We all want relationships, until we have them…

A sense of belonging is an innate human need. Research shows that when a person has a small group of healthy, loving and reciprocal relationships, we live longer — we experience greater mental, physical and emotional health.

I too yearned for my tribe, a connection with those that ‘get me’ on a deep level. And I am so blessed to have found them.

For a moment though, let’s be real about how much energy it takes to nurture those relationships.

I self-identify as an empath — someone who has a direct experience of other people’s emotions or physical pain. When one of my tribe is hurting, it has been the challenge of my life to not take on the hurt along with them. To allow their journey to unfold while holding space for healing and growth. Knowing the difference between what is mine and what is others.

I practice this every day.

Loving support is the most valuable gift I have ever received. With that also comes pressure, especially in this age of digital gratification. Pressure to communicate instantly, pressure to spend time, pressure to give support in return.

My first thought when invited out in the world is always ‘how much energy I will have to expend’? Once I go, I am usually happy I did, but:

Relationship pressure is real and it takes a toll on each one of us.

When it was just my small family and a couple of friends, the pressure was manageable. Now that I oversee a large Meetup community and in the launch stage for my coaching business, the relationship pressure is growing…

People are inspired by my vision that one day we will live in a world that honors a sensitive way of being. I believe to achieve this, highly sensitive people must first learn to honor ourselves.

Which means that every day, I receive new FB friend requests, emails about collaboration, new members wanting to join the Meetup community. Please do not misunderstand, this is a tremendous gift. Being in alignment with my life purpose has brought an deep inner peace and connection with many like-minded souls who are also doing transformative work.

Yet, as a person who needs a lot of alone time to recharge, I am definitely in the readjustment period. How do I incorporate these new relationships and still nurture my cherished loved ones? How do I find time for my own self care? What might I have to say no to, just to maintain my sanity?

So, I decided to define my own relationship criteria:

Healthy — willing to overcome the fear of direct communication when something is not working. Giving and receiving difficult but respectful feedback so the relationship can grow. Or, so you can both decide if it is the right fit.

Loving — accepting someone exactly as they are with no need or attempt to change them. Understanding that we all have great days and other days that kick our ass; allowing for that with no judgement. Holding space for each other’s highest good, allowing each person to define that for themselves.

Reciprocal — acknowledging that relationships are both rewarding and draining. Asking for help when you have a pressing need for support. Sensing when you need to put aside your lesser issue to be present for someone else. Accepting that relationships have a rhythm, sometimes very connected — other times life comes up. No apologies needed, agreeing to simply pick back up right where you left off.

I would like to know how relationship pressure has impacted your life or your decision to expand your tribe? I invite you to authentically share and be supported…