How To Stop
Arguing with Your Spouse :
DON’T!

 

Are you tired of all the fighting? Do you feel angry at your partner a lot of the time? Do you feel nagged at and annoyed?



Does this sound like you?

  • My partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend and I fight all the time.
  • I want to know how to stop arguing with my wife.
  • I want to know how to stop fighting with my husband.

 

You may be surprised to learn that the most amazing, healthy couples fight—and many happy couples fight a lot! So the question isn’t how to stop arguing with your spouse—it’s: “How can we learn to fight better?”

How To Stop Arguing with Your Spouse: Steve & Tammy’s Story

Steve and Tammy* (*names changed) recently came in to see us for couples counseling.

“I feel like I’m always angry at Steve!” Tammy said, obviously frustrated. Tammy felt that Steve wasn’t helping around the house. While they both worked full-time, she was always the one responsible for cleaning and chores after a long day at the office. It was clear Tammy wasn’t one to get confrontational, but she said she knew Steve was aware she was irritated.

Tammy liked to treat herself for all her hard work by shopping and going out with friends. Steve was increasingly concerned about finances and becoming more and more controlling with the credit card, even though in her mind they were doing fine financially. She felt like he was always harping on her about money or acting passive-aggressive and annoyed when she went out.

Throughout our meeting, Steve sat quietly, arms folded and withdrawn. After a while, he spoke up.

“I’m not really that angry,” he said. “I’m just tired of being criticized and nagged at all the time. I work hard too, you know.” When Steve got home from work, he wanted to relax. He expressed that when he did try to help out, Tammy would redo his cleaning because it wasn’t up to her standards. Eventually, Steve says he adapted a “why bother?” attitude.

Meanwhile, Steve felt Tammy spent lots of time going out with friends, but she didn’t really enjoy the outdoors, while Steve felt a strong connection with nature. Yet, Steve reported that while these things bothered him, the only thing he really felt frustrated about was money and that Tammy was always pissy about the house.

So how did Steve and Tammy get to this point? What were the underlying issues? Would they ever stop fighting?

What are the real reasons couples fight?

Enough with the Fairytale Romance Illusion!

We’ve been sold a fairytale romance illusion that love is supposed to be soft and romantic. There we are, hair flowing in the breeze, running toward each other with our arms outstretched. We picture the final scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s when they realize how much they love each other and embrace in the rain, desperately, beautifully kissing and falling into each other’s arms.

Instead, for most of us, love probably looks a bit less glamorous. We find ourselves dueling over dollars, engaged in family feuds, and acting passive-aggressive all too often. We throw out the “you always” and “you never” statements, only to hear, “You’re just like your mother!

When we coach couples at Wright, we so often hear concerned couples say things like, “It seems like we fight all the time,” or, “I feel like we just don’t get along anymore. We’re always angry at each other,” or worse, “I just don’t care anymore.”

When our real-life relationships are in such stark contrast with the Hollywood ideal of love, it’s easy to assume something must be wrong and our relationship must be irreparably broken. We wonder if we’re broken. We think someone else might make us happier, or maybe someone else might be easier for us to deal with.

But the truth is…

Love Is Messy!

Love isn’t glossed over and perfect. It’s NOT like we see in the movies. Love involves fights and frustrations. Love involves moments when your wife doesn’t ever fill up the gas tank in the car. Love is the moments when you find a washer full of wet, smelly laundry because your husband overloaded the washer and forgot to change it out.

When we come into a relationship, we have certain expectations and ideals of what it should look like. When we date, we’re often in a state of joy and in “la-la land.” Everything our significant other does is cute and sweet. Maybe they annoy us sometimes, but we’re attracted to each other, we’re regularly having sex, and we’re going on dates and doing fun, exciting things together.

After years go by, we end up with a mortgage, careers, kids, and regular “life stuff.” It can feel like the thrill is gone. Now we’re just going through the motions—constantly frustrated, annoyed, and arguing. We might be wondering what we’re even fighting about anymore.

15 Common Couples’ Fights & What They Really Mean

After years of working with so many couples, I’ve seen quite a few Tammy-and-Steves. While every couple is unique and facing different approaches, different yearnings and different backgrounds, many of their fights are similar. In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we reveal 15 common couples’ fights.

