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BellaOnline's African American Culture Editor

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Having A Healthy Relationship


I was taught that whatever you sow in life you will reap. I was also taught that whatever you think about yourself will determine the people you attract to yourself. A healthy relationship starts with healthy people.

I did not understand any of this until I was much older and began to experience different kinds of relationships. Some of us like to lump all of our relationships into two categories: good or bad. However, the truth of the matter is, there are many components to a relationship and many different kinds of relationships.

At a time, a relationship's components may fit a given person or couple at one stage of development but not at another. We often choose relationships based upon our present needs and our past experiences. Should these needs be met, a person or couple can grow their relationship in the direction that will lead to a successful and healthy one.

When we enter a relationship—whether we know it or not—we go in with certain expectations. We enter relationships with what we have learned as children, adolescences, and adults. There is a level of expectations on what we want from the relationship and how much we are willing to give to a relationship.

Healthy relationships start with healthy people. And knowing what you want and who you are is necessary for a healthy relationship. What we bring to each new commitment is based upon who we are and what we know and have learned throughout our life.

If we are to base our relationships solely upon past relationships—whether they were successful or not—we have already given the current relationship a strike. Each relationship has its own unique identification—DNA if you would. And because it is unique, we must enter and treat each relationship based upon what that relationship requires in order for it to thrive.

For certain, whatever you put into a relationship you will get out. I will say this, however: you may not receive the reciprocity deserved from the relationship that you are currently in, but in a later relationship. Sometimes the relationships we are in at the moment are not lifetime relationships, but seasonal relationships. They are only meant to teach us something before we move on.

My Gram would tell me that men will sometimes come and go. If you are truly blessed, you will find that special someone for a lifetime—sometimes twice. Yet, there is only one of you and you must be certain to take care of you, and know who you are as an individual. Otherwise, you will find yourself being a different person with each relationship you are in.

Wise advice. Too bad many did not adhere to her sage advice! And if you are wondering if I adhered...yes! I learned as a little girl to listen more than you speak, and to let other people's mistakes teach you well. I've learned well through the many lessons I have witnessed.

Here's the key that many have learned and most are still learning: all relationships need work and time. However, all relationships start with individuals. And each individual must take stock of who they are. My Gram was right: there is only one you, and if you do not take care of yourself and know who you are, you will never have a successful relationship; because you will be too busy trying to be someone for that other person, without really knowing who you are and what you want.

Be true to yourself. Know who you are and what you want. Be open with your heart. Past experiences can hold us hostage, so free yourself from past hurts. And don't look at any relationship as a mistake, but as a learning opportunity for you to get to know who you are, what you want, and what you deserve.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Ruthe McDonald. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ruthe McDonald. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ruthe McDonald for details.

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