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Posts Tagged “Better Relationships”

A Secret Key to Your Empowerment

A Secret Key to Your Empowerment

One key to being more empowered in our life is self-acceptance—truly embracing all of ourselves, both the good and the not-so-good. When we embrace all of who we are, when we’re willing to move into a place of true acceptance, it eliminates a lot of confusion. It limits the other challenges that arise when we’re trying to be something else by adjusting ourselves to the external in an unproductive way. But accepting ourselves, as you likely know, is, is no small feat. It would be great if it were as easy as saying, “I accept myself completely.”

And in a way, there’s an aspect of self-acceptance that is just that simple. We make a choice at some point in time to fully accept who we are. However, the path to that moment can be quite long. On this path, we learn about the many different ways in which we’ve been conditioned to think that we need to act, behave, and feel differently than is really right for us. This kind of conditioning usually starts quite early in our lives. And, depending on what we have experienced, some of us have received excessive doses of it. For example, minority cultures experience this type of conditioning to an extreme.

However, all of us to some extent have received a message that who we are would be better if it were adjusted in some way. We experience this rather than the more supportive experience of being affirmed, and we need to expunge it. We instead need to find ways to appreciate who we are and what it is that we are bringing forward—naturally and intrinsically.

There is a lot to do to learn how to fully accept ourselves. For today, I will offer one simple tool to help you on this path to self-acceptance—look at the other side of the parts of yourself that you are being told should be adjusted. If you have a flaw or something that you think has been problematic for you in your life, examine how it is also a benefit to you. You can see the strength that’s on the other side. All strengths have weaknesses, all weaknesses have strengths. So when you do you take a look at some aspect of yourself that you thought was your biggest problem and you start to see how it actually might serve you in other aspects of your life, you will begin to see that context plays a large role in whether or not this part of you is in fact a challenge or a gift.

If it is challenging to see how it might be of benefit, imagine situations where it might serve you. In other words, employ some creative thinking—explore how and when this aspect of yourself might be a powerful ally. Then you can start to consciously use these aspects more and more productively in different areas of your life.

As you do this, you will find that it is naturally healing. It breaks through the belief that these things about us are wrong and need to be fixed. It shows us that no matter what they are, even our most challenging traits have some productive uses. This helps us accept ourselves in a deeper way. This self-acceptance then helps us grow our sense of empowerment.

For more about trusting yourself and your empowerment take a look at my article >>> “An Unstoppable Source for Your Personal Power.”

On Trusting Ourselves

On Trusting Ourselves

Compassion, freedom, love, integrity, vulnerability, and happiness are built on the bedrock of our trust in ourselves. When we can look in the eyes of the person standing in front of the mirror and know that we are showing up to the truth of who we are, we have everything.

Life’s betrayals do not just erode our trust of others, but they also leave us doubting ourselves. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we often blame ourselves for choosing the person who betrayed our trust in the first place. We might wonder what will stop us from making this kind of error again. This lack of trust with ourselves leaves us guarded.

This guarding actually perpetuates a cycle of disconnection; this disconnection opens the door to lower-frequency energies that impair our ability to operate at every level—furthering the challenges we might be having in these areas.

What makes it difficult to trust ourselves is less often about these challenging experiences themselves and more often about how we have been conditioned to relate to ourselves.

I was taught time and time again in the course of my life not to listen to myself. In many ways, I was taught that trusting myself was a form of arrogance—a blindness to seeing things as other people saw them. I was taught to think like other people and to interact on other people’s terms.

These things were taught to me under the guise of “getting along,” “loving others,” or even just passing the test.

The main message, through these experiences, was that my unique way of seeing and being was somehow wrong. I was taught that the clear messages from my soul needed to be adjusted to fit with the outside world rather than being a direct expression of it. I was taught that if I was in a situation where my needs and another person’s needs were at odds, then one of us was right and the other one was not—meaning there was always a high probability that I was in fact the one who was wrong.

Self-doubt then became the way—the backdrop of all of my experiences.

As a result, I was time and time again open to being hurt by others—in the ways that can only happen when we abandon ourselves. Because of this, my lack of trust with myself kept growing and I tried all kinds of ways to remedy this—most of them having to do with bolstering my ego.

