Sunday, July 29, 2012

Healthy Relationships - How to Develop Them

There are many people whose preference is to have healthy, happy relationships with the people in their lives... whether they are parent-child relationships, marriage or love relationships, family relationships, friendships, or even relationships with work colleagues. Building healthy relationships is a normal and natural desire. In fact, healthy relationships are a vital aspect of mental health, and general health and wellness. So what do we need to know about building and maintaining healthy relationships?

Let us define some of the qualities of healthy relationships:

    Each person takes responsibility for their own needs
    You can easily discuss conflict and differences, without blame
    The relationship is important to each person involved
    Each person communicates openly and honestly
    Abuse is absent -- this includes physical, verbal, or emotional abuse
    Each person has healthy boundaries -- can say "no" to requests without feelings of guilt

Certainly, it is important for each party in a relationship to understand, and be able to practice these aspects when interacting with others. It is my belief, however, that the key to healthy relationships is found, first, in our interactions with our Self, with our Inner Being.

What is your relationship like with your Inner Being?

    Are you in conflict with yourself?
    Do you ever heap blame on yourself?
    Do you get angry or frustrated with yourself?
    Is your relationship with your Inner Being important to you?
    Do you communicate openly and honestly with your Inner Being?
    Do you abuse yourself...with thoughts, or words?
    Can you follow your inner guidance without feeling guilt?

If your relationship with your Inner Being is not a healthy one, then keeping up a healthy relationship with others in your life could be challenging for you. The relationship you have with your Inner Being is the most important relationship you will ever have... and every other relationship is a reflection (in some way) of that most intimate, inner one.

Do you ever feel angry or frustrated with yourself, or blame and criticize yourself? Your Inner Being never argues with you, or blames you, or gets angry or frustrated or disappointed with you... your Inner Being always beams pure, positive, love energy to you -- without exception. If you blame or criticize yourself, then you are in conflict with your Inner Being -- and you feel that tension through negative emotions.

Do you value your relationship with your Inner Being? Is it important to you to feel good, and feel happy? When you value your relationship with your Inner Being, then you make every effort you can to feel happy, and to focus your attention on thoughts that feel good when you think them.

Do you communicate honestly and openly with your Inner Being? This is as easy as tuning in to your emotions. Your emotions give you feedback about your relationship with your Inner Being...when you feel positive, happy emotions, then you are in tune with your Inner Being. Negative emotions show that you are thinking of something that does not agree with what your Inner Being knows.

Do you take time to nurture your relationship with your Inner Being? Do you nurture and soothe yourself? There are many ways you can nurture your can meditate or listen to soothing music. You can also nurture yourself by thinking of someone you love, or taking a warm bath, or by taking a walk, or by just giving yourself permission to chill...just for a moment.

Do you abuse yourself with thoughts or words? It always feels good to receive support and encouragement from others...but we can also be supportive and encouraging toward ourselves. This can mean not asking or demanding too much of ourselves in time and effort -- by realizing that you don't have to do whatever-it-is this minute. We can applaud our efforts, and focus on what we did right (and not what went wrong).

Can you follow your Inner Guidance without feeling guilty? Do you trust your emotions and your 'gut' feelings? I have noticed that when I follow my 'gut' feelings and trust my emotions, my path always leads to new and improved experiences -- I feel inspired, and creative, and passionate, and alive.

So...what is your relationship like with your Inner Being?

If you make the effort to improve your relationship with your Inner Being, and make it a healthy one, then every other relationship in your experience will also improve, and you will enjoy healthy relationships.

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