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Are You A Space Taker Or Connection Maker?

18 Jan
you-asked-me-for-space-prints

You asked me for space by artist Soju Shots

A young photographer came into my shop this week and as it sometimes happens when it’s quiet and the energy is good, I got to work a little on-purpose magic.

She talked about her creative process and how she loves to wander with her camera, waiting for the moment to arrive that deserves capturing. She rolled her eyes at well-meaning relatives who direct her to take this or that.  When she goes to the beach with her boyfriend she said she can’t have quiet time because he is never quiet.

So I asked her Continue reading

What To Do If Your Boundaries Aren’t Respected.

20 Dec
happiness

image from myinsidejobonlife

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. Brene Brown.

Boundaries are guidelines put in place to encourage emotional and physical safety and are created by people who respect their own strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others.

Most of us are pretty clear about our distinct values, beliefs, psychological needs and preferences. Knowing who we are in our inner world and how we want to live in our outer world is a healthy and empowered way to be.

The imaginary line we draw around us to say this is who I am and these are the things that are important to me are not always respected by

  • habitual advantage takers
  • chaos and catastrophe addicts
  • drama makers with no self behaviour filters
  • the overly needy who expect you to save and solve their constant problems
  • people who are overly invested or amazed by you after only knowing you a short time
  • poor listeners
  • shame and blame throwers
  • judgemental disapproving types
  • manipulators, abusers and bullies.

The distress we feel when a boundary is violated is a message to protect ourselves and a signal to clearly express to bothersome people that there are things we don’t want them to do or say to us, one moment longer. When we set a limit or say no, or stop or don’t, it should count. We can state our feelings and wants and needs clearly, and set a reasonable consequence even though others are not responsible or obligated to honour what we ask for. They will either respect our limits or they will push and weasel and work their way across the boundary lines. This is likely to cause us to become

  • uncomfortable
  • drained
  • overwhelmed
  • shaky and shocked
  • reactive and emotionally charged
  • flooded with thoughts and feelings of what to do to fix it
  • angry at being mistreated or used.

Do not tolerate crappy behaviours because of fear. We are not obligated to meet the needs of others while sacrificing our own, just because we fear the consequences. Do not scramble for approval or acceptance. Accepting situations that are really unacceptable just to keep someone in our life means giving up whats important to our emotional safety. We needn’t compromise our values, integrity and self-respect. We are as entitled to make choices that others may not like as they are to make ones that we don’t like. It’s whether those choices are respected that makes the difference.

What can you do if others cross your boundaries?

  • Change what you can change. Let them know what they are doing. Say you won’t be taking that on, or that you aren’t someone who lends your things. Say no more often. Make yourself unavailable. Let them know what you like and don’t like (again) express your bottom line, and say things like you promised yourself you would not take calls in the evening or accept unannounced visits.
  • Accept what you can’t change.
  • Remove yourself from completely unacceptable situations and don’t feel bad about your choices. Ask them to stop immediately. No means no. Inappropriate is inappropriate. Walk away from constant judgement, teasing, criticism, put-downs and negative comments without giving up or getting angry. Don’t engage in a justifying and defending match with people who refuse to hear your concerns. Instead, wait for them to not like being “told” and watch them exit.
  • Have it be ok to make your world smaller if need be. Find your tribe. Those safe, solid, authentic connections who are capable of compassion, are easy to be around, where mutual respect is common place. Hang out with uplifting souls and energise each other.

5 Things People Do Wrong In Relationships.

16 Aug
Resolving Conflict

Illustrated by Clementine Sourdais.

1. We focus on what’s wrong rather than acknowledging and growing what’s right.

Ruminating on annoyances never makes them magically disappear. Instead we need to consciously manage our own reactions, responses and behaviours by curiously wondering what gets triggered within us when we feel wronged or annoyed. Or we could choose to just step away and skip merrily on our way, sidestepping obstacles. The more we involve ourselves in tasks that propel us forward and make us feel good, the better. See if you can stop, breath, count to five and remind yourself of the value your loved ones add to your life.

2. We criticise rather than praise behaviours or affirm competence.

Think about how it feels when you have your less than fabulous traits pointed out to you in a way that doesn’t invite healthy discussion or kind creative solutions. Generally speaking people are more ready to give negative feedback than positive, and are likely to tell all who will listen about bad service rather than yell thanks from the rooftops about great service. Let’s all aim to spread more kindness around. Acknowledge. Affirm. Praise. Give thanks. Write a 5 star review.

