appreciation-is-as-important-to-relationships-as-respect-and-trustHow to Survive the Madness

As you know, these mindful messages always focus on how to improve the health of your romantic relationship. And this one is no exception, but we’re going to take a slight detour on our way there.

Don’t worry, the detour will definitely bring us back to a message you’ll  benefit from…how to stay focused on peace within your relationship as we head into a season of holiday madness. So stay with me.

For now, let’s take a look at a different kind of relationship as an extraordinary example of a what I’ll be sharing.

Just When I Thought It Was Over
It had been building for months and months. The debates, the animosity, the lies…the ugliness. In a time that should’ve been rich with promise and excitement for the future, many of us were saying “I can’t wait until it’s over.”

And then the day finally came. November 8. Election Day in the United States. By the end of the day, I was in deep shock and denial…“this can’t really be happening”, I thought. And yet it did.

I went to bed that night thinking “I’m just glad it’s over. I’m SO tired of all of the division and separation between everyone.”

I woke up the next morning with an immediate sense of panic. Thankfully, I was able to quickly calm my monkey mind and take control of my thoughts before they set the tone of anxiety for the entire day. “I’m okay. I’m in the safety of my home, the sun has risen, and I have the gift of another day of life.”

I did my best to stay away from the news and social media. The little bit I did see had me feeling pleasantly surprised. Based on the pre-election attitude, I thought all hell was going to break loose.

And then, just when I thought it was over, the reactions started flipping back to negativity, name calling, shaming and more ugliness. Damn it! I thought this was over!

What the last few days have validated, and the message I am now tying in, is how our attitudes affect our relationships. Hurt people hurt people. In other words, people who are in pain, but not in check with their attitude, often express their pain in a way that hurts others.

We’re human, so it’s normal. But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The behavior expressed throughout the presidential campaign is a clear reflection of the collective state of pain and fear felt by many Americans.

So…how could this have turned out differently? And how does this apply to your romantic relationship?

Respect
Every human being deserves respect. Not necessarily in the sense of being highly regarded, but in the sense that everyone is entitled to their opinions. Even if you don’t always agree with your partner, they don’t deserve to be treated with disrespect. And neither do you if your partner disagrees with your opinions.

This doesn’t mean you need to somehow convince each other to see things differently. It simply means that each of you is entitled to your own ideas. If their opinion is not directly affecting you or putting you in danger, choose to focus on your opinion without feeling the need to justify it.

That being said, if your partner’s viewpoints are directly affecting the quality of your relationship with him or her, then you have every right to speak up…in a respectful manner. Instead of blaming or shaming, explain how you feel about the disagreement and offer a suggestion on how to handle it differently.

Trust
All relationships thrive on trust, and intimate relationships can’t thrive without it. When trust is violated in a committed partnership, barriers go up. Sometimes that trust can be regained, and sometimes it can’t.

In order to repair a lack of trust in your relationship, it’s imperative to address its root cause.

In doing so, it’s helpful to remember that honesty and trust go hand-in-hand. If you’re not being honest with yourself about your relationship, you won’t be able to be honest with your partner either. And if you’re having a hard time trusting yourself in your relationship, trusting your partner will also be difficult. This goes both ways.

So your first step, if you’re not already doing it, is to be honest with yourself about your thoughts and feelings. This will help you trust yourself more. And when you trust yourself more, you’ll be able to make healthier decisions for yourself and communicate more effectively.

Presence Needed for the Holidays
As we transition from the many months of election madness to a season of what can seem like holiday madness, let’s do our best to stay present to peace and love. It’s what we all want, right?

Even if there’s a lack of harmony between you and your partner, it’s okay to put aside your differences until you can appropriately address them. I’m not suggesting that you ignore your problems, or stay in an abusive relationship. I’m suggesting that you make a healthy decision for yourself, your family, and the sake of your sanity, to choose peace.

With all of the holiday parties, family dinners, etc. in store, choosing to be at peace as much as possible will serve you well. And if you have kids, they will also benefit!

This Can Help You Move From Frustration to Peace
I talked about gratitude in last week’s mindful message and how to be thankful even when it sucks. Feel free to read or re-read that message here.

This week, I’m going to suggest a simple exercise that will take less than 15 minutes to complete. It’s designed to help you move from feelings of frustration to feelings of peace. Even if you’re not feeling frustrated, it’s still a great exercise!

Grab a piece of paper and name ten things you are grateful for today. It doesn’t have to be about your partner or relationship, but it would certainly help to include them here.

Before you quickly dismiss this exercise, be open to the idea of this being a healthy choice for yourself. You don’t have to share it with your partner, but if you feel so inclined, I’m sure he or she will also benefit from it!

To come full circle from the beginning of this week’s message, and to demonstrate that this can be done even when things aren’t going the way you’d like them to, I will share ten things that I’m grateful for about the election:

  • I’m thankful that I have the right to vote.
  • I’m thankful for freedom of speech, even when I don’t agree with what others are saying.
  • I’m thankful that the candidates were asked to answer some really difficult questions, and that their answers revealed their level of competency to serve in the office of president.
  • I’m thankful that I was able to have respectful conversations with people I disagreed with.
  • I’m thankful that I have like-minded people to share my vision with.
  • I’m thankful that I am clear on my beliefs and know what really matters to me.
  • I’m thankful for the countless opportunities to choose love over fear.
  • I’m thankful for all of the things that triggered me and the opportunities to take the high road in the midst of frustration and pain.
  • I’m thankful that I was with a group of loving people when the election results first came in…this helped me stay grounded.
  • I’m thankful that I love myself enough to be honest, respectful and appreciative of life…even when it’s not always going the way I want it to.

Whew! As I started this list, I wondered whether or not I’d be able to come up with ten different things. I did it! And I know you can, too. If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to practice this act of self-love and appreciation.

May peace and love be with you now and always!

Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!

With love and support,

Catherine Dietz
Healthy Relationship Coach

P.S. If you’re looking for another boost of peace within your relationship, give yourself permission to get the support you need. You can schedule your free Relationship Breakthrough Session here. I would love to connect with you and help you however I can!