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How to Handle Relationship Fights to Connect Deeper with Your Partner

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How to Handle Relationship Fights to Connect Deeper with Your Partner

Just as fights can break a relationship, they can also be used to strengthen it.

Today, I will tell you how to achieve this — how to handle relationship fights better so that you can connect deeper with your partner.

It’s not as complicated as it may seem, but it does demand effort, commitment and dedication.

You see, when relationships get serious, it means the clashing of two worlds. Two persons will share more and more of their lives with one another.

Casual relationships don’t demand any effort, because when something goes wrong, it’s just bye-bye and we forget about it. But if we want to keep that significant other, there are many things we need to change.

First things first…

1. Never Allow Emotions to Get in the Way

Arguments can heat up too quickly if we don’t keep our emotions under check, so the first thing you need to do is to refuse to get emotional.

Go against your own ego, against your own anger, against your fear… even against those feelings of hurt. And, as demanding as it sounds, you also need to go against the feelings that your partner is eliciting in you.

Why? Because if you allow your emotions to speak for you, you will only be adding fuel to the fire.

One thing will lead to another, and suddenly emotions will get the best of both of you.

So, as difficult as it may seem, engage in the argument with the complete determination to not let your emotions get in the way. Refuse to react to them and move on to the only way you can handle relationship fights properly:

Direct communication.

Although we may want to express ourselves freely, we cannot allow emotions, or miscommunication to get in the way.

2. Don’t Fight Fire with Fire

Whit this I mean that, whenever you are solving a problem with your partner, you have to refrain from using hurtful language, rhetoric and sarcasm. They will only add an emotional overtone that you definitely don’t want to get in the way.

We may not be able to get inside our partner’s mind, but if there’s one certain thing we can do, that is to control our own actions.

If you use only direct communication, you will get the point across, and that’s all you need to do.

The real test of all relationship fights is to traverse the emotional field and simply get the point across so that it can be solved. Once you achieve that, communication does the trick.

And now we have to talk about communication.

In order for you to get the message across, you must do the obvious:

Refrain from attacking and stating your thoughts, needs and concerns without any additional information.

But also, a very important thing to do, is to listen and understand your partner’s concerns. If you think it’s all about you communicating your needs, you would be forgetting about half of the relationship: Your partner.

3. Listen and Understand Your Partner

It doesn’t matter if this relationship fight arose from your complains or concerns, it’s also important to understand your partner’s position. Once you do this, you can communicate better.

You know where you are, and where you need to go (figuratively). And now you also need to know where your partner is standing, and how to get to common grounds.

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This is starting to make sense, right?

Now we need to actually get into handling argument.

There is a widespread toxicity between couples nowadays. A toxic habit to use love for the other as a bargaining chip.

If you are doing something I don’t like, well, then maybe I don’t love you anymore.

Oh, you are not obeying me? Well, then I take love away.

I am sure you know what I mean, and if you want to connect deeper with your partner, you cannot do this.

4. Put Love Before Everything Else

A point where you and your partner decide if you will keep walking together… or not.

I know it sounds drastic, but it’s true.

Be aware that every argument is either solved successfully, the breakup point or kept as resentment by the unsatisfied partner if the relationship goes on.

If love is taken away on discretion, used as a means to control the partner, it’s called manipulation. And manipulation is fundamentally going against good relationships.

Love must be put before everything and anything. And I suggest you start your communication by reminding this to yourself and your partner.

This is something that I personally say, and it’s a great start to handle relationship fights:

“Look, I love you, and that’s above this argument, and so I need to tell you that I feel… “

And then, you state your thoughts and concerns, as well as asking clarifying questions to reassure and care for the other. This is extremely powerful and it allows for communication to flow correctly.

5. Embrace Change

If you do this, then fear of breaking up, fear of abandonment, fear of being neglected and “discarded”, fear of being controlled… they all go away.

We may not be used to hearing this, but think about it for a moment…

… it’s the very fears that lie at the core of most relationship fights.

And love trumps them all!

Start from love, from unconditional love, and you can conquer all relationship fights.

Everything sounds beautiful so far, right?

Now we have to delve into the not-so-pleasant aspects of overcoming an argument…

The ones that demand more from ourselves…

After you both have stated your concerns and thoughts, and after communication is flowing smoothly and unemotionally, you need to get to action.

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And what does action means in relationship fights?

Change.

Yes, whatever the problem is, if you want to solve it, it will mean change.

You can talk with your partner and apologize and fill each other with love but, if the problem is not corrected, then the couple is doomed to failure.

6. Forget Blame, Focus on Responsibility

For example: If the problem is that your partner didn’t listen to you and was chatting all the time on the phone, you need that attitude changed, right?

What’s an apology without a changed attitude? It’s nothing, so there needs to be change and that goes for you too.

In order to determine what needs to be changed, we have to let go of the concept of blame and substitute it for responsibility.

If I yell at my wife, apologize, and do it again, then nothing happened.

An apology is not a blank slate to go and make mistakes all over again. It makes sense only with a changed attitude and corrected mistakes.

That’s why responsibility must be assigned to whomever made a mistake. And that’s why I said we need to let go of the concept of blame. Complaining is not to make the other feel bad.

It’s funny how our egos work, isn’t it?

