Here’s How to Ask Your Partner for More Intimacy

Got intimacy? If you’re wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy and closeness, it’s important to explore what you’re really looking for.

Wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy? Here’s how to connect with your partner to get the closeness you want and deserve.


Relationships are an adventure in intimacy and navigating our connections with others, but understanding how to get the intimacy we want can be confusing. What are we really looking for? Deeper conversations? More sex? A more attentive partner?

Here’s how to ask your partner for more intimacy and get the connection you crave.

Embark on An Adventure in Intimacy

Intimacy. It’s an often-misunderstood term. We may think intimacy refers to our physical connection. We may think of intimacy are romance, closeness, or sharing a deep conversation. Real intimacy is all these things and more.

Intimacy is about learning and growing together to fulfill our fullest potential. When we’re working on our best selves, relationships can be both a womb and a crucible. They form us and forge us into our best selves. So while it’s important that our relationships are nurturing, it’s also crucial to recognize that growth can also be a painful process.

When a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, it must go through the struggle to build up strength. If we “help” the butterfly before it is ready, the wings will fail to develop the proper strength, and the butterfly won’t be able to fly. Similarly, when we emerge and grow into our potential, we must go through difficult challenges to increase our strength. While our relationship can support us through the lessons, our partner can’t take away our difficulties or “fix” us. In fact, our partnership is strengthened when our partner is an ally—pushing us toward our best self.


If our relationship isn’t challenging us and pushing us to grow, then it’s just a pacifier. We need the conflict to continue to evolve. Conflict is where growth and change really happen.


In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the many ways that love and intimacy are messy. It’s about embracing our roles in the relationship and working on ourselves to live extraordinary lives together. One partner may be a great parent, and one might have a great career. Relationships and intimacy are about bringing those strengths together to become transformational agents, engaged fully and intimately together, bringing out our best selves and the best in others.

Great relationships are all about engaging in the adventure of life together as partners and allies.

Yearnings and Understanding the Nature of Conflict

Our yearnings drive us. As human beings, we constantly try to fulfill our yearnings and listen to them. At times, we may deny our yearnings, but that becomes painful. We find ourselves shifting blame and being dishonest about what we want. This can cause resentments to build as we disengage from the relationship.

The truth is that many of us fall out of touch with our yearnings. We aren’t sure how to get what we truly want because we don’t know what it is. Yearnings are the deeper longings of our heart—to be loved, to be connected, to feel respected. Many of us mistake wants for yearnings. We think that we want to lose weight. We want a bigger house. We want to have fashionable clothes.

We may think that we want our partner to clean up around the house more often. We want them to take us out on a date. We want them to buy us gifts. However, the underlying yearnings go deeper than that. We want our partner to pick up the house because we yearn for the security that comes from an orderly space. We want our partner to take us out on a date because we yearn for intimacy and connection. We want our partners to buy us gifts because we yearn for love or admiration and connection.

When we confuse our wants for yearnings, we fall into a pattern of miss-wanting. We get what we thought we wanted, only to find that we’re still left unfulfilled and unsatisfied. We still long for more. We may even feel resentful or disengaged because our partner isn’t fulfilling the fairytale notion of giving us “happily ever after.”


Conflict helps us reengage with each other. It’s impossible to work for something—even a fulfilling relationship—without at least a little struggle and fight.


Think of any goal. We have to train and sweat for months if we want to run a marathon. If we want to get a promotion at work, we have to learn new tasks and work hard to get there. When we want something big, hard work is required. It’s likely going to be painful and even unpleasant at times. We can’t skip out the door one day and win a gold medal.

Most of us don’t enjoy fighting (and if we do, that can be detrimental too). Maybe we were raised to believe fighting wasn’t beneficial or that fighting would push others away. We call these types of situations “conflict-avoidant.” If we grew up in a conflict-avoidant household, it could be hard to see the merits and productivity of conflict. It’s difficult to let go of our limiting beliefs about conflict. We might feel like we shouldn’t express our yearnings or ask for what we need in a relationship.

Feeling conflicted isn’t wrong or bad. Engaging in conflict doesn’t make us mean or negative people. On the contrary, it can actually bring us closer together by moving us toward what we really want and need in the situation.

The skill in conflict is taking responsibility for our own satisfaction and then working together toward that satisfaction with a partner. People become so skilled at avoiding conflict that they avoid themselves right out of their relationship. When we avoid confrontation and conflict, we disengage. We become distant and disconnected. We might even resent our partner for not reading our minds or understanding why we’re upset.

Instead, rock the boat! Ask for more intimacy! When couples learn the rules of engagement, they learn to express their desires responsibly. They realize that conflict arises because they’re working for, not against, their relationship. Conflict is a means to strengthen our relationships and make our yearnings known.

Intimacy is Engagement

Intimacy is synonymous with engagement. If we want more intimacy, it’s not just that we want to have more sex (although physical intimacy can be an added benefit of reconnecting with our partner). It’s not that we want our partner to be more affectionate. That may be part of it, but we really want more engagement. We want our partner to connect with us, to see us, hear us, and know us.

If we think we’re moving toward our yearnings but expect our partner to get us there, we aren’t taking 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction. We are each responsible for getting satisfaction, and no one else can hand it to us. We must be learning and growing on our own, AND together.


We can get there by expressing what we want to our partner. We can tell them our expectations and share our yearnings. What would happen if we just asked? What is it that we want from our partners?


Ultimately, intimacy is about connection—loving each other and being close. It’s about wanting to have more of each other and gain a deeper understanding of the other person. Over time couples can become like systems engineers—working through the daily tasks of running a home, going to work, raising the kids. But within this scenario, intimacy is lost. We become two people bumping into each other and existing together. It requires deliberate action to get on the same page with a vision and connection. If we want it, we have to stop going through the motions and start doing the work. (It’s worth it!)

How To Get Your Partner Engaged in Your Relationship

What happens when one partner is ready to engage and get more intimacy, and the other partner is on the fence? What do we do when we tell our partner we want to build a deeper connection, and we get an eye roll because they think it sounds like B.S.?

First of all, this happens quite often. Change can be difficult and frightening, especially when we haven’t had time to process it. Our partner might be perfectly comfortable with the status quo because we’ve made them very comfortable. We’ve allowed them to ignore our yearnings and to be oblivious to our feelings. We can’t expect them to read our minds—they need to be uncomfortable too.

Too often, we get bogged down in a state where we feel sorry for ourselves and use it as an excuse for inaction. We think, “I’d love to work on myself and grow, but my partner isn’t into it. So it’s their fault that I can’t.” In reality, this is a lie.


We are each 100% responsible for our own satisfaction. If we’re learning, growing, and working to bring out our best selves, our partner must rise to the occasion. If we’re expressing our yearnings and acknowledging the truth in what our partner says, being open and honest, we will be a force to be reckoned with.


When we’re following the rules of engagement and engaging in conflict responsibly and honestly, it becomes uncomfortable for our partner to ignore our personal power and energy. They will engage with you because they have to.

It’s all about using conflict to get to the heart of what we really want. Just because one time we threw out, “I’d like to work on this,” and got shot down, we shouldn’t give up. Go for a different approach. Learn the rules of engagement and start engaging. Follow along in the book. We can get our partner to read the book with us, and if they won’t, we can start using the skills and following the rules. Eventually, our partners get curious about what we’re doing, and they will want to know more (even if they don’t admit it at first).

Relationships are beautiful and messy platforms to help us grow and change. When we’re working on our personal power, a healthy relationship is a launchpad for bringing out our next best self.

To learn more about living your best life and enjoying stronger relationships, don’t miss our courses at Wright Now. We have resources to help you discover more about yourself, your partner, your career, and your world. Get MORE today!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Get What You Want in Life: Engage!

Are you wondering how to get what you want in life? Do you really know what you want?

Wondering how to get what you want in life? If you want a life filled with more satisfaction and joy, it’s time to engage and go for it.


It’s not uncommon to feel like we want more out of life but to feel uncertain about what a life of more really looks like. We might feel like something is missing, but we can’t really put our finger on it.

If this sounds all too familiar, here’s how to figure it out and get what you want in life. By making a few shifts in your mindset, you can discover a life of greater fulfillment, more satisfaction, and joy!

Not Sure What You Want in Life: Does this Sound Familiar?

In our career: We may be working hard at our job, climbing the ranks, and yet still feel beaten down. We might be the top salesperson or the head of our department but find that we’re still miserable at work (or at least dissatisfied). Maybe we’re missing that “high” we used to feel when we closed a deal. Still, we show up each day, do our job, and go through the motions. We don’t feel the joy, but it’s not enough to push us to leave.

In our relationships: Maybe we hear every word our partner says, we make eye contact, and nod in agreement. Maybe we can even repeat every word right back to them, but yet we still keep hearing, “I feel like you’re not listening to me.” Perhaps things have become routine, even a little boring. Between managing our household, daily tasks, and lives, we feel like two ships passing in the night. We’d love to get that spark back, but we aren’t sure how.

In our social lives: Maybe we have a great group of friends and acquaintances in our social lives. We enjoy going out to dinners, watching sports, hosting a game night, or meeting up with our buddy for a weekly trail run. We have conversations, and it’s nice, polite, and pleasant. But yet, we still feel disconnected. Our friendships don’t offer that same exhilaration we used to feel in college when we met new people that really challenged us and helped us grow.

