How To Have The Best Relationship of Your Life
By Cherie Paschal
I used to think ‘if only I could find the right guy’ or ‘if only he would just stop leaving his clothes on the floor, then we could have a great relationship.’ I used to blame everyone else around me for everything that went wrong in my life. I spent several years in unhappy relationships until I realized this one fundamental concept: how we treat others is a mirror for how we treat ourselves.
Have you ever noticed how the one thing that really bugs you about someone else is often the same thing that you have been struggling with? And it’s usually that one thing that you have been afraid to admit, or have been avoiding altogether. For some reason, these things just seem to keep popping up until we deal with them. This leads me to the first thing that I have found is important to nurture in order to have a thriving relationship.
Here Are 8 Steps To Having Your Best Relationship
1. Be honest and open with your partner. This means being fearless about sharing your feelings. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Life is messy. When we express our fears, our pain, or our sadness in healthy ways, when we allow these feelings to flow through us, then their grip on our life loosens up. In my life, I have seen so many examples of relationships that ended because at least one partner was not sharing his or her feelings about something. Feelings that are not shared become like a poison that slowly deteriorate a relationship. It can be scary to be open about some things, but coming clean opens the door to a much deeper connection.
2. Take some time to love yourself. When you make self-care a priority, then you are showing the world that you are valuable and loved. If you don’t learn to love yourself, how can you possibly learn to love anyone else? Not only will this help you feel good, but your partner will notice. I am talking about things like getting enough rest, spending time with your girlfriends (or if you’re a guy, hanging out with the guys), eating healthy food, getting your emotional needs met and getting enough exercise. This can also be an opportunity to bond with your partner. For example: you both love to ride bicycles so you could go riding together.
There seems to be a myth that many of us have grown up with that causes us to believe that when you are in a relationship, your partner should take care of you. Many of us have different ideas of what that means, but I can tell you that becoming dependent on your partner often leads to unhappiness or resentment. (Of course, there are always exceptions… maybe you’re one of them.) When you take care of yourself and you are responsible for your own well being, then you can bring some genuine happiness to the table. Have you ever been to a social event and noticed someone across the room who just seemed to be glowing? You might have felt like you needed to talk to or get to know that person? Well, that’s what can happen when you focus on self-care. You will become like a magnet and your partner won’t be able to get enough of you.
3. Take responsibility, don’t be a victim. When you blame others and don’t take responsibility for the way your life is going, you are literally giving away your power – your power to be proactive and to create the things that make your life juicy. Instead of blaming your partner for not creating that romantic date that you’ve always wanted, plan one yourself. Your partner will notice you being powerful and will want some more of that.
4. Be independent. Continue being the you that your partner fell in love with. Sometimes people get wrapped up in their relationships and are busy doing the things they enjoy doing together and forget to keep doing the things that make them individually happy. Many men and women find it very attractive when their partner continues to do the things that he/she loves – like yoga, painting, singing, dancing. This makes the relationship more interesting and there is more to talk about at the dinner table, which adds fuel to the glowing coals of attraction.
5. Be more concerned with giving, rather than receiving. I’m not just talking about gift giving. Many people find that something like doing the dishes, mowing the lawn or getting a massage from your partner is more of a heartfelt gesture than a material gift. This also applies in the bedroom. When each of you show your love by focusing on your partner’s pleasure, then you’re both more likely to experience a deep heartfelt connection – and studies show that orgasms are good for your health!
6. Let go of the little things. So he left a puddle of water on the bathroom floor after his shower; he forgot to wipe the kitchen counter after making a sandwich; or she forgot to make the bed. If you find yourself getting annoyed by these things, ask yourself, “how important is it really?” It only takes a few seconds to clean up the kitchen counter, soak up water from the floor, or make the bed, right? If there is still an urge to hang on to these things, then ask yourself, “What is it that’s REALLY bothering me?” Often, it’s something bigger that really needs to be talked about – not the little things. If you are always talking about the little things, then your partner may start feeling nagged. It’s the letting go of the little things that can make daily life a real pleasure.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki
7. Have a beginner’s mind. This means that you see your partner with fresh eyes and a lack of preconceptions. We all have our own histories that color our perception. We even have preconceived notions for the meanings of certain words. For example: take the word responsibility and ask your partner what it means to them and then share what it means to you. Take 5-10 minutes to discuss it. You will probably find that each of you have a different interpretation. When you have a disagreement, practice pausing and stepping back and taking another look at what is happening. Often, just asking for clarification can help you see that there is more going on than you were first aware of.
8. Practice gratitude – daily. Tell your partner how much you appreciated it and what it meant to you when he took out the garbage; when you overheard her telling her friend something nice about you; the way that he smiled when you walked in the door; or when she rubbed your shoulders after that stressful day at work. Act like you’re still just dating. Continue to do the little things that show your love. Focusing on and recognizing the loving and happy parts of your relationship will make your relationship more satisfying. Remember and regularly remind yourself about what it was that caused you to fall in love in the first place. Sometimes day to day life causes us to forget about what’s really important. Tomorrow is not promised. If today was your last day on this beautiful Earth, would you feel that you had told the people most important to you how you felt about them?
Remember, having a happy relationship is not something to be perfected. Life is messy and relationships often have cycles of closeness and separation. Life is just a series of experiments and when we make mistakes, we can choose to see them as opportunities for improvement and revisions. What’s important is to remember to nurture yourself, be gentle and forgive yourself when distractions come up.
As the flight attendant’s tell you on commercial flights, give yourself the oxygen first and help others second. You will not be able to spread love when you don’t have it to give.
Cherie Paschal is a mom, Certified Health Coach, Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a writer.It was through her own personal journey with food allergies and chronic fatigue, that she decided to earn her certification as a certified health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2013. Cherie completed her NLP Master Practitioner training in 2011.
Cherie is passionate about guiding people towards more loving and peaceful relationships.
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