Written by: Jennifer Cochern, Clinical Services Manager
It’s traditional to plan for the New Year in January. We talk about New Year’s resolutions, letting go of unhealthy habits and adopting new, healthier behaviors. Here at the Women’s & Children’s Alliance, our clients plan for new lives throughout the year. Part of ending an abusive relationship is deciding that the abuse can no longer be tolerated. This often means that a new life must be created with a focus on healthy relationships in all areas of one’s life.
The following concepts come from the Equality Wheel that is shared at each of the WCA’s If These Walls Could Talk tours. How might you create a new beginning related to healthy relationships? Let’s start with respect. Showing respect for yourself with non-judgmental thoughts, encouragement, compassion, self-forgiveness and openness to your own emotions are all healthy behaviors. When you can show yourself respect, you will more likely request respect from others and behave respectfully towards those you care about.
Next, let’s explore honesty and accountability. Being honest means having enough self-awareness to know what is true for you. Once you know your truth, you can communicate it with the people in your life. Being accountable is recognizing and showing others what is yours to take care of. It’s not uncommon to assume that someone else will take care of a job or chore. It can take courage to admit when you’ve made a mistake and unintentionally hurt someone else by not owning what is yours to own. This is a big part of personal accountability. Owning up to your mistake is what can build the bridge to reconciliation, re-connection and ultimately, healthier relationships.
And finally, learning to negotiate and resolve conflict through safe communication. Negotiation takes place when each person puts their “cards” or issues on the table. Each card is identified and discussed respectfully. When all the issues have been shared and understood, then and only then can a healthy decision be made with each person’s perspective considered. Safe communication suggests that all ideas are heard and listened to thoughtfully. Even when there is disagreement, respect is still shown through patience and a desire for understanding. Conflict is managed in a much healthier way when emotional safety is a priority.
Building a life of healthy relationships can be a monumental task when you haven’t experienced concepts like self-respect, accountability, negotiation, or safe communication. The WCA continuously encourages and trains its staff to model healthy relationships through the agency values of empowerment, respect and integrity. These behaviors can then trickle down to every community member that we serve. Here’s to new beginnings!
Back to Blog >>