6 Lessons for Every Relationship (Episode 300)
Today is the day we launch our 300th episode of the Mama Says Namaste podcast. That means I have well over 300 blog posts in here as well since that started long before the podcasts did! So what do we discuss on our 300th episode? Why, relationships, of course!
I've gathered a few questions from you listeners and readers that we've added in, and we address 6 key lessons learned in relationships in three main areas - our relationship with ourselves, with our partners, and with our children.
And the truth is, all of these lessons apply to any relationship you embark on. If you want to cultivate a healthy connection, check these 6 lessons below.
Look Inward First
Our first two tips, of course, start within. Why?
We can so often feel helpless about all that is out of our control. Looking at the news, I can quickly spiral downward to despair at all that is falling apart in our world. I can get lost in the poor decisions of others and how I desperately want to get them to see what I see and help themselves in other ways. I can obsess over how perfect things would be if only people saw them as I see them.
And that does nothing to help. If anything, it's more damaging than anything, because, while my mind is focused on all that is not within my control, I am losing control of the one thing I DO have a complete say in - and that's my own mindset and actions.
So, I take this quote to heart, all the way to my core. Anytime something looks wrong from the outside, my first action step is to see what I can adjust within myself. Is it just me? Is it a lesson I can learn? Is there something I can shift within myself to create a different outcome?
Lesson #1 (Personal):
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
Yes, it is oftentimes in our darkness that we are able to fully see the light. I shared this in my interview last week:
When we are unable to handle a traumatic event (which is common, especially as a young child), our body still retains the memory of it. And oftentimes we see this manifest in issues that seem to be recurring in our lives we can't get over, like anxiety, eating issues, or even simply attracting drama wherever we go, which builds on our own stress and overwhelm.
What are you holding onto in your past that may be preventing you from moving forward, or seeing things in a different way? This isn't about going back and digging up every form of trauma in your life and waving it like a banner that justifies why you're stuck.
As a coach, I only look at the past in relation to how it got me here, and how it can fuel me forward from the growth I have gained. Go back to last week's episode where we discuss different forms of therapy and how to truly help yourself.
Nathan and I have shared about the "no excuses" anniversary - this is the date when you are with your partner longer than you have been apart from them. I met Nathan when I was 19, and we've been dating/married since I was 20 - that means, at this point, we've been together longer than we've been apart. No matter what trauma or pains I had before 20, I have had more than enough time to leave this behind me and not bring any of that into the relationships I'm creating now.
What are you still using as an excuse that has actually been absent from your life for quite some time? Why is it still holding you back? Maybe it's time to get the help you need to release its hold on you.
Lesson #2 (Personal):
You Are What You Think About
When my father was just thirteen years old, he found a little RP record that changed his world forever. It was Earl Nightingale, sharing about "The Strangest Secret".
The Strangest Secret was a 1957 spoken word record by Earl Nightingale which sold over one million copies and received the first Gold Record for the spoken word, which helped launch the fields of business motivation and audio publishing. It was later adapted into print and video forms.
This is the biggest lesson -
You become what you think about.
This is worth a listen. We did a "Strangest Secret" challenge in our 48 Days Eagles community where we listened to this every day for a month. And it was amazing the epiphanies and insights people gathered as they listened to this on repeat.
What are you focusing on?
We all have these negative thoughts that can come up - especially when you have chaotic moments. It’s how we handle ourselves during these moments that can create change.
Do we belittle and beat ourselves up for another failure in our life or do we seize the opportunity to learn the lesson in the pain?
There are no bad moments, just bad reactions.
How we feel and about and talk to ourselves is huge and how we take care of ourselves isn’t something we are usually taught. What is the next right thing you can do to change the pile of choices that got you here?
We are all working through our and others' choices. Which is more productive - focusing on what is within your control, or being frustrated at others' behavior?
Are you in control of your thinking and the mindset that moves you forward? Or a victim of circumstances and "why does this always happen to me?" Typically, if you're asking yourself that question, there is a lesson you haven't yet learned from it.
Lesson #3 (Relational):
Be Willing To Face Yourself First
As I've already stated, looking inward is the first step for moving forward, hands-down. So when it comes to moving beyond your relationship with yourself, think about your most intimate relationship. If you're frustrated with how things are going, first and foremost, what are YOU bringing to the relationship?
Are you showing up fully, willing to learn, compromise, and grow together with this person?
