Relationships take many forms.
Friendships can give us fun experiences and invaluable emotional support from a perspective we can’t get anywhere else.
Family and Partners can provide us with profound love, connection, and companionship.
Peers provide us with opportunities to learn and grow from each other through collaboration and shared experiences.
Communities can give us a sense of belonging, identity, and purpose.
It is from this web of relationships and connections with other people that we draw our strength, resiliency, and sense of belonging in the world. These relationships can lift us up when we are down and give us the capacity to deal with whatever challenges come our way.
Why Relationships are so Important
Relationships that nurture and fulfill us are at the heart of the human experience. As social beings, positive personal relationships are essential to our health and well-being. Experiencing love and connection are basic human needs. We are literally hardwired to crave healthy relationships. There is compelling scientific evidence suggesting that healthy relationships can actually help us live longer, deal with stress better, be healthier, and even feel richer.
A relationship is not a place you go to get something, it’s a place you go to give — to give your attention and presence, to give your passion and energy, to give your love, and to give your heart. When all people in a relationship are giving, all people are receiving, and this dynamic creates space for joy, passion, trust, and an intimacy that can help overcome challenges that come your way.
How to Evaluate Your Relationships
It is also important to reflect on the relationships you have in your life to determine if they are healthy or unhealthy and influencing you in a positive or negative way. Knowing the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships can be a really helpful tool to evaluate the relationships you have in your life. It can also help you determine when you might need help or support, learn how to create boundaries, and then be able to cultivate more of the relationships you do want in your life.
10 Signs of Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships, according to BLOOM’s Relationship Expert, One Love Foundation, “bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself. A healthy relationship does not mean a “perfect” relationship, and no one is healthy 100% of the time, but the signs below are behaviors you should strive for in all of your relationships.
Healthy relationships manifest themselves as healthy communication, but in order to have a healthy relationship, you need to love yourself first.” Here are some characteristics and behaviors of a healthy relationship.
#1. Comfortable Pace – The relationship moves at a speed that feels enjoyable for each person.
#2. Honesty – You can be truthful and candid without fearing how the other person will respond.
#3. Respect – You value one another’s beliefs and opinions, and love one another for who you are as a person.
#4. Kindness – You are caring and empathetic to one another, and provide comfort and support.
#5. Healthy Conflict – Openly and respectfully discussing issues and confronting disagreements non-judgmentally.
#6. Trust – Confidence that your partner won’t do anything to hurt you or ruin the relationship.
#7. Independence – You have space to be yourself outside of the relationship.
#8. Equality – The relationship feels balanced and everyone puts the same effort into the success of the relationship.
#9. Taking Responsibility – Owning your own actions and words.
#10. Fun – You enjoy spending time together and bring out the best in each other.
10 Signs of Unhealthy Relationships
According to BLOOM’s Relationship Expert, One Love Foundation, “while everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors. If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse. If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help.”
#1. Intensity – When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the top behavior that feels overwhelming.
#2.Manipulation – When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions.
#3. Sabotage – When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success.
#4. Guilting – When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy.
#5. Deflecting Responsibility – When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior.
#6. Possessiveness – When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do.
#7. Isolation – When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people.
#8. Belittling – When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself.
#9. Volatility – When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated.
#10. Betrayal – When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way.
4 Ways to Create Healthy Relationships
It is important to know that if you want to create extraordinary relationships in your life, then you must start with yourself. Start with yourself and commit to continually improving yourself.
#1. Meet Your Own Needs
Notice what you love about yourself, appreciate those qualities, and make sure you are giving yourself what you need. As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup,” so it is essential that you are meeting your needs and caring for yourself too.
#2. Commit to Working on Yourself
See what aspects of yourself need attention and improvement, and commit to working on them. Once we begin to cultivate this self-awareness, we can recognize our behavioral, emotional, and thought patterns, and determine whether or not they are serving our growth. This self-awareness gives us an incredible opportunity to change that which is not serving us. This continual progress is the key to fulfillment and your personal growth. For a little help in this area of self-improvement, check out BLOOM’s Mental Strength section. Here you’ll become empowered to tackle self-improvement like a boss and learn how to show up to your relationships as your best self, in a peak mental and emotional state.
#3. Practice Appreciating Good Qualities in Others
After beginning this work on yourself, carry this practice outward to your other relationships. Our relationships need to be nurtured in order to thrive. Take pride in your consistent ability to notice, appreciate, and compliment all of the awesome, exciting, and unique aspects of the people with whom you share these important relationships.
#4. Mimic the Relationships You Admire
With everything in life, SUCCESS leaves clues. Emulate the relationships you respect and admire, work on yourself to be more like the people you admire, and these positive patterns will start to take hold in your relationships too.