28 posts categorized "RELATIONSHIP NOURISHMENT"

May 16, 2013

Want Great Relationships? Nurture Them From the Start

IStock_000014629447XSmallAs human beings, we all crave love and belonging. Deep down we want to feel loved, be treated well and we want someone to think we totally rock.  We want to feel as if we matter. Few things fulfill this need more than beginnings: new friendships, new romances and new births. In the beginning, we’re often excited, enthralled and filled with love and adoration for our newfound connections. In fact, these times feel so good, we often term them “the honeymoon period.” During the honeymoon period we can mostly see only the good in the other person. For this moment in time, the other person truly does “rock” in our eyes. 

During this time period…

Unfortunately though, as time goes on, the honeymoon period comes to an end and real life settles in. As time passes, stresses increase, relationships hit bumps, arguments begin to surface and, if we’re not careful, people begin to grow apart.  Cherishing can turn to complaint, love can turn to frustration and connection can turn into what feels like an eternal distance. That original sense of love and connection becomes lost in the abyss. The connection gets lost, not because we’re not meant to be together (although that may be the case for some), but because we forgot to nourish what we had.

Just as a car needs oil to run, relationships need cherishing to stay strong. 

Continue reading "Want Great Relationships? Nurture Them From the Start" »

February 12, 2013

Tips to Get Closer to The Ones You Love

IStock_0complimentSmallThe day-to-day stresses of living can often get in the way of staying close with the people who matter. Balancing the needs of paying the bills, managing the home, doing a good job at work, running errands and on and on, can each be a difficult feat in itself—add relationships to the equation and it can seem impossible. Staying close with friends, children, spouses, lovers and/or family members, though, is vital for our happiness.

Many studies have shown that strong connections and satisfying relationships help reduce stress, improve health and, in some circumstances, actually extend a person’s life.  Nurturing our relationships is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Unfortunately, nurturing is one of the last things we think of when there are deadlines to meet, mortgages due and responsibilities that need our attention. Fortunately, on the other hand,, change happens in the minutiae…meaning it only takes tiny steps to create large shifts.  Below are ten easy steps to take to bring the important people in your life closer. Each step takes only a moment to do, yet leaves a lasting impact.

Ten little steps to bring loved ones closer…here’s to the minutiae of change:
1.    Send a text to a friend or loved one saying you’re glad they’re in your life.
2.    Leave a note in a child’s day planner, lunch box or on their pillow saying they ROCK!
3.    Put a sticky note on your spouse’s bathroom mirror with a loving message (i.e. Still feeling lucky to have you after all these years ).

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September 10, 2012

Tips For Building Intimacy

IStock_0dating(2)When it comes to building intimacy, people often think it takes major efforts over a long period of time.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Building intimacy is in the little things and it starts with a genuine love and respect for the other person. 

Below are five stepping-stones to building intimacy in a friendship, romantic relationship or family.  The more consistently you implement these, the more intimacy and trust you will create in your relationships.

1.    Speak honestly:  We cannot have intimacy if we’re not willing to tell our truth to those we love.   Sharing our truth with compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can give to someone.  Even the difficult truths are gifts. It doesn’t serve us to pretend things are fine if they aren’t.  It doesn’t help us to say our relationship is great if they aren’t. When we can have the courage to truly tell the other person what is going on for us (in a grounded, respectful way), we begin to build true intimacy. 
2.    Share yourself:  Relationships are about connection.  One key way we get and feel connected is by sharing our stories with one another.  It’s incredibly intimate to share one’s dreams, fears, ideas and even embarrassments with another and trust that they can hold that information with love. Intimacy means: “Into-me-you see”, if we’re not sharing ourselves with our loved ones, we create distance not intimacy.

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June 13, 2012

It's The Little Things: Five Ways To Bring Life Back Into Your Relationship

IStock_0complimentSmallThe smallest things are often what make the biggest impact in relationships. Unfortunately, it’s the smallest things that often get dropped.  With the hectic schedules of most people these days, we often forget to add tender sprinkles into our relationships.  We get caught up in finishing that big project, taking our children to endless practices/events, answering e-mails, playing on our phones, doing chores and on and on.  What we forget are the important things.  We forget the glue that keeps our relationships strong.  Here is the glue:
1.    Laugh often: There is nothing more connecting than a good belly laugh.  The moment you and a friend or loved one laugh, you can feel an instant closeness.  Look for the humor in things—even the difficult things.  Life doesn’t have to be so serious.  Learn to lighten up and find your humor again.
2.    Smile: No one likes to be around a wet blanket, it truly gets old.  If you’re a pessimist and constantly complaining, whining or pouting, retrain your brain.  Put a smile on your face and meet people with a positive greeting.  “Fake it ‘till you make it” as they say and soon your smile will come more naturally.  If you’re not normally a downer, simply remember to smile more and greet people in a way that shows them you’re psyched to see them.

