I believe actress Lauren London put it best when she said that she “experienced” her significant other. In this lifetime, you and I will experience various people. And many of the people we come across, we will develop relationships with. A relationship may be surface level or deeper. There are collegial relationships, romantic relationships, and relationships we have with our family and friends. All relationships have their own characteristics, but the principles behind each are the same. The following have been key for me when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships.
Make sure you are on the same page/ create a safe space for expression
In any relationship, you hear people say having an open line of communication is key. Therefore, in order to avoid clashing or unnecessary arguments, don’t bottle up any of your feelings. If something is bothering you, express yourself. In my experience, suppressing emotions when something gets on your nerves can result in resentment towards someone you care for, who may have no idea anything is wrong. It is likely that these emotions can build up and come out at the wrong time, and there may be more conflict than there would have been if you had expressed your feelings when you first felt that way. This can be toxic. So, communicating, creating a safe space to speak about problems, and acknowledging instead of attacking when someone opens up, is central for maintaining healthy relationships.
Make time for others
Setting aside time for those you care for is important in order to maintain a healthy relationship. A lot of times you get what you give. We’ve all had those friendships or a relationship with a significant other where it feels like we are putting in way more effort than we are receiving. This is unhealthy, and if people on both sides of a relationship set time aside time for one another, it can fuel a healthy relationship.
Don’t rely on someone else in a relationship for your happiness
Finally, some of us may have been in a relationship where we love wholeheartedly, as we should. However, when trying to keep relationships healthy, it is never a good idea to be reliant on someone else for your happiness. You may convince yourself that having someone else is a necessity. This can get in the way of your ability to love yourself, and as a result, your ability to love someone else in a healthy way. All of this is to say, make sure you tend to yourself. Hanging out with yourself, practicing self-care, and making sure you are good in every sense can only help you prosper in other relationships. To maintain a healthy relationship make sure you are happy with yourself so that you aren’t searching for it in someone else. This makes for better relationships.
If you find that one of your relationships is struggling, or you simply want to strengthen it, make it a goal of yours to do one of the things listed above. Making a little more time for my friends and family have helped me make sure my relationships are where I want them to be. In addition, communicating with people about how I feel when something bothers me has strengthened my relationships. Finally, making sure I’m happy and not depending on anyone else to be happy has led to more gratifying relationships. I hope keeping these in mind helps your relationships flourish and stay healthy.