I believe this is a common experience.

Since we all experience breaches in trust in our life, we all need to do repair work on our trust. We might first think that we need to figure out how and when to trust others, but we actually gain quite a bit more by learning how to deeply trust ourselves.

This is easier said than done. Quite often, as I just highlighted with my own experience, we have learned how not to trust ourselves both very early and in fundamental ways. Our lack of trust in ourselves is often insidious and difficult for us to see. It might show up as an ongoing feeling of anxiety for no apparent reason. It might leave us unable to see opportunities. Or, we might just be unable to accept the help we need.

We benefit from relearning that the way that we are is, by its design, perfect. This does not mean that we don’t need to grow and change or that we are not aided by questioning our own intentions. However, we are actually better able to do these things as we learn to trust ourselves more deeply, as a deep trust and respect for who we are actually makes it possible to see our limitations and to make changes that help us be better people.

If we can remember that we are made in a way that has its own inherent wisdom, and that this wisdom is very much needed by both ourselves and the greater world, then we can open up to new levels of trusting our self.

While we may at times make mistakes or errors in judgment, we can return to a trust in the fundamental goodness and perfection of our nature. And then, kindly guide ourselves in the direction of making better and better decisions as we move forward through new knowledge, new skills, and improved discernment.

As we come to deeply know our own truth, we can rely on it more fully. This allows us to make choices and put ourselves in situations that are truly right for us. It allows us to navigate the many complex situations that we find ourselves in in the course of our life.

Trusting ourselves is also a skill that we develop. As we work to be more honest, more caring, more respectful, we become a person whom we can truly trust. As we practice these skills, they become stronger and our lives become a reflection of our character. We feel this growth, and as a result, trust ourselves more.

My wish for all of us is that we know the fundamental goodness of who we are. That we realize the perfection of how we are made. And, through this, we develop the foundations for trusting ourselves in ways that restore our health, wholeness, and connection with others.

For more about trusting yourself take a look at my article >>> “An Unstoppable Source for Your Personal Power.”

An Unstoppable Source for your Personal Power

An Unstoppable Source for your Personal Power

One of the inquiries that most frequently comes up when I am talking to others is how to feel more powerful: in relationships, our work, and any other aspect of life.

We are often challenged by only seeing examples of how to be powerful that we may be less than encouraged by. These supposedly empowered people might appear in some ways that don’t feel right and authentic to us. The confusion can be helped with a little semantics—the difference between someone who is powerful and someone who is empowered. Empowerment comes from deep within whereas power develops as a result of relationship dynamics. Power can come from an empowered or a disempowered place.

To learn to be more empowered, we can ask ourselves how we can come from a deeper place of power inside of ourselves—that is what I would like to examine here.

When we explore our personal power, we might be challenged by the examples of power I eluded to earlier. These examples of overuse or misuse of power are the result of identification with the false (or egoic) self. This false self leads us to believe that we are in power when others are not. It leads us to believe that maintaining this relationship is what it means to be in our full selves. This dynamic shows up in ways that are both subtle and obtuse.

The ego needs to continually be fed or pumped up. It needs proof that it is in fact secure. It will approach situations so that it can receive this bolstering—but underneath, there is a constant nagging sense that the security of the position can be lost at any moment. When we are coming from this place of ego, we may have experiences that help us feel powerful for a bit; for example, we might get praise or be put in a position of power.

We can at times confuse these experiences with having arrived at a place of empowerment. However, when we do not get these bolstering experiences or when something goes wrong, we can easily see how unstable our position is. What you might notice is a lack of consistency; that we’re sort of up and down and that we might need more and more, and then more again in order to maintain this sense of security or power or whatever it is.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ego. It’s not a matter of getting rid of it. It is a very important part of who we are. But we do want to see it for its role in our lives rather than sourcing our power from this place. An alternative is to source our power from a much deeper place—the core of who we are. There are many different terms for this; regardless of what we call it, this deeper place inside of us creates a more sustainable source of power. The first step is to begin to discern between the two.

Another way to come from a stronger place inside of ourselves is to use the tool of connecting with resources. Simply put, resources are energies in our consciousness that provide us with real depth of connection, energy, feelings of security, etc. A resource can be a spirit, a concept, a totem, or anything else that holds significant energetic power for us.

