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.
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.
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.
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.
I was driving on the Schuylkill Expressway last week. And I ran into traffic jams. So what’s new about this story?
Did I really? Did I have to write this?
What would have happened if I didn’t?
Oooh! A big question. A complicated topic. One that so rarely gets talked about with the curiosity, depth and sensitivity that it requires.
Sex can offer us some of the most pleasure and ecstatic experience possible. It is also can be used to take someone’s power away, and create (in some cases) life long pain.
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.
I talk with a great deal of people some of whom share with me that they are ‘so ready for a relationship!’ These are words I understand and remember saying myself.
And, I wonder. Are you really ready?