The relationships we create and share, whether they are platonic or romantic, can be some of the most important and meaningful experiences of our lives.
These 7 “Habits” are what I see being crucial in creating relationships that are not only fun and joyful but healing, deep, and soulful.
Thanks to Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” for the inspiration!
LEAD WITH CURIOSITY
Anytime we engage with another human, really anything can happen. Will we be friends, lovers, business partners, acquaintances, or just another face in the crowd?
When we lead with curiosity and let go of assumptions and expectations, our mind has space to expand, and our energy becomes more present. Not only that, we also rediscover the child inside, the aspect of us that is always naturally curious wants to come out to play.
COMMUNICATION IS PARAMOUNT
Our willingness to communicate to the fullest and best of our ability using our words, tone, inflection, emotional state, sounds (such as grunts, sighs, etc.), and other body language is vital to nurturing effective relationships.
Without a willingness to communicate, often the other person experiences doubt, a loss of trust, and even confusion as it leaves their mind wondering what is happening for us. The stories and assumptions our monkey minds make when they don’t know what’s happening for the other person often leads to misunderstanding and loss of connection.
When we place a high value on our willingness to share ourselves as fully and as authentically as we can, it naturally invites the other person to do the same, creating a field of permission for deeper dialogue and connection.
BUILD TRUST, NOT WALLS
It can be easy to approach connection with hesitation, caution, and mistrust. Some people naturally trust first, while others require trust to be built over time. Both approaches are valid since the intention and desire are the same.
In either case, building and creating a meaningful relationship requires that at least one person in the interaction drops their guard first. Otherwise, if two people attempt to connect, and both parties have walls up, there is no flow or opportunity to deepen the relationship.
Giving others the confidence that in any situation, favorable or not, that we will authentically communicate with them our thoughts and emotions helps create a sense of security, helps to settle our inner unease, builds trust, and keeps the doors of curiosity and possibility open.
GIVE THE GIFT OF FREEDOM & PERMISSION
Offering freedom and permission to others creates an opportunity for both parties to step forward vulnerability and share more than they would if there was expectation, demand, or judgment.
Often the most tender aspects of our being are the parts that have been shamed, numbed, and avoided. Ironically, these are the parts that also desire the most to be seen, heard, and felt just as they are.
When we offer a space of safety for these parts to step out of the shadows gently, we find there is more of each other to love as we help each other to integrate and become more whole.
ALL EMOTIONS ARE WELCOME
Growing up, most of us were told, either directly or indirectly, that our emotion weren’t ok. Often when we felt sad, mad, angry, or afraid, we were told our emotions and tears weren’t ok, to ignore them, and often that they were too much.
As we grow older and seek to create meaningful relationships, it’s important to let our partners know that all emotions are welcome. While it is vital that we continue to learn to own our emotions and not to project or demand another to carry them for us, it is also equally important that we not hold back with each other as this reinforces disempowering patterns.
Instead, when we allow another to feel all their emotions with us, we find we build a depth of connection and build bridges of intimacy that are meaningful, healing, and authentic. To know someone through their emotions is to know their essence, honor their younger self, to love their whole being.
RESPONSIBILITY IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY
Meaningful relationships require everyone involved to be in ownership of their experience. While it can, of course, be helpful to have support and to have others to share our challenges with, at the end of the day, each of us is ultimately responsible for ourselves.
This helps us avoid co-dependent tendencies and allows for deep safety. When we know that the other person will ultimately take care of themselves, it gives us space and flexibility. When we feel the other is rooted in themselves, we no longer feel weighed down by the relationship.
Instead, we feel light, free to move, and in that movement, the dance we can share can be expansive, playful, and meaningful. This concept is explored more in my post about Responsible Vulnerability.
CO-CREATE WITH INTENTION
Co-creation is the idea that it not only takes two to tango, but to do it well requires both dancer’s full participation. Instead of one person pushing another towards some goal or agenda, co-creation honors both individuals and ask with curiosity what is possible.
Life, and often the humans that inhabit it, can be uncertain and unpredictable. When we intentionally co-create with another, we invite each person to bring all their gifts, emotions, thoughts, and desires to the table and to see what can be built together.
Relationships that are co-created honor the sovereignty of both individuals bring all the other habits full circle, and provide rich and fertile soil for seeds of authenticity, love, and meaning.