Can you believe we’re already at the end of 2017?! It’s crazy how quickly time seems to pass!
When our life circumstances and relationships are going well, many of us want time to slow down so we can savor the goodness as long as possible. But when the state of affairs in life and relationships is not going well, most of us just want this time to be over.
If you’re ready for something new and different, you’re at a big advantage right now. There’s something about a new calendar year that influences our psyches in a way that creates a strong desire and willingness to make changes that we’ve been putting off.
So if you’ve been holding off on making much needed changes in your romantic relationship, now is the time to use the momentum of a new year to inspire you into healthy action. And this is why I’m excited to end this year on a powerful note!
This week’s message includes an abundance of inspiration and an empowering exercise that will set you up for success and have you confidently saying, “out with the old, and in with the new!” If you’re serious about making real changes, you’re going to love this!
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Now that the overwhelm and stress of the holidays are over, it’s a good time to set an intention for a successful and peaceful transition:
- from an old year to a new year
- from an old chapter to a new chapter
- from an old form of your relationship to a new form of your relationship
Whether that means reconnecting with your partner in a way that feels right…or gracefully letting go of a relationship that no longer serves its purpose.
Either way, if you’re not happy with the current state of your relationship, and you’re ready to stop the spin cycle of frustration and pain, something has to change. A relationship cannot change for the better if the people in it are not willing to make changes.
Even if your partner isn’t willing to make changes at this point, that doesn’t need to stop you from doing what you can do to make it better. If you’re doing your part, you will feel empowered instead of powerless, regardless of your partner’s action or inaction.
So, are you ready? I hope so! I’m going to lead you through an empowering process that requires you to answer questions about yourself and your relationship.
Your answers will be incredibly valuable in helping you make healthy changes and creating a new chapter for 2018. So let’s jump in and get started.
The first question I want you to ask yourself is this: What did I do or experience this year (in 2017) that I’m proud of or feel good about in my relationship?
When we’re in a funk, it’s hard to remember all that went well. Our minds normally gravitate to what went wrong or what we didn’t accomplish. But if you take the time to go back through your calendar, or your to-do list, or even just the memories in your head, you WILL find things to feel good about.
Women especially are very critical of themselves, and many of us have fallen into an unhealthy pattern of beating ourselves up and rarely (if ever) acknowledging the good that we do.
So make the time to sit down and create a list of ALL of the relationship activities and conversations you were involved in that made you feel good and proud of yourself…even if the outcome didn’t turn out the way you had hoped.
This exercise will remind you of healthy actions you’ve taken so far and help you feel empowered to take more. It could be as simple as “I finally spoke up about something that had been bothering me” or “I was willing to try something new in order to feel a stronger connection with my partner”.
Some of these things may not be in your calendar or on a to-do list, but you’d be surprised how much those two resources will help you remember other things that were going on around the same time.
Even if it was something as simple as you starting to journal about your relationship, or seeking advice from relationship experts or books, ANYTHING that you did that contributed to the value of your relationship is worth writing down.
The next set of questions I want you to ask yourself is:
- What mistakes did I make that taught me something about myself?
- What lessons can I apply now that I’ve learned?
- In other words: What didn’t go well? How can I do better? How can I use this to grow?
If you’re like most women, I have a feeling you’ll find it much easier to remember your mistakes than your successes, and I want you to be careful not to make this about beating yourself up. That’s not what this is is about.
This is about acknowledging that you made a mistake and then finding the wisdom in that mistake so you don’t have to re-live its painful lesson.
For example:I can see that the way we’ve been handling our relationship conflict is not working and often times makes it worse. It’s a mistake to continue handling things the same way. In order for our relationship to change for the better, I now realize that we need to figure out a new way to handle things, and I’m willing to learn how.
We all make mistakes. This is nothing to be ashamed of. I talk about this all of the time – the beauty of having conflict in your relationship is that you get to learn a lot about yourself and the way you handle that conflict.
If you need to learn how to do something differently than you have been, this is an amazing opportunity to say yes to yourself and a better life. Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for your relationships with others. So as you’re learning from your mistakes, be gentle with yourself, have compassion for yourself, and empower yourself with what you’re learning.
The third and final set of questions I want you to ask yourself is:
- What am I willing to let go of?
- What is no longer aligned with my core values and reasons for being in this relationship?
- What stories have I been telling myself that no longer serve?
- What resentments, or guilt, or shame can I let go of?
When we hold on to baggage that no longer serves us, we sabotage ourselves and stop ourselves from moving forward in our lives. We might not be doing this on purpose, but we CAN purposely let the baggage go.
