What is the deciding factor in relationships that go the distance and those that don’t? No matter what status you would file your relationship under, ‘happy’ , ‘okay’, ‘on the rocks’ or ‘its complicated’, you can build a partnership that is no just surviving, but THRIVING and one that can truly go the distance. Even the happiest of partnerships, require sustained effort in order to stay that way.
Ahhhh “Date Nights”, it’s the calling card of most relationship experts and magazine fodder to couples who are struggling to connect.
Sure, you started out on this road side by side, and then life does what life does. Careers take off, layoffs happen, family members get ill, bills mount, adorable kids rampage, after school activities take over, and first, you met those challenges together. Then, needs must, and you split your resources to head off to put out one fire or another whilst the other did the same and now, you feel so very far apart, you’re not sure how you are ever going to meet in the middle and connect again
Date nights DO work!
Quality time is indeed remedy. Emphasis on the QUALITY.
And on some nights, a blissful night of watching your fav shows will suffice however in this weeks LOVE LETTER I want to offer you up some serious supercharge ideas to true connection that will traverse the chasm and endear you and your partner to each other much more significantly.
For most of us, date nights are stolen dinners out, hopefully not looking at our phones, and often fraught with keeping the convo engaged and inspired. We promise to NOT talk about the kids, or work but then… WTAF is there left to talk about?!?
Let’s take this whole DATE NIGHT concept, and dust off the cobwebs!
Studies have shown that when people participate in an activity together, a unique bond that is formed. And BOND is powerful connection.
Bronze star to activities you already both enjoy together.
Silver star if one partner is introducing a passion to another.
And holy smoke level gold stars for activities that are new to both partners!
Dance class is a classic, heck, many a rom-com has even featured it HOWEVER there is so much more than that cliché date night to be had.
Here are some shiny star ideas to jump start you into your very next date night! From those that cost the big bucks to some that cost little to nothing.
Grab each other close, & set date night mode to EXPLORE;
Cocktail making classes
Personal Development Courses
Walking Tour of Your City
Race Car Driving Experiences
Zip Line Experience
Continuing Education Courses
Kite Surfing Lesson
Fishing Day Trip
Golf Driving Range Night
We want to curate date nights that give us more to talk about and/or create magical moments of play and laughter and/or bond us as we are first timers together.
I know some of the above ideas, will be a trifecta for many of you!
Now, take the above, let your fingers to the walking on Google, check out groupon, and even your local town hall board and supercharge your next date night.
Which heart connecting idea will you choose? comment below!
P.S. And to all my fab singletons reading this... erm HELLLLLO great 3rd, 4th and 5th date ideas that pack some serious connection punch right here! Begin as you mean to go on, dearest ones. xx
Relationship advice on how to combat the most common problems that cause divorce and separation. How do we rebuild connection when we feel we are no longer IN LOVE with your spouse?
Oh my, this week’s topic applies to ALL of us, regardless of relationship status.
My Love Letter to you, is focused intently on the very cornerstone that any search for love OR attempts to nurture loving relationships, rests upon.
That cornerstone, is our individual level of self-love.
Many of us don’t recognize how our own lack of self love is affecting our relationships and how we present to others. The symptoms bare themselves out, but the root is harder to see. We can address some symptoms in the moment however the coaching work I do with my clients is about sustainable change, not momentary epiphanies, therefore we go deep to the source, so true love can flow.
The most common symptoms people call me with is a lack of confidence and self-worth. And whilst there is work we can do to be more confident, and to build our self-worth… if we don’t focus on self love, most of our efforts will be for nought.
Self love is the seed, from which a forest of self-worth and confidence can grow.
We must sow the seeds deep, and in great abundance!
This week I am running a SELF LOVE CHALLENGE in my fb community and I wanted to share it with you, too. The following is a step by step process to spend your next 7 days, taking action to curating a practice of self love.
Are you ready to take the challenge towards more self love?
7 DAY SELF LOVE CHALLENGE
Challenge Step 1:
>> Make a list of at least 10 items you know are acts of self-love for you, and you alone.
