Special Exercises to Help You and Your Partner Grow Together

If we want to help our partner to change, we must change. There is no other way. And more: unless we’re exceptionally blessed, it’s unlikely our partner has the same wish that we do: to keep growing and exploring a love that, at the start, was filled with surprising changes, but that has lost some of that sparkle because one, or both of us has stopped changing.

All this is to say: odds favor you’re the one who will have to initiate the work needed to refresh your relationship. No problem. You’ll find everything you need to get started in the special relationship exercises that follow. They are designed to work in a two-fold way.

Part one unfolds as you initiate the first action and receive the revelation that will help make changes in you. The second part of the exercise happens as your partner sees and experiences this change in you. When you no longer act toward them in the old way, they can’t help but see their own mechanical nature that only knows the “old way” to react to you.

In effect, your new actions help to reveal their old limitations so that – for a moment, anyway – and to whatever degree it occurs, your partner suddenly sees the need to change!

If ever there was a real “win-win” situation, a way for two people to realize the highest possibilities a relationship can offer, this is it. @guy_finley (Click to Tweet!)

Exercise #1: Look within yourself before you “speak out”

Let’s say you’re with your partner and you see something in their character that “strikes a familiar nerve” in you. Maybe it’s impatience, an obvious pretense, or just the unpleasant tone in their voice when they say something unkind or otherwise painful to your ear. There are so many options here, but suffice it to say that it’s whatever “stone” they seem to put in your shoe in that moment.

You feel a sudden negative reaction come up in you, generally attended by an unspoken thought along the lines of “there they go again.” As a rule, the next thing that happens is you feel obligated give this negative feeling a voice. After all, if you don’t point out their misstep how will they know they’ve stepped out of line, let alone how they’ve troubled you?

But now thanks to your studies you understand that whatever you feel compelled to point out to your partner causes them to immediately oppose you, pushing your observation away at the same time. So that rather than taking your habitual place in this old pattern – you meet the moment with your new intention: you look within yourself before you “speak out.” And what do you see?

Call it what you will, there stands revealed some kind of pain; perhaps anger, an old resentment, a sense of disappointment. By whatever name, it’s negative. But you’re not…and here’s why: your new awareness of this unconscious nature is the same as your freedom from its compulsion to prove itself right.

Your conscious struggle to bear its pressure in you – to not let it push you to speak its pain – is the same as sparing your partner the brunt of its dark nature.

You are changed on the spot because now – thanks to the exercise of looking within before you speak out – you can now see, clearly, who you can no longer agree to be.

In the meantime, actually at the same time of your revelations, your partner is watching you. It may not seem so, but in the same moment of their misstep they could feel your negative reaction. Even if you think you masked it for fear of an unwanted encounter, your partner feels that dark energy. It unconsciously registers within them, creating an opposing reaction. So your partner is waiting, albeit unaware that they’re preparing to defend themselves from what they think you’re about to say!

But not a contrary word slips out of your mouth. You’re busy learning about yourself, and your silence is deafening to them. It’s giving your partner the momentary room – and the freedom ­– they need to see that the only thing punishing them at the moment is their own defensive thoughts and feelings. They’re ready to fight…but your silence has left them no one to fight with! They’re left alone with their pain, with no one they can blame for its mounting pressure. This new awareness is the same as their realization of a limitation in their nature they would have never seen otherwise. What was concealed is revealed, and the healing can begin because now your partner has seen the need to change.

Exercise #2: Drop your end of this unseen tug-of-war

All forms of competition between partners breed conflict, especially in the unconscious form that it takes in what seems – on the surface – to be a casual conversation.

It all starts as simply as you wanting to tell your partner about something that you did that day; perhaps to share an insight you gained, or just to talk through some condition at work or at home that’s concerning you.

No more do you finish your sentence – or at times, right in the middle of your words – than your partner interrupts you. They’ve decided to change the topic – on the spot – to one that’s obviously more interesting than whatever it was you had to say. They start talking about themselves!

Now maybe you show it, maybe you don’t, but you’re hurt. So you do one of two things: you either pull the conversation back in the direction you intended it to go, or you sit there, tune out your partner, and have a dialogue with yourself about how all your partner can do is think about themselves.

Of course, you could tell your partner about how self-centered they are by always hogging the spotlight but, as a rule, they’ll just take your comments as proof that you want the stage all to yourself. If you want things to change, to end this unseen tug-of-war between the two of you, then try the following exercise.

The next time you begin to talk about yourself to your partner and they step in front of you – in order to talk about themselves – don’t compete for the stage. Let them have the center spotlight.

Don’t compete with them. Allow them the room they need to complete feeding the unconscious parts of themselves that believe they’re the only thing that matters in this world.

