Healthy relationships can best develop when two individuals are in touch with their own needs, personalities, beliefs, and habits. Resilient relationships (be they romantic, friends, family) require both individuals to look inside themselves to determine who it is they are, and what it is they want. By getting more in tune with your own wants and needs you can be a better partner, friend, or parent.
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If there are relationships in your life that are on an unhealthy path, considering taking the time to take inventory of your feelings and behaviors. Are you being the type of partner that you would want? Are your thoughts and behaviors attracting the right kind of individuals into your life? This is a form of the law of attraction which says that you attract the people, things, and events that you think about. The universe responds to what it is you are focused on – and this applies to relationships as well. Take the basic steps below to start learning more about yourself so you can can better love (and accept love) in various relationships throughout your life.
1. Communicate Openly and Honestly
Unhealthy relationships are usually filled with poor communication habits. In order to strengthen your relationship, take some time to sharpen your communication tools. These tools can be beneficial for all types of relationships in your life. One way to do this is through relationship workshops as well as by introducing yourself to love languages.
Every person experiences love in a different way. Some people are sensitive to physical touch, some to gifts, while others respond to time spent together or encouraging words. There are five different love languages that individuals respond to:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
- Receiving gifts
By understanding what love language you speak you can set yourself up to be in more positive and openly communicative relationships. If you aren’t sure which love language you identify with, consider taking this quick quiz. Share the results with your friends, partner, or significant others so it can help reduce the barriers to the expression of love. Love languages allow you to learn and identify the root of your conflicts, give and receive love in more meaningful ways and grow closer than ever.
2. Be Compassionate with Yourself and Others
Healthy relationships are formed from a place of true compassion. You must be gentle, loving, and caring to yourself before you can give love to others. Take a moment out of every single day to practice self-appreciation. Tell yourself what you truly love about yourself. Once you tackle this challenge, start to take moments to focus on your relationships. What is it that you love or appreciate about your significant other, a parent, your extended family member? Communicate these thoughts often, and in an open and honest setting.
- Morning appreciation ritual. Answer the following question: what are you grateful for?
- Practice empathy for other human beings rather than centering the universe around yourself.
- Recognize the similarities you have with others, rather than the differences.
- Hope for loved ones to be free from suffering. This is the core of compassion—to understand what others are feeling and then to want that person to be free from suffering in these emotions.
- Practicing acts of kindness every single day can help reduce the suffering of others, no matter how small of an impact.
- Hope for those who mistreat us to be free from suffering. This is one of the final stages of compassion and requires practice to make perfect.
- Evening appreciation ritual. At the end of every evening take a few moments to reflect on your day and what you are thankful and hopeful for.
3. Build Trust
According to marriage expert, John Gottman, trust is not only a building block for relationships, “trust is central to what makes human communities work.” The basis for building trust is really the idea of attunement and can be understood through the acronym:
Awareness of your partner’s emotion;
Turning toward the emotion;
Tolerance of two different viewpoints;
trying to Understand your partner;
Non-defensive responses to your partner;
and responding with Empathy.
Relationships can be tricky, but to set yourself up for positive, healthy and happy relationships requires a certain understanding and appreciation of yourself. Many of us find ourselves moving from one unsatisfying or toxic relationship to the next. This can be solved by taking an inventory of your own beliefs and values and then attracting individuals with similar characteristics. The law of attraction says that by taking some time to do a few of the practices above we can shift our subconscious to start attracting healthier and more positive individuals into our lives. If you are looking for an outside perspective to help you navigate challenging relationships, consider learning more about our relationship workshops to improve your relationships.