Relationship Reset: 5 Tips to Stop Relationship Patterns Dead in Their Tracks

RelationshipReset

Feeling as though you are committing the same relationship mistakes again and again can be both overwhelming and frustrating. Check out these tips to get a fresh start today!

#1. Are you ready?: Ask yourself if you are willing and ready to endure some discomfort as you charter new territory by approaching your relationships differently. While it may be unsettling at first, the potential for happy and fulfilling relationship possibilities are endless.

#2. Take a closer look: In order to make change, we must examine our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. What are your thoughts about your last relationship? How do those thoughts make you feel? When you experienced those feelings while with your partner, what did you say or do in your relationship? The answers to these questions may lead you to a deeper understanding of how and why you repeat the same relationship patterns time after time.

#3. Remember the family factor: Many of us often try so hard to either replicate or reject the experiences of our parents that we find ourselves getting into trouble as a result. Whether through therapy, prayer or self-reflection, examine what your family taught you about relationships and how these lessons may or may not be serving you well today.

#4. You’re worth it, right?: Examine your own self-image and compare the kinds of relationships you’ve had in the past with the kind of relationship you are seeking. Do you feel in your heart that you deserve to be happy?

#5. Move on: Learn how to move on from past relationships by forgiving your former partner and yourself for past mistakes. Don’t bring your baggage from your last relationship into the next.

Can Your Relationships Make You Sick?

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Can your relationships really make you sick? In a word… YES! I have worked with so many clients over the years that have struggled with maintaining relationships that no longer served them out of loyalty. The fear of how someone may react or respond when new boundaries are set can lead to silent suffering for many. For people of color, support to and from our communities is incredibly important. But, what happens when certain community norms amongst your loved ones no longer work well for you? Anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and heart disease can all be impacted by our emotions and how they relate to our connections with others. Here are 5 red flags to watch out for:

 

1. You feel drained – If you are often left feeling physically or emotionally exhausted after interacting with someone, this can be a huge red flag that something’s not right. A lack of boundaries is often the culprit in many of these cases. These encounters can leave you feeling tired, anxious and even physically sick. This is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Listen.

2. It’s all about them (their thoughts, their needs, their problems) - To be very clear, there are people in your life that may attempt to manipulate you by dominating all of your time. People that utilize this strategy for your attention are always in crisis and always need your help. However, many times these encounters are not about the crisis. Instead, they are driven by a need for your attention. This is why no matter how you try to assist, offer advice, or intervene in other ways, their situations stay the same. Entering into this pattern can prevent you from focusing on the people and activities you love and enjoy most. Instead of spending sleepless nights worried about what you cannot truly control, let them do their own internal work. Your loved ones must do this for themselves to see permanent change in their own lives.

3. They never show up for you - While relationships go through many different seasons, all connections should have some mutuality. If you find yourself going above and beyond for others while you struggle alone and in silence regularly, it’s time to re-assess the quality of your relationships. Also, are you clear and open about what you need with your friends and loved ones or do you assume they should know what you need? If you’re making assumptions, this can lead you to harboring resentment and anger.

4. You feel obligated – This can be very tricky, but choosing to continue a relationship with someone purely out of “obligation” is never ideal. I see this often in families, where there are some family members that are allowed to act out against other family members, without consequence. Controlling how and when you interact with these individuals is incredibly important. While there may be some responsibilities you choose to take on, emotional torture and abuse should not be on this list.

5. You’re more committed to others’ wellness over your own – You may be very used to coming in and saving the day for your friends and family members. Amongst groups, there is usually a “go-to” person that is designated as the problem solver. This role can be incredibly draining, especially if the problem solver has nowhere to turn when they face challenges of their own. If you fall into this category, you must be very diligent about taking good care of yourself. How many times have you observed a caregiver falling sick and declining faster than the person they were caring for to begin with? Prioritizing self care is not selfish. It’s necessary.

Taking on bad relationships is a form of neglect against yourself and can very bad for your physical and emotional health. Consider some ways you can be kinder to yourself by being more mindful about the people and situations you engage in.

6 Secret Travel Tips To Re-Connect With Your Family

During spring break last week, my family and I had the pleasure of spending a week at Cabo Azul Resort & Spa in the beautiful city of San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico. By keeping my personal and family’s wellness in mind, this trip left me feeling incredibly grounded and connected with my husband and 2 daughters. How do you plan a stress-free family vacation? How can travel bring you closer as a family? Here are my secret travel tips for making your next family vacation enjoyable and intentional.

