Fuel your relationships with the right nutrients.
When it comes to leading healthy lifestyles, and revitalizing our bodies and mind with the right balance of nutrients, we are all on the same page, right?
We know we also need exercise, sufficient sleep, fresh air, and sometimes extra supplements to remain focused and mentally sharp.
But what would you say if I told you we also need ‘relational nutrients’ to function optimally?
In his best-selling book ‘People Fuel,” Dr. John Townsend, award-winning author, psychologist, leadership, and boundaries expert, describes relational nutrients as a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between people.
He states that we should get relational nutrients from people within our close circle to sharpen us and help us grow mentally and emotionally. We, in turn, will give these elements back but also spread it to others so that everyone benefits.
Relational nutrients build people and thriving, caring communities.
Did you know that God created us to have meaningful, healthy relationships in a supportive community? We were never meant to go through life alone or without the love and support of other caring people.
You only need to look at the life of Jesus who, in his brief life on earth, engaged in building healthy, caring communities, starting with His disciples. After Jesus’ departure from earth into heaven, the disciples continued having fellowship (close relationships and building each other up – Acts 2:42-47).
The disciples also continued going out to surrounding and distant communities, teaching and motivating them with the same words of hope and inspiration they received from Jesus.
The new believers then went within their communities and did the same, giving the relational and spiritual nutrients they have received from the disciples to those who needed the message of hope and encouragement.
Dr. Townsend in his book, People Fuel, cites four elements for giving and receiving relational nutrients. He identifies it as ‘brain food,' a necessity alongside food and shelter. Relational nutrients are found in reciprocal relationships that are up-building and constructive to both parties.
The following elements form the foundation of relational nutrients:
êAcceptance and connection without judgment – means you are present and emotionally engaged with the other person, sometimes without saying a word. In moments of distress, people only need to know they are not alone.
Words of encouragement and affirmations to inspire the other person conveys the good and releases oxytocin, a hormone in our brain that elevates mood. It's essential to have someone believing in us, especially during our 'low' moments.
A realistic perspective and wise insights are valuable in complex and challenging situations in the workplace or relationships as they can provide a better approach to solving a problem quicker and more effectively.
A structured plan based on sound advice allows you to see the changes you need to make to enjoy a better quality of life. It leads to taking positive action.
However, you must own your need and ask for help from the right person who has the relational nutrients you require.
The advantage of having the right person on your side also builds sufficient trust that allows you to give back to them when they need relational support.
While it's honorable to want to help others when they are overwhelmed by unfortunate circumstances, you need to ensure that your life is in balance.
Surround yourself with people who not only take from you but who can 'sow’ into your life with words of encouragement and inspiration.
Dr. Townsend also emphasizes the importance of having “more gain conversations than drain conversations” in your life.
He cites an imbalance between positive versus negative energy as a primary cause of mental and emotional fatigue and burnout which doesn’t benefit anyone.
Chronics - He identifies chronics as good people who permanently have problems in their relationships, finances, workplace, health, etc. They never find solutions. No matter how much time you spend trying to guide, mentor, and help them, nothing ever works.
That’s because they have what Dr. Townsend calls ‘a flat curve,’ meaning they don't heed sound guidance or advice and don't learn anything from their experiences. Their problems then become set and permanent.
Contaminants - He refers to this second group as people who are on a different plane than those of us with normal, acceptable flaws and imperfections.
These are people with bad motives who have envy and bitterness towards others and will verbally attack and undermine your business, career, family, marriage, and tear at your very soul. They feel they have the right to divide and damage people, not on their 'level.'
When you realize you are dealing with a contaminant, point out their toxic behavior and immediately set boundaries to create a safe distance from them.
Coaches - contribute to gain conversations and imparting positive energy. A coach is an expert in a specific niche and knows the science of coaching. They know how to take you from A to B with skillful questioning and guidance, highlighting issues and helping you get ‘unstuck.’
Close friends and Colleagues - people in this category also contribute to gaining conversations and instilling positive energy. These are often one or two close friends and/or colleagues who accept you for who you are.
You have a reciprocal relationship in building each other up and helping one another on their personal growth and development journey.
Care relationships – Using your unique talents and skills to mentor someone in building a business or providing support and guidance to new moms are forms of care relationships. Knowing that you’ve helped someone release oxytocin, the 'feel-good' hormone that leads to repeat behaviors.
However, being involved in too many care relationships can also drain your energy and lead to fatigue.
Many of us have to juggle various roles in a 24-hour day and we certainly need more energy and inspiration to help us stay focused and motivated.
Your quality of life is aligned to the quality of your relationships and the value they add to your overall growth so that you have enough energy to give to others who need inspiration.
Have you recognized some relationships that drain you without adding value to your life?
If you need help to set clear boundaries in some areas of your life, don’t hesitate to schedule a FREE 20-minute session with me.
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