Valentine’s Day invites us to think about love and relationships, perhaps more than any other time of the year. Whether single or coupled off, we are reminded of the deep longings within each of us.
Here are some of the core longings we share as human beings:
To be seen completely, for all that we are
To be accepted entirely, for who we are
To be loved unconditionally, regardless of our faults
To be securely attached, always and forever
These (very natural and inescapable) longings speak to our need for connection with another. Research indicates that individuals that report feeling safely and securely attached to their intimate partner, also report greater confidence and lower levels of depression and anxiety. Essentially, the more connected we feel, the easier it is for us to explore the world around us, take risks and live passionately.
So if connection is so central, why is it so elusive to many of us?
What if I told you the answer is in the mirror? Not quite what you wanted to hear, right? Believe me, I cringe every time I realize that my problem is not everyone around me, but me. It’s a pitiful truth.
Here’s the good news: your solution is also you. I firmly believe that we can transform our lives and the quality of all our relationships by transforming ourselves. One small change at a time, we can all have the love we want.
How do you transform your relationship by transforming yourself? Be the absolute best version of yourself. Simple. Okay, easier said than done, I know, but it’s worth a try!
I invite you to take a 30 day challenge with me this Valentine’s Day. For the next 30 days…
FOCUS ON POSITIVES
Our mind is a fascinating creation. The more we focus on negatives, the more pronounced those negatives become. The more we focus on positives, the more obvious and important they become. Shine the spotlight on the positive qualities that first attracted you to your spouse and that you continue to appreciate about her/him. Ignore his/her annoying habits; you are likely getting yourself worked up over something that may never change.
Relationships, in the real world anyway, take work and a whole lot of patience. Did you know that over 80% of the issues couples argue about might never get resolved? Even more important is that even though so many issues go unresolved (parenting ideas, how clean to keep the house, how to spend our money), couples are still able to report marital satisfaction despite their long list of differences. The key is connection. When you feel connected, you can let these issues roll off your back. Don’t let the issues of everyday life rob you from enjoying your partner and the gift of relationship. Practice patience by accepting that differences are a normal part of any relationship and don’t let them get in the way of connecting with your loved one.
How incredible would it be if your partner constantly put your needs above her/his own? Sounds like the ideal relationship, right? Could you imagine what it would be like for your partner if you practiced putting his/her needs above your own? For the next 30 days, pick one selfless gift you can give your partner (watch his favourite show with him, give her a night off chores, surprise him at work with his favourite lunch) each day that shows you are committed to her/his happiness. Acts of kindness are a very common love language and go unpracticed far too often.
Try this challenge in other-centeredness for the next 30 days and watch your relationship change. I would love to hear your feedback over the next month!