How do you keep your feelings of vibrancy alive in your relationship? I know I know…it’s for us to do our own personal emotional work and be accountable to whatever feelings we want to experience in relationship with others. I know I know… we can’t be thinking if only our partner would …. Or why doesn’t he or she….? Can you relate? We all can some of the time. But read on…
When we shift into a perspective of Whole Hearted Acceptance, (yes he’s a little messy and there’s his creative brain) or (yes she’s a little emotional and there’s that passion I adore) …and with Focused attention to our own Choice, (to fully love the whole person), there will be Transformation and guess what… Better love shows up like magic. I’ve seen it with clients who have done strengths assessments about themselves, their partner and their relationship.
When we appreciate the best parts of ourselves, our partners, and our partnership, life feels “amazing”. Looking for the deficits, life can feel hopeless. As a culture in our western world maybe we are growing too much perfectionism. Have we become co-dependent with what the dream ‘should be’ … rather than exercising our gratitude pathways and growing with the dream that is already right here, right now?
When we get on a positive pathway, we are also likely to be drawn physically to our partner again… which means more hugs and kisses… which means more oxytocin (attachment) hormones and health generally. We feel safe, secure and held in our world.
The truth is feelings of love heal resentment. When you activate loving feelings, you start to see results from your own efforts towards the positive. You have control and choice. And well…clients tell me, it just feels so good to be back in generosity and compassion again. They can’t believe how “amazing” their partner is after all.
Is this magic… or just intentional relating?
The better light you see everyone in around you… (including the love of your life), the more in the zone you will feel at work, play, and in the general rhythm of your day. Things will start to feel easier & back in the flow.
We all have those times (including me) when our relationships can feel stuck, funky, and blocked. It is just like bad weather though, the blue sky is always there… we just can’t see it when we are looking for deficits. It takes repetition to break a habit of negativity. I love the idea of counting backward from 10 – 1 when you get hooked. Notice it. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…what’s the positive opposite of that negative thought? What’s the evidence for that new positive? Now how do you feel? … much better I bet!
Here are 4 powerful questions to guide the Light back into Your Relationship starting with an unconditional and growing love for you:
- Who are you? I know that is a big question and one we likely don’t often ask ourselves. But if you reflect on pivotal times in your life… choices you have made…times when you have conquered a challenge… you will start to see your personal values, and story themes show up. When you share your stories with your partner or friends, talking out loud…you will often discover your own life purpose, your true essence of self. You illuminate who you are.
To that point, if your relationship was a novel, what would you call it? What would your partner call it?
I often work with clients who come to see me because, in all the responsibilities and pressures, they feel a growing loss of their own identity in their partnership. They often talk about feeling a little captive to all the responsibilities of their life as its evolved. With too much on their plate, there is little time for each other. The honeymoon phase is over.
It’s at this point, patterns of blame and shame can start occurring. However, when reflecting a little deeper, you get the insight that all these deficits you have been seeing in your partner are often the lost parts of your own identity… big shifts happen. For example “He’s so controlling” turns into “When did I lose control?” You may have been drifting in reaction to other people in your life. Without a blueprint, how can you build the design of your best life? If you don’t feel good in the life you are living, how can you feel good about your partner?
When I ask clients about peak times in their life… such as best childhood adventures, or when they met their partner, or when they started their career… their faces often light right up. This kind of transformation is inside and available to all of us all the time. They are the feelings we get when that excitement and novelty is activated by these memories.
It is February and close to Valentine’s Day, so we are more consciously aware of our own potential for love right now… but what if there were rituals we could do to activate this internal state of love every day, every month of the year?
Know who you are… and why you chose your partner. The same thing goes for your career and all the things you do. Be in practice of your life and love. Through our relationships, we can grow, heal, and thrive.
So… who are you? Who are you becoming? Maybe ask your partner the same thing.
- What makes you smile? The research tells us that just the act of physically smiling creates a whole positive shift in the chemistry of our brain. But when you think about smiling from your heart, what are the contextual factors that activate positive loving feelings? Notice who are you with, What activity are you doing? How often are you intentional about doing that?
- How you are feeling? When you check in with your ‘felt sense’ of this moment right now… what do you notice? Do you feel curious? Excited? Confused? Inspired? We often don’t actually know how we feel. Sometimes, we are so cut off from our feelings and so blocked in sharing our confusion with our partners because “they may not listen”, “they are too busy”, “they don’t really care”, “we may have an argument about it”. What story have you been telling yourself about emotional safety in your relationship? How is that working for you?
If you learned to tough out your struggles with emotion when you were young, you may find yourself a lone warrior in working through your challenging feelings alone. The problem is if you don’t share your feelings and challenges with your partner, it is likely your partner will make up a narrative about you that truly isn’t accurate… and this can lead to more negative lonely feelings, more disconnect, more confusion, and more challenges.
In psychology, we often categorize people as being “Internal Processors” (who tend to figure things out on their own) and those who are “External Processors” (who tend to work things through in conversations.
There are pros and cons of both processing styles. The Internal Processor organizes their solutions and delivers their thoughts fete a complete. They can be a calming force… but they can also be experienced as withdrawn, leaving their partners to guess. The external processor can be experienced as creative thinkers, flexible and engaging because they work their thoughts and ideas through with you. But this can also be overwhelming to an Internal Processor who might experience their partner is tossing a thought salad at them!
The important thing is to consider what type of processor you & your partner might be. In knowing your style and your partner’s style, you may find you have more compassion and patience and understanding as you can find new ways to meet in the middle of both processing habits.
Know your style and make sure you set up times to share your day every day. Be the one to tell your story. Invite your partner to do the same.
If not, who knows what stories he or she may make up about you!
- Are you choosing love or fear when life bumps happen? The more we are intentional about caring for ourselves—body, mind & spirit, loving who we are, cherishing all the quirky parts of our personalities, the more we can open the “Window of Tolerance & Love” for others… especially our true love. You can’t open the window though if you aren’t feeling resourced yourself.
Have you noticed that the more you love your partner, see them in the best light, support them in the best ways possible, the more their love shines back on you?
It’s tough to come from a loving perspective all the time. What are the factors that take you off your love axis? For me its stress, pressure, or doing too much in my day. I know that when I pay attention to “slow down”, I notice the sun is shining. I feel supported by others, more connected to my husband.
We had a bluebird day skiing last week at Whistler Mountain. I was thinking to myself how fortunate I was to be skiing for the day, to be enjoying an adventure with Joe… and living in supernatural B.C. How did these loving feelings show up?
Then I saw this big banner with the word SLOW DOWN on it. It was my sign. I laughed. Yes, of course, I know this truth. I just need to practice that principle — slow. Everything is better when savored slowly… life and relationships included!
And to top it all off, after a beautiful weekend and then Monday morning driving to my office along Bellevue, there was a woman holding a sign up on a construction site to all of us driving by her. It read “SLOW”. Ok already. This is going to take some practice. Take more time to be me. Enjoy each moment as a first.
I’ve always loved the SLOW dance. Happy Valentine’s Month! I hope yours is slow and beautiful.
Retreat Your Relationship this Month
I am holding a Couple’s Retreat February 23rdand 24thfrom 2:00 – 5:00 both days.
Cost is $200. Per couple (Location: West Vancouver Bar Method) Just respond to this email if you want to register. These retreats are a lot of fun and a great way to get your mojo going again.
I know you love your partner. But how about loving the life you live together a whole lot more?
Hope to see you there!
Yours in the magic of love,