What are relationships? They are an emotional or other connection, association or involvement between people. Sometimes they are healthy and good for us and other times they are unhealthy and harmful to us. The trick for some of us is how do we know the difference. We may think that we have this great relationship with our partner or a friend until we start talking or listening to other people. This is when we question hmmmm….. is my relationship as great as I think and if so why?? We can become so accustomed to how we relate and interact with someone that it is “normal” for us. So, unless someone points something out to us we just go about our business thinking that all is good in our relationship when in fact it may be quite unhealthy.
There are different degrees of unhealthy or dysfunctional per say that are not always harmful when the couple knows and understands each other very well. Because sometimes it is about how we relate to that person and/or how we grew up that we learned how to be in a relationship. Most of us aren’t even aware that how we were raised and how our family members and friends interacted with us is why and how we are in our relationships with others. Some of it is good and some not so good.
So how do we know? I would like to say the obvious is when someone is physically or verbally abusive towards us. While most of us would say, I would never be in that kind of relationship; the latter is if you were raised in this kind of environment it would be considered “normal” thus not unhealthy or dysfunctional. So, the question becomes: “Do I like how I am being treated in this relationship?” Does this person make me feel good about myself? Is that important to me? What is it that I value in a relationship with someone?” If your self-worth is not good you will accept a lot less than what you deserve. And the truth of the matter is that most people do not even ask these questions. They connect with one another have similar qualities or interests and decide to be in a relationship with each other.
Is that wrong? No!! It is only a problem when at some point, you realize that you are not happy or satisfied with the relationship and you stay in it despite how you feel. Obligation, commitment and fear are the main reasons people will stay in a relationship even if their needs are not being totally met. To voice your opinion, share your feelings and possibly have conflict are not comfortable; however, if you believe in this person and feel there is enough good in the relationship you will be more willing to take a risk because the reality is your relationship could be so much better and you will be happier.
That is why it is so important to know what it is that you value in any of your relationships with family, friends or your partner. Trust, respect, empathy, understanding, openness, willingness, humility, vulnerability, humor, laughter, fun, ambition, responsible, spiritual…..etc. You can be more specific and say I want to be heard. I want to have family dinners. I want date nights. Whatever it is that you like and want in your life that is how you will define your relationship with others. Some relationships with friends may last a short while or a life time.
Our relationships teach us about ourselves. Meaning who we spend our time with and what we do with that time. Even if we stay in a friendship out of obligation and finally end it we have learned something about ourselves and what we value. Because what we value is “US” which makes us very happy!! So be true to yourself and thrive in your relationships that make you feel good about yourself and your life.