Do You REALLY Want to Live Better?

7 Steps to Living Better NOW

1. Living Better Doesn’t Happen in the Future

Living better happens right now in this very moment. It doesn’t start this afternoon, tonight, or tomorrow. If you are not willing to make a change right now, your story of wanting without getting will continue. Right now, you can write three things you are grateful for. Right now, you can change a thought that you don’t like. Right now, you can choose to take a walk, lift weights, eat better, or dance. Right now, you can improve your mindset. Right now, you can make a list of all the things you do right. OH— You don’t have time? Right now, you can take three long breaths in and exhale them completely. We have time to do something better in each moment we are given. We have to make the conscious choice to make the most of the moment. 

2. Take Control of Your Story

We can choose to believe the things that make us feel worse, or we can choose to believe the things that make us feel better. We weave our stories based on our mindset not on the people, events, and/or situations we are in. The same event can happen to ten different people and each person will process the event differently. Even the most brutal situations like the Holocaust can create some to rise and others to sink. It’s not about the events that happened, it’s about the mindset of the people who survived. I always think of the AMAZING Elie Wiesel, author of Night and Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. They found meaning in the madness, which led them to lead an amazing lives after their experiences during the Holocaust.  They took control of their stories. We all have that power. For me, I didn’t want any of the trauma I experienced to be a crutch. I needed to find meaning in my madness. Everything got better when I took back control of my story and embraced the concept that my experiences were all necessary for me to live my best life. If we are the victims of our own stories, we are living within our own prisons. 

3. Start the Work Within

Nothing outside of you will fix an inside problem. If you don’t do the inside work, all you are doing is wasting time, money, and energy. Things might feel better for short periods of time, but the results you are searching for won’t stick around if you don’t change what is going on inside. If you don’t look at the person you are and know that you are loyal to what’s in your best interests, trustworthy of your own moral code, loving to the person looking back at you in the mirror, and honest about who you are and want to be—You will never find it outside of yourself. NO person, place, or thing, can MAKE you feel complete except for the person in the mirror. Some have argued to me about their spiritual lives, but if we don’t know how to love ourselves completely, we can’t experience the love that the Universe is offering. When we love ourselves, our connection to our spiritual path strengthens beyond the imaginable. The work starts by committing to love the person you are. It took me writing three things I like/ love about myself for 35 days in order for me to truly embrace the person I am. It will take some shorter periods and others longer, but what is important is to commit to the process. Being cruel to yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. When we self-abuse we feed our stories of why we can’t have the life we want and or own victimhood. Make sure you are treating yourself with the love and respect that you deserve.

4. Be Conscious of the Energy that YOU are Inviting In

We have to invite energy in order to let it effect our lives. This is why someone isn’t capable of making us happy or sad. We choose to invite the energy of those feelings in. The power is in our hands. I know this can be challenging, and I’m the last to tell you that I do this perfectly. It’s okay, because I’m aware and accountable when I’m choosing to experience different energies. When my kids aren’t listening to what I’m telling them to do, they are talking back, and/or screaming at friends during video games, I have lots of choices about the energy I’m going to invite in. I know the calmer I am, the more effective I am. In order to be the best communicator, I have to choose the energy I invite in VERY consciously. I won’t remain calm if I let my hormonal teens’ actions dictate my energy. Just like, my partner can do something to show his love to me, and if I don’t choose to feel the energy of his love, I could spin it into something that stirs my energy in the opposite direction. What energy are you inviting in? When you feel something you like and/or don’t like it’s important to be conscious that you have chosen to engage with whatever energy you are feeling. You have more power than you know. When you become conscious of this, life gets better, because you know you can re-write a piece of your story and the energy you invite in will shift along with it. 

5. Conscious Breaths

In order to keep ourselves present and focused on living better now, we have to stay conscious. One of the easiest ways to do this is by remember to breathe consciously by inhaling to the count of ten, then exhaling to the count of ten for a minimum of three cycles. REMEMBER TO EXHALE! When we stress and/or feel pain, we tend to hold our breath. This limits our oxygen, so you can imagine the effects on our entire system. Our brains need oxygen to work at their greatest capacity, so BREATHE!! Just taking the time to consciously breathe can help you find the answers you need in any given situation. Doing this keeps us from reacting from our old stories and gives us time to create a new and better ones. When we respond to life’s challenges from that place, we live better. 