Don’t contest their solo performance. And, to the best of your ability, don’t judge it either. Instead, witness it and yourself at the same time. You’ll see that most of the pain you feel in these moments isn’t because your partner wants to steal the show, but rather because you want the same thing that they do: some attention.

We all want to be the main attraction, and some seem to need it more than others. The more clearly you see this, the less interest you’ll have in the parts of yourself that always want to fight for that part.

On the other side of this equation, by giving your partner the stage all to themselves, you help make it possible for them to see how empty it is to be on it all by themselves. They may not change their “act” all at once; in fact, it’s unlikely. But, for your choice to no longer compete for the “top spot,” you’re awarded the “Freedom” prize for best supporting actor.

***

Today marks the end of a lifetime of searching. It’s your turn to be one of the very few men and women — perhaps 1 in 100,000 — who have found the greatest treasure on earth. Announcing the worldwide release of best selling author Guy Finley’s new book Relationship Magic… Waking Up Together. Here’s your chance to master an extraordinary kind of wisdom that guarantees your relationships are always fresh, spontaneous, affectionate, incorruptible — and above all, truly loving… PLUS: Today Only — we’ve made special arrangements for you to receive 3 free gifts, including the full audiobook read by the author. Go to https://www.relationshipmagicbook.com for more details.

Excerpted from Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018)

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Guy Finley is the acclaimed author of more than 35 books and audio programs on the subject of self-realization, several of which have become international best sellers. His popular works, published in 17 languages, are widely endorsed by doctors, professionals, and religious leaders of all denominations. Among many others, his popular titles include: Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together, The Secret of Letting Go, Design Your Destiny, The Lost Secrets of Prayer, Apprentice of the Heart, and Let Go and Live in the Now. Finley is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in Southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. Visit www.guyfinley.org for a wealth of free helpful information, free audio and video downloads, and to request your free Self-Improvement Starter Kit.

Image courtesy of Mayu Gala.

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The post Special Exercises to Help You and Your Partner Grow Together appeared first on Positively Positive.

How to Love Yourself Through Cancer or Any Other Terrifying Diagnosis

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” ~Frank Lane

One minute your life is just humming along, and out of nowhere you’re hit with a devastating diagnosis. Cancer.

Believe me, I know what it’s like to get the news you have cancer and to live with the trauma that follows, because I’m not only a licensed psychotherapist, I’ve been treated for both breast cancer and leukemia.

I know how that diagnosis changes everything. I know how the world around you can still look the same, but suddenly you feel like a stranger in your own life.

You have trouble getting up in the morning. You have trouble getting to sleep. When you finally get to sleep you’re jolted awake by nightmares. Or maybe you sleep all the time. You can’t eat, or you can’t stop eating.

You’re drinking too much. You’re smoking too much. You’re terrified, exhausted, and have no idea how you’re going to get through the next few hours, let alone the days, or weeks ahead.

When I was going through chemo for breast cancer, I read all the books about surviving cancer I could get my hands on. I talked to my oncologist and to other women going through the same thing, trying to find the way to “do cancer right.”

I worried myself sick that I would get things wrong, until a friend said, “You know, everybody does things differently. Just find what works for you, and do that.” Those words changed everything for me.

I realized there wasn’t “a right way” to do cancer. There was just the way that worked best for me.

I believe it’s the same for you. No matter what kind of diagnosis you’re facing, it’s up to you to find what works for you and do that.

To get you through those tough first days, I’m offering you some thoughts and techniques that worked for me. I hope some of them will work for you, too.

Be Gentle With Yourself

When you’re going through a tough time, you may not have the time or energy keep up your usual self-care routine. So, why not let the big things go and start looking for little things you can do instead?

If you can’t get to the gym, go out for a ten-minute walk at lunch. If you don’t have time to cook a nutritious dinner, add a salad or vegetable to your take-out order.

Instead of trying to check things off your to-do list, think of ways to make life easier for yourself. If you don’t have time to do something yourself, hire someone, or ask for help.

Focus on what’s best for you, and that means speaking up for yourself. If you don’t have the time or energy to do something, say “no,” and don’t feel guilty about it.

Find the Joy

Be sure to do something you love every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes: sit on a beach, gaze at the stars, read a book, go for a walk, watch a funny You Tube video or TV show. Smile when you can and laugh as often as possible, because laughter connects you with the world in a way that eases anxiety and heals the heart.

Affirm Courage, Love, and Safety

What you say to yourself matters. And when you’re going through a tough time, positive self-talk can make a real difference in how you think and feel.

When I was struggling to find even one positive thought, I found it really helpful to focus on powerful affirmations instead. So, if you find yourself spiraling downward into the depths of negativity, try the following process to break that cycle.