There’s “Dueling Over Dollars,” “Family Feuds,” “You Embarrassed Me,” and several other fights that probably sound all too familiar to most couples.

Most fights aren’t silly or invalid, so looking beyond the surface of the fight is key. There are great concerns, underlying feelings, and a whole history of baggage lying beneath.

Conflict isn’t the problem. Conflict is the way we address and resolve the underlying problem! The answer is in fighting fair. To help you fight fair, we’ve developed these rules of engagement to ensure your fights draw you closer together, rather than resulting in cheap shots, hurt feelings, unresolved screaming matches, and too many nights on the couch.

Instead of asking how to stop arguing with your spouse, you have to ask yourself WHY you’re truly fighting and if you’re fighting FOR or against the relationship. Are you fighting FOR ways to make things work? Are you fighting FOR the understanding of your partner? Once you reframe your fights and get down to the real issues at the heart of the matter, you’ll find you’re battling towards bliss, rather than driving a wedge between you.

Steve & Tammy: The Aftermath

The WHY Behind All the Fighting: It wasn’t so much that Tammy and Steve were miserable in their relationship. It’s that they were both sitting on their resentments and neither one was addressing the root issues.

Tammy was spending money and going out to fulfill her emotional needs and she didn’t feel supported or acknowledged and appreciated. Steve was feeling criticized and inadequate. They both felt their yearnings weren’t being seen, acknowledged, or met.

So what were the roots of the real issues? Tammy was feeling unsupported and as though her household contributions weren’t appreciated. Steve was operating with a limiting belief from childhood that money was scarce, so he felt he needed to be diligent about budgeting and watching finances. When Tammy went out, Steve felt like his fears were being ignored and invalidated. Both partners were shutting down and building up silent resentment rather than confronting their concerns and getting them out in the open.

Once we opened up the dialogue and helped Steve and Tammy realize their conflict could be productive and positive, they were able to air their feelings and express their yearnings.

Was it perfect and romantic? No, of course not, but they ended up finding more intimacy and strength in their relationship—and they became closer than ever. Real intimacy comes from expressing yourself and being seen in truth for who you really are and what you need. Conflict can bring us closer and make us stronger as couples. Really!

To learn more about healthy relationships and living your best, most amazing life please join us for our next More Life Training.


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

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

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


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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.

Why Doesn’t My Relationship Make Me Happy?

When asked the question of what truly makes us happy, many of us are left in a perpetual state of reflection. “What do I need to make me happy?”


What makes you happy? Is it your friends? Your spouse? Your work?

Many people look to their relationship as the answer to happiness. Over and over I hear, “She just doesn’t make me happy anymore,” or “I just can’t seem to make him happy.” Certainly we derive pleasure and partnership from our relationships, but do they MAKE us happy?

How about work? We often hear, “I love my career. I’m doing well. I’m at the top of my game.” But when there’s no happiness or satisfaction derived from our career, we end up going through the motions every day. Even if we’re doing great, we still might not feel that real happiness we’re seeking.

For some of us, without the intimacy and connection of a partner, work can feel empty and unfulfilling.


Looking for more strategies for creating your own happiness?

Get a FREE 15-minute Life Coaching Consultation!


The Roots & Memories of Our Happiness

Think back to when you were a kid. Remember when you rode your bike successfully for the first time? Or maybe you kicked a goal in soccer and won the game for your team? How about when your mom or dad came in and hugged you goodnight or turned on the nightlight when you were afraid of the dark? Maybe it was the time your teacher had you read your essay to the whole class.

Think about those early moments when you felt true happiness.

Many of us cling to this vague, dreamy idea of what happiness is or what it can be. It’s a memory. It’s something we felt in our childhood that we can’t quite put our finger on now. It’s love. It’s romance and travel and excitement. We see this fairytale in our mind of being saved by a handsome prince or a beautiful princess and falling in this amazing state of love and bliss. We think of ourselves living “happily ever after” and riding off into the sunset.

Yet…we know it’s not realistic. It might be our standard for happiness, but we all know too well it’s not what we’re experiencing in our daily relationships.

My Partner or Spouse Doesn’t Make Me Happy

Couples often come to us feeling like their marriage is crumbling. They fight all the time, often over small things. They have arguments over money, arguments over their relationships with their parents, and arguments over their children. Even worse, maybe the fights have stopped and now they simply feel numb.

