The Goals of Relationship:
to Grow in Love, and to Improve All of Life.
Healthy relationships are keys to a healthy life. Healthy relationships provide valuable lessons and experiences such as acceptance, security, support, affection, family, identity, and more. Unhealthy relationships create toxic perceptions and beliefs such as fear, confusion, self doubt, mistrust, irresponsibility, and blame.
Intention is one of the most important ingredients for healthy relationships. Be sure your intention for all relationships is to grow in love and improve yourself. An intention is a seed. Plant it in your life's garden. Give it the nourishment and care it needs to grow. Planting it in someone else's garden leaves you dependent on them to care for it. If they don't want it, they will not be motivated to nourish it. Furthermore, they may refuse to acknowledge it was planted at all. Thus, be sure your primary intention is to improve your part in the relationship. If your primary intention is for someone else to improve, experiencing joy and love will be difficult.
Healthy communication tools and relationship skills increase your opportunities for loving connections. In a healthy relationship, you understand what is and is not your responsibility. This brings personal and relational peace. If the other person in the relationship does not want the relationship improved, or is trying to keep it from improving, respect their decision. Let go of any toxic connection. Remember you cannot force another person to be healthy. If you try to force another person into health, you are actually joining them in their dis-ease. You are then at risk of being codependent on his/her decisions. What you try to control controls you.
Improving communication is a marathon, not a sprint. Improved communication happens step by step, and is a life-long process. Be patient with yourself and with others. As communication progresses, relationships have more opportunities to grow, they take less effort, and they bring more love and joy. When using new ways of communicating and relating, you may feel awkward. With practice, you will be more comfortable and relaxed (even in situations where there is conflict). Misunderstandings and conflicts are typical and resolvable when both people are willing to improve the way they communicate. Be aware when changing your communication style and behaviors, as others may be uncomfortable with this change. They may try to pressure you to revert back to what is familiar to them. Be confident in your new patterns, while being patient and compassionate with others reactions and adjustments.
Communication is the main way people let each other know who they are and how they wish to relate. Desires are stated; responses are delivered. Both messages must be respected, even if disagreeing about statement and/or response. If the person stating the desire believes the responder does not have the right to choose to say "no" or "yes", he/she may focus on trying to control and manipulate the other's response. This is a waste of energy. To be in a healthy relationship, focus away from believing the other person is the problem. Do not blame. Blame makes the situation more difficult. People are not problems. Take time to discern what the actual issue is. Become a part of the solution to the issue. Learn about the other person. Know that the other person is free to choose their own response. It is futile and counter productive to attempt to force someone to change. Whether the other person changes is their responsibility, not yours.
You can love another person by what is in your heart. If you only 'love' them because they do what you want them to do, this is not genuine love; it is rejection of who they are. Fear tells you that loving them will hurt you if you don't get what you want. But love does not insist on another being different from who they are. Love is accepting; it is unconditional. Acceptance does not mean you agree with the other person's ideas or behaviors. Love can be uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous. Discomfort can signal an opportunity for self growth.
The degree to which two people accept each other is a major factor in the health of a relationship. You have no right to judge a person as unacceptable. However, you do have a responsibility to admit you are having a difficult time accepting a person. In this awareness, your love evolves. Make your heart and mind a more usable channel for Grace to flow through - this is always beneficial to you!
Love unconditionally. This brings freedom from destructive emotions. When you allow yourself to be upset with someone, sooth yourself with love for that person. Your love is stronger than your pain. This love creates a bridge in a fractured relationship. If both people choose to walk the bridge, healing can occur. Without a bridge of love, healing is not possible.
Accepting another person is related to your ability to accept yourself. The more you are able to accept yourself, your differences, your potentials, and your limitations, the more you are able to accept these in another person. Self-acceptance evolves as you choose to see yourself honestly and realistically, through the honest eyes of Love. Self-acceptance grows as you realize your freedom and responsibility to make your own decisions. As you grow, you realize the other's freedom and responsibility to make their own decisions.
With freedom comes responsibility; with responsibility comes freedom. Each person is only responsible for doing their best. It is no one's responsibility to compare whose best is best! Love is not a contest. You can choose what you want to change about yourself. You can tell the other person what you would like to see them change. It is your responsibility to be honest. The honest expression of yourself is the opportunity for the other to love you.
When both people are being honest and responsible for him/herself, both can more easily depend on the other. Make goals together to improve relationship patterns. Set goals which are realistic, concrete, specific, and understood by both people. As goals are developed and action steps are taken, cooperate to be sure both people are appreciated, valued, and cared for.
Remember: relationships are for the purpose of growing in your ability to love yourself and the other person. Relationships are NOT for the purpose of getting your way, getting things, or controlling someone. Your happiness in a relationship is directly dependent on your love in the relationship.