When most people think of improving their relationships, they believe they need to focus on the problem and spend lots of effort fixing it. I’ve found that this is not always necessary and that there’s an easier and faster way to create lasting change.
No matter what relationship you’re working on, sometimes what’s most helpful is to add something new and different to the mix. Having a new experience can help interrupt the emotional pattern you find yourself in and create new energy in your relationship.
I choose to focus on four main relationships – the ones we have with our partners, our children, our bodies and ourselves. Today, I’m going to give you one suggestion for each of those relationships. However, the possibilities are endless, so use your creativity to come up with your own.
Let’s talk about your partnership. If you’ve been feeling disconnected from your loved one, you might be tempted to focus on what the problem is and WHY you got there. Instead, I suggest you focus on how to get yourself into a new pattern of connection. Here’s an example of an easy thing you can add to this relationship – a new greeting. How do you greet your partner after you’ve been apart? Are you open to try greeting him in a new way? How would he like to be greeted? With a hug? A kiss? A beer? (Ha.) Believe it or not, that one small moment can actually set the tone for the rest of your interactions for the day. With one simple gesture, you can give the message, “I’m here. I see you. You matter to me.” How great would that feel for both of you?
Are you struggling in your relationship with your kids? The end of the school year can be a tough time for families. It's extremely busy and everyone is tired and ready for a break! When we’re stressed and hurried, we don’t always pay attention to the tone and the words we use when speaking to our kids. Would you be willing to intentionally add some kindness and words of affirmation? Just focus on one time of day that you will add them and do it consistently for the rest of the school year. Even when my own family has had a bad day, these words seem to ground us all and reset the mood for our time together.
If you’re wanting to make changes in your lifestyle to have a healthier body, this is a great place to focus on adding. If you’re cleaning up your diet, for example, focusing on what you can’t have can make you feel miserable – and hungry. Instead, try making a list of all the healthy foods that you enjoy. List everything you can eat that you actually like, and then plan your meals focused on what you GET to eat that you love. When I cut gluten and dairy out of my diet a few years ago, I did this exact thing. Focusing on adding all the good food to my diet left little room for all the junk. And it felt so much better than thinking about all the things I couldn’t have.
What about your relationship with yourself? Have you become more conscious of the voice in your head? So many of us tend to spend our time criticizing ourselves for all the ways we aren’t perfect. What if you added affirmations to say to yourself throughout the day? “I’m doing the best I can.” “I’m proud of myself for all that I do.” “I accept myself as I am.” “I love myself and all is well.” These are a few examples of simple affirmations you can add to your day to begin to shift the way you speak to yourself. If you want bigger, faster change, try saying these in front of the mirror.
I’m not suggesting we shy away from looking at our problems. It’s just that sometimes our problems seem to diminish when we instead pay attention to what we can add to our relationships.
As you're thinking of new things to try, don't forget to add in FUN. Think of the fun that might be missing from each of your relationships and see what you can add. When we're having fun in our lives, everything gets easier!
Are you willing to experiment and try adding something new to your relationships? Let me know what you add and how it impacts you!
Love and light,