There’s this common mindset of: we’ve fallen out of love and the thrill is gone, so we’ve ruined our “happily ever after.”

Well, “happily ever after” is an illusion! It’s a fairytale we were sold on as children. In reality, we’re probably yearning to be seen and acknowledged by our spouse, just like we felt when our teacher had us read our essay to the class. We’re yearning to be safe, to be protected and to feel loved like our parents made us feel when we were children (or the way we wish we had felt). We might be yearning to feel successful like we did when we mastered the skill of riding our bike or when we kicked the winning goal. We want that acceptance from our peers when they cheered us on.

Unfortunately, we’re often looking to our spouse and saying, “Make me happy!” We want our partners to hand us the answer, when we don’t truly know what we’re seeking. We resent them for not “fixing it” or bringing us happiness and we assume something’s wrong with them and with our relationship. Maybe we’ve found ourselves attracted to someone else because we hope they might meet these yearnings since our spouse hasn’t handed us the “happiness” we expected them to.


When couples come to us and tell us they’re experiencing these challenges,

they are shocked when we tell them they are right on track, that their disillusionment and conflict are necessary for real, successful relationships to develop. They are at the doorway of great possibility. They must, however, go into the wilderness of the unknown and face uncertainty in order to undo the fairy tale, to help the relationship grow….

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


…So Where Does Happiness Come From? What Will Make Me Happy?

In reality, many of us aren’t actually seeking happiness. We think we are, but we’re actually asking the wrong question when we ask, “What will MAKE me happy?”

We’re expecting happiness to fall in our lap. When we’re stuck in this mindset, we’re seeking to avoid the discomfort and pain of growing. We’re hiding from a life of engagement and interaction with others. We’re zoned out and we’re accepting the status quo. We’re vaguely (or maybe not-so-vaguely) dissatisfied in our relationships. We’re disappointed.

But true transformation and personal growth is uncertain and challenging. It’s hard. It’s not an easy trip sailing into the sunset.


Looking for more strategies for creating your own happiness?

Get a FREE 15-minute Life Coaching Consultation!


Everyone is Responsible for their Own Happiness: Here’s How

Guess what? You (yes YOU!) are responsible for your own happiness, outside of your relationship and in your relationship. One of our rules of engagement and productive conflict is that each party must realize they are 100% responsible for their own satisfaction and happiness. Not your partner, not your friends, not your mother or your father. Who, you ask, will “make me happy”? You.

Now, of course you should support your partner and help them work toward the things they want. Similarly, it’s up to you to share your yearnings with your partner and make them aware of what you want.

This doesn’t entail blame, shame, guilt or nagging. It’s not about passive-aggressive actions or withholding. It’s about having the conversations about the truth: What is it you both want out of your relationship? How do you want things to be and what can YOU do to work toward that goal?

Similarly, another rule of engagement is: No one gets more than 50% of the blame. So if you’re feeling stressed and unhappy in your relationship, it’s not all your fault—but it’s not all your partner’s fault either. It takes two to tango and two people to work through conflicts toward mutually agreed upon resolutions.

Many of our conflicts and frustrations are based on this idea that our partner is somehow supposed to MAKE us happy—so of course, with that mindset, we resent them when they don’t! The sooner we can let go of this relationship myth and take responsibility for our own happiness, the sooner we can start to fully engage and work toward it.

Happiness doesn’t mean we’re in a constant state of blissed-out joy. It means we’re engaged and growing as people. It means we’re satisfying our yearnings and working toward the things we want. It means we’re fighting FOR our relationships, not against. We’re not putting up walls, even though it’s painful to stand there without protection. We’re assuming goodwill on the part of our partner and we’re realizing they want the relationship to be the best it can be, too.

Now THAT can “make” you happy.

Once we get over the myth of the “fairytale relationship,” we can embrace true happiness and move forward together. For more on strengthening your relationships, please join us for our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your relationships are going! Tune in to our Lifestyle Podcasts every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.


If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can pick up our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, available now.


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.

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


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

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

Wanderlust: Too Soon
to Travel Together?

