. It reduces your risk for cardiovascular, and it helps promote better physical health. There’s so many more, and I just wanted to briefly cover and to know that social relationships aren’t just good for your emotional health or your psychological health, but they’re also good for your physical health. There was a super famous, I think the surgeon general, the previous U.S. surgeon general had talked a lot about loneliness and how it basically cuts into a person’s life. And I believe there’s a study out there that found that it’s as if you smoked 15 cigarettes a day. That’s how much being lonely will cut into your life. You’ll live a shorter life. Now, imagine then what are the incredible benefits to your health when you have a social support.
Dr. Esther Yi:Be the type of friend that your presence helps manage life obstacles. So there was a study done and they had people take a look at like the steep hill, and you’re supposed to talk about and share whether or not how steep it is and whether or not you conquer the steep hill. When there was a presence of a friend next to them, they saw that obstacle as much more manageable by having the presence of a social support. It even worked when a person would imagine, when they’re not there, they would just imagine that supportive person. That’s the difference a supportive person can make. When there’s life obstacles, the presence of you makes them feel that they can face anything.
Dr. Esther Yi:So what does it mean to be in a quality relationship? How do you do that? The question I want you to ask yourself first is, are you living your life from a place of wounds or health? And I want to go back to the very beginning of our slides when we were talking about your relationship with your family. When you were growing up, did you have a lot of wounds? Were they there for you? Did they love you unconditionally, or did you see yourself more as a burden? Did you see yourself as more of, I need to perform at a certain level? Maybe you’re neglected, maybe you don’t have good parents, maybe you had to move around a lot for whatever reason. Think about that. Think about what your childhood was like, because we find that people, their relationship in their childhood impacts the relationship in adulthood.
Dr. Esther Yi:Now, that doesn’t mean that if you had an unhealthy attachment as a child that every single one of your relationships now as in the future will be unhealthy. But we do find that there is an association there. And oftentimes when people are wounded, they will act out of their wounds, if they don’t address their wounds. And so you may think I’m fine now as an adult, and it’s no big deal, but I am so mad about my child, I’m hurt from that. I would say it probably impacts you a lot more than you hope it did. The next time you get angry, the next time you get hurt, you may be able to tie it back to a time in your life where you were also hurt. So consider that.
Dr. Esther Yi:When you’re making friends, quality friendships, you want to be in a place of health. So when I provide drug and alcohol counseling with my different clients, one of the things that I notice is that when that person I’m working with starts to get healthier, their relationship problems also sometimes start to increase. Why? Because they started to get healthy, but their partner is staying the same. And so now all of a sudden this person who’s getting healthy is now seeing maybe how unhealthy the person that they were dating are. When you’re unhealthy, sometimes you’re not able to see health, you’re not able to see the red flags in a person. Have you met somebody who dates a person, a person, a person, then you’re like, the relationship doesn’t work out and you see a common pattern, and the pattern is them? And they didn’t work through those things. And so they’re trying to work out some of their childhood issues by dating the same or very different people. And so being a part of a quality relationship means you got to work on yourself. You got to work on your own health.
Dr. Esther Yi:One of the ways that you can do this by is by considering, are you the type of person who reacts to situations, or are you the type of person that responds to situations? So if you’re reacting, you’re quick to anger. You see one dimensional in this situation. It’s just about what you think, not about what the other… Your way is the right way. You may even jump to conclusions. “Well, I knew that they were doing that. I knew that was going to happen.” This might be your reaction to something.
Dr. Esther Yi:When you’re responding, you’re slow to speak. You consider many different pathways. So it’s multi-dimensional. You don’t just see things in one sphere or one way. You respond to the situation out of curiosity, “I wonder, I wonder why that happened, why that happened this way.” You might be curious and you might think, “Oh, well, maybe they’re just having a bad day.” Rather than somebody who’s reacting to them, “I think it’s because they don’t like me. They hate me. It’s all my fault.” And so consider for yourself, are you the type of person in your patterns, do you react or do you respond?
Dr. Esther Yi:We found a study that said how you regulate your emotions, impacts your relationships, your wellbeing, and your stress. Your ability to regulate your emotions, it will impact your relationships. So before you jump into a friendship or a marriage or anything like that, I want you to think about, well, how do you regulate your emotions? How do you do it? For each person, it’s a little bit different. What do you do when you had a super emotional day? What do you do every day to regulate your emotions? Because every day you experience different types of feelings. What do you do with them? Do you ignore them? Do you identify them? Do you hope that they disappear? Do you try to avoid them? Think about what you practically do to regulate your emotions.
Dr. Esther Yi:In children, we find lots of parents who want to know how to have children who are really good at social functioning, who are good at making friends, who are good at making good decisions when it comes to other people or children. One of the best ways that you can do this is to help your child emotionally regulate, help your child identify their emotions, talk about the feeling. Because the children who know how to do this, they have a higher quality of social functioning among children.
Dr. Esther Yi:Some things about emotional regulation. Like I said before, it’s associated with higher quality of social functioning. In college students, we found there’s a positive relationship, less conflict and antagonism with their close friend. So when you are able to regulate your emotions, you tend to have more positive relationships. You are also more likely to have greater companionship, affection, and have support with your parents. When you are able to highly emotionally regulate, you’re tend, to be viewed by your peers more favorably. People like you more when you’re able to regulate your emotions. Have you ever met somebody who is really bad at it and like, they have an anger problem? Most people don’t like that. Most people don’t like them. There is a reason for that. It impacts their relationship and their ability to have social support with other people.
