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How Many People are in Your Relationship?

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How Many People are in Your Relationship?
    "flickr Relationships" from |G|™ on flickr

    You may not be aware of this, but the two of you are not the only people involved in your relationship. In fact, you may be in a minority when it comes to who is actually running the show. Each time you begin afresh, all dewy-eyed about a shiny, new relationship, your subconscious is inviting a whole bunch of people to the party.

    Your Inner Child

    To begin with, there are the children. No, not the actual children. I’m talking about your inner children. That part of you that still feels the way you did when you were little.  The part of you that reacts to the present based on the experiences of the past. The part of you that makes decisions based on the opinions you formed about the world and what you could expect from the people in it at an impressionable age.

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    Not that being in touch with your inner child is always a bad thing, being able to play and have adventures is a fantastic trait to have at any age. But the flip side comes when you’re unconsciously re-playing situations that mirror the less fun stuff that you may have had to deal with.

    If your parents were anything less than ideal in every way (and 99.9% would fall into that category), you probably had some needs that they didn’t fulfill. Depending on the seriousness of those unmet needs, you might discover that they are closely related to the issues you find most challenging in your relationships today. When conflict arises, a quick and easy test is to ask yourself whether the feeling you are having – aside from the circumstances of the current situation – is at all familiar. If it is, see if you can think back to the first time in your life that you ever experienced that feeling.

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    Another clue is to notice whether it seems like you are falling into familiar patterns of behavior, either within an individual relationship or with different people. Pay close attention whenever you find yourself starting sentences with “You always…” or “You never”. This is actually always a bad idea, since it heaps additional energy from past resentments on to the current situation. But leaving that aside, it can be a helpful clue as to what your core issues are.

    Of course, it’s not always about your childhood (now that I’m a mother, I’m a little more reluctant to always lay the blame at the parents’ door). You may have had a fantastic childhood with spectacularly perfect relationships with both your mother and father. You may then have gone on to meet and marry your childhood sweetheart with nary a cross word between you. If you did, may I be the first to congratulate you and ask you to please contact your local media because I’m sure we’d all like to meet you.

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    Past Relationships

    But seriously, this may have nothing to do with your parents and everything to do with the first, second and third schmuck who broke your heart. The point is that you need to be aware of whether the issue that you are dealing with is really about your current partner or if it’s just a button they are pushing that was built and installed by someone else entirely.

    If you and your partner are emotionally intelligent, you may be able to share this kind of realization with each other. Not in the “You know why I hate you, because you’re just like every other wo/man” sense, but more in the “I’ve just realized that this is not entirely about what’s going on here with us, I think it may be related to…” way. If the thought of doing this makes you feel like you want to throw up, I would suggest you stop trying to work this out with them and go deal with the original issue, by yourself or with a friend or therapist.

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    To sum it all up, when things start to get heated, it may be worth checking under the bed of your subconscious to ensure that you guys are really alone. Throw out any other people you find, lock the doors and resolve to figure it out together. If you make a conscious effort to deal only with the stuff that actually belongs to each other, in the here and now, you’ll find yourself more able to quickly and easily resolve any differences and get back to the serious business of being in love.

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    Last Updated on November 22, 2021

    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

    Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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