At 25, Jesse felt hopeless and depressed. Living life without purpose or meaning, he turned to alcohol to hide a secret he’d kept from his family for over 20 years; he had been sexually abused.
I thought about how sand dune formation related to our lives (because I love thinking in metaphors). Those grains of sand didn't pile up in a day. It took months, maybe years of wind and water to blow the sand in the same direction.
3 Ways to Deepen Love and Relationships
While I can’t claim that I’ve perfected my relationships, I can say that every day I learn a little about how to be a better partner, lover, friend and daughter. Specifically in romantic relationships, sometimes it’s easy to forget to approach every situation with love. It’s easy to get mad, frustrated and sometimes even give up. To me, the key to a long lasting and healthy relationship relies on many things but I found that with these 3 “rules” or practices we can certainly start to approach difficult situations with our best foot forward.
Practicing Positive Projection
I first read this in a book somewhere, I can’t remember where. It really resonated with me because I am a highly sensitive person and can really take things to heart sometimes. It’s definitely tough, especially if you’ve been in past relationships where you’ve been hurt or disappointed. At times, our partner can say or do something that causes us to feel offended, we immediately feel attacked and think this person is trying to hurt us.
The truth is, it comes from that baggage, that old hurt, old pain and old patterns we’re carrying into our new relationships. What we know from psychology is that often, one partner says something to another and the second person will blow up the comment in their own mind. But when you look at the transcript, you realize they meant no offense. Infact, sometimes the person who is the angriest, can’t even remember what the other person said. They might be tired, distracted, or stressed; give them the patience and love they deserve.
The best thing we can do is project the positive qualities they have and assume the BEST in them.
Practice Deep Listening
We all know communication in a relationship is KEY; deep listening, is a huge component of that. The essence to being a better listener is to listen longer and deeper. To be present in the moment and allow your partner to vent. Sometimes we find ourselves trying to input our own opinion or fix a situation but we fail to really listen what’s going on. We often try to tell people how to feel, we cut them off or we try to one up the person with something that we’re thinking about. I first heard this concept when I was training to be a Life Coach. Deep listening was a skill we needed to learn to better help our clients find their own answers.
In arguments, the number one thing that happens is that both parties are so concerned with getting their point across, that they fail to listen to each other.
Deep listening is a VERY powerful tool and I think we could all use it when it comes to our relationships.
Approach everything with LOVE
Sometimes we approach situations with fear rather than love. We make assumptions, conclusions and create expectations without really analyzing what YOU are bringing to the table in the relationship.
I find that many people often ask so much from a relationship. They want more surprises, more romance, more love, more this and that. Instead, ask yourself, what have YOU been doing for your relationship, who are you being in this relationship? Are you loving, kind, respectful, sensual, playful? Think about what things you long for and how you can bring more of that into your relationship.
Ultimately, happiness in a relationship depends on the two people involved. My motto is that you cannot change who someone else is in the relationship, what they say and how they behave. What we do have control over is ourselves and our mindset.
The Power of Journaling
Journaling is a tool that can change your life and guess what? It will only cost you a couple bucks! I always journaled here and there but it was very inconsistent. Now that I am regularly writing things down, I feel a sense of better understanding. I feel like there were missing pieces and parts of me I didn’t really notice until I started writing about them. It’s also played a key role in what I consider my success. I feel happier, more organized and like I know what’s going on in my mind.
Even journaling just 20 minutes a day could bring you these amazing benefits:
Helps you know yourself and your truth better.
Experts believe journaling actually helps understand our own thoughts and feelings differently. It allows you to make a deeper connection with yourself and truly understand yourself better. It’s a great way to record the past and connect the dots between what you’ve done that has caused your present situation.
In my experience, journaling has helped aid self-discovery and revealed different aspects of myself that I believe were dug deep inside of me. As you write, you begin to let your thoughts flow naturally and find the “missing pieces.”
Journaling is proven to bring us to a calmer state once we’re able to get those negative feelings down on paper. It allows you to organize your thoughts and help you solve problems more effectively. When we encounter problems we generally use the left side of our brain. When we journal, we’re forcing the brain to look at our emotions and challenging situations in a more creative way (using the right side of our brain)!
Make you happier through gratitude journaling
Gratitude is a great way to reduce stress and improve your psychological health. There have been numerous studies proving that recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience and happiness. Recently, I’ve been writing down three things I am grateful for every day before getting my day started and it’s actually improved my mood and the way I start my day. It reminds you that anything challenging you may be going through will pass, and that there’s something to be grateful for every single day.
Whether you’re writing down your memories or you’re writing your personal life story, journaling helps you become a more creative person. It gets your creative juices flowing! For those who use journal prompts, it gets you thinking about things you wouldn’t have otherwise thought about. It’s a great way to brainstorm and get all your ideas and future plans on paper.
Capture your life’ story
You see, our life is a story and journaling helps you see that story and literally write where you want your main character (you) to end up going. I can also tell you that it’s really neat to go back and look at some of the stories and memories you captured in your past and see those situations in a new perspective.
What you write about is up to you, whatever is going through your head. It’s a vague recommendation but that’s the only thing I could tell you. But to inspire you, this is what you can do:
Write your goals or brainstorm your ideas
Journal about your day
Catalog your memories
Journal about yourself and your story
Don’t make it an obligation for every day, it will be more fun when you do it as you get inspired but I keep it next to my bed so I get in the habit of doing it as much as I can! It’s fun and easy.
If it’s something that you’ve tried and hasn’t worked, it’s stressed you out, maybe you can find something else like drawing a picture, photography or recording a video for yourself. Find any creative way to process your life. I found that journaling has been a really big component of my personal development and the journey I’ve taken to self-discovery.
Let me know what works for you. Do you journal?
Don’t take anything personally.
That’s the second agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic, “The Four Agreements” and in my opinion, the most difficult to follow.
I needed a reminder this weekend and again today. The Holidays are a time for family fun and bonding..but sometimes, we clash with our loved ones. Indirect comments are made, insults can slip or bad moods can cause tension. It’s normal, I mean…Planning time with friends and family….cooking….getting everything ready… it can all get a bit stressful, making us more vulnerable and emotional to, well, LIFE.
But a holiday family feud isn’t the only time we experience this. It happens every single day when we walk into the grocery store and the attendant is rude to us. We think “OMG, what’s her problem? What did I do to deserve such bad treatment?” Or maybe our partner wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and was just a little too quiet. We immediately make the assumption ” Hmm. Did I do something to cause this? Maybe their mad at me…How can I fix this?”
I’ve certainly struggled with not allowing what others say, what they do, and the opinions they give to affect me… It’s a practice you have to master. I’m not there yet.
So as I continue to develop myself into the best version I can be, I recap the books I’ve read and try to soak in as much of the message as I possibly can.
Don Miguel Ruiz writes:
Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally…Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing….When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.
There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. You become immune to black magicians, and no spell can affect you regardless of how strong it may be. The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune. Someone can intentionally send emotional poison, and if you don’t take it personally, you will not eat it. When you don’t take the emotional poison, it becomes even worse in the sender, but not in you.
As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need.
We’re human, we’re not perfect. But I’ve discovered that if we keep Don Miguel’s message in mind, we can be more aware of how we receive the external things around us and nothing can hurt us….which is really freaking empowering!
Write in the comments if you’re like me and have taken anything personal. How did you overcome it?