@journey_to_wellness_ uses this lovely image to describe what a healthy relationship should look like. Learning about and valuing what is important to each other is paramount. Knowing and being able to express how you feel, your desires and thoughts facilitates openness which in turn leads to a deeper connection. Healthy relationships bring out the best in BOTH of yo
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We all want to be heard. REALLY heard. We often prioritise that over listening. My favourite quote is; "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply". How often have you found yourself doing just that? Sitting and listening to what someone is saying, but really thinking about your; emotions or rebuttle - getting geared up to respond. I know I have! That's why with couples that I see, I focus on getting them to listen, REALLY listen. The best exercise I find for this (Couple Therapists if you have good ones too please let me know!) is simple paraphrasing! This exercise is so easy to use and translates to most issues or topics you may be struggling with.
All you need to do is; one person be the speaker and the other the listener.
Speaker: Discusses how they are feeling or thinking. Listener:Use your own words to communicate what you understand the Speaker to be saying (paraphrase). Don’t just repeat what the Speaker has said. Listener:: Verify, clarify, or modify the Speaker’s paraphrased response. Speaker: Paraphrases what the Listener has said again.
This is intended to help the listener to know that the Speaker is aware of the Listener's perspective and has heard what they have said. Paraphrasing and restating also allows the Speaker to correct any misunderstanding on the part of the Listener.
Side note; when I was 19 I remember seeing a big poster, and it's always stuck with me. It said; We have two ears, two hands and one mouth-to talk less listen more and do most.
So, what is differentiation? It's the opposite of symbiosis (connection as one - where codependency can arise...we will leave that to another day!)
Differentiation, the way we hold on to ourselves while staying connected to our partner. Differentiation requires the individual to be honest with themselves and partner, open to personal growth and the ability to express how they feel/think/desire while tolerating their partner doing the same.
Differentiation facilitates authenticity and vulnerability, and resolving conflicts and accepting that you might not like each other at times!
Differentiation is something I talk to couples about from the beginning. It is interesting how often people become fearful of that change - within their partner or themselves- that holding integrity can create so much anxiety. In actual fact it can do quite the opposite! It can keep the passion alive, stop relationships becoming stale, break any repetitive cycle that's occurring with conflict (hostile/avoidance) and most importantly, ease re-traumatisation.
Here are some tips to get you started with differentiation:
1. During a conflict or difficulty, try doing something that is 180 degrees different than what you have tried.
2. Question yourself: How are the current relationship issues made worse by you, your attitude, your way of looking at issues.
3. Confront yourself, not your partner. See how it feels and how you contribute to issues.
4. Ask yourself: Do I feel comfortable with my partner expressing their views, emotions or thoughts? •
See how it feels asking yourself these questions. If your differenation is strong in the relationship, you should be comfortable handing these over to your partner!
Many of you may not know this but there is more one way of being aroused! These different types are like building blocks. You may possess more than one and have a primary and secondary. Read through to see if any resonate with you.
The Sensual Type: is a person who is aroused by the senses. Their desire is sparked by the feel of skin on skin, by smells or taste. It is driven by the body and craves the senses to feel arousal.
The Cognitive Type: this is someone who is fuelled by desire by using their mind and thoughts. Fantasies and images increase their arousal.
The Intimacy Type: is aroused by the feeling of being able to connect with their partner. They feel desire when there is intimacy, trust and sharing.
The Attractor Type: feels aroused by being ‘seen’. They get turned on from arousing their partner or alternatively when they are seen as attractive or ‘sexy’ by their partner.
As I mentioned you may not have just one way by with you get aroused. However, knowing what turns you on can greatly help you to have a confident sex life. It facilitates tapping into your arousal when you most want it. So think about the last 3 times you were filled with desire....what was happening around you? What were your thoughts? What started it?
Sex and communication: The ability to talk honestly and openly is vital in order to have a fulfilling sex life. The skills to do so can be learned which will greatly improve your sexual satisfaction and your relationship. Its not an easy thing to do, some people fear being embarrassed or embarrassing their partners. Not to mention the fear of being rejected or the possibility of ruining their relationships. Finally that many people are nervous about starting the conversation in the first instance so they just keep to themselves. Let's be honest; talking about sex is a very sensitive and uncomfortable topic for most people. All of these worries are completely understandable. Continuing on this week I'll be giving you ways that you can ease these fears and start having a better sex life.