12 Habits to Adopt to Make This Your Best Year Yet

http://www.juliehoyle.org

Many of us head into the New Year with big goals and ambitions. We think about everything that seems to be lacking in our lives and imagine ourselves far happier and more fulfilled on the other side of massive change.

There’s no denying that certain accomplishments can amp up our life satisfaction, but I’ve found that our daily habits are the biggest contributor to our happiness.

You can have a job that excites you, the best body of your life, and the perfect partner for you, but none of it will fully satisfy you if you don’t also prioritize the daily habits that nurture your overall well-being.

If you want to feel good about yourself and your life, you need to regularly do the things that make you feel peaceful, joyful, and alive.

With this in mind, I recently asked twelve Tiny Buddha contributors (all involved in our upcoming Best You, Best Life Bundle Sale) to share one habit worth adopting in the New Year. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Start the day with positive intentions.

“The moment I wake up, I do not move. I hold still for several minutes. I contemplate qualities I would like to offer for the day.

Then I silently repeat the following affirmations:

I offer this day peace.
I offer this day joy.
I offer this day enthusiasm.
I offer this day kindness…
(or whatever qualities I would like to offer on that day).

And I keep going until I feel I am done.

Some days are harder than others, especially if I wake up very early, still tired, with the prospect of a long day ahead.

However, this simple, pithy practice sets the right tone. It fills me with gratitude and it firmly places me on the right track.

From that point on, my day goes well, and everything aligns in the best and highest way possible, even if/as and when challenges arise.”

~Personal Growth Teacher Julie Hoyle (juliehoyle.org)

2. Practice mindfulness.

“For someone seeking a change in their life—to stop doing something destructive, to start doing something healthier, to become more confident, to step into the version of themselves they know they really are—the single best habit to cultivate is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the skill of paying attention on purpose to the present moment without judgment. This is the first step to change. It helps you recognize when you are doing the thing you want to change. It helps you understand when you are stuck. It helps you realize what you are really feeling and thinking.

It gives you the starting point of your map. You can recognize what is really happening—’Oh look, I jumped to the worst-case scenario again. That made me feel afraid and uncomfortable. So that’s why I am looking for an excuse not to go to the party.’

From here you are able to step outside those emotions of fear and discomfort and look at the situation objectively. From here, you can create change. You can challenge your thinking. You can reframe the situation. You can remind yourself of where you want to go. You can make a plan.

We so easily live on autopilot. That’s not because we are lazy. It’s simply the more efficient way for our brains to operate.

Create a habit, and you don’t have to think about what to do the next time that situation comes up. That frees up energy for your brain to do other things. But efficiency does not equal excellence. This autopilot way of living leads us to not notice what is really going on. Without mindful awareness, we get stuck in our feelings, we ruminate like a broken record, we keep making the same unhealthy choices over and over again.

It’s a very simple skill—to be aware. But there hasn’t been a strong biological or evolutionary need to cultivate this skill in order to survive which is why most of us do not have this skill naturally. We need to work on it. We need to repeat it over and over until it becomes a habit. But it is so worthwhile.

It’s actually a very subtle shift in your thinking, yet incredibly profound. Like standing under a waterfall, then taking one small step back out of the water and seeing the waterfall in front of you. Small step, big difference.”

~Stress and Anxiety Coach Sandra Wozniki (stressandanxietycoach.com)

3. Adopt a meditation practice.

“You know that feeling when you’ve been away from home for a while and then you finally walk in the door? It feels good, right? It’s hard to put into words, but something in your heart opens.

Home is a place where we can open because we feel safe, warm, and held. It’s a place where we know we can always come back to, no matter how long we’ve been away. There’s a feeling of belonging.

For me, meditation is like this. A returning home. As my mind begins to quiet, there’s an increasing sense of stillness that comes forward, and my heart responds. Stillness brings a sense of peace, clarity, stability, and a deep sense of connection and being held.

As we move through this life, we all crave that feeling of home. A foundation. A sense of belonging somewhere.

We often create a sense of home in the world, in a physical location, to recreate what’s fundamentally accessed through our heart.

Returning to stillness is a returning home at its most essential level.

In a world where we’re constantly bombarded by distractions, stimulation, dramas and conflict, it’s easy to forget what home feels like. Add to this a busy, emotionally reactive, and self-judging mind, and it’s easy to forget that a sense of home, peace, and warmth actually exists inside us.

It does!

