Human beings are extremely social creatures who crave connection and affiliation with one another. We have strong cravings for love, friendship and belonging. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs posits that this need to belong is so innate that it may be strong enough to overcome physiological and safety needs. This is illustrated by individuals staying in abusive romantic relationships and toxic family dynamics and proves just how entrenched our need to belong is. The very existence of fraternities and sororities supports this point.
Relationships come in so many different flavors and colors. They are extremely versatile and serve different purposes in our lives. From the conjugal bliss of romantic attraction to the mundane beauty of friendship, to the measured cadences your mum uses to kiss your pain away, we all crave some kind of intimacy and connection.
It's hard to see your relationships clearly when you’re in it. There’s no yardstick or control group and nuance is something you really must consider. There are no definite parameters. However, there are some basic things one would consider when describing a relationship as healthy.
“THERE IS NO
CONTROL GROUP “
Open communication is an important hallmark of a healthy relationship. Communication helps to build trust in relationships and fosters stronger bonds. Effective constant communication helps to create empathy and compassion. Sharing your feelings and thoughts in a way that makes the other person feel safe, heard and not judged.
Individuals in healthy relationships respect boundaries. Boundary setting involves expressing needs and naming limits. Your privacy and space should be respected. Doing this can help take pressure off our relationships and prevent unrealistic expectations. This ties into consent and ensures that no one is being forced to do anything they don’t want to do. Important to note, consent can be given and taken back at any time. You should feel safe at every single point in time.
“CONSENT CAN BE GIVEN
AND TAKEN BACK AT ANY
Healthy relationships involve learning and reflection. One has to be dynamic and learn from past experiences and mistakes. Constant introspection and a drive to do better and be better, allow for growth.
There should be mutual respect in a healthy relationship. When one party actively disrespects, demeans or ignores the other, that is abusive behavior. Respect of each other’s feelings, values and needs is extremely crucial .
Another sign of a healthy relationship is conflict management. Individuals should be able to work through disagreements in a healthy way. Respectful communication and allowing each other to feel heard is a much healthier medium than physical aggression and violence.
Despite the central role that relationships play in our lives, relationships needs work and maintenance. It takes active learning and unlearning to pursue a journey of healthy, intimate, healing relationships.
Relationships can look very different to people but it is crucial we seek help when we find ourselves in toxic, abusive situations. You DESERVE BETTER and you can BE BETTER!
Kindly find attached below a few resources should you find yourself in a toxic or abusive situation. You are strong and you are allowed to ask for help.
Stop Abuse Ghana: +233 501 453 666
Women At Risk International Foundation Helpline: +234 809 210 0009
Written by Elizabeth Blessing Adams