What is a healthy relationship? Is it one that makes you happy, excited, fulfilled, or secure? Most people have varying types of relationships. Whether it’s with their boss, partner, their parents, or friends, relationships can range from healthy to toxic. This is because maintaining a healthy relationship takes work and can only be successful when everyone involved is putting in effort.
A healthy relationship is one where you don’t have to compromise your peace, or your identity, to be involved.
There are four important qualities of a healthy relationship; trust, communication, boundaries, and respect. Without these important pillars a healthy relationship is nearly impossible.
People often say that you don’t have to trust other people, that you have to just trust yourself. While it is important to know what you would do in any given situation – set an expectation – it is important to have trust for the other person because trust is a sign of safety.
If you don’t feel safe with the person in your life emotionally or physically, then there is definitely a lack of trust. If you find that you don’t believe what they say or you aren’t sure that they will respect your boundaries then there is a lack of trust.
It is important to have trust in a relationship – assurance that your boundaries will be respected – because that is what creates a stable foundation. Where there is distrust there is instability. Where there is instability there is anxiety, and nothing can thrive in an anxious environment.
The way we express ourselves in a relationship is one way that we can maintain its health. In a strong relationship there is good communication. What that can mean is both people in the relationship feel safe sharing who they are, what they know, and what they believe. Good communication is a form of self expression and a way to connect or bond with others. If you are experiencing poor communication you’ll know.
Here are a few signs of poor communication:
- You will feel anxious and confused by the other person’s behavior.
- You’ll feel dismissed and ignored if the other person does not communicate with you.
- You’ll feel upset and unworthy when you are left in the dark.
Your ability to set healthy boundaries in a relationship are a sign that the relationship is healthy. Boundaries help to keep you aligned with who you are instead of feeling like it’s necessary to bend over backwards for other people. Healthy boundaries include saying, ‘No’ and preserving your energy without fear that the other people will retaliate in some way or hold back their emotions and attention.
Setting boundaries and the ability to set boundaries in a relationship allow you to be yourself. You are living by your own beliefs and not violating your own standards just to please someone else, make their life convenient, or make them happy. When you have healthy boundaries you can preserve your peace and still feel loved and appreciated in your relationship. You don’t feel taken advantage of.
When someone respects you they are valuing your existence and validating your right to be, think, and feel however you choose. Respect is the healthiest way to show someone that you appreciate them and value them. Someone who doesn’t respect you is dishonoring your value.
Signs of disrespect are vast and varied but you can often feel dismissed, bullied, embarrassed, and insulted by the other person when they are not respecting you.
When people are respecting you, they prioritize how you feel. They listen to your needs and wants. They show you patience and compassion. In a healthy relationship respect is paramount. It’s the best way to communicate that you want the other person to be happy. Respect makes you feel supported in a relationship because it’s a sign that you are valued.