Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. Choose one of the ways listed in this infographic to implement in your life for one week. Assess how it has blessed you and then try a new way until you feel the weight of hurt and bitterness lessen.
No matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen. While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended a conflict can fester and grow. That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.
How do you go about doing that?
1. Start by listening. But don’t just listen to the spoken words, but the feelings behind them. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation after all! By listening actively, meaning pausing to ask questions, clarify, and to reiterate what you think the other person is saying, you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. But more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.
2. Look for the resolution over being right. Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.
3. Stay in the moment. Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Now isn’t the time for blame. Rather look for solutions.
4. Decide what’s important right now. That is called ‘picking your battles’ and is important in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over. Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be easily forgotten, or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.
5. Know how and when to disengage. That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree. Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict.
Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal. So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.
Let Ron Huxley help you resolve conflict in your life by scheduling a session today or take a free course at FamilyHealer.tv
If you want to become a good listener there are certain traits and skills you will need to learn. Listening is a great skill to develop and it can improve all areas of your life. People love to talk and are always looking for someone to listen to them.
When listening to someone your goal should be to understand their point of view. Listen to everything they say before forming your own opinion, and remember that you do not necessarily have to agree with them. Everyone deserves, and should form, their own opinions on various topics.
Paying attention is the next trait. If you don’t pay attention you will miss out on important information. Always be aware of what is going on with the person who is speaking, and don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings.
The action of making eye contact with the person who is speaking, shows them that you are paying attention. If you start looking around you, you are giving them the impression that you are not interested, or have become bored.
Try to look at their point of view and ask yourself if they might be the person who is right.
Allow the person to finish talking. This often takes a little patience, but it can be helpful for both sides. First the person talking can vent their opinions or frustrations. Secondly it helps the listener to fully understand the issue at hand.
A good listener will also think before responding back. Again they often ask what if this person is correct in their way of thinking. People have the bad trait of speaking before thinking and this can lead to all kinds of awkward or difficult situations.
It is perfectly normal for your brain to want to respond quickly, stop yourself and think before you speak!
Sometimes it can be hard to stay focused on a person, it is normal to want to look away. If you find yourself doing this try nodding to the person or making direct eye contact with them. This signals to them that you are paying attention. If you really need to look away for a second, then muffle a cough behind your hand!
Other tips that you might want to use to show that you are paying attention include:
Saying the person’s name now and again
Using facial expressions
Using body language
If you make an effort to put these five traits into play consistently, you will become a much better listener for it.
How Can a Healthy Imagination Help Our Relationships?
There’s no doubt about it; relationships are hard. It can seem nearly impossible when you are trying to make two lives work together. If you are struggling in your relationship, it may be worthwhile to examine your imagination. Believe it or not, a healthy imagination can truly help your relationship.
It has been said that “the world of reality has it limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
It has also been said that “imagination is more important that knowledge.” (Albert Einstein)
Imagination (Re) Ignites Passion
When you are with the same person for so long, it can often seem like the passion will fade, or maybe things will seem to get a bit boring. Well, imagination is one of the main ignitions of passion. If you improve your imagination, the passion in your relationship will improve as well.
For example, you could cook your significant other a fancy dinner and serve it to them on a picnic blanket on the floor. Then use your imagination to imagine you are in Paris! You might just be surprised by how much fun the two of you have with imaginative ideas like this.
Imagination bring hope back into hopeless situations. You don’t have to give up on your relationship situation. You can reignite the passion by igniting the imagination of how things could be…in the future.
Imagination Helps You Make Plans
One of the main indicators of caring about someone is making plans that involve them. Without a healthy imagination, it can be difficult to see past the dreariness of day-to-day life. If your relationship seems to be in a rut, then it’s time to tap into that imagination to create something fun for the two of you to do! Try to think of something you haven’t done before, and don’t be afraid to try something incredibly unique.
Start small and take small risks in your relationship. Step out of the comfort zone. The effort itself will prove your willingness to try to change even if things don’t do perfectly for you.
