Featured

Make communication a relationship priority

In a relationship, when communication starts to fade, everything else follows.   Some people enter relationships under the illusion that everything will somehow turn out magically, without the need to communicate thoughts, feelings and needs.  But that is the quickest way to start derailing your relationship.  When you and your partner communicate well together, however, it strengthens your bonds of friendship and deepens your relationship. You connect on a deeper level and care about each other’s thoughts, feelings, dreams, and goals.

communication (d)

Try these strategies to communicate better with your partner:

  1. Be honest. Honesty is always the best policy. This is because your relationship is built on trust. If you violate that trust, it’ll damage the communication between the two of you. It’s more difficult to express yourself when you feel like there isn’t that basis of trust.
  1. Listen well. Communication is a two way street and listening is half the equation. When you’re good at listening, you become good at interpreting and understanding your partner’s underlying feelings. When you understand your partner, you’re less likely to get into petty arguments because you’ll know where they’re coming from in the first place.
  1. Let your partner finish what they’re saying. Whether you’re in the middle of an argument, or your partner’s just telling a story, be sure to hear them out. Listen to everything they have to say before you try to get some words in too.
  • This will tell your partner that they’re important and what they have to say is worth listening to. If you jump in and interrupt, you’ll send the opposite message.
  1. Share your feelings. Learn how to express your feelings with regularity. If it helps, schedule some time every week to check in with each other emotionally. It keeps you connected to your partner and you’ll both always know the status of the other person.
  1. Make time for each other. It’s also important for your communications to share special time together. Perhaps you have similar interests and can bond over certain activities. Maybe you can schedule a date night where you can grab dinner together on a regular basis.
  • Especially if your partner is going through a tough time, it’s important to clear out space in your schedule to support them and reinforce how much they mean to you.
  1. Avoid reacting in anger. When you disagree, as all couples do from time to time, learn how to express your opinions in a healthy way. Avoid name-calling and take time to cool down if you have to. This is especially important if you tend to say things you don’t mean in the heat of an argument.

Even though it may take some work to bring about this deeper communication, the benefits are well worth it. Give these strategies a try, incorporate them into your daily life, and enjoy a new closeness as you take on the world together!

Contact me for further tips and strategies on improving your relationship communication.

Featured

Before You Take Revenge, Read This

revenge2

Revenge is a common theme in our lives nowadays.  It’s a common theme in movies, in soaps, in music and on our streets.  It’s portrayed as something satisfying – even noble, the wronged hero punishes the wrongdoers and ends up vindicated and validated.   The ugly truth is, Revenge is not an intelligent solution. It solves nothing and creates additional challenges.

There are several disadvantages to revenge:

  1. Revenge extends the conflict. Obviously, if you’re considering revenge, there’s an issue of some sort. Revenge doesn’t put the issue to rest. It causes the issue to continue. Imagine if the other person then seeks his own retribution. Where does it end? Someone has to be willing to let it go.
  2. Revenge won’t make you feel better in the long run. Revenge is satisfying for a few minutes, but nothing has really changed. Whatever was done to upset you still exists. You can’t go back in time and alter the course of your history. Revenge accomplishes nothing in the long-term.

  3. Revenge isn’t free. There is always a cost and it’s not without consequences. The subsequent actions of the other person may cost you. You can lose sleep, your self-respect, your freedom or even your life if you take things too far. Your peace of mind is also at risk.
  4. Revenge prolongs the pain. Time can heal all wounds, but only if you don’t reopen them. Allow your wounds to heal by moving on. Giving the situation too much attention only makes you more miserable and prolongs your misery.

Revenge isn’t a good solution to any challenge or hurt. There are wiser and more effective ways to handle your anger and pain.