There are many different ways to approach the concept of resources. Here, I am going to write about it in the most general way. As an example, lets look at something like compassion. You can connect to this feeling—this energy, this way of being—in any way that’s right for you and then find ways to bring this through your own being and out into your life.

As we do this, we actually become stronger. One way to do this is simply by being more intentional. In other words, by stating that “I would like to be more…” (in this case, “compassionate”). When you do this, you are drawing on supportive and infinite energies to help strengthen you in any given moment. You can also ask for help. For example, “Please help me be more compassionate in this situation.” Whether or not you know who you are asking, you are going to benefit. You can also call on these resources through a practice. A practice helps you understand the resource you are working with more deeply and also how to more effectively work with it. In our example, you would increase your compassion through a practice by saying, “okay, in these certain circumstances or in a situation like this, I’m going to look at how I can be more compassionate.” Or, you can look for examples of compassion and draw from those.

As we begin to work with resources, we connect with the core aspects of who we are and develop a deeper understanding of them while also fortifying and learning how to act from them. This both confirms our power and helps us draw from a deeper, more sustainable place. This strengthening process in and of itself helps us detach from our identification with the egoic level and provides ways for us to be powerful that are also aligned with the kind of person we want to be.

Our work with resources and how we source our power are deep topics that require a bit of time to understand. If you have not already, take a moment to sign up for my mailing list so that you can continue to receive information that will help you to step fully into your power and let your light shine.

For more about self empowerment take a look at my article >>> “On Trusting Ourselves.”

Why Do We Trust or Distrust Other People?

Why Do We Trust or Distrust Other People?

Often, when we think about trust, we think about whether or not the other person is trustworthy—whether or not they’ve shown themselves to be someone who has a character worthy of our trust. Because of this, we go around evaluating people based on whether they meet our criteria; if they do, we trust them. It is important that we learn to see what is and is not trustworthy behavior; however, this is not the end of the story.

If we have experienced a breach of trust at some point in our lives—and most of us have, some of us to an extreme degree—it disturbs or breaks down our ability to clearly see another person’s behavior.

Because of this, we might be blind to some untrustworthy characteristics or not see them so clearly. And we might actually be skeptical of somebody who is trustworthy. Our ability to gauge whether or not we should trust gets impaired by the filters that we wind up looking though because of our past betrayals. Maybe you’ve had this experience; maybe you trusted somebody who really was not so trustworthy or did not trust someone who turned out to be worthy of your trust.

This is one reason why this defensive analysis of who is and isn’t trustworthy is not totally reliable.

The more that we play by this game, the longer our list of what is untrustworthy gets. Our distrusting story looks like this: “I really can’t trust people because I trusted this person after I ran them through my faulty evaluation system to figure out whether or not they were trustworthy, and they turned out to be another person who betrayed my trust. Therefore, I now know that I cannot trust people even more completely than I did before. I have tried. People, across the board, are untrustworthy.”

So, as our life goes on, we have a smaller and smaller group of people whom we are willing to trust; sometimes, it comes down there being nobody, really, whom we’re willing to trust. We might feel like we trust some people a little bit with certain things, but deep down we don’t really trust that anyone is going to do right by us.

This erosion of trust in our lives creates all sorts of problems. We become cynical and shut down. When we are not trusting, we feel we need to constantly protect ourselves. What other choice do we have if we cannot trust anyone? Consciously or not, we feel unsafe because the people around us are untrustworthy. We lose sight of what it feels like to have a deeper, more trusting connection with others.

It is a problematic situation. So, how do we find our way back to trust if we can’t trust our own judgment? The good news is that there are a number of different ways to do just that.

Trusting Ourselves: More than learning to trust others, we benefit from learning to trust ourselves. This means (in part) acting in ways toward yourself that are supportive, kind, and honest. It means taking responsibility for poor choices, learning from them, and making a commitment to do better. It means acknowledging yourself for all of the good choices that you have made along the way.

Learning the Signs: Chances are we learned some bad cues when we were growing up. We may have put a bad behavior into the category of a loving behavior because of our experience. As adults, it is important to learn what is healthy and what is unhealthy, who is trustworthy and who is untrustworthy, so that we can choose the right people to keep in our lives.