6. Take Action

You are living in the moment, taking control of your story, working within, inviting in energy consciously, and breathing fully. What better time than right now to take action? What are you going to do right now to live better? 

7. Write it Down

Make the time to write down your new story. This doesn’t have to be complicated or take you hours, it is just about taking time to commit to the new story you are writing for your life. You can put a notebook in your bag, write lists on your phone (YES, there are apps for that), create a file on your computer and/or tablet, have a notebook on your nightstand (I do), etc. Just make the time. We can always find time for what’s important to us. If we want to live better, we have to change the old patterns and excuses that keep us from doing it.  Here are a few examples of what writing it down can look like:

  • A daily gratitude list—gratitude is a story of abundance. 
  • A daily intention list—Gives you goals to help guide your thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day.
  • A daily accomplishment list—documenting how you chose to make your life better today builds on the positive impact of your new story.
  • Write out today’s story—Choose positive perspectives to write out your daily story. Even if you may not have reacted the way you wanted to in the moment: What did you learn from reacting that way? If something like that happened again, what are some positive responses?

You can do one, or do them all. Just commit to what feels right. There is no place for blaming others or self-blaming here. We simply are taking responsibility for the lives we want to live and doing it to the best of our ability in the moment. When we don’t do it in a way that aligns with living better, we take responsibility and learn from it. If we document these things, we have less chance of needing to repeat the lessons. 

I hope you choose to live better now. This is a one step at a time process. It all happens in the moment of Now. 

With Love and Gratitude, 

Rachael Wolff ©2019 (You can follow me on Facebook)

Are you struggling with digging down to the root of what is keeping you from living better now? Check out my 90-Day A Better Me Series (click the title for the link). The series is FREE and there are no sign-up required. Just sit, read, and take your next step to better living. 

If you’re a woman and you like what you read on this site, check out my new book available for pre-order HERE

Whatever you choose to do today, be kind to yourself. You deserve love and respect. Give it to yourself!

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 72 – Honoring My Most Important Love Affair

Letters from A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 72: Honoring My Most Important Love Affair

Dear Self,

With this letter, I’m writing my vows to you. You deserve the ultimate love story and I know that I can give it to you. Here are 10 promises I vow to you:

  1. I promise to love you mind, body, and soul at all time because we are lifetime partners and you deserve the greatest love affair.
  2. I promise to respect you and the journey you are on because you are responsible for any feelings, thoughts, perspectives of truth, actions, and reactions that come from you.
  3. I promise to honor the time that I have with you and be present to your needs, because I know your time is valuable.
  4. I promise to protect you from situations that aren’t in your best interest, because you are valuable.
  5. I promise stand up for you when you need a voice because your voice is important.
  6. I promise to explore and go on adventures with you because I know that is what you love to do.
  7. I promise to take steps to follow your passions because they are part of what makes you shine.
  8. I promise to honor your spiritual path because connecting to service through spirit feeds your soul.
  9. I promise to provide your body nourishment because this will be our vessel for this lifetime of learning, love, and growth.
  10. I promise to take the time to slow down and be mindful to nourish our relationship because only through the strength of our relationship will others learn how to treat us.

You and the Divine Source of ALL love are the only two lifetime partners I will ever have. In order to live the best life, I have to show this world the best I’m capable of being and all that starts with my love for you. My light only shines as bright as the love I have inside. I will sabotage any love that isn’t as strong as mine is for you, so these promises not only ensure I live this best life with you, these promises will help me shine my light bright for the world around me. The brighter my light, the more love I’m able to give and receive from others. So with this letter, I fully commit to our love affair. You and the world are worth it!

Today I’m Grateful

  1. I’m grateful for the relationship I have with myself today.
  2. I’m grateful for the knowledge that I’m worthy.
  3. I’m grateful for the opportunity to make today better than yesterday.
  4. I’m grateful for the love I’m capable of giving and receiving to/from others.
  5. I’m grateful for being a life partner with the person I am today.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 72 – Having the Most Important Love Affair

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 72 – Having the Most Important Love Affair

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 72: Having the Most Important Love Affair

“The love affair you seek is with yourself.”

