Here’s How to Ask Your Partner for More Intimacy

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

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


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

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

Embark on An Adventure in Intimacy

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

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

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


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


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

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

Yearnings and Understanding the Nature of Conflict

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Intimacy is Engagement

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

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


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


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

How To Get Your Partner Engaged in Your Relationship

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

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

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

How to Get What You Want in Life: Engage!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engagement!

What Does it Mean to Engage?

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

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


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


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

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

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

We need the new!

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

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

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

Seeking New Challenges to Get What You Want in Life

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


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


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

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

How Do I Know If I’m Engaging?

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


About the Author

Bob-300x250

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


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

Happily Never After: Why We Should Get Over Fairytale Romance

Looking for a storybook love? Here’s why we should get over fairytale romance and work toward a relationship where we can be our real selves.

 

We all want a fairytale romance, but Prince or Princess Charming isn't real. Here's how to make romance work, the real way


How many of us have idyllic pictures of romance in our heads: frolicking together in the snow, playing on a sandy beach, living happily ever after? Society, movies, books, and even our social media accounts have set us up with expectations of fairytale romance that are false and potentially damaging.

When we set the bar for perfect relationships at “living happily ever after”—meaning never engaging in any conflict or working toward deeper understanding—who can expect anything but failure? Almost all of us have this Cinderella perspective on our relationships. We think it’s up to our partner to make us happy. Or we believe that our significant other should be our soulmate. If we only find “the one,” we’ll resolve all our problems and live perfect lives.

The truth is, we are the only ones who can make ourselves happy. It is not our partner’s job (nor is it even within their power). Beyond that, no one has a perfect relationship. Part of unlocking your relationship’s full potential and finding happiness alongside your partner is letting go of the myth of the “fairytale romance” (and maybe even embracing our inner ogre).

Embrace the Adventure of Romance

Romanticized and idealized versions of fairytale romance we’ve seen depicted in the media leave us feeling like our relationships are inadequate. We end up in a constant state of disappointment because we’ve walked in with ridiculous expectations since we watched Snow White and Cinderella in our childhoods. This “Disney love” leads to devastation and confusion when our real-life relationships don’t quite match our fantasy ideals.

We have to dump these false ideas, get over fairytale romances and instead embrace the reality of what we have. We also have to realize that no one has a perfect relationship. Those couples who seem to have an ideal connection have likely learned to engage and fight together FOR the relationship.

But of course, it’s hard to let go of the idea of a fairytale romance. It’s not that we can’t have affection, warmth, or love, but it’s that the concept of a fairytale romance is based on a false premise—an idealized version of reality. We can still have plenty of intimate moments and times when we laugh, smile, and get warm fuzzies about our partner. Romance is still great—but it’s the REAL romance we’re looking for, not the fairytale version.


If we explore the real idea of romance by looking up the definition, we get, “Romance is 1. A brief, intense love affair; or 2. A sexual love when another person or the relationship is idealized.” Yikes!! That doesn’t sound like true and lasting love or a life-long connection! The third definition, which speaks to the truth of romance, is 3. Romance is an exciting adventure with the potential for heroic achievement.


Now, doesn’t that sound a little more accurate and much more exciting? Who wouldn’t want to be a brave hero or heroine who conquered their weaknesses, recognized their strengths, and embraced the adventure of relationships?! But with adventure comes risk, and yes, even a little danger and vulnerability.

To have the kind of connection that lasts, we have to be brave—to share our truths and allow ourselves to show who we are. Intimacy comes from authenticity, so we need to “get real.” We have to be unafraid to enable our inner ogre to come out and say all of those things we feel afraid to share, warts and all. Being our true selves is the real challenge in relationships. It’s all about honesty, making our yearnings known, and expressing our feelings openly and without reservation.

Life, just like romance, is an adventure. It’s fraught with conflict and ups and downs, but if we let go of the myth of the fairytale, we get to the real heart of the story. As we explore in our book, The Heart of the Fight, when we get real and honest with our partner, we start to fight together and work FOR the relationship. Challenges bring us closer together.

