Have you ever felt like yesterday when you were running with your old childhood friends? Or that you just closed your eyes for a moment and now your siblings have families of their own? When was the last time you saw your parents? Sometimes we get so focused on our plans and dreams that we don’t realize we’ve let meaningful relationships slip through our fingers.
As you become an adult, learn to be independent. It’s normal to let some people go and lose relationships that once felt like the most essential things in the world. As time went by, you not only grew up, but you broke up. By letting go of some people, we can risk letting go of our personal development.
So can people from our past help improve our future? Read on to discover three ways you reconnect with old friends and family helps you with inner growth.
What is inner growth and why is connecting with old friends important?
Inner growth is most easily described as the process through which you come to know, understand, and express all aspects of your humanity and experiences. It can be perceived as personal development, personal change in behaviors, thoughts and feelings. It is the journey you embark on to develop who you are inside by putting aside mindless self-criticism, being kinder to yourself, and strengthening your ethical framework.
But why is it essential in someone’s life? Studies demonstrate that inner growth and personal development are the cornerstone of your own way of being, so they are crucial to achieve happiness. On top of that, self-improvement tends to make you kinder and less concerned, which helps you be in a safer mental space from which you can learn to treat others better. Therefore, improving yourself not only benefits you, but also the people around you.
Why did you lose contact with old friends and can you do something to change that?
We will have dozens of friends throughout our lives and we will stay away from most of them. Usually this is just a common sign of growth. According to Lauren MillmanAs a marriage and family counselor, as people grow older, their views and interests change, making relationships less stable as people begin to have less and less in common.
But while this is true in some cases, sometimes the fact is that people don’t always have a real reason for breaking up. Sometimes we forget to put enough effort into a meaningful relationship because we’re too busy with our problems, and before we know it, we’ve lost sight of what’s important: people and socializing.
The good news is that no matter how estranged you have become from a particular family member or friend, you can always do something to fix it.
Reestablishing a connection is easy. In fact, the best way to start reconnecting is to reach out to those people. Don’t be passive, don’t expect others to always make an effort. You have to be willing to take that first step. Apologize for not keeping in touch, and try to make plans to get together and have a real conversation. Not only that, but your oldest friends and family are the ones most likely to forgive, empathize, and give your relationship a new lease of life.
Five Ways Rekindling Relationships Can Help You With Inner Growth
But you might be wondering, why would I want to reconnect? What’s in there for me? And how do old friends nurture inner growth?
1. Reconnecting with old friends triggers nostalgia
Imagine that you are walking down the street on a normal day and you meet your oldest friend who you have not seen in years. Or that you are at a family gathering and you see the person who was once your favorite cousin. What would be the feeling that these encounters evoked? Well, nostalgia, of course.
We all like to feel a little homesick. It reminds us of simpler times, happier times. But can nostalgia be a feeling attributed to inner growth?
Nostalgia is not about going back to the past, but about exploring the contents of our mind and seeing how our “inner time capsule” can propel us into the future with a sense of hope.
Studies support this line of thinking:
Studies confirm that, when measured as an individual difference, nostalgia-prone people report greater meaning in life than others. Nostalgia has also been found to increase self-esteem, optimism, and self-connection.
Curiously, investigate has shown that when people experience negative states, such as loneliness or senselessness, they use nostalgia to regulate distress.
According to Dr. Clay Routledge, A Social Psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University, homesickness motivates people to cultivate and maintain meaningful relationships and pursue important goals in life. Also, as people age, it can help them feel younger and more energetic.
All the positive factors related to nostalgia are an integral part of inner growth. The ability to re-explore the past, meditate, consider how They were compared to how you is it so Now the feeling of hope and meaning that can be extrapolated from nostalgia can be used for self-development. In addition, old friends and family will always remind you of the person you once were and give you their honest opinion about the change you have gone through, allowing you to better judge who you have become.
When you choose to embark on an exploration of the past, you allow yourself to realize who you have been, what you have been through, who you are now, and who you want to be. And what better way to evoke nostalgia than to invite an old friend for coffee and reminisce about simpler times?
2. Reconnecting with old friends builds and strengthens a support system
Who was with you when you broke up with your first love? Or when you entered the school of your dreams? Be it your parents, your best friend, whoever it was, they are people who have been a shoulder to cry on in times of need and also the first to jump for joy over your achievements. Over time, the people who used to know you best have become strangers. Wouldn’t it be better to change that?
For human beings, it is vital to have a support system, a network of family and friends that you can turn to in times of need. Whether you’re looking for emotional, informational, or practical support, reconnecting with people can give you just what you’re looking for. You will be able to socialize with people who know different parts of who you are and what you’ve been through. Therefore, each one can help you in different ways. Combined, all that support can create a comprehensive system that can prevent you from going to dark places when faced with a problem.
In one study, it was found that middle-aged men with a support system were more likely to live longer than those without this support. This supports the idea that help is an integral part of our vitality and well-being.
Studies that prove this:
Support systems provide a positive influence. Your current relationships will be attended to to introduce you. Therefore, they will not oppose any of your flaws because they are used to them or do not see them as a flaw. If you are an avid drinker, you most likely have friends who also drink heavily. As long as you are surrounded by like-minded people, you will never have a solid check and balance mechanism. By reconnecting, you will gain new perspectives on life. Therefore, you will not be able to get trapped in your echo chamber.
Studies suggest that reconnecting with people leads to lower rates of substance abuse, depression, or suicide. Also, reliving old relationships helps you better cope with the trauma. Think of divorce, the loss of a loved one, mental health problems. And reconnecting only helps because it allows more people who know and care about you to be by your side.
A robust support system is integral to indoor growth. You will not be able to improve yourself if you are stuck with the weight of the world on your shoulders. So don’t be afraid. Reach out to the people you used to know and you will find that they will be your shoulder to cry on in times of need, just like they used to be in the past.
3. Reconnecting with old friends improves your self-esteem.
Reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken to in years and seeing that they are willing to reconnect can immediately boost your confidence. It will make you see that you are worth talking to, even after all this time, and even though you and that person have grown apart, there is still compassion between the two of you.
Investigate shows that relationships can help boost your confidence by reducing stress. Knowing that you have a person who will listen to you and validate your feelings is vital to combat the feelings of anxiety and doubt that you may feel.
The sense of belonging you feel each time you reconnect with people can help you understand your true worth by showing that it is worth taking the time to strengthen the relationship again.
So, on your journey to personal development, remember: You must feel worthy that you have the incentive to start working on yourself, and reconnecting with the people you used to love can make you see how special you are.
Final thoughts on how rekindling old relationships can help with inner growth
We tend to feel scared when we think of approaching an old acquaintance, and that is perfectly normal. People are afraid of rejection, but sometimes you have to take risks. Old friends and family are most likely people who still care deeply about you, but are just as afraid to get close as you are.
By taking that first step toward reconnecting, you can rekindle a relationship and experience those fantastic feelings of nostalgia that can introspect you. You can build a support system that will be there in times of pain and build your confidence. People can always help you be better and can help you on the path of inner growth.
So the next time you log into your social media platformMaybe find your old friends, message them, and ask them for coffee. You never know what that relationship can do for you in the future.