Would you say you have close relationships with family, friends, colleagues or community? Do you feel uplifted or happier when you connect or socialize with them? Does a problematic relationship create stress, anger, anxiety or fear for you?
Did you know your relationships can be a health risk factor just like high blood pressure, smoking, alcoholism, lack of exercise and obesity? According to researchers at Brigham Young University, strong social relationships are associated with better health and longevity. It is good for your health and well-being to cultivate strong meaningful relationships.
What Makes A Strong Relationship?
Think about one of your strong relationships. It could be with family, a friend or, a colleague. What do you think makes it strong?
Now reflect on a relationship that is problematic for you. Why do you think it is difficult?
You take who you are into every relationship. What are your core values, personality style, temperament, expectations, wounds from past relationships, and hopes? Who and what are you taking into your relationships?
When you have relationship problems it is crucial that you reflect on who you are and what you are taking into your relationships.
I know you want to point out that the other person in the relationship should look at what they bring to the relationship too and I agree they should. Remember, you have no control over what they do. You only have control and responsibility for what you bring and how you act and communicate.
Here are 3 qualities every relationship must have to grow and thrive. Take time to reflect and ask yourself where you are strong and where you could improve.
3 Qualities Every Strong Relationship Must Have To Grow And Thrive.
#1 is Respect -how you feel about someone and how you treat them. You act in a way that shows you care about their feelings and well-being.
When you have a conversation with someone your words and actions show your true value of them and your relationship.
Communication can be challenging, especially when you are emotional. However, when you respect someone you find a way to communicate that honors who they are and lets you get your point across without anger or criticism.
I had a therapist tell me “When everything is going great relationships are easy. When a problem comes up it is like making tea. You never know what is in the tea bag (relationship) until you put it into hot water.” The hot water brings out the positive and negative aspects of each of us.
If respect is a core value for you and you are respectful to others your relationships can be fulfilling, supportive, and add to your happiness and well-being.
There is no moving forward or connecting at a deep meaningful level without respect.
#2 is Empathy – the ability to understand the thoughts, feelings, and experience of another without judgment. The ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and see a situation from the other’s perspective.
Have you ever had expectations in a relationship that did not get met? You might have been disappointed or even angry at the person that did not meet your expectations. What do you do with those feelings? How do you resolve your feelings? Where in your life do you disappoint or anger people by not meeting their expectations?
“EXPECTATIONS are the termites of relationships. They can eat away the foundations and you may not know it’s happening until the damage is revealed.”
Empathy puts expectations aside and allows you to view a situation from the perspective of the other. What was the situation like for them? How were they feeling? What struggles do they have with the situation? How did my reaction affect them?
You can learn how to use empathy by stopping to ask yourself the questions above.
What is it like to see this situation from the other person’s point of view? Does it help you understand them better? Did you learn a new way to see a situation by looking from another perspective?
Everyone wants to be understood. Empathy is the bridge to understanding.
#3 is Humility – a state of being humble.
I don’t know about you, occasionally I want to be right when having a discussion. As soon as I enter that ‘being right” state I slip out of humility and into pride or arrogance which creates communication, respect, and empathy problems in the conversation and possibly in the relationship.
Being present and fully listening to what another has to say without thinking about what you are going to say next shows respect and humility. You feel heard when someone is fully present as they listen to you.
Humble people do not brag or try to show off their power, skill, or possessions. A humble person does not judge others about what they do or how they act. They display an absence of their own self-importance.
When you are humble in relationships you give others the freedom to trust you and the relationship.
Nobody said relationships would be easy all the time. Yet, when you cultivate respect, empathy, and humility you can build strong meaningful relationships that bring you fulfillment, happiness, good health, and longevity.
Nancy Dadami is an Intentional Flow Strategist, Energy Reader, and Mentor. She teaches smart, strong, women to understand “the flow” and find peace of mind in their life & business.