Who doesn’t love vacation?! Whether exploring a new city or town, or hiking through an eco-adventure, it’s so exciting to add to our life experience, connect with different people and cultures, and open our eyes to new encounters.

Read this post if you find yourself wondering…

  • Is it too soon to travel together with my partner or significant other?
  • Am I ready to travel with my new boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • We’ve been together a while, should we “test” our relationship by seeing if we travel well together?

If you’re dating someone new or even if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you may be wondering, “Is it too soon to travel together?” Either way, the question of travel is pretty inevitable. From a friend’s destination wedding to discount cruise tickets you just can’t pass up, the chance to travel will arise at some point—and sometimes sooner rather than later.

While you may love traveling alone or with friends, traveling with a significant other can be a whole different experience. You may be wondering, “Is there a certain point we should reach in our relationship before we’re ‘ready’ to travel together?” Or even, “Is there a timeframe when we should plan to travel, just to see if we travel well together?”

In reality, just like there’s no such thing as “the one” or “rules” in dating, there’s no hard and fast rule about when you should travel together. Some dates lead to travel plans that very first weekend. Other couples might not have the desire or opportunity for vacation until months or even years into their relationship. It’s about knowing what you’re comfortable with and understanding a few things about the vacation mindset.

Sharing an Escape from Reality

Vacations are new experiences, where our regular habits and routine don’t apply. While this is an awesome time for learning, growth, and exploration together, it can also give us a false sense of how our relationship is “back in the real world.” Let’s just say it can sometimes be hard to see clearly through vacation euphoria or vacation stress.

When vacation euphoria takes hold, everything seems almost magical. We’re suddenly without the stress of everyday life with all its complicated conflicts and emotions, and we’re no longer confined by our routine and restrictions. Instead, we’re experiencing each moment anew.

This vacation high is very exciting and different, but it can also be a challenge to explore your true feelings about each other when you’re in this adventurous state. On vacation, we might connect in ways that don’t completely apply “back in the real world” where we have bills to pay, work to deal with, and a myriad of other things on our plates.

Into the Unknown Together: When It Gets Real

On the flip side, think back to your last long car trip or extended layover at an airport. Chances are, it wasn’t your favorite memory. Traveling together can be stressful—you’re navigating in a new place, deprived of sleep and jet-lagged, and charting unfamiliar territory. After three or four hours in a car, everything can seem amplified, and even your favorite person in the world can grate on your nerves. Stress may cause us to revert back to considering if it is, in fact, too soon to travel together, while you’re already well on your way!

It’s hard not to be upset when someone forgets the map or tickets, or you find out your flight’s been delayed and you’re going to miss a connection. No one reacts well in these situations, so don’t view these as make-or-break “red flag” moments. Give your relationship a little space from this stress before passing any major sweeping judgments.

Vacation provides an extended period of time together where you can pick up on interactions you might not get to see during “normal” dates. Certain personality traits and interactions can be amplified. It’s also a great time to explore your own reactions and feelings to different things that occur in the vacation environment. For example, you may be surprised at the thoughtfulness or kindness you notice in your date when he or she interacts with new people (or you may be dismayed when the opposite happens).

At the same time, in this “artificial reality,” you might notice certain interactions and traits in your partner and wonder why you’ve never seen them act that way in your day-to-day life together. It’s good to make note of those things as well. You might find the person you’re with becomes very different when they’re away from home.

Exploring, Dreaming & Doing—Together!

Vacation can also create time for that dreamy space where you can imagine your future together. Vacation can help you understand how compatible the two of you are in terms of embracing new experiences. Instead of wondering if it’s too soon to travel together, talk to your partner and ask how they imagine their ideal vacation.

If one of you likes a laidback country trip with lots of nature and outdoor time, while the other prefers a busy city trip with food, culture, and museums, it might not be a deal-breaker, but it can mean you’ll have to find other people and different ways to fulfill those travel preferences. Maybe you’ll plan an occasional “culture weekend” with a friend instead of your significant other, or go surfing with your buddies instead of your girlfriend. Maybe you need to take a trip home, but sometimes it might be best to go alone and spend time individually with your family.

Even on vacation, it’s ok to plan some alone time for yourself, if you or your date prefer an occasional break. It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that everyone needs a little downtime, even if you’re head-over-heels for each other. You may have to establish some boundaries and be sensitive to each other’s yearnings and needs, as vacation often means a concentrated amount of interaction with each other. Listen to the cues your partner is putting out and don’t hold back to establish your own needs and boundaries.

