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.


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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.

We Are All Connected: Engaging with Others

Engaging with others is part of living a truly great life. After all, surrounding ourselves with others and building our connections is one of the ways we learn and grow.

Would you like to get better at engaging with others? We all share a human connection, here’s how to tap into our common bond for more meaningful interactions.


Our connections to one another are ingrained in our very humanity.

As the saying goes, no man is an island. If we want to tap into our personal power and reach our highest potential, we need support from others. We need to become more engaged with our friends, allies, and the people we encounter.

But what does engaging with others really mean? We hear advice about becoming more engaged at work, more engaged socially, more engaged with our communities…but many people aren’t sure where to start. What does it really mean to engage?

What It Means to Really Engage

To reach our fullest potential, we need to understand ourselves, our environment, our career, and our lives. To gain a deeper, fuller understanding, we must dive in and engage.

When we’re engaged, we’re more present, more aware, more mindful, and conscious of what’s going on around us. Engaged people are in touch with what drives them and propels them forward. They’ve identified their yearnings and are working to fulfill them.

No matter what we’re doing in life, we can explore the deeper yearning driving us. For example, I speak up because I yearn to matter. I go to school because I yearn for accomplishments. I’m expressing myself because I yearn to create.

There is a deeper why—a longing of the heart—propelling us toward most of our activities. As we explore those yearnings and deep drivers, we gain an understanding of ourselves. We also gain a deeper understanding of other people and their yearnings.


It is the moment-by-moment practice of engaging that helps you become more spontaneous and more present in each moment. You step outside your comfort zone, try new things, take risks, and turn your life from a routine into an adventure…
…If you’re like most people, you’re scratching your head and wondering what it really means to engage. Some of you may believe that engaging means paying attention. You listen to every word your husband says (and could even repeat it back). Some of you may think it means focusing on the task at hand. You concentrate on your work assignments and don’t allow your attention to wander.
These are all forms of engaging, but they are probably not full engagement because you have feelings, urges, and yearnings that you aren’t bringing to bear. Engaging is a deeper and wider concept than just listening or concentrating, though these are important elements of engaging.
To be truly engaged, your yearning and your emotions must be involved. You may be completely focused on your new boss at work, a new date, or shopping at an exclusive new store, but even if you are totally turned on by your favorite designer’s hot new collection, these activities don’t satisfy a deeper yearning, and therefore your engagement takes place only on a superficial level. Worrying about the new boss, being curious about the new date or, sorry to say, even finding the hottest new designer shoes doesn’t qualify as fulfilling a yearning, nor does being kind of high and buzzed constitute real emotion.
Similarly, if your mind is into something but your heart is not, you’re lacking the emotional involvement that distinguishes true engagement. Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind, and soul. We’re asking if you are so intimately connected to a given task that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to get it done right. We’re asking if you’re taking risks and stretching yourself in ways that might feel uncomfortable but also provide you with such a spark that you feel as if you could set the world on fire with a touch of your hand.
 Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Engaging is exciting! In fact, engaging has a ripple effect throughout our lives—every area becomes more enriching and juicier as you become more engaged. You’ll face greater challenges, you’ll tackle new endeavors, you’ll reach for new heights. As you engage, you’ll discover new aspects of yourself you didn’t realize existed and you’ll find more joy and satisfaction in your activities.

This sounds pretty great, right? You’re probably thinking, “I want more of that!” So why do we get so much out of engaging with others and following our urges? How do we become better engagers?

Understanding the Engagement Continuum

To understand why engaging with others is so powerful, we should understand engagement exists on a continuum.

Wright's Model of the Engagement Continuum

On one side of the engagement continuum, there’s the person who’s not listening at all. Imagine grunts, uh-huh, yup, nope, and yeah: the most minimal answers possible and extremely low to no engagement.

Then as you move across the continuum, you get the typical “small talk”:

What about all this rain?

Cute shirt.

Thank goodness it’s Friday, right?

Did you see the game this weekend?

Not exactly groundbreaking conversation, right? Small talk is simply words to fill up the silence. It is used when someone wants deeper engagement but isn’t sure of the approach. It may simply be used when someone isn’t comfortable with the situation, like in an elevator, on the train, at the grocery store…

As we get further across the engagement continuum we start to see where true engagement happens. These are the moments when we’re truly engaging with others. We’re in touch with them. We’re connected. We’re fully present and conscious.