Love isn’t easy—and it shouldn’t be. Love is beautiful because it nurtures us and forges us into who we can become. We have to work for it, but engaging in a partnership with another person makes the adventure so much better.

Great Relationships Require Great Fights

We’ve all had fights with a significant other. What happens? We get sad, thinking that the relationship is undoubtedly doomed if we’re fighting.

We all know fights and conflict can be a little scary sometimes. We engage and express our feelings, and then we measure our partner’s reaction. If it’s positive, we might keep moving forward, but if it’s not, we might find ourselves withdrawing to avoid more fighting. As humans, we move toward pleasure and away from pain. It doesn’t always “feel good” to fight, of course, so we might find ourselves avoiding confrontation (even if we feel upset).

When we hold our feelings in, we actually drive our relationship further apart. By holding back and avoiding conflict, we might think we’re doing our partner a favor. We’re suppressing our feelings for the betterment of the relationship. But if our relationship is important, then it’s worth fighting for what we really want!


Growth-oriented relationships are going to have conflict. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, that conflict strengthens us and enables us to develop into our potential more fully. With work, our relationships can help us during that struggle, providing both a womb to grow and a crucible to forge our emerging selves.


So rather than shutting down at the first sign of trouble and heading for the hills (or clamming up and giving the hidden middle finger with passive-aggressive actions), we can express our feelings openly, even if they piss off our partner. Growth-focused relationships require us to keep fighting it out. We have to understand each other and say what we feel, even if it’s tough.

If we find ourselves falling into a pattern where we avoid conflict or where our partner avoids it because it’s just more comfortable, it’s time to step back and assess.

If he’s dissatisfied and she’s dissatisfied, then there’s definitely conflict to be had. Some issues need to be brought out into the open. It’s the time to lay it all out on the table. Test the relationship and really push the limits to see if it can go the distance. When we have reservations in relationships, we should explore them, understand them, and bring them out into the light.

Real Intimacy Comes from Conflict, Not Riding Off into the Sunset

In fairytales, no one ever discusses their concerns or problems. When did Sleeping Beauty bring up her feelings?

Fairytales and romantic movies tell us a story about the very beginning of a “magical” relationship; couples “meet-cute.” They may have a problem (usually an outside force) that they have to overcome, and then, you see the happy couple sail off into the sunset before the real relationship even gets started.

In reality, when you’re first starting to get to know each other, that’s the time for working out all the nitty-gritty conflict. The beginning of relationships can be absolutely critical moments to put your honest self out there, which means letting your partner see you at your worst, not just your best. If you put on a front or put your best foot forward, when will they fall in love with the real you?


Real intimacy is forged through conflict, not avoidance.


When we make relationship decisions, we often do them out of convenience or because we’re at a time in our life where things feel like they’re in a natural pattern. However, whether a lease is up, your friends are getting married, or you’re afraid of being alone, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to jump in fully. Don’t slide into your relationship. Decide to move forward with intention and purpose.

Get the truth out! We should tell our partners what we want and what we need from them. We should be working on ourselves together. Engage in your relationship and examine the pieces. If you have reservations, address them and get everything out in the open if you have concerns.

Will it always go smoothly or look like a movie? No way! But when we get over fairytale romance, we can start working toward a real, fulfilling, strong connection—one where we both get what we want and need from the union.

Committing to expressing our truth is one of the most significant gifts you can give to your relationship. It keeps it real and viable. It keeps you both moving forward, looking to the future, and growing together. Great relationships require great fights. Real intimacy comes from that ongoing honesty and openness.

Ready to explore more about getting the relationship (and the life) you want? Don’t miss our courses on Wright Now. We have many personal growth, relationship, and career courses and training available to stream. Start getting more out of life by unlocking your full potential!

 

 

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.

Dating After 40:
What’s Holding You Back?

Dating can seem daunting at any age. Remember your first date? Talk about awkward, right?

