Relationship Skills

Are you TWO bickering your way through the holidays, again?

The holidays can be rife with bickering, arguments and disappointment with our partners. The stress levels of trying to have ‘the best Christmas ever’ or winning the approval from the in laws come Hanukah, mixed in with running kids to even more activities than normal, buying the absolutely perfect gifts for every one on your list, end of year meetings and reports by the sleigh load at the office, all while putting on your best sparkling party dress for dinners and drinks(!!) truly exasperates the cracks and wounds in our partnerships.

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Happy F’ ing Holidays to one and all, right?

Ahem. Notice I used the words exasperates? Not creates?

Stress puts humans into survival mode. And in survival mode, our masks drop. Because, ain’t nobody got time for that. Old hurts, festering resentments bubble to the surface, unfettered by our normal level of control.

We lose out temper more easily. Our frustration levels skyrocket. And Bickering can become arguments to door busting fights in the blink of an eye.

The good news? Aside from some serious Zen Buddhist holiday makers (of whom I have yet to meet),

IT HAPPENS TO US ALL AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR!


Then we do something incredible regretful. We open the door to shame, and invite it to our holiday party. We berate ourselves and our partners with phrases like… It’s Christmas For heavens sake! Or “Can’t we just have ONE holiday season without doing this??! , Really? You want to ruin the holiday season, again??

So how can we get better at this? How can we lean into the acceptance that stress is exasperating our emotional state without said exasperation taking over, and yelling like a banshee OR spending days doing silent treatment?


I want to offer up two concepts to help you navigate this holiday season with more compassion and place happiness under your tree.

First up…

CONFIRMATION BIAS:

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Confirmation Bias is where we have already decided something is true, and then seek out, both consciously and unconsciously the evidence that supports our theory.

 

We say, “He’s ALWAYS late to get the kids!”  And so, what do we focus in on?  The two times he picked them up on time? Or the four he was late?  When we are in confirmation bias mode, we won’t even be able to see the two times he got it right.  All we seek, and therefore see, are the four times, he did not.

 

When we believe “Every Christmas, she gets so crazy, I can’t stand it!”  We wait, quietly, patiently like that creepy Elf On The Shelf, popping out with a mighty AHA!! GOTCHA!!! When she comes in with yet another box of expensive Christmas baubles or snaps at the kids whilst decorating the tree. 

 

In Confirmation Bias Mode, we are blind to the moments and events, where our partner behaved in total contradiction to this belief we are holding.

Confirmation Bias antagonizes our old resentments and annoyances about our partner.

 

Next up…

MINDFULNESS:

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We want to become way more mindful about our language. The language we use in our own heads, first.

Words like ALWAYS, NEVER, EVERY TIME, NOBODY, EVERY BODY are red light indicators we are formulating a limiting belief. These all encompassing, finite words make our emotions, what we FEEL LIKE sound all too factual.

ALWAYS late to grab the kids?

EVERY Christmas she gets crazy?

The reality is… it’s not ALWAYS, OR EVERY TIME, OR NEVER, OR EVERY BODY… but it can sure feel that way. And when we confirm those feelings with language, we are primed for a good fight.

Let us, at this wonderful time of the year, try to foster more goodwill in our partnerships. To spread more cheer to one another.

I’m rooting for you both to win, my darlings. Now, let’s get you rooting that way too!

p.s. Can you imagine if you applied the above, to a fraction of the family that drives you mad EVERY December?!?! ;) WOWZA!

Happy Holidays from me and the hubba hubba! xx

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What makes a relationship last forever?

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.

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Have you put your own oxygen mask on first, in your relationship?!?

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?

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Discover THE cornerstone to finding and keeping LOVE!

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.

Photo by  Anna Sullivan  on  Unsplash

 

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.

Why?

Self love is the seed, from which a forest of self-worth and confidence can grow.  

 

Photo by  Trent Haaland  on  Unsplash

 

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!

 

Photo by  Artem Bali  on  Unsplash

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

 

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!

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Can LOVE conquer ALL?

Does Love Conquer All? What is real love? It’s time we revolt against what pop culture has told us love is all about…

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The Big THREE Relationships Types; Which one do YOU think healthiest?

