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.
Did I really? Did I have to write this?
What would have happened if I didn’t?
I was teaching yesterday and someone offered this poem as our 'Remembering', a way to start the class. A poem by Billy Collins (who apparently is famous), about a gift for his mother. I enjoyed it so much I decided to offer it here as well.
Love and Compost. What do they have in common?
Well, likely not everything. Let’s just see.
There are a wide variety of what could be considered awkward conversations that couples and soon-to-be couples can have. In my opinion the sooner you have them, the more likelihood the relationship will work out. What makes them awkward, of course, is complicated. It depends on the people in the relationship, what they want, their individual communication skills, and communication compatibility as a couple.
Let’s start with this one.
Well, it happened. I got mad. At Steve.
In Nonviolent Communication classes we spend a whole bunch of time figuring out how to feel our feelings. How do we notice them? How to distinguish feelings from thoughts, games to discern one feeling from another. Practices to enhance our capacity to say what they are. We have sheets and cards and magnets and games. All so we can know what our feelings are.
And now you want to share them.