This deeper engagement requires you to understand your own feelings and yearnings. It also requires awareness of what other people are yearning for as well. This is where engagement becomes more profound and meaningful.


On farthest end of the continuum is transformative engagement. This is when a person says, “I’m in touch with myself. I’m in touch with you. I’m in touch with the yearnings of the world around us.” You discover yourself in the engagement and recognize those around you. This true state of intimacy happens when you challenge yourself to know every single part of who you are.

Engagement and intimacy are intertwined. The more engaged we are, the more intimate and close our connection. Engagement gives us greater personal power and influence. When we interact with others, they feel seen, heard, and cared about.

The Secrets of Excellent Engagers

If you want to get more out of your communication, start engaging on the deeper side of the continuum. Become emotionally and cognitively present. Tap into your yearnings and the yearnings of those around you.

Remember, activity and attention aren’t the same as engagement. You may feel very focused and engrossed in the latest Netflix series or as you spend hours on Pinterest. You may be busy in the kitchen, at the gym, even at the office. But these aren’t examples of truly engaging.


True engagement works toward satisfying a yearning—not a simple want, but a deep longing. Busyness and even fun will pass the time, but they don’t usually satisfy our underlying yearnings.


Similarly, engagement doesn’t mean making sweeping changes (like quitting your job or moving to a new town). Even though these changes may seem like a magical solution to your problems or a way to meet your yearnings, we often end up emotionally in the same unsatisfied place.

Engaging isn’t a single-minded focus or an obsession, either. Imagine training for a marathon or a bike race. You may be highly driven and focused on your goal, but how are the other areas of your life fairing in the meantime? Often, we become deeply engaged in one area of our life, like work or a hobby, but we’re completely disengaged in other areas like family, spirituality, or friendships. This kind of obsessive engagement masks as achievement, but often leaves us empty. We still climb the same hill (or train for the next race) wondering why we never feel truly fulfilled.

When we’re only engaged in one area of our lives, like work, the area itself may even suffer. We may find we’re putting in long hours at the office, but our career is stalled. This is because we need 360 degree engagement, following our yearnings in all areas of our life to continue taking appropriate risks, learning and growing.

Truly great engagers have developed their grit. They keep going and aren’t afraid to make mistakes. They are willing to accept that growth is painful and hurts at times, and they still forge ahead. They seek novelty and new experiences. They explore their yearnings and the yearnings of others. They’re constantly learning and growing.

And what does all this engagement do for us?


Perhaps best of all, engaging gets you juiced. To transform, you need energy, and engaging is like plugging into your own personal power socket. It creates the momentum necessary to keep you moving through the steps of the process. It serves as a catalyst for the journey that Transformers take, providing the impetus to get you moving in a new direction.
Research from the relatively new field of positive psychology—created in order to study and apply scientific methods to aspects of living fulfilling lives—provides compelling evidence for why engaging is key to our happiness and well-being. Sometimes described as leading “an engaged life” or being “in the flow,” engaging is one of the key elements of authentic happiness.
The key to being happy at work can be seen as intentional engaging—being curious, taking initiative, suggesting improvements, asking for additional work, helping others, and being creative. It seems we are designed to derive pleasure from engaging. Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains light up in ways that result in positive experiences when we are engaging in new things. The novelty of engaging helps facilitate our brain plasticity and, ultimately, our transformation by activating the property of the brain that allows us to learn, grow, change, and fulfill our potential. 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

So, if you’re ready to truly discover your connections with others and tap into your fullest potential, engage! Test it out—take a day where you focus on being more mindful, more deeply engaged in each interaction and conversation. See how often you can operate on the right side of the engagement continuum and watch what happens.

Engagement is a lifelong process, a key to our growth and transformation. If you’re ready to start living your best life, become more engaged.

For more on tapping into your fullest potential and personal power, please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Explore the courses and great resources we offer on our site, to help you stretch your skills and connect with others. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you’ll meet and connect with others on 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.

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.

Unpacking Emotional Baggage in Your Relationship

“My boyfriend pisses me off. I swear he purposely tries to get under my skin!” Courtney exclaimed as she started the process of unpacking emotional baggage in my office.

A couple cuddle as they take in the view. Unpacking emotional baggage in your relationship brings us closer to the ones we love.


