By Georgia Smith, MA
Relationships are vitally important because it only takes “one” relationship to help you either fulfill all you can possibly be, or cause you hindrances and failure. Therefore, the virtues of a healthy relationship are as important as the kind of profession you fulfill. The fast paced society we live in today demands your full attention to making a living. In the rush of the demand, we neglect taking time to foster positive relationships with basic virtues.
Basic virtues are not always easy to implement. We all have difficult relationships which take extra effort to develop. But there are basic virtues which nurture healthy relationships. One of the main reasons people come for counseling is because of a relationship issue. Be it a negative self view, spousal relationship, friend or co-worker, or with their children, I find myself helping my clients through the difficulties of relationships far more than any other issue.
The art of listening and validation helps begin the emotional healing process, but I do not stop there. I know how important it is to help them take an account of what they can do to change. Implementing changes needed for healthier relationships is not easy but extremely rewarding. Basic virtues that nurture healthy relationships are well worth the reminder. As you read about them, I encourage you to make a mental note of which ones you desire growth in you.
Remember, it only takes one person in a relationship to move towards a positive direction, so let change start with you. I promise the effort you put into implementing change is rewarding, and strengthens healthy connection for future relationships.
Virtue of effective communication: Effectively communicating means you listen empathetically first, without interrupting. Restating what you have heard is important in the process of communicating. Many misunderstandings can be avoided by restating what you “think” you just heard. There is much more to learn about effectively communicating, but empathetically listening and restating is a good start.
Virtue of understanding: How many times have you said, “I don’t feel understood”? Being understood and validation of your emotions and thoughts makes someone feel what they think is important.
Virtue of acceptance: Have you ever felt judged, criticized, condemned, or rejected? Or have you been someone who displays these negative qualities. The virtue of acceptance means you simply accept someone without necessarily agreeing with them. You eliminate trying to control them or change them with your way of thinking. When acceptance is truly felt, it allows people to let their guards down and gives way to desires for behavioral change. Emotional barriers are erected because of criticism, judgments, and condemning.
Virtue of patience: Remember to be patient, allowing others to develop at their own pace. We are all created with different strengths and weaknesses and we are all on our own journey in life. Every person is uniquely created and the circumstances of their lives are unique. Patience gives others room to grow and change at their pace, not at our pace.
Virtue of forgiveness: The virtue of forgiveness is a powerful antidote for a wounded, bitter soul. When we forgive someone for what they have done, or when we ask for forgiveness because of what we have done, this allows the soul to let go of the offense. Forgiving means you are willing to “let it go” so your own soul will not carry the burden of the offense.
Virtue of kindheartedness: Of all the virtues I have mentioned, the virtue of kindheartedness, I would say, is most important! This virtue carries with it the greatest and most powerful force in all creation––love. Kindheartedness is the beginning stage of love in its simplistic form. Simple acts of kindheartedness shown to others cause emotional barriers to fall, restore betrayed friendships, and build bridges where barriers existed in hearts. Have you ever told someone “you have just made my day” in response to what he or she has said to you or what he or she did for you? We all need more of our “days being made brighter” by simple acts of kindheartedness.
The virtues I have mentioned for healthy relationships are certainly not all inclusive and finite, but they are a great place to start!
Georgia Smith is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas providing counseling for children, adolescents, adults, and marriage and family. She is also an author of two books and a public speaker. Georgia may be reached at 469-855-0256 or via email email@example.com. www.counselingbygeorgia.com.