In our free time: What free time? We’re all busy. Most of the time, we don’t sleep enough; perhaps we indulge a little too often with wine, food, and other soft addictions. Our pastimes feel like they’re all we have the capacity for, but they leave us feeling hollow. We go to the gym, and it’s the same routine—20 minutes on the treadmill, a few rounds on the weight machines, shower, return to work. We’re healthy, but we’re not where we used to be. Is it just part of getting older, or is it something else?

What’s missing in all of these areas of life? How can we get what we want in life?

Engagement!

What Does it Mean to Engage?

Many of us have heard about the importance of employee engagement at work. We may have taken a course on building intimacy in our relationships. We know engagement is a crucial part of friendship but is engagement just a buzzword? What does it really mean to engage in life?

At the Wright Foundation, we talk a great deal about engaging. Transformation and personal growth require engagement and action, but without understanding engagement, it can be hard to “get it back.” We all know when it’s missing from our lives, but recapturing those feelings of being turned on and tuned in can be an elusive task.


At the core, engagement is aliveness. When we’re engaged, we feel a sense of flow.


Most of us have felt flow at one point or another in our lives. We reach a flow state when we’re doing a job well, and we know we’re doing it well, or when we’re connected to our significant other and we’re simpatico. We experience flow when we love our hobbies and personal pursuits, and we find ourselves losing track of time and the outside world because we’re so engaged. We might feel the engagement when our conversations with friends are stimulating and enlightening. We feel aliveness when taking care of our physical body, finding ways to keep ourselves healthy, nourished, and strong. Flow happens when everything seems to be working. We feel on top of our game and on top of the world.

The hum, the buzz, the flow that we feel is engagement. We’re fully present in the moment, and we’re emotionally and physically encompassed in what we’re doing. When we’re engaged, we’re growing and learning; we’re striving and thriving. So even if we aren’t at our destination, we are on the way!

But then we peak. We reach that point where we close the big sale. We land our dream position. We have a beautiful wedding and say, “I do.” We run the 10K and cross the finish line. Once we’ve hit a goal, we might shrug and say, “Well, I guess that’s it.” Even though we accomplished something, we quickly go back to where we were before. We might wonder why or what’s wrong. Does life become less fulfilling as with experience? Is that all there is?

We need the new!

Our brains are hardwired to crave change and challenges. Even though we may think that the easy route sounds ideal or that we prefer to keep everything at status quo, our brains say otherwise. We’re designed to derive pleasure from engagement with discoveries and connections. We need new experiences to facilitate our brain’s plasticity and growth.

Neuroscience shows that it is only by engaging—being aware, paying attention, and intentionally doing new things—that we learn, grow and ultimately transform into someone doing something that would have been unimaginable without full engagement.  –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In other words, if we aren’t growing, we can’t engage. If we aren’t engaging, we’re definitely not going to get what we want in life. We’re not reaching our full potential and accomplishing the great things we could be doing with our lives. Instead, we’re going through the motions.

Seeking New Challenges to Get What You Want in Life

Each of us must seek out new challenges and new experiences to keep our minds engaged and alive. While routine can feel comforting (and can help us feel organized), we disengage when we fall into the same pattern of gym, work, dinner, and Netflix each day. We’re not getting what we want in life.


We all have desires and yearnings. Our yearnings are deep longings of the heart. If we think of what we truly want the most—acknowledgment, being respected, being loved, being seen and heard—those are the things that drive us toward our goals.


Our yearnings keep us striving toward the next peak. Many of us climb to the first summit, thinking we’ve met our goal, and we still feel unfulfilled. It’s only by climbing to the next peak and the next beyond that we can continue to find fulfillment.

To meet our goals, we need to be fully engaged. That means being present, focused, and tuned into our yearnings and emotions. When we understand our yearnings, they become our guiding star, leading us towards discoveries about ourselves and others. When we follow our yearnings and engage, we will start to feel the satisfaction of getting what we want out of life.

How Do I Know If I’m Engaging?

We might think that this all sounds well and good, but how do we really know if we’re engaging in life? Engagement isn’t simply about taking action. It’s not about listening or even about attention. We might pay attention to a movie, but often that doesn’t mean we’re fully engaged (we may even be using a film to escape from engaging in the real world).

Most of us are extremely busy, but multitasking and checking the next thing on the to-do list doesn’t mean we’re engaged either. Taking on more tasks doesn’t necessarily mean we’re engaged at work. Likewise, enjoying time with our friends or spouse—going out and being social—doesn’t mean we’re engaging in our relationships.

Instead of engaging, we might actually be suppressing our underlying wants and desires. We might be using activity to mask connections or as distractions. Engagement is emotional and visceral. It means challenging and pushing ourselves. It can mean conflict and passion. Engagement is more than filling up your calendar with activities.

Engaging with life also doesn’t mean overhauling everything or making sweeping changes. Divorcing a spouse, quitting a job, enrolling in a Ph.D. program, or going out and adopting a St. Bernard, doesn’t necessarily make us more engaged. We might still be the same person we were before. We might still feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied, but now with more debt and a dog to take care of.


Motivation for engagement shouldn’t come from a place of avoidance. Engaging means getting into things, not getting away from them. It doesn’t mean we swap out one relationship for another or seek a different career path.


Instead, engagement means we learn how to grow and transform, getting fully involved where we are. It means rather than avoiding, we roll up our sleeves and start to work on the things in front of us, rather than jumping from one ship to the next.

Engagement also isn’t limited to working hard or throwing ourselves into a single-minded task. It’s about having the grit and wherewithal to stick to something. It’s about perseverance and learning, and growing in each experience as part of a well-rounded life.

When we make mistakes, we can learn from them and build on what we’ve learned. Celebrate mistakes as a chance to grow and a sign that you’re taking risks and getting involved. Seek out new experiences and people who challenge and push you to be your best. Each experience is a chance to learn more about who we are and to uncover deeper aspects of ourselves.

Engagement is about doing things we aren’t successful at, over and over, until we get better at them. When the horse bucks us off, we dust off and get back on. We don’t just pack up our spurs and go home. Don’t rest at the summit and forget that there’s another peak to reach (and another beyond that).

To discover more ways to get what you want out of life, don’t miss our courses and resources available at Wright Now. You’ll find new ways to bring out your best in your career, your relationships, and your personal growth. So live the life you’ve always wanted—a life of more.


About the Author

Bob-300x250

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Break Your Negative Thinking Patterns

Maybe you’re sick or feeling achy. Perhaps the day hasn’t gone your way, or you’re frustrated with a situation involving a friend, coworker, or even your spouse. Perhaps your plans were canceled, or someone backed out on you.

A black and white picture of a woman with her head down. Ever get stuck in negative thinking patterns? It’s tough to break our patterns and stop “stinking thinking” but by adjusting your perspective you can make a positive shift.


 

What do we do when faced with frustrating situations? We start a reel of tape looping in our heads, a voice saying, “You’re a loser,” or “you’re lazy,” or “no one really likes you.” Call it depression and anxiety, stress, or negative thinking, it’s no fun, and it can become quite damaging to our mood, mental health, and outlook.

No matter how old we get or how much we attempt to stay upbeat, it’s hard to get our little voice to shut up sometimes—especially when we’re feeling down in the dumps. We’ve all had those moments when we feel down and crummy. We get stuck in negative thinking patterns, and it’s hard to break out.

Stop Your Negative Thinking Patterns—They Stink!

When we get stuck in this negative self-talk and spiral of negative thinking patterns, we refer to it as “stinking thinking.” Why? Well, because these thoughts really stink!


Not only do these negative thinking patterns make us feel bad about ourselves, erode our confidence, and destroy our mood, but they’re hard to turn off. In fact, many of us have been programming our brains for years—our whole lives—to play this negative tape.


This tape of beliefs is part of our makeup, or what we call our matrix. As I work with people on their personal growth, exploring their matrix is a crucial step. When we’re in the process of growing and learning more about ourselves, we often see and start to explore the side of our matrix that’s not-so-positive.

In fact, the more we examine our thinking, try to stop negative thought patterns, and work on shifting our mindset, the harder these negative thoughts seem to fight their way up to the surface. These misbeliefs and negative thinking patterns especially come up when we experience setbacks, frustrations, and mistakes that make us want to throw in the towel (or at least start listing off excuses).

These mental roadblocks are perfectly normal and part of the process. Change is difficult and often a little scary. However, the more we lean into making personal changes and focusing on our growth, the more our minds will throw up resistance. After all, it’s easier to go back to the status quo—it’s more comfortable for our brains (but in the long run, we’re not doing our mental health any favors).

Is Our Changing Negative Thinking Patterns Worth the Effort?

It’s simple to write off our potential future as requiring too much work or being too painful to achieve. It may feel safer to keep on going about our business as usual.

But the reality is that change is constant, and it’s part of life. Whether we’re evolving into our next best self or becoming more rigid and set in our ways, we’re still constantly changing and growing. We have a choice to embrace this shift as an opportunity to learn and to become even better, more engaged, and more confident, or we can choose to resist the change, rely on our old thinking patterns, and zone out with soft addictions and time wasters. It may easier to sit back and take whatever comes our way, or we can open ourselves to the possibilities and gratitude from making the most of our lives.


When we choose to live a life of MORE, then it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do the internal work. Part of the work is exploring our values and our beliefs. To start discovering more about ourselves, we need to peel back the layers of our matrix and expose these underlying misbeliefs.


