“A healthy relationship is one in which love enriches you; not imprisons you.”Steve Maraboli
We are designed to be in community, to connect, and communicate. Whether by way of deep friendships or romantic relationships. However, our innate need for human connection is often met with challenges.
According to Merriam-Webster healthy means sound, wholesome, robust, full of strength, vigor, absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction. Healthy relationships should be full of strength. This strength stems from six foundational pillars.
Building One Pillar at a Time
Support in a relationship is like having your own personal cheerleader. The parties encourage each other and have a genuine interest in what the other is doing and enjoys. Support is also accessible and making time to be present and engaged. Personal growth builds the individual and enhances the partnership.
Partnership is all about balancing the individual needs with the needs of the relationship. It is a continual dance of reciprocating. Partnership ensures that the individual needs and needs of the relationship have synergy. Honoring the individuals enhances the relationship.
Trust is truly the foundation for every relationship. Once this foundational pillar is breached rebuilding is very challenging. If a person’s words and actions are not congruent, red flags should go off. But trust is more than simply honoring your word. Trust encompasses the heavy hitters like accountability, honest and clear communication, reliability, placing trust in the other, and knowing your own limits, and being transparent about them. Daily attention required.
Communication can sometimes feel like navigating a landmine. Each word will either yield a positive or negative response. Everyone brings his or her own experiences, perceptions, family of origin, and style to the communication table. The key is to remember that we all play two critical roles during communication speaker and listener. Active listening is paramount. It is being present, listening, and not formulating a response while listening.
Intimacy can be emotional, physical, and sexual. In its purest form, intimacy is our human need to be close to others. Intimacy is sharing your space with another and feeling safe and free to be vulnerable and nurtured. For years I have wanted to volunteer at the hospital with the babies. To sit in a rocking chair and hold a precious baby and connect. Imagine if as adults we simply hugged and allowed the power of connection to soothe our hearts. Simply magical!
Autonomy is our individual flavor, uniqueness, and swag as young folks say. Our relationships should embrace and encourage the things that make us who we are. This gets blurry in any relationship if your esteem needs some help. When self-esteem is shaky the tendency is to compromise autonomy and take on the identity of the group or individual we want to be connected to. Our autonomy consists of our identity, interests, likes, social groups, and how we arrange our personal space and time. Healthy relationships reinforce and celebrate autonomy. Autonomy is your unique fingerprint.
Time for a Maintenance Check
Relationships like cars require maintenance throughout the year. They have the influence to move us forward, keep us parked, or drive in reverse. Can you see the oil light FLASHING??? Consider these maintenance questions.
- Am I confident with who I am?
- Do I engage in good communication? Am I actively listening?
- Am I respectful and respected?
- Is there no room in my relationship for violence/disrespect?
- Are the expectations in the relationship realistic?
- Is trust present in both word and action?
- Are healthy boundaries present and honored by both parties?
- Am I getting a good return on investment (ROI)? Or am I in the negative?
Creating a life of wellness must be supported by a circle of life-giving people. To everything there is a time and a season. Purging relationships that add no value is very difficult. However, in order to grow, pruning and cutting away is the only way to make room for what is healthy and intended to bloom.
Dare 2 Be Well!