Healthy Loving Relationships
I think the true definition of respectful relationships gets lost or blurred in many of the partnerships we have throughout our lives. We accept behaviors and certain conduct from those that happen to be in the closest proximity to us, and sometimes it’s crucial to re-define boundaries.
This may come in the shape of an elder and how they speak to you, or in a partner that lacks respecting your privacy. We see those in a leadership role treating their employees like less than equal individuals.
We accept the criticism of someone putting us down and spewing hurtful names, or begin to walk on eggshells because it’s the easier route. Over time these create our norms and the kind of treatment we permit; this often ends up correlating with how we treat others. In the past, I do not feel like I handled conflict in my relationships well. I used insults as a way to validate my point and would often break my loved ones down, rather than focusing on building them up.
I’ve witnessed firsthand harsh words being passed between my siblings, verbal threats in the heat of an argument from my mom, and blatant humiliation in my own relationships, all of which was accepted as normal and would quickly dissipate the next day. Since things never were physically violent, it all seemed pretty acceptable to me. I’m sharing the darkness of my past to show you change is possible.
As I got older and continuously worked on my personal growth, I started to see that how I handled certain situations in the past was not only unwarranted, but also not healthy. Although my actions could be considered despicable at times, I also was in relationships where there was a serious lack of respect coming from my partner. Unfortunately, instead of removing myself from those toxic relationships, I used destructive language and vindictive tactics to solve the issue. This started from my very first relationship - even though we were young and immature, his lack of respect for our partnership was the start of my outlandish behavior. Therefore, this set the bar for what I was willing to accept, and also what I contributed.
I have previously touched upon how your first relationships shape the way you love today, and that is not only in the intimacy sense. We are heavily influenced by our relationships as we grow up; the correlation in how we deal with certain issues as we become adults is overwhelming. The girl who was always told to watch what she ate may have an unhealthy relationship with food, or the person who continues to find themselves in abusive relationships was often the child who never was uplifted by their parents. We should not be settling for interactions with others that tear us down. We need to know when something is toxic and have the ability to walk away or demand a change.
Just as in anything in life, change is possible as long as you continuously work on it. If you want to develop healthy relationships in your life, you need to set boundaries and eliminate anything that is stopping you from heading in a positive direction. Many times, the first relationship that needs work is the one with yourself. When we determine what causes our inner critic to go on a rampage, we have the ability to steer clear of the self-inflicted thoughts we allow to become our reality. It’s important to identify and integrate the commentary that lifts us up and reminds us we are worthy. In doing so, we will undoubtedly begin to treat those closest to us with more respect, love, and honor. The relationships in your life should be filled with your biggest supporters and those that treat you with the utmost respect.