The Puzzle Pieces of a Healthy Relationship

Family, Community, Work

All of your relationships in life exist on a spectrum. Find out what it means to have a healthy relationship

mom and dad playing with son in the yard

When people think about the word relationship, they usually think first about the romantic kind with a significant other. In reality, whether you have a significant other or not, you certainly do have a wider network of relationships that you navigate. These could include your family members, friends, colleagues or fellow students. It even includes your neighbor down the street who you have never spoken to, but always wave to as you pass them by. Find out what it means to have a healthy relationship with everyone in your life.

Your Relationships Represent Shared Goals

All your relationships in life exist on a spectrum. And where each one falls on that spectrum, depends on how much your shared goals overlap. For your neighbor, you share some goals like maintaining a safe street, protecting a general sense of congeniality, and avoiding awkwardness as much as possible. You may unknowingly share other goals, like a favorite sports team, or whether or not a certain political party does well. But those don’t have any bearing on your relationship because they remain unspoken.

All your relationships in life exist on a spectrum, and where each one falls on that spectrum depends on how much your shared goals overlap.

A romantic partner, on the other hand, shares many more goals that are communicated on a regular basis (at least they are in a healthy, productive relationship). For example, a healthy marriage usually agrees on the number of children they wish to raise. The best way to manage their finances. And even the type of food that they eat on a regular basis.

While we tend to think about relationships in terms of emotions like love, they really boil down to the set of goals that are shared. So to understand how to select the right person for a relationship, and how best to set that relationship up for success, it’s fundamental to understand what goals each person brings to the table.

Goals Are What We Value

This all brings up the next question: What exactly is a goal?

To answer that, let’s look at an example. I have a goal this week to go to the gym three times. Why? Because I have a longer term goal of gaining muscle and strengthening my core. Why? Because I have an even longer term goal of remaining healthy and flexible well into my later years. And why is that? Because I have an even longer term goal of living a long life and being present in the lives of my great-grandchildren, which means being able to pick them up, and get down on the floor with them without needing help getting back up.

Whether we realize it or not, all of our goals are connected to a longer term goal. And when we follow that path to its end, those goals all add up to a vision of the type of person we wish to become.

Another way of thinking about this is that when we look back at the end of our life, our goals make up the story that we want to be told about our lives. In this way, they represent the things we value the most. So behind every goal, then, is a value. And the goals that mean the most represent the values that we are about the most: our core values.

Our goals make up the story that we want to be told about our lives.

How to Find Your Core Values

The roadmap for The Ideal Life is the I GOT This framework, which stands for Ideal, Goals, Objectives, and Tasks. In this framework the Ideal represents the vision for the life that we want to live – the story that we want to be told. When identifying the Ideal, the first step in this framework is to come up with seven Vision Statements of this future story, one for each of the fundamental roles that each of us play as humans – our Work, Finances, Family, Community, Health, Wisdom, and Faith roles.

Each of these statements is personal, representing the fact that every story is unique. But if every life is different, how can we connect? The answer is through our Core Values.

In the second step of Ideal identification, a single word is selected from each Vision Statement – which word resonates with you the most. For example, the Vision Statement I have for my personal Health role is:

To live a long, healthy life filled with experience and competition, and as an old man will still be able to play and communicate with all those around me.

From that Vision Statement, I selected my Core Value for Health to be: Competition. This seems like a quick step for something so important as a Core Value, but this reinforces the point that the key role of these Values is simply to connect our actions with the Vision we have for our Ideal Life.

Translating Your Core Values With Others

The thing about the word competition is that it means different things to different people.

For some, competition has a negative connotation, bringing to mind an insatiable desire to win at all costs, even if it means cheating or causing another person to stumble.

But for me, competition is a good thing, because it leads to deliberate practice. The origin of the word competition is “strive together,” meaning that when people compete, they are both going after a personal goal, and by comparing their progress to another it provides them both feedback on where they stand along that journey. It’s not about trying to be better than someone else, it’s about using each other as external gauges about how well we have been doing in our own respective pursuits.

When entering into a relationship, if I were to share my Core Value with someone who thought about this word the same way I do, then we would know that there we could use competition in healthy ways to create shared goals together. On the other hand, if I were to share the same Core Value with someone who thought about competition negatively, then it might be a red flag that finding shared goals might be more difficult than expected.

Share Your Core Values to find Your Shared Goals

When entering into a new relationship then, it’s important to share all of your Core Values with the other person. Not exactly a casual conversation starter for sure, which is why The Ideal Life has created a If most or all of those values resonate positively with the other, then odds are you will be able to generate many shared goals together, which ultimately means that a healthy relationship will be possible.

If several of your Core Values rub each other the wrong way, then maybe it’s not the right time to take things to the next level, whether that’s with a romantic partner, a business colleague, or any relationship in between.

To learn more about the I GOT This framework and how you can take control over your happiness to experience a fulfilling and joyful life, follow our blog and check out our podcast, YouTube channel, and social media platforms.


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