Is dating after 40 sound unappealing or scary to you? Do you ever wonder what is really holding you back?


For most of us, after a certain age, dating doesn’t seem much more appealing now than it did when we were dealing with acne and braces. Whether you’re trying to get on the scene after a divorce or after the end of a long-term relationship, it’s hard—especially just getting out there.

The first battle is simply knowing HOW to get back out there. You can feel ready, but what do you do? Wear a shirt that says ready to date (yikes) or ask a friend to fix you up (maybe the t-shirt idea sounds better after all)…?

You might be interested in dating websites geared toward older adults. Or you might try some of the more popular dating sites, as they cater to all age ranges and many interest groups. For some of us beyond the millennial generation, though, online dating might not be within our comfort zone…yet.

So how do you meet people? Dating in the workplace usually isn’t such a great idea. Maybe your friends are mostly married and in relationships. There are networking events and ways to open up a dialogue, but for those of us not accustomed to putting ourselves out there…it can be a challenge.


Listen: if you’re ready, GO FOR IT! Stop making excuses and jump in!


No, you don’t have to wear a t-shirt or ask your coworker to hook you up, but you will have to be open about the fact that you’re single and looking to mingle. You might want to try to dip in your toe online, or you might feel more comfortable networking face-to-face. Embrace it!

Guess what? It’s fun!

Dating is an opportunity to really play as an adult. It’s a chance to meet people and test what you like and what you don’t like. You can learn more about how you interact with totally different personality types and people you would have never considered 15 or 20 years ago. You don’t have to marry them…or even LIKE them! Just engage and start meeting new people.

The world is before you! If you’re ready, GO FOR IT!

The Advantages of Dating at an Older Age

There are a few things you can do to shift your mentality a little when it comes to dating and opening yourself up to new opportunities and experiences. The first thing to recognize is that, in many ways your age and experience works to your advantage.

You’ve already let go of some of the dating “myths” that plague people in their teens and early adulthood. You know there’s no such thing as “the one” and there’s no Prince Charming (or Princess) riding in to swoop you up on his or her white horse and ride away, right?

For some who’ve been on the dating scene for a little while, you might be laughing a little—fairytale romance DEFINITELY doesn’t exist!

In truth, though, who would want that anyway? Love is beautiful in its own right. Relationships with all their messiness, their awkwardness, their burps and (yes, I’ll say it) farts, and who knows what else… They’re full of messiness. There are great things in the mess though, and you know that. You’re not afraid to get a little messy. You know it’s worth it.

Is it a Love Connection?

One of the keys is to assume good intentions and look beyond the superficial. You don’t have to make a love connection on a date, but try to see the other person for who they are. What are THEY looking for? What are your similarities and what are your differences?

Another great thing about dating in the adult world is you’re able to get down to some of the nitty-gritty pretty quickly. In our 20s, we’re often playing the field—trying to figure out what we want and ourselves. We aren’t always honest and upfront with dates and we might avoid tough conversations altogether.

Now you’re ready to put it out there. If someone doesn’t want teenagers in their life and you have two, well, that might be a deal breaker, so you can get it out of the way right away. If someone knows they love to sit at home and zone out in front of the television and you love to travel, you can quickly cross that off the list. If your likes and lifestyles are different but compatible that’s okay, if they’re different and diametrically opposed, that’s okay too—but maybe you’re not a match. You might be great pals but maybe you’re not right for romance. The important thing is to be honest!

Also, as an adult in your 40s, 50s or even 60s, you’ve come to know what you want and expect. You know yourself, your limits, your strengths and your challenges. There’s a great deal of confidence and self-assuredness that comes naturally with age, even if you don’t feel self-assured or confident in every moment.

As an adult, you aren’t about pretense and putting on a façade when you get to know a new person. You can jump right in and be real. After all, if you’ve got kids or eight cats or stretchmarks or a bald spot, you might as put it out there now. There’s no reason to put on a false front and that in itself can be empowering. You know who you are, and you’re working to get what YOU want out of life. The hope is you’ll meet someone who’s the same!