Healing the Past: Part of why we do not trust is because of how we have been hurt in the past. It is only through fully healing our old wounds that we become free to embrace a whole new life. This healing requires us to accept what happened and offer forgiveness where necessary. As we do this, the distortions these old hurts have created in our present life are lifted, and we find ourselves able to make better choices.

Trusting Again: As simple as it may sound, one of the ways that we heal our wounds with trust is to try to trust again. It is through trusting that we have the opportunity to be proven right. One of the most helpful things we can do is to turn our story about trust on its head. We so often focus on the few people or situations that broke our trust; however, they are actually the minority. More frequently, there are many more people in our lives who have done right by us than who have done us wrong. Focusing on what has worked helps to restore trust.

For more about discerning trustworthy people take a look at my article >>> “Should I Trust You: What Does a Trustworthy Person Look Like?”

Should I Trust You: What Does a Trustworthy Person Look Like?

Should I Trust You: What Does a Trustworthy Person Look Like?

Authentic

One characteristic of a trustworthy person is authenticity, which means being true to one’s personality, spirit, and character. When a person is authentic, you can feel it. They’re telling you it as straight and directly as they can. This doesn’t mean that their reality is the end-all, be-all reality, or that what is true for them is true for you, or anything like that. But you know that you can trust them to be authentic and honest in accordance with their individual perspective. When you see someone being true to themselves over a period of time, you can trust this person to act authentically when you interact with them.

Honest

Another characteristic of a trustworthy person is honesty. While expecting people to be 100 percent honest all the time about all things is a tall order that may not be completely fulfilled, the higher the level of honesty, the more you can rely on the information that they share. These people will do their best to report what they experience or know. They’re not going to give different stories. Even though people change and what they say will be subject to moods and shifts in perspective, they are not going to tell you one thing one day and another thing the next. They are not going to be deceitful. If they make an infrequent mistake and lie out of fear, they will come clean and apologize.

Respectful

People who are trustworthy respect who you are. When a person respects you, they are kind and considerate. Their respect is a sign that they are willing to do right by you, that they have your well-being front of mind. Signs that someone does not respect you would be if they treat you in a way that is a negating, condescending, or mean. And that lack of respect should be a clue that this person is likely not to do right by you.

Emotionally Intelligent

Their level of emotional intelligence can indicate how trustworthy a person will be. A person who has a low emotional intelligence is likely to act in ways that are harmful when there are challenging situations in your relationship. If you trust someone who has low emotional intelligence with emotionally sensitive material, you are very likely going to end up feeling let down or betrayed. It may not be that the person is untrustworthy in the greater sense of the word, but more that they are not to be trusted with certain delicate situations.

Flawed

There is no perfect person out there. Every person, if you know them long enough, will let you down in some way. Sometimes this will happen because they made a wrong choice, sometimes this will happen because they just see things differently. It is not a lack of flaws that makes a person trustworthy—it is their willingness to own them and make things right when they have a negative effect on others. Expecting perfection will leave you trusting no one. Expecting integrity will lead you to the right people, time and time again.

Even more important than learning the cues for whether someone is trustworthy is learning about what it means to really trust ourselves. When we trust ourselves—when we know how to do right by ourselves, when we know how to care for ourselves—we not only make better choices regarding the people in our lives, but we also recover more quickly from the bumps and upsets along the way. Learning to trust ourselves—not just in our judgment of others but also in our willingness to take care of ourselves in the wake of less than ideal choices—is key to becoming stronger, more resilient, and making better choices in the future.

For more about trusting take a look at my article >>> “Trust Yourself!”

On Trusting Others

On Trusting Others

While love is a magnificent gift that we can offer those around us, an even more poignant offering is the gift of our trust. Love can flow through us unabashed regardless of our wounding. Trust requires our effort.

Most people have had their trust broken many times by the time that they reach adulthood. It can seem at times as if betrayal is a necessary part of the human growth process. Once broken, trust or lack thereof hides out like a troll under a bridge. The bridge may appear safe, but no one gets across it.

