Whether you are in an established relationship, wanting to start one, or early on in one, in these last several months with the pandemic, we have all been impacted and have had to adjust, adapt, negotiate, re-negotiate or even end our connections. Human nature thrives on social contact. Even if you may be an introvert, you still need that soul-feeding emotional bond with other human beings, maybe not too many, but still. Sometimes it is a family connection; other times it is a friend or a romantic partner. In the words of the 17th century English poet, John Donne, “no man is an island”. I will excuse his paternalistic verbiage and restate it as “no person is an island.” The essence of the quote also refers to everyone’s interconnectedness to God but let’s also put religion aside.
Housing issues have influenced the core of our relationships. For those who live alone, the joy of socializing with others over a lunch or dinner, meets obstacles not only in the availability of venues, but also in the effects of social distancing. When was the last time you gave a hug to a friend? For those who in fact live with others, that physical contact is not lacking, but then, there is the possibility of too much togetherness. For those who come in contact with others for work, the anxiety of bringing infection home creates the need to practice other behaviors which previously we never gave a thought to.
But let’s look at all this with a positive attitude. Maybe we all needed to re-evaluate how our lives are going. Maybe this is an opportunity to organize the closets, to clear out expired jars or cans from the pantry and in the same manner, to take stock of those who are important to us, those who make our lives richer and joyful. So perhaps we need to acknowledge our love and even gratitude to those people. I’ve heard some say that they should not have to repeat their commitment and love to their friends or partners. YES, you do! Just because you told them once does not mean it holds forever. For heaven’s sake, we have to renew permits and licenses, don’t we?
At the other end, there may be connections you find not needed in your life – angry and bitter people, those who seem to totally self-absorbed, or those who just want to take and not give back. It may be time to re-examine those and make a choice as to whether you want them taking up space in your bandwidth.
For those who have lost loved ones to this virus, it is time to grieve, and for us who have not, to support them in any way we can. For others, let’s all take this time to improve our lives, to contribute to others and appreciate, what can seem to be a period of restrictions and diminished circumstances.
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” ~~ Michael Jordan
Photo Credit: Belinda Fewlings – unsplash.com
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.
Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577