Experience and Connections

So maybe you won’t find love tomorrow. Or maybe you will! Who knows?

The fun thing about dating is it opens up a world of possibility. You can meet new people, make new connections, and form new friendships. You get to try out different relationships and interactions with new people and think, “Is this someone I could grow with?”

Look for those who are willing to continue to learn and engage with you. Find someone who’s not afraid to explore the messy world of relationships. You might just find that you enjoy yourself.

So if you’re asking, should I bother dating? The answer is YES and don’t hold back! Our lives are fuller and richer with more experiences, more connections and more friendships. Meeting new people can only benefit you and help you get even more out of life!

Jump in and see where things take you!

For more on engaging, getting the most from your experiences, and grabbing life by the horns, visit the Wright Foundation. Go forth, engage, and ignite your world!

 


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.

Finding Happiness
as a Mother

At Wright, we like to focus on the age-old saying, “If mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy!”

Can motherhood bring joy? Learn to find happiness as a mother.


 

When I was a graduate student at Wright Graduate University, I wrote my dissertation on Expanding Mothering: Raising a Woman’s Awareness of the Opportunities for Personal and Psychosocial Growth and Development in Mothering—A Curriculum Evaluation Study.

A mother of two daughters myself, to say the program and my EdD journey was a profound personal exploration would be an understatement. The program and my studies deepened my relationship with my daughters, as well as my sense of self.

As a coach for sixteen years, I’ve seen time and again the way parenting can both halt and expand personal growth, particularly motherhood. (Although fatherhood isn’t without its own set of growth opportunities.) Mothers, as caretakers, are often balancing what Dr. Judith Wright refers to as the Trifecta of Mothering—mothering children, mothering career and interests, and mothering yourself.

It’s not hard to guess which area is often avoided, put on the back burner, or hidden away during our years as young mothers.

For myself personally, this was the case—I found that I avoided my own emotions, needs and yearnings, often deferring to the needs of my children and my clients, rather than caring for myself and doing my own personal growth work.

Through my doctoral studies at Wright, my coaches, advisors and allies were able to help me reawaken this sense of myself and stir within me the strong desire to help fellow mothers and women in my life stop delaying their own yearnings.

The Parenting Program at Wright

The parenting program at Wright takes foundational work…and brings it to focus in the arena of parenting.

In this program, students engage in coaching and training that are deeply rooted in proven theories and methodologies—most particularly Adlerian psychology and methodology.

Dr. Bob Wright has designed parent and child weekend training programs that are laboratories for parents and their children to live the Wright Integrative Model. These fun, structured weekends give a safe place to really strengthen parent connections and apply insights to parenting skills.

On these weekends, parents are challenged to look at what they are satisfied with, or not, in their role as a parent. Mothers receive training and learn skills on how to engage with their children so they are satisfied and have the opportunity to practice those skills immediately on that weekend with the support of other mothers and facilitators.

Wright parenting also includes family system analysis, which fosters deep understanding of the current family system and coaching to bring out the best in each member of the system. Everyone has a different role within the family unit, and it’s important to understand how these roles play out and where they can lead.

The Wright parenting model uses the rare approach of focusing always on the mother’s own self-improvement and having her practice at the task of mothering. In doing so, the Wright model is a framework based on mutuality, focusing on the mother-child dyad and specifically on the mother’s growth and learning in the process.

It charges the mother with becoming aware of her own emotional manifestations and to focus on her own satisfaction, all the while clearing the limiting beliefs that underlie less than optimal thought, feeling, and behavior patterns.

In this new model of raising children, the mother is engaged in her own growth and development as she also nurtures the development of her child. This personal growth focus empowers her to “grow up” with her child(ren)—what the transactional analysis theorists refer to as re-parenting herself.