-Alan Cohen

Too many of us start searching for the romantic partner of our dreams before we become the partner of our dreams. We are going to get a partner who is as healthy or as sick as we are. We are going to stay with emotionally unhealthy partners until we get emotionally healthier. The way we get the partner of our dreams is by becoming everything we want to see in the person we are looking for. Then we realize that we don’t need them to be everything we once believed they needed to be, because they are not filling any hole in us. If we already have a partner and we aren’t happy, our partner isn’t the problem. Our problem is the lack of investment we are putting into the love affair with ourselves. Our current partners have the opportunity to grow when we do, but what they do is their business. Our business is committing to have a love affair with ourselves.

We are complete and he or she is complete. We simply decide to travel on this journey together. We also figure out that no ONE person can fulfill everything we want. Sometimes certain adventures are better suited to do alone or with friends. When we invest our time and energy in a love affair with ourselves—WE WIN THE JACKPOT!

“The first love affair you must consummate is the love affair with yourself. Only then are you ready for a romantic relationship.”

-Nathaniel Branden

I brought this topic up in Part II as an introduction to the work of becoming our own ideal partner. Now it’s time to do the work. Once we do this work, all other relationships in our lives begin falling into place whether they are with romantic partners, family, friends, colleagues, and/or strangers we come across. This love affair affects EVERY area of our lives for the better.  Now some people may leave our lives as we get better and healthier, God is doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. We may not have wanted to cut ties, but if the person’s energy level doesn’t connect with our newfound energy. They no longer fit. Just imagine how magnets work. We are either brought together or pushed apart because of the energy being projected by both parties. This is NOT something to fight! Trust the process, sometimes it may help the other person to lift their energy, but if they don’t, those are that person’s life choices. Don’t let what other people do stop you from having this love affair.

The more we love ourselves, the more we will feel the love from our Creator. When we can feel our own love for ourselves radiating through us, we get a glimpse of the love that comes from Source energy. Our internal dimmer switch is turned up as we project our love out into the world.

I’ve been giving you steps along the way on how to get this love affair going. This whole journey of the 90-Day A Better Me Series is about the journey to loving ourselves, so that we can project that love out into the world. A better me is about being the best we are capable of being and living that journey. In Part I, I showed you what blocks us from having this love affair. In Part II, I showed you the door to this AMAZING love affair. Now, if you are ready, it’s time for you to take the steps to becoming the person you need most in your life to show you love, respect, loyalty, honesty, compassion, joy, fulfillment, abundance, adventure, faith, courage, strength, and hope—YOU! When you project this from the inside, you will see it in your relationship with God, you will project it into the world, you will manifest it in your life experiences, and YOU WILL ATTRACT IT BACK TO YOU! Remember, focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. The energy you put out is the energy you will get back.

“To love yourself is the beginning of a lifelong affair.”

-Mervyn Bana

7 Steps to Having the Most Important Love Affair

  1. You are dating yourself, anything you have EVER expected a partner to do for you, DO FOR YOURSELF. If you can’t do it for yourself, don’t expect other people to do it for you. It’s not another person’s job to complete us. It’s our job to complete ourselves. We write our stories. How do you want to be written?
  2. Make a list of each and everything you want in a partner. Then re-write that list as a To-Do List for yourself. Do you represent and project everything on that list? If you want someone to give you his or her time; ask yourself if you are giving yourself the time you expect someone else to give you. Then on your to-do list come up with ways to give yourself the time.  It’s important to go through and do this with each item. You are getting the recipe for the dream love affair with you.
  3. Check-in regularly with what you are projecting out. If you look on social media, entertainment, and mainstream media are you envious, jealous, bitter, and/or annoyed when you see love stories? Well that is the energy you are putting out, and those are NOT Love-based energies—they are fear-based. Are you projecting feelings of abundance (I have what I need) or lack (I don’t have what I need) into the world? Are you focusing on the love in the world or the fear in the world? Where are you putting your energy? When we are filling our feelings, thoughts, perspectives of truth, actions, responses, and reactions with love, our energy is going to the right places.
  4. Take care of your body! It’s your transportation for this journey (Day 69)
  5. Do what you love to do! How better to celebrate the love you have for yourself than to do what you love and love what you do (Day 70)
  6. Live gratitude! What are you doing to live gratitude in your life (Day 71)?
  7. Fall in love with yourself! Nurture and care for the most important love affair that you will ever have.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 72 – Honoring My Most Important Love Affair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Stop Abusing Ourselves: How to Bring Healthy Relationships into Our lives

