Finding Balance in Your Relationships
Maintaining healthy relationships, both with the people closest to us and within our wider support network, is essential for our wellbeing. Research shows that people with strong interpersonal connections are healthier, happier and live longer. Relationships with family and friends bring love, meaning and purpose to our lives, while our broader social network brings us a sense of belonging.
However, relationships can also be tricky to navigate, and unhealthy habits and patterns can cause problems like anxiety, trust issues and low self-esteem.
If we don’t pay attention to our relationships and invest time in maintaining healthy connections with the people in our lives, this can have the opposite effect of becoming damaging to our wellbeing and mental health.
It’s often said that relationships require give and take and it’s true that finding a healthy balance in our relationships is important. But what do we need to balance?
We need to balance our own needs, wishes and desires with those of the other person. If you’re a “people pleaser” or someone who has a tendency to sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others then, over time, this can lead to feelings of resentment, low self-esteem and relationship burnout.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re someone who has a tendency to put their own needs ahead of the needs of others, then this can lead to relationships built on control and manipulation or even push people away for good.
It can be helpful to consider where you are on this spectrum and reflect on whether you need to adjust the balance in any of your relationships.
To get the balance right, we need to use effective relationship skills. In meeting our own needs, we need skills like assertiveness, reinforcement and negotiation. In meeting other people’s needs we need skills such as active listening, empathy and validation. And within all of this we need skills to maintain our self-respect like tuning into our relationship values, being fair and telling the truth.
I’ll be talking about these core relationship skills in my blog over the coming weeks, starting with skills to help you ask for what you want with clarity, confidence and compassion.