Having strong emotional bonds with other people is a marker of good mental health. Our relationships reflect our internal landscape, and vice versa. But what is a secure attachment, and do you have them in your life? Read on to find out.

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Studies show that when we feel like we can truly depend on others, when we know that they have our backs, we’ll be stronger emotionally and mentally. When hard times come, we don’t have to face them alone, and that makes a significant difference in our resilience.

Consider the relationships you have with those closest to you. Do you feel truly listened to, and heard? Do you believe that when you ask for help, they’ll do their best to provide it, without judgment or defensiveness? Can you count on them to be your partner, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health?

Many people say their wedding vows with a focus on the good times and the health. And yes, that matters. We want people beside us to share our good fortune.

But as we deal with adversity, we need people we can lean on. Even if there are no solutions to be found, especially then, we need understanding, compassion, and a shoulder to cry on. Is that how your closest relationships operate?

If yes, you  can appreciate what you have, and nurture it. What we feed stays strong and vital.

If not, recognizing that is the first step. You might have gotten so used to having unmet needs that you stop registering it. Or you start to think that your expectations are unreasonable, that no one gets to have that kind of connection with others, or that you never will. Or maybe you think you don’t deserve to. That kind of resignation can be a slippery slope into loneliness and depression.

Think about what you give, and what you gain in return. Think of how you can start addressing the imbalance. Love is just the start of a secure attachment. The rest can grow.