No matter what happens, vacation is a really great time to engage, embrace conflict and really get to know each other. You might not get along perfectly, but it can be a great time to explore and understand your boundaries and how you interact in a different environment. Use this as another opportunity to unlock who you are and what you want out of your interactions and life experiences.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

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


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


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.

How To Find Love:
You Must Discover
Yourself First

Do you ever feel like you’re in a dating rut? Maybe you’ve made some resolutions this year to go on three dates a week, update your Match.com profile with better pictures, or stop dating girls you meet at the gym.


Hold up. Instead of making resolutions you won’t keep or trying to quantify and bargain your way through dating, it’s time to work on your dating vision. If you really want to know how to find love, it’s time to decide if you’re being honest about what’s really holding you back from getting what you want.

We all have a vision of what we want our dating life to look like. We can choose to spin our vision into something positive, where our yearnings are realized and we’re engaged, honest, and going for what we want…OR we can turn it into a negative and tell ourselves there “just isn’t anyone out there” or we’re “never going to find the one.”

If you’re dating to simply find “the one,” you’re putting yourself in a losing situation. As we all know, there is no ONE person out there waiting for us. There are actually many people out there who are right for us. Your life is your own design. So dating is all about discovering your own yearnings, then sharing those findings and knowledge about yourself with others in an honest, engaging way.

There’s No Magic Formula —But Here’s How To Find Love

There’s no magic number of dates or websites or profile pictures. There’s no formula you should be using to manifest the perfect person at your dating doorstep. Instead, you should be focused on trying to connect with different people.

If you find yourself drawn to a “type” and you’re ready to break out of the rut, explore your limiting beliefs and the things holding you back from dating outside your type. It’s not about “bearded guys” or “girls under 5’4”” but there are patterns that can emerge in personality types. (For example, maybe you find yourself dating women who withhold affection. Or maybe you’re always drawn to guys who disappear into their work.) These patterns can tell us something about who or what we’re drawn to or seeking out—or they may even reveal the things we feel we don’t deserve.

If you’ve done your own exploration and you’re working on yourself, you can break out of these patterns or communicate your feelings clearly. Give yourself permission to engage and tackle conflict head on, rather than shying away from it.

Be honest in your dating profiles and challenge yourself to be upfront about what you’re looking for. It can be scary to say at first, but you just might find if you’re truly honest and open, you’ll end up getting MORE responses, not less. Stop telling yourself what you “should” do or say in your interactions and focus on what you WANT to do or say.

Look for people who challenge you intellectually. Rather than thinking you should be going on “this many dates” with “this type of person,” look beyond the surface level. How can you shake things up from a deeper place? How can you become the person YOU would want to be with—the person you would want to date?

Getting What You Want: Stick To Your Dating Vision

So once you’re dating someone and it’s going well, how do you keep your vision rolling forward? Maybe it’s not to a point where you want to go into major future planning, but you’re definitely in new territory and you’d like to keep things going on the right path.

Revisit your vision. As it unfolds before you, ask yourself if you’re both fully engaged. Are you communicating and working toward a shared vision? Are you comfortable with both your time alone and your time together?

Relationships are messy because they’re all about bringing scary stuff into the light and being honest with each other. As you get to know someone better, you should continue to assess if you’re being honest and if your yearnings are being met. It’s more than simply having fun and going on dates. Or maybe you’re comfortable with working on yourself now and simply dating people, learning more about them and enjoying your time with them. That’s okay, too. It’s all about seeking what YOU want in the situation.

Make this year your year to realize your dating vision, learn how to find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general). To move toward visioning and discover more about transformational leadership, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training. You’ll learn all about visioning and how to get what YOU want out of your life.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

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


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.

Blog image courtesy Flickr user image-catalog.


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.

Relationship Myth #1:
If Only I Had a Relationship,
Then I’d Be Happy…

When you’re single, it’s easy to think, “If only I had a relationship, then I’d be happy…”


Does this sound like you…?

  • I’d be happy if I had a boyfriend.
  • I miss my ex-girlfriend. She made me so happy.
  • I need to find someone first, then I’ll get the rest of my life on track.