Your matrix isn’t going to like it when you start exposing it. It’s going to assert itself when you think, I have unique gifts; I can go further than I ever thought; I’m not inherently unlovable; I’m desirable, and there’s someone out there for me, or maybe I’m a lot more spiritual than I think; I can try to find a connection with a higher power. This is why stating positive affirmations alone doesn’t work—in your conscious mind, you say to yourself, I am loveable, and your matrix reacts and fights it with an unconscious response of disbelief that, if translated, might sound something like, Yeah, right. That’s why you’re sitting home watching reruns on a Saturday night instead of being out on a date.

Your matrix will reflexively attempt to restore its version of reality when it hears these positive thoughts. It will be especially assertive when you try to do something that breaks from your programming, and it doesn’t work out. It may even resort to trickery, lying low until it can subtly reassert itself. For instance, you’ve been programmed to believe your limitations, such as you’re unlovable, but…you start a relationship you think might turn into a long-term one. Then the other person breaks up with you, and your matrix says, See, you are unlovable.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

It’s common to fall back into these negative thinking patterns about ourselves, especially when doing the work. When we start to feel hopeful about the future, we set up expectations. Once these expectations go awry, it confirms our fears. We become discouraged.

The truth is, these negative thinking patterns hold us back. They don’t move us forward in a positive direction. They don’t bring us happiness, fulfillment, or satisfaction. They stink. If we want to stop o negative thinking patterns, we must rally ourselves to keep pushing through. We can focus on the deepest desires of our hearts—our yearnings. It also helps to remind ourselves that we’re working toward getting those deep needs met. In other words, we should keep our eyes on the prize (our yearnings!).

How Do You Stop Negative Thinking When You’re Sick?

A while back, I came down with the flu. It was miserable. I was congested, tired, achy, and I felt awful. I came home, and there I was, all alone. I was left with me. In bed. Sick. Feverish. Tired. Listless…but my mind was still active, thinking…

What value do I have if I am just in bed? I’m worthless unless I’m doing something. I’ve got to go to work…

As the thoughts were swirling in my mind, my husband, Bob, called out from the kitchen that he loved me. I heard myself thinking: How can you love me if I’m not doing anything?

So, I asked him exactly that question, and he responded with a smile, “I love you just for being here. You are the sweetest little being I know, even when you piss me off. Right now, you don’t piss me off; I just want to hug you.”

Bob often helps me re-program my mistaken beliefs about myself and my value, which is a process we call rematrixing. All the stinking thinking I have, such as I’m not valuable if I’m not doing something, comes from my mistaken beliefs about myself.

One of the categories of stinking thinking I am most prone to is called emotional reasoning: I feel bad, so I think I am bad. When I am sick and feel bad, I’m especially susceptible to this form of stinking thinking. I realize I need to take this message in: I am valuable and lovable. I matter. I don’t have to earn love. These are the thoughts I need to let in. I repeat them to myself like a mantra, imagining Bob’s loving expression as I say them, soaking it in.


The more I can feel the positive thoughts, the more I can rematrix these positive beliefs to let them settle deeply within myself. The more conscious I am as I do this, the more these thoughts will become my beliefs.


And what happens when I do this? Well, suddenly, I’m relaxing and actually thankful I’m sick. Being sick is a good reminder that I am valuable, I am lovable, that my being is as valuable as my doing.

It happens. We get sick, and we have bad days. Getting through it means reminding ourselves (and listening when others remind us) of our worth.

When Bad Moods Happen to Good People

We all experience a range of emotions on a daily, even hourly basis. No emotion’s “bad” or “wrong.” If we’re feeling fear, sadness, anger, or hurt, it’s an important message our brain is sending us. Our emotions are a gift, a piece of the fabric of our human existence.

So when we feel stinking thinking, or negative thought patterns coming on, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up (falling back into our old line of thinking). Instead, we can think, “I feel this way. Why?” Acknowledge it and explore it.

Now, it’s hard to stop negative thinking patterns when we’re feeling down. When something goes wrong, we’re unhappy, annoyed, or irritated, and we start to fixate (or ruminate) on these thought patterns.

When you feel defeated or unhappy, you find that all sorts of distorted imaginings—what we call stinking thinking—get in the way of your insights. You’ll tell yourself you’re being naïve or that you’re just wasting your time. Being down is your matrix’s way of reasserting itself.

Therefore, reveal to others that you are stuck and ask them to help you create a more objective, more positive sense of yourself. If you are optimistic about yourself and your future, you’ll keep these distracting thoughts at bay and actually be rematrixing. We all need support to be emotionally focused and hopeful as we gain insights into our matrix. We’re not talking about mindless Suzie Sunshine ways of being, but instead genuinely engaged ways of living life.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

When I’m struggling, like when I feel sick, I’ll often ask Bob or even my close friends for affirmation. Sometimes it’s as simple as hearing I’m loved. Other times I’ll ask for a deeper, “Why?”

This affirmation helps me reset my negative thought patterns and reminds me of my value. It reiterates that I don’t need to earn love—I’m a person worthy of love just as I am.

When this is affirmed for me, I often really take time to soak the message in. I may repeat it to myself, envisioning my loving ally in my mind as I repeat the thoughts that I’m valuable. I’m loved, just as I am. My yearnings are being met.

So, when we’re feeling down, negative, and frustrated, we can lean on an ally to help confirm and remind us of our importance. We ARE important. Each person is a valuable gift with endless potential. Rather than focusing on our mistakes and shortfalls, which we all have, remember within each of us lies a unique, special person. What we bring to the world is only ours; our personal potential.

Turn down the volume on your stinking thinking and stop the loop of tape. Instead, acknowledge the ways you are growing and evolving into your next best self.

For more ways on how you can break your negative thinking patterns, please explore our courses available at Wright Now. We have courses to help you explore your potential, boost your relationships, move forward in your career, and live the life of your dreams.

 


 

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Discovering Your Purpose: How to Find More Meaning Each Day

We’ve all gone through times when we’ve felt aimless, unfocused, or maybe a little empty. We might wonder what is the meaning of it all? Or feel like is this all there is?


 

Find more meaning in your life every day by discovering your purpose.


When life becomes challenging and sometimes even boring, we can become disheartened and untethered. We might feel empty or wonder if we’ve somehow lost our sense of purpose. When this happens, are we doomed to wander through the days as the years speed up and pass us by? Is there a way we can get back that sense of meaning?

For some of us, these feelings spur us to take drastic measures. We might take them as a sign we need to quit our jobs, end a relationship, or move to a different house. We might believe if only we made some change or had some “thing” new and novel in our lives, we would find fulfillment and happiness. But as most people find out, getting more stuff and even making drastic changes doesn’t result in discovering your purpose.

Discovering Your Purpose By Definition

What is purpose anyway? It’s a big, big question. The simplest answer? Purpose is the wonderful capacity in each of us to joyously take our place in the progress of humanity and do our part to help all of us reach our full potential.

Purpose is the heart of the matter—it’s the “why” behind what we do. Our purpose summarizes our reason for doing what we’re doing with our lives. Purpose is the answer to questions like, “What is this all for?” and “Is this it? Is this all there is?”

When we experience these seemingly hard-to-answer questions, we might find ourselves looking in strange places for the cure. Some folks buy a motorcycle, take a sabbatical, or quit their day job. Other people might simply try to drown out their feelings of dissatisfaction by turning to soft addictions—binging on television, zoning out on social media, overeating, shopping too much, and generally pursuing activities that act more like a salve than a panacea.

Without purpose, we won’t find satisfaction in our activities; no matter how fun, how delicious, or how pleasurable, the moment they are over, we’re returned to the nagging sense of emptiness. It’s like an itch we can’t scratch. We’re longing for more but try as we might quite hit the mark.

Why We Must Have Purpose

To be successful in life, we must find our own purpose. It looks different for everyone, and no two paths are alike.


Without a sense of purpose, we’re just floating around…lost. We’re going through the motions; we’re checked out and zoned out. We’re filling our lives with pacifiers. We’re disengaged and disconnected. Maybe we’re finding little successes and joys along the way, but without a true sense of purpose, we get the sense we aren’t quite there.


When we feel lost or unfocused (or simply “blah”), we should check our sense of purpose. Maybe we’re pretty fulfilled at work and love our job, but our marriage has lost the fire. Perhaps our marriage is okay, but we think our social life is lacking and dread going to work. Maybe all areas of our life could use some work, or perhaps there’s a specific part that doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark.

Purpose is something that’s got to exist in all areas of our life. It’s a 360-degree goal. Purpose transcends our entire being. It’s one of those things: we’ve either got it, and it spills over into all facets of our lives, or we’ve lost it, and it starts to suck the meaning and fulfillment out of all our activities. Yes, it’s true–if we notice a lack of fulfillment in one area, we can be sure that, like dominoes, other areas will soon follow.

Purpose matters.

Discovering Your Life Purpose: The Big Picture

You might be wondering, “what is the purpose of my life, then? How do I discover this great sense of purpose?”

A clear life purpose gives meaning to all activities. When we have purpose, we’re fully engaged and all-in in everything we do. We’re firing on all cylinders. When we find purpose, even mundane activities become opportunities to mindfully learn and explore. Our days become an adventure, and our world becomes anew.


Life purpose is the container into which we fit our goals. It’s our vision—the whole picture. Our purpose is the summation of what we’re working toward.