  1. Set Your Intention - It’s not uncommon for the goal of a family vacation to be “fun” or “relaxation”, but it’s important to go a little deeper than that. Before you step on an airplane or begin your road trip, talk with your family about what they are each looking forward to most and how they hope to feel during and after the trip. With this in mind from the beginning, you can more thoughtfully plan different aspects of your vacation that will fulfill some of these needs and wants.

  2. Be Flexible - While it’s great to have a plan of what you’d like to see and do, being flexible will allow your family to experience the unexpected. These surprising moments can be so much fun and create lasting memories that you all can share. Resist the urge to plan out and over-schedule every moment of your trip and instead, go wherever the day takes you.

  3. Let the Kids Plan - This is critical to a successful family trip with children. Would you want to go on a trip where you have absolutely no say in what you do or where you go? I think not! Battling over how you’ll be this precious time can take the fun out of your vacation altogether. Instead, allow your children’s creativity to shine by assigning them the task of planning out a full day (you’d have to set a few parameters, of course). From activities and locations to food, your kids will have a great time with this and so will you!

  4. Check In - At some point in the middle of your vacation, have some one-on-one time with each family member. Whether it’s a quick chat over dessert or while you make a run to the local store, hearing what their experience has been like through their eyes will allow you to have a greater understanding of how they experience the world around them.

  5. Try Something New - There’s so much good that can come from trying something new, especially with the ones you love. It’s easy to feel stuck in your day to day routine. You can even get stuck in day to day routines on your vacations too! Break up the pattern a bit by trying something as a family that none of you have experienced yet. Doing so will bring you closer together and you may learn that you love something you never thought possible.

  6. Reflect As a Group - At the end of your trip, have a family gathering and share what each of you learned about yourselves and something new you learned about another family member. The insights you hear from your family about who you are and what they observed from you can help you strengthen your bond and initiate further conversations on similar topics in the future.

While putting together a family vacation can be challenging, the trip itself shouldn’t be! Remaining open and flexible throughout the process from the beginning will set the foundation needed for an amazing getaway.

Why You're Dimming Your Light (And How To Stop)

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We’ve all heard a phrase similar to the following: Never dim your light for anyone. In theory, this statement is easy to accept and agree with. But what about in practice? What do you do when competition and jealousy begin to rear their head in your relationship? Here are some tips to ensure your date/partner appreciates and encourages you to shine bright.

  • Know Your Worth - Having a healthy sense of self-worth is important for your own wellness and personal satisfaction. With that being said, the way that you regard yourself can have a significant impact on your relationships. If you are unsure of yourself and insecure about your abilities, you may attract a partner that will exploit that. Focusing on confidence building help you feel more comfortable in your own skin, which can help you feel more attractive and help you attract the right mate.

  • Connect With Other Superstars - When the norm among your friends is to conform to predetermined expectations and diminish your greatness, it can be increasingly difficult to break free from that mold. Seek out connections with other women that are successful on the dating scene, while resisting the urge to sacrifice their happiness in the process.

  • Banish Your Fear - Fear of your inability to find a partner that will truly accept you for who you are often fuels temptation to scale down certain aspects of your personality, boundaries and successes. Instead of focusing on quantity, focus on quality instead. The last thing you want are a string of dates or partners that will encourage you to deny all the positive aspects of who you are. Instead of focusing on what you’re afraid of, make decisions based on your hopes, dreams and the potential for positive outcomes instead.

Healthy connections are always better than more connections. While they may be fewer in number, a healthy relationship will allow your light to grow and flourish more beautifully than you could ever imagine.

5 Healthy Ways To Baby-Proof Your Marriage

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After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (formerly known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) are now preparing to welcome a new baby into their lives. Making the transition from married couple to new parents is one that should not be taken lightly. Just as many relationship experts will tell you (including myself) preparation is the key to a successful long-term relationship and marriage. Beyond the wedding and the honeymoon, the more work you’ve done to prepare for this new position in life, the better. The same holds true for parenthood. It is easy to romanticize becoming a parent. Shopping for baby clothes, decorating the nursery, developing a birthing plan can be incredibly exciting. But no one is ever truly prepared for how bringing a new life into this world makes you feel. The stress and strain of a new baby can wreak havoc on your love life. It may even bring up issues from your own childhood that you have yet to heal from. While the transition from being a family of 2 to 3 can be challenging, here are some tips to get you through:

  1. Discuss your expectations - Whether we realize it or not, we all have expectations of reaching certain milestones in our lives. What parenthood looks and feels like will likely differ tremendously from what you had in mind. And partner’s response to a crying baby may surprise you even more! While it may seem premature, take the time to discuss some of the logistics you’ll need to sort out. How soon will you and your partner go back to work, if applicable? How will middle of the night feedings and diaper changes be divided up? When these scenarios have not been explored prior, your relationship can suffer tremendously.

