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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    Social Scars: Healing Human Relationships

    We are born with a fundamental need for social interaction. Our relationships with other people and the way we interact with them shape who we are and the ways we respond to the world. But often those same relationships can cause pain, creating deep-rooted scars that can last a lifetime. Nearly all psychological problems are rooted in the context of relationships and our desire to connect with others. If these relationships cannot withstand the pain life throws at us and eventually crack, it is essential to know how to mend and heal these human connections.

    Troubled relationships are as ancient as the human race. We hurt one another without even realising it. We may not say the right things, or act in ways that suit those around us. We may struggle to show our vulnerability when we need to, leading us to bottle up our emotions and try to take on more than we can in order to protect ourselves. As time passes, these problems can build up and weigh us down until it feels as though our connections have shattered irreparably.

    The healing process must begin with communication. We must learn to talk to each other instead of deflecting or ignoring our feelings. It takes courage to admit we're not perfect and that our relationships can suffer from it. We must make an effort to reach out, where possible, and not shy away from admitting we need help. Once we have ripped away the mask of stoic perfection, we can start to identify the source of our pain and make steps to understand that person and situation better.

    We must also learn to create boundaries. Even though it can be hard to let go, one of the best ways to heal is to give ourselves space. Taking small moments here and there to remove ourselves from the situation can provide the clarity of mind required to process complex emotions and behaviours. This emotional distance gives us space to identify problematic patterns and helps us to focus our energies onto actionable steps forward.

    It is also important to remember that forgiveness is vital to the healing process. We cannot change the past, but we can look towards the future and how we can heal our connections. Focusing on the healing of individual trauma can enable us to be more compassionate with ourselves and with others. People have a tendency to sabotage themselves with imagined consequences, but as long as we can learn from our mistakes, forgive ourselves, and move towards understanding, we can break through the pain and set ourselves free.

    Resilience is another critical aspect of mending broken connections. As humans, we can use setbacks as sources of inspiration, strength and growth. We can empower ourselves and the relationships around us by leaning into the core values that we believe in and exercise understanding along the way. This won't guarantee a perfect connection, but it can help us to rebuild what we have lost and use it as a catalyst for further emotional and relational growth.

    By taking an active part in the process of repairing broken connections, we can map out a path to a brighter tomorrow. Perhaps this involves seeking professional advice or support, or practising mindfulness and compassion. Whatever it looks like, healing hurts, learning to handle conflict and different perspectives are essential skills to build a healthier and fulfilling life. Innocent wounds can quickly become entrenched and do deep-seated damage, but by recognizing them early and addressing them with care, we can learn how to foster strong and healthy relationships.

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