SOFIA Women’s Program

Founded in 1990 by Judith Wright, SOFIA – the Society of Femininity in Action – is the Wright Foundation’s program for women. Members of SOFIA are trained in feminine leadership harnessing the power of values based in feminine principles such as caring, beauty, cooperation, and feelings at the same time honoring masculine principles as the support to get things done.

In the trainings and curriculum of SOFIA women are exposed to the following concepts: the state of feminine values in our world, the way we as women get in our own way of valuing feminine gifts, an exploration of the limiting behaviors that keep us from becoming who we were meant to be, inspiring examples of women who have broken through the mold to create lives of meaning and purpose, and context about emotional charges and responsible expression.

For a woman who is engaged in personal growth and transformation, it is critical she aligns with her feminine values as they are the medium for a deeper connection with her most genuine self. This is incredibly challenging in our culture that values masculine principles over feminine. SOFIA does not propose one is better than the other, rather it shares with women a vision of the two forces working powerfully together for fulfilling and productive outcomes.

It is through the women’s training and curriculum developed by Dr. Wright that a woman is exposed to new ways of thinking of herself in the world.

One concept, in particular, that was introduced to women at the seminar was that because they are women they are already mothers. A woman does not have to birth a child to be a mother when mothering is seen as a feminine quality and something all women share.

A woman can best manifest herself in her full feminine when she uses masculine values to accomplish her deeper desire. Wright calls it, “using the masculine in service of the feminine.” A simple example would be where a woman is in touch with her feminine value of beauty and she uses the masculine value of results and orders flowers to be delivered monthly to her office.

Embracing Our Role as Women

Many times women might feel their status of “motherhood” IS their identity. While motherhood of self, career or children (or a combination) is a powerful role, it’s only a part of who we really are at our core. Our potential goes beyond simply nurturing and caring for others.

As we explore our relationships with others and ourselves, it’s important to look both internally and externally—to gain inspiration and engage with our children, but not to live through them; to be examples of women leading fuller and more expressive and engaged lives; to be leaders and find strength within our femininity.

Doing your own personal growth work and exploration is fundamental to uncovering our full potential. If you’re seeking a deeper fulfillment, a stronger connection with those around you, or even to find the power within your role as a mother and nurturer, the Wright parenting program is unparalleled.


If you’re ready to explore these themes, please contact us at Wright. You can work with a life coach to help discover your path and articulate your vision. For more information, please visit us at wrightliving.com.


About the Author

Gertrude Lyons

Gertrude Lyons is a human emergence coach and adjunct faculty member at Wright Graduate University. Her academic career spans from a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting, a master’s in psychology from Antioch University, and a newly completed doctoral degree from WGU. Gertrude is wife and mother of two and resides in Chicago, IL where she continues to learn, grow, and develop her skills as a human emergence coach with the Wright team.


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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.

Family Relationships:
Why is Honest Talk on Family Off Limits?

Do you cringe when someone brings up your family? Was your mother a saint? Was your father your hero? Do you hate the thought of “going there” when people ask you questions about your family?

Why is honest talk on family off limits?


 

When it comes to working on our personal growth, figuring out our baggage, and resolving the things holding us back, why are we often SO afraid of addressing our family relationships? Maybe it’s the fear of having to confront our parents about things we had no control over, or perhaps it’s confronting our own fears and the realization that there are parts of our makeup we cannot control.

Yet, when our spouse says, “You’re just like your dad,” …Oh boy! Those are fighting words!

Oh, We’re Going There

Our family relationships are often seen as “off limits”—they’re the elephant in the room. They’re the reason why you see Harley bikers with “Mom” tattoos and you see grown men come to blows over “yo’ mama” jokes. It’s this feeling of “say what you want about my friends, my spouse, and even my kids, but don’t say anything about my parents!”

“You don’t know what my mother went through!” or “I was a rough kid to raise and my parents did their best. I’m not going to blame them for my issues!”

Our relationship with our parents is often sacrosanct. We just don’t go there—and we don’t want others to go there either.

What if I told you that your family relationships are exactly where you should go? Scary right? I know, but hear me out.