Healing Affirmations

Begin by saying your name out loud. Then remind yourself that you’re safe and secure in the moment. Let that feeling soak all the way in to your belly and your bones.

Once you feel safe, affirm:

“I have the spirit, will, and courage to meet any challenge ahead.”

“I can handle anything, one step at a time.”

“I am always surrounded and protected by light and love.”

“I speak to myself with loving kindness. I treat myself with loving kindness. I care for myself with loving kindness.”

“I am always moving in a positive direction toward a positive future.”

“I am safe.”

End by promising you will always treasure yourself and honor your beautiful spirit. Affirm courage, love, and safety.

Nourish Yourself

Experts recommend eating well, and eliminating sugary and processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine when you’re under stress.

But maybe you’re having trouble eating anything at all. Or maybe you’re living on chicken noodle soup, pretzels, and chocolate doughnuts.

Please, give yourself a break. When you’re going through a traumatic experience it’s no time to be following a strict diet or to beat yourself for not eating a balanced diet. Instead, focus on making healthy food choices when you can, and letting go of judgment when you can’t.

If you find you’re having trouble eating, choose foods you can tolerate and enjoy smaller portions more often through the day.

If you’re over eating, try eating fruits and vegetables first. Commit to eating only when you’re sitting down. Focus on eating more slowly.

But if you’ve tried everything you can think of and are still struggling with food, please let your health care provider know what ‘s going on. They’re there to give you support and help in all aspects of your health care.

Rest

A good night’s sleep is an important part of healing your body, mind, and spirit, but if you’re struggling to get enough sleep there are a number of things you can do.

Try going to bed an hour earlier each night. The extra time in bed can give your body some needed rest.

Once you’re in bed, do your best to keep your focus off your troubles. Relive happy memories, or imagine yourself vacationing in a place where you can relax and enjoy.

If you haven’t fallen asleep after twenty minutes, get up and do something calming. Write in your journal, do a crossword puzzle, or sip a cup of herbal tea.

Finally, if you aren’t able to get enough sleep at night, take a nap during the day. Make it a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule. If time is an issue, try scheduling all your activities and responsibilities before lunch, leaving your afternoon for napping or resting.

Seek Support

It’s important not to go through this alone. And asking for help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness.

When things get rough, call a friend or a family member and ask for support and help.

If you’re completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn, consider getting some professional help. Talking to a mental health provider can give you new insight, hope, and bring you peace.

Finally, you may also want to consider working with a support group. There’s great power in knowing you’re not the only one suffering this kind of challenge. There are people who are in the same boat and know exactly how you feel. They may be able to offer comfort and advice in the days ahead.

Give

Giving is another powerful way to connect with the people around you. It reminds you of the gifts you still have, and that you’re not the only one going through a tough time.

There are lots of ways to lend a hand. Offer to drive a neighbor to a medical appointment. Walk the dogs at your local animal shelter. Write a check to your favorite charity or drop a few coins in the donation can as you pass by. Send a card or text to a friend to help them through the day.

If you’d like to make a longer term commitment, volunteer at your local library, food bank, or senior center.

And if you think you don’t have any energy or time or left to give, give a compliment. Share a smile or a kind word. You never know how that one small gift could change a life.

Give Yourself a Healing Hug

Hugging is a way to give yourself comfort and peace in the middle of any storm. Acupressure is a powerful way to bring ease to both body and spirit.

I combine both techniques in what I call a healing hug, and highly recommend it to ease fear and panic that can be a part of these tough days.

Begin by crossing your arms over your chest. There are two important acupressure points located in the soft tissue just under your collarbones called the “letting go” points.

Chances are that by crossing your arms, your fingertips have landed on those “letting go” points. Take a moment and feel around until you find the spots, about two inches above your armpit crease and an inch inward.

Once you’re found the points, pull your arms close around you in a comforting, self-hug, and gently massage those “letting go” points with your fingertips. Continue to breathe, noticing on each exhale how the tension and fear flow down your spine and out of your body.

No matter how difficult or scary your diagnosis, treating yourself with love and kindness will make the journey through the those first tough days easier, and give you a head start on enjoying the sunshine waiting for you on the other side.

About Wendy Leeds

Wendy Leeds is a psychotherapist and a cancer survivor. She knows what it’s like to face anxiety and trauma, and she’s working on a book to share her experience and expertise. Wendy’s CD, Creating A Calm Day, is available on Amazon here. Wendy offers the gift of her B.E.A.R. technique for handling panic on her website, wendyleeds.com. Join Wendy on Facebook at @WendyLeedsKeepingCalm.

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