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.

 

Image credit: stephane delval  via unpslash.com

Image credit: stephane delval  via unpslash.com

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:

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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.

 

INDEPENDENT:

 

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’.

 

INTERDEPENDENT:

image credit: Evertone Vila via Unsplash.com

image credit: Evertone Vila via Unsplash.com

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. 

 

POP QUIZ!!!

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!

 

 

xx

 

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I found THE BIGGEST KEY SECRET to relationship happiness!!

And I, the relationship expert, didn’t even truly know THEN, just what an epic piece of the relationship puzzle this truly was, till THIS PAST YEAR!

 

Not me, not my partner…Neither of us had any real idea what an integral starring role this plays our very successful partnership.  And now that we do know, we can’t stop seeing WHY this is such a big deal.

 

Just last week, as my husband and I were wandering around the streets of Paris, on a quick city break…we found ourselves having this convo again about this integral element of our relationship bliss, that we had absolutely no idea during the dating and early relationship phase, was such going to prove to be such a BIGGIE secret weapon in our marital happiness!

 

This particular deep BIG OL’ core value issue comes up for many of my coaching clients, and it is, hands down, the hardest one to align and move towards reconciliation around…

 

 

What is possibly the most super crazy???   

NOBODY, NOT THE EXPERTS, NOT OTHER HAPPY COUPLES, NOT ALL THE RELATIONSHIP ADVICE MALARKEY ONLINE… NOBODY IS TALKING ENOUGH ABOUT THIS ELEMENT!!

 

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Check it out. I know that my husband isn’t a unicorn.  He’s not some mythological beast and I just happened to stumble across.  I know our marriage is not just magically easy.  It takes active work on self-awareness, compassion and communication to make ANY partnership thrive.  And our relationship, is no different.  HOWEVER, we did get off on the best possible start, in one area, by luck really!    

 

Okay, let me back track for a minute here…

Before I met Mark, I had invested in love coaching, because my dating and love life was a #hotmessexpress.  In fact, love was my ultimate Achilles heel, for years.  No matter how much improvement I saw in every other area of my life, my romantic relationships lagged behind my usual badassery,. My love life truly resembled a rescue puppy dog headed back to the shelter.

 

One of the MANY results of that coaching work, was that I was way more intentional about WHO I was choosing and WHY. 

I had a relatively firm grasp on my CORE VALUES and had TAKEN OUT just enough of the ‘love will conquer all’ aesthetic, that was so not serving me, so I could make healthy relationship choices that were both practical and loving, towards myself and others.

I had learned that CONNECTION was the fuel for LOVE.   I also learned, that living with someone day in and day out, was the real nitty gritty of what can make or break a partnership. That lasting CONNECTION was about ALIGNMENT.

 

GUESS WHAT?  Even with ALL that knowledge, there was one thing that truly was luck.  Or at the very least, I had no idea would prove to one of the most important reasons my marriage works so well.

 

A day to day, core value issue, we both had no idea was so important, and that I give thanks for every day, that we got right, without even knowing how right we needed to get it, before we said, I DO.

 

Of all the things we identified during our chats, like our high level of mutual respect, the goodwill we have for one another, and the mega trust we had built… the ONE THING that really had one of the greatest impacts on why we are able to co-habitate and build a life with one another, was the least hippy dippy, wooo wooo of all???

 

HELLLLLO, MONEY MINDSET!!

 

image via Pixabay

image via Pixabay

 

ICK, Money?  Where is the rom-com, period drama like love in that??  

 

Here’s the deal. My husband and I have very similar outlook on money. It’s value, how to spend it, when to save it, where is the best place to put it, and what having it and not having it, means to us.  Our money mindset is not identical.  Emotionally I see money as independence and power, power to live a particular lifestyle and power to help others.  The hubba hubba, he emotionally ties money to security and stability. The means to those different emotional ends, is where we are so very aligned.

 

We rarely disagree on the monetary value of things.  We both had almost the exact number in mind when it came to putting on that quite expensive party of a wedding and no one is off sneaking around buying things and smuggling them into the house.  When I see a parade of Amazon purchases showing up on our doorstep, I don’t go running to check the bank balance.  I KNOW it's not in his nature to spend crazy money on nonsense we don't need and I too do not spend crazy money on nonsense we don't need! (For the record, I did NEED all those French moisturizers I bought in Paris!)

