It's spring time, and love is in the air, thus, I felt it necessary to share some things to keep in mind as we are embarking on new love journeys. Especially because loving ourselves (and others), as well as contributing to healthy and successful relationships require frequent objective assessments of ourselves to determine and ensure that we are capable of participating in those desired relationships in a healthy and constructive way. Therefore, I created this post to support assessment of individual relationship-readiness.
First, let's look at relationship-readiness...
What does relationship-ready mean?
To ensure that we are always operating under the same understanding, I want to explain what I regard as "relationship-ready". When using this term, the hope is that you know what you are looking for in a partner, that you are emotionally stable, operating in self-love, able to articulate your needs and manage (navigate in a healthy way) conflict. Spoiler Alert: The next 5 questions are surrounding each of these items.
The goal is that you will be able to frequently assess whether or not you are truly ready to be in and maintain a healthy relationship. Similarly, you will come to understand that while on your individual journey of growth, it's important that you constantly assess where you are (currently/at present), to ensure that your behaviour, perception and choices align with where you want to be (in future).
So, here's 5 questions you need to ask yourself in order to determine if you are relationship-ready.
I. Are you emotionally intelligent and stable?
This is somewhat of a loaded question right, because without emotional intelligence you can not really acquire emotional stability. The greatest thing to know about emotional intelligence is that it encompasses primarily the ability to regulate your emotions in a way that you ensure rationality in conflict and that you are able to communicate effectively while simultaneously being considerate of others.
Essentially, embodying emotional intelligence grants you the opportunity to ensure emotional stability. And trust me this feels really good if you do it correctly. You will notice that you are able to manage how you respond when triggered, and the reserved energy you give being upset you can redirect to focusing on matters maintaining your individual peace.
II. Are you practicing self-love?
You knew it was coming, lol the recurring topic of self-love. So yes, while I get that its a bit redundant, trust me it is so necessary! Therefore, as I know many of you have come to realize from reading my blog, that self-love is a very critical component for ensuring an overall positive quality of life. So it's important to be mindful that you are practicing self-love daily. That self-love, believe it or not, attracts love to you. It's sexy, admirable and intriguing to witness someone that can maintain his/her individual happiness through the love that they display toward themselves. Additionally, with self-love comes self-awareness, which is key to being able to articulate your needs to others.
Therefore, if you're unhappy from day to day, and resting your happiness in other's contributions to and or compliments of you, OR seeking fulfilment by what others can or are willing to do for you, than you are NOT yet relationship ready.
III. Are you able to articulate what you need in relationship from your partner?
One thing many people fail to consider when entering relationships is their ability to verbally articulate what they need from their partner in order to be happy. Similarly, what often lacks consideration is the follow through of this, because just because you can communicate what you need, it doesn't always mean that your partner has received the information in the way you wish them to. Therefore, be sure to ask "what did you hear me say" OR "what are some ways you think you can ensure that you meet this need?" This gives you and your partner the opportunity to explore each others needs, be certain the information was received and create verbal agreements for desired anticipated changes.
IV. Can you manage conflict in a healthy way?
As in any relationships, just because we set, articulate and agree to make positive changes, when these requests are left unmet conflict arises. Therefore, the basic understanding of conflict resolution is so important.
So, as you understand that a great deal of relationships dissolve due to either poor communication, lack of understanding, unclear boundaries and unhealthy (toxic) behavior and conflict resolution patterns, you are merely doing yourself justice by working on developing healthy conflict resolution skills.
Now, as there are a number of a methods and tactics to learn in order to enable ability to resolve conflict in a healthy manner, I will list a few that I feel are essential:
Clarify the issue! - Be sure that it's clear exactly what the problem is. And chances are, if you can't articulate the issue clearly, its a matter of ego and NOT a real problem...
Don't ignore the issue! - If you were able to clearly articulate what the problem is, DO NOT brush it off! It was identified as a problem for a reason, so be sure to address it!
Remain calm and rational! - The best way to resolve a conflict is to ensure that you are able to have a conversation not an argument, so remain calm and stay objective, to maintain rationality.
Listen to understand NOT respond! - If you are listening to respond chances are you are failing at #3, so be sure to focus on understanding the issue, so that you are able to empathize, and not focus on solely winning the argument. Conflict is never resolved with the intent to win!
Identify & focus on the solution! - Be sure that the end goal is clear for everyone, otherwise you'd be talking forever without resolve! Remember, in conflict resolution its best to be open to learning how to solve the problem, not contributing to it.
Remember, it's ok to agree to disagree! - Some people don't understand the value in agreeing to disagree. It's really ok that you and your partner don't always see eye to eye, as long as you can AGREE to respect their opinion and move on!
V. Do you know what you're looking for in a partner and how to assess and ensure that those qualities are present?
While agreeing to disagree is a possibility, if you are doing it more often than not, are you are your partner really the best match?
The only way to know for sure, is to ensure that you are with someone whose values align with yours, who has goals you can identify with and who is capable of treating you just as you seek to be treated (granted you are exhibiting the same qualities)!
So, in hindsight, just as you need to be able to articulate what you need from your partner (not to be confused with expecting your partner to "fulfil" for you), you certainly need to be able to identify those quantities in others. Don't waste your time being with someone who is not what you need. As the bulk of relationships FAIL due to expectation of change, it's important to understand that the more you expect your partner to change, the greater the expectation for you to change. That's not always said, but its so important to drive this point home...Essentially, be everything you need, so you can easily identify someone who is not...
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