This seems to be especially true with many women who have suffered emotional wounds in childhood or in other relationships. They carry with them the belief they must perform, interact, or behave in a way that pleases their partner in a relationship. Certainly, this happens for men as well.
When we sacrifice our own needs in order to gain approval or acceptance, we cannot become our true self. Sometimes, this can be effective for a while, but eventually leads to burnout in the relationship.
If you do not love and care for yourself, no one on earth will ever be able to love you enough to fill that void. Eventually that inner being yearning to get their needs met, will let itself be heard. Its voice is often manifested in destructive behaviors. These can be directed towards the relationship or the self.
Reflect upon how you treat and speak to yourself. Great spiritual guidance states, “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” Would your neighbors be happy if you treated them like you treat yourself?
Start to recognize the words you speak to yourself. Are they words you’d speak to a friend? What was the last special thing you did for yourself? Make a commitment now to treat yourself well once per day. Your relationship will benefit; you will benefit.
This special thing can be simple, cheap and easy. One thing I do between every session, is rub a nice, organic lotion on my hands. It’s a ritual that reminds me to care for myself and prepares me for the work I do with couples every day.
I love this great quote by Siddhartha Gautama, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” A version is even on the back of my business card:
This site is a collection of articles designed to help you and your partner build a more fulfilling relationship. If you like what you read here and would like to go deeper, there's more resources here. Please email me if you have questions. I'll send you my 5 favorite relationship tips, just sign up here. Go over to the forum and start a conversation.
If you practice continuous improvement (and I think you should!), then you have the ability to turn this around slowly but surely. If the truth is-I'm a size 14, or I'm so unhappy I could cry, or I'm so angry, I could scream-then doesn't it serve your relationship with yourself best to be honest about how you feel?
In the quest for personal improvement, you can shift to a statement that is still true, but less emotionally charged. So instead of I'm a size 14, you say, "Right now, I'm a size 14 and I'm making healthy choices (if you are!) to change that."
Instead of I'm so unhappy I could cry, try "I'm very unhappy at this moment and I'll try to smile instead of cry."
Instead of I'm so angry I could scream, try "I'm very upset right now and another feeling will be along soon."
Each of these corrections subtly changes the energy of the statement. It doesn't make it any less true, just less harsh.
Play around with this. Employ that deep, inner knowing we all have. If you go too far with your correction, your gut will tell you so. It won't feel right. When you have it just right, you will know.
Let me explain further: Instead of saying I'm so unhappy I could cry, you might start with the opposite-I'm so happy I could dance and sing. Right away, you know this isn't right. Bring it down a bit: I'm so happy I could just smile. Yes? No? Try, I'm unhappy and I'll laugh anyway. Closer? Try this: I'm unhappy and I'll smile instead of cry. This might finally feel "right" or "true". Less emotional charge, so small improvement.
Practice truth telling with yourself. The more honest you can be, the better trust and confidence you'll have in YOU! That works better than any positive affirmation in the world!
If you have questions, I want to help. Email me, post in the forum, or check out my packages. I'll send you my five favorite relationship tips if you go here.
Continuously getting to know each other is one of the best relationship builders.
Most relationships begin with a high level of love, hope and commitment, a promise of joys to come. Convinced they will spend the rest of their lives together; several years later a civil conversation does not exist.
Why? What happens to erode the dreams after a few years? Relationships occur in cycles as everything in nature. Periods of closeness alternate with periods of distance. Growth is an expanding process, painful by its very nature. Research confirms that fighting is a sign of health in relationships. The process of fighting is the part that is detrimental or constructive.
Positive communication can improve a relationship and even breathe new life into a relationship that is considered beyond repair. Learning to communicate in a way that is direct, honest and non-judgmental will make even a break up more bearable!
I know your partner definitely needs to learn this! BUT the only person in the world you truly control is yourself. If you truly deal with your own behavior, I’m sure you will be kept busy! A commitment to change takes effort, introspection and willingness. The reward can be a level of intimacy only previously dreamed of.
This site is a collection of articles designed to help you and your partner build a more fulfilling relationship. If you like what you read here and would like to go deeper, try a package. Email me a question or connect over at the forum. Connect to the relationship of your dreams.
Deliberately choosing a path and finding the motivation to stay on it is a challenge. This presentation give you a little trick to build your motivation. Good luck!
If you decide you need more help, reach out by email, on theforum or try a coaching package. Get 5 videos of my favorite relationship tips here.
Wishing you a winning relationship,
John Gottman is the nation’s leading relationship researcher, spending the past 40 years intimately studying couples, their interactions and the long term success of their relationships. The great thing about this type of science is we can use it to guide beahviors and replicate the results of the studies.
The ratio of 5:1 was identified spontaneously through Gottman’s research and it can help you improve your own relationship quite easily. This may seem a little daunting at first.....and it can be quite daunting.
Do you notice a significant number of negative interactions in your relationship? Then I urge you to play this little game right away.
This is a competition with yourself. Don't focus on what your partner does or doesn't do. I know they all need to change. You've got enough to keep up with yourself though, I promise you! So, if you're up for it, this is how you play:
When you say something mean to your partner, say 5 nice things [one negative=5 positives]. If you leave your socks on the floor, do 5 tasks that your partner usually does. Some suggestions for positive actions are listed below.
Once you know, you can't un-know.
