The Dynamics of Healthy Relationships
Healthy Relationship Dynamics

Since the dawn of time people have been trying to get along. Such a simple task has proven over the centuries to be a daunting one. In certain situations, "getting along" has been completely impossible.

For some reason, despite the fact that we are all human with the same five senses and bodily functions, we are all completely different -- so different that we have been told over the years that no two people even have the same fingerprint. That's pretty amazing when you realize that at last count, there were around 6.4 billion people in the world.

Whether it is a relationship with our family, our spouse, our children, or employees, it seems that getting along and maintaining healthy relationships has become the Eighth Wonder of the World. To compound matters, as humans we can also have relationships with things such as our bank account, our jobs, and our possessions.

We have relationships, and the potential for relationships, all around us -- some of which you may not have realized you had. They are all there and either taking positive time and space, or negative time and space in your life -- which depends on how you choose to distribute your power.
You may have noticed the word "choose" is used regarding how we handle our relationships. This article is based on the concept that all relationships we are involved in, and our response to them, are a matter of choice. We are not victims -- unless we choose to be. Life, and our reaction to it, depends on many things, but the bottom line is we choose how to interpret and handle our relationships.
You will examine your belief systems and those of the people around you, and learn how they are affecting your life. In addition, we will look at a wide variety of skills that can be developed to empower you and make your relationships a meaningful and positive part of your life. At times you will be asked to consider new and different ideas that will force you to think outside of your comfort zone. Are you ready to do that? Are you willing?

There is a saying: "To get to the fruit of the tree you have to go out on the green leafy branches." Many people fear this and are comfortable in their enclosed world. It may not be working for them but their unhappiness is a known comfort. They would rather stay in their unhappiness than think outside the box. They like to talk about wanting change, but truly don't. They allow themselves to be victims of people and situations and give their power away daily.
We are powerful beings if we choose to be. We can use our power to make this world a wonderful place. It is all within our reach. With the proper knowledge you can take a big step toward making this all happen by being happy and involved in healthy relationships.
Let us begin:

Relationships are typically divided up into two categories.

1) Business

2) Personal

What Are Healthy Relationships?
Every day we see a wide variety of relationships. We see our own, as well as others. And if we watch closely, we will notice how each of them operates.

Some relationships "work" because the parties love to fight. Others work because the parties are constantly in a game of trying to "one up" the other. For example: One party says I did "A" and the other party has to be sure and say something that will surpass that achievement.

Other people seem to lose their identity in a relationship and simply exist in it as a means to serve the other party without any of their wants or needs met; and the list of relationships that "work" go on and on.

Healthy relationships are where each party maintains autonomy. Neither party depends on each other to make them happy or whole. Within themselves they realize they are complete without any outside help. If you have autonomy, you are not depending on the other person to complete you.

One of the romantic sayings is that a person has found his/her mate who "completes them and makes them happy." You may feel that the other person completes you, but they will never make you happy or cause you to choosehow to feel. It has nothing to do with the other person. So, if you are looking for Mr. or Ms. Right to "make you happy" you are in for a big surprise -- and disappointment. The other party can certainly enrich your existence, but giving them the burden of making you happy, or fulfilling you, is going to result in a problem.
It Is You

Michael Ryce, a spiritual teacher and author, notes in his book, "Why Is This Happening To Me ... AGAIN?!" that what we need to realize is that we can move to Anchorage or the middle of the rain forest, and we will still have ourselves and our feelings. Every time we have an experience with another person that is disappointing to us, we need to realize that the common denominator in the situation is us. By doing this you take the focus off of the other person, and look to yourself to see what it is within you that is lacking and causing you to continue to have these experiences. Where ever you go, you are there and the problem will continue with you until you address it within yourself.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Healthy Relationships course?
There are many people who cannot live unless they have a man or woman in their lives. It makes no difference who it is, as long as it is someone else. Often times, this someone ends up being a series of someones. This would stop if they would look within themselves and heal personal problems. However, most people will continue searchingoutside themselves for happiness and never find it. What they do find are repeat performances of the same problems they have had in the past -- only with a new person.
Working on You
The biggest problem in working to improve relationships is getting people to look within themselves. Our society is outwardly focused, meaning that it is more important who is playing in the Super Bowl than understanding why we have the issues we do.

Typically people will go to all sorts of extremes to avoid any type of introspection. They find this frightening and will fight like cats to avoid it. These folks are the ones you see with a series of broken relationships littering their lives, frequently accompanied by drug and alcohol use. They self-medicate to avoid looking within. Others stay constantly busy to keep their mind occupied. After all, if their mind is active on something else, it can't be focused on them.
When someone has autonomy, they are whole and complete within themselves. This means they are not out searching for something or someone to complete them, or fulfill them. This does not mean they do not want or have relationships. Quite the contrary. These folks have relationships but they come into them looking for nothing from the other person. For example, Mary meets John. Mary suffers from low self esteem and self worth. John is very good at building Mary up. The relationship works as long as John continues to behave and say what Mary wants. When the day comes that he does not, Mary will take it that she is not good enough, or some other interpretation to meet her belief about herself. This puts a burden many times not realized on John. Without saying it, Mary is expecting John to make her okay. When he fails to meet Mary's expectation by his words or actions on a particular day, and doesn't say what Mary wants to hear, or is used to hearing, there will be a problem.
If you are autonomous you are okay with yourself. You are not looking to come into a relationship to put the burden on someone else to make you feel valued or feel good about yourself. You are coming into the relationship simply for that -- to have a relationship with another person. You are not asking the other person to play a role that will make you complete. Can you imagine what a burden that is to the other person? I am choosing to have a relationship with you because you and your words or actions fulfill something that is lacking in me. I am only happy with you while you continue to meet this need. You may not have a clue that is what is "making our relationship work," but it is.
Maintaining Your Own Power
Another thing you see in healthy relationships is what is called not giving your power away. What this means, and this goes hand in hand with the idea of autonomy, is that you do not allow others to affect you in a negative way. Let's say that you have a fellow employee you work with who talks incessantly. Never ending chatter. This behavior drives you crazy. Left to your own devices, you would be glad to explode at the offensive person and tell them to shut up. By doing this, you would be engaging in negative behavior. In this situation, you should realize thatno one can make you feel any way at all unless you choose to feel that way. What this means is, Chatty Cathy can only bother you if you give your energy to her and feed into the feeling that she is bothering you. The autonomous choice would be either to ignore her and realize that is just who and what she is, or do something constructive and see if you could be moved to another area.

