“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
– Anais Nin

The very life we live in is an embodiment of relationships. The connections between us and our environment are signs that we are not beings of isolation. Isolation in itself is required to help us determine what works and what doesn’t, but it’s only momentary because relationships are integral.

[Tweet “relationships elevate, energize, inspire and validate us.”]

Healthy relationships make us better. They elevate, energize, inspire and validate us. They lift us up and validate our joy. Those relationships enhance our lives, and places us on a pedestal; to live our dreams, be who we are, confident, and lacking nothing. As women in leadership, filled with aspirations and goals, we need these kinds of relationships to motivate us. Here are five Signs to know if you have healthy relationships:

MUTUAL CONNECTION

[Tweet “Community gives you perspective; it enables you look out of yourself and connect you with people who will help you succeed.”]

Mutual connection is when two people feel the same way towards each other, as well as share similar life goals which helps them connect effortlessly. This kind of connection can otherwise be referred to as a community. Having people around you who share the same ideologies as you, who believe in you, and want to see you succeed. Community gives you perspective, it enables you look out of yourself and connects you with people who will help you succeed.

RESPECT

[Tweet “You respect one another when you don’t let obstacles become more important to you than the relationship.”]

Respect is the most important sign of a healthy relationship. It is a pattern of behavior that is found in most healthy relationships where mutual connection over the weeks, months and years builds up to where individuals feel and know that they are valued. You have to give respect in order to get it.

People who respect each other, trust and support each other, and value each other’s independence. They also have the freedom to be themselves, talk honestly and freely, and make decisions and compromises together. The truth is, respect is built on difficult grounds. You respect one another when you don’t let obstacles become more important to you than the relationship.  When you are in a relationship where the other person perseveres despite pressure and struggles, to protect your relationship, then you have earned the respect your relationship deserves.

SHARED EXPERIENCE

[Tweet “when two people find shared meaning, they are willing to support one another’s dreams, even when there is little to gain from doing so.”]

Going through a significant experience with another person creates mutual bond. Similarly, shared experience gives us the opportunity to connect deeper with friends, family, colleagues, social groups and community. Shared experience according to Gottman, a notable relationship expert, can help us find shared meaning, build connection, helps settle conflicts to collectively pursue the goals that matter, and when two people find meaning, they are willing to support one another’s dreams, even when there is little to gain from doing so. He states that recognizing another person’s values, goals and dreams, and talking about it, can be a tremendously helpful way to build emotional connections. These shared experiences could take different forms, like working on a project together, skiing, travelling, group meetings, dinners and so on.

TRUST

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ― Maya Angelou

You must have confidence in yourself to build lasting relationships as well as come out of a bad one to embrace and build a good relationship. Ralph Wardo wrote “The glory of friendship is not in outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is in the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when she discovers that someone else believes in her and is willing to trust her.”

[Tweet “Trust is the wheel that puts in motion any worthwhile and fruitful relationship”]

Trust helps us build healthier relationship, it is both the joy of relationships and a necessary component and foundation of any relationship. It is the bedrock of any relationship, if you do not have trust, you don’t have much of a relationship. Trust is the wheel that puts in motion any worthwhile and fruitful relationship- trust in self and the other person is a great way to experience the best in any given relationship especially relationships that are necessary for successful attainments in life.

RECIPROCITY

[Tweet “Friendships are like bank accounts you cannot continue to withdraw from them without making deposits”]

Relationships are built on mutual grounds; reciprocity and cooperation are so valuable precisely because we do have various strengths and weaknesses. All relationships experience ebb and flow. Sometimes one person is the primary giver.  Reciprocity will be difficult or impossible to develop and maintain if one party in the relationship believes that they are and must be superior or in control. Relationships that continue to be one-sided will not remain healthy. When they continue to be out of balance, they become unstable and often unhealthy. Friendships are like bank accounts you cannot continue to withdraw from them without making deposits. Healthy relationships must be beneficial to both parties. Each person has got to put the other first. It has to be mutual and must experience a win-win.