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February 28, 2012

Giving In Relationships

IStock_0complimentSmallI often talk about women not settling in their relationships and wanted to remind women (and men) that it’s equally important to be giving in their relationships.  All relationships are a balance of give and take.  We all have to be able to set limits when we need to while also being compassionate and relational will all those in our inner circle.  So below is a quick cheat sheet for how to give.  Always remember that whenever you choose to give something—even if it’s a small compliment—you do so with an open heart.  Don’ give with resentment or because you think you have to—give because you want to and it’s the loving thing to do.

10 ways to give:
1.    Smile.  Greet those around you with a genuine smile.  Show them you’re happy to see them—it costs you nothing and it feels great to the other person.
2.    Kiss hello and good-bye.  Never forget the importance of the two G’s: greetings and good-byes.  A quick kiss or hug can go a long way in someone’s day.  Too often we slowly stop doing these until one day kisses and hugs feel so awkward that we no longer do them. 
3.    Ask about their life.  This person is in your life for a reason—get curious.  Ask about what’s going on in their life—if it matters to them, it should matter to you too.
4.    Give compliments.  Don’t be stingy.  Compliments are an example of what I call “tender sprinkles”.  Tender sprinkles are like making a deposit in our relationship bank accounts.  They help carry us through the hard times and remind us about what feels good.
5.    Say, “I love you”.  Say the words and follow them up with loving actions. This is especially true for men. If you're not comfortable with saying these three words--tough.  get over it and speak them.  your partner and your children should never have to surmise that you love them. Just say the three words!

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February 23, 2012

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

IStock_0accidentSmallThese past two weeks have been a bit crazy.  While I was in LA giving a workshop, my sister, who also happened to be in LA at the time, was in a car accident.  She was hit by a drunk driver and sustained several injuries, including a broken nose and fractured cheekbones.  Due to her injuries, flying was not an option, so we ended up going on a road trip from Los Angeles, California to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Needless to say it was a bit of a curve ball in both our plans.

Here are some of the things I learned—and am still learning -- from this experience.  I hope you find them helpful. 
When life throws you a curveball:
1.    Do the right thing—not the easiest thing.  I know that if the tables were turned, I would be hoping to God that the people in my life would do whatever was necessary for me to be okay.  The reality is that curve balls don’t come at the most opportune time.  It’s our job to notice they’re there, get our priorities straight and do the right thing.  The world will have to wait.
2.    Know that some things will have to be dropped.  Sometimes you have to forego some things or push them aside and you have to let go of the guilt that comes with that.  Allow yourself the space to be where you truly need to be—you can catch up to the world later; they don’t need you now.
3.    Give with a good spirit.  If you are going to help someone, then truly help.  Do not be resentful and act as though they owe you anything.  They don’t.  Remember that if the tables were turned, you would want the same.

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December 19, 2011

Here’s To The Abnormal Relationship And Setting The Bar Higher (Part I)

IStock_00happyolder coupleXSmallI often get asked what is “normal” in relationships; I don’t ever want to answer the  “normal” question.  I don’t like to answer this because I believe that the norm for couples is way below par.  It is way too common for couples to be yelling, cheating, acting selfish and in general acting anything but cherishing to their partners. 

I want to move away from “normal” as a goal for couples.  Striving for the average relationship is truly setting the bar way too low; you deserve better than normal—trust me.  How about we all strive for the abnormal when it comes to relationships.  Let’s all try to do things differently from the way most people are doing it.  Let’s try to truly create relationships that are loving, respectful and feel great to be in.  Shall we?

Here’s to the abnormal!  Below are the first five of 10 characteristics of healthy relationships.  I encourage you to work hard to incorporate each and every one of these into your closest relationships.
1.    Cherishing.  Genuinely treat your loved ones as though you cherish them—through your words and actions.  Be kind, compassionate, complimentary and understanding.
2.    Respectful.  Refuse to call your loved one a name, swear at them in anger or treat them with disrespect in any way at any time—even in anger.  If you mess up—repair it without excuses or justification.  Simply own your mistake, apologize and STOP doing it.  Speak to your loved ones as though they are close friends whom you greatly admire.
3.    Authentic.  Be honest.  Tell your truth with compassion and…tell it.  Without honesty there is no trust and without trust there is no healthy relationship.  Refuse to lie.  If there’s something you’re struggling to say, tell them you need to think about it and get back to them.  Do not justify your lies because of their expected reactions—set a limit on their reactions and control your lies.
4.    Affectionate.  There’s nothing like a pat on the back by a friend, an understanding hug from your partner or a high five from your teenager to let you know you matter.  Great relationships require some affection; they require warmth.  Be warm to those you love: squeeze their hand, ruffle their hair, give them a kiss, high five them, etc.  Show the love!
5.    Accountable.  Making mistakes is part of our humanity, however, it appears that owning these mistakes is not so much a part of humanity.  Learn to apologize, accept when you are wrong and then repair it.  Repair requires an apology, an action and due diligence to insure it does not keep happening.  The abnormally healthy relationships are high on accountability.