Whether you like it or not, your emotions, your internal makeup, and your beliefs about yourself are largely completed by age six. Yes, experiences and particularly traumas can change us and cause us to have more fears and more internal “stuff,” but for the most part, our emotional fabric is made up as children and very early on.

Scientists, psychologists, and researchers have studied this extensively, and it’s the reason why programs like “success by six” and parenting classes are so heavily promoted in kids’ early years. Infants have a bond with their parents (and particularly their mother) that’s like no other. If that bond is shaken or broken in any way (and there’s no perfect parent, so there will always be a few cracks in the facade), it can lead to beliefs that hold us back. We call these deep-seeded yet false beliefs “limiting beliefs.”

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

Your limiting beliefs might be things like:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m not safe.
  • I don’t deserve to be heard.
  • I’m “too much.”
  • It’s not okay to share my feelings.
  • It’s never okay to cry.
  • Being angry is unacceptable.

You see, our limiting beliefs might prevent us from resolving them. If we believe it’s not okay to question our parents and that they’re always right—then we may never move forward. If we can’t get angry or if we hold back our emotions or if we feel like we always have to be positive and perfect, we can’t address the real root of what’s going on inside of us.

When I was young, I was a perfectionist. (I’m still a “recovering” perfectionist, to be honest.) I was the girl who did everything right. I got straight A’s. I was a leader in the marching band and the color guard. I was popular. I worked hard. I tried to constantly do the right thing.

Deep down inside, though, I had the limiting belief that I wasn’t measuring up.

I believed I was “faking it” and if I wasn’t careful, I would be found out as a phony. This is a common belief that plagues even top executives and CEOs (and particularly women)—it’s called “imposter syndrome.” It’s the feeling that you aren’t REALLY as smart, professional, talented, or even as attractive as you’ve “tricked” everyone into believing.

Even through college and the early parts of my career, this feeling of being an imposter haunted me. It held me back from my personal transformation and growth. Ultimately, it kept me from feeling fulfilled. Through every success and every milestone, I still felt I didn’t quite deserve it. I felt like it wasn’t real because I was faking it. There was this fear I would be found out and *poof* it would all be gone.

Where did this belief come from? Well, like any limiting belief, it was founded before I was even aware of it. It came from my wanting to be noticed as a child. It came from my longing for praise and acknowledgment…from parents who were proud, but not “too proud.” …Parents, who encouraged me to always strive for more. While this was a positive thing in some ways, it also created and reinforced this limiting belief that I wasn’t enough, and that I needed to be perfect, to try harder, to always be more.

Why Address Our Limiting Beliefs?

So why do you really need to deal with your family relationships? Can’t your relationships with your parents and siblings just be swept under the rug? Can’t you just “get over it”?

The answer is no. If these relationships and their effects on us aren’t explored and examined, they’ll continue to hold us back. We will continue to see these patterns repeat in our lives—in our careers, in our relationships, and within our social circles. We often recreate these connections and we’re drawn to them, because they’re so comfortable. They reinforce ALL the things we already believe about ourselves.

During our Year of Transformation program, we spend a whole quarter on Family & Intimacy. Why? Because it’s THAT important to helping you discover who you are and how you can be your best self.


“I had a lot of fear going into Family and Intimacy, my third quarter. There are certain fears and pain I was running away from. Even identifying my family’s rules and beliefs was challenging, realizing that I will continue to project my belief through others, whether it’s my wife, my siblings or perhaps even my newborn child.

The other realization was how I always desired to have a more forceful mother who would stand up for herself and go after her dreams and desires. I projected that “wish” onto my wife and would get upset when I didn’t see that happening.

As a result of that realization, I shifted my actions. I dug into several historical pains. After building up a lot of feelings and emotions throughout the quarter, I finally broke into tears with my mother, mostly from the pain over the loss of my father 22 years ago. I felt like it was the first time I fully expressed that sadness. I also had a heart-to-heart conversation with her regarding her goals and my vision for her.