What to do instead of getting revenge:

  1. Forgive and let it go.  This is easier said than done for most of us. But what other option do you really have?  Unless the possibility of ruining your own life is a better and easier option.  The only way to stop feeling bad about the situation is to let it go. You don’t have to forget. After all, it would be a shame if you didn’t learn anything from your negative experience.
  2. It may not seem fair or right to let the other person off the hook, but forgiveness is for your own benefit.  Not theirs.  And you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with this person in your head, do you?  Revenge certainly won’t take the event away.
  3. Learn from the situation. Did you do something foolish? Were you too trusting? Was it an issue specific to the other person? How can you avoid the same outcome in the future? Do you need to exclude the other person or a group of people from your life?  Were you too naïve or too trusting to make a smart decision? Determine the cause and then consider a reasonable method of prevention. Take advantage of a negative situation by learning from it. You’ll be a stronger and more capable person for it
  4. Meditate or pray. Meditation and prayer can put your head back in the right place. You’ll feel more calm, relaxed, and centred. Clear your mind and get to a place of rational thought. You can’t be upset unless you allow yourself to be.
  5. Do something that you enjoy. Remind yourself that good things are all around you. Spend an evening with a good friend or with family, read a book, or travel and explore. What activities do you enjoy the most?
  6. It doesn’t make sense to spend any more time on the negative issue than absolutely necessary.

Revenge has been  a common theme in history and is actually a natural human reaction. However, revenge seems like a better idea than it really is. Revenge hurts you more than it does the other person. Leave revenge for the movies. Forgive those that have wronged you and enjoy your life.

THE BEST REVENGE IS MASSIVE SUCCESS – Frank Sinatra

To your success!!

Featured

Running InterFEARance

Are you running a desperation script?

depression (1)

Some people have a relationship desperation script, for some it’s a lack of confidence desperation script. Years ago mine was a money one.   I threw money away in the hope of making money.  It didn’t work, and why? A desperation script is the negative side of who you really are and because of that it  keeps you stuck.   When you’re feeling that panic about a situation, chances are your desperation script will send you to a solution that worsens the situation- not make it better.

Ever hooked up with someone unsuitable whilst feeling unattractive, not confident, unloved?

Ever made a serious of “rash” buys/investments/loans because you were in a money bind?

Ever said/did some stupid hurtful things because you were feeling hurt?

The list is endless.  When we are feeling emotionally depleted and scared, we let our desperation script run wild and all we end up with is more fear, more desperation more despair.

There’s a great little tool to help combat anxiety where you interrupt your anxiety with gratitude.  When you feel the waves of anxiety, turn your focus to all the things you can be grateful for in the moment – however small.   It requires practice and patience, but change is a process, not an event, right?  That’s what I tell my clients.

So pattern interrupt your desperation script, or, as I like to call it, Run InterFEARance. Ask it what it really wants to help you achieve right now.   And if the course of action will seriously help you achieve it?  Don’t be afraid to ask the question because you will receive the right answer.

Oh, and listen for the voice.  Who does your desperation script sound like?

#runinterFEARance

 

8 Keys to Rewarding Relationships

All successful relationships have common characteristics. This is true whether the relationship is romantic, work-related, casual, or familial. Relationships are more stable and satisfying when all parties are on the same page. Communication is always a key element of healthy relationships, but there are additional important factors.

Practice these ideas in all of your relationships:

  1. Accept responsibility. Forget about 50-50. Take full responsibility for your relationships. Relationships require regular attention and adjustment. Are you giving your relationships the time and maintenance needed to ensure success?