Ten actions, that are not just self care of your basic needs but strongly affectionate acts that bring you joy, calm, happiness, wellbeing, pleasure physically, emotionally and spiritually. Ten acts that are real treats, genuine special splurge like ideas, that maybe you just don't allow yourself often enough, that bring you childlike wonder and joy, and are just for your own absolute pleasure!
*this could be... making a beautiful dinner that you eat by candlelight with some of your fav music, yoga, reading a good book for pleasure, long walk in the countryside, chocolate, spa day, facials, fav pod cast, coaching, time with nephews and nieces, spin class, meditation, jumping in the sea, fancy meal out, antiquing, live music, being creative with art or hobbies, positive affirmations, a course that will fulfill your soul, lunch in the sunshine, open mic nights, and on and on and on!
Challenge Step 2:
It’s time to get really REAL with ourselves and assess just how active we have been in our self love.
>> Take some time here and line by line, item by item, make a numerical notation next to each item that correspond with how many times you actually participated and partook in each of these estimable acts of self love on your list, in the last 30days.
Challenge Step 3:
>> Take out your calendar/diary and schedule in SOMETHING every day!
It doesn’t have to be an hour yoga class… maybe 15 minutes on a Yoga app before bed? It may not be 30 minutes of mediation at 7am, but instead a sleep mediation you find on youtube you use at bedtime. It may not be a grand dinner with friends, but scheduling in a 10 minute phone call to your bestie for a giggle.
Do not let your perception of time, stop you from loving you. Find ANY time you can, every day to LOVE YOU!
Intentionally CARVE out 5 minutes on one day, 20 minutes on another, 1-2 hours on a Sunday.. whatever it takes to implement even the smallest act of self love, EACH DAY. It’s high time, you make YOU the first stop on the LOVE tour.
Maybe you don’t have a top 10!?! Maybe you have never EVER considered yourself, your needs, your desires, your care as a priority? Maybe you’re not even sure what makes you happy?
WELCOME dearest one. You're in the right place!
I challenge you to come up with a list, let your fingers to the walking on google “What is self love?”, carve out those same blocks in your dairy with the notation ‘Find my joy!’ and “Self Love’. Go out and experiment till you find your personal Top 10 list!
Find your happy places, and visit them daily!
Challenge Phase 4:
Accountability in a challenge can boost your results tenfold...
>> Grab a friend and do the challenge with them!
>> Comment here with your lists!
>> Are you a single lady out in the wilds of the modern dating jungle? Then, dearest one, come join is over at the quite discreet and incredibly supportive, Feminist Seeks Love fb community, where we are doing it together! Join us, HERE
I do hope you accept this 7 day Self Love Challenge and boost that love for you by engaging with some real kindness, care and joy for yourself... as it will revolutionize how you find, attract, give and receive LOVE!
It’s a big week here at the LOVE LETTERS. Sit back, strap yourself down tight and take a deep cleansing breath, cause do I have some life changing, heart healing, info for you!
We are not having a geometry lesson today and yet, the topic is about TWO TRIANGLES! Two triangles that can radically transform ALL your relationships!
Before I push on, let me pause here for a moment to let you know that there is SO much written on this topic; loads of articles & books, courses and workshops, hundreds of hours of video, AND I’m going to break this down, quickly and hopefully quite succinctly in the space of a blog (no pressure, right??) Please view this LOVE LETTER as a possible breakthrough moment, where, after your head explodes, you run off to learn more!
In 1968 Stephen Karpman came up with a pivotal therapeutic tool called The Karpman Drama Triangle. Where did Karpman’s inspirations come from? Oh, you know all those fairy tales, with the Damsel in Distress, the Villain and the Knight on A White Horse? The ones that set up so many of us for disaster when it comes to love? YUP. Stephen Karpman saw right through that story line, for the dis-empowering, limiting shenanigans it really is, too!
In the Karpman Drama Triangle, the role of Damsel is called, THE VICTIM.
The role of the Villain? THE PERSECUTOR
And that Knight, who swoops in to save the day? THE RESCUER.
First thing you need to know… The drama triangle, is a trap.
Whether you are assuming the role of victim, persecutor or rescuer… it creates a ping ball machine effect within the points of this triangle where hope, dreams and love stay stuck, wither and die.