Can you, with confidence, say you are doing everything in your power to be the person you would fall in love with? Are you treating the one you love how they want to be treated, or simply doing what might be beneficial for you? Are you really looking at whether your intentions are truly conveyed in the right way through your actions?
Regardless of what great intentions you have, if you're simply speaking to your partner in a way that works for you, not regarding their fears/needs, those intentions can be taken in a very different way - we addressed this as we covered the amazing book, The Chameleon: For Anyone Who Has A Personality Or Knows Someone Who Does.
Before there is any outward conversation with your partner on what might not be working in your relationship, ensure you are facing your personal role in it, and how you are truly loving and supporting the other.
Lesson #4 (Relational):
Give Grace For Growth
I fell in love with Nathan at 20 years old. I was a conservative Christian vegetarian and he was a liberal agnostic hunter. There were definitely some differences between us in so many ways, from our personality styles to our interests and beliefs, clearly.
If we had simply come into the relationship determined to change one another, we would have failed from the beginning. Nothing to put you on the defensive than to be treated like you're wrong from the get-go.
However, as we sought to understand one another and learn more about where we differed, we gained a new language of understanding for one another, and what we truly believed.
We've both changed a ton since our twenties. I'm grateful I am who I am now, and of course, believe I've come a long way since I was 20. Are you allowing grace for growth in your relationship, and recognizing it's okay to re-evaluate and change who you are becoming with the new insights you gain?
Don't hold on to what hasn't worked in the past; look for what steps have brought you to here, and what you've learned from them. Acknowledge the moments where you've come together with new understandings due to your own growth.
Be willing to course-correct when you gain new insights. As parents, we often talk about how we do the best we can with what we know at the time, and, as we learn new insights, we grow along with our children and aren't afraid to admit when we've gone down a path that is no longer helpful.
As partners, we don't hold over each other's heads the perspectives we had when we first got married. We hold in gratitude the insights we've both gained as we've sought to come together vs. prove our "rightness".
Lesson #5 (Parental):
Meet Them Where They Are
I've shared this time and time again as some of the best relationship advice I've ever gotten. Wow did I spend a lot of time, especially as a parent, trying to talk my children out of their emotions and into my "rational" adult mind!
Are you first meeting someone where they are? I share this video often to remind people what empathy truly is:
Are you willing to sit with your child in the intensity of their emotions at the moment? Are you willing to be okay with their sadness, anger, frustration, or confusion until it settles a bit?
Have you ever had someone try to talk you out of an extreme emotion right when you're in the heat of it? I know that "seeing red" is something I am prone to do - and if I'm in a moment of anger, that is NOT a time to rationalize with me - I'm at my most irrational point and will argue just for the sake of arguing!
Allowing for some space for me to simmer is the first step to being able to come together. Sometimes, for a child, it's simply letting them be sad or angry, or feel gloomy a bit. We can be quick to stifle any emotion we don't feel is "positive" - yet things like crying are completely natural physiological releases to stress and trauma in your body - and we should stifle it no more than we should stifle sweating to allow our body to release the heat and pressure buildup in our bodies.
Are you meeting your children (and others) where they are, recognizing the head and heart space they are in, or are you simply trying to first convince them to be in the same emotional state you are in?
Lesson #6 (Parental):
Don't Be Afraid To Follow Curiosity
We talked about this a lot last week as well, as Lenora shared about her multiple passions and interests that led her down her own path of healing.
Especially as unschooling parents, it can be easy to second-guess the random paths our children may take, and the seemingly disconnected interests. Yet we've found that in delight-led learning, each interest opens the door to deeper insights into who they are and how they tick.
So often, those paths of curiosity start to unlock growth and healing that help you move forward. Being multi-passionate isn't seen with the same negativity as before. We're no longer in the industrial world where we're praised for simply being a cog in the mass assembly line wheel.
We're creators, innovators, and healers. And the more open we are to these new ways to create and explore, the more we expand our potential. Are you allowing that - for yourself, and for your children?
What lessons are going to work on this week? What one thing will deepen your relationship - with yourself, your partner, and your children?
I challenge you to listen to these videos above as many times as you can this week. Focus on what you are in control of, and what you are intentionally seeking to create in this world.
Pay attention to your self-talk, and your ability to steer your own ship instead of living in reaction.
Get clear on who you want to be, and whether your actions clearly communicate the intentions behind them. Be open to facing your own truths, meeting others where they are, and leaving grace for growth. And, as always, remember, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.