How to Build A Healthy Thriving Relationship

PART ONE: BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

  • Respect, allow and tolerate the other’s opinions, even if you disagree
  • Supportive and Understanding
  • Accept responsibility
  • Always speak and act in a way that allows the other to feel safe and comfortable
  • Discuss conflicts, never resort to violence
  • Spend quality time together
  • Respect the need for alone time
  • Respect and allow each other’s right to his or her own feelings, opinions, friends, activities and space
  • Admit when they are wrong
  • Communicate openly, directly and truthfully
  • Share responsibility
  • Make decisions together
  • Listen to each other non-judgementally
  • Support each other’s goals
  • Have fun together
  • Try to see the world and problems through the other person’s eyes

PART TWO: ADVANCED PRINCIPLES TO FORM A THRIVING RELATIONSHIP

These principles can be applied to any form of relationship, be it friend, family or significant other. Forming an outstanding relationship has everything to do with you. It begins with you, because if you begin to apply these principles, the other will most likely follow in kind because it simply brings pleasure. These principles have as much to do with adopting an understanding and perspective as they do clear-cut steps to take. When you change your perspective, you change your world. Don’t take my word on this, experiment with it and see for yourself. Feel free to accept or reject any one of these principles:

  1. As Neile Walsch puts it, “Try to think of your relationship as a container to pour things into, rather than a cookie tray to grab things from.” A subtle switch happens, and something changes in your mind and body when you often ask yourself this important question: “What can I give, do or say that will cause my partner to feel happy?” The reason for this shift is the Universal Law that says what you put out, comes back to you like a boomerang; what you give, you receive; the quickest way to feel joy is to cause another to feel joy. People will always feel happy when they give with pleasure, whether it is a car, a compliment or a smile. When both people in relationship have this attitude, the relationship will thrive.
  2. Communicate openly, honestly, directly and specifically. To the degree that partners do this, your relationship will grow and thrive. At times, of course, this will cause conflict to emerge, but understand it as an issue that would simply fester over time and cause resentment anyway unless brought to the surface and discussed. This leads into the next two principles, which outlines a specific way to communicate through problem issues that brings great results.
  3. Even if you don’t agree with the other person and you feel they are irrational, allow the person to feel as if they have been heard and understood. If you can simply listen to, and then repeat back the other person’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it, so they feel as if they’ve been heard, it will be a magic key that melts away anger, frustration and conflict, and opens the door to yourself feeling heard and understood. {Example: “You feel upset because (I didn’t call you) and that makes you feel (neglected, like I don’t care about you.”)}.
  4. When you have something to say, use this three-step formula: (1) Say what you feel. No one can argue with how you feel. “I feel scared, sad, etc.”; (may include a specific behavior “when you don’t call”) (2) Say what you want to have for the relationship, or what you ideally envision your relationship to look and feel like “I want us to communicate clearer and more often, to have a stronger connection with each other.” (3) Make a request.”Would you be willing to call once a day when you have time?” “Would you be willing to tell me what you’re thinking, feeling?” Would you be willing to hear my version of what happened?” “Would you be willing to hear my perspective of what happened, if I hear your perspective?”
  5. Understand that there is never one truth or perspective to any event or situation. There are always two truths, two perspectives, two versions of every story if two people are involved. There are three perspectives if three people are involved.
  6. Be clear in your mind about what you or your partner could do more of to enhance the quality of the relationship. Be assertive, direct, specific and clear when you declare what s/he could do more of, or less of, to make the relationship stronger. Hint: It may work much better if you first ask your partner, “Is there anything I could do more of to make this relationship better?”
  7. If something holds you back from easily asking the above question, it may be because you are carrying underlying resentment or anger toward that person. Allow this anger or resentment to be heard, understood and released. At times, deep-seated anger stems from others whom you knew prior to your partner. If this is the case, find the root of this anger, then release and heal it. It is not as difficult as most people think.* Understand that people’s anger, fears, jealousies, etc. often have a deeper root from long ago. If people have underlying anger at someone else earlier in their life, their partner may likely be the target of displaced anger from them. Repressed emotions come out sideways, often years later. Generally, a relationship will be more difficult to the degree that there are past unresolved hurts, fears and anger for either partner. When these feelings have been resolved on an individual basis, the same relational conflicts tend not to arise and relationships flow much more smoothly.