“It’s like he does all he can to annoy me with little things. Even the way he slurps his cereal bugs me sometimes. He’s always paying attention to his phone over me…I swear it’s like we’re strangers. I’m starting to wonder if we’re even right together. Maybe I’m missing out on ‘the one.’”

It’s a common complaint. Your relationship feels like it’s going along fine, but there are little actions your partner takes that irritate the heck out of you. You start to wonder if there’s not a fairytale out there waiting for you to find. You wonder why your significant other doesn’t make you feel as happy as they once did.

These feelings are totally normal and common to most relationships. The truth is, we all come into relationships carrying emotional baggage—or unfinished business—with us.

Emotional Baggage: Why We Carry in Unfinished Business

Whether you’re in a new relationship or you’ve been with the same partner for the last twenty years, there is still emotional baggage you each bring into the relationship. Each and every person has unfinished business stemming from as far back as your childhood. Even if you think you’re not consciously carrying it into your relationship, it’s there. (Don’t believe me? Just ask your partner!)

If you want to build a deeper connection with your partner, roll up your sleeves and unpack your emotional baggage. But first, it helps to understand why we all carry this unfinished business with us.

Our unfinished business is made up of limiting beliefs about ourselves, the attachments we formed with our parents and others growing up (our attachment schemas), our implicit memories set in our early childhood, projections, transferences, and more. Sounds like a lot to unpack, doesn’t it?

Deep within your neural pathways is embedded a foundational web of beliefs, ideas, and experiences. We refer to this as your “matrix” and it’s made up of those limiting attitudes, personal biases, and mistaken beliefs. Your matrix comes from your early relationship programming—typically your relationship with your mother, father, and siblings. This is often set early, even before you’ve established and understand the language or pinpoint specific memories.


As you learn about yourself and examine who you are, you may start to discover things about yourself you hadn’t realized before.


You may also notice things about your partner and relationship. You may notice common themes in your fights. You may notice patterns in the little actions that annoy you. These themes give you a strong clue where your unfinished business lies. As you acknowledge, understand, and accept yourself, you will start to complete your unfinished business.

Now, this isn’t easy. Most of us have hidden much of our unfinished business away. We carefully curate the image we want to show to others—the pieces we want others to validate. These are the parts of ourselves we were taught were “okay” or acceptable.

When we start in a romantic relationship, we often put our best foot forward. Think of setting up an online dating profile. You don’t mention all the details that are less appealing to a partner. You choose the most flattering pictures and paint yourself in the best light.

As you start to connect with someone romantically, you may experience a honeymoon period. You’re very excited about your new lover and hanging on their every word. Their every move seems charming, sweet, and attractive. Even the way they slurp cereal might seem cute when you’re in the haze of a crush.

But after a while, the satisfaction and excitement wanes. Reality sets in and your unconscious mind takes over. Suddenly all that subconscious programming, unfinished business, and emotional baggage comes back to the surface. Those irritations and annoyances get under your skin. Strong emotions surface and arguments erupt.

So, does this mean your relationship is doomed? No! Not at all. In fact, choosing a partner that pricks all your unfinished business is actually a good sign. It means your unconscious mind is selecting someone who compliments you and your matrix.


You’re predisposed to choose someone who is most likely to trigger your mistaken beliefs about yourself and the world, poke at old emotional wounds, or even rub metaphorical salt in them. They will bring to the surface any aspects of yourself that you haven’t integrated or haven’t discovered. No, this isn’t some bad cosmic joke— instead of being destined to fall in love with a fairytale prince or princess, you’re destined to spend your life with a great sparring partner. If you want a full, engaged life, then you need that partner. The unconscious purpose of relationships is to complete or continue our development and provoke us to learn, grow, and even transform ourselves.

Remember, attraction isn’t just about chemistry. You wouldn’t have been attracted to someone or “fallen in love” unless she or he fit your unconscious template of what love “feels” like— the good and the bad. We all have a conscious stated reason for getting into relationships: we fell in love; we want to share our life with a special someone; we can’t imagine living without him or her. But there is also an unconscious purpose of relationships: to complete our unfinished developmental business and become the person we can become. Fights often occur because unfinished business is rising to the surface. This serves a purpose: it helps you become conscious of what needs to be faced, understood, and shared for you to learn, grow, and complete yourself.

The Heart of the Fight


Who’s Responsible for Your Happiness? YOU!