Notice when the negative interactions happen. It doesn't matter if they deserved it. It doesn't matter if they did something to you first. If you recognize there is a repair to be made for each of your negative interactions, you'll be less prone to act or speak without thinking.
Play of the Day: Use the magic ratio for one day. This one 'play' is a game changer! Let's talk about the differences it makes for you. Come on over to the forum and chat it up.
If you want more, sign up for free updates and my favorite relationship tips. You can find more articles about compassion over here. If you need more personal coaching, I've got packages for you here. You can always email me, ask a question and I'll answer it on the forum.
Suggestions for positive interactions:
1. Do a load of laundry if you're not the one who usually does it.
2. Tell your partner something you're proud of about them.
3. Vacuum the carpet if you're not the one who usually does it.
4. Walk by your partner and give them a quick hug around the shoulders.
5. Pick up your partner's favorite candy bar and bring it home.
6. Take the kids to the park if you're not the primary caregiver.
7. Clean the toilet if you're not the one that usually does it.
8. Bring your partner a cup of coffee/beer/glass of wine.
9. Text your partner just to say I love you.
10. Plan a dinner or movie date and let your partner know.
11. Tell your partner something you appreciate about them.
12. Have sex when your partner wants to.
13. Make your partner's favorite dish.
14. Bring your partner a flower out of the garden (or the neighbor's).
15. Tell your partner what made you fall in love with them.
16. Compliment one of your partner's special abilities.
17. Tell 5 of your friends something you think is special about your partner.
18. Write a sweet or funny note to your partner and hide it somewhere they will find it.
19. If you have children, tell them something you like about your partner.
20. Give your partner a 6 second kiss.
21. Hold your partner's hand while they are talking to you.
22. Stop your partner and look into their eyes for 5 seconds.
23. Stop what you're doing and just listen to your partner attentively.
24. Give your partner oral sex.
25. Take your partner's car to be detailed.
26. Ask your partner to take a walk with you after dinner.
27. Offer to help with the dishes if you don't usually do them.
28. Ask your partner an intimacy building question and then shut up.
29. Plant a tree in your partner's honor.
30. Ask your partner if there's anything you can do for them.
31. Weed the garden if you don't usually do it.
32. Watch your spouse's favorite TV show with them.
33. Give your spouse a shoulder/foot/hand massage.
34. When you or your spouse come home, go right away to your partner and give them a hug and a kiss.
35. Do a radio dedication during a time your partner will be listening.
36. Gas your partner's car up.
37. Buy them an Amazon (or other store) gift card.
Enjoy being positive with each other!
While at first checking in with yourself is challenging, it does get easier. Practice when making a decision today. Ask yourself: Am I coming from a place of love for my partner? Am I coming from a place of love for myself? Do you get a gut check around either of those questions?
If your gut says you're on the right track, ask these questions: Is my decision based on wanting to change something about my partner? If yes, you're not coming from a loving place. Will I be resentful about making this choice? If yes, you're not coming from a loving place.
Remember, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.... 1 Corinthians 13:4.
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Usually that drive tells us that we are gaining much of our self worth by being a “good boy or girl”. This is not an objectionable goal, but when we allow our boundaries to be violated to serve others, we’re doing the whole world a disservice.
If you’re doing things for other people that make you feel resentful, reconsider how you could handle it. For instance, if you always wake your teenager up in the morning and it turns into an argument every day, you’re probably not feeling very thrilled about that. Stop doing it. Buy the kid a clock.
Make sure they know it’s their responsibility from now on. Let it go. Doesn’t that feel good?
If you can’t start there, start with something smaller. Anything that you are doing strictly for someone else, ask yourself, do I find joy in doing this? If the answer is no, then look for an alternative. Disappoint them. Let them know you won’t be doing that anymore. Let me know how it goes over in the forum.
This site is a collection of articles designed to help you and your partner build a more fulfilling relationship. If you don't find what you need, email me. If you want five of my favorite relationship tips, sign up here. There's also some more in depth resources here.
Hope that helps,
In my counseling relationships with people, I have a rather structured contract that we all agree to.
In my relationship with my best friend, we implicitly agree to schedule lunch around her schedule because mine is more flexible.
In your significant relationship, you also have many contracts. Most of these contracts have not been explicitly agreed upon.
In my own relationship, I’m the one who makes coffee in the morning. My partner makes the bed. I call to schedule doctor appointments for the family. He takes the trash out.
If you start to explore all the expectations you have of each other, you’ll realize that there’s an unspoken agreement on an enormous number of actions. That day when the agreement is unmet—that’s a day of disappointment, hurt or anger.
Think about the last time you found yourself upset at your partner. Can you discern the unspoken contract you have for your partner? For myself, I got a little peeved that my husband went to work when he was sick. Teasing this out, the unspoken contract is: I expect him to take care of himself.
As we know there is my business, your business and God’s business. This is clearly not my business! It is my business to express my concern for his well being, but I need to phrase it as a request, not a demand or an expectation. A demand is “you must take care of yourself.” A request would be “I want you well; you might want to stay home and rest.”
Try to develop a practice of recognizing the unspoken contract that is creating friction in your relationship. First of all, destroy the contract. Let go of your expectation. Shift your demand into a request. Recognize where your boundary ends and your partner’s begins. This will make a huge difference in relating to your partner.
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Wishing you closeness,