Relationships work best when the environment is a reflection of the values that we cherish.
When discussing ways to build a better relationship, many people focus primarily on communication. For example, Dr. Gottman describes his 4 Horsemen of the relationship, including Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling, and Contempt.
At the heart of these 4 concepts is essentially a lack of positive communication skills. And this is a good starting point.
However, even if you rule out the 4 horsemen, this will not automatically guarantee you a more positive relationship (it just means a relationship won’t be as bad as it was before). Relationships require balance, and they require boundaries. Relationships work best when the environment is a reflection of the values that we cherish. So, for example, if we value honesty, loyalty, respect, hard work, acceptance, understanding, gratitude, consideration, forgiveness, empathy, integrity and appreciation, then we want to ensure our relationships reflect these values. However, many of these values we cannot just communicate. Values are a verb, that is to say an action word.
If you want to build a better relationship, a very simple yet powerful and effective technique would be to simply create a list of the 10 or 15 values that you desire the most in a relationship. Put them on an Excel spreadsheet and give yourself columns. Once a week, at the same time, go through your list and see if you practice those values at least once throughout the week. Track your behaviour for 6 months. Did you practice your values? If you practice your values, then you’re essentially learning to live your values. When we live our values, our relationships will blossom and grow.
When our boundaries are respected, we feel happy, content, confident, secure, safe, secure, and self-esteem increases, communication increases, love, trust, and fun will increase, and sex and intimacy increase as well. Angry, confused, self-esteem and confidence decrease, we feel insecure, unstable, and unsafe, we experience less love, trust, and fun, and we typically have less sex and intimacy.
Building a better relationship isn’t just about communication but practising the values that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
As we said on the farm, “Don’t tell us what you are going to do, simply do it. Don’t say you’re going to do the dishes after supper. After supper, get up and do the dishes.” Living our values is the same.
Come heal, grow and create together
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