Healthy Relationships: Tips For Building Strong, Positive Bonds

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As relational beings that we are, the issue of bonds is one of the greatest concerns of human beings. We can suffer serious wounds when interacting with other people, but we also heal through the bond. Precisely for this reason, it is of great relevance that we can understand how to build strong ties. And, although this is the main point of the article, we will also see what a healthy relationship is – and what it is not -, how we learn to bond and if it is possible to modify these learnings.

How can I know if my relationships are healthy?

Interpersonal relationships are a very interesting and, at the same time, complex topic. It is considered that for a relationship to be healthy it must be based on mutual respect, trust, support and collaboration. In addition, you must also have open, assertive and honest communication.

The quality of our relationships can directly affect our emotional and physical well-being. In this sense, it is important not to idealize and keep in mind that perfect relationships do not exist. Building a secure bond—whatever type—requires commitment and care from all parties involved.

In general terms, we can affirm that relationships in which there is a lack of respect and violence or abuse of any kind are completely far from a healthy relationship. To this, we can add dysfunctional dynamics and abusive, humiliating and/or controlling behaviors. However, since no two beings are the same, it is important that each person becomes aware of what their needs are in the different types of relationships that they establish. Likewise, it is important to be clear about your own limits, communicate them assertively and respect them.

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Before delving into building healthy links, it is necessary to understand how links are generated. The main protagonist at this point is attachment. However, we cannot forget that, in addition to attachment, each person’s life experiences can also interfere. The term attachment, in psychology, refers to the primary bond that is established between a child and its main caregivers during the first years of life.

These first experiences will leave a mark that will strongly influence the feeling of security when bonding. That is, if we feel that connecting with other people is safe or not. Fortunately, the scientific evidence we currently have reinforces the idea that we can internalize new learning and patterns. That is to say, even if early experiences were complex, if we have experiences of secure bonds we can internalize them and relate from that basis.

How to build strong and positive bonds?

Building healthy, strong, nourishing and lasting bonds requires awareness, commitment, presence and intimacy. It is a process and, therefore, it involves work, continuity over time and, sometimes, requires patience.

The proposals made below encompass important strategies and aspects that can be applied to various types of interpersonal relationships. That is, they do not focus solely on family, couple or friendship relationships, but rather encompass their entirety.

1. Self-knowledge

Each person has their life story. Individual experiences influence the perception of the world, but also beliefs and values. It is important to be aware of our own emotional wounds to identify how they can interfere.

2. Self-care and individual well-being

A healthy relationship leaves room for its components to grow individually. This implies that each person can cultivate and maintain their interests, as well as their physical and emotional well-being outside of the relationship that is being built.

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3. Invest time in the relationship

For a relationship to reach the necessary point of commitment and intimacy, it is necessary to take care of it and invest quality time with the other person. Furthermore, it is important that the parties involved feel that there is a balance in relation to power.

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4. Emotional responsibility

This term refers to the fact of becoming aware of the needs and desires of the other person in the same way as your own. Thus, it implies assimilating responsibility for one’s own actions and the possible effect on others.

5. Conflict resolution

Emotional ties that have secure bases also face conflict situations or moments of disagreement. They must be approached with respect, in a constructive manner and finding solutions that satisfy the parties involved in order to repair the bond.

6. Communication

All parties should feel that they can freely express their thoughts, emotions, concerns, desires and needs. Honest communication based on listening, respect and non-judgment.

7. Reciprocal emotional support

In healthy relationships, people feel free to share each other, knowing that, in moments of emotional dysregulation, the other person will be there. It is important to be able to offer and receive that help, comfort and support in a two-way way.

8. Limits

We cannot expect to change other people as we please. Sometimes there will be points of disagreement where no middle ground can be found and it is important to respect the limits of each individual. We must take responsibility for communicating our limits clearly and respectfully.

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9. Professional help

If the relationship is going through a difficult time and you consider that you do not have the resources to deal with the situation, you can ask for professional help. Both couples and family therapy are highly recommended options.

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