  8. Grant each other complete freedom, knowing that if a person feels they have to do or not do something, resentment and unconscious resistance can build. Always allow that partner to make their free choice, but be very clear to yourself and your partner what it is that you prefer and what you definitely will or won’t put up with in a relationship. If they refuse to agree or comply after analyzing and discussing it together, then consider that you can still love that person, but you may need to change the form of the relationship, perhaps adding more distance to it, or becoming friends. For example, never put up with abuse. By doing so, you actually harm yourself and your partner because you don’t allow either of you the chance to grow and learn, which is what we are all actually doing here. If an issue arises, both you and your partner should clearly verbalize what actions or behavior you prefer from the other.
  9. This is the most important point: KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ALL THE SECURITY, LOVE, SAFETY ALREADY WITHIN YOURSELF, AT YOUR CORE. You need no one else to feel these feelings. Whatever feeling you think you need to get from another, you already have access to much more of this feeling within yourself. These feelings always lie hidden beneath the restless and uncomfortable ones, and anyone can experience them, as they are the qualities of your soul. Every great teacher or self-realized master has taught this lesson. (Jesus: “The kingdom of God lies within you.”, Lao Tzu: “At the center of your being, you have unimagined resources.”, Yogananda: “Within you lies the sea of infinite knowledge and inspiration.”) This realization will ultimately bring relief and happiness. When you know by experience that lasting happiness and a feeling of security is found within yourself, a shift will occur within you and relationships will run much smoother because you will know that you no longer need something from another, although you may prefer something from them. This subtle shift makes a huge difference because no longer are you dependent on someone or something beyond your control for a sense of well being. However, it is far better to experience these core positive feelings through any number of ways such as meditation, than it is to understand it as an intellectual concept.**
  10. Expect challenges in any relationship, for they are supposed to happen, as life is set up and designed that way in order for us to grow as people and souls. If this is the first time you have heard this concept, it is not necessary to believe it, but simply become aware of your feelings and thoughts and keep open the possibility that you are here for a reason. We unconsciously attract to us someone that will bring to the surface our own challenge, weakness or one of our lessons in life. If you avoid it, you’ll discover the same sort of uncomfortable feeling and challenge arising repeatedly, perhaps from another person or place in your life. Facing conflicts with honest, clear communication and avoiding emotional or physical abuse is one sign of growth. If you have an ongoing conflict, observe what uncomfortable feeling arises within yourself. Any relationship conflict, no matter how much it seems your partner is at fault, has to do with a personal challenge within yourself, and also within your partner. It is an opportunity for growth for all involved, as any conflict is. It’s a chance to move through the issue as your soul-self, rather than falling into the usual habit of using the human ego to solve problems, which is steeped in feelings of fear or a lack of something. When we move through a conflict from the perspective of our soul-self, the conflict will usually disappear. If you can view conflicts from this perspective, it will be nearly resolved. The following visualization may help:
    Close your eyes, take several long, deep breaths into your abdomen. Imagine yourself to float out of your body and, in your mind’s eye, find yourself peacefully looking down at the top of your head. Then imagine that suddenly all cares and concerns of this earth life begin to slowly fade away completely as you feel yourself being drawn into a vortex that leads to a stronger energy vibration of peace, joy, love and light than you can imagine. You realize, with surprisingly little concern, that your life, like a dream, is now over and you have awaken into the bliss of your true soul-self, a wonderful state of complete contentment that begins to grow more familiar with each passing moment. You realize that you are really a soul that needs and wants nothing because you are a part of an ever-expanding energy of love and peace. Surrounded and saturated in the bliss of this familiar environment, your consciousness expands as you begin to see a review of your past life, which you can fast forward, rewind and freeze, all for the purpose of learning from this past dream-life. Fast forward to the moments of challenge and conflict. Given that it was all just a dream test, what do you wish you had done in these circumstances that would be a reflection of your soul-self? What do you wish you had communicated? How can your soul be reflected through your actions in any of these conflicts? What is the challenge or lesson for you to learn from as a soul in each conflict? What would Unconditional Love do in each circumstance? What would be the result if you acted from this state of Love, Peace, Joy and Security in any given circumstance? Vividly imagine the outcome, knowing that whatever happens, everything turns out fine in the end. You begin to gain a growing insight that whatever happens on earth doesn’t matter, only our reaction matters to any given person or circumstance. From this perspective, imagine yourself coming back down to your earth life and applying this state of mind to any present challenge or conflict.

* There are many ways to release, transform and heal thoughts and feelings from the past that adversely affect your present. Visit the website emofree.com; or read the short book The Journey by Brandon Bays; or visit a transpersonal or regression hypnotherapist that knows how to do this.

** There are numerous ways to experience the wellspring of peace within yourself which lies beneath the restlessness. Most methods involve some form of meditation. The book, The Journey, by Brandon Bays outlines a process to experience it.

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