Welcome back to our Friday Feature where we're going to continue our SEL Spotlight series. Today, we get into Relationship Skills, one of the five competencies that make up Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). We've already covered Self-Awareness, Self-Management, and Social Awareness, so head back to those posts if you want to learn more about these competencies or want a little refresher.
If there was ever a time where our society needed strong relationship skills, this is it. As defined by CASEL, relationship skills include the "ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups."
Most people inherently get and understand what it means to be in a meaningful relationship. Whether it's with a BFF, a partner, or your children, most people want their relationships to be healthy, rewarding, and long-lasting.
Just like anything worthwhile, making and maintaining great relationships takes effort and skills. So, what exactly are the skills that help us have wonderful relationships with others?
Let's start with communication. Communication doesn't only involve our ability to clearly articulate our needs or thoughts to others. It also includes actively listening to other people. When we actively listen, we see and hear what the other person is trying to communicate and check-in to make sure that we got them. When we give our full attention, the other person feels acknowledged and understood.
"Love is the quality of attention we pay to things" -JD McClatchy
Next, our ability to cooperate and negotiate conflict is necessary to sustain a relationship. We all have different experiences and thus, have different perspectives. This doesn't mean that one of us is right or wrong, rather we are different. If we can work together through communicating and listening, we can cooperate and make magic or resolve conflicts with the smallest amount of collateral damage.
Being in a healthy relationship also requires that we are clear about who we are and what we stand for. This is what helps us resist social pressure and follow our gut or instinct so that we can stay true to our authentic selves. When we stay in the driver's seat because we are able to balance our own thoughts/emotions/perspectives in the greater context of others/community/world, there is integrity and thoughtfulness behind our actions.
Finally, relationships are fueled by not only helping others but by allowing others to help us. When we can accept help when we need it, we courageously show our vulnerability to people, which strengthens our bonds to others.
"Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection" -Brene Brown
We started Odyssey because we believe that helping others strengthen their SEL skills, or what we call "emotional fitness," is the key to the long-lasting change that we want to see for ourselves and for our children. We are depending, no counting on emotional fitness, to be the game-changer that our society so desperately needs right now and we are committed to helping you be a part of this movement one action at a time. No person or action is too small.
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito" -Dalai Lama