Healthy relationships are a part of life’s balance. In fact, healthy relationships contribute to our happiness and overall well being by decreasing stress related incidents and increasing equanimity. Think of your body as a house would you build a house on a shaky foundation? No of course not, right? Then it would follow that relationships are a part of our life and therefore affect our life balance. If our relationships have a poor foundation then what happens? Right the relationship has a difficult time holding up over time. Therefore, it would make sense when a relationship is imbalanced it will affect the whole system. So lets look at balance, what creates balance? Balance means a state of equilibrium, emotional stability, and harmonious and satisfying elements.
Balance, requires equanimity a mental calmness that prevails in our lives. The ability to self-monitor thoughts, beliefs, emotions and reactions is a very important skill to acquire and maintain. When in relationship it is very imperative to be realistic and flexible.
Components of Healthy Relationships and Life Balance
by Temecula psychologist Linda Comin, Psy.D.
If you are not what I call mindful of these nuances you will miss the cues that your partner sends you. Mindfulness is also called being in the moment or being present to one another. Dr. John Gottman a preeminent relationship expert refers to this as, “as bids for emotional connections.” He describes this dance of intimacy as turning towards or turning away from one another. This is what he describes as building the emotional connections and foundation in a couple.
Relationships have their beginnings in the getting to know you stage. In this stage of the relationship the couple is very interested in learning all about each other. During this period of time it is helpful to develop flexible communication styles and listening skills. It is positive to be asking open-ended questions allowing the other the opportunity to respond. This builds a composite picture of your partner that should be flexible and never ready for full development. The theory behind this is that we are as humans in constant change and flux and it would be humanly impossible to expect that you know everything about your partner. Change happens in relationship and it is healthy, expected and should be encouraged.
The world that we live in is in a constant state of change/impermanence and we are a reflection of that change. We therefore, have to allow for this in all of our relationships. We cannot control all the variables in our world or in our relationships. Flexibility in relationship means letting go of trying to control your partner. Control results in resistance and conflict. It is important to give each other permission to grow and flourish. When in relationship it is important to fertilize this growth with, love, appreciations, admiration and most importantly a solid friendship.
There are essential components to a good relationship and they are as follows:
• Solid friendship, which is nourished through time, patience, and commitment.
• Receiving and giving are balanced and mutual. There is a delicate balance between giving and receiving. Learning to give in a relationship is just as important as learning how to be an effective receiver.
• More positive exchanges than negative ones, even in conflict situations.
• Realistic expectations of each other.
• Flexibility the boundaries are neither too loose nor too rigid.
• Good communication with the ability to resolve conflict by a willingness to compromise and accept each other’s viewpoints.
• Mutuality, which is comprised of mutual respect, shared interests, appreciations and admiration. Even though the word relationship implies shared meaning this does not necessarily mean that it is automatically created. Creating mutuality requires commitment, motivation and most importantly intentionality.
• Kindness thinking before acting on your thought. A good rule of thumb is, “would I say this about myself “and if your answer is no then don’t say it.
• Criticisms are extended with a soft edge by communicating to the partner in a way that acknowledges that there is no criticism that is constructive.
Criticisms are typically door closers however if you come from an “I” message instead of pointing the finger at your partner it will have a greater acceptance.
• In healthy relationships you will find that the couple support each other’s dreams and aspirations.
• Last but not least healthy relationships have integrity. This means that following through on commitments to each other. If you say you are going to do something such as make a date or set a deadline you must follow through on that action. This fosters dependability, and congruence between words and actions. This then equates to building a solid foundation of Trust.
In closing relationships is a part of our existence and just as necessary as the air we breathe, water and the food we eat for sustenance. We do not live in a vacuum people by nature are relational. We can learn so much about ourselves through relating to others so why wouldn’t we want to do it in ways that are nourishing and supportive to one another. When our relationships are good they add to the stability and balance in our lives.