Building Relationships by adding value to them.
“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”– Lisa Kleypas
Relationships should not be left to chance. Relationships are one of the most rewarding of human experiences, above and beyond other gifts that life has to offer. In fact, one study found that 73 per cent of over three hundred university student participants were willing to sacrifice the majority of their goals in life for a romantic relationship. But despite the importance we assign to our most intimate bonds, most of us still know very little about the science behind romantic relationships and allow ourselves all too often to be guided by misconceptions and myths.
EIGHT THINGS YOU CAN START DOING TODAY TO STOP PUSHING LOVE AWAY
1. Learn to identify deactivating strategies. Don’t act on your impulse.
When you’re excited about someone but then suddenly have a gut feeling that s/he is not right for you, stop and think. Is this actually a deactivating strategy? Are all those small imperfections you’re starting to notice really your attachment system’s way of making you step back? Remind yourself that this picture is skewed and that you need intimacy despite your discomfort with it. If you thought s/he was great, to begin with, you have a lot to lose by pushing him or her away.
2. De-emphasize self-reliance and focus on mutual support. When your partner feels s/he has a secure base to fall back on (and doesn’t feel the need to work hard to get close), and when you don’t feel the need to distance yourself, you’ll both be better able to look outward and do your own thing. You’ll become more independent and your partner will be less needy.
3. Find a secure partner. People with secure attachment styles tend to make their anxious and avoidant partners more secure as well. Someone with an anxious attachment style, however, will exacerbate your avoidance—often in a perpetual vicious cycle. Given a chance, we recommend you choose the secure route. You’ll experience less defensiveness, less fighting, and less anguish.
4. Be aware of your tendency to misinterpret behaviours. Negative views of your partner’s behaviours and intentions infuse bad vibes into the relationship. Change this pattern! Recognize this tendency, notice when it happens, and look for a more plausible perspective. Remind yourself that this is your partner, you chose to be together, and that maybe you’re better off trusting that they do have your best interests at heart.
5. Make a relationship gratitude list. Remind yourself on a daily basis that you tend to think negatively of your partner or date. It is simply part of your makeup if you have an avoidant attachment style. Your objective should be to notice the positive in your partner’s actions. This may is not an easy task, but with practice and perseverance, you’ll gradually get the hang of it. Take time every evening to think back on the events of the day. List at least one way your partner contributed, even in a minor way, to your well-being, and why you’re grateful they’re in your life.
6. Fix the phantom ex. When you find yourself idealizing that one special ex-partner, stop and acknowledge that he or she is not (and never was) a viable option. By remembering how critical you were of that relationship— and how leery you were of committing—you can stop using him or her as a deactivating strategy and focus on someone new.
7. Forget about “the one.” We don’t dispute the presence of soul mates in our world. On the contrary, we wholeheartedly believe in the soulmate experience. But it is our belief that you have to be an active part of the process. Don’t wait until “the one” who fits your checklist shows up and then expect everything to fall into place. Make them into your soul mate by choosing them out of the crowd, allowing them to get close (using the strategies we offer in this chapter) and making them a special part of you.
8. Adopt the distraction strategy. As an avoidant, it’s easier to get close to your partner if there’s a distraction (remember the experiment with a distraction task). Focusing on other things—taking a hike, going sailing, or preparing a meal together—will allow you to let your guard down and make it easier to access your loving feelings. Use this little trick to promote closeness in your time together.
When we aren’t curious in conversations we judge, tell, blame and even shame, often without even knowing it, which leads to conflict.”-The Power Of Curiosity
How to Have real conversations that create collaboration, innovation and understanding use communication to own your worth and show others theirs, to repair broken bridges and show you care.– Sam Owen
THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION FOR BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
Like the concept of effective communication, the principles are also very straightforward:
1. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Effective communication requires being genuine and completely honest about your feelings. Be emotionally brave!
2. Focus on your needs. The idea is to get your needs across. When expressing your needs, we are always referring to needs that take your partner’s well-being into consideration as well. If they end up hurting him or her, you’re sure to get hurt too; after all, you and your partner are an emotional unit. When expressing your needs, it’s helpful to use verbs such as need, feel, and want, which focus on what you are trying to accomplish and not on your partner’s shortcomings:
• “I need to feel confident in the relationship. When you chat up the waitress, I feel like I’m on thin ice.”
• “I feel devalued when you contradict me in front of your friends. I need to feel that you respect my opinions.”
• “I want to know I can trust you. When you go to bars with your friends, I worry a lot that you’ll cheat on me.”
3. Be specific. If you speak in general terms, your partner may not understand exactly what you really need, which may lower his or her chances of getting it right. State precisely what is bothering you: • When you don’t stay the night . . .
• When you don’t check up on me every day…
• When you said you loved me and then took it back…
4. Don’t blame. Never make your partner feel selfish, incompetent, or inadequate. Effective communication is not about highlighting the other person’s shortcomings, and making accusations will quickly lead you away from the point and into a duelling match. Make sure to find a time when you’re calm to discuss things. You’ll find that attempting to use effective communication when you’re on the verge of exploding is a contradiction in terms—you’ll most likely sound angry or judgmental.
5. Be assertive and non-apologetic. Your relationship needs are valid—period. Though people with different attachment styles may not see your concerns as legitimate, they’re essential for your happiness, and expressing them authentically is crucial to effective communication. This point is especially important if you have an anxious attachment style because our culture encourages you to believe that many of your needs are illegitimate. But whether they are legitimate or not for someone else is beside the point. They are essential for your happiness, and that is what’s important.
Building relationships is rare..’ Make the commitment Wholeheartedly. Just do it and do it for both of you. Love doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be true. Napz Cherub Palazzo
Don’t Lose Sight of These Facts:
• Your attachment needs are legitimate.
• You shouldn’t feel bad for depending on the person you are closest to—it is part of your genetic makeup.
• A relationship, from an attachment perspective, should make you feel more self-confident and give you peace of mind. If it doesn’t, this is a wake-up call!
• And above all, remain true to your authentic self—playing games will only distance you from your ultimate goal of finding true happiness, be it with your current partner or with someone else.
For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.
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