Stillness is always there, in the background of our awareness, ready and waiting to support us, but our mind is usually too busy to notice it. And when there’s drama, turbulence or overwhelm in our life, stillness offers a very stable place to rest. But if we don’t train ourselves to know stillness, then when the drama and turbulence comes, stillness will be hard to find.

Meditation helps us remember and build our relationship to stillness by getting us out of our head and into our heart. The more we visit stillness through meditation the more it permeates us, which means it’s more available for us in everyday life.

So, when we’re in a stressful situation it’s a matter of letting stillness hold you.

Does this mean it will work every time? Not necessarily. But with consistent practice you’ll change your relationship to the things that trigger and drain you, because you’ve chosen to cultivate a different, more important relationship. A relationship to stillness.

And your heart is the bridge.”

~Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor Ben Fizell (peacekeeperproject.com)

4. Use mantras as affirmations.

“I’m a big fan of using mantras as affirmations. Sometimes life can feel as though it’s spinning out of control, and our minds can conjure up daunting scenarios that increase our stress levels and add to anxiety. A simple mantra can be super effective in helping to cut through the noise and bring us back to a single focal point.

One of my favorite go-to mantras is ‘I am safe. I am loved. I am good enough.’ I say this at least three times, further affirming the words with each repetition.

I recommend creating your own mantra using words that feel grounding for you. Keep it short—a sentence or two is plenty. Using affirming words (especially out loud) can create a healthy and empowering habit of self-awareness and self-care.”

~Author and Artist Skylar Liberty Rose (skylarlibertyrose.com)

5. Play in nature.

“How you play in nature is up to you. It might mean sitting in your yard, on a balcony, or even next to an open window and allowing yourself to revel in a tree’s stillness or a bird’s melody.

It might mean adventuring to a new neck of the woods, or ambling down a familiar path while taking the time notice all the little things we usually miss in our hurry or preoccupation: the soft, green moss; the startling blue tail of a lizard half-hidden under a rock; or the curious expression of a wren that’s watching you from the bush next to the trail.

Not only does playing in nature reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall health, but it can also help us find our way, both literally and figuratively.

It’s like Rumi says: ‘Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.’

We have so few chances in our everyday life to practice following our hearts, however, that most of us have forgotten how to do it. Wandering freely under the open sky, following our curiosity and desire, we learn how to let go of trying to arrive somewhere and discover the joy of simply taking the next step on our own unique path.

When I began to reconnect with the natural world, I couldn’t help but rediscover my own human nature: my true self, that is; the gifts I have to give the world and where I fit into the ecosystem of life.

Walking through the woods, I began to realize that just like every other living being on this planet, I have an important contribution to make; that when my mind finally grows quiet, I can hear a soft voice of wisdom telling me what that might be; and that if I listen to that voice, I too can—to borrow Mary Oliver’s phrase—take my place in the family of things.”

~Certified Integral Coach Meredith Walters (meredithwalters.com)

6. Try habit stacking.

“I highly recommend a self-care practice I call ‘habit stacking.’ This is taking several small habits and putting them all together in one time slot, i.e. first thing when you wake up.

For instance, you might begin by doing a short meditation, which would lead to drinking a quart of water, followed by ten minutes of stretches, and then maybe preparing a green drink. Habits are motivated by triggers, so each activity stimulates the desire in your body for the next one.

Do these regularly at the same time for a few weeks, and they will become engrained. Your habit stacks can work at any time, day or night, depending on when you want to create your own self-care zone.”

~Author and Speaker Suzanne Falter (suzannefalter.com)

7. Connect with your body daily.

“One habit worth adopting in the New Year is to start taking a few minutes every day to connect with your body. Pay attention to how it feels, to how you feel. Consider how you want to feel and what you can do to bridge the gap between the two if there is any.

This is super powerful because we get so caught up in obsessive thoughts about all the things we think we’re ‘supposed’ to be doing for our bodies (and usually end up not doing) that we never stop to just connect with and listen to what it actually needs.

This also works for mental health. If you wake up feeling down, angry, stressed, overwhelmed, (etc.), ask yourself, what does my head/heart/soul need today? Often, you’ll notice that you really just need a break. Give yourself that. Or maybe you need to find something that feeds your soul and gets you feeling passionate about something in life.

Too often we end up going through the motions of life living in survival mode simply because we’re so busy staying busy that we don’t stop long enough to figure out what we need to feel vibrant, joyful, and fulfilled.

