Friday, December 2, 2011

Gratitude: The Key to Healthy Relationships

Let’s face it, relationship zeal can falter in even the strongest, most healthy relationships. Be it with your best girlfriend, colleague, or your beloved, there will be times that are more dynamic and intimate than others. So, how do you get a pulse back into your flat-lined relationship? Expression of gratitude. Even when you don’t feel any. Ever heard of the expression, “Fake it till you make it”? Well, it works. Now, I’m not typically in favor of inauthentic expressions, however, sometimes they can be the difference that makes the difference. Did you know that if you are feeling blue and you force yourself to smile that it will naturally start the process of releasing endorphins which will naturally take you out of the blues! Same concept with gratitude. Start feeling it, expressing it, living it, and it will start reflecting back onto you from every encounter. We can even make a difference in our relationships by expressing our gratitude for another in private. Science isn’t sure how it works, but here are the general, non-scientific, explanations: You yourself are putting out subconscious vibes of approval and love and the other person picks up on it. You put your message out into the “collective unconscious” and the other person receives your message through that channel. You literally, psychically, plant the thought and love into the other person, they have no choice but to receive the message. However you choose to believe it works, is the exact and perfect answer to how it works. Just know that it does work!!!

Exercises for Bringing Life into Strained Relationships

Exercise #1

1. Take a few moments to sit down and think about who is in your life that you would like to have a better relationship with. It doesn’t have to be a key person, it can be as simple as the mailman that seems annoyed all the time. But, it can be a key person, such as your husband/partner, that things seem “off” or lackluster with. Make a list if need be.

2. Systematically go down through the list and make mental notes (or physical ones!) describing all the qualities that you admire in the person.

3. Meditate on each of the people on the list with the positive attributes you’ve recognized, thanking them for the parts you’re grateful for.

4. Do this daily as a practice of meditation and gratitude. I like to do it as I go to sleep at night. I feel like it calms my spirit and helps me to remember who and what are important in my life, and why. I sleep like a contented baby….

Exercise #2

1. Think about one person that you have a strained or distant relationship with that you would like resolved. Preferably, this person lives in proximity or you will be seeing them shortly.

2. Think about what has gone wrong in the relationship from your perspective. Then, put yourself in their shoes for a few moments and look at your relationship, good and bad, from their perspective. Allow the feelings to marinade.

3. Write them a letter sharing with them all of the things that you admire about them. It may be that they are handy around the house. It may be that they are amazingly smart. It may be that they make a great supper, or give good hugs when you are sad, or that you think they are honorable. Whatever qualities you appreciate, write it down in a letter format. Do not include anything negative. Only the positive things…

4. Meet with them and read them your letter face to face. Do this from a perspective of love and building a bridge, starting from your side of the river. Keep your expectations at bay and just let the positive energy flow.

5. Leave them the letter if they would like it.

6. Know that you are love in action.

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