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The Key To a Healthy Relationship Is You

Valentine’s Day is all about relationships. I was recently asked “what makes a healthy relationship?” Without hesitation my response to that question is you have to be healthy to have a healthy relationship. That old expression “She (or he) completes me,” is a dangerous fallacy. We have to do the ongoing work of completing ourselves as a priority and bring our whole, healthy selves to every relationship. This requires a level of self-awareness that should not be overlooked.

Know Yourself

Self-awareness is a journey inward. Really getting to know the interior landscape of your being. Getting to know things like your emotional scenery, having a sense of your wants and needs, and a clear ability to generate power using your strengths. Ultimately finding pleasure in your own company is the way to a healthy connection with others. It is alignment between your feelings, thoughts and actions. Without the alignment things get out of balance and the rumble of dissonance drowns out your authentic voice.

Traveling inward turns up the volume on our emotional state. We come to really know what joy feels like in our bodies and we know the discomfort of anger and anxiety too. Without the real awareness of how emotions feel we have to pretend. We write a false narrative that takes on a life of its own but is not really connected to our truth.

Finding pleasure in your own company is the way to a healthy connection with others.

Listen to Yourself

I have worked with women who have experienced dangerous relationships. When asked when they first considered the person could be dangerous most said, “As soon as I met them.” They turned down the volume on their inner knowing as if the message didn’t matter. But of course, it did.

Self-awareness leads with “What I want.” It is amazing how difficult this question really is. It makes sense to move toward what you want. Imagine if GPS directed you to the places you didn’t want to go.  Ask yourself again and again, “In this situation, what do I want?”

Love Yourself

Self-awareness requires knowing our strengths. Strengths are tools that help us navigate the ups and downs of our daily life.  Like GPS, our strengths help us get where we are going and allow us to recalibrate when necessary. Over the years I have encouraged women, including myself, to keep a list of strengths. Once identified, ask yourself “How can my strengths be operationalized in my daily life?”

Healthy relationship questions to ask yourself
Can you identify your emotional response in your body?
How often do you tell the same old story about who you are?
Can you identify 3 strengths?
Do you know what you want?

Knowing something about how we feel, what we want and the strengths we can call upon is on-going adventure. We are packed full of the ability to foster healthy relationships. The process begins with a healthy relationship with ourselves. Use your power to move toward the relationship you DO want.

This Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to what you want. Carve out some alone time for a solo date. See yourself through the lens of your whole heart before you give any of it away.

Marilyn Stein is an instructor, educator, and coach. She develops curriculum and trains extensively on topics spanning addiction, trauma-informed care, cultural diversity, and Motivational Interviewing. Marilyn helps people forge their paths through impactful education. Learn more about Marilyn’s insights and teachings.