If you struggle with healthy eating, take this one step farther by applying it to food. Take a second before you eat to ask yourself, how is it going to make me feel if I eat this? Do I want to feel that way? Why? This is a super powerful tool because it provides space between an auto-pilot impulse and the action that follows, to make a conscious choice based on what’s best for your body in that moment.

The other reason it’s super powerful is because it helps you to start noticing if/when you’re purposely punishing yourself with food.

If you go through those few quick questions and decide to purposefully eat something knowing it’s going to make you sick or to continue eating when you’re already full and know that eating more will make you sick, (and you don’t care), you’re punishing yourself with food. Beginning to recognize when that’s happening is the first step to learning how to change it.”

~Cognitive Behavior Coach Roni Davis (ronidavis.com)

8. Practice breathwork.

“One habit that I think could benefit many people is to incorporate some form of breathwork into their routine. That could be simple mindfulness meditation, box breathing, or some of the more advanced pranayama work in yoga—whatever works for you. From my experience, just a few minutes a day can have a profound impact on stress levels and your quality of life.

Whether you’re looking to be a stronger athlete, to support your mental health, to be a more present partner or friend, or be more productive at work, I can’t really think of any areas in life that aren’t improved by adopting a regular breathwork practice.”

~Movement Coach Luke Jones (heromovement.net)

9. Be selective about the news sources you tune into.

“It’s admirable to want to stay informed about current affairs, especially in an election year, but carefully choose news sources you trust and even then, limit your exposure. There’s no value in feeling indignant for half your day, having arguments on social media that you can never win, or getting angry over events or with people you have no control over. All that achieves is that you hand over your personal power to others who are more than happy to take it.”

~Certified Life Coach and NLP Master Practitioner Tim Brownson (adaringadventure.com)

10. Add gratitude to your “sorry’s.”

“I don’t just say, ‘I’m sorry.’ I also say, ‘Thank you.’ For example, instead of only saying, ‘I’m sorry I was late,’ I also say, ‘Thank you for waiting for me.’ And instead of merely saying, ‘I’m sorry I was sort of out of it the other day,’ I also say, ‘Thank you for being there for me both during good times—and my not so good times.’

This subtle shift helps me to feel better about my human glitches. Plus, it also winds up improving my relationships—because I’m sharing my appreciation with people, and gratitude is a good heart connector.”

~Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Designer Karen Salmansohn (notsalmon.com)

11. Talk to strangers.

“One habit worth adopting in 2020 is talking to strangers. This is a habit I started picking up in 2010, and it has been the best change I’ve ever made in my life.

Our relationships are probably the second most important determinant of our well-being, trailing only behind our health. All relationships and interactions—including the ones with strangers—play a massive impact on how much you enjoy each moment.

By talking to strangers, you’ll improve your social skills, get better at connecting with people, and you’ll learn how to enjoy any moment with random people. When you’re able to go to a book club, a bar, or a work conference by yourself and have a good time, your life improves drastically.”

~Blogger Rob Riker (thesocialwinner.com)

12. Get more and better sleep.

“I have come to learn that the quality of our sleep dictates almost everything in our lives! It has an effect on our mental state, our physical health, our attitudes toward things, our relationships, and ultimately our success in each area of life.

Sleep has taken a back seat in the world of healthy living with exercise and nutrition being in the spotlight. But all the evidence points to sleep being the foundation of our overall health.

Science has shown that if we sleep poorly, we eat poorly and exercise poorly too. If we sleep well, we make better decisions, choose better foods, can exercise more effectively, and we can ultimately live a more rewarding, impact, and successful life. It has a domino effect.”

~Life and Performance Coach Brendan Baker (startofhappiness.com)

Do you already practice any of these habits? And are there any habits you’d add to the list?

**If you haven’t already signed up for the 31-Day Healthier You Challenge, you can download a PDF here. After you submit your email address, you’ll be entered to win a free Best You, Best Life Bundle, which includes 20 life-changing tools, valued at close to $1,900, on passion, purpose, self-care, love, and more! The winner will be notified this Thursday, January 2nd—which is also when the bundle will be available for purchase.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Find Your Creative Calling: The Long-Awaited Book from Chase Jarvis

Life isn’t about “finding” fulfillment and success—it’s about creating it. You don’t discover your life purpose without trying a lot of different things.

But how can you be more creative? How can you cultivate a daily practice of creativity?

The answers to these questions can be found in a new book, Creative Calling. It’s out now and available wherever books are sold, including Amazon of course, but also your local bookseller. (I love to support local stores.)

