In working with hundreds of people over the years, and of course being human myself, the issue of assumptions has come up again and again as a great source of disconnection and suffering. We have explored some key assumptions that seem to be particularly troublesome.
Last week I walked out to the pond in the morning to feed the fish as I always do. I immediately noticed the plant that was astray and then looked down to see a fish on the cement, pretty ripped up and obviously dead.
I became a bit frantic, immediately called Steve who wasn’t there, hung up and screamed, “I want to kill the cat!”
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Seems like a simple question. With two obvious answers.
Loving ourselves is so deeply mixed in our history of not receiving love (or being seen and celebrated) for who we actually were. Many of us got messages growing up about how unlovable we were (often unintentionally) in a variety of ways. Add in years and years of trying to get our love needs from outside —wanting others to love us —most often unsuccessfully, the idea of loving ourselves is like gibberish, we don’t have a reference point.
Here’s the funny (not funny) thing.
When people approach me to do coaching (or come to a workshop) because they want a more satisfying partnership relationship, one of the first concerns I hear is, “What if my partner won’t come?”
My answer has always been, “It isn’t necessary.” Creating a satisfying relationship —if you want one, is your job.” That response is usually met with disbelief, and the relationship remains the same.
When I saw this title on a blog post I read, delivered to me from one of my favorite websites – Food 52, I immediately thought - oh yes, this is what I say to people over and over about relationships.
Sometimes when someone is doing something we don’t like, we find it very difficult to are about why they are doing/saying it, and we find it very easy to label them as wrong. Some things are just so awful to hurtful to us, we lose our capacity to react any other way.
Has this happened to you? You really want to understand what motivated someone to do something —you sometimes even think you are trying to understand what motivated someone to do something. Your voice is pleasant, you insist that you really are curious. Yet, when it comes down to it, you really are furious, or disappointed, maybe full of despair. If you were able to slow it down enough and check in, you would be able to notice it.
One of our deepest needs is connection, and a sense of belonging with each other. And we struggle so much creating that experience with a great deal of the people we know, including our partners, family, friends, and co-workers. Somehow we find ourselves upset, frustrated, confused, and disappointed, over and over.
How can this be? Our most important human need is so challenging to experience.
Let’s use the short answer.
Yesterday I was having a coffee (well, I had the carrot salad and fizzy water) with a friend. This is Kim, a kindred spirit who I am inspired by and with and feel grateful when it works out that we can hang out. We were catching up after her travels; she was on a journey with one of her mentors/spiritual teachers in Mexico.
Our conversation was lovely and lively, and was running deep.
And then, I noticed a shift. It was ever so slight, a move in my seat, a twitch in my face, a noticing of a mild ‘unpleasant’.
Valentine’s Day is approaching.
As a relationship coach, I find it one of the most devastating holidays we ever invented. Does anyone truly —I mean really and truly enjoy, savor and celebrate this day?
Marshall Rosenberg wrote and talked about ‘tragic suicidal ways to get our needs met’. Most couples get into coupledom for the purpose of meaningful connection. Why is this so elusive?
Has this ever happened to you?
You are having an important conversation with your partner (or friend, or co-worker or parent) and it is crystal clear that they (consistently) aren’t understanding what you are saying? You believe they aren’t listening, or they are taking what you say too personally. They get upset when you think they shouldn’t. You are feeling frustrated. You are certain that you are communicating clearly. How could they be misunderstanding you again? Possibly you have tried to have a particular conversation before and run into similar situation. Possibly it happens regularly.
It’s all too annoying.
Sexual chemistry is fun. Our neurological and biochemical response to meeting a mate haven’t evolved much in the past 13,000 years. When you meet a person you like and who likes you, and has the promise of forever, biochemically, your body is telling you that you are safe.
In this day and age, it is often difficult to think in those kinds of practical terms. You just get happy.
I’m guessing your inbox, Instagram, blog subscriptions, podcasts are blowing up with ways for you to make your turn your New Years Resolutions in to reality. Just like last year.
Do you wonder why it is such a challenge for most people to make their resolutions last?
Every New Year you think about making resolutions. You are going to be the new, better you?
I don’t know, doesn’t that imply that there is something wrong with the old you? Which is the you, you are right now.
It is so easy to think there is something wrong with us.
This kind of black and white thinking rules us. We learn it from young. You might get a gift from Santa if you are nice, be good or do what your parents want you to do.
However continuing this practice of doing what someone else wants you to do, or ‘because it is nice’ (or good, or right) will only lead you to relationships filled with confusion and resentment.
From Halloween through til New Years, we are bombarded with images of houses to decorate, parties to either perfectly host or joyfully participate in, hundreds of gifts to buy, including gifts to have in your closet so you can give a gift to someone you don’t know well enough to buy a real gift for yet have a gift for them if they happen into your home. Don’t forget all these gifts require wrapping—thank goodness for gift bags and tissue paper. Food shopping, traveling, organizing pet sitting, and the rest of it.
Navigating the holiday season in a way that feels good to all takes clear communication, and lots of understanding.
Oh the holiday season… We love it and hate it all in the same breath.
Although the holidays are a time to be grateful for the people you’re bonded with for life, it can sometimes be difficult. The holidays bring together a lot of opinions and personalities which pave the way for awkward moments. Fortunately, I have a few tips to help you survive the uncomfortable conversations you may be about to have with family and close friends.
This week I have the opportunity to mourn some interactions I had over the weekend.
What does that mean?
It means that I had some experiences that I feel less than excited about. In the moment they were a bit awkward. I was feeling a bit confused, and disappointed, even a little sad in the moment. Very aware that I wished ‘it’ was different.