That was the first time I had a conversation like that with her in my life.”

-Noah, Senior Research & Development Manager and Year of Transformation Student


As you can see, the benefits to tackling these beliefs and addressing our relationships with our family can make our connections stronger. It can guide us on our journey and help us transform our lives. All of us want more personal fulfillment. We want more growth. We want to be great.

To reach our full potential, we have to train and exercise our emotions. We have to learn how to be more open, more aware, and more engaged. We need to stop living a life where we question each success, or feel undeserving or as though we aren’t enough.

You are a gift to the world! You may not believe it yet, but within each of us is vast untapped potential and purpose. What you bring to the world is unique to you. It’s that je ne sais quoi, that “special thing” about you that makes up who you are.


“We can provide 101 reasons why personal transformation is beneficial, but the best one of all is this: You will give birth to a greater you.

Regardless of your age or personal development to date, you don’t know who that greater you is, but you’ve probably had glimpses. You’ve thought to yourself, if I only did x, I could have achieved so much. Or you imagine having a different, much more satisfying relationship with your spouse, our children, your parents. Or you dream about all the good you might accomplish for humankind if only you had the right team, or you didn’t have all the responsibilities, the financial concerns, the self-doubt. Somewhere deep inside of you, you understand that you could be greater than you are.

Transformation is the path to releasing this greater person from the recesses of your mind and bringing him or her to life. There’s nothing egotistic, inauthentic, or delusional in wanting to have a great life. In fact, it’s a perfectly natural impulse. Cultural evolutionists such as Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber talk about how people want to participate in their own evolution and reach the next level of development. We’re not made to settle for good over great, to accept comfort instead of challenge. We all have a drive to explore and learn, but society or our own upbringing often dampen that drive and we believe we can only do or achieve or be so much and no more.”

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


So, it’s time to stop holding back! Explore those beliefs. It’s time to “go there” and look at your family relationships. You may find by addressing things and bringing them out into the light, they aren’t nearly as scary as you once thought. In fact, they may bring you closer to your parents and siblings. They may also bring you closer to your true self with all of your amazing potential.

At Wright, we have several classes and options to help you improve your relationships with your family and yourself. We offer Family and Parenting workshops to help you improve your parenting skills or to take along with your kids to improve your relationships. If you’d like to learn more about personal growth or our Year of Transformation classes, or if you’re interested in joining us for a free Foundations Training weekend, please visit www.wrightliving.com. Take the first steps toward unlocking your potential for a better you and a better tomorrow!


About the Author

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.

The Power of Silence :
Purposeful Passiveness

There’s a great quote from Eastern philosophy: “Silence is the most powerful scream.” We often talk about the importance of expressing ourselves, engaging in conflict and making our presence known—but the purposeful use of silence can also be a powerful tool for getting our message across. 


When we think about someone who projects a powerful stance, expresses their power, and ensures their voice is heard, we typically think of a more…assertive personality and approach.

Perhaps you even think of someone who’s aggressive, domineering, and who yells and speaks loudly. Perhaps an assertive boss comes to mind, or a speaker captivating the room, or an in-law dominating a conversation, or maybe someone who drives and conducts in a meeting.

Power comes from expressing your voice and freely offering your feelings and opinions in life. When we think of power, we think of someone who makes a statement—someone who ensures their voice is heard.

This typical definition of power is one we see in the media and learn about in school, so it becomes an integral part of our psyche. We see “powerful” in media moguls, politicians, and businessmen. We learn that people who are loud and famous get heard.

Consequently, when we’re silent, we feel powerless. When our voice is quieted, we feel dominated and under someone else’s control. We feel like we’ve lost our ability to speak up. Maybe we’re silent to “show them” or to make a point, but in the silence, there’s desperation or a loss of power.

