What is a good relationship and how can we recognize one? What can we do to contribute to the growth of our relationship? How do we know when its time to get out of one? All these questions at one point or another have been part of our psyche; sadly the cold reality remains “there are no manuals!”
We learn a lot about relationships by watching our parents interact as children, but what happens when that interaction was an unhealthy one?
If we grew up watching parents who didn’t know how to express themselves or who remained in a relationship for the wrong reasons, then the result will be children who often become adults with a confused sense of self and a confused sense of how a relationships works. Now if you add our own personal struggles and experiences; it can make romantic relationships all that much more complicated.
It can be hard to override things we watched as children as when we are little we tend to blame ourselves for any troubles our parents may face. By no means am I an expert on relationships; having had my own setbacks; however I’ve also been blessed to be experiencing a healthier relationship and I each day I grow more aware of what a real–no masks–relationship can do for the soul, even one that has been wounded quite a few times. Many times we are alone and think we are always going to be alone, because of this we choose to jump into shallow relationships and end up feeling depleted, often as a result of lack of chemistry. My best advice, take time to heal, develop friendships; this doesn’t mean lead people on; it just means learn what the other sex is like and more about your own, that way you develop a better idea of what you like and need as well as developing awareness of what you don’t like nor need in order to feel fulfilled. Ultimately remember that nothing in this life is guarantee, so don’t over stress about it.
I am firm believer nothing happens by accident; even relationships we may have consider “hard” were meant to happen–we were meant to learn something from them. Something in them helped us deal with some of our old unresolved wounds from the past. I am not recommending one should go from relationship to relationship in order to learn those lessons, the healthiest way of course would be to look in and to seek to resolve those issues and/or find closure to those old wounds by working on ourselves outside of a relationship; it would certainly be the ideal! However, we are human and tend to seek companionship; the less in tune we are with ourselves the less we like to be alone because being alone means we would have to look in to those parts we often ran away from.
As we grow as individuals, we recognize the value of solitude and embrace it. The more we grow comfortable with ourselves, the more we attract healthier relationships or if we are already in one, it evolves. If on the other hand we are in an unhealthy relationship, as we evolve that relationship will deteriorate until it’s finished. Relationships are mirrors of our inner state of mind and spirit. They can help us see our greatest virtues and face our greatest demons. Ultimately a great relationship will lead us to grow as human beings. It is my belief there are a few things which can make or break a relationship…..
Sense of Humor: You have to have the ability to loosen up around the person you are with. Laughter is one of the main components of a healthy relationship. I am not referring to the faking of “joy” which many people have learned to do through the dating game, but to genuinely enjoy the moment.
Chemistry: What is the chemistry between the two of you? So many of us underestimate chemistry. We seem to believe we can learn to be happy with anyone. We place all the burden on ourselves or on our partners, forgetting to realize that neither one is perfect. A good chemistry goes a long way because relationships are about vibrations.
As one grows, one comes to understand that old endings may not have been all your or your partner’s fault; you may have just lacked a deep connection and no one is to blame for that. The more you grow the more you realize how important chemistry is and a higher value is place on it because it is a reflection of the value we have of ourselves.
Opening up: Many of us are used to receiving love but afraid to give it; afraid to show affection to the one we claim to love. Public displays of affection are absolutely beautiful: To hug, kiss and caress the one you love is an amazing thing! Many of us say “I love you” in the same way one would say “good morning”, we take the meaning of the words for granted. However, no matter how beautiful the words may sound they don’t mean a thing if the actions don’t back it up. We can learn to back our words through our acts of affection; let us not forget how we all have a hunger to be touched and caressed just as much as we yearn to hear the words.
Communication: How do you communicate? We are the sum of all our life experiences and we need to learn to express ourselves freely without a filter. Some of us do not know how to communicate properly and that is all right as long as we are willing to learn; communication is the one thing a good therapist can help with. We also need to look at whether or not the communication is at an even field. Do you both have something to talk about? Do you share similar interests? We all have different likes, however if there is no common ground it can be a recipe for disaster. Finding a common ground builds intimacy in a relationship; ultimately that is what the goal is… INTIMACY.
Emotional Health: The word emotion means “energy in motion” when you find a good equilibrium then you have something special. This doesn’t mean you are to look for the perfect person or perfect relationship; nobody is perfect and believing you will find a person who matches all your “check list” will only set you up for failure. What is important is whether or not you each work everyday at becoming a greater person than the day before. Imagine what it would be like to have someone who is in tune with their emotions, that creates a powerful connection.
Lying: That is a big one! It is inevitable to try to hide the truth for the reality is “you will always get caught”. The basis of a good relationship is built in transparency; a healthy relationship is one which has transparency at its core. No matter how hard the truth, value the one you love enough to not steal his or her power of choice. If you are lying and being dishonest, your relationship will not go anywhere because relationships are about expanding not contracting.
Rude: How we talk to the person we claim to love is very powerful. I heard someone once say “is never what you say that is the problem, is the energy behind what you are saying that matters”.
Is what you are saying coming from your heart or from your wounds? It is okay and frankly necessary to be vulnerable enough to share your wounds with the one you love, however, it isn’t right or fair to attack someone because you are wounded. In order to better invest in your relationship, you one needs to learn to take the time to think before expressing our hurt emotions. I am not saying, suck it up, hide it or pretend–all I am saying is learn to take the time to assess the best way to say what you mean in honesty but respectfully.
Cheating: I have a whole different way of seeing relationships. I don’t think anyone can blame you of cheating or having contributed to making someone cheat, if you were always clear with the person in your life that you are not ready to be monogamous or if you have expressed repeatedly your desire to end a relationship yet the other party keeps on holding on or if you were unaware of the other person’s status. We also have to remember however, that everyone makes mistakes but a mistake is not a pattern. We all have the right to find that one person with whom we can resonate at a higher level.
One can find others attractive, that isn’t cheating. If you are always seeking to flirt then you are most likely not ready for a relationship as you lack the mental maturity for it. Cheating goes even deeper than that, it usually involves lying and it often happens when you don’t have the confidence to express to the one you are with, that you like looking and like spending your energy on someone else.
Mean/Malicious: Once you develop a mean spirit you start embodying it and as a result the message you are sending is that you don’t appreciate the person you are with; eventually they will get tire of you!
Relationships are a beautiful thing but being single is also beautiful; it gives you the time to grow and to do the things you love. Bottom line the more you learn to take care of you, the more you learn to accept and love the shadow within, the more you will be able to give and receive real love.