Our intellectual and emotional response to what money should be spent and what should be saved, are in alignment. 

 

Before we got married, we moved in together; Without too much discussion, we opened a joint checking account.  We both still had our separate checking, savings investment accounts.  When we got married, we consolidated ALL our money, aside from some retirement investments, without much deliberation or concern whatsoever.  We could only do that so easily, confidently (and freely) because we shared the same money mindset, and on that foundation, trust around money was easier to cultivate.

 

All of our individual purchases came from the very same account. Full stop.  At the time, I made well over twice as much money as he did, and never for a second was I worried he would go off  ‘spending all MY money’.  We split most things down the middle however from time to time, I gladly spent more, since I had more, without feeling any sense of injustice.  My husband, gratefully, does not tie his masculinity (or provider status) to bank balances, so he never felt threatened by our income disparity.

 

When I left my old career to pursue a coaching certification and start my business, it was all swings and round-a-bouts those first coupe of years, with who was earning and providing more money.  As a couple, there was little distress on our union, even though our overall income dropped considerably.   

I am not saying, joint accounts are THE KEY answer!  I am saying...

Looking back, we both realized that MONEY MINDSET was so crucial to our happiness levels in our life, and our marriage.

 
image via pixabay

image via pixabay

 

Arguments over money and lifestyle associated to money is high up on the marriage killer offender list.  LIKE, WAY WAY UP THERE. 

As a Relationship Coach, who works with couples week in and week out, I can tell you that some of the most bitter resentments and seemingly insurmountable trials in many of these partnerships, is around money mindset.

 

The one thing every single one of us does EVERY DAY, even if we don’t leave the house, is breathe.. and spend money.  That light on my desk and the internet whirring silently, as I type this, are costing me money.

 

 

So what does an aligned money mindset look like?   

 

Well, firstly aligned doesn’t equate to mirrored.  Some differences in views around money can go a long way.  I can think of a few people I know, who the very last thing they need, is someone who spends money the way they do!  Either because, they would be in Las Vegas every night OR because they would save every last penny earned and never EVER go on holiday!  

HOWEVER, alignment is about two (or more) things moving in the same direction at the same time.  It’s an overall shared trajectory and understanding of what effect money has on our physical, mental and emotional well being.

 

There is no avoiding the hard truth, that in our world, money represents security.  Yet, perhaps the greatest contradiction, is that having more money doesn’t always makes different people feel the same way. 

Biggie Smalls said it best “Mo’ money Mo problems”.

 

This is why, even a couple who has ‘all the monies’ can be the couple who fights most viciously about that same money.  There is where the crux of alignment shows it’s face most clearly. 

 

THE KEY? 

It's NOT about how much or how little money there is, but our relationship and engagement with money, that matters. 

It's whether we are operating from a place of scarcity or abundance around money, and if we are behaving from possessive dependency or transparent interdependence.

 
image via pixabay

image via pixabay

 

For those of you have yet to find your partner to be, I encourage you to dig deep about how you really FEEL about and actively associate with money.

It’s all very taboo in our society to talk about money and love together, however, please push past the messaging that this isn’t something that’s spiritual or loving or ‘done’ and start digging. 

The more clearly we choose a life partner based on our Core Values, the better chance we have at sustaining connection and love, for the long haul.   

 

 

For those of you reading this, who are in partnerships, and you are now thinking right now, ‘uh oh, we got big, BIG problems in this area’, please know that alignment is achievable, even for those who are frighteningly out of whack.

Willingness and understanding, of ourselves and our partners money mindset, is the base to which we can align ourselves to be moving in the same direction!  

 

We have to want to, and we have to be open to the idea, that our way is not the only, right way. Alignment is NOT bending others to our will!   As impossible as it may feel to you, I can guarantee that IF you proactively open yourself up to new ideas, and processes every day… in your relationship, at work, with friends, even on your holiday bookings, ALIGNMENT becomes possible!  

 

Sending you ALL the love!  xx

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