So yesterday I gave you a homework assignment. It was to write down people in your life who either “fill your cup” or “empty your cup.” The cup represents your life.
Your cup never needs to be empty, but it also never needs to be overflowing. You give out some of yourself to fill the other people’s cups in your life. It is through these exchanges of truly mutual friendship that we are able to find our best self. A scenario could be that your best friend hit a tough time, so he or she might need to chat on the phone or confide in you. In essence of the meaning, in this moment that friend may be emptying your cup.
The cup needs to have a balance in it. Your life will never be completely devoid of people who “empty your cup.” People that empty your cup might be people who you work with, but you have to interact with them. Maybe a guy at work is just a total downer and he “empties your cup.” If you have to work with him day in and day out, find a way to have your cup filled when you get home. You have to decide practically with jobs, school, work, or general life responsibilities that those might require you to have people emptying your cup. So in turn dating a person who you put on the “empty your cup side” might not be practical.
If you are constant to surround yourself with more people who empty your cup then fill it, you may be trying to fix the people around you. The only one who can fix them is themselves. So take this time and consideration to start making your own life better by getting more people in your life that fill your cup. Interact with these people on a regular basis. If you get fulfillment out of helping others, make a weekly hobby of helping out somewhere or volunteering for a cause you love. Make a new list and incorporate things you do and places you go into that new list. A draining place might be work, but a place to fill your cup might be the gym. Household chores might be draining, but joining a social club might fill your cup. There will be balance as you allow yourself to find it. Being in constant awareness of this exercise will help you keep your energy and focus on things and people who give and take with a balance.
Today’s article will be the first part of two. This is a very insightful homework assignment that I once did myself. I also continue to do it as needed.
What I want you to do is make a list. I want you to make a list with two sides. One side is titled “people who fill your cup” and the other side is titled “people who empty your cup.”
Your “cup” is your life. Some people add positive aspects to your life and in essence fill your cup. Others might be negative, unsupportive, or constant drama and empty your cup. I will elaborate more on the meaning tomorrow, but for today, I want you to make that list. When you make the list if you find yourself mulling over someone for too long, that is a strong indication that they might belong in the “empty your cup” side. (Just make the list and don’t think too much).
This list can be made up of anyone you are in relationship with. It can be family, friends, co-workers, people you date, people you are interested in, or anyone else that takes up at least a portion of your week on a regular basis. It can’t be your barista at Starbucks just because you see him or her each morning! This should be people of influence or condition in your life.
Tomorrow’s article will elaborate on the meaning of your list and what to do with it now.
I sat with my roommate and her boyfriend today as we chatted about the first of 30 posts. That first was going to be on the topic of motivation. As my motivation for writing decreased I began to wonder how I would strike up drive each day for 30 days in order to finish the task of writing into the New Year. Writing about motivation today seemed ironic. I sat watching old Friends reruns and ate a Hershey’s bar as I pondered, what drives us to accomplish things?
Then half a Hershey’s Bar later, I figured out some of the keys to motivation: Accountability, Inspiration, Humor, and Amy.
Accountability: I was accountable to each and every reader to write one post for 30 days and by announcing it, I was holding myself to a standard to be accountable to myself and others. Accountability is different from goals. Goals are often measurable, but accountability is part of our ethical beings.
Inspiration: I often read articles and watch video clips to get ideas flowing. We can be inspired by stories, people, or other’s motivation. Inspiration is a way to provide a jump-start to motivation.
Humor: Keep laughing. No one can be motivated by the actual lemons life tends to give us. So if you can keep laughing, you tend to be able to keep going.
Amy: (Insert your desired friend here). Amy is my little sister and best friend, whom has been a hero of mine for a long time. When I am too emotional about something, I know she will be the voice of reason. She has always taken initiative and does so with so much humor and grace that I am honored to have her in my life. Having someone in your life who can be your pseudo-rational self in emotional times is essential. Motivation takes place in ration, emotional states leave us crippled and jaded.
If I hadn’t understood my ability to search for my motivation, you would not be reading this post. I’d be an unhappy, unaccomplished writer with a candy wrapper and a second season of Friends playing. Motivation doesn’t just happen, it needs to be promoted. Accountability, inspiration, humor, and being surrounded by good people are essential. Motivation is not intrinsic. You have to work for it.
With the Holiday season under way and 2014 right around the corner, I wanted to take the next 30 days to discuss ideas of self-awareness to gain a better understanding of you and the role you take in your relationships. This series will lead up to possible goals for the upcoming New Year; whether you will be finding a new love, rekindling an old love, working on a broken love, or even falling in love with your new you.
Unlearning Yourself by Learning You is a new series I have been working on to help you understand your relationship and more importantly yourself. I look forward to the next 30 days to help in many ways and to create a dialogue in my readers with themselves or their significant others.