For some, finding purpose means connecting with God or religion or discovering a higher power. For others, it’s about making a difference, connecting with humanity, and feeling secure that we’re working from a place where we help all those we touch. It can mean engaging in challenging and stimulating relationships, connecting with others, and pushing ourselves in our work and our play. For many of us, it’s all those activities and more. Purpose goes even deeper than just participating in religion or giving to charity; it’s more than just finding success in our work and having all of the checks on our “bucket list” ticked off. It’s MORE.

At first blush, “finding our life purpose” sounds like it’s all about personal satisfaction and how we individually want to be fulfilled. But true purpose is beyond our own ego and super-ego. It seeps into and goes beyond the essence of our actions and personality. Purpose is everywhere.

Our purpose is about the way we’re fulfilled, but it’s through the fulfillment of others’ needs and our role in the lives around us. It’s about elevating those around us and bringing out their best—which in turn, brings out our own best self. Purpose challenges us and leads us to discoveries, insights, and realizations. Purpose connects us and strengthens our relationships.

If we think of a projector shining concentrated light through film onto a screen, life purpose is the lens through which life flows to project our highest vision.

It’s about becoming visionary leaders. It’s about being the light to those around us.

True transformational leaders have vision, but their singular goal isn’t to simply achieve that vision. It’s to embrace and share their vision with those around them. It’s to listen, connect and engage with those they come in contact with to help them realize their vision as well.


Transformers live purposefully and with intent. They don’t meander through their days; they are on purpose—to follow and fulfill their yearning to learn, grow, love, and be loved, to matter, to make a difference. Transformers care so deeply about living with intent and pursuing their purpose that they can preserve through extreme hardship. Their yearning is so powerful that they feel compelled to engage…To develop the sense of mission and purpose, dedicate yourself to follow your deeper yearning—substantial, real, here-and-now yearning—and your purpose will emerge. Purpose is not an escape, and rarely is it a charity or cause alone—it’s a way of living. It is something that is a unique expression of you.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


Getting Fulfillment Now

Most of us wait, not feeling fulfilled until we accomplish certain goals or hit milestones—rather than experiencing fulfillment in every moment and every situation. By orienting to purpose, we see greater possibility in every situation and stop waiting to live and love because we are living and loving our fullest toward our highest, honoring life in all its manifestations.

Purpose provides the focus for the fulfillment of our heart’s desires, which automatically leads us to even more extraordinary accomplishments.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, that sounds all well and wonderful, but okay, how do I DO it? How do I unlock MY purpose?”

To find your purpose, you must truly understand yourself. It requires us to explore our yearnings. We must look into the history of where our innermost desires and the longings of our hearts come from and identify them. Do we want to be loved? To be respected? To be heard? What is our truth?

We need to dive in and explore our social and emotional intelligence to identify our yearnings. It takes work. Our selves are sometimes our greatest mystery. We can be so aware of those around us, the world we live in (current events, politics, the financial climate), and the state of our social circle—and yet, we might be blind to what’s genuinely driving us. We might not understand our capacity for emotional intelligence and how to unlock our hidden superpowers of empathy and understanding.

Is it simple to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves? No. It can take years of work and growth. It can mean facing some hard truths and working through the baggage and limiting beliefs we’ve been carrying around and laboring under. It means opening up and starting to change and grow. Finding purpose means pushing ourselves WAY outside our comfort zone and into a whole new world of possibility.

The first step of the journey is to WANT to change—to have a desire for more. By simply wanting to find your purpose, you’re already opening yourself to the possibility that there’s a greater answer and more to unlock than meets the eye.

So start today! Roll up your sleeves. Engage in the world around you! It’s never too late to find your purpose, unlock your hidden yearnings, and lead your best life!

To learn more about finding your sense of purpose, please explore our courses on Wright Now. We offer an array of interactive resources to help you learn more about your relationships, your career, and yourself. If you’re ready to start living a life of MORE, there’s no better time than now!

 


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Getting Along with Coworkers: Here’s Why It’s All Relative

Is getting along with coworkers a tall order? Do you ever struggle, wondering why your coworkers drive you up a wall?

 

You can get along with coworkers and create a work family.

 


 

We often hear people lament about their coworkers, not realizing that their relationships with their peers often mirror their other relationships with friends and family. People claim that they’re totally different at work, or their work lives look nothing like their home lives.

But then they face the same types of disagreements in both places. Here’s why it’s crucial to examine your relationships across all aspects of your life, especially if you’re having a tough time getting along with coworkers.

Creating Our Work Family

“I just don’t understand why my coworker bugs me so much.”

“I work in an office with so much drama. UGH. I hate it!”

“I’m a completely different person when I’m at the office.”

Do you ever wonder why getting along with coworkers is so hard? It may be time to take a look at your relationships in the rest of your life. The truth is, we’re the same everywhere. Chances are if you’re bothered by certain types of people, or if you fall into the drama triangle at work, you’ve probably seen the same patterns at home. Like it or not, pleasing your boss and getting along with your coworkers often mirrors the dynamics you experience with your family.


We spend much of our time at work. So, it’s natural we would build strong relationships. Many people find they’ve recreated their family relationships and dynamics at the office after years at work.


That hard-to-please mother? She’s your boss. Your easy-going relationship with your dad? You might see the same dynamic at play with your favorite manager. That coworker who pushes your buttons and pisses you off? He has the same traits as your brother (and probably gets under your skin for the same reasons).

We automatically recreate our expectations of the world and our relationships right there in our office from 9-5. So, if you want to start getting along with your coworkers, it’s important to remember—the dynamics are all relative!

The Hierarchy of Authority at the Office

Within most workplaces, there is a hierarchy of authority. Well, guess what—growing up, we also experienced a hierarchy of authority. For most of us, the authority came from our parents, but no matter how our family was structured, there was a power dynamic at play.

In most households, Mom and Dad were the first authority figures in your life. Your relationship with them is reflected in your relationships with your coworkers and feelings toward authority figures throughout your life (whether you like it or not).

Let’s say you had authoritarian parents who were very demanding. Well, you probably learned to resist them. Possibly, you learned to passive-aggressively resist them by not doing exactly what they wanted. Or you learned to openly get mad and fight them. Welcome to your authority issues today.


If you were competitive or in conflict with your parents, you’re probably going to struggle at the office when you feel bossed around (which is, as we all know, a natural part of work).


If your parents were inconsistent and the hierarchy and the power balance between you were hard to figure out, you’ll often see this same scenario play out again as authority issues at work. You may struggle to figure out your boss. You may feel the need to question your manager or balk at orders and instructions. Or you may put on an air of agreeability but bemoan the orders the moment your manager is out the door.

All these reactions speak volumes about the way you view authority today, as well as the authority you were raised with when you were growing up. Eventually, you’ll face similar feelings in the workplace to those you experienced in your childhood and felt toward your parents. It’s a natural, normal part of human behavior.

But What if Your Boss is a Jerk?

Many people realize they have authority issues but identify the problem as, “my boss is a jerk.” When we pin the problem entirely on the personality of our boss, we fail to recognize these issues stem from and exist within us. Don’t like your situation at work? You have the power to explore and change your relationship with authority.

You were born in your family issues—long before you had any say in the matter. But recognizing this truth will help empower you. Even if your boss or coworkers are vastly different from your parents, you will eventually create and experience the same patterns over and over again that you played out during your childhood. It’s essential to explore these dynamics and their origin, especially if you’re finding it challenging to get along with your coworkers.

Another family pattern that’s become especially common these days is what we refer to as the super enmeshed family. This is where the family is overly involved in a person’s life, and they fail to separate once they reach adulthood. The enmeshment stems from parents who are highly focused on the happiness of their kids.

While wanting your kids to be happy is positive, it’s possible to pin your identity and focus entirely on your children. What ends up happening with super enmeshed parents is their kids don’t know if they’re living for their own happiness or their parents’ happiness. We’re seeing this type of dynamic more and more in the age of the “helicopter parent.”


What happens to those who grew up in super enmeshed families? We see people who grow into middle age without ever really becoming adults. They never truly disconnect from their parents and learn to function as whole, adult human beings.


This plays out in relationships with friends and family, at work, and even within romantic relationships. This over-parenting leads to a lack of independence, confidence, and ability to make decisions.

So, what does this mean for you? Do you want to break free from the patterns? Do you believe they don’t affect you? Well, first of all, tough luck.

You take your family everywhere. It’s impossible to avoid recreating the dynamics because it’s an integral part of your programming and part of human nature. You will find your parents’ traits in others throughout your life. If you can’t find the traits of your parents right away within the people you meet, then you’ll recreate those relationship dynamics as your connection develops.

No matter what your relationship with your parents was like (and there are no perfect parents out there, so if you think your parents were “saints,” think again), you will see this play out in your relationships later. We call this your unfinished business.

Understanding Your Unfinished Business to Start Getting Along with Coworkers

The realization we’re carrying around our familial issues is tough to take. Most of us don’t love the idea. It may even make us feel angry. The good news in all of this is your work relationships create an excellent opportunity to explore your unfinished business and apply personal growth lessons in the real world.

If we’re interested in learning, growing, and becoming more complete human beings, then our work relationships provide us with an excellent chance to really explore our dynamics with others. At work, you have a perfect laboratory of sorts to look at how your relationships play out; to think about how getting along with your coworkers or not getting along with coworkers mirrors your connections with your family members.

In an ideal setting, you are the authority in your own life. You embrace the power within you, and consequentially, you fully acknowledge the authority of those over you, such as in a work setting, without resentment. In fact, in an ideal situation you, empower those authorities without undue competitiveness or anger.

But of course, most of us still have growing to do. We have unfinished business to address!


We all face a challenge to become whole and complete human beings. It’s incumbent on each of us to address our unfinished business so we become more honest and straightforward communicators.


It’s not about simply “tolerating” or getting along with your coworkers, but rather digging in and understanding why you click (or why you don’t click).

One of the best steps we can take to improve and understand our work life is to realize that our work dynamics are relative—a direct reflection of our family of origin.

Work gives us a great sandbox to experiment with these dynamics and explore our connections. So, look around at the people you like a lot at work. Who do those people remind you of in your family? Then take a look at the people who get under your skin. Who do they remind you of? Push yourself to explore the lesson at hand. What immaturity and unfinished business are you bringing to the office?

For more on building your relationships and power at work, explore our courses available on Wright Now. We offer an array of webinars and virtual classes to help you connect with others and learn more about yourself.

 


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

Is Your Relationship Stuck? Here’s How to Break Out of the Boredom

Maybe you feel like everything is going along “fine” in your relationship? Perhaps you’re feeling comfortable and safe in a long-term connection…but are you really just stuck?


Is your relationship stuck? This couple is stuck in boredom, not intimacy.


 

Maybe you’re wondering how to move forward in a relationship. How does your partner feel?

If you feel stuck in a relationship, it’s time to face the truth: If one of you feels stuck, you’re BOTH stuck.

But the good news is, just because you feel stuck in a relationship doesn’t mean that it’s doomed. It means you may be looking to your relationship for fulfillment when REALLY you should be taking a look inward. Happiness isn’t dependent on being in (or out) of a relationship. Each person is responsible for his or her own happiness.

How to Know if You’re Stuck in a Relationship

Are you wondering if your relationship is stuck in a rut? Well, ask yourself:

  • Is it exciting?
  • Is it engaging?
  • Are you growing?

If you answer no to any of these questions, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on ways to move forward in your relationship. Relationship boredom can cause us to seek novelty elsewhere. Many times, it’s not because the relationship is irrevocably broken or damaged, but it’s because we need to work on finding novelty and fulfillment within our own lives. We get bored because we feel we aren’t personally growing. Rather than doing the internal work, we shift the blame to our partner.

Have you ever thought, “He doesn’t make me happy,” or, “I wish she could make me feel better?” If we’re looking for someone else to bring us satisfaction, we’re setting ourselves and our partner up for disappointment. When it doesn’t happen, we feel stuck in a relationship or wonder where we’re going.

It makes sense that we’ve adopted this idea of fairy tale romance, considering that we so often see it portrayed in romantic movies, books, TV, and more. The idea of finding someone who “completes us” or who exists to make us happy is appealing, but of course, it’s also false. Happy relationships take work on both sides independently. No one else is responsible for our happiness.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few months or married for 30+ years, you still need to focus on finding a constant state of growth—within the relationship and beyond. As humans, we’re continually evolving, learning, and changing. We’re seeking new stimuli and new experiences. It’s those new insights and happenings that help us discover more about ourselves and strengthen our connection with our partner.

Are You Learning and Growing Together and Separately?

We often start dating someone because we have a lot in common—typically, that means we like the same activities, live in the same area, and go to the same spots. But how important are those commonalities? Do we really need to enjoy the same activities as our significant other?

Common interests are well and good, but they don’t form the core of your relationship. We all enjoy doing things with our spouse or partner that we both find mutually entertaining and fun. Conversely, if we don’t feel excited about the same interests or share the same tastes, that doesn’t mean a relationship is doomed or can’t work.


Life is busy and complicated, but the capacity to learn and grow is always within our ability. With that comes our capacity to love and engage in a fulfilling relationship.


Cheering for the same sports team or enjoying the same music may seem like a common bond, but a strong connection runs deeper than that. We can enjoy completely different hobbies, a different type of job, and different friends and still share a deep connection. Conversely, we can enjoy all the same activities and still feel like strangers.

Relationships should be nurturing—a womb—safe place to grow and find sustenance for your soul. They can be a refuge and a place to help us. At the same time, our relationships should be a crucible—a place to shape and mold us into what we can potentially become. These two sides are not mutually exclusive but rather working in tandem.

That growth comes from learning, sharing, and working on goals together. When you talk to your partner, do you share your hopes and dreams? Do you tell them about the plans you’re working toward in the future? Or do you find yourself discussing the logistics of the day? If your conversations stay in the shallow end of the pool, then it’s time to dive in.

You may even want to approach time with your partner with an agenda! Now, that may sound like the opposite of exciting, but when you go into time together with an intention to share and connect, you’ll find even stronger engagement. Having an agenda helps you set that intention and maximize your engagement, especially if the two of you are busy and those precious moments together go by quickly.

Consider working on a personal goal together by holding each other accountable. If you want to learn something new, be more outgoing, or explore a new interest, set a goal together. You don’t need to complete each step of the activity with each other, but reporting and sharing your experience can help you discover more profound insights and form a more robust partnership because you’re working on a new “assignment” TOGETHER.

Is growing and changing always easy? No, but you should always be in a place of transition and transformation, rather than somewhere you feel “stuck.” If you’re still feeling stuck, it’s time to get to the real underlying issues within yourself.

Don’t Shy Away from Conflict

If we’re feeling bored in a relationship, it may also be an indication that we’ve stopped rocking the boat. If you’re avoiding arguments with your spouse by silently stewing alone—don’t! It’s time to start battling towards bliss!

Many of us were raised to avoid conflict. Avoidance leads to stunted emotions, withholding, and resentment. If you’ve ever given your significant other the silent treatment or felt irritated as you did something for them, you’ve experienced the dangers of staying silent. After time, passive-aggressive actions and reactions start to erode trust in the relationship. We’re constantly frustrated but refusing to express that frustration and get it out in the open.

We need to allow ourselves to feel the whole range of human emotions and express those emotions. Arguing is perfectly okay, as long as it is with intention. Believe it or not–arguing can actually strengthen a relationship. When we argue, we express truth and authenticity. We’re telling someone how we really feel, and that expression is key to building a stronger connection.

Now there are ways we can fight FOR the relationship rather than fighting against our partner. In the book The Heart of the Fight, we explore many common fights and how to set up basic rules of engagement. It’s not about avoiding the conflicts or smoothing things over, but about opening up to each other and finding even more intimacy during our arguments.


Passion is a state of being alive—being emotional and feeling. Sometimes opening up that conflict and expressing those feelings can help us engage more deeply and feel even more passionately about our partner than we did before.


We have different wants and different needs, and those differences lead to conflict. It’s just a fact that all humans face—but a couple that is growing together uses that conflict to connect, understand, and find common ground.

Look at your emotional core and the work you need to do. We often reach to our partners for our own happiness and validation, which can lead to blame and resentment. Take a long hard look at your historical patterns in your relationships and make sure you aren’t falling into common traps like codependency or emotional withdrawal. Try to understand your role in the conflict and how you are reacting to your partner.

Often when one partner is experiencing strong conflict and an emotional reaction, it can stem from our history, our relationships with our parents, siblings, and past interactions we’ve had with others. If you’re feeling that your relationship is fraught with arguments or continuously leaving you feeling frustrated, then you may have some serious reflection and work to do on your own.

The Need for Attention

We all need attention, and our partners do, too. Sometimes the way we acknowledge our partner, their feelings, accomplishments, and disappointments, might not be the way they’re hoping for. Sometimes they may not acknowledge us in the way that we desire either.

Expressing your needs to your partner and engaging in a dynamic relationship is part of the process. The other part is taking personal responsibility for our OWN happiness and our own need for attention. Realizing we have to manage our internal conflicts first is an important step.

Quality communication—talking, touching, supporting, listening, and relating—are at the basis of a strong relationship. We need to examine the ways our partner fills our needs and the way we fill our partner’s needs. Relationships need to nourish us and help us grow and evolve. As you work with your partner and work within your relationship, you may find that those “stuck” feelings quickly dissolve as you both start to evolve.

When we feel boredom or dissatisfaction, it can indicate we need to explore ways to bring MORE learning, more experience, and more purpose to our own lives. We can set these goals for more personal discovery, regardless of our relationship status. Working on ourselves can happen on our own or with a partner, but it’s the counterfoil to our feelings of restlessness.

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, order The Heart of The Fight. We’ll explore how you can get yourself back on track to move forward in a relationship toward the life you both want.

 

 

How to Make a Boring Relationship Fun Again

Relationship boredom. It happens, even to seemingly happy, strong relationships.

Why do some relationships lose their spark? How do you make a boring relationship fun again? Here’s how to overcome relationship “blahs” and reconnect with your partner.


One day, you look at your partner and wonder how you became so distant. Sometimes we get busy, life moves along, we’re going about our day-to-day activities, but we just don’t feel the same spark we once did.

What can we do about it? How do you make a boring relationship fun again? How can you get back the spark?

Is the Thrill Really Gone?

Studies show that boredom is a true relationship issue. Couples don’t break up because of bad stuff…they break up because there’s a lack of good stuff holding them together. When we feel dissatisfied in our relationships, we may start to seek attention elsewhere. We’re looking for novelty.

