Welcome to part 4 of my balanced living series. In previous posts, I went over honoring our Earth aspect, Fire aspect, and Water aspect. In this post, we’re going to go over our air aspect, which is our social self. For me, I think of this as our relationships, and our connection to others.
Humans are social creatures. As an introvert, I’m sure I just made a few people shake their heads, saying “Not me!’. But in truth, we are rarely alone, not completely. Balanced humans have relationships, both within the family unit (which may or may not be a blood family) and outside of it- this could be work, school, friends, spiritual and religious community, and even your internet communities.
Believe it or not there are a lot of benefits to social interaction. A healthy social life improves your mental health. It can ease your mood, leaving you feeling happier. How many times have you gotten together with your closest friends, and laughed the hardest you laughed after a difficult week? Being with friends and loved ones increases your sense of belonging, security and leaves you feeling safer- not just physically, but mentally. That feeling of having others who “have your back”, as well as accepting you for who you are. This is something that happens with healthy relationships and social groups. If your loved ones and friends aren’t leaving you feeling like this, perhaps they are not the type of people you need in your life.
Social interaction is also good for your health. Studies have shown that being social helps lower your risk of dementia. This is particularly seen in our older generations, but it certainly helps to build that closeness and interaction at an early age. Studies have also shown that close family ties encourage happiness and life satisfaction. The ability to confide in others, and let them confide in you helps with stress management, and lightening the burdens of work and life problems.
For some people, honoring your air aspect is going to be really easy. It might be the one aspect you truly don’t struggle with if you have healthy relationships, both on the intimate level and on the platonic level (and some people enjoy platonic intimate relationships.) Perhaps you have a good work group, or a strong spiritual community as well. Some people enjoy “girl’s night” and “guy’s night” or “happy hour” with friends and coworkers. Many people are natural born social butterflies.
But not everyone is, nor do they have that sort of social life, and that’s ok. Your focus might be having a handful of close knit friends, and family. This could be a devoted partner, or a best friend or two. Honestly, numbers don’t matter, and I think most people would tell you quality over quantity. Having someone in your life that you can trust, confide in, and share life’s moments with is important.
Some might not agree with me, but online relationships can be valid. They are more work, I think, because you have to build more trust, but I don’t dismiss them when someone tells me that the majority of their friendships are from an online community. My own best friend was someone I met online. I have friends who met their partners in gaming communities. After Covid19, it’s harder to dismiss the online environment- I think for many people, that platform is what kept them feeling connected. It wasn’t easy, particularly for anyone not used to such a platform, but it made the isolation easier because you weren’t completely alone.
Another important aspect to all of this is the health of your relationships and social groups. Do not accept toxic relationships and communities. Find and create healthy ones based on trust, and equality. Avoid the energy vampires, the narcissists, and of course, abusers. And if those things are in your life, consider that it’s time to cut them off. You deserve better.
And the truth is that all relationships, intimate or friendship, and even work relationships take work and effort. At any given moment, the energy put in might not match the effort being received- and this is ok as long as you look at the relationship as a whole and feel satisfied. We live in a me-centered society however, and I’ve talked to many people who have that friend, the one that they like in some way, but detest in another because that person seems to take more than give. So don’t feel afraid to put the work into a friendship, but also don’t feel bad if you need to walk away from a one-sided one.
Balancing our air aspect is probably the easiest. It doesn’t take much, and as always, the simplest acts can make a difference. Some ideas include:
Go to lunch with a friend
Date night with your partner
Attend a retreat
Plan a retreat with your friends
Book study group
Attend a class with a friend- painting, jewelry making, crafting is fun together!
Talk to your partner
Talk to your best friend
Throw a small get together
Throw a large get together
Attend a gathering in your spiritual community
Walk away from a toxic friendship
Play a video game, board game, cards or RP with a friend (or two, three or more!)
Celebrate the seasons with others
Walk groups, or even exercise dates
Reach out to those around you
For a lot of people, I think honoring our air aspect is easy, and for others, not so much. Whether it be because you’re shy, or you’ve been hurt by others, or you simply can’t find people that you resonate with, being social can be hard. But finding a connection is worth the effort, and it can be something simple that keeps you feeling connected. Feeling connected helps keep us mentally and emotionally steady, happier and even provides physical benefits! So go out there, and be a little social. (*Safely please! Covid19 is still a thing. Friends don’t let friends get infected!)
Stay tuned for part 5, coming soon!
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