I recognized recently that I had learned to trust based on a list of trustworthy vs. untrustworthy behaviors that I had created starting in childhood. Each person who stood before me would get measured based on these behaviors; those who passed would be considered trustworthy.

In truth, no one passed completely. Some did pass enough for me to say that I trusted them. However, I could feel that regardless of this initial success, I was watching them for when they finally messed up.

Once they demonstrated behavior from my untrustworthy list, I could then feel betrayed and have even more reasons why I should not trust.

What I realized is this: While it is necessary to be able to tell healthy/trustworthy behaviors from unhealthy/untrustworthy behaviors so that we can navigate this sometimes dangerous world, our trust cannot be derived solely from this type of discernment.

Why? Because even trustworthy people will at times make mistakes and choose poorly.

We cannot only trust a person if they are error-free in behavior. There is not a person out there who does not make errors in judgment. All of us will show weakness at one moment or another. All of us will choose the wrong option from the options in front of us from time to time.

We trust a person because we know without a doubt that they will try to do the right thing as much as possible, and when they don’t, they will try to course-correct as quickly as they can; this course correction is in the neighborhood of what we are capable of ourselves.

We trust them because they have learned skills such as self-reflection and making amends for their mistakes. We can trust them because we know that they put effort into personal and moral development. We trust them because their efforts are sincere.

We also should not put our trust in someone because we hope that they will act in a way that is always in alignment with how we see things—what our list of what trustworthiness looks like. We benefit from trusting another person to act in alignment with their own truth and the greater truth they are connected to.

In short, we trust someone’s willingness and capacity to be a good person to us based on how they show up to the task of being trustworthy, and we can trust another person to be true to who they are and their own ethical code of being.

However, in the end, two other types of trust end up being equally, if not more important—our trust in ourselves and our trust in the benevolence of the universe.

For more about trusting others take a look at my article >>> “Should I Trust You: What Does a Trustworthy Person Look Like?”

14 Ways to Reestablish Trust

14 Ways to Reestablish Trust

Whether you are the person who has been hurt or you are the person who has broken trust, you very likely will want to do some repair work. Here are fourteen things that you can do to help rebuild trust with another person once it has been broken.

1. Take Responsibility: Regardless of which role you played in the situation, you are responsible for your own contributions to what has occurred. Take some time to be clear about what you did and what you did not do that may have lead to a situation where trust was broken.

2. Show Empathy: When we have hurt someone, it helps for them to see that we understand the pain that they are going through. When we have been hurt, some of us will expect ourselves to get over it quickly and others will tend to hold onto the pain. Either way, empathizing with our own experience is helpful to our process of healing. It is also helpful to show empathy when possible to the person that hurt us. This person usually hurt us because of his or her own pain.

3. Keep Promises and Agreement: If you have betrayed someone’s trust, their whole system is on red alert. More than likely they expect you to continue to hurt them. By only making promises and agreements you can keep – as well as making sure to keep them – you can start to rebuild trust.

4. Be Authentic: People can spot a phony, (and even if they go along, they do not really trust them). So if you have hurt someone, being real is the best way to rebuild trust. If you were the person hurt, being authentic might mean that you are truthful about your emotions and where you are in your healing process.

5. Expect and Support Emotional Reactions: When there has been a breach of trust, everyone wants it to go away. But, expecting it to be cleared with an, “I’m sorry,” is often overly optimistic. Emotions will come and go. The more that you can support the emotional healing of yourself, or the person you hurt, the more likely you are to reestablish trust.

6. Sincerely Apologize: Perhaps, this should be number one. Offering an apology is the first thing that you can do to begin the healing after trust has been broken. Just lip service will not do – you will need to understand how you hurt the other person and truly feel remorse for your actions.

7. Accept and Admit Your Faults: Regardless of which side of the coin you fall on, you have flaws. These flaws, while understandable, likely contributed to the situation at hand. Stating your flaws and saying what you are going to do differently is helpful in regaining trust.

8. Keep Your Head on Your Shoulders: Assess the situation at hand. If you have sincerely shown remorse and the other person is not able to forgive you even after doing your due diligence, (or the person who has hurt you has not altered his or her behavior to be safe), your best choice might be to cut ties. Rebuilding trust is important… but pay attention to when your time is better invested elsewhere.

