I began writing this piece on relationships as a social media post. The words started to flow as I sat down to write about my thoughts on “the key to easier relationships.” Before I knew it, my social media post expanded. I’m happy to share it with you here.
You see, I’d become triggered by a few posts I read earlier in the week about relationships being “hard.” My trigger inspired me to share some compelling thoughts on what I’ve been learning about relationships this past year, in hope, it offers new insight for you too.
I’ve heard phrases such as:
“Relationships, friendships, or family are hard work.”
“Marriage is hard.”
“Raising children is the toughest thing you’ll ever do.”
I became triggered because I’m guilty of saying (and living) these very same phrases in my lifetime. This post isn’t about arguing the fact that relationships can be difficult times in our lives, but rather to bring attention to the human-ness in all of us. Bringing awareness around the thoughts and language, we use daily and how we may not be considering how they contribute to our reality.
At least, I know this was the case for me!
The Power of Choice
The other side of our human-ness that gets often gets overlooked is our power of choice. Choice in our thoughts, choice in our communication, our language choice, our actions, and reactions.
I’ve witnessed what happens when I change my phrasing from “hard work” to “easy” and make the time to slow down and define my relationships values together with my hubby, family, and friendships- as a unit.
• We make more of an effort to live in clarity and alignment with those values, and our relationship flows more smoothly.
• We clearly define our expectations and focus less on judgment, while cultivating more love and gratitude toward each other.
We become what we think.
Have you heard it said before, “we become what we think”?
That’s because consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously we are continually providing our mind the reality that plays out with the thoughts and feelings behind our beliefs. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between truth, make-believe, or the stories we feed it.
Most of us live life re-telling our minds all the difficulties that we experience, and in doing so, they replay on loop. Even in our relationships.
It searches for past evidence based on what we’ve told it before and information we continue to feed it, because that’s what it knows to be true until we say differently.
Isn’t that fascinating?
I can’t help but geek out over the fact that our thoughts and emotions are in our control at all times – even when we don’t think they are.
We all have the power to change our minds, refocus our thoughts and energies, and make significant changes happen in our lives. Often where we didn’t see the option before!
Using language like “hard, hardest thing ever, challenging, toughest thing ever, difficult” is based on judgments of self and others.
Don’t worry, it’s normal. In fact, our brain is either sorting, deleting, distorting, or generalizing all of the information it receives. Judgment is a normal function of the brain to complete these cycles.
The only time we, as humans stop judging, is upon our final breath.
BUT we can become more aware of our thoughts and initiate our ability to choose, reframe, and retrain our mind with less judgment. Since emotions and beliefs begin with a thought; we change our thoughts, we can improve our feelings and opinions!
Uncovering the Key
I think WE make them harder for ourselves with our expectations, unclear/ lack of communication, and undefined values together. When we assume to know and haven’t verbally defined what each other wants from the relationship and what those definitions mean to us, we create conflict and friction over time.
At least, that’s the key I’ve been uncovering this past year for myself.
I’ve been open to improving the places in my life that I can up-level my inner game. I’m up-leveling what I’m making things mean, my self-talk, and how I communicate with others. I’m paying attention to the words that come out of my mouth, what I think, and what I’m noticing in my energy and choices. I’m especially paying attention to how those things affect the world around me.
It’s not a perfect process. I mess up. I stumble. I forget, and I’m right back to the conditioned responses I created for myself through decades of autopilot. I’m human. When it flows, though, oh how sweet it is to speak my truth, be heard, understood, and non-confrontational.
Through this process, I’ve discovered how foreign and new it feels to speak words that express my thoughts, feelings, and requests outloud; no longer assuming they’re known. How surprising it is to realize how robust and clear my conversation, communication, and voice becomes when my expectations are clear.
Key To Clear Communication in Relationships
Using my key to clear communication as a compass, I’ve navigated through difficult conversations. I’ve been able to avoid defensive responses and practice more literal vs. implied language.
Implied language is saying one thing and implying another. It’s unclear language that confuses and bases itself on the assumption and expectation of having your partner be your mind reader.
I’m guilty of using it, and it’s dangerous left unchecked!
Think about it: how often do we expect our partner, friend, kids to “know” what we’re thinking or what we mean? OR we get worked up by a making a comment mean something more than it does.
