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10 Simple Ways To Keep A Fulfilling Relationship

10 Simple Ways To Keep A Fulfilling Relationship

In order for you to experience a fulfilling relationship, you must invest the time and energy to develop the relationship and to invest in your own personal development and self growth. You can’t have one without the other. The investment in the relationship and the investment in your personal development is the secret sauce to having a relationship that is both satisfying and fascinating. A fulfilling relationship includes two partners who both invest in their own development just as much as developing the relationship.

Small baby steps will completely transform your relationship. Before you can make big changes in your relationship, you must take thousands of small steps. These steps are both positive and brings excitement in the relationship. This excitement encourages the both of you to live a better life. Not only will your relationship reap the small changes but so will you within your own individual life. Below are 10 simple ways that you can start taking today in order for you to keep and maintain a fulfilling relationship.

1. Live without expectations.

Don’t just expect your partner to do something to make you happy.

Expecting that your partner will do a specific action for you to be happy is a foolish way of thinking. How would you feel if your partner always expected you to call as soon as you finished work? I’m sure you would feel a sense of  pressure and obligation. Nobody wants to feel obligated to do anything. You would be more than willing to call your partner after work if you didn’t feel obligated. Put yourself in the shoes of your partner. If you’re expecting your partner to always make you happy, you will never be completely satisfied in your life.

A relationship is a bond between two individuals that has something to put on the table. You can’t expect your partner to be the end-all, be-all to your happiness. You must take responsibility for your happiness and have your partner contribute to your happiness. A fulfilling relationship is when both individuals contribute to each other’s happiness, but without any expectations. You are the one who decides for yourself if you are happy or unhappy. Don’t put that decision on your partner. Remember, your partner can only contribute to your happiness.

2. Focus on improving your flaws.

Look at yourself first instead of pointing out the flaws of your partner.

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It’s human nature to point out the flaws of others before looking at our own flaws. For you to experience a fulfilling relationship, you must learn the importance of focusing on improving your own flaws rather than pointing out the flaws of your partner. We all have imperfections—that is part of who we are. When a disagreement occurs between you and your partner, look within first before looking at the flaws of your partner. If you focus too much on your partner’s flaws, you will end up being judgmental and critical. This does nothing but weaken the foundation of your relationship.

Next time you are in disagreement with your partner, instead of pointing the finger at your partner, point the finger at yourself and ask, “What do I need to improve on?” It may be the ability to fully listen to your partner’s perspective or not being so stubborn and hardheaded. Whatever it may be, look at yourself for the solution rather than looking at your partner as the problem. You will only be treading water if you continue to focus on your partner’s flaws. Make the commitment today to start focusing on your own personal development. Not only will you benefit from this, but also your relationship.

3. Be calm before the storm.

Don’t just react immediately when your partner does something that upsets you.

Immediately attacking your partner after they have upset you will only make the situation worse. Think about the saying, “the calm before the storm.” This is the peaceful and quiet period before a period of trouble and distress. I know from personal experience how easy it can be to react to your partner when they make you upset. It takes patience and the ability to consciously stop yourself from reacting negatively. It will not be an overnight fix; rather, it will be a long term change of behavior. It will be your behavior that will either worsen the storm or lessen the winds of impact. It’s your decision to make.

Just remember, if you continue to react negatively towards your partner whenever they upset you, they are more likely to hide anything that will make you upset. Do you want to establish a foundation that is based on secrets and lies? I’m sure you don’t. So, practice the strategy of taking deep breaths and consciously stopping yourself from reacting negatively. Understand where your partner is coming from and communicate in a way that is effective and encourages positive dialogue. Commit to developing a solid foundation of trust, commitment and patience.

4. Set boundaries.

Let each other know about these boundaries and decide what you’ll do if the boundaries have been crossed.

Setting boundaries for your own well-being and also for the well-being of your relationship is key to experiencing a fulfilling and satisfying relationship. Without boundaries, how do you or your partner know where to draw the line? Setting boundaries will establish a solid foundation. Think of a house being built. There is a blueprint of how the house should be built. Without this blueprint, the house will be built on a weak foundation. It’s the same with your relationship. The boundaries are the blueprint in which you and your partner establish in order to experience a fulfilling relationship.

