I’ve written articles on infidelity, being a whole healthy person, choosing the right partner, and other topics that are covered in counseling. This time I want to focus on how some of these topics intersect. How does being a whole healthy person translate into having healthy, fulfilling relationships?
First, let’s review my overall therapy philosophy...the Whole Healthy Person Star:
I usually start with the following points on the star: spiritual, physical, mental, social, cognitive.
We are supposed to make sure that we are developing all areas of the legs on the star throughout the lifespan. When something feels "off", it usually means we need to put more focus on one or two legs of the star and less on others. When you have good self-awareness, you are able to determine what areas need work. Sometimes, it takes a few days to decide exactly what is causing you to not feel very centered or balanced. For me, I take a few days to go down a list:
Physical body (physical container for our organs, health, chemical reactions)...Am I physically at my best? Am I eating right, exercising, and paying attention to what my body needs?
Cognitive (the brain, our thoughts, memory, desire, consciousness, intent, intuition)...Is my mind sharp? Am I able to compartmentalize?
Emotional/Mental (feelings, how we deal with them)...What is my emotional intelligence like? Do I have good emotional management? Am I feeling grounded?
Social (relationships, support systems, setting boundaries)...What are my intimate relationships like, including friendships? Do I need to make adjustments? Am I isolating myself socially, or am I engaging? Am I saying ‘no’ often enough and not feeling guilty about it?
Spiritual (truth, dignity, faith, hope, love, power higher than yourself)...Do I have a general sense of centeredness? Am I happy with who I am in this world?
The broader view is to add in specifics like career, education, etc. That's where the other parts of the star exist. A person can have as many as they want, but the foundation is the 5-point star.
When two people are in a relationship, both need to at least have healthy foundations (the 5-points)...at least be on a journey of self-improvement. You cannot expect for your partner to compensate for a missing leg of your star. There will be significant relationship challenges if this happens. It would be burdensome for a partner. Despite what pop culture leads us to believe, there’s no such thing as a soulmate, or “my better half”, or any other nonsense suggesting that we are not individuals who are choosing to be in healthy partnerships with others. That is why it is so important to work on yourself regardless of relationship status.
So what parts of your star are you working on to have a sense of balance? What can you do on your journey of self-improvement that will, in essence, improve your relationship(s)?