Imagination Can Help You Through the Rough Patches
All relationships have rough patches, where you may not be happy with your partner or feel that you aren’t going to make it as a couple. Sometimes, if the relationship is truly worth it, you need to persevere to get there, and imagination can help you through that. Imagination can help you envision a future together where things are better.
It can help you solve problems that are causing challenges in your relationship. It can even remind you of past times you have had together and how fun they were, even if things are currently difficult.
Whether or not you realize it, imagination is essential to helping your relationship last. Imagination is an integral part of passion, making plans, and surviving the rough patches that will inevitably come along. So if you are in a relationship that is currently struggling, it’s time to work to improve your imagination today. Even if you aren’t currently in a relationship, a healthy imagination is a great method of preparing yourself for future relationships that may come your way.
Use Love Languages to be creative in your imagination
The 5 love languages was created by Gary Chapman and written about in a book by the same name. The languages include words of affirmation, quality of time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Speaking your partner or family members love languages makes them feel loved. We tend to speak our own love languages which may not match up with others missing the mark. Knowing others love language allows us to use imagination that has a more powerful influence for the future.
Caring is an important quality in one’s life. What would the world be like if we didn’t have caring people? Too much caring can create problems, however. Overcaring can cause fatigue, burnout, or secondary trauma, enabling addictive behaviors, preventing healthy child independence, rejection and estrangement from loved ones, and so much more. Finding a healthy balance is essential to living a healthier, happier life. The first step in this process is learning WHY you care so much so that you can find that balance.
Here are four ways to help you get clear on why you care so much that you can use:
Sounds too simple, right? The truth is that it is that simple…mostly! There are a lot of books and devotionals for people who care too much. Melodie Beattie is one of my favorite authors. She wrote the books Codepency No More, The Language of Letting Go, and Codepence Guilt to the 12 steps. Another classic is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I regularly recommend this book to families. Of course, there are other great reads, such as Women Who Do Too Much, Raising Empowered Children, Keeping Your Love On, Caregivers Survival Guide, The Heart of the Caregiver, and so many more.
In addition to books, there are YouTube videos and online courses that you can take to learn healthier caregiving lifestyles. Try one now at FamilyHealer.tv
You can use your computer, buy a specialized journal, or you can simply use a notebook you have created to journal. It’s up to you what type of system you use and whether it’s modern or analog.
The important part is that you try to use your journal to express your thoughts, emotions, and stream of consciousness about a problem you’re trying to solve or a feeling you’re trying to explore without judgment or censoring.
Write in your journal every day when you’re trying to understand why you care so much. You may end up discovering your life purpose or a new reason for getting up each day that you had not realized before.
Become a Patron Sponsor of FamilyHealer.tv and get free journals and many more tools for living a happier life at FamilyHealer.tv
Before you use your journal, it can help to clear your mind using meditation. Meditation practice is all about not thinking and not judging your thoughts or feelings even as they still happen during the meditation.
Each time you meditate, you can have a purpose of self-discovery or have a goal to clear your mind and relax. To practice this type of meditation, you’ll want to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down. Then concentrate on your goals for the meditation, close your eyes, and start focusing on your breathing.
Think about the situation you’re trying to understand for a moment, then clear your mind. If any intrusive thoughts come in, brush them aside by refocusing on your breathing. You mustn’t allow any outside information or sensation to distract you during this time.
Try using an app, like Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier, Stop Breath Think, or Abide.
These days you’re so fortunate because you can get psychological therapy from the comfort of your home using your computer or smartphone. Numerous companies offer this service and varying price points, but you can expect to pay $60 or more per hour to get therapy. In addition, many insurance companies include several sessions as part of your benefits.
If you seek therapy, make sure you find someone experienced working with you on overcoming people-pleasing and putting yourself last in life. Remember, your wants and needs matter too. Most therapists can guide you through the self-discovery process to finally know what you want and feel good about it regardless of the reactions from other people.