If you are one of the many people who have wondered what a healthy relationship looks like, more than likely you are guilty of abusing yourself. Why do I say this? Because healthy people don’t have to ask the question, they just have healthy relationships. This isn’t just an outer appearance healthy; this is the healthy that comes from the core. Those of us who struggle with issues of self-worth, guilt, and shame have to dig really deep to even figure out where these insecurities come from and have to do even more digging and work to figure out ways to let these past struggles go in order to move on and have healthy relationships. I will give you some of the tools I used to break the horrible cycle of self-abuse, but I can’t do the work for you. If you don’t do it, you will continue on the same path and continue to ask yourself the question, what do healthy relationships even look like? I don’t know what the result will be for you, but for me…It was AMAZING!!!!!

1. Become AWARE of Your Part

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I know it is so much easier to blame the other person involved, but we are treated the way we project out. What does this mean? Watch how you are talking, communicating, and acting towards yourself. I’ve read so many relationship books throughout the years and whether the author was talking about it in ways I didn’t understand or I was focused on the outward goal that I ignored the inner work. I don’t know, but seriously I didn’t see this clearly until I was taking a college course at 38 years old. A college professor told the class how “We’re as sick or as healthy as our partners.” WHAT????? I didn’t realize my sickness was my feeling of having no value to someone else. I didn’t know that my sickness wanted credit for making other people better. I didn’t realize how utterly unlovable I felt. I was one sick puppy who spoke horribly to myself and treated my body like a giant punching bag.

The way we treat ourselves is like any other habit. Somewhere we pick up an action or behavior. We start repeating it daily. Once we can do it on autopilot, BANG!!! It’s now a habit. Habits of self-abuse tend to hide under rocks, so we don’t tend to see them until we are ready to start looking under rocks to find them. If you’re ready to start, here are some good questions to bring out some of the hard to see habits that have been taking over your psyche:

  • How do I talk to myself when I make a mistake?
  • How do I treat myself when I do something nice for myself?
  • How often do I do something nice for myself?
  • Do I feel guilty about doing something nice for myself?
  • Do I exercise my body and mind so that it can function at its best ability?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that I wouldn’t accept people talking to my best friend?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that if a partner, parent, or stranger did it, it would be called emotional abuse?
  • When I look in the mirror, what do I see?
  • When I let other people’s behaviors stir me up, what thoughts about myself are going through my head?
  • Do I take responsibility for other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions?
  • Do I mentally beat myself up?
  • Does my eating support a healthy mental outlook?
  • Do I criticize myself when I don’t exercise, eat right, or have unhealthy encounters with others?

Be honest and write the answers out. Really become aware of how you are treating yourself. It matters, because if you accept that treatment from the one person you are with from the cradle to the grave, you will make it acceptable for others to take your lead.

2. Accept Responsibility for Your Choices

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If you are anything like me, that list above revealed a lot of not so nice truths about how you treat yourself. Some of them were very well hidden. Don’t use this list as yet another reason to beat yourself up. You are finding your way out, which is something to be celebrated!

The way I started accepting my responsibility is by seeing my relationships as lessons of how I was treating myself. I used a method by Byron Katie called “The Work” (click on it and it will take you to her site). The method consists of four questions and then a turn around. This process REALLY helped me to start to accept the responsibility for what I was putting out there. It helped me see what these partners were latching onto and flinging right back at me.

Now, when I’m being triggered its my sign to look at myself. I’ve accepted that my lack of self-care can lead me to be mistreated by others. My critical eye on myself can create me to have a critical eye on the relationships in my life. If I’m judging others, I’m judging myself worse. One of the questions I used to ask myself was why did I choose him? I even wrote a piece on it.

Every partner we choose gives us great lessons. We just have to open our eyes wide enough to see them. When a relationship is unhealthy, we aren’t healthy. Healthy people don’t attract unhealthy partners. Accepting our contribution to the chaos is the way out of the ugly patterns that keep us making the same mistakes over and over.

