In my role as a therapist, many of the conversations I have with clients involve the relationships that they are in, and all too often, it seems, that many of these relationships are, at least to some degree, dysfunctional.  And this is not surprising to me, as fostering healthy and meaningful connections is not always easy.  So if you find yourself struggling with the people in your life, consider the following points:

Do not put too much worry into who likes you or not.  Instead, wonder about what it is that attracts you to other people, and ask yourself if they have qualities that are most important to you in a relationship.

Befriend yourself.  The fear of being alone is very real for many people.  Which is why many people stay in unhealthy relationships. Yet, sometimes, it is healthier to be alone than to stay in a dysfunctional relationship.  If this rings true for you, become your own best friend, learn to embrace solitude, and enjoy your own company,

Do not expect others to fix your problems.  They are no one’s responsibility but your own.

Set boundaries and honor them, for yourself and others.  As the saying goes, we teach people how to treat us by what we allow to continue.  There is truth to this.  So establish and maintain clear boundaries in your relationships, and likewise, honor the boundaries set by others as well.

Surround yourself with like-minded people.  Foster relationships with people that inspire you, support you, and bring out the best in you.  Not only will they lift you higher, but they will also serve as a gauge other relationships.

Be good to the people you love.  It is that simple.

Trust your intuition.  We are more sensitive to people’s energies and intentions that we often realize.  If your gut is trying to tell you something about someone, trust this feeling, especially if you feel desire to avoid someone because the relationship is one-sided, energetically draining, manipulative, guilt-ing, or anger-inducing.  These feelings are not present in healthy relationships, so do not engage in these dynamics when they arise.

Be honest about your feelings.  While it is often difficult to talk about difficult things, a healthy relationship should create space for such conversations and be accepting of uncomfortable feelings.

Maintain your sense of your current self.  Certain relationships have the tendency to drudge up parts of our past and cause us to react in ways that are no longer in accordance with who we are at this time.  If you notice this happening in certain relationships, be conscious and remind yourself to step out of the past and into the present moment, and remember that the only thing you have control of is yourself.

Some relationships are not meant to last forever.  Be good to people, and be good to yourself.  If the relationship does not work out for whatever the reason, allow yourself to release it.

Ellie Holbrook, MA, LPCC, RYT500

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