In the world of social media, pictures of happy and perfect-looking couples are everywhere. We’ve seen them all – inspiring images of our friends’ romantic relationships, people getting engaged and married, images of couples holding hands, hugging, and kissing. These images represent perfect relationships nowadays but don’t buy into them. These are only snapshots of the relationship and they don’t represent the reality. Behind the scenes, they go through ups and downs, good times, and bad times. Building a healthy relationship requires a lot of inner work and It’s what this article is all about. Look into best practices to strengthen your relationships. These steps will take you to create a happy relationship, build a healthy relationship.
BEFORE ENTERING A RELATIONSHIP
Make a promise that you will not change yourself to make somebody want you. Promise yourself that you will not be responsible for your partner’s happiness. Getting into a serious relationship can be scary but when you know yourself and you take care of yourself you will be okay. I want you to know that you are enough and make sure you are a whole before diving into a partnership.
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
When you enter a relationship without loving yourself first, you put so much pressure on the other to give you the love you need and want. Get to know yourself and know what you want, build self-confidence, and put yourself first. Are you happy with your current situation? Do you feel fulfilled and passionate? If you say yes, then you are on the right track because when you focus on self-love, self-growth, and positive mindset, you will attract people who do the same. That’s the law of attraction. “like attracts like”
HEAL FROM THE PAST
It’s a good start to resolve issues from the past and leave peacefully. Let go of the relationship, the person, including the bond before entering a new relationship so you won’t be carrying extra baggage with you. Give up the dreams you’ve created and let go of the work you’ve invested in your last relationship. Take a moment to reflect on the failed relationships you’ve had. What did you like and not like about them and how did they end? What lessons did you take from them? Give yourself time to mourn your failed relationship and give yourself time and space to breathe alone. May that be a month or a year. Time doesn’t matter as long as you’ve fully let go of the things that hold you back. Throw all the bad things from your past and use what’s left with you to build a new healthy relationship.
WHAT MAKES A RELATIONSHIP HEALTHY?
In my last relationship post, I talked about toxic relationships but what makes a relationship healthy and successful? All relationships are unique and they aren’t one-size-fits-all. Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a week or a decade, healthy relationships have some things in common. Love, honesty, commitment, trust, the list goes on. When I say love, it’s not just about affection but love is a way of being present and gaining a deeper understanding of each other. As we are all born with the capacity to give and receive love, we are also born with the abundant possibility of building a healthy and successful relationship.
1. REMEMBER THESE 3 A’S IN BUILDING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
Attention, acceptance, and allowing others to be who they are. These are the hallmarks of a relationship and the building blocks to having a healthy relationship. Let’s dig deep into each.
Attention When you give your full attention to your partner, this means listening to their thoughts and emotions. You may have to drop what you’re doing and give your undivided attention. I love to listen to my boyfriend’s story at the end of the day while going back home. He always has something to tell about his students and I make sure I put down my phone and give my full attention.
Acceptance Mutual acceptance is one of the building blocks of building healthy relationships. You don’t need to hide behind a mask when your partner loves you. Acceptance also means acknowledging each other’s flaws and differences. Accept each other as they are, even if you don’t understand them because of these differences. Accept that your partner isn’t perfect, and commit yourself to love that person anyway.
Allowing your partner to be themselves No one is happy being controlled. And if you constantly try to change the person, this requires manipulation and control. It’s a violation of personal boundaries and you could be intervening in their life. This can damage the relationship in the long run. So first, accept your partner’s imperfections and try not to change them. Allow them to find their journey by themselves.
2. UNDERSTAND THE PHASES OF A RELATIONSHIP
Relationships have cycles and phases that we go through. Every relationship starts with romance, where you can’t let go of each other, they progress into conflicts and then commitment. This is a cycle and it can repeat over and over.
In the romance stage, we are enveloped with hugs, kisses, and enchantment. But know that romance is never meant to last. That’s why a lot of relationships fail because people get disappointed when the romance starts to fade. Love is not just about affection and romance. When the excitement fades, the affections turn into conflicts. You start to discover the darker sides of each other. You start to see things you’ve never seen before. Your partner starts to get comfortable with you and starts to show her real character but this phase is totally normal. What’s important is you stay intact through this phase so you can go on to the next stage which is commitment. Stick with your partner no matter what conflicts and tests of times come. Let go of one stage so you can shift into another.
3. QUIT NURTURING DOUBT AND FEAR
When we get past the romance phase of a relationship, doubts and fear start to arise. You start to doubt your partner’s love, you start to worry if you are with the right person. You start to feel the fear that someone will leave you and you might not be able to survive emotionally. But it’s time to stop nurturing your doubts and fear. They are the worst enemies of building a healthy relationship.
The antidote to this is admitting fear. Acknowledge your fear, Never deny them, and don’t do any actions about it. Acknowledge your thoughts without judgment and labels. You give meaning to your thoughts. Your thoughts can change pretty quickly. Think of them like clothes where you can choose what clothes to wear. Allow your feelings to emerge. Recognize them but don’t act on them. Just let them go.
Have you ever felt fear of losing someone? One way to combat this is to take a moment to remember the comfort, security, and love you get from the person. Having doubts about your relationship because you are getting complacent with each other? Being away from your partner for a few hours or days can help you find space and time for yourself.
4. CREATE HARMONY IN A RELATIONSHIP
Sometimes we expect our partners to act exactly like we do or like we want them to but this is just impossible because no two people are the same. Everyone shows love in different ways and we should thrive to create harmony instead of putting pressure on each other. You can achieve harmony in a relationship when you have a mutual understanding and get accustomed to each other’s ways. We have differences in communication, styles, and opinions. Don’t punish your partner when they seem unresponsive or wanting to be alone. Instead, respect and support their personal boundaries.
5. WHEN NEGATIVE EMOTIONS ARISE, COMMUNICATE LOVINGLY AND EFFECTIVELY
You might know couples who argue almost every day or couples who appear to be quiet on the surface but there’s a lot of hidden repressed feelings behind the facade. Both examples are toxic and can easily ruin the relationship. The main cause of this is communication. To build a healthy relationship, you have to depend on communicating lovingly and effectively, especially when negative things arise. It is important to choose a positive language. Try not to say things you don’t really mean just to see reactions. Be mindful and intentional with what you say.
How do you deal with anger? When negative emotions arise, vent your anger healthily. We all have the right to express our anger but make your it doesn’t affect others negatively. Diffuse your anger and take yourself away from the situation. You can take a walk, listen to your favorite music, or just be alone. When you are calm then you can discuss your feelings with your partner.
When you get disappointed and hurt by your partner, write a healing letter. It’s true that the closer we get to someone the easier they can hurt us. When this happens, release your emotions on paper. Journal your thoughts and try not to hold back. Write everything and when you’re done, wait for a certain period. Write a response letter and show it to your partner. Discuss and remember to communicate lovingly and effectively.
Don’t lose motivation to work on the relationship. The truth is healthy relationships need to be maintained and nurtured. You’ve worked so hard to build a happy and healthy relationship, stay with the relationship, and keep choosing the person you love. It’s a choice you make every day. Remember to have fun, grow, experiment, and add variations.
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