Building Healthy Relationships Pt. 2: Principles For Successful Relationships
I wrote in another hub that the key to a good quality of life lies in how well we build relationships. Interaction with others is the one constant in all of our lives. You can’t escape other people, no matter how hard you may try. Success in life isn’t what you can attain. Success is developing a good quality of life. Therefore, success is defined by the relationships you develop. One of the benefits of the recent economic downturn is that people are beginning to see that possessions and goals can disappear. Not to say that goals aren’t important; but we need to keep them in perspective. What good are achievements without people to truly share them with?
It seems like we, as a people, are looking for a simpler life. The trend of culture is moving back toward relationships. Unfortunately, we are not born with the ability to build healthy relationships. It is a learned behavior. So if we are to build a good quality of life, we will need to learn some basic principles of building and sustaining healthy relationships. The thing we need to remember is that applying these principles forces us to be aware of ourselves. The only thing we can control in any situation is ourselves. As I said previously, we are writing the legacy of our lives in other people every day.
Build Others Up
True success is not how well you build your life, but how you build others’ lives. I believe that building up others is the key to building up your own. In relationships, we should be seeking to enrich the lives of others. We should approach each day with the attitude that we are going to build others up. It could be something as simple as a smile. One of my favorite things is opening and holding doors open for people. Remember, a little chivalry goes a long way. There are opportunities around us every day to improve other people’s lives. We should be extending this attitude even to people we don’t know. Give a compliment to someone. One area that I try to be sensitive to people is in the food service industry. These people are inundated with bad attitudes all day. So I always let them know when they are doing a good job, or I try to cheer them up if they seem to be having a bad day.
With people I know, I focus on their talents, or strong parts of their personality. I commend them in those things. Remember this: what you see is what you get. What I mean is that what you focus on is what you will experience from others. That is why two different people can have two entirely different opinions about the same person. They are experiencing what they focus on. It may not even be the truth, but it is still their experience.
Understand Your Relationships
Understanding the depth of each relationship is very important also. Having a healthy relationship does not necessarily mean having a deep relationship. The health of a relationship is determined by knowing the boundaries of that relationship; by understanding the type of relationship it is. I have friends that I can talk to about anything. We have deep relationships. There are also friends that I have that I can’t talk to about everything. We have good relationships, but not necessarily deep ones. I have to identify the depth of the relationship to know where the boundaries are at. The depth can be determined by how someone responds to me, or by how I respond to them. It can also be determined by the personality and character of the other person. Are they safe? Are they safe with you?
Not every relationship is going to be the same. We will naturally gravitate to some people. We will likewise put up walls with others. Being able to recognize the depth of each relationship will help us know exactly how to relate to that person. It actually would be unfair to the other person to put them in a position that violated the boundaries that have been established naturally. It also isn’t safe for you to do so. Know who you can have deep relationships with and who you can’t. Do not try to make everyone your best friend. I am convinced that a lot of strife in relationships happen because we put undue expectations on people; we cross the boundaries.
These are just a couple of principles to healthy relationships; but they are two of the biggest. Always remember that developing healthy relationships is about your attitude, and not theirs. It is about you, not them. In regard to enriching others, remember, it is about them, not you. I have heard it said that we should try to be the kind of friend that friends would want to have. I believe that we should try to be a better friend than the kind of friend that friends would want to have. Go out of your way to be friendly. Make it a lifestyle. Make helping others and enriching others a daily goal. Help others see their own potential, or better yet, help them achieve that potential. One last thing, keep in mind that some people simply won’t respond favorably to you. It isn’t personal. Don’t get mad, but continue to grow. Don’t be bitter, but find people who will respond favorably to you. Believe in others, and value people above all else.