As humans, we are wired to connect with one another. Yet, connecting in a way that is mutually supportive and harmonious can be really challenging. Based on what we know about the Law of Attraction, we are constantly attracting people (i.e. relationships) based on the frequency and vibration of our very own thoughts. This means that we have the power to create the relationships we want and the power to change unhealthy traits in our current ones.
The best question to ask ourselves is:
Who am I “being” when I’m in a healthy relationship?
Whether it’s healthy relationships with friends, co-workers, or your soul mate, evaluating how you are showing up, and how you want to show up, is the first step to attracting the healthy relationships that you want. There is no downside to taking responsibility for how we show up in a relationship! It will often empower those already around us to do the same, and naturally repel those who aren’t willing to.
So, whether you want to give your current relationships a makeover, or you’re interested in beginning new relationships, we’ve identified 9 crucial traits of any healthy relationship:
1. Safe Space for Vulnerability
The key to depth and intimacy, like getting to know someone beyond surface level, is vulnerability. Author and researcher Brene Brown explains that our fear of being vulnerable keeps us “vacillating between I am here and I love you…and I’m going to reveal my innermost to you…and I am scared to death that you’ll reject me.” Really, this is all about the courage to be ourselves. If you open up space to be completely yourself, you give the other person permission to do the same. Then you’ve got a relationship that will withhold the test of time!
The space for vulnerability largely depends on trust. Trusting someone means that you believe they are reliable and you are confident in them, or their ability to withhold their commitments in the relationship. Questions to ask are: Are you showing up in the relationship consistently, does the other person consistently show up for you, and do you honor each other’s boundaries? These will frame the amount of trust that you have for someone, which can always be built over time.
We all know that communication is important. But what exactly are we talking about? The healthiest relationships are able to actually communicate what their boundaries are, talk about said boundaries when they feel they aren’t honored, and are able to express different views in a way that will actually create more harmony. Be open in expressing doubts. Be open to expressing what isn’t clear and also speak what is true for you.
4. Mutual Commitment
It may be awkward to talk about, but we can easily avoid major pitfalls of miscommunication - or lack of communication - by being honest from the start. What is someone expecting of you and vice versa? Be clear on what you can and cannot deliver, or commit to. This mutual commitment will go a very long way.
While it's important to sometimes consider other's need first, people in healthy and thriving relationships know how vital it is to make time to take care of themselves. Both people in the relationship understand and know that self-care is an absolutely necessary component to keep their relationship both balanced and strong. In today’s busy and sometimes hectic society, it can be challenging to carve out time that’s entirely for you. However, the value of having time for yourself to take care of your health, finances, personal life, and more simply cannot be measured. Ensuring each person in the relationship has a sense of “me” can lead to more fulfilling experiences of “we”.
6. Shared Values
While shared activities are great, shared values are often way more important. Our core values can definitely shift over time, especially across different areas of life. It’s great to get clear on what yours are first so that you can identify whether or not they are a match to those around you. Life-changing decisions, and ultimately long-term compatibility, are based on the values that you share.
Respect is not just about what you’re saying, but what you’re doing. You can show respect by being fully present in a conversation, by honoring someone’s time, maintaining confidentiality, or by showing appreciation and acknowledgment.
Empathy is simply the act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and it can do wonders if you’ve hit a wall in a particular discussion. A Harvard study found that marriages were more successful when one partner tried to demonstrate empathy. Demonstrate that you understand the other person’s view by reiterating how it must feel, or just by listening without trying to prove a point.
Having a “win-win” mentality will keep your egos in check. The ability to compromise is not about determining who is right and who is wrong, but rather what can be done so that both parties feel heard, loved and supported!
Relationships help the world go round. I recommend adopting all 9 of the above traits to both enhance and improve your relationships with co-workers, friends, and of course, loved ones.
But if you suspect your relationships need a little more work, how about trying something outside the box?
Like attending my free online Masterclass, called Put Your Success On Auto-Pilot!
I’m sure you haven’t seen a personal growth training quite like this - it goes way deeper, and yet many of the techniques you’ll learn are far easier than what you might be used to.
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And, if you have any other characteristics you incorporate into your relationships to keep them healthy and thriving, please feel free to share with our community in the comments below!
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.