Though many of us have a particular role we tend to play best or most often, WE PLAY ALL THREE AND OFTEN ASSIGN ALL THREE TO OTHERS. WHEN WE ARE TRAPPED IN THE DRAMA TRIANGLE.
AND, NO MATTER WHERE WE START OUT, WE ALL END UP IN THE SAME FINAL ROLE.
Let’s talk about the points on the DRAMA TRIANGLE…
THE VICTIM – The feelings associated to this role are powerless and hopeless. We hear ourselves saying things like, “this always happens to me”, “dating sucks”, “my partner will never change”, “all the good ones are taken”, “There is nothing I can do to make this relationship work”, “modern dating is a shit show”, “Nothing I do matters” “There is no hope for someone like me”, “I’m never going to be in a healthy relationship”, etc...
THE RESCUER – The feelings associated with this role are condescending sympathy, control, and people pleasing. The Rescuer takes on other people’s problems, often unsolicited and usually without taking very good care of their own problems and life first. They step in to fix/sort it for the other person. In fact, The Rescuer’s own self-worth is usually tangled up in others needs for them to the one who helps. This can also be roles certain people may play in our lives, like friends who have little to no good relationship experience telling us what we should do to fix our own partnership. One of the most common phrases of a The Rescuer is “If this person did what I said, it would be fixed”.
THE PERSECUTOR – Feelings of frustration, self-righteousness, and anger accompany The Persecutor. The Persecutor points the fingers at others, places blame often, quite vehemently for their own unhappiness. The persecutor can also be quite partial to viciously shaming themselves. The Persecutor says things like “They’re wrong and I’m right!” , “They will get what’s coming to them”, “How could I be so stupid!”, “If my partner/boss/child/friend would just stop or start this one thing, then I would be happy!” and “ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!”
Most people have a preferred ‘Starting Gate’. A role from the above, that over a life time, has become their default.
HOWEVER, IN THE END…
WE ALL END UP THE VICTIM.
POWERLESS, HOPELESS AND STUCK IN THE TRIANGLE
How do we break free?
Hello there, EMPOWERMENT DYNAMIC TRIANGLE! We are so happy to see YOU!
The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) was designed by David Emerald. There are quite a few iterations similar to this, that also work, however I find this one very concise.
In the Empowerment Triangle, the roles are replaced by the Creator, Coach, Challenger.
The Victim, becomes the creator.
The Rescuer becomes the coach.
And the Persecutor becomes the challenger.
If we are in the persecutor role, instead of placing blame, we shift to THE CHALLENGER, and ask ourselves questions like, WHAT CAN I DO? Instead of viewing others as a persecutor, we see them as a challenge to be overcome. We affirm youselves, with positive statements, I CAN DO THIS!
We don’t engage with anger and frustration but work from a place of love and compassion… We don't belittle or shame our partners, pointing the finger. We encourage them and ourselves to rise to the challenge! We say to ourselves, If I do my part, they will do theirs. What can I do to make changes? How can find encouragement for myself and others? How can I help my partner grow?
In the Empowerment Dynamic, THE COACH, doesn’t swoop in to sort it all out, but instead helps and supports that person to solve their problems, for themselves. We learn to ask ourselves and others powerful questions that bring clarity to the outcome, an clarity to the steps we need to take it make it happen. We seek out people who will not play the role of rescuer in our lives, but instead be our coach or teacher. People who help us, help ourselves.
When we are a coach, we approach our lives with feelings of curiosity and empathy. We ask ourselves... What can you do meet people who are more ideal for you? Where do you think they are hanging out? What can I learn from this rejection? How would you feel if your partner said this to you? Would it motivate you? Or make you feel worse about yourself?
And lastly, when we shift the other roles to that of the Challenger and The Coach.. the victim becomes THE CREATOR! We now rises above, break free and create a life of love and happiness.
We become solution orientated. We don't focus in on the problem, and get stuck, we take bold steps towards the outcomes we want in our lives.
We are no longer stuck. No longer powerless. No longer the mere victim to the whims of life on its own terms. We are an active participant!
AND… drama, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness leave our relationships.