It begins with three premises, which are then outlined in much more detail throughout the book:

  1. You are creative by nature, endowed with a near limitless capacity to make and grow new things.
  2. Accessing this capacity requires a kind of creative muscle that must be strengthened to achieve your full potential.
  3. By identifying as a creative person, accepting the world around you as your canvas, and manifesting your ideas regularly, you will intuitively create the life you truly want for yourself.

Different people will respond differently to each of those points. For me, I relate the most to the third one. I’ve been manifesting my ideas (i.e. actually making them happen, not just thinking about them) for at least a decade.

There’s a direct connection between the creative work I do and the life I’m constantly trying to create. It’s not a one-and-done kind of thing; like the second point suggests, you have to access your creative capacity on a regular basis. And when you do, the rewards are well worth it.

I’ve known Chase for years. I’ve done courses with his company, Creative Live. I’ve been a guest on his popular show Chase Jarvis Live. He’s spoken at WDS and later returned to give every attendee a free class.

I got to read an advance version a month or two ago, but now I’m diving in again with the published version.

Go pick up a copy!

Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.

Image courtesy of Riccardo Annandale.

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The post Find Your Creative Calling: The Long-Awaited Book from Chase Jarvis appeared first on Positively Positive.

Life out of Balance? Put Yourself Back on the List.

“I know one thing for sure. It is impossible to find one’s own balance from the outside in. I now know beyond a doubt that finding—and maintaining—our balance is an inside job.” – Lu Hanessian

When you’re at home with your family, you have a running list. Change the baby, feed the toddler, teach the preschooler to pick up her toys, get the elementary schooler to do his homework, help the tween braid her hair, negotiate with the teen, make dinner, fold laundry, pay the bills, email your boss, connect with your partner… the list never stops. But have you fallen off your own list?

The only way to keep your cup full in the constant vortex of parenting is to tend to yourself even while you tend to your child. Throughout your day, can you make it a priority to check in with yourself?

Often, we’re surprised to realize that we deny our desires automatically, without even noticing it. Maybe we’d love a cup of tea while we help our child with that project but “it’s too much trouble.” Maybe we really need a hug or a good cry. Maybe we’re tempted to pick up a crayon and enjoy expressing our creativity while our child is coloring, but we’d feel silly. Or maybe we simply need a quick visit to the bathroom, but we routinely wait until we absolutely can’t delay any longer.

Starting today, put what you need on the list and do it as soon as you can. Yes, it is possible. Here’s how.

1. Today, at the same time that you’re taking care of your child, check in with yourself.

Notice what you need. Is there anything you can give yourself right now that would help you stay in balance? Sure, you need to tend to your child. But tend to yourself at the same time, or as soon as possible. At each moment there is some small thing that would nurture you physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Find it and give it to yourself.

If there’s something important that you really need but you aren’t getting, like sleep, make a plan. Let’s say your infant wakes up all night and you have a toddler to tend to during the day. It’s not doing your toddler any good for you to drag yourself through your life feeling resentful. You don’t need to be a martyr. Figure out a way to get the help you need, even just a step in the right direction. That will give you the momentum to take another step.

2. Make it a habit to tune into yourself as often as possible throughout your day.

When we’re distracted, children act out to get us to come back into the moment to connect with them. When we’re more present, they respond by wanting to “follow” us.

Simply being present with yourself is an essential form of “attention” that we all need. If you work outside the home, this is usually easier to do in the course of the day, but most of us don’t do it. We get hooked on the adrenaline of rushing. But you’ll be better at your job if you get into the habit of being more present. And if you’re home with children, it’s essential.

How to become more present? Just take a deep breath and let it flood your body with well-being. Breathe in calm, breathe out stress. Shift out of your thinking and into your senses: Notice the light on the leaves, the smell of the rain, the curve of your child’s cheek, the lilt of her laugh. Then, make it a habit. Breathing and noticing beauty are two reliable doorways to presence.

Before you pick up your child at daycare, or walk into the house, stop.

Take a deep breath and ask yourself “What do you need right now, My Love?” Listen to whatever answer pops up. Make a deal with yourself about when you can meet that need, and how you will do it. For instance, if the answer you hear is “Comfort” you’ll want to find a way to work some snuggle time with your child and/or your spouse into your evening. If the answer is “A break!” you may want to order pizza for dinner and put everyone to bed early so you can take a long bath.

