The nature of healthy relationships

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

A relationship is any form of connection between two or more people, which could be in the form of acquaintanceship, friendship, family, work-group, or romance. Relationships are essential and biologically important, the same way food, water, and respect are fundamental to our general wellbeing. We know these because little babies are mortally vulnerable to loneliness and lack of parental love. Therefore, whether it’s a relationship with our parents, our children, our siblings, our co-workers, our friends, or our significant other, we must endeavor to keep them as healthy as possible. And in order to have a healthy relationship with the people around you, you must follow these rules. ​

Do not be controlling

One big mistake you can make in any relationship is to try to control the other person. If there’s anything human beings value more than putting food in their belly, it is having the freedom to make their own choices. Don’t tell them, ‘You look terrible, you need to change the way you look’, or, ‘You shouldn’t be writing books or playing football, you are far more intelligent than that’. While you think you are helping them or trying to make them improve, this is what you are telling them indirectly, ‘What you are doing now is shameful. It’s a stupid thing to do’. Being controlling simply strains relationships, even if it is for a good reason. Respect other people’s right to make their own choices. And if you care enough, endeavor to rescue them when they are drowning. If you don’t care enough, move on with your life.

No one owes you anything

The mere fact that you have been kind and helpful to another person does not mean they owe you anything. There was no legal agreement made, and you merely took a risk. Like business ventures, you can either experience profit or loss. Therefore, every kind of gesture you show to other people should be seen as a risk, rather than an obligation. If they do not show gratitude and treat you like shit afterwards, accept your loss. If they abandon you, despite all that you have done for them, accept your loss. No one owes you anything, and you owe no one nothing. 

Respect boundaries

We don’t want anyone stifling the air around us- that’s what happens when you try to live other people’s lives for them. Do not be overly critical of someone’s actions. If you cannot be supportive, just shut the hell up. To be honest, nobody needs your negative comments. Nobody is prepared to feel insignificant and worthless. And if you continue, other people will find you rather uncomfortable to be around. Most people are already dealing with one struggle or the other- they are in pain, and do not need to be in more pain because of your judgmental behavior, critical remarks, and ridiculous expectations. Therefore, speak positively and constructively, or say nothing at all.​

Let your relationship be controlled by the invisible hand

In economics, the invisible hand means ‘letting things happen naturally, without external influence’. Going by this, it is advisable to let other people want to spend time with you because they feel like it (i.e. because they are motivated by their own feelings), and not because you forced them to. Nobody possesses anyone; a husband does not possess his wife, and a father does not possess his son/daughter. Being possessive is an indication of insecurity, and insecurity never helps to preserve any form of relationship. Let other people associate with you not because they feel obligated to do so, but because they are driven by their own feelings. ​

If other people act contrary to their feelings, because you are being possessive or controlling, that means they are doing things they don’t want to do, and they are not going to be happy about it. As this continues, you constantly strain your relationship. While you may want some of your relationships to last forever, understand that they can end at any point in time, not only because you may decide to end it, but also because they may decide to end it because they no longer feel like associating with you anymore. And when it ends, accept it is over and move on with your life. ​

Do not be angry or depressed because your relationship has ended. Be exceedingly glad because you treated these people with so much respect and care. Be happy because you were neither controlling nor demanding. You were tolerant, patient, and courageous. You respected their boundaries and never (or scarcely) got angry. In other words, you made a huge impact in their lives.