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How To Quantum Leap Your Relationships

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Of all things in life, relationships really test our trust, patience and energy. Just think back to a time when you reacted to your partner angrily… Maybe that one time when he/she asked you “Where’s dinner?” and you spend the whole day supporting your friend through a difficult break-up and felt emotionally exhausted. Or the toddler pulling at you while you’re trying to make dinner and help your other child with homework!

In the past, my level of patience and how I responded to these similar situations was  determined mainly by how tired I was or what kind of a day I had. But over the years, the more I owned up to my own reactions and cultivated awareness on a daily basis, the more I made relationship challenges easier for myself and others.

To truly give relationships a chance to become stronger and healthier there is one rule which must be followed: let go of the expectation that the other person needs to change!

Instead of focusing on what you cannot control it’s much more empowering to focus on what you can control. And the only thing you can control is how you respond to a situation or another person. The more you try to change someone the more they’ll get defensive and close off.

The more you choose to take responsibility for your part of the relationship equation, the more you allow space for the other person to reflect on his or her own behaviour.

Here are 5 ways to help you build a solid foundation so you can quantum leap your relationships, both personal and professional. 

1. ACCEPT that no relationship is perfect. In the imperfection there is room for relationships to evolve into something better. This also mean letting go of the expectation that the other person needs to change.

2. BREATHE out negative emotions. When you are feeling angry, upset or resentful practice this simple breathing technique: breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Breathing out through the mouth switches on your parasympathetic nervous system to help you slow down your heart rate and breathing, decrease your blood pressure and help your intense emotions start to resolve. This will help you be less reactive.

3. ACKNOWLEDGE the positive things in your relationships and build on these. Doing this over time will give you a greater sense of appreciation for what you have. A nice way to do this is to thank your partner for something he or she did did e.g. making dinner on a night when you had to work late, thanking a work colleague for helping you out on a project.

4. OPEN yourself to the possibility of change. Be honest with yourself about how you might be stopping the relationship from moving forward. Remember, it takes two to tango. For example, maybe you feel like you have to have the last word in arguments. Ask yourself , why do I do this? Why is it important for me to have the last word? Keep unpacking these questions until you get to the bottom of it. It may be that you feel like you need to be in control of your life because you feel that people cannot be trusted. This is a sabotaging core belief and will stop you from moving forward in life.

The sooner you can be open about how and why you respond in certain ways the sooner you can start to change your sabotaging behaviours and beliefs so they no longer define you or your relationship.

5. FOCUS on how you want see yourself in a relationship and in your life. Take small steps to keep moving in that direction. For example, maybe you decide to say thank you more often for the little things that your partner does- however imperfect it may be. It’s the intention of their deed that counts.

These 5 simple but effective practices, along with the simple rule of letting go of the expectation that the other person needs to change, will help you pave way for  more meaningful and loving relationships in  your life.  

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