9. Imagine Different Outcomes: So, you trusted and you got hurt. This does not mean every time that you trust you will get hurt. Learn what you can, and then look to the future. What kind of people do you want to relate to? How would you like them to show up to the relationship?

10. Listen to Your Intuition: Very often when someone betrays us, we had a sense that it was happening or even just a sense that something was not right. The more we hone our intuition the easier it is to make good decisions for ourselves in the future.

11. Forgive Yourself: We all make mistakes. Sometimes, there is a high price tag to pay for the type of mistake that we made – like loss of a relationship, or loss of trust with ourselves. Regardless of what you did or did not do, the best you can do is learn from it and make difference choices in the future.

12. Forgive the Other Person: Building off of forgiving yourself, the person that hurt you also is prone to making mistakes and bad choices. When you are ready, forgiving the person who hurt you can be one of the most liberating actions and can open you up to truly trust again.

13. Try Trusting Again: Seriously, get back on the horse. Perhaps one person broke your trust but how many other people did not? The odds are in your favor. Keep building with the people who have shown themselves to be worthy of your trust.

14. Make Yourself Happy: The happier we are, the healthier we are. The healthier we are the better decisions we make… and the faster we bounce back from our challenges. Taking care of yourself and doing what you love will help you feel courageous enough to trust again.

For more about discerning trustworthy people take a look at my article >>> “Should I Trust You: What Does a Trustworthy Person Look Like?”

Self-care in your relationships

Self-care in your relationships

We often strive to create healthy and satisfying relationships. But sometimes, despite how much we may try, we’re unable to create relationships that are mutually supportive and fulfilling. When this happens, there are several things we can do to bring our best selves to our relationships, and in turn, bring about the positive change we seek.


Get to Know Yourself:

To be your best self in your personal relationships you need to develop your awareness of yourself. What do you value? What do you dream of? What are your strengths? Where are the skills you want to hone? When we ask ourselves these kinds of questions we grow our awareness of ourselves and we can use that awareness to create relationships that are beneficial for everyone involved. Sometimes our personal relationships hit a rough patch. When this happens, your awareness will clue you into how you might be contributing to the difficulty at hand and whether or not that relationship should be maintained.


Love Yourself:


Learning to love yourself is such an important step towards creating healthy relationships. It’s cliché but true – to truly love someone else, you have to love yourself first. This is because we’re unable treat someone better than we treat ourselves. Our limits in loving others comes from our inability to love ourselves. Over the course of our relationships, these limits inevitably come to light. We may compensate for our inabilities by giving more to others than we have – or have allowed ourselves – to receive. Yet, this can set us up for difficulty. If we’re not loving ourselves then we’re likely looking for someone else to give us that sense of being loved. This can be the starting point for lots of problems like dependency, fear of abandonment, and fear of intimacy. To really love ourselves, we need to see the unique value and intrinsic beauty of who we are without any externally imposed definitions. To begin to do this, take the time to tell yourself all the things that you like about yourself. And do it often.


Clear Your History:

Part of showing up as our best selves is to be in the present moment as much as possible. This means that our previous experiences need to be left where they belong – in the past. To do this, people typically undergo a process wherein they remember the past, understand how it affected them and then disentangle themselves from it. There are a number of different tools that people can use to clear themselves of aspects of their past that no longer serve them. For example, there is EFT, Access Consciousness, energy work, Core Energetics, and the list goes on. If you want to create a different baseline for yourself, it’s helpful to find a method that you can use to continually reinforce your new way of being.


To clear your history, try on a few methods that you sense would be a good fit. Then keep an open mind while you see if they’re effective for you. It takes a little while to clear your past from your present, so give this process some time. As you do this your awareness will increase and old feelings might come to the surface. When in a relationship, sometimes it’s helpful to let the other person know when something from your past has been activated and communicate what you need when this happens.


Own your stuff:


Nothing makes a relationship stronger than integrity. The biggest gift you can give yourself is know and own your contributions to your relationships – both in the positive and in the negative. When things get difficult in a relationship, look for the ways that you’ve contributed to the problem. Simply ask yourself: “Is there anything that I would have done better or differently if I had remained in full integrity?” If the answer is yes, then do your best to make right on what you know you could have done better.


