STOP TRYING TO FIX YOUR PARTNER’S FEELINGS, CONNECT WITH THEM INSTEAD
One of our deepest needs as humans is to feel understood, and true understanding is not possible without empathy. As psychologist Carl Rogers put it, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!”
Think back to a time when you were listened to and really felt heard. How did it feel to be seen as you were?
The last letter in Dr. Gottman’s ATTUNE model is E and it stands for Empathy. Brené Brown describes empathy beautifully in this brief animated video.
Empathy is the willingness to feel with your partner. To understand their inner world.
“The trouble is if you don’t spend your life yourself, other people spend it for you.”
Think about that quote for a moment, and ask yourself: What does my happiness feel like?
In several of our recent emails and blog posts, we’ve invited you to join us in examining the relationship between happiness and hardship. Hardship feels easy to define—a season of financial struggle, a time of personal loss, a period of life marked by troubles—as the source of ongoing frustration in our lives. But happiness? What exactly is the emotion we call happiness and why do we crave it so badly?
When trying to define happiness, it’s tempting to adopt the “I’ll know it when I see it” mindset. I have no doubt that you will—but Marc and I challenge you to dig a bit deeper. Take just a moment to write down between two and three specific (and simple) actions you know make you feel happy.
Ever wondered why a relationship that was seemingly going smoothly then takes a bad turn?
The reasons why partners drift apart is no brain teaser at all as they differ in various relationships but there are some reasons that cut across most relationships. The drifting apart might take some time to unfold but what is important is to tackle the issues before it is too late.
Here are the five most common reasons couples drift apart and what you can do to avoid or, as the case may be, correct these issues in your own relationship.
Everyone experiences an unhappy mood on occasion, but there is a big difference between experiencing a temporary bout of unhappiness and living a habitually unhappy life. That’s what chronically unhappy people do. And although many of these people are afraid to admit it, a vast majority of their unhappiness stems from their own beliefs and behaviors.
Over the past decade, Marc and I have helped hundreds of unhappy people rediscover their smiles and, in the process, we’ve learned a lot about the negative beliefs and behaviors that typically hold them back. Even if you are generally a happy person, take a look at the short list below. Many of the unhappy people we’ve worked with via our course and coaching initially refused to admit that they carried these beliefs and behaviors, even when the evidence stacked against them was undeniable. See if any of these points are keeping you from experiencing greater amounts of joy.
1. They struggle with self-respect. – Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself. Be a friend to yoruself. Trust your inner spirit and follow your instincts. Accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes in your life as YOU see fit—not because you think anyone else wants you to be different, but because you know it’s the right thing to do, for YOU. Be the person you will be happy to live with for the duration of your life. Don’t rely on your significant other, or anyone else, for your happiness and self-worth. Know that our first and last love is always self-love, and that if you can’t love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to either. (covered in the “Self-Love” chapter of our NEW book)
WIN RELATIONSHIP CONFLICT BY LETTING YOUR PARTNER WIN TOO
Good relationships are built on the belief of what’s good for you is good for me too. Partners realize that the best bet is to work together, rather than against each other.
Meet Jordan and Taylor, a couple in their mid-forties.
They’ve been having issues with housework. Jordan is exhausted from nagging Taylor about leaving dirty clothes on the floor and not vacuuming the house. Jordan feels Taylor doesn’t listen, and feels that Taylor’s unwillingness demonstrates a lack of caring. Taylor, on the other hand, feels that Jordan is demanding and unloving. If Jordan truly cared, Taylor would get some slack on when the housework gets done.
Paying attention is half the battle but you both need to do it.
I knew that my marriage was floundering but I didn’t know how to fix it. Fifteen years in, enough of what we’d once had was so eroded that there wasn’t any real way of retrieving it. I think both of us were just sick and tired of the arguing, the relationship, and each other.
Some years ago, a wise therapist named Susan whose practice was mainly devoted to couples’ counseling confided a sad truth as we talked about whether joint therapy with my then-husband would work. She shook her head and then continued: “The reality is that it’s relatively rare that the counseling works because people wait too long. Therapy is usually seen as a last-ditch effort to salvage the marriage, and it’s not always agreed to in good faith either. A husband or wife may simply accede because he or she wants to be seen as ‘having tried everything.’ By the time they book an appointment with me, the marriage has been failing for years. And it’s just too late. For those couples, my office is just a stop and a parking lot away from the divorce lawyer’s.”
HOW TO DEAL WITH EMOTIONS WHEN ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE GETTING MARRIED AROUND YOU
The pressure to get married can be overwhelming and the emotions when you’re the last one standing even more so. Here’s how to cope!
We get to a certain age when many of our close friends are tying the knot and amidst all the excitement and preparations of your friend’s wedding, certain sore hearts are inevitable. This is a phase each one of us will go through where the feelings of being stuck and left out are prominent. Here’s how to deal with the emotions that inevitably arise when all your friends are getting married around you.
When we were young life was easier, right? I know sometimes it seems that way. But the truth is life still is easy. It always will be. The only difference is we’re older, and the older we get, the more we complicate things for ourselves.
You see, when we were young we saw the world through simple, hopeful eyes. We knew what we wanted and we had no biases or concealed agendas. We liked people who smiled. We avoided people who frowned. We ate when we were hungry, drank when we were thirsty, and slept when we were tired.
As we grew older our minds became gradually disillusioned by negative external influences. At some point we began to hesitate and question our instincts. When a new obstacle or growing pain arose, we stumbled and fell down. This happened several times. Eventually we decided we didn’t want to fall again, but rather than solving the problem that caused us to fall, we avoided it altogether.
MENTALLY STRONG KIDS HAVE PARENTS WHO REFUSE TO DO THESE 13 THINGS
Raising a mentally strong kid doesn’t mean he won’t cry when he’s sad or that he won’t fail sometimes. Mental strength won’t make your child immune to hardship – but it also won’t cause him to suppress his emotions.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks. It gives them the strength to keep going, even when they’re plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.
But raising a mentally strong kid requires parents to avoid the common yet unhealthy parenting practices that rob kids of mental strength. In my book, “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do”, I identify 13 things to avoid if you want to raise a mentally strong kid equipped to tackle life’s toughest challenges: