How to be a better person relationally


How to be a better partner, and person, relationally

1.) Open your eyes

See the person for what they are, and not what you want them to be.  Don’t waste precious time trying to have them fit into the mold that you think would be best for them.  Embrace them openly as they are, without fantasizing and pushing onto them all the ways they will be better once they embrace your self-improvement plan :).

2.) Outsource your needs

Don’t expect one person to fulfill all your needs.  The Disney fairytales we grow up reading are sweet and charming, yet they create a false impression that one day you will be rescued, found, discovered, and be swept off your feet.  Rescue and discover yourself!  Also, recognize that no one person can meet all your needs.  Seek out other close relationships to meet some of your needs.  Expecting it all to come from your partner will set you both up for failure.

3.) Forget the idea that you will just know

Another fairytale/romantic movie myth to discard is the idea that you will just “KNOW.”  A huge myth is that everything will be crystal clear and you will just know with 100% certainty that you are meant to be together forever and ever.  This is another fable that I see countless people struggle with.  There are no decisions in life that are completely easy and right.  Abandon that idea- just throw it in the trashcan.

4.) Be the kind of partner you want to be with

It is inauthentic to ask for something and not be it yourself.  It is incongruent and will not truly resonate.  If you want more intimacy, act more intimate, and reach out for real and transparent closeness.  If you want more sex, initiate it more.  If you want to know his/her deepest and most intimate thoughts and desires, then open yourself up and shares yours first.

5.) Shut up and LISTEN

Listen to one another.  People assume that they know everything about their partners, and can answer for them-that is a fallacy.  Be curious and don’t make assumptions.  In my office I will often ask each member of the couple to spend a little time listening to something that is really important and needed by the other.  You can practice this at home as homework: One of you can be the talker and the other one can be the listener.  The listener is not to interrupt or be defensive.  The talker is to share as honestly and compassionately as possible.  Practice taking turns where one of you is the talker and the other is the listener, and vs. vs.  This exercise will do wonders for your relationship.

6.) Give Praise

Don’t ever waste a compliment by silently holding it in your head.  Share with your partner, and others whom you love deeply, exactly why you love them, and what you are grateful for.  Scientific studies show that practicing gratitude builds neuronal wiring, which builds in more connectivity, and a tuning in towards more grateful experiences in your brain.  Give yourself and your partner this gift.

7.) Be wholehearted

Embrace every moment in your life with your partner, and your loved ones, in a rich, present, mindful, and wholehearted way.  Life is not a harlequin romance-sorry!  There inevitably will be and are bumps in the road-it is what keeps life interesting.  It is how you manage and ride them out together which will define you as a couple.  Dr. Gottman pointed out that the most important thing is how you resolve conflict, not necessarily that you have conflict.  Conflict is a normal and natural thing in relationships.  It is how you come back together at the end of it, which will determine your staying power.  Fight fairly and mindfully, and always take the time and space to actually and honestly make amends. Air your grievances and make up in an honest and wholehearted way.

Now go out there and be a better partner, and person, in the world relationally!

How to psychologically survive the holidays!

How to psychologically survive the holidays!

The holiday time can be stressful for many.  See below for 7 foolproof steps to maximize holiday enjoyment, and avoid burnout!

1. Meditate
As early in the day as possible center yourself by meditating for two to five minutes.  Sit quietly, feet planted on the ground, with your palms up.  Breathe in for five seconds, and breathe out for five seconds.  Watch your thoughts as though they are clouds passing one by one in the sky.  Do not attach to any one thought.  Instead, simply begin to notice what noise is going on in your mind.

2. Do not over consume
Do not let yourself get over consumed by consumption.  This is the season of endless shopping and materialism.  One can feel as though they are worthless if they cannot afford to buy all of their family and friends extravagant gifts.  Spend less, and write a more detailed and meaningful card.  Buy a few small mini presents and combine.  Make a homemade present.

3. Reflect on who and what you are most grateful for
Make plenty of room on your mental calendar to reflect daily on who and what you are most grateful for.  Spread the love; don’t waste it by not saying anything!  Tell your loved ones specifically what you appreciate about them, and why you love them so.   Sharing your love and appreciation is something that is often overlooked, and it usually leads to more intimacy, trust, and connection in the relationship.

4. Confront from a place of “I”
Confront your family members, and practice better communication skills at the same time!  Instead of swallowing your anger, which feels terrible, and can make you feel sick, express it!  Studies show that it can be dangerous to internalize all of your stress and negativity.  Stress can cause cellular inflammation, which can result in disease.  Instead of sitting resentfully by, compassionately confront your family member.  Always start from a place of “I”. “I felt hurt when…”  This way you can express your true feelings and get that weight off your chest.  By speaking from a place of “I”, you invite less defensiveness from the offending party, and hence they are better able to hear you.

5. Anchor your Strengths
Imagine that you are in a helicopter looking down at yourself.  Reflect on this past year. How did you do?  How could you have been better?  At what times did your life feel the most meaningful and happy?  What times were the most difficult?  What events where going on when you were the most happy?  The saddest?  Who were the cast of characters around you?  What were they saying?  Doing?  By noticing exactly what was going on when things were going especially well you can then replicate those experiences.  Vow to do more of what felt meaningful and connecting.  Anchor that strength!

6. Seek out the sunlight
Make time every day to go outside and nourish your body with some sunlight.  Combat symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, like sluggishness and depression, by getting as much sunlight / Vitamin D as possible.

7. Practice Self Care
Make sure to practice and implement any self care rituals you enjoy.  You absolutely deserve it.  Every interaction is a chance to uplift.  Make sure that you are rested, and not constantly stressed, so that everyone gets to experience the best version of you.  Spend some quality down time alone appreciating and enjoying the wonder of you!!!