Relationships are probably the main cause of both pain and joy. We live our lives through our relationships, starting with our parents, siblings and then friends. Relationships are vital to us as human beings, we need to interact, communicate and feel we belong.
In most cases, our relationships bring us joy and happiness. Watching our children grow, having that unconditional love and the deep connection is what makes us content in life. It adds meaning, purpose and value to our existence.
Whenever we enter into any kind of relationship our feelings and emotions will always play a part. The only relationship in my life that makes me lose complete control is the one with my children. Of course over the years I’ve learnt to be a little more mature, to not act purely out of emotion. There were times that I know as a mother I should have first stopped to think about what I would say or do instead of reacting purely out of emotion. But I’ll give myself a break here, I think the relationship between a mother and her children is fraught with emotions.
Then comes our relationship with our partner, wow now that’s one that challenges every emotion and feeling possible. At least you can get out of this relationship, unlike your relationship with your children, parents or siblings. However it would be great if we knew how to build healthy relationships so they don’t end, so they continue to be happy and fulfilling. After all breaking up a relationship is so difficult, surely it would be better to know how to keep our relationships healthy?
So what is a healthy relationship?
I think there are two very important words that apply to healthy relationships –
Attachment and Expectations:
It is important to first clarify that as humans we will no doubt become attached to people in our lives. We will also have expectations from people, especially those we love. This is what it is to be human. However we need to recognise that the more attachment we have to a person, the more pain we will have when that person does not meet our expectations.
So if we can enter our relationships with an openness to acceptance, that is to be able to accept the other person as they are without trying to change them, then you have the basis for a strong, healthy relationship. After all if we feel the need to change them, then surely we should not be with them?
And here lies the biggest challenge, to be able to have healthy attachment, one that allows you to walk away when the relationship no longer serves you, as opposed to unhealthy grasping attachment based on expectations that are probably impossible to meet.