We have so many relationships in our lives – ranging from romantic to casual daily interactions with strangers. It’s hard to be constantly shifting gears to accommodate and juggle feelings and emotions of not only ourselves, but others around us. In a world that we cannot control or master, it’s important to focus on the relationships closest to us that have the biggest impact and how we can invite healthy connections and ward off negative ones.
How Does this Person Make YOU Feel?
When you are around your best friend, think about how you feel. You are comfortable and relaxed. You aren’t worrying about feeling judged or being compared to. Apply this barometer to other relationships in your life. Does your significant other make you feel safe? Does your family make you feel welcomed and celebrated? If not, maybe these aren’t the types of people you want on your team. Certainly, in a romantic relationship, your partner needs to lift you up, not try to take you down.
Does this Relationship Bring You Joy?
Think about your mood when you are around this person. Are you predominantly happy and carefree or are you stressed and anxious? Just like cleaning out your closet of old and ill-fitting clothes, clean out your mental headspace of people who do not serve your well-being and happiness. You can still be nice and respectful to these people (especially when it comes to family), but you do not need to give them a space in your closet.
This phrase alone should make you laugh and make it easier to deal with difficult and toxic relationships. Does this person drain your energy with always talking about their problems and woes without supporting your struggles? You don’t want to waste your precious energy on these types of people. If you think about how this person makes you feel, and if the answer is always tired, exhausted and annoyed, then you’ve found an energy vampire intruding your headspace. Relationships should have an ebb and flow, not a tidal way tsunami drowning one person.
Does this Person Respect You?
Is this person respectful of your feelings and emotions? When you are meeting for lunch or a date are they on time or constantly late? Healthy relationships are built on respect, trust, and a shared commonality of making a positive human connection. If you have someone that does not respect you and your efforts, you shouldn’t be giving them your time and energy.
Abusive and Toxic
Once we’ve spent a lot of our lives and our self with people, we drop all of our guards and defenses around them. We let them have passes when their behavior is less than perfect because we know we are less than perfect. However, there comes a time when giving people too many passes takes a toll on our well-being and puts us in an unhealthy relationship. Recognizing the signs can be difficult for some but looking at the basic barometers of good relationships we’ve already listed should begin to help.
Building healthy relationships is key in your journey through life. They can help and aid on the way or make it more difficult and challenging. It is up to us to build the best possible team.