Perhaps one of the most important parts of life are the relationships we have in it. How we establish and fulfill these relationships in our lives determines our overall happiness with ourselves and with those we interact with. Relationships, no matter where or with whom, require levels of maintenance tailored by your individual wants and comfort levels.
It has been said many times that communication is key to a healthy relationship with your significant other but the same concept applies to all forms of relationships. Whether it’s with your boss or your partner, being able to effectively communicate helps generate a healthy interaction.
Communication is not simply expressing yourself when you feel self-expression is needed, though knowing when to do that is important. It involves respecting yourself as well as the other person and demonstrating that respect by listening and reflecting. Disagreements are normal and inevitable issues between two free-minded beings but listening to the other person can help you navigate these difficult times.
It’s imperative to note that listening isn’t agreeing with another person but instead allowing yourself to be open-minded towards whatever they are trying to say. Ultimately, you may still not agree with each other at the end of the discussion but you have respectfully discussed your thoughts with one another and that’s important. You understand each other better, which will create less tension on the subjects you disagree with.
Communication also helps when establishing boundaries in relationships. Different people have different comfort levels and different speeds at which they take relationships. Knowing these things early on can prevent uncomfortable conflicts. Before engaging seriously with a relationship, you must reflect on yourself and determine what you find comfortable. This should never change throughout the relationship unless you and only you, are certain you want it to change. In turn, you should show the same respect for the other in the relationship. Even if societal trends indicate you should allow a certain thing or enjoy a particular interaction, neither of you should be expected to fulfill anything you are not comfortable with.
Though it may seem like a bad relationship should be obvious, sometimes it can be hard to tell when a relationship is unhealthy or even harmful. Your value of or attraction to the other person may keep you from seeing the outward signs of a detrimental relationship.
All relationships are hard but they should never be a central source of stress in your life. If one is, you need to evaluate what is causing this stress. Violations of communication, respect of boundaries, and trust are crucial signs of a relationship that will be unfulfilling if not harmful to you or your partner. Physical violence and abuse of any kind should never be taken lightly and should be reported to the proper authorities.