HAVING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

There’s such an intense focus in our culture to find something great, something that makes us whole, and hold onto it for the rest of our lives. You have to find the perfect man, get married and have that last perfectly for a lifetime. Or find the perfect group of friends and then grow old with them. But none of that mentality is healthy for us.

I fixated so much on that mentality growing up. I had this core group of friends and I was obsessed with the notion of us being friends forever and being everything for one another. I remember my closest friend once saying “I don’t even know how to define myself without you,” and at the time I thought that that was an amazing, beautiful concept. Eventually we all grew up. Some of us got boyfriends, some left for university, etc. etc. and I just couldn’t handle it. I could not handle the change of losing them to their new lives. I did a lot of irreparable damage to one friendship in particular. I felt so hurt that she would abandon me – that she would suddenly make her boyfriend more important than her friends. I thought she was selfish.

I realize now how ludicrous that all sounds. It took me a long time and the help of a good counselor to understand that the problem wasn’t everyone moving on with their lives, it was my mindset. Eventually I was able to internalize the fact that putting so much weight in relationships isn’t healthy. Nobody should “be your other half” or “make you feel complete.” I know that sounds lovely and romantic and that some people may not agree with me saying that it’s not the way to go about things, but truthfully, you have to be complete in yourself.

What’s more, you have to let yourself grow and evolve – to let friendships come and go. If you can do that, then it allows life to happen around you. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy it all, rather than trying to control it. In all honesty, everything around you will change. It’s the nature of the beast. If you can find a way to accept that and to roll with the punches, then life is going to be a lot less of a struggle. Letting the current take you is a heck of a lot nicer than trying to swim upstream.

I still have to continually remind myself to stop thinking that a relationship is about completing one another. It’s not like I’m fixed now. It’s a constant battle both because I grew up thinking it and because, like I said, it’s such a pervasive part of our culture (it’s pretty much written into every Rom Com you’ll ever read or watch). Getting out of that head space isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s something that you work towards for a lifetime. I don’t think anyone is born with the confidence to feel like they are complete in themselves, but it should certainly be something that every person strives for.

A few years ago a friend sent me this article – Letting Go of Attachment, From A to Zen – and I remember feeling so much clarity when I read it. For anyone that feels like they struggle with change, attachments or relationships, I really recommend giving it a read.

  • Wow. This was actually quite the eye-opener. I get really over-attached and clingy when I truly love someone, and all that does it push them away.. I'm getting better at it though.

    xx Babette

  • The reality for me is that I'm actually quite alone but I'm ok with that now. I always seem to make 'friends' with the wrong people – people who constantly let me down and are only bothered with me when no one else is round. Even at 22 years old, I still find a lot of it childish and I don't need any of that.
    autumnleaves-x.blogspot.co.uk

  • I'm just like RebeccaLouisee – having moved to University in a completely different city, I'e struggled to make 'amazing' friends and instead feel quite alone but again, I'm actually ok with that. I agree, it's knowing how to feel comfortable and confident in yourself and instead, your friends will fit around who you are instead of make you who you are/make you rely on them to make you the person you are. I feel people my age in their twenties are still growing up at different rates and others, like myself feel they've matured much quicker, so it's difficult to find people with the same mind set as you.
    However just feeling comfortable with yourself is the most important thing.

  • I truly believe that there is no other half, but another 'whole' since each person is a 'whole' and this is how we should feel. Loving ourselves is the most important thing, I know I talk about it a lot, but it's life changing. I totally agree with you… What sociaty, parents, school, religions say isn't the truth, because there isn't just one truth, everyone has its own truth and path. And where we meet as 'wholes', with love and light, is where the magic happens. A great book is 'You can heal your life' by Louise Hay. It's difficult, but it will transfom you completely.

    Diana P. | Cups & Roses

  • yes this one of those things that many people do not grasp including myself. I remember feeling the same about friendships -i was torn apart if I had to move away from friends, i felt like i couldn't live without friends. To be fair friends can be very fickle and selfish and a lot of the people in my ife haven't been there to offer me the support and help I would have offered them in return. I had a friend flat out refuse to talk to me after I revealed to her I was having some struggles. Later she brefriended me again so that she could talk to me about her family problems and then a couple of years later just removed me from her life entirely. Friendships aren't about talking about what you did with your day, it's about being there for someone 100%. A lot of people lack the depth to have a true friendship. A true friendship is one you don't need but is always there. But people "needing" eachother in relationships is completely the wrong way to go. I had this argument with my boyfriend (ex boyfriend) just last night that people shouldn't need each other, but come together from a place of want.. I have a much more detached view of relationships these days and a little more self reliant, when other people are the source of yuour happiness, doom is imminent …Bottom line though is people SHOULD be there for you. And that's what's sad.

  • It's really hard not to. Believe me I know.

  • Sometimes being forced to be alone is the best thing that can happen. You have to become friends with yourself in that situation. It sounds sappy, but it can be incredibly healthy.

  • I like that. "Where we meet at 'wholes'".. well said.

  • It's pretty insane that that's the message the everyone is surrounded with on a day to day basis. It's not easy to somehow remove yourself from it.

  • I used to be a lot clingier of a person, I guess that's what dealing with abandonment does to you. But I've learned over the years that I've got myself to take care of first & foremost. Other people are just that, people, & they can do what they please at any given time. That includes moving on to other things. This was a nice, interesting read. It's so crazy how sometimes, putting things into perspective years after your life seemed a mess can make you realize so much.

    Sofia | palelily.blogspot.com

  • It's amazing how much we can be a product of our upbringings. I guess it's also pretty amazing that we manage to rise above it. I feel like I'll always have the same struggles, but the fact that I can get to the point where they're not ruling my life is a vast improvement.

  • Good points Holly, we should not strive to find the perfect one to complete us, that makes us weak and vunerable to get hurt. Being independent and living your live indivdually is important for a happy and healthy relathionship. I'm not keen on the phrase 'other half' I tend to say partner 🙂

    Hanh x | hanhabelle

  • Exactly! It's up to you to rise above like you said, or let it sink you. I admire your honesty on the subject! Good luck <3