To create truly healthy relationships in the broadest sense, both personally and professionally, requires each of us to transition from a self-serving intention to one that serves the other person. Until we learn to make that switch, we can never truly experience healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are based on the simple premise that the essence of all relationships is defined by one simple question: “How may I serve?”
This is not about subservience or being an emotional slave to another person. This is about voluntarily giving yourself to all of your relationships as often as you possibly can. To do this in a healthy manner requires the realization that you are already whole and complete, independent of your relationships.
Too often, we tend to associate relationships with negativity, disagreements, conflict and emotional pain. Not healthy, to say the least. Many use relationships as vehicles ‘to get somewhere,’ ‘get someone,’ or ‘get something.’ This is purely for purposes of self-gratification and self-satisfaction; also known as ‘what’s in it for me.’ When we seek relationships for purely selfish reasons we set ourselves up for emotional pain and sorrow.
Why do we seek relationships in the first place? It is part of the human condition: the need to be loved, accepted, acknowledged and included. It is our fears that move us to seek relationships that are self-serving. Fear of isolation, loneliness, anonymity and ultimately physical death.
To give 100% of you to another person may seem scary at first. Why? Because, it requires taking our minds off ourselves and focus on someone else. To the conditioned mind that spends most of the time in ‘survival mode’ (aka ‘what’s in it for me’), this can appear to be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Of course, this is an exaggeration, but to our minds it really can feel that way. For example, have you ever had the thought or made the statements ‘If he leaves me I think I’ll just die!’ or ‘I’d rather die than confront her face-to-face!’
We think thoughts of personal annihilation, live in and act from a place of fear, and wonder why we don’t have healthy marriages, friendships and business partnerships.
To experience healthy relationships we must be willing to be of service first and we also must be willing to let go of the fears that prevent us from having them.
To let go of your fears, no matter what the fear is about, requires courage, vulnerability and risk. The courage aspect is about rising above your fears. Healthy relationships always have two people who possess courage.
The vulnerability aspect is about opening yourself up emotionally. This means that you present all of yourself, 100% of you to the other person.
The risk is about rejection. Interestingly, there is no such thing as rejection. People never say ‘No’ to us! People simply make excuses! They’ll tell you how you don’t add up or live up to their expectations. The truth is, they are really saying ‘No’ to themselves. On a deeper level, they have and feel the same fears that you have too!
There is really no such thing as unhealthy relationships. There are only people living in fear and those fears are made real by the negative, dysfunctional content and the stories they script in their minds.
If you are open to it, examine how your fears play a role in your relationships. Then, consider switching the focus from how your relationships are satisfying you to how can your relationships become more fulfilling for the other person.
Have the courage to rise above your fears about relationships and all the issues they represent to you in your mind. Be open to being vulnerable. Vulnerability, contrary to belief, can become your greatest strength when it comes to creating healthy relationships.
And finally, take a chance. No risk, no real change. Yes, you’ve been hurt before. Who hasn’t? As you begin to consistently give yourself to others selflessly, you realize that you are not only lifting others up emotionally and spiritually; you are empowering yourself as well.
Here are some quick tips to get you started to creating healthy relationships in your life:
- Write down your fears regarding relationships. Look at your list. Now ask yourself how these fears relate to the relationship you have with yourself. This is essential, because all of your relationships are a reflection of the one you have with yourself.
- In what ways can you be more loving and respectful to yourself so you don’t have to seek it and get it from another person? How can you be kinder, gentler and more compassionate toward yourself?
- Knowing that everyone has the same fears regarding relationships, begin to look beyond another person’s fears and have the courage to hold a safe place for them to authentically share who they are with you.
As Relationship Coaches and spiritual teachers, we are all about “Who are you becoming?” The past is over. It’s time to emotionally let it go so you can finally put it behind you.
“Your relationships, like every other aspect of your life, are the sum total of how you feel about yourself and your world. We all either react in fear or respond with love. There are no shades of grey here; however, the choice is black and white and is ultimately yours to make.”
There is a Universal Truth that says “To create any real lasting changes in your life requires your readiness and willingness…and sometimes a light kick in the rear.” We’re right behind you!
For over a decade now, the two of us have personally and professionally investigated and delved into what makes a relationship healthy. We would love to hear from you! Share with us your ‘healthy relationship’ experiences!