A common comment I hear from couples is, “he/she doesn’t make me happy anymore.” Many of us have this idea that our partner is somehow responsible for our happiness. When we feel dissatisfied or unfulfilled with ourselves, we resent that our partner is slighting us or not resolving all of our emotional baggage for us. The idea of what true relationship happiness looks like is as mystical as any Disney fairytale.


The truth is—YOU are responsible for your own happiness. Relationships are meant to serve as both a womb and a crucible: A place where we grow and a place where we become stronger. But growth isn’t comfortable.


In fact, growing pains are common but necessary. A crucible is a situation or place where elements are forged together under pressure and hot temperatures to create something new.  Both are places of creation and both exist in discomfort.

It’s only natural that discomfort and conflict extends into your relationship. Many people worry there’s something wrong with their relationship if they argue with their partner, if they don’t always get along, or if they find themselves attracted to other people. The narrative no longer lives up to the fairytale they’d imagined.

In reality, arguments, conflict, and challenges are a normal part of life and growth. They’re necessary for the development of a successful relationship.


The Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods illustrates this point perfectly. The first act of the musical creatively intertwines fairytales: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk. In the first act, the fairytales play out according to our expectations— Jack finds great wealth after climbing the beanstalk, Cinderella marries her prince, Rapunzel is rescued from her tower, Red Riding Hood is saved from the wolf, and their wishes are all fulfilled. The stage is set for them all to live happily ever after.

The second act opens with the audience in a dreamy state, lulled by the happily- ever- after outcomes in the first act. Surprisingly, we find each character discontent and wishing for something else. Cinderella feels empty and seeks meaning by planning a festival. Her Prince Charming is disillusioned and bored with her and her desires, wishing he had quested after Sleeping Beauty instead. Henpecked, Rapunzel’s prince is likewise distancing himself from the emotional, distraught Rapunzel, a new mother with a little baby evoking memory of the cruelties experienced at the hands of her evil witch mother. Little Red Riding Hood despairs over the death of her grandmother, and they all wander aimlessly into the woods where terrifying primal forces lurk. Chaos reigns, and the narrator is killed, meaning that they are no longer in the prewritten fairytale and they have to write their own story. This is the critical turning point in the play as they are left in the unknown, dependent on their own and each other’s resources.

More to the point, this is the critical moment for couples. This is when they leave the myths of relationships behind and are free to go into the dark woods of their feelings, their beliefs, and their unconscious minds. It is at this point that they can find themselves and each other. Free of the myths, they don’t have to pretend that everything is great and can engage in growth-producing conflict. Unburdened by the need to maintain a perfect relationship, they can express their true feelings and argue for their beliefs. This is the point where they begin to write their own love story, letting go of idyllic relationship misconceptions and creating meaning, purpose, and genuine connected intimacy in their relationship.

The Heart of the Fight


Letting go of the belief that our partner is responsible for our happiness puts the responsibility and the ABILITY back on us. When we realize we’re 100% responsible for our own happiness, we stop looking at our relationship as a panacea to cure us of our woes. While being with someone else may make us feel happy for a while, true happiness comes from discovering our own strength and working on our personal fulfillment.

Develop Yourself for a Stronger Relationship

Those who study the brain have discovered it’s equipped with amazing neuroplasticity. The brain is constantly building and rebuilding new pathways and circuits. As we acquire new beliefs and engage in new experiences, our brains adapt and grow.

We’re drawn to novelty and excitement. New situations help us feel upbeat and happy. When we’re in a relationship for a while, that excitement wanes and we return to the status quo. That doesn’t mean the relationship is failing.

We get the same feelings of excitement and novelty as we stretch our skills and work on ourselves. When we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, dig in, and examine our beliefs we feel fulfilled and satisfied (like we do in the honeymoon of a new relationship). We’re essentially our own hero, our own “prince charming,” and our own adventure. As we get-to-know and build a relationship with ourselves we become enlivened and energized.


While we may wish our relationship was the answer to our fulfillment, the answer is really within us. We may long for a partnership that’s smooth sailing all the time, but it’s those bumps in the road that bring us closer together and helps us learn about ourselves.


So, the next time your partner annoys you, ask yourself why. Unpack your emotional baggage—where are your beliefs coming from? What do your feelings say about you? What do they remind you of? Can you draw other parallels in your life?

Consider involving your partner on your road to personal growth. What would you both gain by exploring together? Working on growth together will deepen your intimacy and draw you closer to each other as you learn more about yourself.

