Psychologist Beverley Stone reveals that taking these six key life-changing steps to make yours an affirming relationship:
Psychologist Beverley Stone reveals that taking these six key life-changing steps to make yours an affirming relationship: Step 1: Be authentic – take the risk of being yourself (not what everyone else wants you to be) To do this, you need to ask yourself ‘Will I commit to a course of action and engage in my relationship as my own person? Or will I merely continue as I am now – occupying roles and going through the motions without real commitment?’ We often stop ourselves saying what we think, being who we are or doing what we want because we know the people around us won’t like it and prefer to avoid the inevitable flak and conflict. Become aware of how you handle conflict. Do you avoid it, or give in, compromise or fight? Find the courage to take the risk of finally speaking up and getting the truth on the table openly, compassionately and collaboratively together.
Step 2: Accept anxiety as a positive human experience (stop giving in to it) The idea of taking this first step can make you feel anxious. Step two is to learn how to check anxiety and use it constructively, not as a symptom of looming catastrophe but as ‘life’s energy’. To be anxious in the right way, you must first accept that your anxiety is caused by things that go on inside your head rather than outside it. As Epictetus said in 100AD: “Men are not disturbed by things but by the views they take of them.” When you feel anxious about demanding new ground rules, write down what you are saying to yourself to create your fight or flight reaction. Things like, ‘It’ll only start a row’, ‘He’ll never understand my point of view’, ‘This is too much for me to deal with’ and replace it with positive self-talk such as ‘I won’t like his reaction so what am I going to do about it?’ ‘I can do this skilfully, if I just remain calm, empathic and rational,’ and so on. You’ll find that your heart rate decreases as you get into a positive, can-do frame of mine, which will motivate you to make your move.
Step 3: Make your life a meaningful one (not one that you’ll end up regretting) It may well be that your relationship has become difficult because you now live together with an unspoken contract, an expectation that, for example, you don’t say what you mean, don’t do what you say, don’t respect or listen to each other, play games, manipulate, don’t make time for each other or create a caring and supportive climate. During your conversation, agree to make a new explicit contract. Each write a list under the following headings “This is what you can expect of me,” and “This is what I expect of you”. Show each other your lists and decide what you will keep, reject and negotiate. Put the agreed lists somewhere that you can both see them, such as on the fridge. Then review how you’re doing every fortnight. Very soon you’ll find that these new behaviours become your new, affirming way of being together and that you no longer need to make lists.
Step 4: Take responsibility (no blaming others) We often blame others for the situation we find ourselves in. Yet in reality if you choose to put everyone else first, you could equally choose not to, and so however hard it is to live with this fact, we are in reality, freely to making choices and are therefore responsible for our current predicament. One way we trap ourselves is through an unconscious internal conflict between our Confident You that tells you “I can do anything with my life, just go for it” and our Cautious You that then kicks in with “But, what if I fail? Anything for peace, it’s not that bad.” To bring this internal dialogue to consciousness, try writing down a dialogue between. Begin with Confident You talking to Cautious You using the words “I resent you because…” When you feel you’ve said enough, be Cautious You and reply. Keep this dialogue going until you sense understanding, harmony a way forward to resolve inner conflict.
Step 5: Un-hypnotise your self by changing the language you use Remember you always have a choice (you’re not as trapped as you think you are) Step five demonstrates how you convince yourself that you are trapped by weighty obligations and stifling routine; that you have no choice. Each time you find yourself using the words: ‘I can’t take the risk and upheaval of demanding new ground rules for our relationship’ try replacing them with ‘I won’t take the risk and upheaval of demanding new ground rules for our relationship’. Or “I can’t do anything about my life’, try saying “I won’t do anything about my life.’ By adopting this technique you suddenly feel powerful, realising that you have always been free to do anything with your life. You’ve just been hypnotising yourself with your own language.
Step 6: Live by your own values and standards (not everyone else’s) You cannot continue to live your life by trying to live up to other people’s values, standards and expectations. Your perfect is not my perfect. Your acceptable way of life may not be mine. So as to clarify those values you want to live by that will give your life meaning, ask yourself ‘What would I do if I knew I only had six months to live?’ Or if your answer is simply ‘I’d travel’ which doesn’t get you very far try ‘What would I do if I knew I only had five years to live?’ I guarantee that you wouldn’t remain swinging back and forth on a seesaw of stagnation, dissatisfaction and doubt, would you?!
Save over £11
when you subscribe today
Exclusive prizes from our Heaven Skincare, Senspa, Green People and more...