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You and your partner must decide the boundaries that you want to establish in your relationship. Think about your personal values and beliefs that you have for yourself. What do you value and what do you believe in? The answers will help you create boundaries in your relationship. If you value honesty and open communication be sure to establish this in your relationship. A boundary of this can be, “If your partner lies to you on a continuous basis and lacks the ability to have open communication, then the consequence is to break up.” Again, you are the only one who will decide the boundaries that you want to have in your relationship. Be clear with your boundaries, effectively communicate why it’s important to you and what the consequences are if these boundaries are crossed.

5. Develop your own sense of direction.

Even though you are in a relationship, continue to develop yourself as an individual.

When you’re on cloud 9, it’s easy to forget about your personal needs. You tag along your partner and put your needs aside. What happens when you do this? You lose yourself and become resentful because your partner is living out their dreams but you’re not. You will need to balance developing your relationship and also developing yourself. As I’ve shared with you in the beginning of this article, in order for you to experience a fulfilling relationship, you must invest into your relationship just as much as you invest into your personal development.

A fulfilling relationship is a combination of your dreams and the dreams of your partner. It’s about putting both of your dreams on the table and encouraging each other to pursue these dreams. A healthy relationship requires both partners to express themselves and their needs. Make sure that you develop your purpose just as much as you encourage your partner to do the same.

6. Be curious about your partner.

No matter what challenges come your way, always make it a precedent to be curious about your partner and their needs.

This has become a precedent that I have set in my own marriage. Every evening after work, my husband and I sit on the couch and just ask each other thought-provoking questions. These questions allow both of us to better understand each other. Never allow the stress of life to take over your relationship. Continue to push stress back and develop the foundation of your relationship.

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Ever wonder why young children are so curious about life? They are excited to share all that they learning about the world. The curiosity and excitement of a young child should inspire you to do the same with your partner. Be curious and excited to learn more about your partner. What interests them? What makes them happy? What brings them to tears? Questions like these will help you establish the a colorful love map of your partner.

7. Step away from the crowd.

Instead of living up to society’s standard, decide for yourself the type of relationship you want to have.

We live in a society where we are constantly surrounded by noise. This noise can have an influence with how we handle our relationship, whether it be what we see in the magazines or reality shows. Instead of being influenced by the noise of society, decide with your partner on the relationship you want to nurture. A fulfilling relationship focuses on both partners’ individual needs with what the relationship needs as a whole.

Be clear with the kind of relationship you want to experience with your partner. Don’t just copy what you see on the television or in a magazine. It’s important for you to decide the foundation in which your relationship is built upon. Focus on your individual needs and what a healthy and happy relationship looks like to you.

8. Develop a common purpose.

Find a passion that both of you have in common and make sure you take the time to develop your passion.

Personally, I’ve experienced the power of developing a common purpose. My husband John and I are very passionate about helping others in life and marriage. With this passion, we have decided to make it our mission to help individuals and couples live a life truly worth living. This is our common purpose where we gain a sense of togetherness and inspiration. We not only are helping others but indirectly helping our life and marriage.

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Find out a common purpose that you and your partner share. This may be snowboarding or traveling. Whatever your common purpose may be, make sure you take the time to develop it. A fulfilling relationship is a balance between “individual dreams” and “together dreams.” Take the time to nurture both!

9. Be hungry for personal development.

Constantly feed your mind with ways on how to grow and develop both as an individual and as a couple.

We are all lifelong learners. Even when you’re 87 years old, you will still learn something new. Everyday should be an opportunity for you to grow, develop and deepen the wisdom of life. This includes both your individual development and as the development of your relationship. Read personal development and relationship books that will give you the wisdom to live a better life. I suggest that you get yourself a library card and read, read, read. There are endless amounts of books at the library for you to gain wisdom from. Also, instead of listening to the radio in your car, grab some audio programs from the library and start listening to them in the car. Did you know that the american commuter spends 38 hours a year stuck in traffic? Instead of being stressed about the traffic, listen to a personal development or marriage audio program. This will not only decrease your stress level but you are gaining wisdom at the same time.

