How to Choose Healthy Relationships

How to Choose Healthy Relationships

Part One: Your Everyday Fork in the Road

Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’

Do you realize that with each new day you stand at a fork in the road of your life?

Which direction do you want to go? Do you want to continue in the direction you went yesterday, or do you want today to be different?

Just like Alice in Wonderland, if you don’t know what you want in your relationships, the direction you take won’t much matter. And some people choose to live this way. They choose the path that seems easiest, or just keep wandering aimlessly in no particular direction at all. Others just get blown about by the wind and storm. Some keep struggling down the hard road they’re on without even considering there could be a better way.

In order to choose healthy relationships, you must first ask yourself some questions about the relationships you already have:

My relationship with myself:
o Today am I being who I want to be?
o Do I have habits of attitude or emotion that keep me stuck?
o Is my behavior in line with the things I say are important?
o Do I allow other people/circumstances/words/fears to keep me from achieving my best?

My relationship with my significant other:
o Do I treat this person the way I want to be treated?
o Am I building trust by being worthy of trust?
o Am I kind and considerate, using careful words when in the midst of conflict?
o Do I demonstrate that I value this person in a way that is obvious to him or her?
o Have I allowed bitterness and resentment to come in between us?
o Does my significant other treat me this way?

My relationships with my children:
o Am I a patient parent?
o Do I treat my misbehaving child with care and grace, or am I too often angry?
o Can my children rely on me to be loving, even when life gets hard?
o Do I teach my children to be loving and patient? Or am I teaching them to be critical and angry?
o Do I rear my children according to their “bent”, or do I tell them how they should be?
o Are there reasonable rules and expectations in my home that help my children know who we/they are?
o Are my boundaries with my adult children healthy?

My relationships with my parents and other family members:
o Do they know by my words and actions that I care about them?
o Am I allowing myself to be sucked in to things that are none of my business?
o Is gossip allowed? Am I willing to continue to gossip or be gossiped about?
o What about boundaries? Do I have healthy ones?

My relationships with my friends:
o Have I chosen friends who are healthy and who add to my life?
o Do they encourage and challenge me, listen to me and keep me honest?
o Can I be my true self with them?
o Do they respect my boundaries?

My relationship with God:
o Do I seek to learn who God is?
o Am I afraid to find out?
o Do I take any time in my day for spiritual practices that will bring me closer to Him?
o Is my behavior in line with my beliefs about Him?

If your answers show that your current relationships are not healthy, find someone you trust to talk with. Talk about what you want to change, flesh out your goals, and outline steps you can take to go in the direction you choose. Build accountability into your system. Give your trusted advisor the right to check in on you to see how you are doing.

If you know where you want to wind up, the direction you need to take is clear. And check back here for more information about how to get to where you want to be.

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