When we’re unclear about how our own issues influence our relationships we’re likely to do unintentional damage. When we’re unconscious of our unresolved feelings about our past, we’re more likely to blame, shame and guilt others when those unresolved feelings are triggered. It’s only when we’re aware of our contributions to the state of our relationships and able to stay in our integrity that we can create environments in which our relationships can thrive.


The Awesome Things You’ll See When You Look At Your Relationships Differently

The Awesome Things You’ll See When You Look At Your Relationships Differently

A quick scan of books on the ins-and-outs of “relationships” reveals four primary problem areas: money, time, communication and sex. While your romantic relationships may not suffer at all of these points, they most certainly will be challenged by one of them.

Even great relationships have their share of challenges. Often times these challenges are not an indicator of something unresolvable. Rather, they’re a sign that we need to do something to change our perspective on the challenge.

I’m going to cover 4 common relationship challenges and offer ways to reframe them. When we take the time to shift our perspective on what has seemed so difficult in our relationships, we can grow with our significant other and create a stronger partnership.

Challenge #1: Disagreements That Linger

    Some of the things we fight about in our relationships don’t ever get resolved. Sometimes this is due to a lack of compatibility, which ultimately leads to the end of the relationship. Sometimes this is the result of poor communication. Yet, other times it’s the outcome of our perspective on the disagreement.
    Imagine if you always agreed with your partner. This would yield the most boring relationship ever. While some people are harmoniously syncopated at all times, for the rest of us, a little conflict goes a long way in keeping the spark in our relationships.
    Without friction there’s no progress. Disagreements help us grow. They also help us understand our partner more completely. Often, it’s only when we disagree that we ask questions about our partner’s perspective and pay close attention to what they say.
    What if you saw your disagreements with your partner as an opportunity to get closer to them? Or at the very least, saw them as an occasion for you to get closer to your own truth? What if it was more important that you learn something about yourself through your disagreements and less important that you and your partner come to resolution?

Challenge #2: Different Sex Drives

    People in relationship shy away from admitting that their sex drives or sexual preferences differ from their partners. They just don’t enjoy the same things or share the same level of desire. This undisclosed discrepancy leads people to have sex when they’re not really into it or to meet their needs through an affair. It can also lead to resentment that acerbates the problem.
    All too often couples look to their partner to fulfill their sexual needs. But, what if each person considered how they could express themselves as sexually whole person. In truth, a discrepancy in sexual interest is an opportunity to explore sexuality rather than a block to it.
    So, ask yourself: How does my partner express his or her sexuality? Who am I as a sexual person outside of my partnership? And, do I feel like I’m able to feel my sexuality as essential to my life? Questions like these help us reframe the circumstance of different sex drives.

Challenge #3: Getting the Chores Done

    In a couple, one person is cleaner than the other. One person thinks that organized cupboards make a tidy home, while the other feels it’s clean counters. One person feels they “always” have to do a particular chore. This same person tends to think that no one appreciates their effort to tend to their shared space.
    Chances are if you’ve cohabited with your partner, that you’ve probably been rubbed the wrong way by some aspect of how your sweetheart lives in your shared space. Constructive feedback in these situations can be hard to give. No adult wants to hear that the way they’ve been doing something for years is somehow wrong.
    Too often we focus our attention on the negative. We see what the other person is not doing. Or we notice how they “did it again.” But, what if we looked at our partner’s frustrating habit as reminder of all the other things they do right? What if we chose to remember all that our partner does to contribute to your standard of living?
    You could also re-frame it this way: would you rather have your partner in your life or be free from the problem of how they do – or do not do – a specific chore? The truth is that the dirty laundry on the floor, the dishes scattered around the house, or the foot prints on the floor are a sign that you have a special someone in your life.

Challenge #4: Lack of Time Together

    Busy lives and work schedules take us away from the people we love. And while a little time away is supportive of a healthy relationship, a lot of time away can create problems.
    In these instances, it’s important to check in with yourself and ask yourself if this lack of time together is an outright avoidance of intimacy or indication of some other problem. If this is not the case, and instead life has conspired to give you a bit of distance from your mate, then take the opportunity to make the distance work for your relationship. Plan special things to do together when your busy schedules allow you two to connect.

