Humans are social animals. We need other human beings. People contain within them the ability to heal or hurt each other at any moment. That said, the first healthy relationship you must have is with yourself.
So what makes for a healthy relationship? In my opinion, successful relationships are built from the following elements. These are based on the yoga yamas (or restraints that one should practice in their daily lives with others).
You’ll notice that I don’t include love in this list. That’s because I believe love is the result of all of these attributes. Love is not one behavior, but rather the result of multiple behaviors. Love means different things to all of us.
The following five habits are what a superhero needs to practice everyday:
Daily Habit 1: Practice Truthfulness
Truthfulness is a universal moral code in all societies. One should be truthful to oneself and to others in thoughts, words, and actions.
I personally struggle with this habit. I often say untruths because of one of the following:
- I don’t want to hurt someone with the truth
- I don’t want someone to think less of me because of the truth
However, lying almost always hurts more than it protects. People won’t trust you if you lie.
You cannot build solid relationships without trust. This is the foundation of all deep relationships.
Give the people you love the benefit of the doubt and do not lie to them. If they truly love you, they will accept you no matter what.
Daily Habit 2: Practice Non-Stealing
The desire to have what another has can be strong. Often, it’s based on inadequacy or jealousy, a sense of having been cheated, or a desire for retribution.
The thing is, stealing will not solve those feelings. Stealing will not make you feel retribution for a wrong that you feel has been done against you.
All stealing does is destroy relationships. The action destroys trust. Stealing also has a number of legal ramifications. You can be prosecuted and sent to jail because of stealing. In some cultures, you can actually be put to death or have parts of your body removed as punishment.
Stealing is another habit that will destroy trust.
Daily Habit 3: Practice Non-Violence
This habit means practicing non-violence in not only your actions, but also in your words and thoughts. This habit applies not only to others, but also yourself. It also extends to all living creatures. In other words, be kind.
In my opinion, this is the most important habit of all to practice. If nothing else, all humans should be kind to each other.
How can anyone trust a person that approaches you with anger, be it in their words or actions?
Mahatma Gandhi dedicated his entire life to non-violence.
Some feel that vegetarianism falls under this practice (being a vegetarian is a form of practicing non-violence to animals). Now, I’m not necessarily saying one must become a vegetarian in order to become a superhero. However, you might try limiting your meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. You may be amazed at the results.
No matter what, people should always treat others with kindness. You can still have a civil relationship with someone who has done you wrong as long as you both agree to be kind.
Daily Habit 4: Practice Faithfulness
Nothing destroys a relationship like unfaithfulness. I speak from personal experience, as someone who was cheated on.
When two people are in a relationship, especially a sexual relationship, they lose parts of themselves to the other. This can be a wonderful thing as two people unite into one union. However, you can image the pain when this union ends. It’s as if a part of your flesh is being ripped away from you.
Unfaithfulness (like the previous habits) leads to a loss of trust.
Being unfaithful is a cowardly and insecure act. If you’re in a relationship with someone, either break it off before you are unfaithful, or better yet, strive to communicate and solve whatever it is that you think is missing.
Unfaithfulness kills relationships dead. Period. There is really no total healing or trust that happens after unfaithfulness. Being cheated on is one of the most hurtful, painful things you can do to another person, especially one you’re married to.
Daily Habit 5: Practice Simplicity
Having too many material possessions will make you a slave to them. People only have so much energy to devote to the areas of their lives. It does not make sense to spend that energy on material possessions that have no feeling about us.
The world is intoxicated with the idea that we need to consume and possess everything we desire. Every human has a black hole within themselves (writer Joseph Conrad wrote about this in Heart of Darkness).
No amount of stuff will ever fill that hole. Some say that only God can fill that black hole.
Creating a simple life, free of unnecessary possessions, will allow you to focus more on peace, happiness, and your relationship with people and not things. Possessions distract us from the important people in our lives.
To have healthy relationships with yourself and others, you need to practice truth, non-stealing, kindness, faithfulness, and simplicity. Practice these habits in your daily life.
These habits will not only help you develop new relationships, but they will also help existing relationships in need of healing.