Creating healthy relationships requires that we be mindful of our actions rather than reactive.  Without being deliberate about how we show up in the world we are all destined to stay “normal” which is doing all of our relationships a true disservice.  Dare to soar past the norm and into great.

Challenge: Scan the relationships in your life and of those around you and honestly ask yourself how all of you are doing.  Look over these characteristics and pick the two that you are weakest in and focus on those.  Pay attention to any shifts that occur.

April 25, 2011

Pay Attention: Making Our Relationships a Priority in Our Lives

IStock_00familyll Paying attention to our core relationships can be one of the hardest things to do in our world today. It can seem as though everyday is wrought with a choice between family, friends, work, finances and an endless list of to do’s.  Because the to do’s are often tied to obligations, they frequently win our attention. 

Not without a cost however.

The truth is that the endless tasks we have to do each day are just that—endless.  Chances are we’ll seldom have everything done. In our attempt, however, to constantly check off our lists, our children are growing older, our partners more distant and our friends become people we check in with every now and then.  We end up spending most of our time paying attention to obligations and shoulds rather than relationships.  Eventually this catches up to us.

I can feel when I’ve been so caught up on work that I’ve allowed my friendships and family to become a distant second in my life.  My children talk less to me, I start numbing out with technology more and more and my husband and I can be like two ships passing in the night. My priorities got derailed and off track.  The last thing I want my family and friends to think and feel is that they’re second best in my life.  Too quickly, however, it can seem that way.  And I know many other families are struggling with this same issue.

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September 22, 2010

Do Your Actions Show You Care? 10 Ways To Cherish Your Partner


1.    Perform a random act of kindness--out of the goodness of your heart--with no expectation of them returning the favor.  Do this throughout your relationship
2.    Tell them you love them with your words.  The saying that actions speak louder than words is great…and you also need to use your words.  The strongest combination is when your actions match your words: tell them and show them you love them.
3.    Give them compliments.  Change your lens from a negative one that’s all about what they’re doing wrong or how they don’t look good, to a more positive lens.  Actively focus on what you do like and voice that.  Be complimentary often and at random times.
4.    Do something they would like to do not what you would like to do.  Too often we do the things that we like and ask our partner if they want to tag along.  Step out of your world for a moment and step into theirs.  Offer to do something you know they would love to do and surprise them with your compassion.
5.    Give them a gift that they would like not one that you would like.  This is similar to #4:  step out of your world and give them what they want not what you want them to have or what you wish they would give you.

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September 01, 2010

10 Ways To Get The Spark Back Into Your Relationship

Neither you nor your partner have to be drop dead gorgeous or sexual dynamos to get the spark back.  Often all you need is two willing people and a determination to find each other again.  Step out of your comfort zone and take some steps to get the spark back.
1.    Stop telling yourself you don’t have that spark.  Our thoughts are extremely powerful and once we tell ourselves it’s gone, that becomes the only thought we notice.
2.    Act more sexual and be more flirtatious Dress sexy (put on perfume/cologne, dress up, wear something you feel good in or that you know your partner likes) and act playful.
3.    Do random acts of kindness without any expectation that they will return the favor or that you’ll get something in return. 
4.    Be more affectionate deliberately.  Hold hands, touch more, look your partner in the eyes when you kiss them, touch the small of their back when you walk by etc.
5.    Change your lens and focus on those moments you do like your partner or like what they’re doing.  Take these moments in.  Seldom do people constantly dislike their partners.  Notice when you feel any level of attraction and take note of that.  If you can’t think of any now, think back to when you first fell in love.
6.    Act as if:  act as if you are in a great relationship with someone you adore.  What would you be doing differently?  Our actions greatly influence the actions of those around us; play with this idea and see what you notice.  See what happens as you become more loving and cherishing.
7.    Just do it.  Our libidos are just like our brains—if we don’t use it we lose it.  Stop saying you’re too tired, not in the mood etc., and just do it.  Clear your mind of the clutter and  the negative talk and just be present.
8.    Say it straight. Tell your partner what you like and don’t like instead of assuming they should know.  Ask your partner what they like and don’t just assume you’re wonderful.
9.    Talk to each other. Share your day, your fears, your upsets and your crazy thoughts or dreams. Intimacy means into me you see; give your partner a glimpse of who you are and what’s going on in your world.  Know that when your partner shares with you it is a window into their soul which is a gift; treat it as such.
10.    Be the change agent rather than waiting for your partner to change.  Too many people say they’ll change when their partner changes and it’s killing couples.  Stop waiting for something to happen and make it happen.

Challenge:  Choose 1-2 suggestion from the list above and incorporate them into your relationship for a minimum of two weeks.  Pay attention to any changes you see from your partner.

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