Any or all three of these methods help you become crystal clear regarding your motivations to seek approval from others and even help you stop doing it. Remember, what you want from life is important too, and following someone else’s dreams will never get you what you want and need to feel successful and, more importantly, satisfied and content in your life.
A good marriage isn’t something you find. You have to make it great, and then you have to keep making it that way. Most people stop working on their marriage right after the honeymoon is over. They get bogged down in work, kids, mortgages, and all the trials of life. If you don’t stay focused on then intimacy in marriage, you will lose it. Here are a few tips to help you keep the flame of love and happiness lit:
Show Them Respect
Every healthy relationship must include respect. Without it, you are doomed to fail. When your partner wants to speak with you, take the time to do so. Don’t mock their words or belittle them in any way. By showing your significant other that you value their thoughts, feelings, time and effort, you will let them know you respect them.
The opposite of respect is contempt or criticism. That is poison to the relationship and part of the “Four Horseman” of the final days of marriage. The other two destructive forces in marriage are stonewalling and defensiveness. These latter two “horseman” refer to emotionally shutting down and overly protecting oneself.
John Gottman, marriage researcher and author states: “Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”
Give Them Priority
Your partner may not always be your number one priority, especially if you had children before you entered the relationship or have another situation that demands a lot of your time. If your partner is always last on your list, though, there will be trouble. Giving your partner at least some priority shows them that you value them.
Marriage needs balance to succeed. After work and kids are gone, couples end up with nothing. Put some time into one another, through date nights, talking after the kids go to bed, enjoying hobbies or activities together, reading, etc. What you do isn’t as important as the fact that you are doing things together.
Have Fun Together
Make time to laugh together. Plan fun activities and do new things together so that you can always remember the experience. Making memories builds bonds. This will give you and your partner good feelings when thinking about one another, because of the great times you have when you are with each other. Fun can involve the children too. Watch funny movies, tell jokes, ask about the highs and lows of the day so marriage and family intimacy deepens.
Learn with Them
Take a class together, or embark on learning a new hobby as a duo. When you stretch your brains in regards to the same subject, it gives you something to talk about. When a couple feels like they are challenging each other and helping each other to become their best, it brings strength to the relationship.
If you are struggling in some area of your relationship this is an excellent topic to read a book on or attend a course. There are thousands of YouTube videos and podcasts. Listen to one on the way to the store or off to visits grandparents. You might discover that one magic idea that causes your relationship to soar.
It has been said that the “capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice” (Brian Herbert).
Maintain Your Individuality
Although time as a unit is important, don’t do absolutely everything together. Give yourself the opportunity to grow your other friendships and hobbies. When you do this, it gives you a break so that you can appreciate each other when you are together, and it also gives you something to talk about.
Women are more likely to connect with friends than men. Developing relationship as a couple and then branching out or reaching out might be something men can work on. Getting involved in men’s groups or sports can be an excellent outlet for men as well.
Express Your Appreciation
Let your partner know that you are grateful for them and who they are. When they have made sacrifices to do something kind for you, write them a thank you card or cook them their favorite meal. Showing your thankfulness and appreciation never goes out of style. The opposite could also be true: Stop showing appreciation for others and they might stop doing the things we appreciate!
Be Creative in Showing Your Love
Say “I love you” to your partner, but don’t stop there. Get creative in the ways that you show your love. Demonstrate it by using your own personal talents through actions such as writing them a poem, making their favourite dessert or composing a song for them. Plan a relaxing vacation weekend or even a one-on-one movie night together at home. It doesn’t take a lot of money to demonstrate that you love your partner.
Gary Chapman wrote a popular book: “The 5 Love Languages”. It outlines how everyone feels most loved in unique ways. We tend to show love in the ways we like to feel loved versus loving them in their own way.
