Are your Relationships Values-Based?
Valentines Day is the quintessential time of year to express our love and affection for our partners and friends. Unwittingly, it can also cause us to look at our relationships through rose-coloured glasses. Because of this, we can take advantage of the opportunity to take off those lenses, and look at our connections in a more realistic way. Taking stock of who we have in our life and whether we are living out our values within our relationships is not something we often do. This is important to do with both romantic relationships and friendships, because the people we invite into our lives can have a strong impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing.
When is the last time you explored your relationship values? How do you want your partner and friends to treat you and talk to you – what kind of behavior are you willing to accept from the people in your life? What characteristics do you want to see in the people you spend time with and share yourself with? This isn’t meant to criticize others, but to consider whether or not our relationships are a good match for who we genuinely want in our life.
Just as important is considering what values you want to bring into your relationships and connections, and whether you are actually doing so. We often idealize how we want to treat others, how supportive and open we want to be, or how much time we want to put into our relationships; but sometimes it can be hard to live those out. It can be a good idea to sit down and make a list of your relationship values, and then think about your specific relationships and whether those values are being lived out, either by yourself or the other. You may discover that there are some boundaries that need to be put up, and those you thought were close friends actually may be toxic and unhelpful. On the other hand, you may realize that you yourself have walls up, and that your friends and partner attempt to get close to you but you resist. You may realize that you want to work on bringing down the walls you have, and practice more vulnerability with your partner and friends in order to be living out your values authentically.
So why not take some time this Valentines Day, to really look at your partnership and friendships, bringing in a wider lens so that you can really see what they are actually like. This is an important practice, and there’s no better time to take stock than right now.