Sowing Seeds is a series on Revitaled that provides inspiration and practical tips for growth and self-improvement. Our goal through this series is to provide readers with ways that they can strive towards positive, healthy lives.
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A healthy relationship:
- Needs to be nurTured
- Doesn’t need to be upgRaded
- Is like food that affects yoUr mental health, and
- will always makE you a better you.
A strong and healthy relationship will honour and respect your value, allowing you to show the TRUE you.
In this article, we outline three steps you can take that will assist you as you nurture and cultivate healthier relationships. We want to stress that these tips are not just for romantic relationships. They can also be used to strengthen bonds between family members, friends, co-workers, and other significant presences within our lives.
Also note, these tips are not exclusive of others. There are many ways that we can work towards building healthier relationships. This article is meant to serve as a starting point in your journey towards building healthier relationships.
Communication is the foundation for all relationships. Honestly sharing your thoughts and feelings can help you to develop a stronger, more trusting relationship with the other person you are speaking to. It can be easy to keep your thoughts, feelings, or opinions secret from another person, especially if you feel like sharing them will cause conflict; however, this is not healthy. This can cause a series of challenges that can cause further harm to your relationships such as misunderstandings, unclear expectations, and resentment.
But note that communication is not just about talking about how you are feeling. It also includes actively listening to the other person. Actively listening means that we are giving our full attention to the person who is speaking, paying attention to their verbal and non-verbal messages (e.g., observing their body language), and then providing an appropriate response based on the messages shared.
Communication should always take place within a safe and empathetic environment. In moments of excitement or anger, it can be easy to speak over another person, or make assumptions about what is or will be said. This is something that we should avoid. Demonstrating respect and calmness with our words, tone, and body language is the best way to maintain a safe space for communication, and can help to keep the other person we are speaking to feel calm and respected as well.
Pro Tip: How we communicate is just as important as what we say when we do communicate. We actually did a workshop on this, and other topics related to communication. If you’d like, you can check it out here.
2. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BALANCE
It can be easy to continue to give ourselves over to another person when we develop relationships with others. One of the clearest examples of two people spending too much time with each other at the beginning of a relationship is a mother and her newborn baby. While it is understandable that these two beings need to spend a lot of time with one another, it is also very important for them to spend some time apart. For example, the baby also needs time to bond with their father and other family members. And the mother will absolutely need some time to rest, shower, eat, and take care of herself.
Balance is key in every aspect of our relationships. We cannot give too much of ourselves over to others without losing a part of who we are in the process. Whether it be the amount of time you are spending at work, or the amount of money you’re spending on your significant other, remember that too much of one thing is not healthy – even if that thing is a good thing.
Pro Tip: Establish boundaries. What are you comfortable with? What are you not comfortable with? What is beneficial and healthy for you and the other person? Consider these questions to help you establish positive boundaries, and find balance in the process.
3. IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS – AND VALUE THEM!
Before we are able to establish healthy relationships with others, we must first establish healthy relationships with ourselves. We cannot understand how to treat others, nor can we establish healthy boundaries, if we don’t first find value in ourselves and in who we are as people.
One of the things that we can do to work towards establishing a healthy relationship with ourselves is by finding and valuing our strengths. We all have things that are unique to us, and if we identify these things and invest in them regularly, it can help us to develop a better awareness of who we are, and cultivate a stronger relationship with ourselves.
Pro Tip: Spend some time by yourself! Taking time out of your week just to be by yourself will help you to clearly see the things you do well, things that need improvement, and things that you love about yourself. Once you identify these things, you can begin to work towards becoming the best version of yourself, which will help you to be the best person you can be for the other people in your life.
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