  2. Rally your support network for help - Many new parents wait until they are in desperate need before considering reaching out for help. The problem is that when you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, you may be even less likely to seek out support. Before your new baby arrives, start the habit of accepting help from others when it is offered. Accepting assistance from others doesn’t always come naturally, but with practice and time it gets much easier.

  3. Find parenthood mentors - Balancing a healthy relationship with your spouse and a little one can be tough, but it is possible. Seek out other couples with children who have gotten through this stage of their marriage with their sanity in tact while continuing to prioritize their relationship. These mentors can give you fresh ideas to help you stay connected with your spouse when time and energy are in limited supply.

  4. Banish ideas of perfection - Trying to live up to ideals you’ve built up in your mind since childhood can definitely take it’s toll on your marriage. Your partner will never be the perfect parent and neither will you. Much of the beauty of parenthood will be experienced in imperfect situations and circumstances. Embrace that this time in your life may be messy and chaotic (and that’s ok!).

  5. Make a plan to prioritize your relationship - It’s not enough to simply state that you don’t want to lose that spark with your spouse. This will not happen magically and may not happen as spontaneously as it once did pre-baby. Whether a friend watches the baby while the two of you enjoy an uninterrupted dinner in another room or you plan a more elaborate date, do your best to commit some time to one another, however small.

Parenthood is a journey that can put a strain on any marriage, but committing to support one another throughout the process will help your relationship and your little one thrive.

5 Reasons To Keep Kondo-ing Out of Your Dating Life

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The minute I read Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up”, I was instantly inspired to sort through all of my belongings, ridding myself of all items that no longer brought me joy or peace in any way. I raided my closet, emptied my drawers and cleared out my nightstand that was overflowing with old mail and greeting cards. From there, I set my sights on the kitchen next, de-cluttering my refrigerator and pantry to ensure that each item I held onto served a very specific purpose for either myself or one of my family members.

Well in some cases, you can have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to managing your relationships. This new KonMari trend has now made an impact on the way some are approaching their relationships. The “Kondo-ing” dating trend takes a different spin on Kondo’s popular cleaning method, as partners drop their mates the moment they no longer spark joy. Here’s why eliminating someone from your life completely because they don’t bring you joy can spell disaster for your connections with others:

  1. You’re missing out on supporting them - If your partner is going through a difficult time at work or in other areas of their personal life, they may not have the emotional energy to “cheer up” or “relax and have a good time.” One of the benefits of having a relationship is for support when life’s circumstances challenge us. Instead of cutting them off completely and assuming you know the root cause, take the time to express your concern for their happiness and well-being.

  2. It sabotages your ability to commit - Any real, meaningful connection will be tested at one point or another. Cutting someone out of your life simply because you’ve had a disagreement robs you of the opportunity to sharpen your conflict resolution skills and create an even deeper connection with your significant other. When conflict arises, discuss your concerns and be open to hearing your partner’s. We can learn so much about ourselves and those around us when we are open to hearing other opinions.

  3. It stunts your personal growth - Sometimes you need to hear the cold, hard truth and it WON’T always “bring you joy”, but it can bring you a new outlook or perspective you hadn’t considered before. While you may think you want a partner that always says “yes” to any and everything you want, the ideal mate will challenge you to be your best self. Stepping into the fullness of who you are can be uncomfortable and an amazing partner will encourage you to do just that.

  4. It breeds resentment - Imagine living with a partner that has expressed that the moment you upset them, they will leave. The threat of abandonment in this case is incredibly cruel, one-sided and unhealthy. In fact, it’s not a relationship at all. Over time, this kind of arrangement will breed resentment and is prime for infidelity, as only one person’s needs are being met.

  5. It’s unrealistic - The reality is, there is no way that your partner will always bring you happiness. While the good times should certainly outweigh the bad, life changes and situations will arise that cause you to question what truly makes you happy to begin with. How can we expect our partners to bring us happiness when we are not always sure what that would entail? Saddling your partner with aiming for a moving target is unfair and a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

The real key to enjoying yourself and building healthy relationships is to bring yourself joy. So, instead of eliminating your partner the moment they do something to upset you, challenge yourself to examine the situation, your feelings about it and express that to your partner. By working through the issue together, you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.