Sure, it’s perfectly normal to miss some of the good things about your previous relationship, and of course, to miss the connection and closeness. Perhaps you’re spending a lot of time reflecting on the good times, experiencing a sense of nostalgia.

Truth is, relationships are not what makes a person happy. WE are what makes us happy, and we are in charge of finding our own happiness. This is an inside job; it’s something we have to work on with our own feelings, desires, and yearnings.

When we’re looking for another person to affirm us, tell us how we should grow or what we should do, or validate our feelings, we should really be looking within. We must first learn to affirm ourselves. Understanding ourselves and doing our own set of work helps us learn how to generate our own sense of wellbeing and happiness.

Many of us have this idea that there’s some kind of “soulmate” out there for each of us. But really? There are BILLIONS of people in the world we could connect with and work on a relationship with. It’s really about working on who you are and your own self-validated intimacy, and then taking it out into the world and finding someone who will help you continue to bring out your best and grow as a person.

Who is responsible for my happiness?

We all feel a broad spectrum of emotions—hurt, fear, sadness, joy—and these emotions are all true and positive. If we constantly seek only joy and avoid other emotions, it can actually dampen the joy! Joy is beautiful, but it’s not everything.

So often when we’re dating, we run into our date’s parents or friends and hear, “Oh, you make him so happy,” or “I’ve never seen her like this before.” We’ve found that when you hear this statement (especially early on), it just might mean the person you’re dating isn’t such a happy person in general. Maybe they aren’t being true to their emotions.

We all get stuck in a honeymoon period at the beginning of each relationship. We’re euphoric with the idea of the new person and our attraction to them. It’s exciting to connect and anticipate the things to come. It’s a time of joy and exploration.

This is happiness, but it’s a temporary state. Think how happy you would be if you won the lottery. How long do you think your newfound happiness might last? A 1978 study by Brickman, Coates, and Janoff-Bulman measured the happiness of lottery winners vs. a control group. The results? After one year, lottery winners were not happier than controls and took significantly less pleasure from a series of mundane events.

We frequently see this effect in newlyweds and post-partum—once the excitement over the big deal has passed, they go back to the state they were in before the festivities. Positive and happy people are generally drawn toward that state of being, while negative and fearful people are generally drawn to their state as well.

Does that mean you should brush someone off just because you hear you make them happy? No, of course not. However, it’s probably time to examine the validation you receive from that statement, and realize you’re not responsible (or even capable) of “making” someone else happy.

We are each in control and in charge of our own happiness.

Seek a partner who can meet your yearnings and with whom you can be honest and open with. Don’t look for someone who you think you can “mold” into the “perfect” person. (The perfect person doesn’t exist!)

“If I enjoy being single so much, why do I need a relationship?”

So what about the flipside? Well, relationships are congruent for many of our life goals. If we want children and a family someday, then having a relationship with someone who shares the same goals and motivations will get us to our destination.

At the same time, it’s totally okay if you need some time to get to a place where you really want a relationship. Sometimes we’re so focused on our growth and personal development, the thought of worrying about another person, understanding their feelings and yearnings, and working on goals together seems a little overwhelming or even distracting.

If you’re enjoying being single, and the playground and adventure of dating lots of people—then go with it! Be certain you aren’t avoiding relationships simply because you’re afraid of intimacy or being open with other people. Allow yourself to be honest with others about your needs and yearnings and to “own” your feelings.

Dating around is a great opportunity to engage with a lot of people. You can explore your reactions with different people and how you feel in different situations. You can learn from good dates (and even from bad ones) and it doesn’t necessarily need to lead to anything bigger down the road. Maybe you just discover friendship, a business connection, or someone who is interesting.

In a relationship, we seek a secure base from which we can go forth and explore the world around us. When we’re meeting different people, we’re seeing how we are compatible, but also how we comfort each other. Ask: Is this person someone who sees me for who I really am? Are they someone who I can express my desires and frustrations to? Can I be completely open and honest with this person?

Your conflicts and emotions should be embraced and explored as you journey toward bringing out your best, whether it’s your best single self or your best in-a-relationship self. It’s all about you!

