In every relationship, respect is crucial. It’s reflected in the way you treat one another. In a healthy relationship, respect allows you the freedom (aka, safety) to be who you are without fear of judgment.
But respect can be hard to define; we know when we feel respected or disrespected, but how do we demonstrate respect in a healthy relationship?
Validation of one another’s feelings is an essential part of showing respect in a relationship. Talking without criticism and listening without judgment send an important message: that you can accept and honor each other as the individuals you are, even when your opinions and feelings differ. You recognize that you both are valid as a person, no matter your differences. Mutual validation in relationships provides the safety to disagree, without fear of conflict snowballing into something larger than it needs to be.
Supporting one another clearly demonstrates mutual respect. Not just supporting one another’s interests and hobbies, but supporting one another emotionally. Find moments to lift each other up through small, supportive gestures or by verbally acknowledging each other’s needs and/or accomplishments. Show how much you value each other by tuning in and being supportive every chance you get.
Boundaries are NOT walls we establish to protect ourselves from others; they are clearly defined parameters within which we prefer to operate. To be effective, boundaries need not be rigid, but they must be clear. Setting and honoring boundaries in your relationship is a vital element of respect because you’re giving your partner the gift of clarity. But first, you must know what your boundaries are; only then can you communicate them to your partner in a way that’s helpful. If each is willing to do this, your vulnerability will be rewarded with fewer misunderstandings and a sense of ease that opens a space for a deeper connection than you’ve experienced before. Boundaries are an ongoing conversation that honor your needs and goals, and those of your partner while drawing you closer together in your relationship!
Mutual respect is the hallmark of a healthy relationship. It creates a safe place for your relationship to grow and flourish…even in the midst of inevitable disagreements.
It truly all comes down to listening to your partner, allowing space for them to be themselves, and honoring their differences. Through that, you show them that they are loved and valued, not for what they do, but for who they are!