What is a healthy and comfortable relationship and how do you decide whether to leave or stay? Check out the article!
Relationships in any area of life are substances that are fickle and very multifaceted. Every element of the relationship matters. If the proportions are taken into account, we feel comfortable, if not, we leave the relationship.
What is a "healthy relationship"? Regardless of the context (we are talking about love relationships, or about relationships with friends), a relationship cannot be considered healthy if at least one of the participants finds himself in discomfort, resistance or indifference.
Before discussing the components of a healthy relationship, answer yourself to three questions:
- What is a relationship?
- How are relationships different from formal contact?
- What is important for forming a relationship?
Everyone will have their own answer. But I can assume that for many an important difference between relationships and formal contact is a strong emotional color. In different types of relationships, this color will be different. For professional interaction, this can be respect, for relationships in a couple - love, for friendships - trust, for relationships with children - acceptance. There are a lot of options.
In the eyes of idealists, this "red thread" in the form of one main feeling is enough for a relationship. But in reality, maintaining a relationship takes much more than a leitmotif of love, trust, or respect. These additional "Tools»The composition of relationships is the criteria for healthy relationships.
It is very difficult to reduce what could be called the criteria for a healthy relationship to a specific list. But in my opinion, there are characteristics of the components of a healthy relationship that are most important.
- Interest... Perhaps it is with this component that communication as such begins. And any relationship begins with him. Interest develops in two directions at once - interest in a person and interest in relationships. The difference is that the former is not a sufficient motive for forming a relationship. There may be interest in a person, pleasure in observing him and his way. In this case, contact is not required. The second direction is motivation for the formation of contact and relationships as such. In addition, interest (interest) in a relationship implies an understanding of which relationship format is preferable. As soon as interest disappears from the relationship and indifference appears, problems appear. It is possible to solve them, but again, the interest of both parties is required.
- Sphere of joint interests. Even the strongest and strongest relationships, reinforced by time and feelings, can fade away in the absence of points of contact. You can imagine a relationship as two balls - they can have the same shape and color, but for them to be somehow connected to each other, a point of contact is necessary. At least one, but very dense. This point here is the area of common interests that will not allow the relationship to slide into routine. Continuing with the ball metaphor, it is imperative that the dots change and remain dense. How to do it? The balls can roll, constantly touching new points. 🙂 The same principle works for humans. To rest on one point is reliable, stable, but monotonous. You need to learn to move and change these points without losing contact. You need to periodically find new common interests and activities that will expand the opportunities for interaction.
- Confidence... The importance of trust is something of a thank you cap. But for some reason, this valuable and obvious knowledge does not help in any way to maintain a warm and healthy relationship for thousands of people. Why? Because trust for many of us seems to be either something one-off, or something taken for granted, or something deserved. In essence, whether to trust or not is a decision. And it's actually simple. Yes, we complicate this decision with thoughts and questions. But in fact, absolutely any person can with equal probability both justify our trust and betray it. The decision is ours - either we breathe in and out and let the other person take on some of the responsibility for the relationship, or we don't. And then we suffer from contact, avoid it and prick the other. Remember this: Trust is the willingness to transfer some of the responsibility for the relationship to another person. And don't check. The degree of trust in a person is the percentage of responsibility that you are ready to give. This is the choice that you always have. 1% is also trust. And if you give this one percent - do not shake over it and do not check it every day.
- Feelings... This is precisely the component of a healthy relationship that is generally considered the cornerstone of a relationship. Anyone. It is yes, but no. Feelings are 1/10 of a relationship. No more and no less. Without a doubt, the part is important and you can't build a relationship without it. But only one tenth. Feelings are difficult to evoke, despite the fact that they are chemically reinforced. But to strengthen or weaken them is somewhat easier. How? The most effective way is to explore another person without prior fantasies and expectations. Change the communication format, environment and look at those sides of the person that you are not familiar with yet. Feelings are a manifestation of concern for another person. And it is much easier to be partial to what is still unknown :-) The most beautiful thing in this part of the relationship is that if there was a relationship and there was contact, then there were feelings. This means that you can understand them, “raise” and accept them. These three Ps are the key to good contact and relationships. But I ask you to remember and believe that feelings alone are not enough to maintain relationships and their "health". They are a fire that heats up relationships, but in order for it to burn, you need to throw wood.
- Adoption... This is probably the most difficult component of a healthy relationship. Just as acceptance implies a refusal to try to change something in another person “for yourself”. Unconditional acceptance means acceptance without conditions 🙂 This point cannot be nurtured in oneself until there is the same unconditional acceptance of oneself. And for the vast majority of people, this is an extremely difficult task. However, as soon as you have this absolute, unconditional acceptance, the quality of any kind of relationship in your life will increase significantly. To accept another person, you need to understand and accept their right to be yourself and live your life, and not meet your expectations :-). Well, think for yourself, would you like a person to try in every possible way to correct you, correct and make a comfortable sofa out of you? Why should others like it? Acceptance is not a reflex, an instinct, or a skill. This is the way. When you open a new side in a person, you give him responsibility for this side. You may or may not like this side. It is in your power to contact her or not, but you do not have the slightest right to change her.
