When we are growing up we learn how to be in relationship from the family and community we are raised in.
As an adult we repeat these relationship patterns in the community and family we cultivate.
How do we know if we are creating healthy relationships? If we know we are not, how can we change it?
The experience of connection with another human being is the most primary of motivations. We are hard wired for this connection and it is how we experience our sense of self in the world.
What are my relationships reflecting back to me?
Ask yourself these Questions:
1) Do I feel able to express myself fully?
2) Is there space for my feelings and experience?
3) Are my choices supported?
4) Do I trust and feel trusted?
5) Can I say no without argument?
6) Am I keeping secrets ?
7) Am I safe to be vulnerable?
8) Am I safe to express anger?
9) Can we disagree?
10) Do I feel respected?
Communication is the most important skill in relationship. How you are able to express yourself and how others communicate with you can tell you a great deal about the health of your relationships.
In the list above, if you answered yes to most of them you are doing well. There is always more room to grow but you are on the right track. If you answered no, then there are things you can start doing now to cultivate health in your existing relationships and attract new ones.
First and most important step: Start with yourself—Take time for yourself and make knowing yourself a priority. When your emotional tank is empty you are unable to be fully available and present because you are not in touch with what YOU need, feel and want. Knowing yourself is the most important and healthiest way you can express authentically in relationship.
Audit your boundaries: Are you safe? Are the places where you need more space and control of your life clear and intact? If not look at how to change the amount of time, space or investment you have in areas of your life where you feel insecure or off balance.
Express early and often: Often we hold back on telling our friends and family when we are unhappy or don’t like something. We may second guess ourselves or minimize the issue as way to avoid conflict. This actually creates more conflict.
One great skill to develop is to pay attention to your body and when you feel that twinge that you are not sure you want to go along say “I’m not sure” or “I need to think about it” This is not a NO but it sends the signal that you need more time to decide. Then you are more able to give an authentic YES or communicate clearly what needs to be adjusted for you to be OK.
Forgive your mistakes: You will always have room to grow, make mistakes and get it wrong. This is part of life. The key to health and happiness is to remember that it is a journey and an ongoing process, there is no final destination but the goal is to have as safe and enjoyable a journey as possible.