Ever wonder what a Healthy Relationship looks like? Yeah, me too! Sometimes when you are knee deep in the throes of some crazy situations with partners, friends, family or work associates…you may wonder if there ARE any healthy relationships out there! But, there are of course; you just may need a refresher on how to identify one when you see it! So let’s dig in!
Here are a few Building Blocks for a Healthy Relationship:
Without it, you have little or no chance in making the relationship work. Two reasons for this; #1 You must respect yourself and #2 You must be willing to respect the other person.
Respect for Yourself is first and foremost crucial. When a person respects himself, it is reflected in his interactions with others. When you treat your self well, your self-esteem tends to be higher. You value yourself and you know that your thoughts, feelings and opinions matter and you are more likely to give that respect to others as well. Those in a healthy relationship tend to be more easy going. They can laugh at themselves and don’t take things too seriously.
Respect for Others People in a healthy relationship have no problems taking into consideration the feelings and wishes of others. Respecting another includes respecting the differences of others and accepting their right to live their life their way. Situations are always open for negotiation to see if it’s something they both are in agreement with and will work well for both of them. If one or the other decides that it won’t work for them, that’s okay, maybe next time!
Accept Responsibility for Your own Behavior
Being able to accept the responsibility for your own actions, not only shows signs of maturity and growth, but also keeps you in the driver’s seat. If someone is upset with another and places blame on the other person for the unpleasant situation that they are in, they have just given up the ability to control their own lives. You can only control yourself. So, knowing and acknowledging that any situation is your own unique responsibility, places you right where you WANT to be…in a place of empowerment and control over your own life.
Accepting responsibility for your own behavior gives you the power to change things! You know the old saying, “If you don’t like something, change it!” Your behavior is chosen by you and administered by you. So, there is no one else to blame for it.
Practicing Cause and Effect
This was a big one when my kids were little. I tried very hard to teach them that their actions had a consequence. No one lives unto themselves and their behavior had an effect not only for themselves, but for others as well.
For example, if they didn’t eat well at the dinner table, the rule was that there would be no snacking or sweets and they would not eat until the next meal. That may sound a bit harsh, but as a busy mom, discipline in eating well at mealtime and not snacking all day long on junk food was something we wanted to pass along to them.
If they were fighting over a toy and I alerted them that if they didn’t stop the toy would be taken away…when the fighting continued, the toy was confiscated and didn’t return. Cause and effect. Too often children grow up to be adults thinking that no matter what they do, they will not have to bear the consequences of their actions. With this belief system, they will grow up to be adults who don’t know how to respect healthy boundaries and show a strong sense of entitlement.
Caring, But Not Enabling
Caring for others and wanting to help them is a common human behavior. We all want to be there for others and pitch in when they need us. But when it comes to the point where the person is quite capable of taking care of the problem themselves, but insists upon you solving it for them or coming to their rescue, it breaches upon enabling.
A few examples:
- A co-worker asks you again if he can borrow money for lunch
- Your spouse refuses to help with the household chores even though you both have full-time jobs
- A friend calls you just as you are ready to walk out the door with another crisis with her boyfriend
- Someone at your Women’s League calls late at night just as you are about to crawl into bed begging you to chair the next event…because “Jane” had to back down.
- Your child decides that on the way to school is the best time to alert you that today is the day of the holiday party and you were supposed to purchase gifts for the gift exchange!
All of these incidences are screaming…”I care about you…but if I “just take care of it”…it will teach each one in these situations that it’s okay to not take responsibility because you will always make it all better. NOT a good system to put into place! The results will leave you exhausted, resentful and angry. No where near a healthy relationship.
So what are the building blocks to a Healthy Relationship?
- Accepting Responsibility for your own Behavior
- Practicing Cause and Effect
- Caring, But Not Enabling
These building blocks take time to put into place, apply the cement and move them around until it feels right. But once you get them set…they will serve you well and whether others see the benefit or not, they too will be served.
What are your thoughts? Comments welcome below!
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