  2. Be reliable. Regardless of the type of relationship, reliability is a key component. It’s imperative that you can be trusted and relied upon. The importance of trust and reliability can’t be overstated. 
  • Do you always keep your word? Can others count on you? Do others believe what you say? Relationships can’t survive without mutual trust.
  • If you’ve been unreliable in the past, make a sincere effort to be 100% reliable going forward.
  1. Forgive easily. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has bad days. Every person you know will hurt your feelings or let you down at some point. But it’s okay, since you’ll invariably do the same sometime. 
  • Every type of relationship has its rough spots. If you’re unable to forgive and forget, the relationship is forever tainted. No one is perfect, so allow yourself and others to be human.
  1. Communication is key, and quality communication can’t take place without giving the other person your full attention. Turn off the television and close your laptop. Give others in your relationships the time they need to communicate with you. 
  • When they’re finished speaking, clarify anything that isn’t clear. Then feel free to speak.
  1. Communicate your needs. Let others know what you need and expect from them. Most disagreements in all types of relationships are the result of someone’s expectations being violated. It’s not weak to speak up and make your needs known. It’s assertive. 
  • Many of us expect others to read our minds and behave in a certain way. This is unfair and ineffective.
  1. Mind your tongue. It only takes a few seconds to say something that requires years to undo. If you tend to say harsh things in the heat of the moment, learn to take a pause before saying anything further. Ten seconds of keeping your mouth closed could eliminate a lot of your relationship drama.
  2. A person’s “flaws” are usually here to stay. Your ability to overlook and accept the other person’s shortcomings is necessary for any relationship. That’s not to say that you should overlook the fact that someone is a serial killer, but a relationship will be a source of grief without acceptance.
  3. Regularly evaluate your relationships. You wouldn’t drive your car without looking at the petrol gauge every once in a while. Take the same attitude with your relationships. Ask yourself how each of your relationships is doing and take the necessary steps to strengthen them.

Rewarding relationships enrich our lives in countless ways. The quality of our relationships affects our happiness and success. Relationships require analysis and attention to thrive. Review your relationships and find ways to enhance them. Be strong enough to forgive and communicate your needs. Relationships can be complicated, but they make life worth living.

8 Tips to Strengthen a Struggling Relationship

All relationships face challenges from time to time. It’s not reasonable to expect that any relationship will be all unicorns and rainbows 24/7.   If you want to be in a relationship, it’s necessary to deal with disagreements and struggles that happen along the way. No one ever said it was easy.

Use these tips to heal your relationship and feel close to your partner again:

  1. Return to the past. There was a time when your relationship was great. Remember those times together when things were going well. Remember your first date. Remember your favourite trip you took together. Relive how things used to be. You’re bound to return to many of the same feelings from those times.
  2. Identify the issue. What exactly is wrong? Are you feeling taken for granted? Neglected? Did your partner lie to you? Is there something you’re doing wrong?
    Be clear with each other about what’s coming between you. Identify the challenge and you can begin to find a solution.
  3. Schedule time together. Many relationships struggle due to not spending enough time together. The simple solution is to schedule time together on a regular basis. Turn off the TV and get out of the house together. Play a board game. Go see a movie. Take a walk in the park together.
  4. Forgive. The issue in many relationships is the accumulation of resentments over a long period of time. If you can’t let go of the times you feel that you were wronged in some way, eventually it becomes too much to bear.  One of the secrets to a lasting relationship is a strong ability to forgive quickly.
  5. Take a trip. Plan a trip together. Ensure it’s a place that you’re both excited to visit. Build some new, positive memories together. Get away from your current home and routine, and you’ll find it’s easier to reconnect with each other. A trip is fun and bond-building.
  6. Compromise. You can’t have everything your way. Relationships require a lot of compromise. In fact, the compromising never seems to end. Compromising is a skill, and it’s not always easy to learn.  We all have preferences, but they can’t be met all the time when you’re in a relationship. It’s one of the disadvantages of being in a relationship.
  7. Avoid giving up too soon. Many people erroneously believe that a good relationship shouldn’t require work. This couldn’t be more wrong 99% of the time.  The early stages of relationships are often quite easy.  Everyone is on their best behaviour, and everything is so new. However, in a few months, reality sets in and things become harder. How hard are you willing to work to have a good relationship? 
  8. Get professional help. If all else fails, get help from a professional. You wouldn’t rebuild the electric transmission in your car.  Perhaps, you might not be able to fix your relationship on your own either. Give an expert a chance before throwing in the towel. It can be uncomfortable, but many effective things are. Fortunately, most relationship issues can be overcome if both partners are committed and patient. Give your relationship the attention it needs to heal and thrive. Good relationships are an important part of a fulfilling life.

A house divided against itself cannot stand….

A HOUSE THAT IS DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND..png

Is not just a quote from The Bible or  part of Abraham Lincoln’s speech, it is a modern day reality.

