One of my favorite topics to lecture on is that of healthy relationships. Whether one is in recovery from addiction (of any kind) or not, we all have the capacity to continue growing both independently and interdependently in our relationships.
As a society, we have this convoluted notion of what a healthy relationship looks like.
"You're my other half!"
"I'm searching for my soulmate!"
"You make me whole!"
But how codependent are those statements, those beliefs?
If I am not a whole person without a friendship, a significant other, a familial relationship, or any other person in my life, I am setting myself up for codependent tendencies. I need to focus more on myself and how to grow internally than on how to make sure the people in my life are going to stay in my life and validate my existence.
Loss is inevitable.
Breakups are not uncommon.
People move away, move on, and move forward.
Will we always feel as though we are a half, looking to fill our empty space with another half in order to make a whole?
I truly believe that a healthy relationship consists of two whole people coming together to make something bigger... rather than two halves completing each other.
I need to focus less on my quest for love, and more on the barriers that I have built up against it.
I need to focus less on finding a perfect person to satiate my needs, and more on my capacity for self-exploration, introspection, and growth.
Everything I am looking for is inside of me already.
Everything you are looking for is within you, too.
Growing internally is just one facet of a healthy relationship, though.
Other incredibly important relationship dynamics include:
- Boundaries (what is acceptable to me, what is and is not my responsibility)
- Communication (something that is simply not taught to us in schools)
- Expectations (difficult to let go of if you're someone like me, who loves control)
- Vulnerability (how to break down the barriers and show up with our whole heart)
- Healing from past traumas (which we seemingly tend to minimize and gloss over)
- Growing our roots, not our leaves (the roots keep us grounded, though we may sway apart externally)
- Foundations of healthy relationships (honesty, perspective, compromise, trust, etc.)
- Foundations of unhealthy relationships (defense mechanisms, lack of communication, dishonesty, expectations, unhealthy sexual relations and lack of communication about sexual needs, etc.)
- Codependency (what is it? symptoms, beliefs, solutions)
- Survival behaviors from childhood (and how they manifest in our adult relationships)
- Self worth, Self love, and Self efficacy (remember, "we accept the love we think we deserve.")
And so many more.
Come hear me speak about healthy relationships on January 25th in DC!