Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
It could be said that true love comes with no conditions attached. The achievement of these things may be harder to fully practice, but I believe we owe it to ourselves, others and the world we live in to give it our best shot. It makes for healthy living and beautiful connections that empower and fulfil us as we do life.
Researching much about relationships and how to enjoy healthy connections, I have come across what seems to be ‘universal’ signs of a healthy relationship. If you are seeking to make deeper connections within your relationships I encourage to explore these in more depth beyond this blog post.
Affection – According to the Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour, engaging in affectionate touch increases how trustworthy an individual may appear. Everyone needs a little tender loving care. In relationships, however, the importance of physical affection is well documented and plays a big part in the well being and depth of our relationships especially those more intimate connections we share. Physical touch affects our emotional health, there are many scientific studies documenting the health benefits of affection.
Respect – is a pattern of behaviour that is found in healthy relationships, it is also an important building block in developing and maintaining healthy relationships. I am a firm believer you don’t demand respect you earn it. You have to give respect in order to get it, and it is something everyone deserves. People who respect each other trust and support each other values and independence.
Shared Values – “Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy–a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction.” Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They usually determine your priorities, and, deep down, they are the measurement tool you use to check if your life is turning out the way you want it to. When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is pretty good, you have a deep sense satisfaction and contentment.
When our values are compromised and others values don’t align with our personal values, that’s when things feel off-kilter, wrong and out of sync and this can become a real source of our unhappiness. In a healthy relationship, we may not be in complete alignment with every value of others but we will share some. Healthy relationships need to have an understanding of shared values over shared interests. For example, I love a good musical and going to the ballet. My hubby is not a huge fan, he likes war history, watching films with lots of action scenes and big plots and a good old fashion western. We respect each other’s likes and give each other space to enjoy these things independently. However, we also understand the need to spend quality time together and make time for that. This shared value is in alignment because we both understand and value it for ourselves and for each other.
Honesty – is a way of life, not just a behaviour. It is paramount in your relationship and will do more good than harm and keep the bad at bay. When you know you can totally trust each other in a relationship, it brings a freedom and deep sense of comfort that helps your relationship work in the best way possible. Without honesty, growth is hindered in a relationship. Being honest with one another helps us avoid a lot of issues. Honesty opens the door to meet, greet and learn about each person in the relationship. It prepares you for the rough times, the tough times when the true colours come are revealed you have already had a glimpse of the full portrait already. You can trust each other all you want, but if you don’t know the real version of the other person then trust is useless. It’s important to always act with integrity and make our actions match our words.
Trust – is integral to happy and fulfilling relationships in both our personal and professional lives. We require trust to develop over time to build successful and meaningful partnerships. Trusting someone means that you think they are reliable, you have confidence in them and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally. Trust is something that two people in a relationship can build together when they decide to trust each other. People in high-trust relationships communicate well, don’t second-guess one another, they understand why they are doing things, and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that goals are met. People in low trust relationships communicate poorly, will try and guess the one another and will be drifting from the goals they were aiming for and the pursuit of mutual happiness becomes non-existent. “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” Stephen R. Covey.
Self-awareness – Psychologist Daniel Goleman, has proposed the definition of self-awareness in his best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence”, as “knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions”. This definition places more emphasis on the ability to monitor our inner world, our thoughts and emotions as they arise.
Self-awareness is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, who we are and how we are wired, we are then able to experience ourselves as unique and separate individuals. This empowers us to make any changes necessary to be the healthiest version of us we can be, both emotionally, spiritually and physically. We can build on our areas of strength and identify areas where we would like to make improvements. Self-awareness is being conscious of what you’re good at while acknowledging what you still have yet to learn. This includes admitting when you don’t have the answer and owning up to mistakes.