By Karen Best Wright
Published in Albemarle Tradewinds
Social Wellness is a critical aspect of holistic wellness. What does it mean? It does not mean a person must be an extrovert and have a ton of friends and be the life of the party. It does not mean a person needs to like everyone or be liked by everyone else. However, it does mean that a person is capable of engaging socially in an appropriate manner. It does mean a person can develop meaningful relationships.
These past couple of years have been challenging for most people. Social Wellness typically includes being involved in healthy relationships, whether family, friendships, through a social network, or even in public. Human beings have an innate need to make connections with others. Social wellness determines the ease or difficulty in making these connections, which affects the quality of one's life.
It is easy to understand the importance of physical and emotional wellness. It may be harder to comprehend how one's social interactions influence all areas of one's life. It's important when developing relationships that one defines which ones should become an intimate part of one’s life and which ones are best to be "friendly" encounters.
Some signs of social wellness are the ability to treat others with dignity, being able to respectfully communicate with others, and understanding your boundaries as well as the boundaries of others. There is confusion between respecting someone and being respectful. "Respect" and "respectful" may come from the same root word, but they do not have the same meaning. Respect is how we regard a person. Respectful is how we treat them.
Another sign of social wellness is developing assertiveness, which is neither passive nor aggressive. Learning conflict management and maintaining relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling are integral for social wellness.
As mentioned, the past couple of years have been challenging regarding social interactions. Individuals need to decide for themselves how best to meet these difficulties. Social wellness is all about relationships. How one interacts with family members, neighbors, community members, and even those outside of one's personal space creates social wellness.