If you’d like to learn more about bringing out your best self and getting a deeper understanding of who you are, we urge you to join us for our next More Life Training, coming up this weekend, March 11th-March 13th. Visit www.wrightliving.com to learn more about this opportunity and others. Email us at hello@wrightliving.com if you have a question or if you’d like us to address a specific topic during our Wright Living weekly podcast. Let us know how you’re finding your own happiness!


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.

 

 

Love Is Messy:
Learn the Secret to
Awesome Relationships

Life is messy. Love is messier. Why? Because life and love are full of conflict. Conflict is the very basis for life as we know it; we are born of struggle and growth.


Whether you tend to embrace it or shy away from it, successful, happy relationships require conflict. When we don’t develop our engagement and conflict skills, we end up as bullies or wimps: either we avoid everything or we plow over everyone in our path. That’s no way to live.

Time and time again, I hear people say they want intimacy, but they don’t want the mess. To have real intimacy, there must be conflict and vulnerability. Intimacy involves putting yourself out there, engaging, and letting yourself be seen in the truth of who you are.


“If you want true love, you will need to feel everything: the fear, hurt, anger, and sadness, as well as joy and bliss.”

–from The Heart of the Fight


Getting Real and Fighting Fair

Here are a couple of the common relationship myths we bust in The Heart of the Fight:

  • Conflict resolution doesn’t lead to great relationships.
  • The purpose of a relationship ISN’T to make you happy; it’s to make you your best.

That’s why conflict is so important. It’s the root of lasting satisfaction. Conflict isn’t just about being right or wrong. It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing, either. It’s about letting out the truth and making your truth known.

When we avoid fights and stop engaging with each other, we become passive aggressive. When this happens, we try to act like we’re being nicey-nice toward our partner, when we’re actually holding back and bottling up our feelings. Those feelings have to come out somewhere, so we end up doing all kinds of little things just to “show them” how we feel—without actually showing them anything. We call it the “hidden middle finger”—we get silent, we do things to purposely piss off our partner. We pout around expecting they’ll get the hint.

These actions don’t help the relationship grow. Instead, when we’re being honest and agreeing with the truth—always (one of our rules of engagement), there’s no room for passive aggressive actions.

Here’s another great rule of engagement: we must fight FOR the relationship, not against it. That means sometimes you have to outright declare what it is you’re truly fighting for. Maybe you’re fighting for acknowledgement. Maybe you’re fighting to meet a yearning, like to be seen and heard, or to be valued. Whatever you’re fighting for, you have to embrace the messiness. Fight hard for the things you want, and get your partner to fight alongside you. If you’re both fighting for, rather than against the relationship, you’ll be able to resolve conflict in much more satisfying and growth-focused ways.

Really Going At It? Anger is OK!

Ever since we were little kids, we’ve been told to get along, not to fight, and to agree with things as much as possible. We’re told to listen to each other and not to interrupt. Unfortunately, this can lead to conflict-avoidant behavior, which becomes the complete opposite of intimacy.

When you need to be heard, it’s okay to yell. It’s okay to be angry and let it all out. Your partner has the right to express their feelings as well—as long as you each take 100% responsibility for your own emotions and feelings and you’re not placing more than 50% of the blame on one side (two more rules of engagement from our book). Too often, we find ourselves bitching and moaning about our partner, “venting” about the things they aren’t doing. The essence of complaining is to punish someone for something we want that’s not happening.

Complaining doesn’t get us anywhere.

Instead, we should be expressing our yearnings to our partner. We should be telling them what we want and how we feel. We should both be engaged and fired up, because our relationship is so important to us that we’re willing to take the gloves off and go all out to improve and grow within our relationship.

The Real Secret to Awesome Relationships

Healthy relationships are dynamic, alive, and engaged. Everyone in the relationship is expressing themselves and saying what they want. They’re putting their yearnings out there and taking responsibility for their satisfaction. They aren’t blaming someone else for the way they feel and no one is playing the victim.

In healthy relationships, we’re always caring about our partner’s needs as well as our own. We assume goodwill in the relationship. We want to help our partner meet their yearnings. We’re both fighting toward the health and evolution of the relationship. We are honest and we’re being seen for who we really are.