The energy of a relationship will effect  both individuals. Feed this energy with inspiration every single day. Constantly look for ways to develop yourself and your relationship. Never stop learning. For when you stop, you stop growing.

10. Surround yourself with positive people.

Be very selective with the people you surround yourself with. They will indirectly influence your relationship.

The people you hang around with do influence you. I remember a time when I had a friend who would brag about the gifts her husband would buy her. She would show it off and it always made me feel bad about myself. It was as if I had to compete with her. This negative way of thinking is not necessary and can be avoided. This makes me think about society’s standard of living. Never fall into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses. Your relationship will suffer and your individual happiness will never be satisfied. Be careful with the people you call friends. They indirectly influence how you think and act. Surround yourself with people who are like-minded who value what you value.

These 10 simple ways to keep a fulfilling relationship will take time to establish but once your foundation is solid, you’ll look back and be happy that you started making the small necessary steps to changing your relationship!

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

She could hear her beautiful baby crying but was frozen in the doorway unable to move. The crying got worse and she knew that unless she comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet her feet wouldn’t move. She didn’t look at the cot but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat before her…. .okay it was a UK spider so not likely to kill her at all, and yet still her body was frozen as the tears fell down her face. “What a useless mother you are” she berated herself.

That awful mother was me 14 years ago. My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me but now that fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders but I’m not going to leave the room because of one and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact on us, how they can destroy (and I don’t use that word lightly) our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and most importantly how you can fight your fears too.

How irrational fears impact your life

The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at them. It makes us feel inadequate, weak and daft because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to:

  • Avoid situations where that fear may have to be faced. Dodging parties, new jobs, new experiences where we aren’t sure we will be able to protect ourselves.
  • Stop us from sleeping for fear the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!
  • Feel ill with the stress. Stress can be the cause of wrong decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better, the list of excuses is long that we hold on to so that we can avoid the cause of our stress.
  • Cause more distress as our minds overload us with negative thoughts of inadequacy. This can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.
  • Risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives too.
  • Feel debilitated. Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world but to the sufferer they are debilitating. Even impacting on their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

Why bother to fight the fear

Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport, another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now at the height of their profession they had no choice, what were they going to do? Quit? There was another who could never ask for help and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

All these fears and many more can be fixed but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

Let’s look at the benefits of fighting your fears:

If you’re going to change the way you do something, something that has impacted on your life, thoughts and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

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The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

I can still see the spider trapped in my hair because it had obviously been on my hairdryer. I also remember that I probably looked ludicrous in the South of France in my underwear running down the lane screaming and flinging my hair everywhere. The poor spider had not only been flung a long way from my head but was probably destroyed in the flight.

Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards, for me it meant that every time I picked up a hairdryer I could see a spider crawling towards my ear in my hair. Guess how helpful that was for reinforcing my reactions and irrational fear?

Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body, doesn’t feel good does it?

When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. So new opportunities can come your way and instead of fearing them and what people will think of you for your choices, you can be open to;

  • New hobbies
  • New travels
  • New opportunities
  • More success
  • Financially more secure
  • Happier
  • Healthier
  • Confident

The list is long so what can you do to get rid of your fears?

How to fight your irrational fears

In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact on success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious but they all have far reaching impacts on our lives.

Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

Why did this happen?

For some people they really need to know why the fear started, for others all they want is to get rid of it. If you need to understand yours then don’t skip this tip. Learn how your fears are made and appreciate where yours came from. If you don’t care how it arrived, you can jump to top tip 2.

I’ve seen some clients who are not prepared to look at how to get rid of the fear until they’ve understood how it got here in the first place. It’s not my place to tell them that is right or wrong, just to help them find the right steps to lead them to a happy path.

When a fear first starts, we don’t acknowledge a fear has entered our lives. It is only after a few occasions that we begin to notice that there’s a strong negative emotion connected to this “thing”. That’s how fear is allowed to grow because as humans we have in-built responses that have kept us safe for our entire existence. This means we are meant to perceive fear and either run or fight, either way our bodies jump into action creating physical responses to the perceived threat.