For example, maybe you don’t love your partner the way you used to and you feel guilty about that. This is a common issue for women. Societal conditioning has taught us that if you’re in a committed relationship, you’ll stay no matter what and you’re a failure if you leave or get a divorce.
A long time ago, I used to believe this. And it didn’t serve me.I ended up staying in an unhealthy relationship for way too long (13 years!). But when I finally woke up to and started honoring my own values, I was able to tell my old beliefs to take a hike. Those old beliefs didn’t even come from me – they came from someone else who taught them to me.
As a child, you didn’t have too much of a choice about what you were taught and what you believed. But as an adult, you have every right to throw out the old beliefs that aren’t good for you and create a new set of beliefs.
I believe that romantic relationships are designed to be loving, honest, respectful and handled with integrity. These are my core values. If my relationship doesn’t include these core values, then it doesn’t work for me.
If your relationship doesn’t include your core values – the values that are really important to you and how fulfilled you feel – then what’s the point? Why are you in it? This is a precious relationship and it deserves to be be honored as a precious relationship.
If you’re simply going through the motions and not truly feeling the love, then I challenge you to ask yourself why? Is it because of what other people have been telling you you should do? Because they’re not you. They’re not living your life.
Is it because you’re afraid of being alone? If you and your partner don’t have a healthy relationship, then in a sense you’re already alone anyway…you’re just alone with the company of someone else.
If you’re in love with your partner, but the relationship doesn’t feel as healthy as you’d like it to be, what old beliefs are you holding onto that are stopping you from having the best relationship possible? From asking for what you need from your partner?
As women, we tend to sacrifice our needs for the sake of others, but that’s not part of a mutually respectful and loving relationship. You’re in it together, and you should both feel supported by each other…not just one partner supporting the other through self-sacrifice.
I could go on and on here about all of the various forms of baggage that hold so many of us back. You know yourself better than anyone else does, and you owe it to yourself to identify and let go of the baggage, the pain and the old beliefs that no longer serve your highest good. When you’re able to let go of what you’re clinging to, you make room for new experiences to show up.
Shining Light on the Darkness
This is hard stuff, I know! The purpose of this exercise is to shine light on the dark spots in your relationship so you can transform that darkness into light. So you can change the health of your relationship for the better. So you can have the relationship you desire and live a life of joy and peace of mind. This is what we all want, right?
And yes, it’s sometimes hard to feel hopeful when you have no idea how things are going to unfold, especially if you’ve had a lot of painful experiences. But when you actively participate in your life and relationships, and you take responsibility for your actions, you feel stronger and empowered to face the uncertainties.
Closure for 2017/Healthy Path for 2018
Look at this exercise of answering these questions as a way of experiencing closure for 2017 and creating a clear and healthy path for 2018. A Healthy Path to Love, I like to call it…for yourself and for the relationship you truly desire and deserve.
If you’re afraid that 2018 won’t be any different, or even worse, do your best to stay focused on what you DO want, rather than what you DON’T want. Our minds have a tendency to dominate our thoughts, and the average person’s thoughts gravitate toward what’s not working. When you keep thinking about and focusing on what’s not working, you keep fueling that energy and making it grow.
Since whatever you’re giving your attention to becomes your experience, be mindful of what you’re paying attention to. Fill your mind with thoughts of what you DO want. Use the power of your answers to the questions above to let go of the old and welcome the new.
When you’re able to gain a new perspective on circumstances that are no longer working, you have the ability to shift things in a better direction.
As visionary pioneer Dr. Christiane Northrup said, “To create the highest and best that is within you, you must constantly let go of the old and welcome the new.”
Imagine what it will feel like when you’re in the healthy relationship you desire. It’s hard to do this when the state of your current relationship feels unhealthy, but you can do it. The key is staying present and actually engaging in your thoughts instead of having 60,000 of them randomly floating through your head each day with no particular focus.
It takes practice, but you can absolutely become more present to your thoughts and emotions if you choose to make that a primary focus.
I know this is a lot of information to digest. Personally, when I’m trying to change a habit or learn something new, I read the information about it numerous times. Each time, I understand it at a deeper level, and I’m then able to apply it more.
Cheers to a New Chapter
2017 was a difficult year for many. 2018 is a new year and a new opportunity for you to create a better life for yourself. You can do it, and I’m here to support you however I can!
I wish you peace in your mind, love in your heart and joy in your life. Cheers to a new and better chapter for you and your relationship.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages and other valuable resources – giving you helpful insights, tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach