I was writing something for another blog about relationships when I remembered this relationship tip that I learned at some point and thought to be genius. It didn’t fit in the other piece, so here it is.
If you’re in a relationship that’s fairly established, next time you’re having an evening with your partner, stop and watch yourselves as if you’re on a TV show.
Don’t stop interacting with him/her, but rather just treat your interactions as you treat a job interview, where you’re incredibly aware of every nuance, every communication, and every thought. Why?
Today, let’s talk about a thing I like to call Negative Compatibility.
You know how you meet someone and fall in love with them, and you think “Wow, this person has everything I could ever want or need, I’m so happy, we’re such a perfect match, let’s have brunch together forever!”? Well the perfect matching goes all the way down to the core and comes out through the darker, ickier side of a relationship. Often, compatibility means that your negative qualities feed on each other too.
Here how it can look-
You know how pet stores always go on a campaign every year around December warning people not to adopt pets over the holidays because it sets up too chaotic of an environment for the new family member?
This is how I feel about New Year’s Resolutions. Your desire to drink less is that new tiny puppy, terrified amongst loud noises and tons of wrapping paper.
Making big changes or lofty emotional statements about how things are going to be different starting tomorrow, just because a day dictates that you do so, is a recipe for complete and abject failure. It feels more like a publicity stunt than a healthy change in behavior. Case in point, if you can’t think of any cliched things to change, the New Years Resolution Generator can help, giving you such gems as “Go to yoga”, “Use my phone to call rather than text”, “start a business”, “laugh a lot”, etc. Are we really all that predictable in the things we want to change?
So my idea for the new hotness on New Years Eve? Pick one thing you refuse to change and respect it.
Today’s emotional assignment is to take more responsibility for your emotions.
When I worked with teenagers a few years ago, we played this “game” where I would describe a situation, and the kids would have to write down, independently, what their emotion would be based on that situation.
I would say “Your mom isn’t home because she had to work”. For some of the kids whose moms didn’t work, they felt excited that she was working and also happy about having time alone in the house. For kids whose parents were always working, they felt ignored and bummed that they were alone again. Admittedly not a fun game, but it was a good introduction to the idea that our emotions are created by us, and not by situations. The situations are ambiguous, WE are the ones that give them meaning.
It’s terrifyingly easy to forget this.
Michael Ian Black, who is brilliant and hilarious, recently wrote a blog post about his struggles with success vs. feeling like a success. It’s amazingly well articulated and honest, so today, if you are in a field that even slightly relies on public opinion, I am ordering you to read this. Or hell, if you’re at all concerned about being successful in your life but are not really sure what that means anymore, I am ordering you to read this. Click to read some of the parts that jumped out at me, and then go to there.
Let’s check in on our personal wellness, shall we? This list of questions comes from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J Bourne, and it’s a book a highly recommend for people with anxiety issues.
(Some of them are a little schmaltzy and clinical sounding, but they’re all good food for thought. So answer them, yeah?) Read the rest of this entry »
Hi all! This is a random little mental health tip, but since I’m actively using it today, I thought I’d pass it along. It may or may not be helpful to you. I have to use an inhaler very very rarely, and I always always forget how much it makes my heart race, which in turn stresses me out, which makes my heart race more, etc. So to help calm myself, I am using an old trick I actually learned from a client who had panic attacks all the time. He was always on the lookout for things that would occupy his mind without racheting up his stress level.
In any relationship, each person has a certain set of expectations of the other person, and when those expectations aren’t met, people get upset.
This is the easiest way to break down what conflict means.
When expectations aren’t met and we get upset, we go to the other person and tell them (if we’re good at communicating) what they did wrong. This is great, but let’s take this a step further: let’s start telling people what we would like them to do instead of how they fucked up. Because people aren’t mind readers, and they they will treat you how you ask to be treated.
I come from a family where OCD runs rampant,and while that has often been a bit disruptive, one important thing that I’ve learned from watching OCD in action is the importance of ritual, so today’s emotional assignment is recognizing the rituals already in your life and adding more.
Obviously, rather than anything involving black candles or weird chanting, rituals are just a series of acts that you do in order to commemorate something. I think the “something” is where most people get stuck.