Now, here’s the trick: We can’t beat ourselves up over the choices we’ve made to get us where we are now. If we do that, we stay in the cycle of self-abuse. We have to forgive ourselves, find the lessons, and move on.

3. Take Action on Your Personal Journey

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We can’t do this for anyone else. No one can do this for us either. No friend can tell us enough times. No mom or dad can forbid us from getting treated badly again. No therapist can listen to our problems enough to support us not doing any work. We have to do the work. We will stay unhealthy until we decide with all our convictions that we truly want something better than we have right now. Nothing will change until we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I love you exactly the way you are” and more importantly, mean it. If you, like I did, struggle with this part of the journey, Louise Hay recently wrote a book called Mirror Work. She’s been doing seminars on this for decades, but she finally came out with a book that has a 21-day process. It took me a little longer than 21 days to accomplish what I wanted to, but this offers a great start and if you can stick to it, you will start treating yourself better.

We can’t blame anybody else for where we are right now. We all make choices to contribute to our best or worst attributes. We all have the opportunity to make an ugly past into something beautiful or to let it be our excuse to hold us hostage to our misery. We also each get to make the choice of the life we want for ourselves. As long as our actions follow the path of what we want, we can achieve it. As for healthy relationships, we can only attract healthy partners if we become a healthy partner. We can’t tell the Universe we want healthy lungs and then pick up a pack of cigarettes everyday. If we want healthy lungs we need to do a good cardio routine, drink water, and stay where there is good air quality. Take responsibility for your actions. The relationship with yourself has to be fixed before any other healthy relationship is possible.

This is your journey! A couple techniques that may help you commit to taking positive actions are:

  • Practicing Positive self-talk
  • Writing a list of all the positive attributes you would like to see in a partner, then start taking action steps to make sure you yourself are portraying those attributes.
  • Write a story of a positive life you would like to see for yourself. Make sure you are the hero in your own story. Don’t put the power of happiness in someone else’s hands.
  • Make a list of three things you like about yourself EVERY day for 60 days. This is you doing one thing for yourself daily to take care of your emotional and mental well-being.
  • Make a daily gratitude list
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day
  • Get outdoors and just watch nature unfold
  • SLOW DOWN and be Present
  • Meditate
  • Pray

WAIT!!! This list is not meant to be taken on all at once. Pick a couple of things and start there. I like change right now, so sometimes when I start looking at positive outlets for change, I want to take them on all at once. Then the second I fail, I use it as an excuse to get back into the pattern of self-talk that says, I’m not enough. I can’t do it. Don’t go there. Of course if we take on too much it will be too much. Start small, we can’t fix ourselves overnight. A friend once enlightened me on how the process of personal growth takes time. The longer we’ve had these self-sabotaging habits, the longer it will take to unlearn them and replace them with healthier ones. BE PATIENT!

You may experience big changes, then follow it up with a little step backwards in order to take the lesson a little deeper. Remember, we will only be given the lessons we are ready for.

4. Put Yourself on top of Your Own Priority List

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Don’t think I don’t know how hard we can make this one. Believe me, I know and as mom and a partner, I can definitely challenge myself to stay on my own priority list. With awareness, acceptance, and action I get see my progress. Now, I see a lot faster when I haven’t made my needs and myself a priority. I see when my kids are suffering, because I’m stretching myself too thin and making us all crazy for it. I can see it with my partner when I start expecting him to be someone he’s not and resenting him for taking care of his own needs. All signs lead to me not being at the top of my own priority list. My most recent lesson with this has led me to see that I just need to focus on the 24 hours ahead of me.

We don’t need to get caught up in any unknown future that keeps us from being available today. That’s what a calendar is for. Taking on only one day at a time makes self-care possible. The second we get into future thinking, all the sudden our time magically disappears to do anything to take care of our own personal needs. Just today, what are you going to do to take care of you?

Oh the excuses we can come up with to not do this one. Please, stop. If we have the time to do things for others that they can do for themselves; let them do it! They can be responsible for their own stuff; we have to be responsible for ours. If it means we need to get up 30 minutes earlier to do a meditation, exercise, or read a chapter in a book that contributes to the life we want to have; MAKE TIME FOR IT! We may need to use our lunch break or come up with a different routine at bedtime, but whatever it takes. We are all WORTH IT!! If we truly want to attract a healthier lifestyle, our life has to project it. We can only do that if our own life becomes a priority.

