Are you in a healthy and committed relationship?
Healthy relationships are something we all desire since we are innately designed to interact with others, be loved, love, and share experiences. The expectations and boundaries for defining a healthy relationship change as the level of commitment deepens. Therefore, the first step is to identify where on the spectrum our relationship is; in other words, is it a causal dating, an exclusive dating, a committed dating, a serious relationship or a marriage. The deeper the level, the stronger the commitment. Here are some things to take into consideration when we are evaluating our relationship and want to build on it.
1. Relationships are realistic not idealistic: There are too many broken relationships that could have a potential because our expectations of each other are idealistic and unreasonable. We seem to be too affected by what we see on TV, movies, magazines and ads without paying attention to what is behind the façade. These images manipulate our brain in losing the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy. Overall, it takes an aware individual to separate reality from fantasy and become reasonable in her/his approach to finding someone compatible with whom s/he can build a healthy relationship with. And when that happens, reasonable compromise is a feeding element in a growing relationship.
2. It takes effort, focus and determination: Just like anything else in life, finding a healthy relationship takes some time and effort. We have to put ourselves up in the open and open up to what life brings to us. We also need to let go of distractions and focus on what matters to our core and our heart. When we have too many choices, we may end up choice less. So, at this era of having too many stimulations in the world, where online dating makes it easy to find hundreds of matches, on the surface and instantaneously; it takes a strong-willed individual to be able to focus on what s/he really wants and to find her/his way through that.
3. What is your definition of a healthy relationship? A healthy relationship is built on the foundation of both partners' awareness of themselves and their needs. Both people have to do self evaluations on what some of their core values are and then see how much compromise is vital and how much is too much.
4. Letting go of the tick guard: Having a protective guard up to a point of providing a real security is good but more than that will keep any love from coming in. If the walls are too tick, we may end up not connecting to people that are good for us. We need to open up more and every once in awhile take a leap of faith.
5. Communication: We have heard it all, communication, the magic word. But what does it really mean? A real communication is not about quantity but quality. How deep you take the conversation, how well do you know each other's deep feelings including fears and insecurities, love and happiness? How much do you understand each other? How much do you show each other affections? Communication could also be both verbal and nonverbal. Communication is a tool through which we could give support or create judgment. The first is a nurturing factor in any relationship while the second is a killer weed.
6. Support: Supporting each other means wanting the best for each other even if it means we need to make reasonable compromises. In other words, we need to ask ourselves if we are a fostering element in our partner's life or an energy sucker. We need to understand our partner's need for growth and support her or him through that process.
7. Honesty: Being your authentic self is the most valuable tool for a growing relationship. If you're honest and open, the other always knows where s/he is standing with you. It is difficult to build anything healthy with people who have a hidden side and have a need to manipulate or lie. These are toxic traits that can damage a relationship. In a healthy relationship, we are encouraged to let go of our fear and share our deepest feelings. This self disclosure can make us feel vulnerable but is necessary and healing.
8. Commitment: As the relationship grows, so does the level of commitment. It takes certain self respect, self discipline and mind control to be able to focus on what really matters. When the two partners merge to build a unit, they both have to learn to find a balance between keeping their own individual self while functioning from this united place.
9. Forgiveness: A part of our humanness is to be given permission to make mistakes. Sometime through these mistakes the best evolving experiences happens. As long as mistakes are not based on a repeated intention of hurting someone else and they do not become a pattern; then there is usually much more to be gained by forgiving and moving on.
10. Genuine interest in learning about each other: Talking to our partner with an open heart can be liberating. Also listening to them without judgment and subjectivity can help them pour their soul out to us and make us their one safe place of sanctuary to turn to in times of bad and good. Having a source of trust where we both can unleash our inner most feelings could be healing.
Finally, when you get involved in a relationship or if you already are in one, don't indulge in self thought that create anxiety, be a little more trusting in life, and open your heart to all that it has to offer.
At the end, I dedicate this poem to the ones who have found or are in search of a great partner.
I am in search of the one who makes my heart shiver
The one for whom my love flows like water in a river
I am in search of the one who is my companion of life
The one who walks with me through serenity and strife
I am in search of the one who has the magic touch
The one who can pull me out when in a hutch
I have been searching with patients in the path of love
Sometimes my legs feel tried but I have been told from above
A real deep inner feeling tells me that my search is about to be over
That something else is in charge now, maybe a drover
Something tells me that when I see him I will know
That when I see his eyes, something will hit me like a blow
Then I will ask him to come to me and to take a stand
To walk the walk, to step in the path and to hold my hand
I will let him know my every fiber, my heart and soul
I will ask him to share his deepest feelings, from every core
I will place him in the center of my heart as my other half
I will share my life with him, all that I have, moments of cry and laugh
Roya R. Rad
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