Insights: Emergency Room Musings on Relationships

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After a visit to the emergency room last weekend and having a kidney stone, it was a quick reminder of the importance of living life to its fullest and the significance of our relationships.

It was having people around me that I cared about that helped me manage my pain. They made me feel better at the end of the day as they stayed with me through the process, rubbing my back and giving encouraging words. As Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.” I truly believe that showing others that we care makes our life have more meaning.

My ER visit reminded me that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. It is easy to get caught up in the small things that have little meaning in life in the long un. It is so easy to neglect, forget, or make relationships a low priority. Instead, money, chores or other such things as television or alcohol take precedence. This keeps life limited.

I remember a study that had people being told some bad news. The group that was alone showed the most negative symptoms of raised heart rate, increased perspiration, and increased anxiety. People who had a stranger with them showed similar symptoms but not as strong, while the group of people who had a friend or loved one with them had very few symptoms.

Healthy relationships improve our immune system, boast our happiness, increase our longevity, and enable us to cope with challenges in our life, just to name a few positives.

So why are relationships so difficult to hold. There are so many reasons and more than I have space for in this short article. Here is my condensed version:

  1. Relationships require that we think beyond just our own needs. This leaves us vulnerable and we could get hurt, as it is a risk. A quote from Oscar Wilde says it all, “The very essence of love is uncertainty.”
  2. We do not always communicate the same way and often misunderstand each other being left with hurt feelings.
  3. We live in a society that overly stresses independence. While inter-dependence is what makes a healthy relationship, we view dependence as a negative word, which is not true. Dependence is part of being human; we depend on a lot of things and people, and that is okay.
  4. We have experienced pain in a relationship growing up or dating and so we protect ourselves to not get hurt again. No one likes to get hurt, but being alone is not the solution either. Loneliness is one of the most difficult emotions we feel and one that is more prevalent than we realize.

Relationships take investment in energy, time, and our heart. The reward is invaluable.  We tend to invest more energy in taking care of our cars. My recommendation is to take time everyday to invest in your relationships. Let go of the ones that do not work. Take that time to build the ones that do work.

To invest in healthy relationships it means to see, hear and understand the other person.  This is more important than anything else.

Flavia Weedn once wrote, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” – Flavia Weedn.

Here are some great books to help with those great relationships.

“The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.

“The Seven Levels of Intimacy” by Matthew Kelly.

“Getting the Love you Want” by Harville Hendrix.

“How to be an Adult in Relationships” by David Richo.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at [email protected] or

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