Choosing to Create Healthy Relationships

The end of the year is often a natural period of reflection where we take inventory of our lives over the past 12 months. For some of us, our thoughts naturally gravitate toward the moments of individual and familial triumph and success in the last year. The moments when we met our goal of having a date night with our spouse once a month, shared a quality conversation with our adolescent, or spent time in play enjoying our children throughout the year. When such memories come to mind we feel proud, joyous, and grateful! For many others of us, our end-of-year reflections more readily remind us of the disappointments, setbacks, or hurts of the year—goals we set that have yet to be achieved or maintained with consistency, fights with partners and children where mean things were said and remembered, or even the loss of loved ones. These memories are often accompanied by regret, sadness, or anxiety.



Yet this natural period of transition from one year to the next also reminds us of a powerful gift we possess all year long: choice. Regardless of what transpired (or not) in 2012, we have the choice of how we will respond in 2013. We have the power to make choices that will shape healthy relationships! As we stand at the threshold of a New Year, consider the follow questions that present choices for individual and relational health in the New Year. What from the year 2012 do I want to: 1) Carry Forward into 2013; 2) Let Go and Leave Behind in 2012; or 3) Work Through in 2013?


In considering what you will carry forward into the New Year, ask yourself: Is this something that will support my health and well being, the health of my couple relationship, or the health of my relationships with my children? If the answer is yes, great! You have just identified individual or familial strengths. Consider ways to celebrate and honor these strengths and find ways to nurture them in your life and in your relationships.


If the answer is no, consider the following question and the choice it offers: Is this something I can choose to let go of and leave behind in 2012? In some instances, the answer will be a resounding yes. Other instances will require an honest, no or not yet. Both will bring a renewed sense of self-awareness. For the no or not yet concerns, consider the following question and choice it offers: Is this a concern I can choose to work through in 2013? If yes, consider how your identified individual and familial strengths can support you in this process. For the concerns that may elicit additional support, a trusted therapist can offer resources to help you work through concerns that may get in the way of you experiencing full health and well-being in your relationships with yourself and others in the New Year.

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