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Step 3: Love & Support

Humans are and have always been, social creatures. It's ingrained deep in our DNA, and regardless of how hard we try, we can never really change that. 

If you think back to the very beginnings of our existence, having a group/family/clan/tribe was a very important factor for survival. Everyone would be designated different responsibilities, and at the end of the day, everyone would combine the resources they acquired for their survival. This kept them relatively safe against many harsh elements and made it easier for them to live.

Aside from the literal resources they were able to acquire as a group, they also provided a different kind of resource that's not as obvious; love. 

Love comes in all shapes and forms, but one of the biggest things it does is provide hope, which is one of the main requirements for survival. And in addition to the emotional resource it provides, there's also a neurological benefit from love. Love (especially through touch) can increase our brains' oxytocin levels, which regulate our emotional and social behaviors.

Group of friends standing on a mountain
Consider past relationships

Think back on relationships that you loved and cherished, ones that made you feel loved and cherished as well. Even if it has been many years, try reaching out to the people that provided those healthy relationships. Tell them you'd love to reconnect and ask if they would be open to that as well. Even if you just catch up with them once, that interaction can be very impactful and replenish some of your spoons. 
Cultivate your current relationships

Look at your current relationships and find ways to enhance them. Find ways to meet with the people involved and do something that you might all enjoy on a regular basis. Activities are an easy way to continue interacting with friends. 

Make sure to show up in these relationships equally, meeting halfway and compromising on things. By this, I mainly mean if one of your friends is a big fan of something and would enjoy doing that with you, give it a shot if it's something you can handle. You'll want to also present that as an option for your friends to meet you with as well.

It's also important that you examine which of your current relationships are unhealthy and cut those out. Unhealthy relationships can present in many forms, but the easiest way to figure out if you have an unhealthy relationship is to see how those relationships make you feel. If you feel any negative emotions (sad, angry, uncomfortable, etc.) after interactions regularly, then you should probably end that toxic relationship.
Look for future relationships

Making new relationships can be a great way to find love and support. Sometimes finding new people that align with your interests and beliefs can be difficult, but it's important to try. There's a chance you'll find wonderful people that will enrich your life. Try joining online groups for activities you like. Websites like Meetup can help you do that easily. Your town's SubReddit can also provide new people to meet with.

Whenever you meet new people online make sure to let someone know where you're going and make sure you're meeting people in a group for safety reasons.

Support groups are an easy way to meet people as well. Consider googling support groups in your area for anything you need support with. Organizations like NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) or SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) can help you search for support groups as well.

  • Reach out to old friends and try reconnecting with them.
  • Strengthen your current relationships by meeting up more often and doing fun things together.
  • Cut out all toxic relationships.
  • Consider joining online groups to meet new people and make new friends.
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