5. Be KIND to Yourself!

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Developing self-care, self-respect, self-love, and self-worth are all big tasks for people who have to ask themselves, “What does a healthy relationship look like?” We took a long time to get so down on ourselves that we don’t even know what healthy is anymore, some of us may have never known. We can’t expect anything to change over night. Just like anything else, we have to build up muscles that are weak or have never used before. The only way to keep going in the right direction is to practice, practice, and practice. We are going to make mistakes, but they are there to help us learn what we need to work on. We may go back to unhealthy relationships and be shunned by the people who love us, but if we need to do it to learn, then that is our journey. We may go for a person who is worse for us than any other person prior, but we brought the relationship there for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to see what we need to do to break the cycle. Any way if happens, be kind to yourself.

Self-Abuse gets us nowhere and will keep us stuck wondering if we will ever be truly loved. We all get to choose how we will be treated by the people we love. When we love ourselves, we won’t attempt to hurt others or ourselves. We will not attract others who are looking to hurt us. They aren’t even meaning to hurt us. They, like us, are caught in a cycle of self-abuse caused by shame and guilt. Some people’s shame is so deep seeded it causes them to mentally and/or physically abuse others. Most of these people are burying their shame so deep that they have no idea how badly they are abusing themselves. They are projecting hate and rage that is stirring inside of them. It’s very sad to see, but they will only get help when they are ready to change. Our job is to stop focusing on the relationship that is causing us pain on the outside and start focusing on the one that we can change, the one we have created for ourselves on the inside. The first step is start figuring out ways you can be kinder to yourself.

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We will project a person who people respect, because we respect ourselves. We will project a person who inspires love, because we know how to love ourselves. We can’t fake this, if we try, the truth will come out. We will continue to get lessons to help us see the beautiful person that lies within the walls we’ve created. Trust the process! You are Worth it!

If you are in a situation where your physical safety is at risk, PLEASE seek help from an abuse shelter in your area. They are trained to help to keep you safe. If this process is too much for you to do on your own, please seek help from a professional. The key is for you to get the help you need to stop the cycle.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace

11 Ways to Better ANY Relationship

IMG_93231.  Get Rid of “Right and Wrong” Mentality

Right and wrong mentality is about power. Healthy relationships are about each person seeing the other’s perspectives, being able to agree or disagree, and doing it all without engaging in a power battle. Each person in a relationship has different belief systems. If we keep finding a solution as the goal, and get rid of figuring out who’s right and wrong, we keep our minds open to creativity. We have reasons for making the choices we do. In order to communicate with compassion and make choices from a loving place, we have to stay open to other perspectives. When we do this, we engage in wonderful relationships with all kinds of new and interesting people. Choosing to see our beliefs as just one of many perspectives, improves our life and all our relationships.

2.  Find the Good

We prepare our defenses when someone’s actions trigger a vulnerable spot in us. We tune them out as we formulate our counter-attack. Stop at that moment and consider:

  • Why are you in a relationship with this person in the first place?
  • What do you like about him/her?
  • What are some of their better qualities?

When we focus on the love, respect, or interest we have in the person, communication get easier and solutions are apparent without any emotional or physical harm to each other.

3.  Ask Questions

Too often arguments start because we make assumptions without asking enough questions. We assume we know where the other person is coming from. For the health of our relationship, we need to ask:

  • “How did that (situations, look, tone) make you feel?”
  • “Am I understanding this/you correctly?”
  • “What did you mean when you said_______?”
  • “How do you think we can make this better?”
  • “Did I say something that is causing some confusion?”

Continue to ask questions until you reach an understanding. It shows the other person that you are willing to hear them. When we value a relationship, we need to invest in peaceful resolutions. We all have our own stories. Our responsibility is to make sure we are looking at the person in front of us, and not the ones from our past.

