How to Attract Healthy Relationships Into Your Life
Relationships are top of the list when it comes to sources of ongoing emotional and psychological stress. If you feel that you are walking on eggshells, or if you are feeling tense when you are spending time with a certain person, then it is probably time to re-evaluate whether you are in a healthy relationship.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. We interact differently with some people than we do with others. We have different rules and expectations for relationships with work colleagues than we do with our partner, or family, or friends. So it is natural to interact in different ways according to the situation which you are in. But there are certain things which all healthy relationships have in common. Let explore them now...
Ten Signs of a Healthy Relationship
1 - Mutual respect:
Both of you equally treat the other with the respect, consideration and kindness that you would show to someone that you hold in high regard.
Respect is not looking up to someone, where one of you is considered to be superior to the other. Healthy respect also exists at all times. So, even if you have a difference of opinion about something, you are able to disagree and still appreciate the others person right to their viewpoint.
2 - Good communication:
Good communication involves being able to talk to each other easily and openly about any subject, without feeling fearful or apprehensive.
Being able to share appropriate feelings and thoughts together in a variety of situations, and maintaining some fluidity in your relationship, so as to accommodate for changing external circumstances.
Two-way communication involves being able to tackle difficult subjects, and work through a mutually agreeable solution, or a compromise, together.
3 - Responsibility:
Each of you is able to take full responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions, and to make changes where desired. There is never any blame directed to the other person for what you are feeling, and vice versa.
If one person is taking all, or most, of the accountability for making the relationship work, then this is a sign of an unequal partnership.
4 - Emotionally supportive:
Each of you fully supports the other on an emotional level and is able to be fully present if times get tough - no avoidance or excuses why you can't be there for support.
Stay aware of any discrepancy between what the other person is saying, and what they are doing. Often emotionally absent people can provide a good reason for why they are not there for you, or even make it appear as if it is your fault. If they are saying one thing, and doing another, then pay attention to that!
5 - Honesty and trust:
You can rely totally on the other person. You do not doubt their complete honesty, reliability or trustworthiness in all aspects of life.
If you have to convince yourself why the person you are dealing with is trustworthy, then there is something wrong. This could either be due to your own issues around trusting other people. Or there could be an underlying problem which you recognise, but are avoiding addressing for some reason. Check which one it is, an decide what you would like to do about it.
6 - Individuality:
You are both able to be fully authentic. To have different ideas, participate in your own pastimes, have your own friends. To be individuals who also share life, but are not looking to complete each other - because this implies a sense of lack on some level.
The healthiest relationships are ones where both people are mutually inter-dependent. They are able to go through life on their own, and to be fully autonomous. They are in a relationship for other reasons - for companionship, friendship, mutual purpose, or to share love. Not because they feel they are lacking in some way, and need another person to fill this void.
7 - Sharing values:
Close relationships, like marriage or partnership, work best when you both have similar core values about all the important things: life, family, love, work, and finances. The primary thing here is that you share important values about how to relate to other people - then other things can be worked through easily.
This also applies within work-based relationships where a mutual purpose or goal takes precedent. However, values such as respect, honesty and appreciation need to be present for the relationship to be healthy.
8 - Equality:
One of you is not considered to be better or worse than the other. You can both appreciate the talents, gifts and differences of each other, without feeling superior or inferior.
Everyone has different levels of ability in different aspects of life. Perhaps in a marriage, one person has a passion for business, and the other for parenting. This can work well within a family dynamic, as long as one person's ability is not given higher superiority than the other. Each person is appreciated for their own talents and unique abilities.
9 - Feeling safe:
Safety can be interpreted in several different ways. It can relate to the feeling of being yourself, and being able to express yourself in any situation. Or it can relate to an undercurrent of intimidation - which might indicate the presence of bullying or threatening behaviour.
If you are feeling intimidated or unsafe in your relationship, then pay attention to that. Ask yourself truthfully why you are feeling this way. Is it because you have a sensitivity to conflict? Do you need to be more assertive? Or do you need to leave? If you are unsure about any situation, then seek professional support.
10 - Healthy boundaries:
No-one does more than the other to sustain the relationship and to make it work well. You both feel valued and appreciated, able to be an individual, to achieve your goals in life, and do not feel responsible for the emotions or behaviour of the other person.
Healthy boundaries are about being able to be authentic in any relationship, without losing yourself, or denying who you are. Be aware of any situation where you don't feel comfortable expressing your own views, or you want to stay quiet to keep the peace. Or where you have someone who is taking emotionally from you all the time, and giving little in return.
Still concerned about your relationship?
If you don't have all of these qualities in your relationship, then it is likely to be causing you to feel emotional or psychological stress to some extent. Become more aware of how this particular relationship is affecting you. Notice how you feel when you are with this person. If you feel emotionally drained, stressed, angry or frustrated, don't try and dismiss your feelings, or rationalise them. You have several options of how to change your situation for the better. Speak to a supportive friend, or get some professional help, so that you can decide what to do next.