The 5 Love Languages include: Words of appreciation, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. It is possible to have more than one but learning your partners special way of feeling loved is an act of love in itself. Try taking the online quiz to learn with your spouse at https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language
If you would like more help learning how to make love last, consider talking with Ron Huxley for online couples counseling today.
There are some things we can do in all our relationships to build and maintain strong bonds. This is true because underneath all our differences, likes, dislikes, and biases, we are all human beings who desire social connections. The tips below should be used in all your relationships to form bonds that will stand the test of time.
This might mean different things in different relationships, but the overarching sentiment is the same. When they do something kind for you or take the time to support you when you need it, be appreciative – acknowledge their care and concern.
2. Spend time together
It can be hard to find time to get together when we are all so busy, but it’s important for all relationships. If necessary, set up a standing appointment so that it just automatically happens. This makes sure it happens because you will get used to scheduling other things around it.
3. Communicate honestly
Sometimes you may be tempted to bend the truth to avoid conflict, but your relationships will be much healthier overall if honesty is held in high regard. It’s possible, to be honest without being brutal. Choose your words carefully and be as diplomatic as possible, while still sharing your feelings openly and honestly.
4. Forgive faults
Forgive them for their eccentricities and annoying habits, and also forgive yourself for any mistakes you make. We all have faults and shortcomings that we bring with us into any relationship. Sometimes to keep the relationship strong, we need to just come to the conclusion that their presence in our lives is more important than the little habits that drive us crazy.
5. Support them
Intermingled between all the good times, there will surely be times when the other person could use a helping hand. Whether it’s helping them move, taking them dinner when a loved one has passed or being a sounding board for a difficult decision, any relationship worth having requires some TLC. And the other person deserves it, just as you do when you need it from them.
6. Do unto others
It’s just a good idea to always live by the Golden Rule, but it’s especially true in relationships that are important to us. If you wonder if something you might do is likely to upset them, chances are it’s better to talk to them about it first. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you? It’s better to err on the side of caution.
Get deeper relational repair with Ron Huxley. Schedule an online appointment today: Click here now!
When you have experienced trauma, anything can cause emotional pain: a word, glance, or reaction. We have all experienced this in life but it can be more intense and overwhelming for people who have been traumatized.
This hurt causes an inner wound that alters how we process information from people and the world around us. In the field of Attachment Research, John Bowlby, the father of Attachment Theory, states that our experiences in life become an “Internal Working Model.”
The model is “internal” because it is in the thoughts, emotions, and memories. It is “working” because, while profound and resistant to change, it can change through new life experiences that result in further “models” of the self, others, and the world.
Sometimes new experiences hit blockages in our minds. Our minds are habit machines that like familiarity, even if it is unhealthy or chaotic. The mind equates familiar with safe!
We can become aware that we are in the way of our healing, stuck to know how to move past our own blocking beliefs or models of how life is…we want to trust others but just can’t. We want to love ourselves more and engage in self-care, but we continue to stay busy and put ourselves down. We need to set boundaries in relationships but continue to say yes when we should say no.
To facilitate healing in our lives, we have to remove the blocking beliefs. Several healing practices let go or release blocking beliefs. Examples include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping), and Forgiveness Work are evidence-based practices designed to help people work through anxiety, trauma, and stuck emotions.
Ron Huxley, a trauma trainer and therapist uses three healing strategies to help people form new Internal Working Models and get “unstuck.” The first healing strategy is to calm down the brain and nervous system. This strategy allows the autonomic nervous system to balance the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (energizing stress) systems. There is a time for both, but most of us overuse the sympathetic system in our modern stressed-ruled society. Our bodies and minds are not designed for long-term stress responses. It will break down the immune system, create dissociative thinking, and dysregulate emotional circuits. The results on relationships can be devastating.
The second healing strategy is to build new skills and competencies. Couples in conflict want to learn communication skills to improve their relationship. Although essential, if they have not worked on the first healing strategy and created a safe space for themselves and their partner, new skills won’t make a lasting difference.
