It takes receiving love from healthy relationships to be able to offer love in a healthy way. Without proper modeling of unconditional love from the earliest family relationships, it can be hard to understand a loving God or extend unconditional love to ourselves and others. People can feel trapped by feelings of being unloved. Even for those who grew up with love, living in this modern world with all the negativity and cruelty can make it hard to understand a loving God who holds us and is actively working in the world. That’s why we need the loving support of people in our lives to model love for us. Having confidence that we are loved as the unique individuals we are, in spite of what we do or our accomplishments, provides hope that all will be well. Relationships invigorate and strengthen us.
Ideally, we have families to offer us love and support. Ideally, our families understand us and respect us for who we are, but of course, this often is not the case. Some people dread holiday get-togethers because their family gatherings are fraught with discord. Throughout human history, families were supported by their communities and there were communal practices and support systems to help those who were lacking. In our modern world, we have to be intentional about connecting to communities of support. Most of us don’t live in those little villages any more. The good news is that we can choose our people. On the other hand, supportive communities and potential loving relationships don’t just fall in our laps. Relationships have to be cultivated, and we can choose to cultivate the kind of support that is loving and accepts us for the totality of who we are.
When we go through difficulties and we question, sometimes feeling abandoned by our source of loving goodness, we can access this goodness and God’s love through our supportive communities and relationships. There are moments in life where we become aware that we are in unsupportive communities. These are pivotal moments and require strength and resilience to move forward. God often shows up in these moments in the form of a person to guide us. Understanding this connection between the relational and the divine, connecting deeply to something greater than ourselves, can help us become more attuned to the relationships we need.
Created for Community (Part 1): How We Moved Away From our Village
Humans thrive within community, but our modern age encourages poor relational habits. Think about the nature of your relationships with the help of the practice in this post.
Created for Community (Part 2): The Human Connection in Healthy Spirituality
What does healthy spirituality have to do with our relationships? While our capacity for spirituality is hard-wired, our spirituality is in fact mostly developed relationally. We learn our beliefs and practices from others.
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