This blog post was written by Pooja Shah, PsyD.
Relationships are complex and impact all aspects of our lives. For the most part, when we are struggling the problem, issue, etc. almost always leads back to a relationship or relationships; whether it be with a significant other, co-worker, friend, or yourself.
The two main questions to ask are…what is my role in what is happening? And how are my relationships being impacted by whatever is happening? It is normal and easy to find fault in others when there is a problem; however, relationships with others are a two way street, all people involved contribute to the problem, that includes you.
There are 7 categories that make for healthy relationships. When you are struggling, most likely one or more of these characteristics is at the root.
Trust/Support- This involves supporting individual goal and being truthful with both yourself and others. All individuals are allowed their own feelings, opinions, friends, activities, and interests. While in relationships it is important to support others for their interests while remaining honest and true to your own. If you do not stay true to yourself, you may be struggling with being able to trust yourself, your decisions, choices, past, etc. Remember…how can you expect others to trust you if you do not trust yourself?
Honesty- involves open communication which includes feelings and emotions as well as admitting to mistakes or when you are wrong. Acknowledging past behavior that may have been detrimental and being responsible for one’s own actions.
Shared Responsibility- making decisions based on consideration of others. Agreeing to roles of each individual and sharing responsibility of decisions, chores, parenting, cleaning, etc.
Respect- listening and valuing the opinions of others. Understanding and affirming feelings of others. People often experience disrespect when they feel unheard or ignored, often all it takes to show respect is showing them that you heard and understood what they said. Respect does not necessarily mean agreeing.
Compromise- willingness to negotiate and accept change. In a relationship you may not always agree but in order for relationships to work one must accept that you will never be with someone who agrees to 100% of what you believe, do or say. Knowing that, prepare for compromise. Be open to coming to a middle, where both parties are happy.