Where there is conflict, there is no unity and therefore no peace.  And without peace we usher in mental ill-ness, as opposed to mental well-ness.  We fall out of balance and out  of sync with ourselves, causing anxious feelings and depressive thoughts.  This is not as life should be, despite what we’ve been led to believe.

Our “house”  can be anything: it can be our relationships, our finances, our health, our career, our family – even our weight!  Any area you feel out of balance in – or stuck.  However, it is relatively straightforward to get back in sync with your true self, although it may not be easy.  The first thing to do is to identify in what situation there is a lack of peace, ask yourself what is bringing you down about the situation and state what you would like to happen to resolve it.   Write down as many things that you can, from the simple to the sublime!   Then pick 3 things you can do immediately, to start making changes.   No matter how small, no matter whether it’s something you’ve tried before.  And do them.  Starting today.  Starting NOW.

We all have two lives.  The second one begins when you realise you only have one. –Confucius

For a copy of my Life Wheel exercise, to give you a snapshot on where you’re at in terms of balance, feel free to contact me or email on theresa@theresa-empoweryou.co.uk

 

5 Behaviours That Can Kill Your Relationships

5 behaviours that can kill your relationship (2)

Relationships are challenging. It’s not something we’re taught in school, and most of us have few, if any, good role models to emulate. Understanding the most common behaviours that damage relationships can be a good first step to having a relationship that lasts.

See how many of these behaviours seem familiar, either in yourself or your partner.

These behaviours can doom a relationship to failure:

  1. Fear of intimacy. Maybe you want someone in your life, but you don’t want them getting too close. This is a common fear, particularly among men, but women also struggle with this relationship challenge. Eventually, your partner will become frustrated with the contrast between your need for love and your expectation of failure.
  2. Poor communication habits. This can include everything from not mentioning the little things that get on your nerves to just not communicating in a meaningful way on a daily basis. The quality of the communication is what ultimately determines how close you stay over the long run.
  • Avoid fighting via text message. This is especially common with couples that are frequently separated by distance. This is a dangerous practice. We’re all a little bolder than we would normally be while texting. It’s also easy to misinterpret when you can’t hear or see the other person.
  • Expecting the other person to figure out what’s bothering you. This is a common challenge. No matter how much the other person loves you, they can’t read your mind. Take responsibility for your happiness and need-fulfillment and let your partner know what you need.
  • Many of us like to give the silent treatment when we feel annoyed or wronged. This accomplishes nothing other than escalating the situation. Your partner becomes resentful and less interested in resolving the issue.

     3. Insecurity. Insecurity is a relationship killer. You drive yourself and your partner             crazy. This lack of confidence is unattractive. Your partner also eventually feels                   insulted. Insecurity can manifest itself in many ways:

  • Are you frequently jealous? This can include your partner’s close friends and previous relationships.
  • Do you analyse everything your partner says and does for some sign that they’re losing interest?
  • Do you need constant reassurance that everything is okay?
  • Do you spend more time worried about the stability of your relationship than you do enjoying it?
  • If you have a lot of insecurity in your relationships, consider addressing your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.

     4.  A need for control. Do you feel the need to control every aspect of your                                relationship? No one likes to be dominated day in and day out. Ask yourself why                you feel the need to control everything about your relationship and your partner.             Micromanaging doesn’t work in the workplace, and it won’t work at home.

  • This is commonly camouflaged as caretaking taken to the extreme. But caring for the other person isn’t the real purpose. The real purpose is control.

    5. Assuming the role of the martyr. “Nice guys” and many women often assume this          role. They mistakenly believe that if they sacrifice enough in the name of their                    partner’s happiness, they’ll eventually get what they need in the end. Over time,               this leads to a level of resentment that can never be satisfied.

Look at your past relationships and consider how many of these behaviours were present in yourself or the other person. By avoiding these common behaviours, you can give your relationships a much better chance of surviving and thriving. Take a hard look at yourself and make the necessary adjustments. Great relationships make life an exciting and rewarding experience.

