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Self-Compassion In Relationships

Our relationships with our partners, family and friends often take some effort to maintain as neglecting any aspect of one of our relationships can result in miscommunication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment.  Many factors go into making a relationship work, including what you do to take care of yourself during high stress moments.  In this article, we are discussing self-compassion and the things that can make a significant difference to you and your partner.

What is self-compassion?

“Compassion is sensitivity to the suffering of self and others and a commitment to do something about it.” – Paul Gilbert

Self-compassion is a state of warm-hearted, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives.  It provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with encouragement, and care for others. Self-compassion is a skill that can be cultivated by anyone.

It is having mindfulness, common humanity and kindness towards oneself.  Mindfulness is holding your own thoughts and feelings rather than suppressing or being carried away by them.  Common humanity is the understanding that your feelings and experiences are not completely unique. No matter how hard we try to avoid or hide them, all of us have our ups and downs, and sometimes the downs include pain, frustration and disappointment.  Being kind to yourself is not only providing comfort in the moment; it is also committing, whenever possible, to reducing future instances of such suffering.

How To Bring Self-Compassion Into Your Relationships  

1. Remind yourself to slow down.  Take notice of when you become irritable or angry when you are with your partner.  Taking notice is the first step to making a change.  Meeting yourself where you are, rather where you think you should be, will help to you to accept the situation, calm yourself, and slow down.

2. Ask yourself how can you and your partner be happy right now.  Enjoy what you want for the fact that you like it or the activity of it.  This will help bring more awareness about yourself and what makes you happy.

3. When you make a mistake, it becomes a great opportunity to express compassion.  Remember that we are all human and we probably will hurt someone, in this case, our partner, or ourselves – it is part of the human experience.  Taking responsibility for the mistake is a great example of using compassion towards yourself along with situation or person that was hurt.

4.  Learn to generate a kind voice in your own head.  Think of something that you do not like about yourself – as if you have a critic.  What is the critic saying and what emotions are rising as you hear them?   Invite and acknowledge all of these feelings and emotions, whatever they are – anger, sadness, fear, resentment, envy.  Try not to judge any of it as they are simply just thoughts and feelings moving through you. It is neither bad nor good, just awareness.  The compassionate self must be built – this is a great awareness exercise for building it up.

As you practice self-compassion, you will likely discover the awareness of being present.  You will feel more freedom to show up as you are and a greater sense of well-being, for yourself and your relationships.  Another wonderful outcome of practicing self-compassion is once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you will have it to share with others and it will flow automatically and effortlessly.

 

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Mindful Self-Compassion

Relationships are one of our most important sources of well-being.  When we are down or distressed, we turn to others (partners, friends, parents, children) for comfort and guidance. Our intimate relationships, along with the relationship that we have with ourselves, can bring us great joy and, at times, also disappointment.  The way to navigate dealing with both circumstances is to have compassion.  Not only compassion for others and the situation, but compassion for yourself.

Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself.  No one in the world knows your feelings as well as you do. Because of this, you are the one most qualified person to bring compassion to yourself, which includes care, sensitivity, warmth, awareness, and kindness.  Having compassion for yourself will help you to bring compassion to others and your relationships with acceptance, unconditional love, and understanding.

Bringing Mindful Self-Compassion Into Your Life 

1. Remind yourself to slow down.  Take notice of when you become irritable or angry, especially towards yourself.  Meeting yourself where you are, rather where you think you should be, will help to you to accept the situation, calm yourself, and slow down.

2. Ask yourself how can you be happy right now.  Enjoy what you want for the fact that you like it or the activity of it.  This will help bring more awareness about yourself and what makes you happy.

3. When you make a mistake, it becomes a great opportunity to express compassion.  Remember that we are all human and we probably will hurt someone or ourselves – it is part of the human experience.  Taking responsibility for the mistake is a great example of using compassion towards yourself along with situation or person that was hurt.

4.  Learn to generate a kind voice in your own head.  Think of something that you do not like about yourself – as if you have a critic.  What is the critic saying and what emotions are rising as you hear them?   Invite and acknowledge all of these feelings and emotions, whatever they are – anger, sadness, fear, resentment, envy.  Try not to judge any of it as they are simply just thoughts and feelings moving through you. It is neither bad nor good, just awareness.  The compassionate self must be built – this is a great awareness exercise for building it up.

As you practice self-compassion, you will likely discover the awareness of being present.  You will feel more freedom to show up as you are and a greater sense of well-being, for yourself and your relationships.  Another wonderful outcome of practicing self-compassion is once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you will have it to share with others and it will flow automatically and effortlessly.

