Not Everyone You Lose Is A Loss

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Does the title of this post make you cringe? This post is meant to encourage you to reflect and review the people who are in your life. I’ve said it many times before: those who surround you will influence every part of who you are and who you will become.  Relationships are dynamic; they infuse the quality of our life. It’s also mutual. What are you giving to others? Are you the person bringing drama, gossip, pessimism into your relationships? If so, think about what will that foster in your relationship. If your friendships are centered around gossip and talking poorly about others, what does that mean for the wellbeing of your relationship? Please don’t be surprised when that relationship goes south.

I want to challenge you to look at your relationship and in turn what you bring to your relationship. How can your relationships be healthier? Is there someone that you need to let go of or rearrange your boundaries around? What kind of friend are you? What changes do you need to make to be a healthier person?

Be The Change You Want To See In Your Relationship

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The truth is, you can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue with their actions. If you think that you will be able to change your partner and mold them into someone else you are in for a lot of disappointment. Simply wanting to change your partner is a red flag that you don’t like them. You may be infatuated with certain parts of who they are but you are unwilling to accept them as a whole. Or maybe what you found once endearing now gets on your nerves!  Instead of focusing on what you want your partner to change, I  challenge you to make the changes you wish to see in your relationship.

  1. Take responsibility for how you contribute to your relationship; in every way. Often times, people get defensive and list reasons: “why” they do what they do. Instead, take your responsibility for the good and the bad that you bring to the relationship.
  2. Complain without blaming or criticizing.  A complaint starts with an “I” statement and focuses on the behavior. Blaming and criticism focus on your partner and can be a personal attack on the person. For example: “I was so worried about you when you didn’t call” this is a complaint. Blaming/criticizing looks like this: “I was late for work because you are so inconsiderate”; this statement will only result in your partner becoming defensive and then the fight begins.
  3. Focus on fostering more compassion, appreciation, and empathy for your partner. Think about what it would mean to be them for 24 hours. Do you gain anew perspective?
  4. Learn your triggers and how to self-soothe when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Your mental health (and that of your partner) plays a vital component in the overall health of your relationship. Do not neglect your mental and emotional health. The ability to self-regulate is one of ht most important (and life long) skills you can develop. One that will be necessary if your relationship is to grow and evolve over time.

Which one of the four traits listed above do you need to work on?

 

Healthy Relationships: Spark Notes Version

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Relationships aren’t about having another person satisfy or fulfil you.I say this often but learn to appreciate solitude. You need to be comfortable being alone, and to accept and be at peace with the person you are, in order to be healthy in relationships. Relationships are about building each other up, and appreciating each other’s uniqueness while  also enjoying togetherness. It’s important that you see your partner  for who they really are. We all have our shortcomings and weaknesses. When you first start dating you may be under the influence of infatuation. However, you can learn about who your partner is and what motivates them. This is accomplished by being willing to learn and grow with your partner. Instead of being defensive, or demanding your own way, take the time to understand your partner’s perspective – and, hopefully, your partner will learn from you, too. All relationships have differences and disagreements. Instead of getting defensive pay attention to the patterns of when and why you fight – which points to buried issues, to hurt and unmet needs. Finally, I encourage you to embrace the ordinary in your relationships. In time, the original excitement settles and things will feel normalized. But the day-to-day has meaning when it’s shared with those you love. Photo Photo: by Ivanna Salgado on Unsplash

My 10 Commandments for an Intentional Life

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Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

I recommend my clients to create a personal set of “rules for living” or their own “dogma for life”. Why? I find that it is important for us to have a standard in living. It allows us to know our limits, how we want to live our life, in the summary live intentionally. If you “break” one of your own rules, rather than being hard on yourself, take the time to reflect if that rule is valuable. Maybe you have outgrown that mentality and it no longer serves you. This is editable! As I have grown in my work in the field of mental health, I created a list of 10 Commandments (so to speak) that have helped me manage the work that I do and the commitment to my clients; as well as apply to my personal life. It is a standard, that I hold myself too and reflect often:

  1. I accept that I’m not perfect, and there’s no perfect time
  2. I can’t please everyone no matter how hard I try
  3. I will participate in something I believe in
  4. I will learn to prioritize and do what matters first
  5. I will be selective when it comes to choosing friends
  6. I will be there for others and will help them if I can
  7. I will choose to focus on the positives in life
  8. I will true to myself
  9. I will live in the present and enjoy the “now”
  10. I will look for the good and be thankful for each day

This is an example for you to think about how you live your life. Is there intention to what you do and how you do it? Intentionality has the potential to be an extremely powerful force in our lives.

