This month begins a series of topics discussing the pillars of healthy relationships. Relationships can be looked at like a house. A house has to have a solid foundation – if there are structural flaws the house will not be able to sustain stress and will fracture over time. Relationships have to have a good structural design in order to support and sustain the relationship through good and rough times.
The first pillar is respect. Respect is holding a person in high esteem. It is having high and special regard and paying attention to that person’s thoughts and feelings. It is honouring the other person and appreciating the person for who she or he is.
Here are some thoughts on how to cultivate reciprocal respect to have a healthy relationship be it with a significant other or a dear friend.
- Embrace a person for who they are. We all have strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. We can’t change other people nor do we have the right to attempt to do so.
- Cherish the other person as a treasure. Close and intimate relationships can be rare. Nurturing the relationship is important to keep it alive.
- Treat the other person as an equal. Sometimes we may be more respectful to other people than we are to our partner or friend. Attempts to make the other person feel ‘less than’ in order for us to think we’re superior is poisonous to the relationship.
- Compromising is not the same as losing and giving in. Respecting another’s perspective shows emotional maturity and the willingness to negotiate so that both parties benefit.
- Lastly, respect is earned and not a given. Consistency in words and actions shows a person’s true intents and feelings about the other person.