We talk much about new relationship behaviors as we grow in our recovery from our past, as we become empowered and aware of the beauty within us. Some new relationship behaviors that we are learning are: allowing others to be themselves without over-reacting and taking it personally, and owning our power to take care of ourselves. Gradually, we also learn to let go of our need to control. We focus on self-responsibility, and not setting ourselves up to be victims by focusing on the other person while neglecting ourselves. We talk about having and setting healthy boundaries, talking directly, and taking responsibility for what we want and need.
While these behaviors certainly help us deal with “unhealthy” people, these are not behaviors intended only for use in what we call “dysfunctional relationships.” They can be applied in all areas of our life, with all people.
These behaviors are our new relationship behaviors. They help us in stressful relationships. They can help us get through times of stress in healthy relationships. They allow us to redirect the focus on naming and achieving what we need to be healthy, whole human beings.
The new behaviors we are learning are tools– healthy relationship skills— that help us improve the quality of all our relationships, including the one we have with ourself.
Self-care is crucial to our well-being– learning to love and take care of ourselves is the first step in our journey towards a joyous life. The idea of giving ourselves what we want and need can be confusing, especially if we have spent many years not knowing that it’s okay to take care of ourselves. Taking our energy and focus off of others and their responsibilities and placing that energy on ourselves and our responsibilities is a new way to behave. It is a behavior that can be acquired. We learn it by daily practice. As a result, the healthier we become, the healthier our relationships will become.
Today I will remember to apply healthy relationship behaviors in all my relationships– with friends and co-workers, as well as in any significant other relationship. I will work hard at taking care of myself in troublesome relationships, figuring out which skill might best apply. I will also consider ways that my healthy relationships might benefit from my new relationship skills.