One of the most valuable parts of any relationship is connection. Learning how to connect isn’t something that comes naturally, and must be a commitment both members of the relationship is willing to do. Here are some tips to connect with your loved ones to cultivate a healthy relationship.
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Importance of a Healthy Relationship
When I use the term ‘relationship’, I don’t necessarily mean just your spouse or partner, but rather any relationship in your life. It could your friend/best friend, children, parents, siblings, etc. and a healthy relationship, regardless of who it’s with, is important. According to youth.gov Characteristics of Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships, the healthy relationship includes:
- mutual respect
- good communication
- anger control
- fighting fair
- being a role model
- healthy sexual relationship (when applicable)
As long as both parties are practicing the above characteristics, the relationship is sure to bloom and be a lasting one.
Talking About Fibromyalgia
You may feel as though you’re relationship is prevented from reaching its full potential because of fibromyalgia. You have the hesitation on how to talk about it, how it affects you, and how it could (possibly) affect the relationship. It’s okay and normal to feel this way. Many of us living with fibromyalgia have this struggle. Check out these articles for guidance on how to guide the conversation regarding fibromyalgia and talking to your loved ones about it.
How to Connect with Your Loved Ones
First, determine how much of a commitment you want to make to the relationship. The degree to which you commit to each relationship depends on the level of that relationship. For example, I am willing to commit to a bigger degree with my children than I would to a friend. Not to say my friend is less than, but it’s a different quality of a relationship.
Second, make the time. Each of us makes time for obligations, errands, and appointments, so make time for your loved ones on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be at the same time every day, week, or month, just so long as it’s regular to avoid disconnection.
There are various ways to spend time together. My best friend and I enjoy gardening together. Even though it’s not that often, it’s an activity we both thoroughly enjoy and enjoy doing together. My kids and I enjoy snuggling on the couch and watching movies together. There are various ways to connect, but here are some ideas:
- Have coffee together at your house or at a cafe
- Enjoy a movie marathon
- Go to yard sales together
- Ride bikes, hike, or other outdoor activity
Lastly, do regular mindful check-ins on the relationship. A connection with another person can go bad – fast – and without warning. Do a mindful check to ensure the relationship is maintaining a healthy connection and hasn’t turned into a toxic one.
Cultivating a Healthy Relationship
To sum it up, to cultivate a healthy relationship, both parties must be doing the following:
- Practicing the characteristics of a healthy relationship as listed above (this one MUST be present)
- Committed to the relationship
- Spending regular time together
- Doing periodic mindful check-ins
Really listen to the other person talking and keep in mind what they value in a friendship or as a person. Use that information to do something kind and thoughtful for them from time to time. For example, if they’ve been talking about needing a break, offer to take them for a drink or invite them over for some downtime. If you know they value certain actions such as receiving a card in the mail, send a card periodically to let them know what a great friend they are and why. It doesn’t have to be a long letter just a short ‘thinking of you’ type of deal. Sometimes less is more.