Sounds silly, I know. But how many of us were ever taught the art of healthy relationships?
Most of us learn how to 'do' relationships from the ways in which our parents or primary caretakers engaged in their relationships. And....well.....let's just say that for me, Relationship School in my family left a lot to be desired. Because they weren't well educated in healthy relationships either!
Forget about staggering divorce rate statistics; every relationship at every stage presents its own challenges, whether a couple is married or not. Why? Because relationships are a real life laboratory for our own personal growth. Nothing's more likely to bring up your own fears and past wounds as an intimate relationship. With a few tools in your toolbox, and the willingness and curiosity to explore, you can use challenging situations in your relationship for personal growth and deepening connection to your partner at any stage of a relationship.
The art of healthy relationships is two-fold:
1) learning to connect with yourself, including your own body, needs and desires.
2) learning to navigate key elements of being in relationship. (Note: generally speaking, I'm talking about intimate relationships with a primary partner, but relationship elements are always in play in other relationships in our life, too. Learning how to do intimate relationships well can apply to all areas of life. Bonus!)
Connecting with yourself looks like:
Being with your body
Discovering/Honoring your true self
Tools required to navigate personal relationships:
Although these lists are short, I know they can be overwhelming. I mean, 'conflict management'? You could write a dissertation on that topic alone. 'Slowing down'? Yeah, maybe if I was a monk. Remember, this is a learning process! This means you get to experiment in the laboratory of your own life and practice, practice, practice!
I'll be diving in deeper on each topic either in future posts or live videos, so stay tuned! In the meantime, a few questions you might want to consider:
What comes up for you around each of these connection topics?
What have you already learned about some of these?
What do you know you absolutely don't know?
What do you 'absolutely' know that you are willing to 'un-know' or 'unlearn', in order to grow and change?
P.S. Oh, and one last thing.....it's ok to have fun with this! Really. I promise. We can talk more about how to do that too. At some point many of us stopped giving ourselves permission to play and have fun and decided to make life harder by being serious and perfect. (Raising my hand.....ahem.....)