“It is not what you possess, it is how you use it.”
To illustrate Adler’s saying, I always use the example of Terry Fox, a young Canadian who lost a leg to cancer and decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Another young person might have the same affliction and sit there and complain that life isn’t fair. They both face the same obstacle but approach it quite differently. Neither person can do anything about the cancer or the loss of the leg, but how they choose to use their knowledge and abilities remains much more in their control.
So it is with you. You cannot change anything that has brought you to this point. You can’t. But what you decide to do from here on in, you have much more control over.
So how do you make your relationship the best year ever in 2018?
In my Three Step System to create your dream relationship, a skill we all need to practice is:
TO ELIMINATE ALL NEGATIVITY FROM THE RELATIONSHIP – NO BLAME, SHAME OR CRITICISM
I encourage couples to think of the space between them as sacred space, holy ground. There is enough negativity in the outside world, they don’t need to bring any negativity into their intimate relationship.
I have couples perform an exercise that requires them to list the things they do right now to make their sacred space wonderful – the interactions between the two of them that result in pleasure and affection. Then, I ask them to list the challenges that are also present. When it comes time to share, I have them tell each other what traits their partner brings that makes the space between them wonderful, but when they describe the challenges, I ask them to share what they themselves bring into that sacred space that is not helpful.
To make this the best year ever, I encourage each person to set a long range goal or goals in the area of relationships – to feel closer to their partner, to feel more connected, to feel safe, to have more fun. Then I ask them to pick one of the challenges they bring into the relationship and work on that.
Suppose I tend to stay pretty busy at work and at home with the result that I don’t spend a lot of quality time with my mate. That might be the challenge I choose to work on. A suggestion – make a smaller goal of spending more quality time with your partner – time limited, specific and positive.
It doesn’t have to be for the whole year. Start with January and commit, for example, to twenty minutes three times a week, to have a coffee with your partner. (Time limit – January, specific – 20 minutes 3 times a week, and positive, what you are choosing to do rather than not do.)
At the end of January you can check – how is it going? Is it moving you toward your larger goal of feeling more connected? If no, try something else. If yes, keep doing it until it becomes a habit, and slowly add other small goals one at a time.
For example, every day I am going to appreciate something my partner did for me that day and tell them! It doesn’t have to be something huge, small gestures are important, but it really helps when you vocalize your appreciation of those small acts.
So, how do you make 2018 the best year ever?
ELIMINATE ALL NEGATIVITY – NO BLAME, SHAME OR CRITICISM.
- Recognize the positive interactions you both do
- Choose a challenge you bring to the relationship
- Commit to one small step to overcome that challenge
- Make that small step – time limited, specific and positive
- At the end of January, evaluate and celebrate your progress
- And recommit to making 2018 the best year ever!!
All the best in 2018!