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How To Survive A Long-Distance Relationship

How To Survive A Long-Distance Relationship

What comes to mind when you think about surviving a long-distance relationship? Do you experience negative or positive emotions? Whether you have been in a long-distance relationship for a while, or recently started a long-distance relationship, it’s important for the both of you to be on the same page.

Being in a long-distance relationship is a challenge, but definitely worthwhile if you are committed to developing your relationship. A long-distance relationship can either bring the two of you closer together, or pull you further apart. I want to share with you the top 5 precedents that my husband and I used while we were in a long-distance relationship. I highly suggest that you share this article with your partner. There will be a “Take Action” exercise at the end of each precedent that I encourage the both of you to implement. This article is not really about just “surviving” a long-distance relationship, it’s about developing and growing your long-distance relationship.

Precedent #1: Be Committed

When you are in a long-distance relationship, it’s important for the both of you to know that you are equally committed to developing the relationship. Why bother being in a long-distance relationship when one or both of you are not committed? You might as well just have it be a fling and then find someone locally. So, the first precedent to surviving a long-distance relationship is to both be committed to maintaining and developing your relationship.

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Take Action: Spend some quality time talking with your partner about the commitment that you have in the relationship. It’s important that the both of you are on the same page when it comes to investing your time and energy into it. It’s all about effective communication and knowing that you are just as committed as your partner. Simply ask your partner, “Are you committed to developing our relationship?” The sooner you’re able to be on the same page, the sooner you’ll know if this relationship is worth your time and energy. Wouldn’t you rather know where your partner is at now instead of investing so much and possibly finding out later that they’re not as committed as you thought? Be open and make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to the level of commitment in the relationship.

Precedent #2:  Write it down

Surviving a long-distance relationship is definitely a challenge, but when you know what your partner plans on doing in developing your relationship, you will feel much more secure. It’s important for you and your partner to write down on a piece of paper the commitments that both of you plan on living out every single day in developing your relationship. My husband and I did this while we were in a long-distance relationship and eventually used these commitments for our vows on our wedding day. I’m not saying write down your future wedding vows, I’m sharing this with you because I want you to know the power of writing down your commitments to each other.

Take Action: Use whatever kind of communication that the two of you have and take the time to write down your commitments to each other. I would suggest using either Skype or FaceTime when doing this exercise. It would be best to actually see your partner. Start off by writing, “My commitment to (your partner’s name)…” Then start writing down the commitments that you plan on following through with every single day. Some examples may be sending your partner a text message during your lunch break or calling your partner after you get home from work. You decide the commitments you plan on doing for your partner. Take some time to write down the commitments that you have for your partner and vice versa. Once you’ve finished writing them down, say them out loud to your partner. Once you’ve shared your commitments, make a copy of them and send the original to your partner and have them send their original to you. This way, your partner will have your commitments to them, and you will have their commitments to you. Have these commitments in a place where you see them daily. This will really help in staying connected with your partner.

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Precedent #3: Take the time to visit

You may have a busy schedule with work, but when you are committed to developing your relationship, you will take the time to visit your partner. You may have to do some planning around your schedule, but when you make the effort to visit, your partner not only feels important but you are able to physically spend quality time together to develop your connection. And when you do visit your partner, make sure it’s quality time. It’s all about planning. When you visit your partner, spend time focusing on loving them. If you can help it, don’t be on any business phone calls or dealing with work while you’re there. The secret to taking the time to visit your partner is to spend 100% quality time with them.

Take Action: Take a look at your schedule and plan on visiting your partner. Depending upon the distance, you may have to save up some money before visiting. But when you’re able to plan ahead and save as much money as you need, you’re showing your partner that you care and that you want to develop the relationship. When you continue to make excuses and don’t take the time to visit your partner, that’s a clear indication that you’re not committed to developing your relationship. You may want to add how many times you want to visit in your commitments to your partner.

Precedent #4: Think long-term

This goes back to precedent #1 of being committed. With commitment, you will need to also think long-term. Where do you see this relationship going in the long run? You will need to take some time to reflect on why you’re in this relationship? Some of us end up being in a relationship because we’re lonely or just want to say that we’re with someone. Make sure you are in your relationship for the right reasons.

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Take Action: What does the future look like with your current relationship? Do you see yourself being with this person for the long run? If you’re unsure, why? What are the key issues that need to be discussed with your partner? I want you to take the time to communicate these questions with your partner. Remember how I’ve shared with your the importance of being on the same page? Well, it’s important to be on the same page when it comes to long-term commitment. If you or your partner are experiencing certain issues like lack of trust or jealousy, it’s important for you to have an open discussion about these issues. If you feel stuck, I would suggest that the both of you seek counseling. It’s always helpful when you can have a third person who can look at your relationship without any attachments or emotions involved.

Precedent # 5: Be Real

When it comes to surviving a long-distance relationship and growing the connection with your partner, you need to always be real. It’s important to know who you are and express the real essence of you to your partner. We all know that during the beginning stages of dating, we experience that “Cloud Nine” feeling where we see our partner as being perfect. But we all have imperfections and eventually these will come out. There is nothing wrong with having imperfections, we’re only human. Make sure that you share with your partner all aspects of you, not just the good ones. Don’t play any games! This is a big NO-NO when it comes to being in a relationship. Being real and not playing any games will help you and your partner truly get to know each other. How can you possibly get to know your partner when they are playing games and not being their real selves?

Take Action: Take some time to reflect upon who you are. Are you staying true to yourself? Are you expressing the real you or are you playing games and putting up a façade just so your partner likes you? It’s important for you to ask these questions because this is an important aspect of building the foundation in your relationship.

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These are the top precedents that my husband and I set in our relationship from the very beginning and still use today. When you’re able to set good precedents in your relationship, you are building a solid foundation. When you don’t have any precedents in your relationship, the foundation is weak and will fall apart. Surviving a long-distance relationship is all about creating and maintaining a solid foundation!

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Tiffany Mason

Tiffany is a life coach empowering women to unleash their feminine essence & design a meaningful life & marriage.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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