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Five Tips for a Great Relationship

Monday, 11. October 2010 14:16

Okay, whom do you spend the most time with? You might guess it’s your boss or your kids, but ultimately, it’s yourself. So how is your relationship with you? Do you enjoy your time together with yourself, or are you often unkind, inconsiderate and unforgiving? Why do you expect anyone else to treat you better than you are willing to treat yourself? Here are some thoughts and suggestions about how to nourish and nurture your most important friend: you. 

1. Appreciate and acknowledge. Find ways to acknowledge yourself for all the good things you do. If you only acknowledge the things you don’t do, then you are only feeding half of the equation – the negative half. A daily practice of expressing gratitude to yourself (just one to three items!) can go a long way in putting things in perspective and making for a happier, more relaxed you. Once you take stock, you may be amazed by all of what you do accomplish!

2. Rest and enjoy some quiet, quality time. Take a few minutes to stop and breathe. Look around you. What do you see? Close your eyes, feel what is going on, and listen. Check in. What message lies within the silence? Even a few minutes of rest can make a big difference in your attitude and your connection to yourself. Don’t ignore quality time with your best friend: you.

 3. Schedule time for fun, pleasure and connection. Want to keep your life feeling joyful? Well, you deserve a break – even if it’s fifteen minutes a day of listening to music, walking, calling friends, doing Suduko – whatever it is, make a little time to feed your soul with something you love and make it smile.

4. Give your body a hug. Your soul lives in a body. Just notice it and thank it for all it does. Thank it for protecting you, for moving you and for allowing you to feel the world. Even though it may have some issues, remember all that it can do. Can you feel the wind? Enjoy a hot shower? Eat and drink tasty tidbits? What would life be like without your body? Pretty tough to enjoy the simple things. So, be nice to it. Feed it, give it rest, consideration, and maybe even a hug once in awhile.

5. Clarify your values, visions and goals. Keep your dreams alive. Where do you want to go? What do you strive for? How might you get there? What’s important to you? Can you take one small baby-step each day toward that goal? If you know what gives you meaning and purpose and what you stand for, making daily life choices become easier and often less stressful.

Would you deny your best friend any of these kindnesses and support? Enjoy and nurture your relationship with yourself. You will always be there, why not treat yourself like a best friend?

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization | Comment (0) | Autor:

Want to Be Heard? Quit Criticizing!

Wednesday, 14. April 2010 2:20

When things don’t go exactly as we hoped, sometimes we go with the flow. Other times, we berate ourselves or others: “This never would have happened if you’d been paying attention,” or, “I’m such a failure!”

This kind of blaming and labeling is not only unkind, but perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t usually yield lasting results.  Maybe we can guilt ourselves into not eating a second piece of chocolate cake, or maybe we can get someone to do something we want in that moment, but will it last? Is it motivating?  Loving? Helpful?  In general, critical language doesn’t accomplish much except to make ourselves or others feel badly. 

I recently attended a workshop on “nonviolent communication”, a process created in the 1960’s by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg and I quickly learned just how damaging judgmental thinking and speaking can be.   As soon as we label, blame or threaten someone (including ourselves), we break the connection with them.  Rather than moving closer to resolution or to having our needs met, we move further into anger, guilt, resentment and pain.

The way Rosenberg explains it is that we tend to classify and analyze the wrongness of others rather than acknowledge what it is we need – and what it is that we are not getting.  His excellent example:  If my partner wants more affection than I’m giving him, then he is “needy and dependent.”  On the other hand, if I want more affection than he’s giving me, then he’s “aloof and insensitive.”   Can you see how criticism of someone else  may actually be a tragic expression of our own values and needs?

What Rosenberg suggests is that since all of us have needs, if we can express them along with how we feel, we can deliver clear, empathetic communication.  Imagine this: I say to my husband, “I feel like I’m married to a wall.”  What’s his response likely to be?

“You’re a wall” is not very directive about what I need. Compare that to, “I’m feeling lonely and would like more emotional contact with you.”   The second approach acknowledges my feelings and needs rather than putting the responsibility for how I feel on someone else. Which statement do you think is more likely to get an empathetic response?

Not that everyone will always willingly give us what we need just because we share!  But this process gets us closer to that possibility by acknowledging responsibility for our own feelings and by giving us a better chance of being heard.  So next time you want to lash out at someone, think about it first. What are you feeling?  What do you want?  Can you express your feelings and needs in an honest and open way?  It takes work and practice (and even a little courage) to be vulnerable, but if you value the relationship with the other person, this approach can be incredibly worthwhile.   Try it on yourself.  When you are about to blame or guilt yourself, take a good look at what you really feel and want and then decide, is there a way to take care of yourself so you actually get what you need?

There is much to share about this rich practice, including its many applications in conflict resolution.  To learn more, check out Rosenberg’s book “Nonviolent Communication” and visit www.cnvc.org . Here’s a short video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bydhuxilg_A

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