Dr. Esther Yi:Even in sibling relationships, they find that when siblings are able to emotionally regulate, it’s linked to healthier sibling relationships. You want to know how you can get your kids to get along? Teach them how to emotionally regulate. So ask yourself, how can a person regulate their emotions? Think about what you can do, think about what they can do, think about what you can teach, think about what you can model.
Dr. Esther Yi:I want to put this out there because I know that not everybody is an awesome person to be a friend with, and we recognize that. Not everybody is in a healthy place in their life. It’s probably temporary, but sometimes we know that there are some people we want to be friends with, and there’s some people who we don’t want to be friends with. And sometimes the question that I get asked is, how do I decide? How do I know whether or not I want to be friends with them or not? Well, one of the things that I recommend doing is kind of testing them and seeing whether or not they’re a person that you can trust. So I want you to share a little bit about maybe your situation and what you’re going through or a little bit about yourself and who you are and notice and think about how did they just respond?
Dr. Esther Yi:Share a little bit about yourself and then notice, how did they respond? Did they listen? Were they empathetic? Did they get mad? Did they change the situation, they made it about themself? And now, you’re like, “I’m not even talking about me now. I’m talking about you.” I want you to consider how did they respond, because now you can make the decision. Based on the little that you shared, how did they respond? And now moving forward, do you want to tell them more, or do you want to tell them less? If you want to tell them more, then I’m thinking that there was something about how they responded that show that they can be maybe a trustworthy person for you. That’s a good thing. Or maybe they responded in a way and you’re like, “I don’t know if I like that.” I don’t know if that’s the type of person or that’s the type of social support you want in your life, and that’s okay.
Dr. Esther Yi:I also want you to remember that again, there’s different types of relationships and there’s different time periods of relationships. So maybe in a childhood, you remember this type of friend and maybe even feel guilty like, “We’re not super close anymore.” And that’s okay, because each relationship is different and it helps build you who to who you are today. So some relationships are there to plant seeds in your heart. Some relationships are there to water you, to help you grow, or some relationships are there to help pull the weeds out to point some of your flaws out and you’re willing and dare to accept some of that feedback. Some relationships are there to help bear fruit and enjoy the fruit of all the hard labor that was there for all the friendships that came before them. So to consider each relationship has a purpose in your life.
Dr. Esther Yi:Now, not all support is created equally. And so I find that this is incredibly important because when there’s invisible and visible support. So when I talk about invisible support, this is when you are providing support and you’re not drawing attention to yourself. It’s not all about you. Okay? You’re providing support and it’s still all about them. Sometimes people don’t even realize that you’re supporting them. They don’t even realize that you’re helping them. They’re just like, “Wow!” One of the ways that this looks like is when you model things, when you model what things are supposed to look like. Visible support is when people know that you’re helping them. There’s limited times where visible support is effective. It’s effective when somebody is highly distressed, highly, highly distressed and you’re helping them. I’m thinking when they’re hurt, maybe when somebody died, whatever that distress in that person looks like because it is effective when it motivates them to take action. That’s when visible support is beneficial.
Dr. Esther Yi:Invisible support reminds me of somebody who is humble, that they don’t need the attention to be able to support you and to love on you, and they’re going to be there for you no matter what, and it’s not all about you. So the next time you’re helping somebody and you start to share more about your life than their life, you might want to consider, “Man, am I doing this for my own ego, or am I really there to help support them in their life experiences, what they’re going through?”
Dr. Esther Yi:This is just a quick illustration that I found from a text. Visible support, this is what it looks like. It says, “My advice to you is try your best to hang in there. It will be okay.” They’re telling the other person what to do. “Hey, try your best. Hang in there.” It sounds great. Invisible support is my sister went through something similar and tried her best to hang in there. It turned out okay. They’re not telling them what to do. They’re just sharing an experience of what happened and they’re able to draw their own conclusions. And so when I think about this, I think about Jesus and why he used so many parables, and I think he was fantastic at being an invisible support for so many people and to us. Now, you’re able to draw from the parables and to learn from what he’s sharing.
Dr. Esther Yi:Other ways to be in a healthy relationship or a responsive relationship. You want to make sure that you are understanding, that you are validating them. “Yes, I hear you. I see you. You’re not crazy for thinking those things or feeling those things. And it’s also showing that you just care. I care about you. I care about you. No matter what I’m here and I care about you.” So you’re responding. It’s not a one way relationship. It’s two ways, because we know it takes two people for a successful relationship to take place. If you feel like you’re doing all the work, and you’re like, I’m by myself in this relationship, I’d reconsider really the state of your relationship and how healthy it is.
Dr. Esther Yi:Again, just a reminder that we are created to be in a relationship. Sometimes it’s easy to think when things are hard, “I’m going to isolate myself. I don’t even need them. I don’t need people. I’m great on my own. I can be super independent.” But we know that we find that can be really hurtful to you as a person. So remember the next time that, that thought is tempting to you and to think, okay, well, how can I be somebody who can be in a healthy relationship for somebody else? How can I be a person of support for them? And how can I also receive support? Because again, it’s that two way street.
Dr. Esther Yi:So thank you guys so much for joining online today and talking about healthy relationships or quality relationships. I want to open up this time for people to be able to ask questions. And I just left some of my contact information there. And for next week’s topic, you can always check out para.kaleo on Instagram to find the next new topic and the Zoom link. I am going to close the meeting for tonight and close the recording for it, and I’ll leave this time for people to open up and ask some questions.
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