From reality television shows such as Love & Hip Hop, Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club to The Real Housewives from wherever, drama is everywhere! And…we confess! It is easy for us to get caught up in the television drama, if we watch enough of it. Drama entices us to watch more and gets us “hooked”, so therefore drama sells.
With all the drama we watch on television (for those of us who have ever watched or admit to watching it, hehehe), have we lost sight of what healthy relationships look like? Whether it is with a family member or significant other, healthy relationships are still important, right? Maybe we do not agree. Maybe we feel comfortable with drama in our relationships? Maybe we think drama in relationships is the new norm? Maybe we do not realize how much watching these television shows impacts our relationships and how we interact with others? Regardless of how we feel, drama HAS infiltrated our society in a greater way and that is why we think it is important to reevaluate what healthy relationships really look like…
We think it is important for us to start from the beginning…what exactly does the word relationship mean? The definition of a relationship is, “The way in which two or more people are connected, or the state of being connected”. We all have a desire to be connected to others, right? We all have a desire to be loved and accepted, right? Did you know that there are wonderful benefits to having relationships? According to the December 2010 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “People who have satisfying relationships have been shown to be happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. In contrast, having few social ties is associated with depression, cognitive decline, and premature death”.
While it is important to understand that no person or relationship is perfect, there are ways to ensure that our relationships are as healthy as possible. Important qualities of healthy relationships include respect, communication, understanding, supportive, patience, compromise, trust, honesty, forgiveness, committed, etc. Here are some examples of how some of these qualities play out in relationships:
• Speak Up. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, it’s best to talk about it instead of holding it in.
• Respect Your Partner. Your partner’s wishes and feelings have value. Let your significant other know you are making an effort to keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
• Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to solve conflicts in a fair and rational way.
• Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.
• Respect Each Other’s Privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together. Healthy relationships require space.
Creating boundaries is a good way to keep your relationship healthy and secure. By setting boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner want. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re “walking on eggshells.” Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust — it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship. Remember, healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict your ability to:
• Go out with your friends without your partner.
• Participate in activities and hobbies you like.
• Not have to share passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone.
• Respect each other’s individual likes and needs.
Even healthy relationships can use a boost now and then. You may need a boost if you feel disconnected from your partner or like the relationship has gotten stale. If so, find a fun, simple activity you both enjoy, like going on a walk, and talk about the reasons why you want to be in the relationship.
It is important to surround yourself with relationships that accept you for who you are and with those who love you unconditionally. Relationships are beautiful and so are you! Know that you deserve wonderful relationships and you deserve to be treated with respect. Relationships take time to build upon, but given the proper qualities, relationships can be one of the most beautiful things we experience in this life…
Thanks for reading!