For more ways to connect with your partner and grow please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you can meet and connect with other individuals on their journey. Learn more about yourself and others as you go forth to ignite your world.


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.

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.


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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.

 

Understanding Yearning:
The REAL Deep-Down Reasons We’re Always Fighting

How many times have you had a conversation (or all-out fight) with your spouse or partner and been left baffled? You may be wondering where their frustration even came from. (Because it certainly seems like it came out of nowhere!) Or sometimes, it seems like you’re always fighting over the SAME things.


Most of the time, you’d really like to know, “What the heck does he/she want from me?!?”

We’re talking (or yelling), but we’re not communicating. We’re not connecting. Chances are, we’re hearing but we’re not listening.

In your relationship, do you hear (or use) phrases like, “You never help around the house,” or “You’re always nagging me about money.”

Or…

“You’re just like your mother.”

“We never do what I want to do.”

When these phrases come up, there’s a disconnect. Someone’s not making contact, but neither of you know why. You’re fighting, but you’re not even sure what you’re fighting about.

To get to the heart of what you want AND what your significant other really wants, you need to look past the word want…you need to understand the word yearn.

Wanting vs. Yearning

Yearning isn’t a word we use often. In fact, it might seem antiquated or strange. “Yearning.” It sounds like something from a novel or a movie, not something normal, modern people do—right? It paints a picture of a maiden in distress with a handkerchief on a fainting couch…

True yearning is a feeling that comes from deep within. It’s beyond wanting, desiring or longing. It’s our deepest need. This isn’t wanting your husband to wash his dishes or even wanting your friend to return a phone call. Yearning comes from a deeper place.

Everyone in the world yearns for something. We yearn to love and to be loved, to matter, to be significant, to be seen, and to connect with each other and with a higher power. We might yearn to achieve mastery or to belong and to contribute. Our yearnings run deep from within us.

“Unmet yearnings are at the heart of every fight, and when they are met, they become the heart of our intimacy and satisfaction. Learn to unpack your fights to get to the yearning underneath. Actively pursue your yearning moment to moment, and you have set a solid cornerstone for intimacy.


Yearning is no soft, needy, touchy-feely, nice-if-you-like-that sort of thing. Each of us—all seven billion people on the planet—has been hardwired to yearn. Harness the power of yearning or you’ll be negating one of the things that brings you the most satisfaction and the most power to your relationships.”

The Heart of the Fight


The funny thing is, yearning isn’t something we naturally and readily identify. It actually takes practice to discover it first within ourselves, let alone in a partner. Part of the elusiveness of yearning comes from the immediate gratification we get from scratching our “wants” itch.

Think about it: when you want something—a piece of chocolate, a clean house, a new gadget—you might really focus until you get it. You might fixate on it, even. Once you get the thing you desire, you get a little buzz, a little boost. You feel good and you think, “Ooh, I got what I wanted.”

The buzz, however, is fleeting. It doesn’t last, and it’s not fulfilling. It’s great in the moment, but it fades when the next want comes along. We get upset when our wants aren’t met, but we’re not really upset because the house is messy or our partner threw socks on the floor (again).

We’re actually upset because it feels like our partner isn’t acknowledging us. They don’t see us, or we feel unsafe, unloved, or disconnected.

How to Get to the Heart of Your True Yearnings

If you’re having a hard time separating a want from a yearning, try applying the “so that” test.

For example:

“I want a promotion, so that…I can have more money.”

A promotion is a want is a want…is a want. Keep applying the “so that” until you can’t anymore. Like so:

 

“I want a promotion so that I can have more money.”
“I want more money so I can be able to have more fun and skydive more.”
“I want to skydive so that I feel the thrill.”
“I want to feel the thrill of skydiving so that I can feel alive.”

“I want to feel alive … I yearn to feel alive.”

-7 Relationship Myths eBook

 

It takes a good deal of practice and some work, but eventually you’ll start to unlock the true, deep-down yearnings of your heart. Once you know these truths about yourself, you can start to articulate and express them clearly. Yearning is the first step to bliss.

Battling Towards Bliss

When you start to acknowledge the underlying yearnings in your fights and figure out what you’re really looking for, a light goes off and fights suddenly become a lot more productive and a lot less destructive.