What you do not want to do is allow this irritation to trigger you into exploding. When you do, you have given your power away to another person and allowed them to upset you. Keep in mind, no matter what Chatty Cathy says or does, she cannot upset you unless you choose to allow it to happen.

Giving your power away simply means you are not allowing people, places, things, or events to dictate how you feel. If a negative thought comes up, you simply choose another thought that feels better to focus on. If you want to be upset and engage in a battle with Chatty Cathy, you can, but you need to realize that you are doing so by your own choice. No one can force you to feel and react -- only you.

Wayne Dyer in his new book, "Wishes Fulfilled," talks about the power we have to choose. If we get up in the morning and we feel down and negative, we can choose to accept our outlook, or we can choose another thought. We have thousands of thoughts and what we choose to focus upon dictates our feelings. People seem to want to say that "other people" are responsible for how they feel. They aren't. You are. Each situation in life involves a choice, and how you feel about it. You and you alone make the choice.

Being autonomous in a relationship means you come to it as a complete human being not depending on someone else to "fix" you. You (as well as the other person) are responsible for yourselves and your happiness. When two people come together, their relationship flows.

When they don't, the relationship will be weakened the day one of the parties doesn't get a need met, and the other party has no clue what happened. Love your partner or person you are in a relationship with, but work on yourself. That is where success lies.

Tools and Skills to Maintain Healthy Relationships

Relationships can be hard enough as it is. After all, you have two or more people who come together to interact and each has a series of unique life experiences and expectations based upon their upbringing, education, or culture. Each of us has different perspectives, wants and needs, and no two people are alike.

Too often we operate on the assumption that "the rest of the world is like me and sees things the way I do." Wrong.

The world is a melting pot of differing perspectives, opinions, and beliefs.
When dealing with other people one of the key things to do is: Listen. How rare this is. Next time you are around a group of people, listen to them and watch them interact. Most of the time they are either talkingover each other, not listening to the other person because they are too busy formulating what they want to say back, or are simply off in the ethers thinking about dinner. There are very few people who actually listen to what the other person is saying.

The Art of Listening is just that. Really tune in to what the person is saying. We all want to be heard and feel that what we are saying matters. If you listen and are unclear about something, politely say, "I 'm sorry, I want be sure I understood," or simply repeat, "I am understanding you to say...." You are better off being clear, than having a miscommunication.

When talking with people and listening, you need to remember that each person has an opinion and, whether we like it or not, they are entitled to have it. We can't get invested or hung up on the fact that their opinion may differ from ours. Simply show respect by listening and consider another person's perspective. Who knows? We may learn something.

If issues arise, the best thing to do is set a time to talk.
Don't just haphazardly say, "Here are two minutes -- tell me what your problem is." Instead, actually tell the person you have something that you would like to set a time to talk with them about. Be respectful, and take in their views seriously.

When you talk to the person, listen and detach. Do not take what they say or do personally . Like it says in "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz, don't take it personally. You can't. You must keep in mind while talking about the issue that what the other person is saying has nothing to do with you, but is how they see the situation.Too many people want to take what is said as a personal attack, when in reality it has nothing to do with you, but it is how the other person is interpreting the situation.

When speaking about an issue, choose language such as, "I am feeling" not, "You make me feel..." Remember, others cannot make you feel anything. Only you can choose to feel a certain way. By using this language, simply saying how you are currently feeling, and not attacking the other person, you neutralize the impact of your words. "I am feeling"versus "you are making me feel" carry different connotations.

When people get together in personal relationships, it is usually because they want to be together. They enjoy their time interacting. A key to maintaining this type of relationship, especially in deciding a conflict, is to ask yourself: "Do I want to be right, or do I want to be close." If you want to be close to the person and maintain the relationship, then you will choose not to pursue the conflict, since being right is not as important as being close. If you decide to battle onward then you know what you really value and that should tell you about the relationship whether it should continue. If the battle is more important that opens a whole different can or worms and gives insight as to the type of relationship and whether it is healthy or not. If fighting is the priority, that speaks volumes and professional counseling may need to be obtained, either individually, or as a couple, to determine the issues underlying the battle.

No matter what the relationship is, it is always important that one person does not isolate another from friends and family. This is usually a sign of a controlling relationship, and one that can be dangerous to the well-being of a party involved. Healthy relationships realize that there are other people in our lives with whom we need to maintain contact and enjoy. Each person needs to be able to continue to enjoy those relationships, even if the other partner doesn't like the people. In healthy relationships, it is recognized that there will be people and activities that both parties do not enjoy, but they allow the other party to partake of them. Not everything needs to be done as a couple. There are different interests each person may have that the other partner doesn't. Time apart, as long as it is not consuming the relationship and making it secondary, is healthy. Not everyone is interested in the same people or activities.

Healthy relationships can be one of life's greatest joys. Using the proper tools and skills, they can flow.