- Respect... This is recognition of the merits and achievements of another person, his choice and "OK" attitude towards another. And this is also about the inner willingness to give another responsibility for his life. Respect not only needs to be experienced, but also demonstrated. Contrary to popular belief, showing respect does not mean verbal confirmation, but the fact of accepting the choice of another person and refusing to try to influence this choice, or in any other way change the person's opinion about this choice. It is respect for the other person's ability to think, analyze, make decisions and act the way they want. Respect for another person, in any relationship, is impossible without respect for oneself. A person who respects himself is immediately visible. It is these people that arouse our interest, trust, evoke various feelings. It is respect that creates the space for a person in which he is able to live his own life, and not follow any expectations.
- Personal space and respect for boundaries. Personal boundaries are a kind of psychological comfort zone of a person, his principled views and safe feelings. When we talk about respect for boundaries, we mean that we know about what is uncomfortable for a particular person with whom we are in a relationship. And most importantly, we do not cross these boundaries and do not provoke a person into defensive reactions. If we did it in some random way, we step back in time, allowing the person to take a comfortable psychological position. Personal space is closely related to the concept of personal boundaries. This is the psychological space in which a person is free to do what is interesting to him, it is important, to communicate with the circle of people he needs and develop in the right vector, regardless of the preferences of another person. Respect for the boundaries and space of another person is the key to a comfortable relationship. Yes, there are times when the systematic violation of boundaries by another person is perceived as some kind of manifestation of care. Then we are talking about codependent relationships, but we cannot call them healthy.
- Adequate physical presence in the life of another person. Despite the fact that we live in the era of virtual communication, healthy harmonious relationships are thus unattainable. To form a comfortable relationship, the presence of another person in our life is necessary with the possibility of direct contact. Agree, communication via the Internet, even with video, does not make communication complete. This is especially true of personal life, where physical contact is the key to maintaining a relationship. Of course, for a certain period of time, the virtual presence of a partner may be enough, but the need for care, hugs and even just a live conversation, it is natural and physically felt. In business communication and related relationships, direct contact is often a condition of negotiation. Come to think of it, no really important negotiation takes place over the internet. The exception is cases at a distance, when people are in different countries. And then, after a certain time, a person is invited to direct communication. The lack of the physical presence of the other person creates a very tangible deficit that is felt uncomfortable. Even the closest relationships ever can be tested.
- The integrity of all participants in the relationship. This means that none of the participants enters into dependence or codependency with another person and is able to fully and holistically feel themselves outside the relationship. Integrity is the original trait. And this is very important. Many people make serious mistakes thinking that they will gain integrity and an impetus to develop in a relationship with another person. An initially holistic and evolving personality, entering into a relationship, will continue to develop and support another. A person inclined to merge, intentionally or unconsciously, will use the other as a "springboard". If this suits the other, then such a relationship can live for quite a long time. But there is a risk that the more holistic of the participants in the relationship will eventually decide that he is tired of dragging the other on himself. And he will be absolutely right. Relationships are healthy when the participants are able to walk side by side, albeit on different paths.
- Lack of constant psychological games. The most frequent and beloved game by many was and remains the so-called Karpman triangle. This is a kind of "toxic" codependent interaction, in which the participants in the interaction violate each other's "okay". In doing so, they play three roles - Persecutor, Rescuer, Victim. There is a devaluation in each of the roles: the Victim devalues himself and his ability to make decisions, the Rescuer accepts the Victim's game and devalues the Victim's ability to cope without his (the Rescuer's) help, and the persecutor devalues everyone and believes that the truth is suppression and domination. These roles are constantly moving and each of the participants in the triangle, over time, passes into another role. For example, the Rescuer, having stumbled upon the fact that his help does not meet with gratitude, may feel anger and easily fall into the Persecutor, or he feels devalued and becomes a Victim. This is just one example of a game, there are many more games themselves. And if games become a habitual form of interaction, the relationship will quickly fade away.
In my opinion, a normal and healthy relationship should contain all of these components in equal measure. Excess or shortage in any "segment" - will cause discomfort for all participants. You can think about how these components might look in practice in your personal life. As for how feasible such a scheme is, I am sure that it is extremely difficult to maintain a relationship on the principles of these ten points all the time. However, it is quite realistic to strive for this.
What to do if during the process of reading this note you noticed that there is a clear deficit of some part in your relationship?
I suggest asking yourself a series of questions and, based on the answers, make starting conclusions:
Do I agree with the above?
- if something causes disagreement, then what and why?
- What components are the most important for relationships in my opinion?
- what components are present in my relationship (professional, family or personal) and to what extent are they expressed (for example, from 1 to 10)?
- To what extent are the other components expressed?
- deficiency in which of their components do I feel the most painful?
- What can I do to influence this?
- what can I not influence in any way and what does this mean for me?
Here is such a short questionnaire I give you and suggest that after completing it, wait a week and return when the first emotional response subsides. If you want - write or sign up for a consultation and we will work with the result together :) Until then - I wish you a comfortable relationship and pleasant communication!
I would be glad to receive your responses!