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Taking Care Of Yourself First

Taking care of ourselves before others often sounds selfish, as if we are not as vested in our relationships, rather only in ourselves. However, taking care of yourself first is a crucial step in actually being more vested in your relationships.  When we tend to our own needs, we are able to be more focused on helping others and tending to what they need help with.  Just like the airplane safety videos, demonstrating that applying your own oxygen mask before helping your child or neighbor is important, life is much like this.  If you cannot breathe properly, there is no way that you will be able to successfully help someone else breathe.  If we do not take care of ourselves first, we are likely to be little help to others or our relationships.

We have so many things to tend to daily – from our demanding work schedules, our partner’s schedule and needs, and our children’s school and activities – it’s a miracle we get anything done!  Tending to yourself first benefits all of your relationships and your daily tasks.  Taking good care of yourself provides the foundation upon which everything else builds.

Taking care of our needs prior to others relates to self-compassion.  Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself. Tending to your own needs first is a great way to practice self-compassion.  Just like having compassion for yourself helps you to bring compassion to others and your relationships, taking care of yourself prior to others also helps bring care and attentiveness to your partner, children and other relationships.

Self-care is about replenishing ourselves so that we can have enough energy, creativity, love, and joy to spread to others.  By taking care of ourselves first, it allows for us to be the best we can be for our partners, children, friends, co-workers, and community.

Ways To Take Care Of Yourself

Nourishment – Your body works best when it is strong.  When life presents challenges, keeping yourself in physical and emotional well-being is of utmost importance.  This means eating plenty of fresh whole foods, staying hydrated, being physically active, and getting adequate rest.

Relaxation – Often times we view spa visits as a luxury and not necessary.  However, carving out the time to treat yourself to a dedicated method of relaxation – whether it is a massage, facial or even a quick visit to a sauna or a swim – is a great way to take care of yourself and replenish your energy so that you can carry on with your tasks and helping your loved ones.

Meditation –  An effective way to nourish your well-being, meditation helps to reduce the stress in your life and gives you the ability to handle the day with a calm, refreshed attitude. While increasing your energy levels, meditation essentially helps you to connect with your authentic self.  Meditation is simple minded practice, meaning you do not have to do much to participate in it, yet the benefits can affect your entire life in amazing ways, including making it easier for you to be there for others.

After taking time to explore the ways that work best for you to tend to yourself first, you will likely see that you are able to tend to your partner and children’s needs more effectively.

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Why Equality in a Relationship is Essential

Equality in a relationship or marriage is not always easy, but it is definitely essential. The traditional balance in the home is shifting as more women are seeking professional careers outside of the home. Fortunately, most modern men are willing to pick up the slack around the house. They are glad to help and they are capable of handling a larger portion of the family responsibilities than their own father would have been able to do. This shift in household duties is a big step towards equality, but it has created some unique challenges for newly married couples.

Women are Their Own Worst Enemies

When couples first move in together, most women will willingly take on the majority of the shared duties and they will care for their man without any complaint. They never ask for help and are grateful for anything their husband chooses to do on their own. They will do everything necessary for the first few years and then suddenly crash. Eventually the stress of managing a full-time job, plus having to get all the groceries, cook all the meals, wash every dish, do the laundry, dust, and vacuum will become too much to handle and things will start to go wrong.

She will immediately blame her partner even though she never asked him for help in the first place and he’ll have no idea why he has upset his wife so much. He’ll also be so unfamiliar with the routine and cleaning schedule that it will only further infuriate her when he tries to help out and he doesn’t do it properly. This is a common recipe for disaster that affects many new marriages.

How to Establish Equality Early On

It is important to discuss and divide household chores as soon as you move in together, whether you are married or not. If the woman in the relationship handles all of the cooking and cleaning in the beginning, it is harder to get a man to participate in those chores in the future. Each person in the relationship should make a list of things they don’t mind doing and then compare. You may need to compromise on some things, just make sure to divide them as evenly as possible.

How to Create Financial Equality

Couples that establish equality with household chores should also fairly divide the shared expenses. Make sure to divide the bills based on each person’s income, so neither is paying more than they can really afford.

How to Maintain Equality after Children

Daily duties drastically increase after you have children, so it’s important to once again establish responsibilities. Instead of dividing up the tasks, try sharing them since most responsibilities regarding parenting are also bonding opportunities. Use the tag-team approach and take turns getting up during the night, feeding the baby, and changing diapers.

Equality is essential for your future happiness and it is important to establish it early on. Talk to your partner as soon as you move in together and set up rules for managing the shared responsibilities and expenses. Communication and honesty in the beginning will help ensure that you have a long and happy marriage.

