Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How to maintain a healthy relationship.

Post 371 - According to relationship guru, Denis Waitley, “It’s not what I think that counts, nor is it what you think that counts. It’s what I think you think and what you think I think that really counts.”

When you disagree with someone close to you, it doesn’t have to mean you don’t like them. A healthy relationship doesn't require being in total agreement. Rather, it means agreeing to look in the same direction together. If you both take care to fight fair, you'll replace emotional shouting matches with caring problem-solving conversations. Here are some tips about how to proceed:

- Healthy relationships mean accepting people as they are and not trying to change them. Keep your expectations realistic. No one can be everything you might want them to be all the time.

- When you have a problem, agree on a time to talk about it together. Ask, "When is a good time to talk with you about something that's bothering me?" And avoid having tough conversations when you're feeling angry or tired.

- Talk with each other. This means making the time to do this and really being there when you do. Don’t plan what to say next while you’re listening. And don’t interrupt. Listen with your heart as well as your ears, so you pick up any emotional messages. Ask friendly and appropriate questions if you think you've missed the point. Show your interest by asking for opinions as well.

- Attack the problem, not the other person. Open sensitive conversations with "I" statements; talk about how you're struggling with the problem. Don’t open with "you" statements; avoid blaming the other person for your thoughts and feelings. Don’t criticize. Blame has no place in a healthy relationship.

- Let others speak for themselves - don’t assign feelings or motives to what they say. Healthy relationships recognize each person’s right to explain themselves.

- Don’t use your current concern as a reason to jump into everything else that's bothering you. Stay focused and on topic. Don’t use ammunition from the past to add fuel to the fire that you're now trying to put out.

- Be generous in sharing information about yourself, but don’t overwhelm the other person with too much, too soon.

- Be prepared to say "I’m sorry" when you’re wrong. This usually goes a long way toward making things right again. People in healthy relationships are willing to admit their mistakes.

- Don’t assume things. When you feel close to someone, it’s easy to think you know how they think and feel. However, in my experience, you never know why things are the way they are. Healthy relationships check things out. Never assume that what’s obvious to you is obvious to others. And to assume you know what’s best for another is insulting.

- Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Talk with someone you trust who can help you find resolution — like your close friends, your family, your minister, or even your parents.

- A totally happy ending for everyone may not always be possible. Be prepared to compromise or to disagree about some things. Healthy relationships don’t demand conformity or perfect agreement. Be flexible.

- Don’t hold grudges - they just drain your energy. Studies show that the more you see the best in others, the healthier your relationships become. So, let go of past hurts and misunderstandings.

- The challenge is to make everyone a winner. Relationships with winners and losers don’t last. Healthy relationships are between winners who are prepared to work at solving their problems together.

- Healthy relationships are trustworthy, so make sure you're dependable. If you make plans with someone, follow through as agreed. If you've agreed to an assignment deadline, meet it. If you take on a responsibility, complete it.

- You can always leave a relationship. While loyalty is very important, healthy relationships focus on the now, not some hoped-for future development.

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