Relationships are often placed into three different categories: platonic, romantic, and familial. In a society that tends to isolate our feelings into labeled boxes that are then neatly placed on the back shelves of our minds, we do not give ourselves room to expand our relationship with the world around us as well as the relationships we have with ourselves. The root of this problem comes from mass media that targets our emotions as a way to psychologically manipulate their audience into “buying into” whatever product they are selling. Research has shown that we learn behavior in two ways: seeing someone else overcome a challenge and overcoming that challenge ourselves. This means that as children, we learn about human behavior and social acceptability through the shows we watch, the books we read, and the relationships we observe. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Notebook just as much as you, but do years of heartbreak and miscommunication really disappear in a single passionate kiss in the rain? Probably not. There is no one way we as human beings must relate. So long as we do not harm ourselves or others, all different combinations of people, styles of communication, and emotions felt within a relationship are valid! Instead of feeding into the ways we are told me must relate to others, it is time that we practice self awareness as a method for relational growth. This can be done through focusing on how we feel in these human interactions, reinforcing the behaviors or dynamics that makes us feel happy, and changing those that do not. This method of self awareness will not only increase your understanding of the relationships you hold with others, but will provoke an internal reflection leading to self discovery and, hopefully, self love.