 

Relationship Tips from the Experts Fact Sheet

Relationship Tips from the Experts

Relationship Tips from the Experts Fact Sheet

Howard Markman, PhD, Scott Stanley, PhD, and Susan Blumberg, PhD, the authors of Fighting for Your Marriage and Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), suggest the following:

Four Hallmarks of a Great Relationship:

  • Be safe at home – physical, emotional and commitment safety
  • Open the doors to intimacy – couple meetings, date night, positive connections, listening
  • Do your part and be responsible – use effective skills to solve problems and take ownership of your feelings and actions
  • Nurture security in your future together – work through relationship challenges together, renew your commitment and be willing to do whatever is necessary to have a relationship that is good for both of you

John and Julie Gottman were surprised to find that couples whose relationships continued to be strong over time were devoting only an extra five hours a week to their marriages.  Those extra hours consist of small actions done regularly.

The Five Magic Hours 

  • Spending a few minutes in the morning talking about your upcoming day
  • Debriefing at the end of each day with a stress-reducing conversation where partners actively listen to each other review their day
  • Finding some way to express admiration and appreciation to your partner every day
  • Showing affection toward your partner daily (John Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, have a 6-second rule for kisses in their relationship – all kisses last at least six seconds.)
  • Spending time weekly really talking to each other. Ask questions about your partner’s hopes and dreams, plans at work or home. . . know each other intimately.

Need help with your relationship? Contact me.

The Busy Professional’s Guide to Creating a Meditation Space

happinnessYou probably know that meditation is good  for your body and mind. Still, it can be a challenge for a busy professional to find a place to sit and think.  Learn how to create a meditation space in your home or find a sanctuary nearby. After all, your surroundings play an important role in helping you to quiet your thoughts and become more mindful.

Benefits of Creating a Meditation Space 

  1. Increase concentration. A designated area for contemplation makes it easier to switch gears. You can forget about bills and your school reports. Pay attention to your breath, and connect with the Divine. 
  2. Screen out distractions. Turn off your phone and keep your laptop out of sight. Let your family know that you’ll be out of reach for a while. 
  3. Practice more consistently. Your meditation space is a powerful reminder if you’re trying to establish a consistent practice. You can look forward to your next session each time you walk by. 

Designing a Meditation Space at Home 

  1. Clean up. Removing clutter allows you to keep your meditation space tidy and inviting. Sweep the floor and wash the windows. Remove your shoes to avoid tracking in dirt.
  2. Lower the volume. Aim for a quiet environment so you can appreciate the silence or listen to instructions and chants on CDs. A pink noise machine or fan will block out street noise.
  3. Add inspiring objects. What do you like looking at while meditating? There are lots of options, including posters, statues, and prayer flags. If you’re creative, you may want to design your own props. 
  4. Set out offerings. Depending on your spiritual practice, you may also want to engage in rituals that involve offerings. Water offerings are popular because they’re inexpensive and easily available. You can also fill your offering cups with coloured stones on days when you don’t have time to change the water. 
  5. Store literature. Maybe you like to refer to prayer books or other inspirational passages. Install some shelves and cover your books with fabric to keep them pretty and protected. 
  6. Arrange seating. Having a comfortable place to sit is essential. You may prefer a regular chair or floor cushions. Any position that encourages good posture can work so feel free to support your back if necessary. 

Finding a Meditation Space Away From Home 

  1. Browse community listings. If you like practising in a group, a space away from home may be an attractive supplement or a way to help you get started with meditation. Check out what’s available in your neighbourhood. Yoga studios and school halls are good options. Local Buddhist centres may also welcome visitors of all faiths and philosophies. 
  2. Ask your boss. A growing number of companies are taking an interest in meditation. Talk with your employer about using the conference room before or after work. 
  3. Enjoy nature. Head outdoors if the weather is mild. Enjoy beaches and public gardens while you meditate. Look for a spot where it’s safe to drop your guard for a while. 
  4. Meditate anywhere. Remember that the most important meditation space is in your mind. The more you practice, the easier it will be to calm your thoughts regardless of what is going on around you. Focusing on your breath can help you to reduce tension whether you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair or waiting in line at Lidl! 

Create your own beautiful haven in your home or in your neighbourhood. A special meditation space enables you to draw your focus inward and experience greater peace.