The idea of unlearning yourself is breaking some of the negative reactions or patterns that we have to other people and ourselves. Learning you will be a journey through the past, to work on the present, and to help build more positive outcomes in your future.
Although this is a 30- day series, constant awareness of one’s self and strive for improvement are daily tasks. A one-time New Year’s epiphany will not facilitate real change, but an understanding of oneself can begin the growth process.
I hope you find this series helpful and humbling as we journey through it together.
I was listening to Loveline with Dr. Drew the other night. I overheard him say this to one of the callers, “Intensity is not love.” I sat with that for a moment and began to unpack what it means to have intensity in a relationship.
Intensity is not what the majority of us know as “Butterflies;” that initial warm tingling feeling that we get when we see that person or when we think about them when they are away. Intensity is much different. Butterflies are driven by the same oxytocin hormone, but the intensity is like an addiction and can be driven by negative triggers in the oxytocin. The intensity lies in large and fast amounts of this “love hormone” resulting later in opposite behaviors like jealousy and envy; although these emotions might not come through at the beginning of the intensity, these emotions can take effect after the intensity is over or during its intensity.
Intensity is mostly felt by those who experience relationships through insecure/anxious attachments or avoidant attachments. Secure attachments are the healthy attachments that allow us to get the proper doses of oxytocin at the proper times and allow for quality trust and bond building.
When the brain and body illicit butterfly feelings, once those feelings go away our bodies do not crave or seek out those feelings. We have landed in a comfortable place when we stop feeling those initial rushes of emotion; comfort and security override those feelings. However when we feel intensity, it is never enough when it goes away; it is the chaos that we constantly feel or seek out in the unhealthy relationship.
When thinking about a specific someone who makes you have intense feelings, some of which can even create some anxiety, listen to your body more and take the time to acknowledge what the relationship or person is actually doing in your life.
You can also take this QUIZ to review your attachment style. Ask yourself if intensity is something you crave. Look into understanding your attachment style to make better and healthier connections with your partners in the future.
With so much in our lives to keep us busy, it is difficult to get quality time to connect with your significant other. Maybe you are constantly rushing out the door for work or school; you might be picking up the kids for a quick second only to get them dressed and right out the door again for soccer practice. You might be in the middle of a big move or frustration may have kicked in about a big life change. Whatever the situation, it is important that we continue to develop and sustain rituals in our relationships.
Too often, couples are missing the quality connection because they are rushing off to the next event or hammering out the next big project.
Allowing time for your partner can help alleviate some of life’s stress, while at the same time creating quality romance and bonding.
Rituals can help you connect to your partner. Life can get busy and overwhelming, and before you know it disconnection has happened in your relationship.
Develop a ritual in your relationship to stay connected such as:
- Walks outside
- Romantic baths together
- Coffee and talk in the morning
- Watching a television show together
- Whatever you choose make sure you are connecting.
- You might not talk, but during the television show you can playfully sit on your partner’s lap or spoon on the couch.
- Make sure the rituals contain an intention physical and emotional connection, such as talk and touch.
- Remove any distractions such as smart phones or work emails.
Sit down together and think about what would be meaningful to you and your partner. It is important that you understand how each of you connects with one another. In an earlier article, we discussed the five love languages quiz: this can help show you how to romantically engage with your partner. Here is a link to the quiz: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
First, understand what makes your partner feel connected to you. Then, develop rituals around those languages that can connected you on a regular basis.
Yesterday we discussed how dating can be so complicated and why it seems like times have changed when it comes to dating. Honestly, I miss the courting and the attention that used to be given in dating.
That is why I am a big advocate for some of the items below. I hope these ideas help you un-complicate your dating life:
Know what you need in a relationship. It is important to know what you are looking for in a relationship prior to beginning a relationship. This is a good way to align your values and what you look for in a mate. Knowing what you want ahead of time will help you not sacrifice the quality of your dating partners.
Know what you give to a relationship. Don’t exaggerate who you are in the relationship. It is okay to be honest and genuine about what you bring to the table. Trying to be someone you are not will give a false idea to the person interested in you and you will pay for it later. Be able to be truthful about what you are good at and what you are not good at.
Pay attention to red flags.You have no idea how often I hear. “Yes, but,” when asking a direct question to a friend. The conversation goes like this…
“I thought you wanted to date someone who was hard-working, finished college, and was closer to your age,” said me.
“Yes, but, well, he actually lied about his age (giggles) and he then told me later that he wasn’t as old as he said and by that time we had really connected. He doesn’t have a full-time job now, but he has plans to start school again because he wants to be a lawyer,” said anonymous friend.
“Oh, okay, so he lied (red flag) and he doesn’t have a full-time job (red flag) and he wants to be a lawyer, but he still has to complete the undergraduate school he dropped out of (red flag),” said me.
Knowing what you need in a relationship and partner can help you to keep your eye on the prize when you begin to see red flags.