Once a sense of safety is created, new skills that enhance the brain’s executive functioning come forward. Executive functioning skills include self-control, impulse control, sense of self, reading social cues, planning, organization, follow-through, focused attention, and time management. Often, security is all relationships need to see self, others, and the world differently. The skills might already be in place but weren’t expressed due to overriding survival needs.
The third healing strategy is deepening relationships. Once security is in place and new skills practices, we have to sustain this progress. We can rest on the fact that we have made a shift in our internal working model. We have to live it and face new challenges that might require new elements of the model. Old blocking beliefs might pop up, or triggers threaten to return us to old patterns of behavior. All three strategies may have to be revisited to stay unstuck and live in emotional freedom.
Sadness might be telling you it is time to cry. Loneliness might be telling you of a need for connection. Shame might be telling you to increase self-compassion. Resentment is talking about people (or self) you need to forgive. Emptiness may be sharing a desire for more creativity. Anger could be trying to tell you to add more boundaries in life. Anxiety could be telling you to breathe more, or at least exhale! Stress might be telling you to slow down and take one step at a time.
Feelings are often untrusted physical and emotional sensations that can lead us to make impulsive, irrational decisions. But I believe this is more due to our mis-understandings of them than their inherent deceptiveness.
We are taught, from childhood, to stuff our feelings and keep them under control. How are we then able to partner with them for greater emotional intelligence in later life?
Most men funnel all their emotions into their anger. Anger is respected and awarded to men in most cultures. They are told to “man up” or “keep a stiff upper lip” when it comes to other emotions.
The consequences of squelching emotions are poor communication that stonewalls relationships, increases disease risk, and destroys self-esteem and personal worth. The answer is to begin making friends with our emotions and see them as messengers who provide you with wisdom for life’s journey.
Start learning the vocabulary of emotions. Most men in couples therapy appear to have no capacity for emotions or refuse to comply with the therapist’s and partners’ requests to share feelings. The real problem is lack of competency, not compliance. They don’t know the words. When men are presented with a list of feelings words to describe what they are experiencing, they can share a dozen real emotions.
Why could they share their emotions when they have a list but couldn’t come up with it when asked in the “heat” of the interaction with the therapist or partner? Often, it is simply a lack of practice recognizing their feelings.
TIPS FOR MAKING FRIENDS WITHFEELINGS:
Allow your feelings to be neutral. Think of them as messengers designed to help you interpreting information from the sensory world. Our bodies are not machines but complex information processing systems. They are your “gut instincts” that can guide you through complex situations.
When your feelings are your enemies, you will be in a continual “fight or flight” state. Creative problem solving shuts down in this hyper-response situation. Conscious thought is powerful but slow. The body/brain system is rapid and responsive but will hijack you every time. Make friends with your feelings by practicing calming strategies.
Deep breathing is an easy way to connect with feelings. Science has proven that breathing in a pattern of longer exhales will bring almost instant relaxation. Try repeating a 4 second count for inhale and an 8 second count on exhales.This simple exercise engages the “vagus nerve” responsible for “rest and digest.”
Do this exercise as many times as you would like but most people start to feel more relaxed after two or three tries. Once you are feeling relaxed, check in with your body and notice what physical sensations and feelings are located in your body. Put you hand on this location and do the breathing exercise again. Allow the sensation or feeling to speak to you…what does your body need you to know? Maybe you are just sitting in a weird position and need to adjust yourself. You didn’t even realize you were sitting so oddly.
Start to journal your feelings and narrate what they are saying. Give them a name and watch when they show up in your daily life and how they are trying to help guide you with some wisdom. What happens when you listen or ignore them? Where the consequences helpful or harmful? Use a feeling wheel or chart to build your emotional vocabulary. Practice using feeling words in your communication with the simple script of “I feel X when Y happens.”
Thank your feelings for coming to your aid. I know, it sounds weird to talk to your feelings but they will show up in the wrong ways at the wrong time if you ignore them…Start by making friends today and learn to hear the important messages they are trying to tell you.