I’ve achieved some success in my life, and overall, I’m happy where I am. But at the beginning of last year, I hit a wall. And it took some time to realize it was because of my relationships.
I was in an unhealthy long-term romantic relationship that had slowly deteriorated. It affected every other area of my life. I gained weight, let my business run on autopilot and shut out the world. I gave up on my personal goals and spent most days binge-watching Netflix.
A good friend came to visit me, and through our talks—and then through counseling—I realized what the unhealthy relationships in my life had done. Since recovering from this funk, I’ve spent time talking to many successful people about how they maintain healthy relationships. Here’s what I learned.
1. Healthy relationships complement your life goals; they don’t derail your focus.
Too many times in our lives, we try to justify a relationship. We are attracted to someone beautiful. They might have certain things going for them or we think there will be some opportunity with them in the future. We form relationships with people that don’t complement where we are in life, and it ultimately derails our focus.
You know the relationships in your life are important. They have the power to kill your motivation and take away what inspired you to starting pursuing a more significant life. Those relationships should be in alignment with what you believe and want to accomplish. Don’t compromise or make excuses. Life is too short to let anyone or anything keep you from taking action and making moves in your life.
2. Healthy relationships never make you feel used.
I’m not going to tell you that all of the relationships in your life should be mutually beneficial. That’s just unrealistic. But you should never come away with the feeling that the only reason this person is in your life is because they want something from you.
It takes a strong understanding of yourself and your emotions to see the truth. If the relationship involves you constantly giving time and energy without acknowledgment or appreciation, then you might be in a situation where you’re being used. Cut those types of relationships out of your life.
3. Healthy relationships start with you having a healthy relationship with yourself.
Healthy relationships start with what you think and feel about yourself. Loving yourself is real and very important. If you don’t have a healthy view of yourself, you will attract and let relationships into your life that aren’t healthy. You must know and love who you are; your self-esteem must be strong.
If you are attracting nothing but unhealthy relationships into your life, take some time to examine your feelings and relationship with you. Get honest about the areas of your life that you want to change and start taking the first steps. Spend time doing the inner work to develop you as a whole individual that loves who you are and won’t tolerate unhealthy relationships.
The journey to create success in your life isn’t easy. Either the relationships in your life will help you get to the next level or they will hold you back from your untapped potential. You have a choice. No one can tell you how to live your life or who you should allow into it. Make smart choices and choose relationships that will help you live the kind of life that gives you happiness.
Related: How to Build Good Relationships
Kimanzi Constable is the author of four books, and his articles have been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, SUCCESS, NBC, CBS, FOX, and 80 other publications. He is the co-founder of Results Global Impact Consulting and is a senior editor at The Good Men Project. Connect with him at kconstable.com.