3. Negative emotions are so much easier to grab at when we feel threatened. 

It’s important to stay resourced, rested and care for ourselves in ways that don’t run us ragged or make us righteous, stubborn or argumentative. Being tired and run down seemingly “allows” anger to spill over. Flowing lava burns people. Choose how, when and if you use it. Think about the consequences. If someone crosses your boundary, it’s really ok to just state something simple such as “I’m not ok with that.” Or “It’s not ok to talk to me like that.” Or invite the other person to communicate respectfully by asking “Could you please say that in a way that makes me want to listen.” Be encouraging and hopeful of change. If change doesn’t occur, reassess what you are doing and be brave enough to sidestep situations or people who don’t enrich your being.

4. We don’t always behave in respectful ways or treat others the way we would like to be treated.

Disrespect can sneak in a number of ways from how we talk to each other, to how we listen, right down to emotional or sexual betrayal. The rule of thumb is this. If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t say it or do it. Reach into the magic hat and pull out new ways of communicating. If you don’t want your words or actions viewed by people you care about, it’s a sure sign to stop and find an alternative. If you truly feel you don’t want to be around someone, reassess how much time you spend together,  or walk away and consider how or if it serves either of you to stay connected.

5. We don’t take self-responsibility and explore what gets activated in us when we feel hurt and angry.

If you consistently use anger as a first response, see if hurt lies underneath it. Be aware of what is likely to trigger you. Are you hungry, lonely, tired or unresourced? Did you step over your own boundary and seek engagement when you would’ve fared better taking time out? Do you need more solitude and self-care? Was it the right time or place? Did you filter your responses? Did you focus on the issue at hand rather than personally attack another? Did you think “If I say this, in this way, what is the likely consequence?”

In summary, 5 ways to do it right? Stay centered, calm, curious, compassionate and look for creative solutions.

5 Things You Should Never Do On Valentines Day.

14 Feb

Special_squeeze

1. Be a sour cynic.

But it’s so commercial, so American, so expensive, so stressful, so lame, so overdone you might say? People, it’s just for one day. Grinches don’t like Christmas, Cinderella might not like Mother’s Day but you know what? At the stroke of midnight whatever day it is, it’s over with a poof of magic dust and then it’s another calendar day. Or the same day on the other side of the world!

2. Think it’s only a day for loved-up couples.

Love is universal. Love is for singles, pets, children, the environment and couples. If you are looking for love and you feel it overly highlights your singledom, then read unique love stories to renew your hope, then go out and kick up your heels and be open to sinful desserts and guilty pleasures.

If you are single and happy, Valentine’s Day is an awesome excuse to treat and spoil yourself.

  • Book yourself in for a massage.
  • Eat your favourite food.
  • Unwrap your best, high cacao content chocolate.
  • Order a book you’ve had on your wish list for ages.
  • Catch a movie.
  • Or implement a random act of kindness like giving muesli bars to a homeless person.

Continue reading

Jack And The Beanstalk.

5 Sep

I adore finding “magic beans” in my garden. Every season a few magically evade picking and eating, so I save them to be displayed and squealed over and sometimes wonder what would happen if I went to a local Farmers Market and tried swapping them for a cow!

Jack and the Beanstalk

I have grown enough beautiful beanstalks to know that they require staking if they are to reach their full potential, just as I know that all relationships require support if they are expected to grow.

It’s not enough to just expect our union to blossom into something fruitful if we don’t take care of it. The giant who came a cropper in the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk really could have Continue reading

Getting Out Of Groundhog Day.

18 Jul

fairytale ones you love

Exhaustion sucks. It can rob us of our ability to smile, to have fun, to negotiate nicely, or it can invite us into overly sensitive states, the kind where “what about me”  blaming, finger-pointing and managing our moods and responses becomes so much more difficult.

It takes courage to ask for help when things feel a little out of control, or when you’re stuck in a rut and life seems a bit hum drum or boring. It’s hard to say you’re Continue reading

20 Ways To Fix A Grimm Relationship.

18 Jun
From Animal Man a DC Comic

From Animal Man – a DC Comic

The simple rules of how to happily co-exist in a relationship apply whether you’ve been together for one year or thirty years. I can usually work out within five minutes of observing couples, whether they are loving happily ever after, or not. When they are, it’s pleasant to be around. It’s a peaceful environment where praise, co-operation and kindness creep in. When it’s not, it’s Continue reading