What is a ‘Healthy’ Relationship?

With Valentines day coming up, a lot of people have their minds on the one (or ones!) that they love. What better time to write a post about relationships?

I’m not a relationship expert, but I know that our environment is an integral part of our happiness, and the people that we spend our time with have an effect on us: our values, our habits, our energy.

For better or worse, that’s just how it is. But sometimes, for various reasons, we get caught up in spending time with people who are just no good for us. This is applicable to both friendships and romantic relationships. We have trouble letting go. Often we believe that the problem is us, that if we could just change enough to make the other person happy everything will be okay. Other times we take what I call the “rescue role”, and we make ourselves responsible for the happiness and betterment of the other person.

If you spend long enough time engaging in relationships within that negative space, you begin to forget what a healthy relationship looks like.

A healthy relationship…

  • is a partnership
  • makes you feel good
  • brings light and positivity into your life
  • teaches you something
  • facilitates growth
  • needs care and work (on both sides)
  • is a part of your support system
  • allows both people to be honest without being critical
  • is open and allows both people to be heard
  • is comforting

An unhealthy relationship…

  • is one-sided
  • involves one person holding the other responsible for their happiness/unhappiness
  • fosters total dependency
  • lowers your self-esteem
  • encourages unhealthy behaviors
  • compromises your values
  • is abusive emotionally, mentally, or physically
  • isolates you
  • fuels disrespect, dishonesty, and manipulation
  • makes you feel stuck

 

Protect yourself and your space. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being in a relationship is not a prize you get for being a “good” person. So don’t settle.

The description above is very broad, so I would like to add a few other things that are important to me in particular for a healthy romantic relationship…

I find I need…

  • laughter, and lots of it. Life is short. I need to laugh!
  • adventure and spontaneity
  • to be with someone who is driven/ goal-oriented (ambitious people understand each other!)

 

I hope you all keep this in mind, and cherish those who are the positive influences in your lives this Valentines!

How to Deal with Toxic People

We can all level on this one.

We all have, or have had, negative and toxic people in our lives. These are the people who are negative talkers and thinkers. These are the people who don’t support your dreams, or put you down. The people who make you wonder why you make time for them after each instance you part ways. Sometimes, they even sabotage or manipulate you in small ways to hinder your success.

Often these toxic people are also the people you know and love. Your long time friend, your siblings, your mom. And sometimes they can bring you down with the little things – like questioning your choices, hindering your healthy lifestyle changes, or just plain infecting your space with negative energy. Energy is contagious; the more that you surround yourself with negative people and influences, the more negative you yourself will become. So be careful with this one.

I went through this with a friend. I didn’t notice it at first the affect that she had on me, until I realized that every time we parted ways following plans, I never felt good after. About myself. And so, I was forced to evaluate why.

Now I see so clearly that it’s because she tended to stew about negative stuff every time we got together, and talk in circles about it. I suppose I jumped in and spiraled with her , and that’s on me. And interestingly enough, she also made me feel guilty when I made healthy eating choices, criticizing me for not indulging with her… every time.

She put down my goals and dreams; she tried to hold me down – so I wouldn’t fly away.

So what can we do about these people? The short answer… is nothing. You can’t change other people; only how you react to them. You have to learn to silence the noise and follow what you know is right. Don’t allow these people to have such a stronghold over you that they wield the power to severely obstruct your life.

If said toxic person will remain in your life, my advice is this: love them from a distance. I’m not talking about abandoning anyone you care about; I’m talking about taking space and loving them from within the boundaries you have. Speak your mind and let them know where you draw the line between a healthy and unhealthy relationship. In my particular situation, I did fly away.

My friend was not a close friend, and I knew that the best thing for both of us was going to be to part ways; we weren’t a good match.

 

Despite what we’d like to believe, we don’t have the power to change another person. It’s important to care for yourself and remember your needs. Be good to yourselves – and watch out for those toxic people!