Healthy Relationships: A Start

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We’ve been talking a lot lately on the blog about what can go wrong with relationships… breakups, conflict… painful things.  Although these things can lead to growth and eventually a renewed hope, we thought it would be great to tackle a more positive topic this month. 

So maybe you’ve experienced some conflict or a breakup and are now in a place of singleness and wanting to know what you should look for in future relationships.  Or maybe you are currently in a relationship and wonder if you and your partner are headed in a healthy direction.  Or perhaps you’ve never dated and are wondering what your future relationships should look like. These days there is a lot of talk about making healthy and wise choices in terms of food and physical activity, but equally important is making healthy and wise choices in terms of our relationships, especially as relationships influence so many areas of our lives and our mental health.

I don’t know about you but I’ve definitely found that with each relationship I enter, I am blown away by how much better it is than the last.  From each relationship, I learn more of what a healthier relationship can look like or should feel like, more about what I am looking for and I become wiser in how I conduct myself in the search for a future partner.  And maybe that’s because I start to believe more about what I’m worth through the dating and heartbreak process. 

And I think that’s a good place to start in the search for a healthy relationship… ourselves.  In any relationship, two separate people are coming together into a partnership and each person is coming in with their own unique personality, experiences, strengths, weaknesses and, unfortunately, baggage.  We will never be perfect as individuals but in order to have the best chance of a healthy relationship we should take some time to know ourselves and make sure we are relatively comfortable with ourselves before we add another person (and their issues) into our life to co-mingle with our own issues. 

How can we work on ourselves to attempt to become a more healthy individual?

Take some time to learn how to gain some self-awareness.  Becoming aware of your motives for dating and relationships, what you’re looking for out of a relationship and what you can give to someone else will help you to better understand your own behaviour in the dating world but it will also help you to navigate relationships and make decisions that align with your purposes and goals. 

And most importantly know your worth.  Many of us will not feel one-hundred percent confident in who we are. The reality is we are a work in progress. Sometimes it’s easy to feel hopeless if we think we have to reach perfection before we can date or consider ourselves “healthy” enough to be in a healthy relationship. You aren’t going to be perfect, I am not going to be perfect. But, you have strengths and unique characteristics to offer a partner. Remember that and take some time to know your strengths and grow in areas where you feel you can grow in order to benefit your future and your relationships. And as you date, you will also continue to grow in your self-awareness becoming more of who you hope to be.

The first step of getting to know ourselves and our worth can sometimes be difficult but it can be extremely helpful too. When we come at dating from a place of knowing our reasons for dating and what we’re looking for, we’ll be less likely to waste our time and someone else’s time, eliminating some of the inevitable risk of getting hurt and hurting others.  But this still doesn’t mean we’ll find ourselves a healthy relationship, even if we know ourselves really well and are in a healthy spot.  In our next blog post, we’ll explore a few of the characteristics of healthy relationships and what to look for if you want a healthy and thriving relationship. If you’re waiting on this, maybe in the meantime, you want to take some time to ‘date’ yourself. I hope you learn some amazing things about who you are and who you are becoming in the process.

What else do you feel is important for you to know or learn about yourself as you date or consider pursuing relationships?