Of course, if you get the same answer every day, you may need to make some structural changes in your life.

4. Slow down and show up.

Often we’re so focused on the list that we forget to really live. But this is the only chance you get in this body, and your child really will be grown in the blink of an eye. If you’re too busy to revel in your child’s natural joy, you’re turning up your nose at the fuel that keeps you going as a parent. What happened to that joyful, exuberant person inside you? He or she is your antidote to burnout. Yes, your family and household will demand every moment you have. But many of those moments are full of joy, if you choose to simply enjoy them, and let the pressure go for a bit. Your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to soak in every moment of goodness you can.

5. Parent yourself.

Whose job is it to nurture you? Yours. Spouses, partners, friends and families are companions on the journey, but we can only take in from them what we’re able to give to ourselves. If you weren’t nurtured enough as a little one, this may take some learning. Start by talking to yourself like someone you love. Nurture yourself through the hard times. Acknowledge just how hard it all is, and how hard you try. You don’t need to be perfect. You are more than enough, exactly as you are. You deserve all the tenderness you would shower on a newborn baby.

Giving that love to ourselves transforms our parenting–and our lives. Ok, so when the baby’s crying and you yourself need a good cry, it’s true that the baby comes first. But tuning into yourself and embracing yourself with love at the same time–and crying, if you need to–will make you both feel better.

For today, just notice your internal barometer as you put yourself back on your list. One is depleted, 10 is a full cup. How are you doing? What one thing can you do right now to give yourself more support?

Dr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of The Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life.

Image courtesy of Gustavo Torres.

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Why You Have to Share What You Really Feel and Want in Relationships

“Any relationship that could be ‘ruined’ by having a conversation about feelings, standards, or expectations wasn’t really firm enough anyway, so there isn’t much to ruin.” ~Unknown

So many of us believe that not expressing ourselves is a noble thing to do. We get to feel stoic and in control. Others get emotional and overwhelmed while we can keep it together. The idea that we are strong because we don’t express our feelings is also socially reinforced, so we keep doing it because it’s the right thing to do, right?

Not quite.

In my previous article “The Negative Impact of Not Feeling Your Feelings,” I explained how feelings are not problems or evidence that we are broken but merely there to guide us toward greater well-being. They are a reflection of our state of mind, and they try to alert us when we engage in unhelpful or even harmful thinking. We then have the opportunity to realign with what’s good, healthy, and nurturing for us.

Based on the many questions and messages I received following that article, I now want to explore what happens to our relationships when we withhold our truth and inhibit our feelings.

So, first of all we need to look at what is required to create a healthy and loving relationship.

Relationships thrive in an environment of emotional safety, openness, and authenticity. This means that both people involved need to feel safe with each other, be safe for each other, and be willing to express themselves openly and authentically.

Many of us did not grow up in households where this was allowed or possible. We learned that expressing ourselves can lead to humiliation, shaming, and rejection. This kind of distress can be unbearable for a child, so we learned to inhibit ourselves.

But what keeps us safe as children usually negatively impacts our lives as adults. Inhibition now stops us from creating healthy relationships and developing true intimacy, something most of us value more than anything else.

We inhibit ourselves every time we do not speak up or stand up for ourselves. In relationships, we often inhibit ourselves by hiding our feelings and therefore withholding what is true for us. We go along with what the other person wants whether we really want to or not.

This is a direct block to intimacy. When we are not open or honest with what we are feeling and what is going on for us, we deprive others of the opportunity to really get to know us.

However, we only do this because we believe that this is the way to be in relationships. It’s part of our relationship blueprint, the model of relationship we’ve inherited and internalized. In our eyes, we do what is right and what is required to maintain a connection. It is, after all, the very thing that allowed us to maintain our attachment bond during childhood.

We learned that in order to have a relationship, we must not express ourselves or share our feelings. We believe that our feelings are problems for others and expressing them would threaten the relationship, and that’s the thing we don’t want to lose. So, by that logic, inhibition is the way to go.

And that is true for unhealthy, superficial, or unfulfilling relationships. It just doesn’t work if you want to have healthy, intimate, fun, and overall life-enhancing relationships.

I learned this the hard way …

All my life I struggled to express myself in relationships. I struggled to ask for what I wanted and express how I felt. I didn’t communicate or set boundaries but felt betrayed if they were disrespected or violated. I had lots of different expectations that I never shared but felt absolutely heartbroken if they weren’t met.

