So many of us strive to have social media’s favorite tag line, “Relationship Goals,” but relationships are more than those picture-perfect photos we see on Instagram. Anyone who has ever been in a long term successful relationship will tell you that they are a bit more complex than that. I started thinking about what are the top three characteristics that make for real “Relationship Goals.” With this being different for everyone and so many items to choose from, I wanted to narrow the list down to just three. Below, I’ve written ‘my’ top three goals and why I feel they are important to me.
Number one is communication. Being able to communicate effectively and be an active listener is a skill so many of us lack. Instead of waiting until adulthood to try and figure out how to have a healthy conversation, I think communication should be a class taught throughout grade school. Growing up, I don’t recall anyone teaching me how to express myself and effectively communicate with others. While I have gotten better, I still have more work to do. I find myself defensive at times, listening only to respond, speaking without thinking first, and not actively listening or considering others’ feelings. Unfortantnatley, when you have been operating a certain way for a long time, it takes a bit to undo those bad habits. But if we started practicing these tools earlier on in life, we would be so much further along by the time we reach adulthood. Strong communication skills help in every aspect of our life. It is a tool that is underdeveloped by so many of us. Just think of all we could accomplish in the world if we could talk with one another. It might help curb the majority of chaos that goes on in the world.
Number two is compromising. To combine two lives into one, you will have to compromise. There is no way around it. Everything you do should be done from a place of “WE,” no longer “I.” I am thinking about your needs, and you are thinking about mine. Each of us never feels like we are losing because it is a constant flow of reciprocation. Of course, there will be times where one of us will not get everything we want, exactly when and how we want it. But when compromising is done right, you won’t feel like you are missing out. We must understand that we are selfish by nature, and selflessness takes practice. If you find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, and you genuinely care about their happiness just as much as yours, giving yourself in that way should not be a problem.
“Relationship Goals is not what we should be striving to attain. We should change the hashtag to Partnership Goals.”
For my third one, I had several ideas but couldn’t narrow it down. So I decided to go online and see what others thought were the most important things to have in a relationship. I came across the word partnership, I’ve heard this word said several times to me, so I decided to google the word partnership. I found an article that had a lot of great insight, which lead me to conclude that “Relationship Goals” is not what we should be striving to attain. We should change the hashtag to “Partnership Goals.” The article discussed the difference between relationships versus partnerships. It went on to say relationships are clouded where people are often trying to figure out how each other feels. They can look great on the outside but be unstable on the inside. People seek relationships for pleasure in hopes of escaping pain, loneliness, or inadequacy. A partnership is about seeking purpose and having emotional integrity. Feelings have already been established and solidified, and you’re proving those feelings every day — trading in destructive tendencies not just for a stronger relationship but for a stronger you. Relationships can be a moment in time, but partnerships are a lifetime. However, this does not mean relationships cannot turn into a partnership. But before you reach that level, you first must work on yourself. You have to be a healthy individual, mentally, and emotionally before you can partner with anyone else.
Reflecting on all of this made me think about my previous relationships and how much work I have to do. Sometimes you think you’re doing better than you actually are. That is why it is crucial to be reflective and continuously challenge yourself. I want what is beyond a hashtag and photos. Wishing is only going to get me so far. I will have to put in the work if I want conversations from a place of love, understanding, mutual respect, and selflessness that we practice daily like a ritual. I want a partner that I can do life with every single day. Screw a “Relationship goal.” I am aiming for long-term PARTNERSHIP GOALS.
What are your top three characteristics of a healthy relationship? Comment down below.
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