When we think of February, it’s possible that Saint Bridget’s Day heralding in the spring and Valentine’s Day, known rightly or wrongly as the day of love come to mind. For me, personally, I begin to reflect on my connections and relationships. My family, partner, friendships, work connections, my heart to my mind and my connection to the world in general. All of which are very important to me. These connections are my survival tools for life.
Meaningful connections or relationships with others serves, supports and meets our emotional needs. Engaging with friends and family helps to lower our anxiety, helps us to feel less depressed and allows us to develop different and possibly more positive ways of thinking or ways through difficult experiences. These relationships can assist us to navigate our lives. Imagine a child growing up without any meaningful relationships; what would they have missed? Empathy is another important social skill developed though our connections with others and in turn helps us to understand the world around us. Forging healthy relationships may also improve our self-esteem and can strengthen our immune system. The list is endless.
One of the most important of relationships to have of course is with oneself. This for me was a simple concept however a bit more difficult to put into practice. What exactly is ‘self-care’ or a ‘good relationship’ with myself? I mull over these questions from time to time and recreate the meaning behind each the more I reflect on them, or depending on my current situation.
I did however discover ‘Hygge’, and for me, it serves as my self-care. Hygge will be familiar to some. It is (and I’m quoting here) ‘Pronounced “hoo-ga”, this Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word, but encompasses a feeling of cosy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life’. Creating a space to be with yourself, meditating, enjoying a coffee, reading, writing a few words or chatting with friends. These days while I have to do that on the phone, I have developed some acceptance around this. Essentially, I am taking some space to recharge my energy. A new chapter, spring is on the way!
Consider this; it was such a short time ago, in fleeting moments, we may all have been temporarily mindful of being busy and thinking that ‘oh, I must contact this friend and that family member’, or feeling that we did not have the time or the energy to attend an event such as a school reunion, or spend a weekend away with old friends or family.
My father, who never takes people or his connections for granted, captured these moments in his poem below. His philosophy has never wavered and says that in simpler times they were very busy too, but understood the value of those that they know/knew and love. He laments a time that people relied on their relationships.
Thoughts by my father, Joe Murphy
It’s easy to forget
and yet we should remember
The friends in life we met
who often stopped to render
a helping hand, a kindly word and yet
we now find so easy to forget
As our road of life start to unwind
It’s hard to think the friends we left behind
No longer have a part to play
In this busy world of ours today
We should stand back and take the time
Before life’s clock it stops to chime
For those friends who helped us so much
Don’t wait too long to get in touch
Shame we do not find the time to spare
To trace those friends of yester year
The ones in life we met
Who often stopped to render
That helping hand
That kindly work and yet
We have for far too long, chosen to forget
We are all familiar with the saying about our friends, ‘no matter what the distance or time that has passed, true friendships always last’. This, for me is such a true saying. However, maybe today enough time has passed and it’s time to reach out to those friends, or to take some space today to remember those we have lost and allow ourselves to feel again the connection that once was.
For those who have lost family and friends, my personal thoughts are; that while death may be final, the relationship never ends.