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Creating Healthy Relationships

Creating Healthy Relationships


Lately I’ve been pondering over the oppressive laborious weightiness of creating healthy relationships in the world today. Anywhere. At the workplace, in school, at home, worship places, etc. It seems to me that when we come down to it, the unprecedented chaos, bangarang and bedlam the world’s bleeding from at this present moment stems from the bottled grisly fugly childhood sufferings and mental soreness humanity harbours.

Systems, cultures & sub-cultures

It exhibits itself in the greed we see all around us. Systems, cultures and sub-cultures modelled to alienate, exclude, and terminate others while exalting a few. And to me, one of the biggest mass unintended consequence of this complex habitat is the rootedness of a monster called mistrust.

creating healthy relationships
Shot of a young couple sharing a romantic moment in the city

Not only are we brawling and crawling for material resources, but also spiritual and emotional ones. Since our bodies are in constant survival living in suspicion; irritability, violence, pleonexia, intemperance and ceaseless woe have inevitably overwhelmed the soul of society.

Effect on relationships

The greatest causality of this disharmonious reality are relationships. Somehow the powers that be have succeeded in hoodwinking us to believe we must overconsume goods and services that make life bearable to forget the chaos in our minds, that resources are scarce and the more you have and hoard the more secure you are (get this) not as a community but an individual. And that this material security automatically translates to infinite happiness and pride. That we must hassle each other and demonize those whom we feel threaten our identity out of their dissimilarity from our so called moral compass.

How does this affect our homes? Our friendships? Our romantic relationships?

Can you see its interconnection to the fact that it is getting scarier to feel secure with a partner(s) since you never know what they’re doing behind your back that goes against the relationship agreements you had with them, stemming from the sustained, grave and mostly unhealed trauma of betrayal and hurt from past lovers and the anarchic uncertainties of formative relations in childhood with emotionally distant adults and unresponsive caregivers?

The quality of the connections through which generations are born (familial/romantic/sexual relationships) are compromised by unrecognized intergenerational trauma, since it is through these connections that DNA is passed from kin to kin.

Dysregulated nervous systems

With this injured socio-cultural fabric, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find safe, healthy partnerships since many people navigate life with dysregulated nervous systems. Their ability to discern safe partners, patterns and environments for them diminishes as a result. Partially explaining why people find themselves in violent relationships and find it hard to leave. They mostly go for what’s familiar, even if it’s wounded.  The science is called neuroception.

Somebody along the line needs to want it different. To break the chain. By healing the nervous system. For it is through it that we carry and process emotions that guide us with communing with people and the environment. This is an essential part in creating healthy relationships.

I’m wary of childhood trauma survivors being told healing is their individual responsibility. Or anyone under prolonged distress for that matter. Of course there is an aspect of self-commitment. But largely, it is the presence of systemic support that makes it easier and bearable. Systemic support here ranges from accessible roads to supportive friends and family to a formidable public health care system to food and job security. All of them are rooted in empathy.

It is very hard to create this reality in such an unequal world.

So many people then will not get the opportunity to understand that they need help, and those who do will not get enough time and space to seek it, and those who do do not feel safe because they don’t feel understood. Only a few really get out.

What then shall we do?

We must demand revolutionary love for ourselves and for each other.

You’ll only know the answers once you love.

Kamand Kojouri


Those of us who want it different must be more vocal about this way of life we want to live, first by being true to it. Not by seeking perfection since perfection is barely attainable, but by being stewards of safe spaces. Creating healthy relationships good for us and others. Grow mindsets that center transparency, honesty and accountability over information hoarding and lies. Cultivate connections that nurture our inborn childhood joy.

It is hard because we are the ones starting it. It’ll become easier the more we practice, the more we model this to our children. This is how you sustainably design a robust social justice movement. A movement that understands diversity is what’s natural, not classism. Grounded communities that will produce individuals that have high respect for life, and can treat others with similar decorum.

I’m a dreamer, I know. And maybe I’m asking for too much. But I know without a doubt there are people out there like me who believe relationships don’t have to be a pain in the ass all the damn time. That we can enjoy love, really enjoy it; without worrying if our partners are stabbing us from the back. We can be conscious parents nurturing emotionally present kids surrounded by love and support.

We can be fully engaged in our healing by opening our wounds, creating healthy relationships without the fear of betrayal or rejection. We can heal our ancestry, our broken childhoods. All the people we have been in this lifetime. We can have peaceful loving homes. We can show care and adoration to our loved ones without measuring how much of ourselves we’re giving them for fear of being hurt. It is really the order of the earth. But also accepting there shall be pain, confident in the knowledge that we are guaranteed a safe landing when it happens.

Even if I may not get to physically witness the whole world becoming this way, doesn’t it offer you a little healing, a little light, a little jollity, to imagine these possibilities? Isn’t imagination the seed we need to perceive the probabilities of these possibilities therefore?

I approach the world with the abundance of my heart. As a child who grew up with so much turmoil, I want to be unreasonable in the expectations I place over the kind of world I want to live in. I want to be unreasonable because the pain I underwent was unreasonable too. I want to be unreasonable because I’m alive, and there’s nothing reasonable about it.

Onyango Otieno

Onyango Otieno is a cultural designer ardent in maximizing the power of storytelling for healing and connection. Onyango believes in the potent spirit of humanity collectively creating safe spaces for interaction, development, business and movement, for a more cohesive world.

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