In school, we may learn about covalent bonds and trigonometry proofs but seldom do we learn about navigating relationships with other human beings. In my 20s, I realized that I graduated from university before I discovered what a healthy relationship feels like. And I’m not the only one. So, let’s talk about it!
To start, when thinking about relationships, we must identify that relationships come in many forms. Relationships are our connections with family, friends, co-workers, and other people in our lives. Any relationship in our life has the ability to be healthy or unhealthy. Identifying this helps us recognize our needs and relationship patterns in our lives.
Practicing mutual empathy is another important step toward healthier relationships. This means balancing the support and emotional investment between the parties involved in the relationship. At work, this looks like a manager who coaches you as you work diligently on a project. A professional relationship involves mutual respect and dedication to your roles. In your love life, this looks like your significant other and you supporting each others’ interests, even when they aren’t shared. Regardless of your differences in taste, you root one another on when doing the things that bring you joy.
Lastly, establishing boundaries is crucial to healthy relationships. You could have a parent or friend who loves you, however, they can be a little, well, overbearing. While their actions don’t change your love for one another, they make you a bit uncomfortable. This relationship simply needs some boundaries to make it healthier! Consider setting aside “us” time with that person! Schedule a 30-minute phone call or weekly visit and be ready to talk about two or three things that happened that past week that you are totally comfortable sharing with them. As people who love one another, you’re very happy to have a look into each other’s lives, but you focus on topics you’re ready to share.
It’s important to note that valuing only one relationship isn’t going to make your life feel full or whole. Practice having multiple important people in your life that fulfill different aspects of you. And remember, the most important relationship in your life is with yourself!