Healthy Relationships by Meg

I am an Empowered and Poised woman because I understand the importance of Healthy Relationships.  I strive to surround myself by others who support me and help me grow in positive ways.  It hasn’t always been easy, and even at 32, I still sometimes find myself in an unhealthy friendship that I eventually walk away from.  Throughout my teen years into my late 20’s, I also found myself in unhealthy romantic relationships as well, and it wasn’t until I was 29 that I finally found myself in a completely respectful, loving, and cohesive relationship.  

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Healthy relationships are important in nurturing your own self confidence and development.  There are several different ingredients that make a healthy relationship, whether it is of a romantic nature, or of a social nature:

You have an open dialogue with each other.

You communicate your feelings without fear of judgement and are open to what the other person may express to you.  If something upsets you, you are not afraid to put it out on the table and come up with a solution together.  My friend once told me it bothered her that I never called her first, it was always up to her.  I had never thought about it before, or did it purposely, I had just gotten myself used to her always calling first!  Instead of getting angry, I thought about what she said and now try to call her first.

You trust one another.

If they tell you they are going to do something, you believe them and do not have doubts.  When they tell you something, whether it is an expression of their feelings for you or their opinion on something, you know they are not lying.  They can expect the same from you.  Trust may not come so easily, or quickly, but in the end, it is one of the most important characteristics of a successful union.  When I tell my friends I will be somewhere, they always know they can expect me there and I never cancel plans unless something important comes up.  

You respect one another.

You consider the other person’s feelings in the actions you take or the words you say.  You listen to their needs and are considerate of their requests.  They do the same for you in return and try to listen to you and your ideas.  My boyfriend used to put dirty dishes on my couch, which really bothered me, and I felt like he was being neglectful of my things.  After I expressed to him how much it upset me, he stopped laying them on my couch and started putting them in the sink!

They support you.

Whether it is a crazy idea you have or a test you are getting ready for, they are there for you and help you.  They are your own personal cheerleader and make sure to give you positive reinforcement or encouragement.  They want to see you succeed and are there at the finish line, rooting you on.  You also want the same for them; their successes are just as important to you as they are to them.  My friend recently had a major loss in her family- I made sure I was there for her as a shoulder to cry on and when she needed it, a positive distraction in a time of sorrow.  Her upsets are my upsets and her joys are mine.

You make compromises.

You may have differences, but that does not mean it isn’t healthy!  Sometimes you may butt heads over differing opinions or wants, but in a healthy relationship, you find common ground. Sometimes that may mean meeting halfway, literally or figuratively.  I know with my boyfriend, one of the compromises we make is with the dishes.  If I cook, he cleans the dishes, even though he hates it, because he values the effort that I put into the meal I made for us.

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In the end, the healthiest relationships are the ones that you are happy in.  You love spending time with this person and are a positive version of yourself because of them.  I have made many friends throughout the years; some friends are still around, and others have gone their own ways.  Some relationships ended because we changed as individuals and did not feel the same as we once did.  Some were because there was more negative than positive characteristics and it was no longer a happy, healthy situation to be in.  Most of the friends I lost were not bad people, we just did not work positively together.  

I also have friendships that have surpassed the rest.  Through the good and the bad, we are there for each other to lend a helping hand and offer our support.  I have so many more laughs than disappointments, and I am always there for them, especially in times of need.  These bonds that were created have made me a stronger, more confident woman, knowing I have the support and love for others, who love me for the person I am and strive to be.  I couldn’t imagine my life without them!

My advice to young women is to stay true to yourself, respect yourself, and in the end, make sure you are happy and healthy and strive to be surrounded by others who do the same. Create an environment full of other people who lift you up and make you want to be a better person and do great things for yourself and others.  You are an amazing person and can do wonderful things on your own, but it always helps to have a great support system to lean on!