I love Valentine’s Day. Not only because it brings to light the celebration of love, but the day also highlights the beauty of ALL relationships. Often times, when someone says the word “relationship”, our immediate thought is of romantic love. But, when you think about it, all of our connections in life are relationships.  Every single one. Your family, friends, business associates, romantic partners are all “relationships.” And no matter what kind of relationship it is, it needs your attention. So on this Valentine’s Day, let’s focus on nurturing ALL of our relationships. These three tips will allow you to connect with all of the loves of and in your life.

1. Be Authentic.

“Tear off the mask. Your face is glorious.” – Rumi

In life, and especially when interfacing with others we tend to mask ourselves or parts of ourselves. Sometimes it is intentional. Sometimes it is subconscious. Other times we do so knowingly. Why?  We don’t believe that our true selves are worth showing someone, or we believe that if we show our true selves we wouldn’t be lovable. The fact is that we are all lovable – all of us. All of your “flaws.” All of your positive attributes. All of these aspects make up who you are. Take off your mask. Show your true self to those around you, and allow yourself to be loved for exactly of who you are. Relationships without authenticity are an illusion.

2. Practice the art of communication.

Communication is the crux of any healthy relationship. Listening attentively and communicating assertively can be a miracle worker. Communication is often confused for “talking”, but one of the most important aspects of communicating is being a good listener. We can’t listen only to craft reply, but we have to truly hear the person. We all have an innate desire to be really heard, which translates to being understood. Active listening is a gift.  When you are speaking, be honest and open. We have a habit of assuming that our partners, friends or family know what we need or how we feel. Unfortunately, most people are not psychic. We need to communicate our needs and communicate our feelings. Don’t be afraid to say what you want and say how you feel even if it makes you feel vulnerable. The most powerful relationships are ones that are sacred spaces where you hear and also speak from your heart.

3. Set boundaries.

Most don’t intuitively think that setting boundaries are an important aspect of relationship building since the idea of connecting is almost the opposite of creating clear marks of delineation. But setting boundaries are essential to having a healthy relationship. Boundaries create respect, and prevent you from giving too much energy to those who take it without reciprocation.
How often do you feel drained from a relationship? Have you ever avoided a friend’s phone call, because you “just can’t handle them right now”? (There was a time when I did!)  But a boundary allows you to choose to set your lines in the sand. You don’t always have to jump when they say, or even ask you to, jump. So how do you set healthy and helpful boundaries? Boundaries are set when you decide to stop tolerating what does not serve you. You are then able to limit the amount of energy that you give to those people (and things) that drain you. You decide to say “no” to those people you feel don’t respect you or your time. In doing so, you create more time and space for those who energize, respect, and elevate you. When we respect ourselves enough to set boundaries, we help others to honor and respect us as well. It is ultimately your responsibility to teach people how to treat you and how to respect healthy boundaries in order to build positive significant relationships.

Feature image via Pri.

M_V0xWhkRachel DeAlto is a communication and relationship expert, coach, hypnotherapist, media personality, and the author of the bestseller, Flirt Fearlessly who is frequently quoted in magazines like Cosmopolitan. She works one-on-one, as a consultant, and in workshop settings to help people develop goals and remove obstacles to create happier, healthier lives. Rachel lives in New Jersey where she enjoys napping, laughing at her own jokes, Netflix binging, and yoga. Instagram: @RachelDealto