Suddenly you’re fighting FOR the relationship, rather than against each other. You’re fighting to meet each other’s yearnings, rather than yelling about unfulfilled wants. You’re not saying, “You never pick up the house.” You’re saying, “I yearn to be acknowledged.”

For couples, fights revolve around unmet yearnings. We either expect our partner to be fulfilling our yearnings for us, or we don’t know how to fill them for ourselves. When we do the work and start to discover who we really are, what drives us and what speaks to our heart, we become better communicators.

We stop expecting our partner to “fix it” or “make us happy” (a big relationship myth) and realize the happiness and the fix comes from within ourselves.

Figuring out your yearnings is the first step to greater understanding and more open communication with your partner. We go into more detail about how to use conflict to strengthen your relationship in our book The Heart of the Fight.

Please join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you can start to unlock your yearnings and discover what’s really inside your heart. Visit us at www.wrightliving.com for more details.

 


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

 

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 Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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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.

 

 


 

Passive Aggressive Silent
Treatment: How To Break
the Cycle & Free
Your Relationship

Ever been so pissed off at your partner you put up a wall and enforce “the silent treatment”? (…who hasn’t?!) Or, are you sick of being on the receiving end of the cold shoulder?



Or maybe the two of you are BOTH guilty of this type of passive aggressive behavior. It’s time to break the cycle.

You know the drill. Your partner does something that annoys you, so you think to yourself, “I’m so irritated right now. I’ll show him! I’m not going to speak to him until he notices just how wrong he is—and how frustrated I am.” Then you skulk around, huffing and making just enough noise so he notices you’re there and hopefully realizes you’re ticked off.

Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of the silent treatment. Half the time, do you even know what you did wrong? Nope! You can usually sense your partner is mad. While they say they don’t want to talk about it, you’re definitely aware they’re upset. So you tiptoe around passive aggressively and wait until one of you finally snaps and says what’s bothering you.

When this type of silent treatment standoff happens, it goes nowhere. The two of you sit there battling it out, unsatisfied and unproductive. The silent treatment is useless. It satisfies neither of you, and it doesn’t result in any positive outcomes.

The silent treatment is like creating a field of landmines. You’re not waging a war. You’re tiptoeing around trying not to trigger any major explosions. It’s like walking on eggshells—and it can really take a toll on your relationship. In fact, it can be even more damaging than cleaning up the aftermath of a healthy fight and productive confrontation.

Navigating on a silent battlefield leads to paranoia, indifference and frustration. It creates greater distance and pushes the two of you further and further apart. You’re never quite sure how to step or where to go, and so eventually you either become anxious or you just stop caring. Neither one is a great outcome. While no relationship is perfect, the silent treatment can damage even the best relationships beyond repair.

Why We Give Each Other the Silent Treatment

So if it’s so bad, why do we do it?! Even more, why have we done it since we were in grade school and why did we see our mothers and fathers give each other the silent middle finger so many times growing up?

Many of us are raised to believe that passive aggressive silent treatment behavior is just part of being a couple.

The root of our propensity toward the passive aggressive silent treatment begins in childhood during the terrible twos. We’re just learning how to exercise our own will and to establish boundaries. We want things and we’re demanding. When we demanded something from our parents, our siblings or a friend, chances are we were probably shot down. We didn’t always get what we wanted. As children, when we don’t get what we want, we establish the belief that people don’t want to please us—a belief that lasts into adulthood.


Looking for more tips and tools for ending passive-aggresive cycles in your relationship?

Get a FREE 15-minute Relationship Coaching Consultation!


What did we do when we didn’t get what we wanted as a two-year-old? We threw a raging temper tantrum, of course! We probably yelled and cried and stomped our feet. Maybe it worked and maybe it didn’t, but we definitely got someone’s attention. We learned that we could stomp our feet to clue someone in to our displeasure. They might not give in, but in a way, we could punish them. It gave us a sense of control.

So with this belief that people didn’t want to give us our way, we learned to give and accept punishment. Flash forward to adulthood and we’re still engaged in the same self-fulfilling prophecy. When our partner doesn’t give us our way, we’re going to punish them by being silent. Then, our partner gets mad that we’re silent, so they punish us—and round and round we go.

It’s an endless cycle:

  1. My partner doesn’t want to please me,
  2. So I act in a displeasing way,
  3. Which causes my partner to believe I’m a jerk,
  4. So my partner acts in a way that doesn’t please me,
  5. Which confirms my belief that my partner doesn’t want to please me.

