Relationships, Health & Healing-Healing Our Community and Today’s Youth

Relationships are essential for our life from infancy to adulthood. When we are infants our relationship and the time spent with our primary caregiver builds our foundation for love and sense of trust for others and the world. As we grow older, connections are necessary for our well-being. However, the importance of relationships often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of life.

In early life, infants need to be able to be close to their mothers and have their mothers continually respond to their needs. If the mother is continuously responsive to the baby and remains around the baby when the baby is in fear the baby grows up and learns to trust the world and has a healthy approach to relationships when they find themselves in adult relationships or marriage. However, if the caregiving is inconsistent, the baby grows up to be fearful of the world and will have difficulties in their relationships in adulthood. The research shows that the parenting that a baby receives will also impact how the baby responds to stress in adulthood. There is substantial evidence that if the child has a close relationship with just one adult and less long-term separations from the primary caregiver in the early years of their life this can protect the child for 30 years. Thus, just as financial stability is vital to a child’s life so is time spent with one’s parent in early life. Also, the father figure is just as prominent. There is an association between having more significant interaction with the father in childhood and higher intelligence, and a better ability for the individual to deal with frustrations. A higher level of interaction with fathers in childhood could result in less impulsive behavior and less violence.

When there is a lack of connection with others, there is often loneliness. Persons may feel lonely for many reasons. In some cases, immigration to a country where there are a few social supports available may lead to isolation. In other instances, negative and traumatic life events experienced by individuals may lead persons to pull away from all relationships and turn towards wanting to escape through the use of drugs or other means. Disconnection from human relationships is related to the epidemic of addictions. Families characterized by the formula or don’t talk (secrecy in the family) & don’t feel will often be vulnerable to addictions. Thus, youth may begin to feel alone if they can not talk about their feelings and critical issues that they or their family face at home.

Loneliness often takes a significant toll on mental health and is a risk factor for depression. Moreover, paranoia has some linkage with loneliness. Often, individuals experience a substantial reduction in their paranoid beliefs when their level of isolation diminished. Making a person feel that someone is still thinking of them, would make them believe that they are not entirely alone.

Thus, when responding to the issues faced by today’s youth relationships are the correct place to start. The path for healing the South Asian community is the same with all other communities; change can only come with healing past emotional wounds and then forming healthy and positive relationships that encourage talking about emotions, feelings, and things that matter.