Whether you’re separated due to work or other reasons, it’s wonderful to have some time to focus on your own needs and not your partner’s needs. The time apart from your mate could be time that you dedicate to friends, family or studying something that interests you. Regardless of how you use it, take the time and give it to yourself!

Every challenge we face in a relationship is a portal of opportunity. Sometimes it just takes looking at it from another perspective to see how we can make it work for us rather than against us.

4 Ways to Be Your Best Self in Your Most Important Relationships

4 Ways to Be Your Best Self in Your Most Important Relationships

Last week I led a week-long intensive training with my Master Transformational Coaching program. In this program, I emphasize personal development work because it’s this work that truly helps us be our best selves. When we do this work, we’re able to bring the best of our selves to our relationships – whether they’re with people at home, at work, or in the world. I’d like to tip my hat to the wonderful people who took part in this training program. They’re doing the hard inquiry necessary to step into their whole selves so that they can help others through this same transformation.

Be Your Best Self In Your Most Important Relationships

We often strive to create healthy and satisfying relationships. But sometimes, despite how much we may try, we’re unable to create relationships that are mutually supportive and fulfilling. When this happens, there are several things we can do to bring our best selves to our relationships, and in turn, bring about the positive change we seek.

Get to Know Yourself:

    To be your best self in your personal relationships you need to develop your awareness of yourself. What do you value? What do you dream of? What are your strengths? Where are the skills you want to hone? When we ask ourselves these kinds of questions we grow our awareness of ourselves and we can use that awareness to create relationships that are beneficial for everyone involved. Sometimes our personal relationships hit a rough patch. When this happens, your awareness will clue you into how you might be contributing to the difficulty at hand and whether or not that relationship should be maintained.

Love Yourself:

    Learning to love yourself is such an important step towards creating healthy relationships. It’s cliché but true – to truly love someone else, you have to love yourself first. This is because we’re unable treat someone better than we treat ourselves.
    Our limits in loving others comes from our inability to love ourselves. Over the course of our relationships, these limits inevitably come to light. We may compensate for our inabilities by giving more to others than we have – or have allowed ourselves – to receive. Yet, this can set us up for difficulty. If we’re not loving ourselves then we’re likely looking for someone else to give us that sense of being loved. This can be the starting point for lots of problems like dependency, fear of abandonment, and fear of intimacy.
    To really love ourselves, we need to see the unique value and intrinsic beauty of who we are without any externally imposed definitions. To begin to do this, take the time to tell yourself all the things that you like about yourself. And do it often.

Clear Your History:

    Part of showing up as our best selves is to be in the present moment as much as possible. This means that our previous experiences need to be left where they belong – in the past. To do this, people typically undergo a process wherein they remember the past, understand how it effected them and then disentangle themselves from it.
    There are a number of different tools that people can use to clear themselves of aspects of their past that no longer serve them. For example, there is EFT, Access Consciousness, energy work, Core Energetics and the list goes on. If you’re wanting to create a different baseline for yourself, it’s helpful to find a method that you can use to continually reinforce your new way of being.
    To clear your history, try on a few methods that you sense would be a good fit. Then keep an open mind while you see if they’re effective for you. It takes a little while to clear your past from your present, so give this process some time. As you do this your awareness will increase and old feelings might come to the surface. When in a relationship, sometimes it’s helpful to let the other person know when something from your past has been activated and communicate what you need when this happens.

Own Your Stuff:

    Nothing makes a relationship stronger than integrity. The biggest gift you can give yourself is know and own your contributions to your relationships – both in the positive and in the negative.
    When things get difficult in a relationship, look for the ways that you’ve contributed to the problem. Simply ask yourself: “is there anything that I would have done better or differently if I had remained in full integrity?” If the answer is yes, then do your best to make right on what you know you could have done better.

When we’re unclear about how our own issues influence our relationships we’re likely to do unintentional damage. When we’re unconscious of our unresolved feelings about our past, we’re more likely to blame, shame and guilt others when those unresolved feelings are triggered. It’s only when we’re aware of our contributions to the state of our relationships and able to stay in our integrity that we can create environments in which our relationships can thrive.