Sound familiar?

Recognizing the Limiting Beliefs Behind the Silent Punishment

Unfortunately, none of us were blessed with psychic abilities (and if we were, we’d all be lottery winners). Our partners aren’t mind readers, but yet, we hold out and wait for them to do the things we want them to do. We’re afraid to tell them what we want. Then when they don’t do what we want, we punish them for not reading our minds.

Why? It goes back to our limiting beliefs established well before we were even aware. People that come from mind-reading families tend to believe: If you really love me, you would do X. If I have to ask for X, X becomes less worthwhile. It sounds so adolescent and outlandish, but think back to the last time you or your partner gave each other the cold shoulder. It felt pretty juvenile, didn’t it?

Giving your significant other the silent treatment is really a reflection of your own limiting belief that you’re not strong enough to just ask for what you really want without fear of rejection. When you punish your partner, you’re really diminishing yourself. You’re saying you aren’t equal, you’re weak, and you have to resort to passive aggression over confrontation and conflict. Instead of engaging, you’re disengaging and your relationship is paying the price.


Stuck in a passive-aggressive silent-treatment cycle?
Break the silence and rebuild your relationship.

Reach out to our experienced relationship coaches to learn how to bring out the best in your relationship.


Coming to a Win-Win Outcome: Overcoming the Silent Treatment

So how do we fix this silent minefield we’re battling on? Is it about just letting go of your frustration and irritation?

NO! It’s about embracing what you want, not diminishing it! You need to be able to ask for what you want freely so your partner knows what you want, and then you can make decisions together that make BOTH sides happy! Get to the heart of the fight and embrace the conflict.

When you bristle at something your partner does, like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, teasing you at a party, or not holding your hand in public, get down to the real heart of the issue. What is it you want from your partner? It’s not clean dishes, a better sense of humor, or even a warm hand. It’s respect! It’s appreciation! It’s affection! Those deeper yearnings that counter those limiting beliefs and say, “Yes, I am worthy of respect and I deserve it!”

Articulate your feelings to your partner and let them know what you really want! It takes skills and time to learn how to fully listen to each other and to have productive fights with win-win outcomes, but it can definitely happen! Rather than shutting down, speak up and put it out there on the table. Talk about the situations rather than glossing over them.

Stop Giving Each Other the Silent Treatment – Go For What You Want!

Judith still remembers a moment early on in our relationship when I told her, “I want you to go for everything you want in this relationship—but that doesn’t mean there won’t be times when I’ll want to stop you. So I’m not promising to meet all your wants and needs, but I am saying that, as a ground rule of this relationship, both of us should seek out the fullest satisfaction from each other.”

Many people are more aware of what they don’t want, rather than what they do want. Stop giving each other the silent treatment, and start pleasing each other and going for what you really want in your relationship. Soon, you’ll be battling toward bliss, rather than walking on eggshells.

Learn more by visiting Wright Living. Discover how you can engage, strengthen your relationships, and get more out of your interactions today and every day. You can also join us for our next More Life Training, where you’ll jumpstart your social and emotional intelligence skills and learn how to be your best self!

About the Author

Bob-300x250-1

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!

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.

Dating After Divorce :
What Are the Rules?

Do you ever get tired of reading the same old dating and relationship advice? Most advice seems geared to  people who’ve never been in a marriage or long-term relationship.



What about the rest of us, with, well, “history”?

What about those of us who might be reentering the dating field after a divorce or long-term relationship ends? Doesn’t after-divorce dating come with a whole new set of rules? How long before it’s “safe” to start dating again? How much should I share about myself? Should I be honest about my past?

Maybe you’re not ready for a full-fledged relationship or even dating yet, but it can help to reflect on the knowledge and awareness you gained from your previous relationships, then find a way to reignite your social life. It may seem scary, but YOU CAN get out there, have some fun and feel alive again!

Getting Over the Guilt and Resentment

After a marriage ends, there’s often a great deal of self-reflection, guilt, sadness and introspection going on. You might feel like you aren’t sure how to connect with a new person on an emotional level. You might feel “out of the game.” Even if your last relationship wasn’t great (or was, in fact, pretty terrible), you may still be asking yourself a lot of emotionally-charged questions, like, “Why didn’t I get out sooner?” or “Did I do the right thing?” or “Will I ever find love again?”