Example; Hubby comes home and says “Wow, the house is a mess!” He’s expressing that the house is messy and seeing where he plays a part in that. Unfortunately, the wife reacts with an undertone of ‘how dare you,’ makes everything about her, and begins listing all the reasons the house is messy. She’s taking all of it on as her fault and being defensive, festering on the ‘how dare you’ vibe.
All that’s happening here is she’s not expressing her feelings about what she thought his comment meant and how she’d prefer the conversation to go. This dynamic can happen in any relationships and rolls can be reversed.
Have you ever been there?
The confusion of using implied language
What’s happening in this scenario of implied language vs. literal language? It’s in the danger zone of what we make things mean, causing anger, frustration, and hurt feelings. Over time that can negatively impacts any relationship.
Assumption and expectation can happen for many reasons:
- We’ve gotten lazy in our communications.
- We’ve never learned HOW to communicate effectively.
- We get defensive when we make everything about us.
- We don’t know how to ask for what we need in a way to be heard and understood.
There’s a better way. Wouldn’t it be better to get a “receipt” and know for sure that each other is crystal clear on what we’re saying and requesting without taking defense or shutting down in conversation?
Which areas have a potential for improvement when we apply these concepts? For that matter, where else can we step up and create change in our own lives to help us work through that which keeps us stuck?
So often the areas of lack and deficit, anger and frustration in our lives come from thought patterns and beliefs we’ve created for ourselves over time. We blame others and outside circumstances for everything that goes wrong and rarely consider we could be part of our problem. (Ouch- right??)
It all begins with our thoughts.
Reality is, when we take 100% responsibility in our choices and actions, we have the power to break old patterns and beliefs.
After all, emotions don’t exist without the thoughts that proceed them!
What a different world we’d live in if everyone took responsibility and used tools to lessen expectation and judgment, improve communication, and live in alignment with our defined personal values!!
Perfection doesn’t exist: we are fabulously flawed humans! Our beauty IS in our imperfection.
There’s no perfect human- no perfect relationship- no perfect language- no perfect looks- no perfect actions- no perfect life.
…BUT there’s BETTER!!
When we up-level our inner game, we can better choose and take responsibility for ourselves. We learn a better way to maneuver through life with less conflict, anger, judgment, and expectation of self and others. We experience less frustration, replacing all of it with more awareness, love of self and others, more gratitude, appreciation, and a willingness to create the change we desire in life.
A work in progress.
There’s a false belief that life coaches have it all figured out and in life coaching, we give advice.
On the contrary! We all have our issues to work through and storms in life that roll our way. Coaches have experienced the value of looking within and witnessed a positive change in their lives.
My passion for understanding how our brain processes information, produces a desire within me to no longer shove down and stuff my emotions and pain. As I work on me, I dig deeper within and break old patterns and beliefs. The process can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable at times (which is why people avoid it). It’s easier to distract ourselves in a multitude of ways than to dive into our emotions.
Society teaches us that showing emotion is wrong; that we need to suck it up and shove it down to get through it. Don’t reach out for help because that shows weakness. We remain stuck and unhappy, blaming everything and everyone for our unhappiness.
We look for happiness as if its a destination to travel too instead of what already exists within us.
I know because I’ve been there!
I’ve learned to tap in and use tools to manage my irritations, make choices, face fears, and take massive action to create change in my life. In doing so, I’ve come to recognize that unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling as noticing of times of growth.
That growth becomes a journey of learning, testing, and retesting in life. I’ve discovered how much better life can be when you improve yourself. When you heal yourself, you can then show others what’s possible!
Life is like an ocean
An ocean with many energies and tides that shift, expand, contract, swell, and calm. When we have someone to help us navigate the unpredictable waters, the voyage becomes smoother and less frightening. As a coach, that’s what I do for you.
I help you – the client, navigate the waters by connecting you with the answers already inside. Clues that you were unable to see at the moment. If you were, you’d be able to find the solution to the problem or conflict you’re facing and solved it already.
With practice, perseverance, and application with what you learn, life becomes sweeter and the journey smoother. Everything becomes learning.
Want to know more about applying your key to clear communication and improve the relationships in your life? I can help you get there. Let’s chat!
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I hope this article serves you with more insight into relationships and self-discovery. Comment below; I’d love to hear how it resonates with you.
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