7. Tame Your Ego

I yell at you. You tell me I am guilty of deteriorating the relationship. And I feel bad for you calling me out on that?

As absurd as it sounds, we need to get around this problem that is so common.

Whenever you are having a relationship fight, be humble, and dare to recognize your own mistakes.

Connecting deeper with your partner will almost invariably mean change.

As I stated above, it is the clash of two worlds. Two different concepts of life that need to align… or not.

And the only way the concepts can possibly align in a non-toxic way is if both persons involved are humble and brave enough to change whenever it is necessary.

This is where you will find more friction. You will create a lot of resistance here, and you must fight against that resistance and allow change in yourself.

It all comes to priorities: It’s either your ego or the relationship.

8. Prioritize Your Relationship

I know, once again, that it may sound drastic, but if we don’t bring it down to a simple binary choice, the relationship can really deteriorate.

Putting the other person above the relationship is also negative, as it creates an imbalance, a lack of reciprocity.

And that goes against healthy relationships.

So, dare to confront yourself and recognize when it’s time to change.

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This is a very powerful way to connect deeper with your partner. He or she will know that you are taking responsibility if your actions. And it will also be clear that you prioritize your partner and the relationship.

Whenever you find yourself looking for excuses to justify something you did, resort to honesty and authenticity.

It it’s time to change, it’s time to change. Doing all this will allow you to have a clear vision, and to know when the scale is tipping against you.

Now, this cannot be a one-sided effort. Ask your partner to work with you the same way you are doing it. That’s the only way you will successfully handle relationship fights.

9. Be the Change First

You may be thinking that this guide is a little bit one sided, but think about it:

No one talks about your responsibility. No one is making you accountable.

And it’s not because I am assigning the blame to you, and it’s not because I want to burden you with the whole responsibility either. In fact, the reason is very simple:

If you don’t bring this to the table, your partner most likely won’t.

And if you start by taking these actions, you can ask your partner to mirror them.

In the end, it’s all for the sake of connecting deeper with your partner. And we are so used to keep distance with our partners because of fear of being hurt.

But you know what’s lacking in the relationship: Responsibility.

If you bring that to the table, you are so close to creating a deep, meaningful relationship, or strengthening it!

Once you and your partner have assigned responsibilities it’s time to wrap it up in a way that satisfies both of you.

And yes, this is all done direct communication. Explicit and detailed.

10. Never Assume

Don’t assume your partner knows something, and don’t use ambiguity to allow for actions that may result in a future fight.

Once you have reached an understanding, a great way to end the argument is to apologize and to state what is going to be changed in the attitude or relationship.

For example: I apologize for yelling at you. I will control my emotions and I won’t yell at you again.

This makes you (or your partner) accountable. And it is necessary for a healthy relationship.

These actions craft beautiful love.

You take responsibility, and so does your partner. You have your partner’s back, and she’s got yours too!

Conclude verbally and there will be no emotional residues. No possibility of encountering the same fight again in the future.

It may take a couple of tries, but take your time to solve it all.

Now, there are some last-minute recommendations I want to give you…

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11. Handle Problems and Concerns One at a Time

We can easily get lost in a relationship fight by bringing up other issues that are not current at the moment.

You guessed it: That’s the product of an argument handled incorrectly, and of emotional residue.

So, in order to keep this from ruining every single argument, start by dealing with the issue at hand first.

And then, after you both have stated your conclusions, your apology and the change you are going to make, take on the next issue. And yes, this can be taxing.

It will take time, effort, patience and persistence. But your relationship is worth it.

I also don’t want you to think that all the weight must fall on your shoulders. As I stated above, this is just to instruct you on how to properly handle relationship fights. Once you understand, you must make sure your partner is also willing to make the same effort and take the same responsibility that you are taking.

Never be afraid of pointing out something that is wrong.

12. Remind Yourself That YOU Matter

You need to be heard and your concerns need to be addressed, even if it takes time and effort; even if you need your partner to change so that the relationship grows.

Emotions are sure to arise even if you have made the decision to not get emotional. That is natural. But refuse to engage in hostilities with your partner, even in the worst of cases.

Don’t respond to yelling by yelling. Don’t respond to insults with insults. Handle hostilities and ask your partner to refrain from them.

But if they persist, it may also be a sign that your partner is not as willing to make an effort as you are.

And this takes me to the last recommendation in this guide: Be brave.

If your partner is not willing to change. If he/she is not willing to recognize mistakes, apologize and change… Then maybe it’s not a relationship worth pursuing.

Be brave to see this. It’s better to be alone than in bad company.

But if you want to connect deeper with your partner, use this guide to solve any relationship fight you might encounter.

Love Trumps It All

By being the change you want to see in your partner, you are being the solution.

This is unconventional, because we tend to escape additional responsibilities.

But if you dare to do this, if your relationship is worth it, you are creating the strongest bond of them all:

Love. True love.

And there’s nothing stronger than that.

More About Relationships

Featured photo credit: Jacob Mejicanos via unsplash.com

More by this author

George Alonso

Mental Health Expert, creator of the Transcendental Mindfulness Therapy.

9 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Calm Your Mind Having an Emotional Breakdown? 15 Ways to Re-Center Yourself Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional? How to Handle Relationship Fights to Connect Deeper with Your Partner Why You Keep Getting Into Toxic Relationships (And How to Stop)

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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