You can take comfort in the knowledge that most relationships that end do so for a reason. Even if you have your reservations about the way it ended, let’s face it: no relationship ever ends because it’s just too wonderful to go on.

When a marriage ends, things can become tense and heated. It can be hard not to let negative comments and destructive words stick. Sometimes, that negativity can change the way we perceive ourselves and contribute to false or limiting beliefs. It’s important to keep in mind that even if things didn’t work out with one partner, you can still move on, move forward, and find your own bliss.

Even though you may be feeling raw and perhaps even vulnerable, the good news is…there are no rules. You don’t have to wait until you “feel comfortable.” You don’t have to wait until the dust has settled. And you don’t have to wait to start down a new path. You can start small, go big, or anything in between—your doors to self-discovery have just opened up.

Shifting Focus: There’s a Whole World Waiting for YOU

Think of it this way: The world is completely open to you. Freed of the negative constraints of your previous relationship, you can now step out into the world with fresh eyes. You can meet different people and learn new things about yourself by being more aware of the way you interact with them. You can even use the dating field as your own playground for personal growth and discovery.

What other time have you had the chance to really unlock and discover how you interact with different people in different situations? You probably already know what you don’t want in your next relationship. Use dating as a way to have a good time and learn more about yourself and what you DO really want.

By now you probably know there’s really no such thing as “the one.” Let go of the expectation of an outcome or a hope that you’ll find that “one” special someone. Instead, acknowledge that there are many different people out there who can challenge us and start us thinking in new directions.

You’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet them! You can go out, engage and get reenergized!

Two Vital Skills for Relationship Bliss (Even If You’re Single)

These relationship bliss skills can help you in all your relationships. Learning and working on these relationship skills can help you break free from the notion of “dating rules,” boost your social life, and bring out your best.

Skill #1: Yearning

Yearning is deeper than simply wanting something. Yearning can come from a need to be seen, to be touched, to be recognized and to be acknowledged. The funny thing about yearnings is we often don’t realize what they’re really all about until we take a giant step back.


“We start by reawakening our moment-by-moment yearning to see and be seen, to touch and be touched, to love and be loved, to matter, to contribute, and to make a difference. Our fights are unconscious attempts to get our unrecognized yearnings met or a protest against them not being met. Great relationships require stepping out of routine and habit, and this skill begins by learning to have our yearning guide us in our interactions.” –The Heart of the Fight


For example, on the surface, maybe you’re bothered when someone talks over you or when your date orders for you at a restaurant. Your true underlying yearning is your desire to be acknowledged and heard. If you’ve been dismissed frequently in the past, you may have developed a pattern of pushing down your yearnings, instead feeling quietly resentful.

Think of how much more freeing it would be to express your yearnings and to say, “You know, I’d like to order for myself,” or “I want my living room to look this way.” Identify your yearnings, embrace them and don’t hold back!

Skill #2: Engaging

Engagement is putting things out on the table. It’s being present, being honest and truly expressing yourself.


“Engaging is a deeper and wider concept than just listening or concentrating, though these are important elements of engaging…Understand that to be truly engaged, your yearning and your emotions must be involved. You may be completely focused on your new boss at work, a new date, or shopping at an exclusive new store, but even if you are totally turned on by your favorite designer’s hot new collection, these activities don’t satisfy a deeper yearning, and therefore your engagement takes place on a superficial level. Worrying about the new boss, being curious about the new date or, sorry to say, even finding the hottest new designer shoes doesn’t qualify as fulfilling a yearning, nor does being kind of high and buzzed constitute real emotion. Similarly, if your mind is into something but your heart is not, you’re lacking the emotional involvement that distinguishes true engagement. Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind, and soul.” –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


Disengagement comes from hiding your yearnings. It can come from a desire to win an argument, not for the good of the relationship, but simply because you want, above all, to be right. Does engagement mean polite interaction or acquiescing to the whims of another? No, of course not.

Many of us shy away from engagement because we think it means conflict, and we think conflict is bad. Well, guess what? Conflict isn’t bad! In fact, conflict can be a great way to stimulate and accelerate your personal growth. You can read more about these relationship bliss skills in our book The Heart of the Fight.

Remember, your journey is only beginning and it’s an exciting and energizing time to embrace the new world ahead!

Want to learn more about how to live your most fantastic life and become your best self? Read on at Wright Living or join us for our upcoming More Life Training.


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright
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 Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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


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.