Think back to the days at the beginning of your relationship. Chances are you were feeling high on your partner. You were stimulated by all this new information. You couldn’t wait to know more about this fascinating, attractive, engrossing person you were dating.

As the years go by, that newness fades. It’s not because our partner has changed or become less fascinating, attractive, or engrossing. It’s because they’re less new. There’s less to discover about them. The fun and exciting exploration wanes.

I was working with Sharon, who told me of her 25-year marriage, “My mother always said, ‘settle for boring and stable over exciting.’ So, I guess I’m expecting too much from Dale. Maybe I should just be happy that he’s a nice guy who’s a decent breadwinner and leave it at that.”

As we explored this a bit more, I said, “Well, what first drew you to him? Did you always find him, ‘boring and stable’?”

“Oh no! When we were younger Dale was always so intelligent and interesting to talk to. We used to stay up having these fascinating talks about science and space. It was like he knew something about almost everything. He was this shaggy-haired, professor who drove around on his moped, played guitar, and read Carl Sagan.”

As we talked further, she realized it wasn’t that she had settled for her husband. It was that she had settled for that status quo in the relationship and in her life overall. She admitted that she wasn’t satisfied in other areas of her life as well—her job, her relationship with her friends. We talked about ways to raise her expectations all around, both of her relationship and herself.


We get used to our relationship routine. It becomes familiar and comfortable. While comfort in a relationship isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s not always conducive to growth.


We can think of our relationships as both a womb and a crucible: a place where we are nourished and nurtured, and also a place where we’re forged and become stronger. In both cases, it’s important to remember that growth isn’t always a comfortable or static state. Sometimes it’s painful.

The spark found at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t go away with time, but you’re used to the thrill of it. This isn’t just relegated to the bedroom “spark” either. The attraction and passion you feel at the beginning comes from intimacy, yes, but intimacy is also born from engagement and connection. Making a boring relationship fun again means finding that connection again.

There’s a great importance of novelty. Trying new things, learning, and discovering are vital to our happiness and sense of purpose. Novelty wakes our brain up; it helps us feel more alive, engaged, and stimulated. When we do something new, life becomes an adventure!

This attraction to the new and exciting goes back to what’s called the self-expansion theory. Our relationships expand and influence our interests. When we try new activities, we start to see life differently. The way we feel changes. Each interaction shapes and expands who we are at our core.

So, the truth of the matter is, perhaps it’s not your relationship that’s lost the spark and needs work. What are you bringing to the relationship and how are you fueling the fire? It’s really the spark inside YOU that needs to be rekindled!

How to Get the Spark Back

If the passion and zest for our relationship starts with us, how do we get that feeling back? How do we reengage and rediscover our partner and ourselves?

Couples grow stronger through affirming, celebrating, and empowering each other. Sharing power, making decisions together, and working as a team.

Carol, another woman I worked with, was a married, working mom of two. One of her children had developmental issues and required a lot of her attention. She was feeling frazzled, unappreciated, and stuck in the monotony of every day life.

She realized part of her frustration was coming from the lack of support she felt from her husband, Dave. It wasn’t that he didn’t help, but he wasn’t as expressive as she would have preferred. “He never says, ‘I love you,’ spontaneously. I feel like he never tells me, ‘you’re doing a great job.’” We talked about the ways Dave did express his affection—through doing things for her and assisting her.

So, how could she shift the pattern they were stuck in? How could she get the affirmation she was craving?

Carol began a new habit whenever Dave did something nice for her. She would say out loud, “Oh you did this for me?! That means you love and appreciate me!”

He would, of course, respond by saying, “Yes, exactly!”

The more he was affirming her, the better she felt. She appreciated his help and naturally, he started doing even more to assist her with the children and around the house. She felt loved and he felt better about himself and more empowered in the relationship.


Sometimes stopping a tedious cycle means engaging in real, truthful communication.


It means that you and your partner need to stop talking about just the logistics and minutia of the day and discuss the big stuff.

Those topics that might even feel scary or “off-limits” are exactly what we should get out in the open. It’s time to “go there” instead of avoiding it.

Now, all couples talk about what’s for dinner, what’s on the agenda this weekend, or who’s going to run the next errand. But sometimes these little topics take over our conversations. We stop discussing feelings, hopes, fears, and our vision for the future. We lose sight of the bigger picture and deeper meaning in our union.

Get back to getting to know each other. Find time to talk about the bigger topics, rather than the logistics of the day. What’s weighing on your heart and your mind? What challenges have you faced recently? What support are you looking for from your partner? What do you appreciate about them and how do you want to support their dreams?

Don’t be afraid to talk about the difficult topics either. Be honest about what upsets you and what resentments you might be feeling. Tell your partner what you don’t like and what’s frustrating you. Agree to speak and listen in turn, without interruption. Express what you’re feeling honestly and truthfully and hold space for your partner to do the same. Conflict and yes, fighting, can bring us closer together. Difficult, honest, and even angry fights are more helpful than bottling up our feelings or sweeping them under the rug. Get it out and battle your way toward bliss.

Making a Boring Relationship Fun Again Starts with YOU

Remember—boredom isn’t just about your relationship. It starts by looking within yourself. Feelings of boredom and disconnection in your relationship are often mirrored in other areas of your life. Are you disengaged with your partner or are you disengaged all around? It’s easy to say, “my relationship isn’t making me happy anymore,” but our happiness is our responsibility.

In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the Rules of Engagement. These are 7 important rules to fighting fair and productively in your relationship. One of the most important of these rules is that YOU are 100% responsible for your own happiness. Similarly, no one in a relationship can take more than 50% of the blame. Remember, it takes two to tango. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy, nor is it fair to blame more than 50% of your relationship frustrations on your partner.

What can you do to add more excitement and adventure in your life? How can you become engaged, fulfilled and satisfied? Look at what areas of your life may need some attention.

Get Naked for Greater Intimacy

Excitement in a relationship comes from building a stronger connection and discovering new aspects of our partner. While we may think of the bedroom as the place for intimacy, we can have true intimacy anywhere and everywhere. Sex may be a great way to express intimacy, but it’s not the only way and usually not the best way to express our connection. Our connection comes through being emotionally open…naked and honest with our partner.

When we bring this level of intimacy into every day, each moment of our life together becomes foreplay. We experience greater closeness and joy. Now, this doesn’t come by simply being affectionate with our partner. This comes from digging in and forging ahead together. It comes from teamwork and working together toward a goal. It can be fun, but intimacy also comes from work.

We can liberate ourselves from our patterns and break out of our routine by mixing things up. This means making the choice to fight FOR our relationship rather than fighting against our partner. Fight to bring back the thrill. Refocus your efforts from being annoyed or indifferent toward your partner, to finding new ways to connect. How can you introduce novelty and variety into the every day?


Too many couples settle into boring routines, which is deadly to relationships (Tsapelas, Aron, and Orbuch, 2009). Couples who keep learning, growing, and changing have exciting, satisfying, close relationships. Make your dates count. Exciting dates are better than pleasant ones (Aron et al. 2000, Lyuobomirsky 2013). Go deep. Have a “challenge date” at least once a month. Challenge each other— discuss issues outside the relationship and make observations about how each of you is generating problems for yourself at work, with friends, or in other areas outside the couple relationship. Support each other to keep learning and growing to be your best. Have “show- and- tell” and “inspiration” dates regularly where each of you brings new ideas, demonstrates a new skill, and shares what you are learning and what inspires you.
The Heart of the Fight

So, if you’re ready to make a boring relationship fun again, roll up your sleeves and get to work! Find ways to introduce novelty and excitement into your everyday life. Examine your needs and yearnings and express them to your partner.

Embark on a project with your partner, take a class, try a new hobby, or go on an adventure. Engage in honest, open discussions and focus on bringing the intimacy and connection back to your relationship.

For more ways to strengthen your relationships please visit The Wright Foundation. We have a number of exciting networking events on the calendar, giving you a great chance to connect with others on their journey. Start your self-discovery today and unleash your fullest potential.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Be a Better Ally

At one time or another, most of us have asked ourselves how to be a better friend.

Wondering how you can be a better ally? Being an ally is more than just being a good friend. It’s being honest, supportive and purpose-driven.


Perhaps we’ve noticed a friend who’s struggling, feeling down, or having a tough time achieving their goals. We may wonder how to help them and show them how much we care. While friendship is important, the real question is how to be a better ally.

What does it mean to be a better ally, exactly? Is it the same as being a friend? Well, look at your own circle. Chances are you have many coworkers, buddies, and social connections. You may have a collection of hundreds of “friends” on Facebook and social media…but how many of those people truly have your back? How many of them are allies for helping you become your best?

What it Means to Be a Better Ally

Allies are different than friends. Friends are often tossed together by circumstance or similar interests. Think of your friends from growing up. Chances are most of your pals lived in your neighborhood, attended your school, and enjoyed the same activities.

As we grow up, our connections branch out further. We may have friends and acquaintances all around the world. We may have coworkers we consider friends, former roommates from college, and our buddies from the golf club or tennis court.


But how many of these people are truly our allies? What does it even mean to be an ally, and what can we do to be a better ally to those around us?


Well, first of all, allies often share deeper qualities. While they may share a common interest or share a common demographic, they don’t necessarily always fit the mold. Where allies are truly connected to us is the way we share similar values and a common purpose. Our allies want the same things in life that we want: fulfillment of our greatest potential.

Ideally all our friends would be allies, but of course, it’s not always the case. It’s important that we recognize the allies in our lives and hold them dear.

Here’s the deal: allies aren’t the ones who tell you what you want to hear all the time. In fact, a true ally will encourage you to grow as a person by kicking you in the butt when you need it! They’re honest with you and you trust them to tell you the truth. They don’t sugar coat (but of course, they aren’t mean about it either). Allies may give you tough love but it’s still coming from the heart. A true ally wants what’s best for you. They hold a vision for you. They see your potential and push you to become the hero they know you are.


Think about the allies in the historic and contemporary myths— Odysseus had Athena, and Luke Skywalker had Obi- Wan (Ben) Kenobi. They didn’t go on their quests alone. Engage and find allies. At the same time, recognize and reject those people who disempower you or join you in blame and self- pity. True allies not only support you when things are tough, but they also inspire and challenge you when all is going well.
Your partner can be your strongest ally. Whether you are fighting, playing, doing chores, or making love, every interaction can be an opportunity to grow and transform. Your relationship can provide the support for you to achieve your dreams. Allies bring out the best in each other. Support your partner in the pursuit of her vision, not your vision of her but her vision of her best self.
Called the Michelangelo phenomenon (Rusbult, Finkel, and Kumashiro 2009), you help sculpt your partner’s ideal self. Couples who affirm each other’s ideal selves not only bring out the best in their own lives, but have much more satisfying relationships as they grow toward their ideal. Every time you interact, you can be “sculpting” one another. Allies hold a vision for one another— you appreciate your partner for who she is, but also for who she can become. You mirror the vision your partner inspires in you that is consistent with your own goals for yourself. That doesn’t mean that you don’t contribute to your partner’s vision— you may see aspects of your partner’s gifts and potential that she doesn’t.
It’s not about changing your partner to your standards, but believing in her potential and supporting her as she moves in the direction of big dreams. We often need our loved ones and others to activate our yearning— it’s hard to yearn for something if you don’t even know it exists or if you have already ruled it out for yourself because of your limiting beliefs!
The Heart of the Fight

Your partner isn’t your only ally either, so there’s no reason to feel ally-less if you’re not in a relationship. In fact, many of our most powerful allies are those friends we truly trust and align with.

A key difference between a regular “friend” and an ally is that friends often observe us and think, “Oh, I don’t want to tell her that. She’ll feel upset (or hurt or angry…).” But an ally understands by holding back honest feedback and truth, you’re also holding back the other person. You’re not being genuine, honest, or engaging. You’re not moving the person toward the direction of their dreams.

To be an ally for another person, you must really align yourself with what matters to him or her. What are their ideals? Do you understand who they really want to become? Not who you’d like them to become for you, but who you hope they become for themselves.

Allies are compassionate, empathetic, and understanding. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

What to Do When a Friend is Struggling

We’ve all had a friend who has been struggling or going through a tough time. When this happens, it’s tempting to swoop in and rescue them or to further enable them to keep them on their path. We may even fear if we don’t rescue or enable them, they won’t like us as much or they won’t be our friends.

Allies know enabling and rescuing isn’t the behavior of a true friend. Allies support and empower the other person to get themselves out of the mess.


It’s not that allies see themselves as superior, know-it-all types or revered advisors. An allied relationship is simply a healthy, engaging connection filled with understanding and give-and-take.


To be an ally for someone who’s struggling, we should look at what they really care about. What’s important to them? What is their ideal for themselves and who do they want to become? Aligning with that concept and supporting them to move toward their ideal is so much more powerful than simply commiserating with someone.

The trouble with commiserating is it leaves the other person stuck in the same negative place. It doesn’t help them move out of the current phase. It doesn’t mean, of course, that we shouldn’t act with compassion and caring. We should have empathy and support. We should put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and have understanding; at the same time, avoid enabling them. Help them tend to whatever it is in their life they need to attend to.

The Power of Seeing Others for Who They Truly Are

In relationship research, we learn many lessons, not only for couples but for friends as well. There’s a concept called the “Michelangelo effect” where you craft someone through your interactions with him or her. Now, this doesn’t mean controlling them or bossing them around. It actually goes back to the way Michelangelo saw the statue within the block of marble. He would carefully craft around the statue to help it emerge from the block.

When we hold our relationships in such a way that it allows them to bring out their very best, we’re both strengthened. It’s not about sculpting them or forcing them into the shape we imagine they should be in, but simply holding space for them to evolve and grow into the shape they can become.

Self-Expansion Theory tells us the more you can help someone else by sharing your own perspective, introducing new possibilities and activities, the more you’re adding to their lives. Their lives are better as they discover new ways of being and new ideas. This is the same reason new relationships feel so fun and exciting—because we see the other person as new and different. The studies show the more you help another person expand and grow, the happier you both are within the relationship; this concept goes for friendships and relationships with allies as well. This gives us both a sense of purpose.


You can’t dedicate in a vacuum. Transformers immerse themselves in cultures of allies, whether fellow Transformers, talented coaches, teachers, inspiring role models, truth-sharing friends, or high-performing teammates. They hang out with people who share their values, who speak truth, who are living large in their own lives.
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

If we’re committed to the idea that we want to live our best lives and bring out the best in those around us, we should both be a better ally and seek allies in our relationships. It doesn’t mean we need to push aside relationships we view as less fulfilling. We can commit to operating with honesty to strengthen and grow those relationships as well.

For more on transforming your life and growing your circle of influence, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you’ll experience opportunities to empower and work with others along their journey.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

What Does it Mean to Be Authentic?

Research has proven that authenticity is one of the most critical traits for good leaders.

Want to be a better leader? In order to be effective, you must answer the question: what does it mean to be authentic?

 


Displaying authenticity and integrity leads to better, more effective direction and management. But before we delve into the importance of authenticity, we must define it. What does it mean to be authentic?

On a similar note, what are the qualities of an authentic person and how can we implement those qualities in our lives every day in order to be more engaged and connected to those around us?

Honesty and Authenticity

Several years back, I worked with a guy named Ray, who attended one of our men’s basic training sessions. He worked with the top Fortune 500 companies. After attending our weekend retreat, he found himself facing a major client who was having some operating issues in his company.

Now, during our training, we tell hard truths. We get extremely honest with each other—very real and straightforward. We urge our attendees to start delivering honest criticism with vision and to stop holding back out of fear of rejection. The shocking discovery is that consistently, people trust those who are honest, even if they’re critical, more than those who tell them what they want to hear. Ray was so inspired by what he’d seen during his weekend coursework that he decided to apply it in his meeting with this big-wig client.

Rather than glossing over some of the harsher truths about how the client was operating, he went in straight-forward and laid it out on the table. He told the client exactly what his observations were about the business—what was working and what wasn’t.

He later related to us that he was absolutely terrified while he was doing it. Like many top dogs, this client was used to hearing people kiss up and tell him what he wanted to hear. He wasn’t as used to the harsh truths and honesty that Ray was handing to him. But lo and behold, the client absolutely appreciated the honesty. In fact, he thanked Ray right there on the spot.

Years later, their professional relationship was still going strong. In fact, this client trusted Ray more than any other consultants that he worked with and their work relationship formed into a friendship. The client often contacts Ray for personal advice and more—why? Because he trusts Ray to be an authentic, integrous person.

Dr. Tony Simons of Cornell University discussed the need for integrity in leadership in the hospitality industry. In his research, he discovered that integrity is one of, if not the most critical leadership skill that can lead to an actual bottom-line business return; he refers to as the “integrity dividend.” What’s more, the value of integrity is actually very high. Honest leaders that display integrity and authenticity in their interactions are rare, and thus highly prized.

Leaders who actually do what they say they’re going to do and who follow through with their plans are trusted by their employees, coworkers, and clients. As a result, their companies perform better financially. There is truly a payout for operating with integrity, honesty, and authenticity.

The Qualities of Transformational Leaders

Authenticity is one of the most important variables in leadership. When researchers Bass and Riggio did their study of transformational leadership, they discovered that there were universal characteristics of transformational leaders.

Transformational leaders have a vision. They are able to articulate and share their vision with those they work with. They have a clear idea of where they’re headed and how they plan to get there. In each situation, they’re working toward a larger vision.


Transformational leaders want people around them to be engaged. When they come into a meeting (even if they aren’t the one’s hosting the meeting), they engage with others. They rally the team and get everyone involved. They’re interested in others and approach them with understanding.


Transformational leaders care about each individual they lead, and those individuals feel that care and know it exists. It’s easy to say, “I care about my coworkers,” but how many of our team members really feel that care? How many of them know how much you truly care about them?

Most importantly, transformational leaders walk their talk. This means they’re genuine. They understand what it means to be authentic and to act with integrity. They’re honest and truthful. They face up to their mistakes, admit them and learn from them. They’re accepting of themselves and of others. They really live and practice what they preach.

Those who work with and under transformational leaders are less likely to suffer from stress. Transformational leaders have excellent team-building skills and this sense of comradery and unity benefits the entire group. The group is able to build off strengths and easily overcome challenges. Best of all, both the transformational leaders and those who worked with them experienced greater job satisfaction and happiness.

The good news about transformational leadership is that each of us can display these traits. We don’t need to be in a c-level position to be authentic. We can engage, connect with others, and lead from any position and in any role.

What Does It Mean to Be Authentic in Our Daily Lives?