 4.  Listen Carefully

The truth is in the details. People who are not hurting do not hurt others. If someone is calling you or someone else a name, imagine they are calling themselves that name. When people are giving others fear, hate, and/or anger, those feelings are circulating inside them. People who feel worthy don’t attack others. Try to see them with compassion and not your ego. The ego makes the situation about you. When we truly listen, we get to the heart of the problem. From there, solutions are uncovered.

5.  Give Space to Respond

Healthy relationships are about responding, not reacting when we are having trouble communicating. Sometimes we say the first thing on our mind and risk of hurting an important relationship. If we take three deep breaths, we may gain a little perspective on the situation. Other times we need to walk away before we respond in order to process the information. Either way, take the space you need to choose the best response. Keep the goals of your relationship in mind. If you are looking for a loving, compassionate, productive, and/or effective relationship, make sure your response is contributes to that.

6.  Take Your Power Back

Why are you reacting with anger, fear, and hurt? Why do you choose to give the person you are with the power to stir up these feelings inside you? Many times we are reacting to past hurts that can be traced all the way back to childhood. Our negative reactions to the current situation are opportunities to heal the past. When we take our power back and investigate where these hurt feelings came from, we can release a lot of pain that is only hurting our current relationships. Empower yourself by knowing your feelings and actions are your choice. You can change them by gaining a little perspective about why what is happening is making you feel the way it does. What other way can you look at the current situation to strengthen your own personal power?

 7.  Investigate Your Belief Systems

 We all come with the baggage of belief systems. Some are useful, but others are destructive. It is our job to investigate them and see they are helping or hurting our relationships. Are the following “truths” for you:

  • Relationships are hard work! Are they? Do they have to be? Are we making them that way?
  • Men should/Women should/Children should/Bosses should/Co-workers should… Do we shove people into categories of what we think they should and shouldn’t do or be? Is this hurting our current relationships?
  • I don’t like being told what to do! Does this create issues when dealing with colleagues, teachers, friends, intimate partners, and/or family?
  • What I say goes! This is a power play. Is this what you are looking for in your relationships?

 8.  Find Peace Within

If we don’t know what it feels like to be peaceful inside, we won’t be able to have it in our relationships. Internal chaos comes from unhealed shame and guilt from the past. By facing the darkest parts of ourselves and forgiving all that needs to be forgiven, we create peace within. Our relationships improve and people who were attracted to our chaos will fall away. When we find peace within we present with the people in our lives. We can talk to them with love and compassion, without our past getting in our way. When we get triggered, our peace within slows us down to respond appropriately.

9.  Love Yourself More 

We demonstrate how we want to be treated by the way we treat ourselves. We allow others to walk on us if we lay down in front of them. When we love ourselves, we don’t do that. We stand as equals. If we want respect, we have to show ourselves respect. If we want love, we have to give it to ourselves. This is not selfish. We can only truly give what we have inside. When we don’t care for ourselves first we take on martyr and victim roles. We will get physically and emotionally ill. How does that better ANY relationship? Learn to say, “I love you, but I love me more.” All your relationships benefit from treating yourself with the love and respect that you deserve.

10.  Stop Taking Things Personally

 What they do and say is their stuff. How we react or respond is ours. When we make it about us, that’s when we are being self-involved. We only hurt people when we are wounded. If someone raises their voice, says hurtful things, or even uses physical violence, it comes from an internal battle inside. Knowing it is not about us, we can respond in the most compassionate way possible. Does this mean we should ever accept any form of verbal, emotional, and or physical abuse? No, but you will if you don’t reconcile your own beliefs, forgive, and love yourself more.

11.  Respect Each Other’s Differences

We are all different and have wonderful contributions to give to the world. But if we think we know a better way to live someone else’s life, we are hurting everyone. We are telling the person that we don’t respect them enough to let them live their life. We miss great opportunities to express love, compassion, and acceptance. The world needs people to be different to survive. We all have strengths and diverse paths. If we want to improve our relationships, we need to focus on what we can do, how we can work together and what will make us stronger. We all learn what we are meant to learn. We will all experience lessons to make us the person we want to become. It’s great to share your experiences, strength, and hope. Just don’t expect others to do anything with them. If it feels right to their journey, they will act on those ideas. If it doesn’t, they won’t. It’s just that simple. When we respect each other we don’t have to take each other’s actions personally. We can love and accept the person for who they are, instead of who we want them to be.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff