In my adolescence, I have been a poster child for poor decisions and this has taught me a lot about how to avoid toxic relationships.
1. Know Your Personal Values
One of the most toxic yet teaching relationships I've had, lasted 8 years. We got together young. As we grew older, we grew apart. This showed me how important self-discovery is in a relationship. When we know who we are, we can better identify what we value.
Knowing what drives us crazy is key to a smooth partnership. Take a personality test before dating. You will better understand yourself and the attributes you look for in a person. It helps us communicate our values, giving the other party freedom to choose whether they want to meet us at our expectations.
Being vulnerable about our fears leaves opportunity for connection. Openness encourages freedom, being free of things left unsaid lifts a huge weight. Failure to communicate effectively caused me many arguments with past lovers. Lack of communication led to frustration, driving separation between us. Always express yourself and be surrounded by people who make you feel safe.
2. Set Healthy Boundaries
Dating causes nerves and anxieties to rise. I've been calling them butterflies. We keep some personal power when we hold tight to a set of non-negotiables. It reminds us of our worth and our partner what lines we don't want to be crossed.
As you find yourself sifting through potential dating partners always keep your boundaries priority. Refuse to settle, it will save you heartache in the long run. Choose people of good character over appearances. People who have values themselves are more likely to respect yours.
Not setting boundaries for myself caused me to become a doormat in my past relationship. Once this became a cycle, my self-esteem began to lower, causing me to attach more to the toxicity. You fall in love to be uplifted, not walked over.
3. Be Your Source Of Happiness
In most cases, two halves make a whole. This isn't so effective when it comes to relationships. When we try to pour into others, being incomplete ourselves, it causes us to feel drained. Loving half-heartedly is an injustice to its power. You have to be the source of your happiness.
Many people live requiring others to fill them up. They often take more than they can give. The reason for this is because there is a source within each of us required to be filled with joy. Everyone desires to be loved, we all want to feel accepted so when people can't do this for themselves, they seek it elsewhere.
Any connection we make should come from a loving place. So many of us are healing from past trauma, trying to find ourselves, that we hurt more than we help others. Unhealed emotional wounds can cause clouded judgment. They can cause you to become codependent or needy with your lover. Detachment will bring you closer to things than you think.
In this generation of self-love remember the bigger picture. Confidence is about loving yourself enough to become less selfish and more selfless. A happy you is a healthy you. A healthy you helps heal others. Choose your lovers wisely.
4. Date People Who Share Similar Goals
Being misunderstood in a relationship makes you feel alone. Dating people who are overly criticizing or put you down is unhealthy. A lover should inspire you to reach new heights, and help fulfill your happiness.
The world around us is postered with images and ideals of what model life should look like. Our goals should be personal and supported by the people we choose to keep close. I have been in a crowd of associates and felt alone because i knew deep down lovers and friends didn't believe in my dream of becoming a writer. Feeling this way for too long can make you prefer to be alone.
Dating people who share similar goals can become an adventure. You will find connection in building lasting memories. You will find peace aligning strengths and weaknesses. Love hits different with someone on the same path as you. Imagine, you get to spend the rest of your life with someone who genuinely loves the things you do!
5. Give It Time
Time isn't working against you when finding a life partner. You want someone who will be there for the long haul, through thick and thin. Many relationships we have in life are only seasonal and for a reason. Each experience we have with another is meant to teach us.
Allow yourself to keep a loving detachment. Love fully and do not be afraid to lose. Those who can stand the test of time with you will be the ones you hold dearest. Many relationships fail because people keep a suffocating grip around their significant other. I have dated women who were controlling and it has made me want to retreat. People need to feel free.
Have fun during these years of self-discovery. A healthy relationship should keep you feeling alive. People who bring us joy help keep us youthful. You want someone who gets your jokes and gives good ones back. Healthy relationships look like glowing skin and a radiant smile. Connect with people who make time standstill.
Patience is everything. My mother always told me good things come to those who wait. Toxic relationships can cause anxiety and even depression. It's better to give time to growth as opposed to the wrong person. Use your time to deepen with your personal values, align with your vision for life. This will attract a partner compatible with your lifestyle.