The Flourish, February 2022
Supporting the well-being of all students at Stanford
What do you like on your pizza? This month's edition of The Flourish highlights relationships, sexual health and sexuality while offering tools to support our journey. We start with tips on how to grow in our relationships by creating a culture of consent and learning about our (and others') boundaries. Through the acknowledgement and respect of our relationships and communities, we can further foster healthy relationships with ourselves and those closest to us. Take time to check out the Trans Resource Guide and other tools which offer support and resources to support our well-being and flourishing.
The Flourish, February 2022
The goal of this communication tool is to support all Stanford students and their well-being.
Let’s explore these areas together.
A relationship is like a garden.
This may be because one very important characteristic of a healthy relationship is that it is a container in which all involved are supported in their growth (aka blooming) and flourishing. Gardens, like relationships, take constant maintenance, including regular watering and exposure to sunlight. This is an important point because many of our romantic love narratives would have us believe that the goal is to FIND the already perfect relationship and go on to “live happily ever after” RATHER than a more realistic mindset (Literal GROWTH mindset!) in which we understand that, like a garden, a relationship is something that, if we invest in it and maintain it, will grow over time, with a little luck.
Former Harvard Happiness Teacher, Tal Ben Shahar suggests that we focus on “cultivating” a healthy relationship (maybe he likes the gardening metaphor too) vs finding a “soulmate” or the perfect person or relationship. Additionally, with a garden metaphor, we MUST talk about the need for fertile soil. Soil represents the strong foundation of the relationship. The soil contains the nutrients/elements that support growth. In a relationship this might include shared vulnerability, strong communication, openness to change, patience, mutual respect and admiration, shared core values, and, of course, the ability to repair after a rupture.
Speaking of ruptures, all gardeners must spend some time weeding and pruning, which refers to conflict management in this metaphor. Unprocessed conflict can lead to resentment which can overtake a garden like a vine growing out of control, strangling other plants or blocking access to water or light. “How do I know if my relationship is healthy?” is a question that many ask. The answer is quite complicated.
The good news is that there are thousands of books and videos on relationships based on some very good research- why not check them out for yourself? In the meantime, apply the garden metaphor to your relationships and it just may shine some light on your inquiries and help you and your partner(s) to grow together.
Donnovan Somera Yisrael, ‘89, Well-Being at Stanford
Resources to help you maintain your relationships
In the Spotlight
Leslie Abrams, Nurse Practitioner, Vaden Health Services
Check out the frequently asked questions among Stanford students regarding their sexual health.
Resources to help you take charge of your sexual health
Official Trans Guide
Navigating college, changes, and the pandemic while trans and non-binary can be difficult, lonely, and isolating. It’s important to prioritize your self-care, lean on your support, and use all resources available to you!
One such resource is the newly digitized Official Trans Guide. This is an official digital guide to resources and information pertaining to trans, non-binary, and gender questioning students at Stanford. This resource guide is a constantly evolving collaborative effort between members of the Stanford trans community, staff, and the many offices, services, programs and organizations at Stanford committed to supporting them. Now, you can view the guide and also add comments to the guide if you have any edits or new information! (Instructions on how to do so can be found in the guide).
Giving and getting the pleasure you want
Consent is about more than checking off a “yes” or “no.” Consent is about co-creating a pleasurable experience between you and another person, or other people. This involves paying close attention to what feels good to you and another person, and communicating about it! By doing this, we honor our own and others’ sexual citizenship: each of our right to our yes’s and no’s.
Check out Sexual Citizenship at Stanford to learn about 5 ways you can develop your sexual citizenship.
This fun, enlightening TED talk shows how we can think about sex like making pizza – full of options and pleasure! If you’re making pizza with another person, communication is essential to know what you and another person likes and doesn’t like. The same goes for sex or other intimate interactions. What feels good to both of you? What doesn’t feel good to each of you? Setting boundaries and saying “no” takes practice.
Check out the following resources to help navigate your own and others’ boundaries:
• Reflect on your personal boundaries in this Knowing your Yes’s & No’s activity
• Learn about creating community boundaries in the Build a Culture of Consent Starter Kit
• Learn about the basics of consent, relationship-oriented consent, and community-oriented consent in the Building a Culture of Consent video series,
Naps can help boost your energy and brain power as long as they are under an hour and taken before 3PM.
(Late afternoon naps make it harder to fall asleep at night.)