I hope this bite sized nugget of revolution, shakes you to your core. I hope you run off screaming into the interwebs, and search on for more information about how to shift from Drama to Empowerment, and break that drama triangle to bits! xx
Does Love Conquer All? What is real love? It’s time we revolt against what pop culture has told us love is all about…
An interesting topic keeps arising with both my Relationship Coaching clients, the brave couples and empowered individuals who are in relationships AND my Love Coaching clients, the incredible fierce women who are out there in the wilds of the dating jungle.
What is a healthy relationship?
Whilst there are as many ways to flesh out the many facets and unique paths towards a ‘healthy relationship’ there are a few basic fundamental points that are universal and if we want the journey of love and partnership to thrive and be a well paved smooth road, we need to navigate the three primary relationships highways, with great care.
One of the basic principals of coaching, for me the coach, is to never assume you know, what I know. Confession time! I don’t always get that right. And over the last few weeks, it’s become apparent that this very topic is one of the ways, I’ve fallen down, as a coach. And today, I RECTIFY THAT! WOOT!
There are three major categories that relationships (and most people who engage with ANY kind of relationship) fall into; Independent, Co-dependent and Interdependent.
This is not one of those millennial races, where every one get’s a prize… there is one clear winner for the best and healthiest type of engagement in relationships.
In today’s LOVE LETTER I am going to present the big three, and YOU, dearest one, are going to tell me, what you think is the #1 health winner. Hop on, LET’S RIDE!
Co-dependent relationships are one of the most common ailments I come across in my coaching practice.
Here is the dictionary definition of CO-DEPENDANT.
Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.
Right now, you might be thinking OH SNAP, BEEN THERE BOUGHT THE T SHIRT!
Or you might be saying, Hey drug addiction>? Mental health? That’s not been my relationship experience!
Let me drill down on the simpler yet deeper explanation of co-dependency.
I am only okay, if you are okay.
My well being is directly influenced by your well being.
I am not sure where I end, and you begin.
Co-dependent relationships are toxic for ALL who are involved, it enables the person we are trying to fix and it stifles our own happiness and ability to self create happiness from within.
Dictionary definition of INDEPENDENT = Free from outside control. Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
Whilst this does affect more of my single Love Coaching clients, it’s also not uncommon with those in relationships. Independence is not a bad thing. In fact this feminist LOVES her some independence! Hellllo free from outside control! YASSS!
HOWEVER when we are using independence to self sustain 100% because we are convinced others will disappoint us, OR we feel that no one can be relied upon to do the job and/or do it right AND/OR in general are using independence to shield our own control issues… we lose out on allowing others to provide for us.
Human beings often connect most meaningfully in the exchange of love and through acts of contribution. If we are too independent to truly receive from others, we in effect make them redundant. And most people want to feel they play an active, impactful role on others lives. That they can contribute sustenance, whether that be emotional, mental, spiritual or even financial.
People are generally drawn to go where they are needed most. In fact, that’s often how we define a ‘good person’.
Definition = mutually dependent; depending on each other creating a framework of partnership.
My personal definition for independent? I want AND need you in my life, but not to have a life.
Interdependent relationships mean relying on each other for mutual support. Adding to someone’s happiness, however not being the sole font for that person’s happiness. We are open to give and receive within healthy boundaries, where asked, where appropriate whilst still allowing and even expecting self-sufficiency, too. Interdependent t partnerships do not necessarily mean everything is split down the middle 50/50, but instead means that each individuals assets and limitations are valued and utilized for an overall sense of equality.
You can be in an interdependent relationship where one spouse is the overall ‘bread winner’ whilst the other spouse is provides the highly valuable ( yet wildly un monetized) service of childcare. In a healthy interdependent relationships, those roles do not have to correlate with traditional gender roles, and yet they still can, if that is what works best for your relationship.
You can be in an interdependent relationship and still put concerted effort in to brightening your partners day, or booking those concert tickets you know will bring them joy but you don’t feel you HAVE to do those things in order to be liked, loved desired by your partner OR that if you don’t ‘make them happy’ they won’t BE happy.
I do hope the above offers you a very clear and easy to apply standard for relationships.
WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK IS THE WINNER FOR HEALTHIEST RELATIONSHIP OF THE YEAR?
And, where do you see where you have been curating, participating and harming yourself and others in your past relationship? OR, your current one, my dear?
Can’t wait to hear your responses in the comments!