One of the keys to obtaining a better life or living arrangement is to assess the quality of relationships that you surround yourself with. Do you surround yourself with loving relationships or unhealthy relationships? For someone that has a pattern or history with unhealthy relationships, the difference between the two may be difficult to decipher.
Healthy relationships are relationships that add to our well being, not subtract. They bring out the best of us by being supportive of our goals and our inner selves. Unhealthy relationships often cause us stress and subtract from our well being, often leaving us feeling depleted of energy.
Common symptoms of unhealthy relationships include sickness, stress, and a negative outlook of ourselves and our world around us. People who are accustomed to unhealthy relationships often stay cornered in situations like this because they do not recognize that there is another way of living. They might continue the unhealthy relationship indefinitely and never seek a better way of life for themselves or they may leave the unhealthy relationship, but not the pattern.
The life pattern is essentially the root of the problem. The pattern may have stemmed from family upbringing or any other form of influential relationship. The key is to recognize the behavior and identify where it is coming from.
A creative way to assess your patterns is to write it down. Take out a notebook that you know you will keep for years to come. Write down all the major relationships that you have had in your life. Your earliest form of relationship more than likely was a family member or someone acting in this form. Note how they showed you love. Then note how you reciprocated that love. Continue in a chronological order with any additional relationships you have had, i.e. friends, personal and love relationships.
Next make a column on your right hand side. Re-read your assessments in order, as you read through them determine whether they were healthy or unhealthy and mark it down in your right hand column. Having an overview of your relationships right before your eyes makes it easier to ‘look’ at. You may actually bring issues to attention that you were not aware of before. For some this may even be a rather emotional exercise, but be reminded it is an exercise encouraging growth and healthy behavior.
Whatever your circumstance take time to assess your own involvements and choices with relationships. Do you always pick a controlling relationship? Or do you always pick a relationship where you are the enabler? Are you respecting your own boundaries while you are in a relationship or are they being sacrificed? Are you always compromising your time and energy to please another? Or are you always compromising your morals or beliefs? Are you maintaining a balance with yourself and other activities? Or are you focusing so much on the other person that you are not taking care of other obligations and priorities?