5 Steps to Deal With Life’s Disappointments

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Disappointment is a part of life. As much as we do not want to experience such emotion it is a part of the human experience. Rather than avoid or suppress I suggest we learn how to process it. The messaging that we should just be happy and think positive thoughts can be harmful and rob of the full spectrum of the human experience. There are a time and a place for all emotions. I think, what is really important and healthy is to identify our emotions and how they impact our thoughts and behavior. Therefore, we are better able to process emotions (even undesirable ones) in a healthy manner. As a result, your mental (and overall) health reaps the benefits. Disappointment has its validity to ignore it, would rob you of healing. The first step is an acknowledgment of what has happened and that disappointment is part of your experience. Second, be aware of how disappointment is displayed in your life. Meaning: when disappointed is your self-confidence affected? Or maybe you isolate and withdraw from others? The point is to be aware of how the feelings of disappointment influence and affect your emotions and behavior. Why? When you are self-aware, you are more likely to be proactive in challenging self-defeating patterns. Third, find support from people who understand and care about your feelings. This can help you process the disappointment and move towards healing. Fourth, reframe disappointment as something you can learn and grow from rather than a failure in your life. Lastly, (if applicable) do not give up. Set yourself new goals, and embrace a dream again. Something even better may be waiting for you!  

 

Co-dependency Continued

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A co-dependent relationship can exist beyond a romantic relationship. (There are co-dependent parental relationships, friendships, sibling relationships, etc.)  Once you’ve recognized that you are in a co-dependent relationship, there are some steps that you can take to create boundaries. The first step is realizing that this relationship isn’t healthy. Ideally, if you find yourself in a co-dependent relationship, you want to seek therapeutic support. You will want to learn the roots of these unhealthy patterns and learn healthier ways of relating with people. As well as establishing healthy boundaries with others. This will be essential in understanding relationship patterns and you will learn how to avoid repeating the same cycle. Keep in mind that these changes won’t happen over time and the boundaries may be met with resistance.  As a result, allow people to take responsibility for what they say, they do, and how they choose to react. Be mindful of not taking the blame for others’ reactions. The feeling of guilt may come up for you. This is where processing these emotions in therapy can be really helpful. Remember: you have the right to be happy and your needs met.

Are you in a co-dependent relationship?

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The definition of co-dependency is an excessive need of a person. Co-dependency is an unhealthy characteristic of a relationship ( I am using the word relationship to refer to all types of relationships). There are warning signs that may signal to you that you are in a co-dependent relationship. The co-dependent relationship doesn’t just happen, but rather it forms over time. Some warning signs that you may be in a co-dependent relationship are:

  1. You care for the person at the expense of your own well being. Caring for a loved one is not a bad thing and can be done from a place of love. However, this refers to the specific act of denying and keeping your needs unmet for the sake of the other. 
  2. You take responsibility for how the other person feels. Meaning that you need to be the one to keep them happy, calm fulfilled if they are angry, upset, disappointment then you take responsibility. 
  3. It is your responsibility to fix every little problem. 
  4. Accepting mistreatment simply to keep the peace. 
  5. You feel ashamed for wanting independence.  

In summary, a co-dependent relationship is not fulfilling to your well-being. It can be abusive and is definitely not one that will allow you to grow and flourish. If you have any questions about co-dependency please reach out to a professional. As always, Psychology Today is a great resource to connect with an expert, many of which offer free consultations. In my next post, I will offer some suggestions to help establish boundaries and how to safely remove yourself from a co-dependent cycle.