We’ve discussed the danger and even the weakness in giving “the silent treatment” when it comes to our relationships. When we silence our own voice and try to control others by giving them the cold shoulder, we’re actually picking the passive aggressive route. This “hidden middle finger” is unproductive at best, and can be highly damaging and detrimental at its worst. It doesn’t go anywhere, as both sides engage in a standoff, trying to “show” the other just how much they can withhold.


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Yet, on the converse of all of this, there’s another side to being silent.

The Other Side of Silence: Powerful Silence

Have you thought about the concept of passive power? There’s silence and power that attracts, rather than projects. In the Eastern philosophy of yin/yang, this is the feminine vs. masculine concept (although it’s not necessarily gender-related or specific). It’s the power of being open, encompassing and bringing things in rather than pushing them out.

This passive power is often overlooked—and it includes the power of silence.

Active and purposeful silence isn’t about being disengaged or shutting down. It’s about listening. It’s allowing others in the space to respond, and allowing them to talk their way through and reason out their response before jumping to a conclusion. This isn’t silence used to control the space or conversation—this is strategic silence deployed to allow the conversation to blossom and move forward.

Not only does your positive, silent presence make a huge difference in how others feel toward you and how they respond, but research shows it also impacts the quality of information you receive from others. Actively listening, showing interest, and truly hearing and relating to others gives you untold power, plus the ability to share your vision and relate to and learn from others.

When your silence conveys a positive attitude through smiling, nodding, and open body position, people use more interpretive abstract language. They go deeper into the conversation and they share their opinions more openly. If your silent presence is frowning and you appear more closed off, the person or people you’re listening to may tend to be more careful and analytic and only share concrete, descriptive facts.

Have you ever had one of those conversations with a powerful person? Where you feel compelled to keep talking and share, simply because they give you an encouraging “vibe” or let off an aura that just made you want to keep going? You might not have realized it until you walked away, or after the conversation when you had time to reflect. You may have thought, “Wow, why did I just share so much?”

It was because you were in the presence of a powerful listener. You were in the presence of someone who understood that silence is the most powerful scream.

How to Use Silence

So how can you learn to harness the power of silence? Is it simply listening and nodding? Is it just staring at someone while they continue to wax on and on? How do you get your point across, too?

Like all kinds of power, there are times to use silence and times not to use it. Many times, silence is powerful, even when it’s being used passive-aggressively. That’s why giving your partner the cold shoulder or sitting back in a boring meeting and being despondent gets your point of irritation across. Silence always speaks volumes, but not all volumes are productive or responsible. Not only that, but sometimes silence can lead others to simply shut down, ignore you, or decide to withdraw themselves because they’re tired of the standoff.


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So ask yourself in any given situation: “Does my silence create a sense of security, comfort, and affirmation, or lead to a greater sense of self—or is my silence intimidating, punishing, threatening, or withholding? Am I being silent to manipulate, or is my silence creating a space for others to express their yearnings and make their point?”

Many of us might have learned to withhold or suppress our voice while we were growing up. Perhaps your parents used the “silent treatment” to let you know they were hurt or angry with you, or to send the message that your behavior wasn’t acceptable. As adults, this kind of “disapproving parent” silence isn’t a responsible use of power. It doesn’t include an expression of your judgments and feelings directly. It’s simply a way to keep the other side guessing at what they’re doing wrong, with no clear way to resolve it.

Many of us weren’t trained to be a powerful, positive presence with our silence that results in a productive outcome, but fortunately, we can still learn. We’ve learned to talk and to express, but we haven’t learned to use our silence to listen.

Try to intentionally and purposefully use the power of silence in your business meetings and at home. Rather than jumping in to express your opinions and lead the conversation, sit back, actively listen and affirm, but stay silent.

Your silence can be profoundly powerful. Try engaging fully—being present, awake and alive, and in the here-and-now as you interact with others. Harness the power of your silence and experiment with the positive power of your very presence!

 

Learn more about how to engage your empathy and active listening skills at Wrightfoundation.org. Join us at our next More Life Training to learn how to strengthen your relationships and grow within all of your interactions.

 


About the Author

Judith

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.


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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.


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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.