Look for when you first noticed the fast heart beat, the shallow breathing, the shaking hands, the redness. You have created an automatic way of dealing with this fear. It could be that it felt sensible to fear this because you had an unhappy outcome, although it is usually the case that your head has the facts and your heart is not prepared to hear them as it creates a version of the event that is far scarier than it actually was.

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Learning how to remove the emotions and feelings will help you to change your body’s response. The first time I fixed someone’s fear of public speaking, they told me that it physically closed their throat, I worried that was it possible with words to change our physicality? The answer was yes! With the tools and techniques I share below.

The tool kit

From the many people that have contacted me after reading Fight the Fear to my clients, I know for even myself creating a tool kit is a must. This is not a bag that you physically must haul everywhere. This is about learning tools that really resonate with you so that when you can feel the fear start to impact on you, you’ve got your kit ready to take it on.

I don’t have the space in one article to share all of those tools so let’s visit a few:

1. Why I’m awesome

Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions and feelings. It is not easy to write, and I get many messages telling me so however it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish.

2. Draw out your emotions

Earlier we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down you can follow the positive spiral up again.

I draw these individually for clients and with each action, thought or feeling we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different. Top tip 3 will help with that.

3. Acknowledge that you need to change

It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Top tip 4 could assist further, however for this tip, remember that when you want to do, think or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what). But if you aren’t sure yet if there’s really something different you want to do, this story about Nancy may help you to figure it out.

Then it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

Then for 2 weeks, decide that you won’t allow the thought to be in your head. There are usually some negative thoughts allowed to fester in your head. At this stage, just say “No I’d like you to stop.” After 2 weeks choose a new thought that you would prefer to hear in your head, maybe “I can cope with situations that scare me” or “I am stronger than I know”.

There will be times when you fail. Don’t berate yourself because that is another negative thought you are allowing your head to process. Just start again and at times like that have a read of your “Why I’m awesome list”.

4. Choose your words carefully.

I’ve heard many clients tell me that “It’s going to be hard to change” “I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t petrified” or “This is a lot to ask”. Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully.

Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved xxxx and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for”. (Take the xxx from your why I’m awesome document.)

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5. Believe that you have the control power

The only person that can control what we think and feel is us. I know it can feel like other people are impacting on us, however they can only do that if we give them permission to do so.

If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

6. Put up physical reminders

Working one to one, I can find the fear, work through it and create a tool kit of thoughts, feelings and actions that will help them fight that fear and get rid of it. For some, they don’t need physical things to help them; others do.

For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought, imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

Or the client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome document”.

So they had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job and they could do it. These daily reminders all come down to one key point — help you to Hack the Habit Loop.

What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

7. Physical supports

Music, environment and even smells can impact on us. Know the music that makes you feel alive and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energised. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

Changing these things is physical and giving yourself physical ideas to action can help power up your emotional state too.

8. Don’t go it alone

The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book) so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design and as such it can be tough to admit that you have a fear impacting on you.

However, by sharing your fear with a trusted friend, colleague or loved one can mean that when you are feeling the fear. you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your fear. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

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9. Get physical

One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, once repeated the behaviour and it became a formed habit that was accepted.

Challenging a fear can be done using our body too when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe and even the speed at which we speak can impact on us as well as those around us.

If you have a fear of public speaking or a fear of people thinking you are stupid or a fear of what people are thinking you can look at how you speak, stand and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

The research around placebo’s reinforces us that if it feels like it is working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

A little fear can be good

As someone famous once says:

“It is not fear, it is performance energy.”

Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear says “Are you well prepared?” “Do you know your audience?” “Have you rested your voice?” “You really want to deliver to this audience what they need” And those thoughts are sensible.

And just remember, it’s never ever too late to face your fear and do what you desire most! It’s even possible to start over your life no matter what stage of life you’re at. Here’s the proof:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

So as you reduce your fear, be aware of a good level of fear.

Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

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