Walk don’t run. Too often people try to jump into relationships. There is little interest in the dating part of it or our expectations get the best of us. Until you are in someone’s inner circle, they may not adapt to you the way that you want them to. They have no obligation to keep in contact with you or hand you a resume that includes their whole dating past. Try to take it slow and enjoy getting to know someone without putting too many expectations on them in the beginning.
Limit your distractions. Unless you are a doctor on call or expecting a baby (which I hope you are not if you are dating) you have no reason, zero, none to bring your phone into the restaurant or dating venue with you. I get that we are so glued to our phones, but there are lots to be said about making a quality and genuine connection with someone. If you cannot go for two hours without your phone, you need some self-reflection as to why. I remember dates that were so good that I lost track of time and we spoke for hours. A ringing or beeping phone will only distract you from the one thing you are trying to do in that evening : have a genuine connection with someone.
I have heard people say this about romantic relationships: “You should not have to work in a relationship” or “Your relationship should not be work.” What should it be then? All of the good friendships that I made took time and energy to foster and to keep. Why do people not complain about the work they had to put into their friendships, but will emote that kind of rant in their romantic ones?
Those statements boggle me. We are a society that believes we get things handed to us. Our grandparents or parents stayed together because they believed in the commitment in marriage and believed that hard work was the only thing that got you anywhere. They faced the same issues and frustrations that we do with relationships today. It looked different, but the solutions are similar.
I am asking that we stop treating marriage like a drive-thru. You need to park the car, get out, and go inside. If you are having difficulty in your marriage, the best thing you can do is seek professional therapeutic help from someone who you can trust and who has a track record of reconnecting marriages. Marriage will never be simple.
1. Relationships take time to foster. If you are in a hurry to walk down the aisle, that is a clear sign that your heart may not be in the right place. In Facebook world it appears everyone is getting married and having babies. However, in real-time, there are still a lot of singles out there.
2. The best way to keep your relationship simple is to always remember the friendship that is behind it. It is vital to be your partners’ best friend. You should continue to get to know each other for years to come. As you change together, you will need to learn new things about one another.
3. You have to nurture the marriage all the time. Just like we maintain our cars, water our grass, or dedicate ourselves to educational leaps through school; you constantly need to nurture your marriage. If you keep up with the little ways that you can stay connected, your marriage will keep on the right track. If you don’t keep nurturing the marriage, it will get put in the shop, die, or not pass the 9th grade. We maintain almost every aspect of our lives. We maintain our jobs and our progress. Why should it be any different in romantic relationships?
4. There must be mutual respect. We respect our friends. If you are my friend and I don’t text you back right away, you are not going to text me two hours later and say ? or why didn’t you text me back? We set boundaries and keep them very well in most of our friendships. We need to learn to do the same in our relationships. We must respect our significant other for the obligations they may have, the love that they may need, and everything in between.
5. You have to have a passion to have fun together. Have fun together in everything you do. Fun can be fostered by become more caring and in tune in the relationship. Make a list of three things that you will each do each day for the next two weeks. See how this new daily caring makes for more positive exchanges in the relationship. (Such as 1. Tell them you love them every morning when you get up. 2. Write them a note and leave it someone different each day. 3. Call them during lunch just to ask how they are doing.) If you are saying, three things every day?! Yes, three things each day for two weeks. You manage to eat three times a day and go to the bathroom multiple times. Make it routine!
Have you ever dated a guy that made you swoon over the way he treated you? He opened doors, he made sure to walk you to your car, or he brought you flowers so often you thought he owned a floral shop. You have been with this guy for only months and you begin thinking about details of a possible perfect wedding. Nothing could stop your fantasy dream….. but then you meet his mom.
The more and more time you spend with his mom, you begin to realize that she has no intention of stepping down as the most important lady in his life. As time goes by you begin to un-plan the wedding. Not to his discredit, as he has learned the love language of the ladies from being close to his mom.
The problem is unless his mom is willing to step out of the lead role, it will be impossible for you to fall into the role of wife. It is customary for a mother to protect her son. However, when that son is ready to go out of the nest, it is vital that the mother let him go out alone. It is important that her role is less and less as he gets closer to choosing a partner for himself. There are many different reasons for a mother to be too attached to her son; including unhappiness in her own relationships, jealousy of other or younger women and the list goes on. It is a response and a behavior that comes from something deeper. It is important for you to know that biologically it will be natural for the son to take the mother’s side. As much as you can want to have a happy family, it will be near impossible until mom steps out and lets you have the leading role. This is a difficult relationship triangle that needs to be resolved if there is going to be a successful relationship between you and your boyfriend
Family is one of the most important things in life. I am not downplaying the strength of family, but psychology tells us that enmeshed family can create maladaptive behaviors. We talk about how boyfriends and girlfriends need time for friends and need individual space, and the same is true for the immediate family. Separation is important; you can have a healthy family life with your significant other when boundaries are in place throughout all relationships.