Relationship Revolution-8 Steps to Happier Relationships by Mheyah Bailey
Also published on Metro LivingZine
I am reminded everyday of the importance of what we choose to say, who we choose to be and how we choose to share what we think, how we feel and what is important to us.
Everything is a message to the world, the people we care about and how we share that message determines the quality of our relationships and the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.
I can guarantee you that if you are experiencing conflict, feeling upset with people and the world around you, your relationships are rocky, you feel alone, disrespected and misunderstood. The opposite can be worse, if you feel apathy, numb and disconnected.
There is a solution and the solution is Radical Responsibility.
The good news: there is no other solution and the bad news: there is no other solution.
The only solution is to look within and discover yourself. Relationships are an open invitation to learn and grow, an opportunity to unearth the truth and find the deeper meaning of what you think and how you feel so you can share the real you.
I believe it is a privileged opportunity to be in relationships that struggle, because those challenges give you the opportunity to look at your part in it and teach you how to be responsible for what you are contributing to the way the relationship is at the moment.
I believe initially we all look outside of ourselves to find the cause of our unhappiness, but the best and worst news is, happiness isn’t outside ourselves; it is all to be found inside. The majority of my clients arrive for a first session complaining about their partners and what they are doing wrong to make them unhappy. It can be a hard concept to grasp that relationships are really individual inside work and to create truly happy successful relationships each person in the partnership will have to be radically responsible for themselves.
8 Steps you can take today to create a Happier Relationship:
Although our culture has framed dependency as a bad thing, a weakness, it is not. Being attached to someone provides our greatest sense of security and safety. It means depending on a partner to respond when you call, to know that you matter to him or her, that you are cherished, and that they will respond to your emotional needs” And of course this is where being COMMITTED is of the utmost importance as other people need to know that you aren’t going anywhere, that you will do what you say you will do, that you are committed to the process, even through the challenging conversations that aren’t easy to have, that you won’t go far when you need space and that you can be relied on to come back, that you are reliable to follow through, that you are committed to the values that are important to you both, like honesty or integrity, that you have an agreement of acceptable behaviour between you, are loyal, collaborative, caring, compassionate, are on the same team, that you show up like you say you will, that you accept responsibility for yourself, that you are consistent, that you can depend on one another……………this all builds TRUST. Partners need to know that you choose them everyday over everyone else.
This is showing up.
Take Time Out
Just like a wayward child we all need a time out sometimes and we all need to take responsibility for when we need that time out. If we are tired, stressed, upset, not emotionally available, physically drained, on overload or flooded it is our responsibility to look after ourselves. Take a time out and do what you need to do to regroup. It is important to manage stress and process what we are stressed or upset about. Some people watch TV, listen to music, read, meditate, exercise, walk in nature, get away for the weekend or spend time with friends etc. I am sure you have your own list. There are two caveats to taking a timeout that are most important.
1. Let your partner, friend or colleague know that you need to regroup and assure them that you will be back and state when you will be able to that. This builds trust and safety.
2. We all have our exits in life and I would like to suggest that there are positive ways to manage stress and negative ones. Some activities will damage your relationships and cause harm to you and everyone around you, so choose wisely what you do to manage stress and upset. Everyday you get to choose what you want more of in your life.
So ask yourself “ Will this bring me more connection, love and success or less connection, love and success” Your choice
For any successful healthy relationship both parties need to feel heard, understood, appreciated and accepted. To achieve that we all need to have an endless well of compassion. If we are to improve our connections with others we need to suspend judgment, our own self-talk and reactivity. Empathy and compassion are the underlying premise of all positive connections and conversations and is the cord between hearts. Compassion is different than sympathy and is simply the ability to remain in an open loving heart and be with someone else’s pain and upset even when it is sometimes directed at you. This often is difficult to actually achieve, however it is vitally important to any relationship personally or professionally.
Be Vulnerable- Have Courage
Suffice to say that relationships need a lot of courage. To be in a healthy relationship one needs to be vulnerable, which of course is the proverbial double edged sword or catch 22, because to be vulnerable means to be open to hurt and pain. So if you have to be vulnerable to have a healthy working relationship it will definitely take a lot of courage to come from that open vulnerable place. When our hearts or reputation or ego’s are involved it takes monumental courage to face ones fear of potential abandonment, criticism, feeling rejected or unlovable.
BRENE BROWN says: “Vulnerability is scary, but it’s also a powerful and authentic way to live. Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences. She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure”
Think about the vulnerability it takes to love someone – whether it’s your parents, siblings, spouse or close friends. Love is filled with uncertainties and risks.