In my eyes, I was easy to be with because I didn’t ask for anything. I didn’t complain and I wasn’t demanding. I didn’t nag. I kept my feelings to myself and avoiding confrontation and conflict. But I could only believe that because I was not aware of the consequences of my behavior, which in the end would lead to the breakdown of my relationships.

Not expressing myself in my relationships meant that I did not consider myself. This in itself is a disastrous starting point because a relationship requires two healthy participating individuals. There simply is no relationship if one person is pretty much non-existent.

But not considering myself also put pressure on my partner to consider me in a way that was highly unrealistic. Knowing what I know now, this was never his sole responsibility. It was always mine. It is my job in a relationship to stand in my truth and express it so that my partner and I can co-create a relationship that works for both of us.

It is also pretty impossible to consider someone well enough when you don’t know what they want or how they feel because they simply don’t share that with you. So this was a strategy that was never going to work. However, at that time in my life, I believed that my partner should know what I wanted or how I felt without me having to express it. A fatal lie of the mind.

In healthy relationships, we teach each other about ourselves. We teach each other as we continuously grow and change by expressing what is going on for us. We tell each other what we like and what we don’t like. We share our feelings and how we impact upon each other. We are open to each other’s feedback so we can adjust if we choose to do so.

This is how we create an environment for ourselves and each other that is nurturing, respectful, and loving. It is a perfect environment for well-being and growth, but it is one we must create ourselves by expressing what is true for us. There simply is no other way.

We often stop ourselves from expressing what is true for us to keep the peace and maintain the relationship, but a relationship that cannot handle your truth is not a relationship you should be in.

As adults, we are not dependent on any one person the way we were dependent as children. Our survival is no longer dependent on a caregiver. We now depend on ourselves. Our well-being depends on us making wise choices for ourselves, and that includes the people we choose to have in our lives. Those people should be people who are safe for us and who love the full version of us.

I used to believe that withholding my truth by inhibiting my feelings and desires meant that I was a good partner and easy to be with. I felt good about the role I was playing. I thought I did the right thing. It also allowed me to keep relationships going.

But I kept relationships going that weren’t meant for me (and quite possibly not for my partners either). I presented a version of myself that was inauthentic. I did not contribute myself—not fully, not authentically. I withheld my truth and in doing so, I deprived my partners of truly choosing me. They got the superficial version of me. A Stepford Wife version that was a lie. It was dishonest.

I didn’t understand that a healthy relationship requires openness, authenticity and honest self-expression. That was something that has never been part of my relationship blueprint. It was not something that had ever been allowed or encouraged in the past.

And so, I followed my pattern. I desperately wanted a healthy relationship, but it looked like it just wasn’t going to happen for me.

I couldn’t have what I wanted because I didn’t ask for it, and others didn’t consider me because I didn’t provide them with anything to consider. I relied on their guesses, which were usually wrong. I put my responsibility for my own well-being onto my partners and made myself dependent on their best guesses, which was never going to work out well for anyone.

I am now a fierce advocate for self-expression. Self-expression as a way to well-being and healthy connections. Self-expression as an expression of self-care, self-respect, and self-love. Self-expression as the gateway to real, raw, and deep intimacy.

Maybe, like ‘old me’, you believe that censoring yourself and inhibiting your feelings is good for your partner or your relationship. Maybe you feel stronger or tougher for doing so. Maybe you’ve never given it any thought before, and that’s okay.

But please know that you are worthy of expressing yourself. You need to take up space. Your feelings and desires matter. They can’t matter to anyone if they don’t matter to you first.

A healthy relationship requires you to be in it. All of you. You cannot experience deep connection and intimacy if you are not there for it. You cannot make good partner choices if you’re not honest with yourself or consider yourself.

It is time to free yourself from old patterns that stop you from getting the love you want. It’s time to finally let yourself be heard and be seen. And all of that starts with you. Say yes to self-expression! Get honest with yourself about how you feel and what you want and don’t want.

That is how you become safe for yourself and safe to be in a healthy relationship with.

About Marlena Tillhon-Haslam

Marlena loves people and life and is passionate about finding ways to make our human experience as fulfilling as possible. She works as a psychotherapist, relationship coach, and Clinical Director. She loves to connect on Instagram or via her Love with Clarity and Codependency Today Facebook groups and pages. She is an expert in human relationships and sees them as the lifeblood of a meaningful existence.

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The post Why You Have to Share What You Really Feel and Want in Relationships appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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