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Building Healthy and Inspiring Relationships: Overview and Application of the Systemic “L-O-V-E” Model

Last week, I had the honour of being invited as a speaker at an international conference to discuss “Healthy and Inspiring Relationships”. It was a fantastic chance not just to ponder a socially significant topic, but also to structure the information in an educational and accessible manner.

While relationships exist across all social contexts such as partnerships, original family, work, and leisure activities, this article will specifically focus on romantic relationships as an example to keep the discussion focused and practical. From a systemic perspective, a romantic relationship involves at least four systems: (1) Myself, (2) My partner, (3) The relationship itself, and (4) The broader context in which the relationship unfolds.

Here, I share my “L-O-V-E” systemic model alongside a series of exercises in the form of questions designed to understand and evaluate our relationships and, most importantly, to strategically influence them to be as healthy and inspiring as possible. These questions are not intended to be exhaustive or guarantee absolute success, but to guide our romantic efforts to maximise the chances of experiencing a fulfilling, healthy, and inspiring relationship.

System 1: “Self”.

We often forget to include ourselves when thinking, feeling, and acting in a relationship, falling into the trap of blaming the other for our issues, focusing on their mistakes, or anything we dislike, thereby casting ourselves as victims. However, each of us influences and is influenced within a relationship; that is, we share a collective responsibility. Therefore, the first system is the “Self”, requiring us to reflect on our role and foster self-awareness.

(L) Look Inward. Self-reflection and self-awareness are crucial for building healthy and inspiring relationships. It’s important to ask ourselves questions such as: How is my relationship with myself? Am I okay with who I am? Do I value myself? How compassionate am I towards myself? Am I consistent in what I say I am and what I do (For instance, in terms of diet, exercise, learning, etc.)? will I be proud in 20 years of what I’m doing today?

System 2: “The Other Part”.

Having included ourselves in the equation, it is time to consider the other part, our partner, which demands a conscious effort not to automatically react based on our patterns and habits. It is crucial to see, recognise, and appreciate our partner in their entirety, acknowledging both the good and the bad. This is vital because when things don’t go as expected, we tend to focus solely on the negative, overlooking the positive aspects.

(O) Observe. The way I view my partner deserves all my attention and analysis. Here are some questions we should ask ourselves regularly: What do I focus on when I think about, feel for, or talk about my partner— their qualities or just the negatives? How do I recognize and communicate her contributions to the relationship? What inspires me about her? How do I constructively manage differences?

System 3: “The Relationship”.

The relationship emerges from the two previous systems, the “Self” and “The Other Part”. Though interconnected, the relationship requires distinct care. It is a system in dynamic equilibrium, requiring continuous observation and adjustments, much like surfing or cycling.

(V) Value Opportunity. The relationship, therefore, represents an opportunity. Within the L-O-V-E systemic model, I propose questions to reflect upon and act in the emotional, cognitive, and behavioural dimensions: What are my expectations? How do I contribute to my partner’s growth and my own? What should I stop doing, change, or start doing for the benefit of both of us? How do I promote and respect our healthy boundaries?

System 4: “The Broader Context”.

Every relationship exists within a specific context and cannot thrive in a vacuum. Relationships are influenced by their broader environment, or supra-system. Children and in-laws are clear examples that can impact the relationship, either enriching it or causing stress. Normally both. It is essential to consider how these external factors affect our relationship, especially if we seek a healthy and inspiring one.

(E) Engage with the Environment. Reflecting on our relationship with the broader environment is crucial. Key questions include: How important to me are the things that matter to my partner? What do I do to make my interests matter to my partner? How do I contribute to the balance between our personal, professional, and social lives?
In conclusion, nurturing healthy and inspiring relationships is both a challenging and rewarding journey, requiring a conscious exploration of the various systems involved. I invite you to embark on this journey with an open mind and a heart ready to learn and grow.

Relationships reflect our greatest strengths and areas for growth. By approaching them with intent and care, we not only enrich our lives and those around us but also contribute to a more understanding and connected world. I hope this article and the L-O-V-E model serves as your first step towards healthier and more inspiring relationships. If you wish and believe I can assist, please reach out.

#HealthyRelationships #InspiringRelationships #Couples #MutualGrowth #SystemicLove #CoupleReflection #LoveStrategies #EmotionalConnection #SelfAwareness #ConsciousRelationships #Wellbeing #CoupleWellbeing #LoveModel #SystemicCoaching #Coaching

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