As Brown notes, the person you love might or might not love you back. They might be in your life for a long time or they might not. They might be terrifically loyal or they might stab you in the back. Think about the vulnerability it takes to share your ideas with the world, not knowing how your work will be perceived. You might be appreciated, laughed at or downright skewered. Vulnerability is hard. But what can make it even harder — needlessly so — are the inaccurate assumptions we hold about it, like vulnerability is being weak, some of us don’t experience vulnerability or that to be vulnerable you must spill all your secrets. Vulnerability embraces boundaries and trust. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable takes courage. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to be ourselves, to connect to others”
Pick a hobby or recreation that you enjoy as it will balance out daily stress. This is one of the most important aspects to happiness in my mind and is also one of the most important aspects for healthy relationships. It is vitally important to continue or find your creative centre for your relationships to thrive. When you feel fulfilled and expressing yourself creatively it will keep your relationship sparkling with enthusiasm and inspiration too.
Learn something new every day-Whenever we learn something new, including new attitudes, perspectives, or behaviors, we are changing the physical structure of the brain. Educate yourself, your mind and your spirit and you will feel happier and your relationships more fun and fulfilling.
We are all born curious, it is a natural quality we all possess. Curiousity is what makes us humans learn to crawl, seek, taste, see, experience, create, philosophize, dream, explore, change. Curiousity is foundational to all creativity and is an essential principle to creating successful relationships.
Why you might ask? Well if you aren’t curious in life and love then you limit yourself to only what you know already. That will be the limit of your experience and understanding. To seek to understand more is an exceedingly important quality in your relationships because we can never truly understand another persons experience without delving deeper. It is important to not believe we actually know what anyone else is experiencing and to be ever so gently open and non-judgmentally curious.
I believe it is invaluable to be deeply interested in what another person is trying to express with no agenda other than to understand, and in turn being deeply curious about yourself, what you are feeling and what you need to express as well.
Being curious shows that you care, that you are interested; that how the other person feels is important to you and that they are important to you.
While being curious you need to be able to listen without judgment or interrupting. Listening means to be silent and that your brain is entirely engaged with the other person’s experience and how they are feeling as they struggle to express what is going on for them, while also being mindful of your own feelings and responses. Being curious means you ask questions that show your interest in learning more such as:
What is that like? What happened? How do you feel about that? What happened? How do you feel? What is important about that to you? What do you need? Can you help me understand? How can I help?
As Don Miguel Ruiz says “be impeccable with your word” Tell the truth, don’t tell people what they want to hear or what you think you should say, be honest about what you think, how you feel and what you need however choose your words carefully and follow the golden rules of Connection Point communication.
1. Choose your intention (what you hope will happen)
2. State what happened without criticism or judgment
3. Share how you feel (anger is not a feeling)
4. Explain what you need and value
5. Ask for what you would like to see happen
In my experience in life, personally and professionally, it seems to be such an important ingredient to feel APPRECIATED and to have HOPE of that eventuality, which to most of us equates to feeling LOVED.
I am convinced that one of the main reasons relationships break down is because of this lack of feeling APPRECIATED, whether it is a couple, family, friend or professional relationship.
Our level of satisfaction and fulfillment will undoubtedly suffer because of a lack of appreciation. The majority of people who look outside their relationships, look for new jobs or a change in circumstances, generally are looking for appreciation, wanting to feel valued, understood and a connection for which they feel is lacking in their current relationships or situations.
It really doesn’t take a lot to show APPRECIATION, which is a close cousin to good old-fashioned manners. Psychology teaches us that people are motivated to contribute to the greater good and feeling appreciated and valued for what we contribute is the currency for feeling fulfillment and happiness. It doesn’t mean that we need to have appreciation to contribute; it just means that it can be more fulfilling, meaningful and ensure our continued interest in contributing if we do.
I really value knowing I made a difference in someone’s life and am far more motivated by APPRECIATION than money 🙂
I believe APPRECIATION is a very important human need and I think we can all forget to show our appreciation for others and fall into the trap of taking our relationships for granted.
So if LOVE is an ACTION word and APPRECIATION is the currency for fulfillment, how are you going to show your appreciation to others today.
Let have an appreciation-day
Here are some suggestions.
- Notice and acknowledge a job completed
- Say thank you to someone for the difference they make in your life, even the little things, because the little things are really important. (I think I may not have thanked my husband for bringing me tea in bed every morning)
- Doing the APPRECIATION exercise. Three things I really appreciate about you today is……….and this works great with your children (or employees) and helps build their confidence, self esteem and their trust in their value to their community or family in the case of ones children
- Do something for someone without expectation of anything in return
- Give positive feedback ie: Wow the dinner is amazing. Thank you for making it for us or thank you for ensuring those emails got out or….
- Send a card to thank someone for something you really value they do or did for you
- Hug people you care about, hug people just because…..
- Say I love you and WHY you love them, not just the 3 words but add what it is about them that you value, admire and respect.
- Call, text or email just because you want to positively connect
- Notice all the jobs that get done and mention that you noticed
- Leave a note of appreciation for someone to find. It’s called A NICE NOTE!
- Use reflective listening so others know you really heard them
Go be happy and create positive connections and change your relationships one conversation at a time.
Find out more about Mheyah