The Relationship Diet 
 
We all know that part of staying physically healthy involves eating a well-balanced diet.  But too often we forget to apply that same principle when it comes to our mental and emotional health. Just like the vitamins and minerals that nourish our physical bodies, the people that we spend time with are the nutrition sources of our mental and emotional well being. So let me ask you, what does your relationship diet look like?
 
In my book, Moving Forward, I write about the three types of relationships:
 
Type I: Receiving Relationships

  • Relationships in which we mostly receive from others.
  • Provides the support we need to accomplish our goals.
  • ex. Parents, Teachers, Service Providers


Type II: Mutual Relationships  

  • Relationships in which we give and receive from others.
  • Provides the support we need and the opportunity to be supportive.
  • ex. Friends, Romantic Partners, Roommates, Co-Workers


Type III: Giving Relationships

  • Relationships in which we mostly give to others.
  • Provides the opportunity to support others as they accomplish their goals
  • ex. Student, Child, Customer


For optimal mental and emotional health you should have all three relationship types in your life, because each type has its own positive benefits. Also, you want to avoid being out of balance in your relationships, because this can lead to all sorts of mental and emotional complications. For example, if you only have receiving relationships and no giving ones, you could be missing out on the rewards that come from helping others. Or, if you only have giving relationships and no receiving ones, then you risk burning out. In any case, it is very important for you to know what your relationship diet looks like.

So, for the next couple of weeks I’d like you to pay attention to all of the relationships in your life and then try to identify what types of relationships they are. If you discover that your relationship diet is well balanced, congratulations and keep up the good work. But if you discover that your relationship diet is out of balance, don’t worry, just make a plan to add those relationship types that you are missing. As always, please let me know if you need help doing this.

Having a variety of enriching relationships in your life will help you develop and maintain the mental and emotional health that you need to live the life of your dreams.