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Knowing Who You Are in Relationships

Each person is completely unique, even if he or she has something in common with others, especially their significant other. Individuality is important, and knowing who you are plays a key role in your relationship, as well as the choices you make for yourself. If you are unsure about yourself or insecure in anyway, this can have a detrimental effect on the choices you make, as well as the strength and stability of your relationship.

Standards and Expectations  

Setting standards and expectations for yourself is a good way to ensure success. When it comes to relationships, this will help you to weed out those toads in order to find your true love hiding deep within the lily pads. If you do not know who you really are, there is no way you can definitely set forth your standards and expectations.

And if you enter into a relationship unsure of yourself, you cannot possibly know what you want and are almost guaranteed to encounter difficult relationships filled with incompatibility, struggle, and strife. Being able to say,  I know who I am, I know who I want, and I will not settle for anything less,  will help you to be more discerning in your choice of mate, and will enable you to find someone you can build a strong partnership with; standing beside them for all the right reasons, as opposed to leaning on one another for the wrong reasons and wallowing in a miserable relationship that will inevitable come to a bitter end.

Conflict in Relationships

No relationship is without its fair share of conflict. However, there is a fine line between a healthy amount of conflict and navigating some seriously rocky terrain. If you do not know whom you really are and cannot set forth your standards and expectations, you run a high risk of allowing insecurities to creep into your relationship causing undue conflict. Insecure people tend to be vulnerable, choosing mates who are not always the best choice for them, and failing to stand their ground about what they believe and want, as well as being susceptible to tolerating things they should not tolerate simply because they are too insecure to believe they deserve any better. For those who do find a kind and loving mate, despite their insecurities, conflict can creep in because insecurities tend to make people paranoid, causing them to start fights and aim accusations at their partner, even when unfounded and often ludicrous. And while such petty conflict can be the insecure partner s way of reassuring themselves of the other s devotion and love, over time, this same type of conflict can drive the other partner away because of the constant arguing, clingy-ness, and need for unnecessary reassurances.  

Commitment  

If you do not know who you really are, you cannot possibly make a commitment to yourself. This means you cannot set forth those important standards and expectations for yourself or a relationship. If you cannot commit to yourself, you certainly cannot commit to a long-term relationship, nor can you expect that relationship to be strong and healthy with only a reasonable amount of conflict. The bottom line, no matter what your age and experiences in life, find out whom you really are, committing to yourself first, and then find that special someone who will love and appreciate you for who you really are.

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Taking Care Of Yourself During The Holidays

Most of us tend to be overwhelmingly busy during the last two months of the year with the holidays.  We have our daily tasks to maintain such as work, our partner and children, and the upkeep of our homes, while adding on extra holiday related events and family gatherings. One of the most important things to do during this extra stressed time period is to maintain your health and wellness so that you can show up as your best for all that your busy life demands.

There are many things to do to keep your body healthy – from eating wholesome foods to exercising – but what do you do to keep your mind healthy during this busy time?   Having self-compassion will help tremendously during the holidays.  Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself.  No one in the world knows your feelings as well as you do. Because of this, you are the one most qualified person to bring compassion to yourself, which includes care, sensitivity, warmth, awareness, and kindness.  Having compassion for yourself will help you to bring compassion to others and your relationships with acceptance, unconditional love, and understanding.

Ways To Take Care Of Yourself 

Set Manageable Expectations – Knowing that not everything is in your control will help to manage your expectations.  There is likely to be heavier traffic during the holidays along with large crowds at the malls and holiday related events.  Being in the ease and flow of the present moment will help you through these types of stressful situations.

Say “No” To Excessive Demands – Knowing your limit of how much you can handle is a great way to practice self-compassion.  It means that you can decipher when your plate has reached capacity.  When you feel that there is just no more time or space for you to take on another project, holiday party or family member’s specific request, accepting that saying “no” will be one of the best ways you can take care of yourself during this time, as you will be saving yourself the trouble and stress of not being able to handle something.

Spend Time With Those You Love – We all enjoy seeing the ones we love during the holidays, it is a big part in what makes this time so special.  Often times during the chaos of the holiday and family events, our relationships get pushed to the side simply because of hectic schedules.  Remembering to carve out some special time with your partner during the holidays – perhaps an ice skating date or going to see the town’s festive decorations – will likely lead to making special memories.

Find Quiet Time For Yourself – As discussed last week, it is of need to take the time for yourself to help release stress, and not only during the holidays.  Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and practicing gratitude are great ways to do so.  Other wonderful options are  to go to a yoga class or treat yourself to a spa visit.

The holidays are meant to be a fun time with friends and family.  Remembering to take care of yourself with these tips will help benefit your holiday experience.