As a mental health counselor, Blu Robinson helps clients work through relationship problems. Here are five truths he has found in his years of experience.
1. Understand that it’s a privilege to have a relationship, not a right.
People in healthy relationships understand they do not have to settle. The privilege in a relationship is established when the individual chooses to be in and doesn’t feel trapped. There must be a mutual respect, trust established through communication, love and compassion. At no point in any relationship should expectation become a dominant motivation to hinder, frustrate or to gain an unhealthy or unfair advantage over another.
2. Use communication to understand, not to dominate.
Individuals in healthy relationships use open-ended questions to foster more dialogue rather than using control to gain the upper hand. Controlling language invites reactive tendencies, eliminating any chance to create emotional safety.
3. Create an emotionally safe environment.
In order to create a safe atmosphere, it’s crucial to have trust, affection and emotional stability. People in healthy relationships look to make more deposits than withdrawals in their emotional bank accounts. Being mindful of others while being supported by a loved one develops an emotionally safe environment to tackle even the most difficult issues and situations.
4. Learn how to love and be loved.
After you have fallen in love and the newness of the relationship begins to dissolve, it is natural and sometimes necessary to fall out of love. When the masks are removed and the authentic person is revealed, a choice is made: jump ship, stay put in the relationship only out of convenience, or choose to move forward.
5. Talk to each other.
Actions speak louder than words, yet more and more we are consumed by distractions like smartphones, Internet, television . . . you name it. Turn it off and prioritize your relationship by simply talking to one another. Verbalize your thoughts and feelings. Investments as simple as the time you spend talking to one another can create feelings, connection, understanding and love.
Read more on Robinson’s drug addiction recovery in the Sept./Oct. issue of Utah Valley Magazine.