Whether we’re displaying authenticity at work or at home, the concept is the same—we must be true to ourselves and our vision. We must be honest with ourselves and honest with those around us.

Authenticity becomes the primary variable in transformational leadership and one of the most important qualities of a leader, but this isn’t limited to our work lives. Yes, work is often where we think of leadership qualities and skills as being important, but we are still the same person at the end of the day. We don’t change when we go out the door to our 9-5.


Learning how to be authentic means being honest with ourselves in our social lives and in our interactions with our friends and family as well.


Many people may believe they have a separate “work personality” or that their work personality is separate from their home life, but the truth is we’re the same person at work and at home.

One of the biggest illusions that people operate under is “that’s not really me.”  The “me” people like to deny at work is the me that has authority issues. At home, we tend not to feel or identify the same authority issues, so we think that we’re different. This perception is really an illusion.

If you’re not integrous at work, you’re probably not integrous at home. At home, you get to go on “autopilot” but are you really up-to-date and present with your spouse? Are you operating with honesty? Are you holding back out of fear or a desire not to rock the boat?

It’s similar to our feelings of holding back at work. We’re afraid of rocking the boat or being honest because we don’t want to lose our job. We go through the motions-working to make money—but failing to fully engage and embrace our role with honesty and authenticity.

In all situations, authenticity and honesty will lead to stronger connections and leadership. While we may not think of transformational leadership as something we can display outside of the office, it’s a universal skill in all aspects of our lives—work, home, socially, and beyond.

Living honest, authentic lives where we’re true to ourselves and others will result in bigger dividends across the board. If you want to live a richer, fuller, more powerful life, commit to operating with authenticity and genuineness.

For more ways to find fulfillment and joy in your life, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. Go forth and ignite your world by living up to your fullest potential.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Like this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Relationship Dynamics: Why We Click with Certain People

Have you ever wondered why some relationships just click and others drive us nuts?

A group of friends link arms as they look at the ocean. Significant others, acquaintances, coworkers, friends--our relationship dynamics are different with each person we meet.

 


Does your partner ever get under your skin for reasons you can’t quite understand? Do your friends tick you off without meaning to? Do certain people’s comments leave you feeling hurt (even though you’re sure they didn’t mean it)? You chalk it up to just the way it is or the way different relationship dynamics play out, but in truth, there’s probably more going on under the surface than you realize.

When you find yourself really bothered by something someone says or does, it’s a great opportunity to explore the deeper reasons why. As it turns out, your partner pissing you off by being on the phone, failing to replace the toilet paper roll, or making a joke at your expense isn’t about them being a “jerk.” It’s about the whole history of interactions that came long before they were even in the picture.

This realization may feel scary at first. We all want to believe we’re always in control of our feelings and emotions, no matter the situation, but we’re fooling ourselves. The reality is, a big portion of our personality—our likes, dislikes, beliefs, feelings, and reactions—are set long before we’re even aware of it. Much of this makeup, or what we call our “matrix” is formed when we’re very young.

So how does our matrix affect our relationship dynamics? How does it play into our romantic relationships and friendships? Does it really all come back to our relationship with our parents? Most importantly, can we change relationship dynamics?

How Our Early Experiences Affect Our Relationship Dynamics

Our past experience has a direct and complex effect on our present relationships. When we’re babies, our interactions with our parents shape and “wire” our brains. We depend on our parents for our very survival and to an infant, the mother is their entire world. This shapes us in many profound ways. The foundation of our matrix is laid down early on. This includes our beliefs about ourselves and our place within the world.

If we don’t decide to examine, explore, and change these beliefs, they will dictate our lives and behavior, including our relationship dynamics. If you’ve ever noticed your partners’ behavior ticks you off because it reminds you of your mother or father, this is an example of your matrix influencing your perception.

So, why can’t we just shut this off? None of us likes to believe that our feelings and beliefs might be beyond our control, right? Well, sometimes the memories and pieces of our makeup are unconscious. They’re so deeply buried in our core, we don’t even realize they happen.

Has someone ever just bothered you for seemingly no reason? Maybe you look back at the moment later and think, “what was that all about?” or “I don’t know why, but she just really bugs me.”

Interactions with others may trigger a series of feelings and emotions for reasons we can’t even understand. We may get hurt, angry, or sad because of the behavior of our partner or friends, but not completely understand why these feelings come up. Why do they piss us off so much? This is especially puzzling when little actions of others bother us but don’t seem to bother anyone else.


These early-instilled beliefs conscious and unconscious affect our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and actions. They even affect who we choose to pursue a relationship with.


You may find yourself inexplicably drawn to the “bad boy” or “good girl-next-door” for reasons that aren’t so clear. Or you may find yourself in an echo-chamber of friends with similar beliefs, backgrounds and tastes. Once in a while you meet a stranger that you just hit it off with—you click with certain people for reasons you can’t even explain.

These are all examples of how your matrix plays a part in how you interact with others, how close you allow them to get, how comfortable you are expressing your feelings, and even how you feel about intimacy.

So, does this mean we’re all doomed to feel irritated with our partners for unconscious reasons? Or we’re only going to get along with people who remind us (or don’t remind us) of our parent? No! Of course not.

We can’t do anything to change our past, but we certainly have control over the here and now. Not a single person had a perfect childhood (and if you think you did, you’re fooling yourself!). But how exciting is it that as adults, we can continue to fill in those gaps, grow, and evolve into our fullest potential? By identifying these lessons from our past, we can use it to form better, more dynamic relationships and deeper connections.

Understanding Implicit Memory

If our matrix began forming before we were even aware, how do we change it? How can we even know what it is?

Part of picking up where our childhood development left off is gaining an understanding of implicit memory.


This early matrix encoded in our neural circuitry works almost entirely within our implicit memory, which means it is outside of our conscious awareness. Implicit memories are stored sensations and feelings, which aren’t attached to an explicit event or memory in time. Early memories are formed before we have language, logical thought, or explicit recall (Siegel 2012a). Chances are you don’t remember exact incidents when your parent picked you up in your crib and reassured you as you cried or how often your diapers were changed, what you wore, how your mother smelled, the color of your bedroom, or what lullaby your father sang to you. It is only within the middle of our second year that we start to develop explicit memory where we remember specific incidents and details.

Why does all this matter? Because while implicit memories from the past are stored outside of our awareness, they arise in the present moment, and are masked by what we think we are experiencing in the current moment. Our matrix shapes our present experiences from the implicit foundation. When we are angry, panicking, or feeling deeply hurt, our present feelings often stem from our implicit memories, and we assume the present situation is causing our reaction.

When strong implicit memories are triggered, unbeknownst to us, childhood pain and fear comes raging to the surface. This may happen when you sense your partner isn’t there for you, for instance, and you don’t have a clue that you just activated a pain pocket from your matrix through an implicit memory. You think your charged emotional reaction is all due to your partner’s insensitivity, and while that is a trigger, the bulk of the charge is coming from the past.
The Heart of the Fight


To identify and examine the root of our feelings, in this case, our frustration or anger, we must look closer to figure out what’s triggered our reaction. Our partner may have done something insensitive or just plain crummy. Our feelings are validly hurt by their actions, but it’s important to recognize the hurt is often stemming from several places (not one insensitive misstep).

Express What You REALLY Want

We all know we want certain qualities in a relationship, but we may not understand why we want our partner or friends to act a certain way (and why it frustrates us so much when they don’t). For example, many of us feel frustrated when we can’t seem to get our partner’s attention, when they “phub” us in favor of their smart phones. Now, granted, there’s a lot to be said for putting down your phone and truly engaging, but do you ever ponder why it bothers you so much when someone brings out their phone at the dinner table?


When we’re interacting with someone else, we’re asking for their attention. We’re basically saying, “hey see me!” We want them to see us honestly, in the here and now. It’s a universal yearning many people share—to be seen, to connect, and to engage.


When our partner instead opts for their phone screen, our yearning isn’t being met. Consequently, we feel hurt. Now, it’s not up to them to meet all our yearnings. We are responsible for our own emotions and feelings. But we can certainly explore where our frustration and hurt is coming from so we can speak up and say, “Hey, I feel ignored and it’s hurting me. Put the phone down!”

As infants, we have a powerful desire to see and be seen. From those early moments, our very survival depended on getting attention (in this case from our mothers). When we didn’t get attention, we were triggered to cry and make our presence known. After all, we relied on our mother for food, safety, and our very existence.

Studies show that babies read emotion by looking at their mothers’ faces. When a mother is non-reactive, the baby cries even if the mother is there. We want acknowledgment, not simply a presence on the other side of the dinner table. We want to be seen! We want our existence known! We want our partner to look up from the screen and look into our eyes!

No wonder it gets under our skin when our partner scrolls through social media instead of engaging with us over the dinner table. By examining how these feelings started, we can better express our likes and dislikes. We can express our frustrations and ask that our partner acknowledge us and tell us they’re seeing us. We can ask that they listen to us and meet our yearning to be seen and heard. Often, a simple realization and request is all it takes.

When we examine the origin of our feelings, beliefs, and makeup—our matrix—we start to understand ourselves more completely. We can engage with others more clearly and improve our relationship dynamics with all those we interact with.

For more on improving your relationship dynamics, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming Foundations weekend, where we’ll explore these topics in-depth and help you build connections with others who are seeking to strengthen their relationships and maximize their potential. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright smiling in a black jacket.

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.