My top 4 requirements for healthy relationships
In coaching we talk a lot about what "serves" you.
Do your beliefs serve you? What would serve you better? It's such a common phrase that it's become a bit of a joke. But I like the meaning behind it. It's asking "what purpose does this serve in your life? And are you okay with that?"
So let's talk about relationships that serve you. I'm talking any kind of relationship - partner, relative, friend, coworker, mentor. What does it mean for a relationship to serve you?
1. It gives you energy.
This doesn't mean it's easy. Most good things in life take effort. What it does mean is that when you walk away from an interaction in this relationship, you have been filled in some way that you weren't before. Maybe it is intellectually stimulating, emotionally comforting, or silly and ridiculous! The important thing is that your battery has been recharged in one way or another.
2. It is reciprocal.
You give and you take. This is common knowledge. It's important to note that what is "giving" to you might be "taking" for someone else. Stephen Covey calls this deposits into and withdrawals from the emotional bank accounts of our relationships. For example, I have a good friend who hates getting compliments. When I "give" to him by expressing appreciation for him, he is drained. I've just taken out a withdrawal when I meant to make a deposit. And he may not think to compliment me because to him, that is taking rather than giving.
The point is, you need to feel like you are getting some basic need filled from a relationship and that you are filling one as well. But do keep in mind that getting something from the relationship doesn't always look the same for both parties involved.
3. It is judgment free
We spend enough time judging ourselves, we don't need other people to do it for us. I am not saying that we should never get challenged, but our friend/partner/relative should have an innate understanding and acceptance of who we are and the choices we make. No desire to control us through guilt and judgment.
4. It has healthy boundaries
You need to be able to say no in a relationship that serves you. Whether it's "no, I'm sorry, I can't watch your cat for you" or "no, I am not in the mood for sex tonight" or "no, I don't want to talk about it". If you have a relationship that you care a lot about but that doesn't have healthy boundaries, you run the risk of developing unhealthy dynamics where you are not about to ask for what you need.
There you have it. Those are my top 4 requirements for relationships that serve you. What about you? Do you find your best relationships meet these criteria? What would you add? If you read this post and thought "yikes, I don't know about my relationship with x...maybe it doesn't serve me!" Or "I wish I had better boundaries with y" check out Beyond Time Management. The skills we build in the program are great tools to get you clear on the ways your relationships effect you and to create the healthy dynamics you want.
Be in touch!