Love is a complex and messy dance. It’s revealing ourselves, shifting, and learning how to get closer and gain a deeper understanding of our partner. It’s exciting as we develop increasing trust. We can be vulnerable and honest about who we are, and we grow to let our guard down and be truly intimate with each other. We evolve with our partner and move towards a deeper and greater understanding—and that is a beautiful thing.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

To learn more about how you can deepen your growth and move toward a greater understanding of yourself and your relationships with others, join us for our More Life Training. Our focus this year is unlocking your personal power. Learn how to engage, ignite, and energize your life and connect with those around you.

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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Image courtesy of Flickr user pinkmarina licensed under CC by 2.0.

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.

What Questions Should
I Ask on a First Date?

Don’t you wish there was a script for first dates? A standard set of screening questions? Have you ever seen the article circulating online detailing 36 questions YOU should ask to “find love”?


We’ve all read magazine articles like this before—promising the perfect interaction and happily ever after if we just screen with the right set of questions.

In reality, there’s no tried-and-true questionnaire for screening your dates. In online dating profiles, we do get the answers to some questions. But not all of us meet our dates online. What about the girl you approach at the gym or the guy you meet at a networking event? You can’t exactly ask them to fill out a match.com profile on the spot, just to see if you’re compatible.

It’s easy to make snap judgments when we walk in on a date. We look at how our date is dressed, we evaluate their jewelry and their habits, and we immediately have a reaction. Maybe his glasses remind you of your dad or her perfume reminds you FAR too much of the coworker who drives you nuts.

The truth about first dates: To have a successful first date (and a successful fifty-first date)—it’s all about what you put into it! What does a successful first date look like, anyway? I consider it a good date if I’m enjoying my own company, learning something new from my date, and learning about myself. When you’re fully engaged, expressing your yearnings, and being up front and honest about who you are, you can discover more about yourself and others—even if you don’t feel a romantic connection.

This ISN’T a Great Date

Sometimes “bad dates” can teach us more about ourselves than the great ones. The next time you’re on a date that seems to be going awry, ask yourself what’s really bothering you about your date.

Maybe he’s rude. Maybe she talks incessantly about herself. Maybe she’s condescending. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be fully IN the situation. Let your date know what’s bothering you, and see what you can learn from the interaction. It will tell you a great deal about how you handle being uncomfortable and the ways you shy away from or engage in conflict.

Not every date is a perfect match, but every date is an opportunity. Part of the joy and fun of dating is getting to know different people and getting to know yourself. If something bothers you, explore what’s going on with you!

This IS a Great Date

Many times, first dates might actually be going well, yet we find ourselves holding back. Maybe you don’t ask the hard questions because you’re having fun: you’re attracted to your date and enjoying your time together. Maybe you don’t want to scare them away by bringing up big topics like babies, houses, and marriage. Maybe you don’t want to find out they’re a homebody when you’re an adventurer.

Here’s the truth: a first date is a great time to ask anything! You haven’t fully invested your time, effort, and energy into the relationship yet. It’s a great time to find out if you’re on the same page and working toward the same outcomes so you can continue. Why wait until you’re six or seven dates in, only to be disappointed that you’re not really jiving on some of your biggest yearnings?

Some of us go into our first dates with our tough question ready—guns a-blazin’. We’ll ask anything, engage in conflict, and figure out what page they’re on. THEN, as time goes on and we become more emotionally invested in the relationship, we start holding ourselves back. By then, we’ve put our emotions and heart into the relationship, so we don’t want to be crushed when we get an answer we don’t want.

Relationships Are About Continued Engagement

In The Heart of the Fight, we talk about how you can continue to discuss and bring up your yearnings, engage in conflict, and keep the communication flowing throughout your entire relationship. For the first TEN YEARS or more, you’re trying to find your footing and you’re vying for control and understanding. Face it: if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to address these issues. Putting them off is just staving off the inevitable.

Dating is such an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself and someone else. It’s exciting to engage with someone and to learn more about your reactions—what you like, what you don’t like, and how you feel. Allow yourself to go off-script and get down to discussing what really matters to you. You’ll feel better about the relationship if you like who you are being. I want to be someone who takes risks, who tells the truth, and who gets to know myself better with each date.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

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About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel is a Coach and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Wright. She specializes in coaching adolescents, helping them navigate young adulthood and grow into their gifts and leadership. Rachel is responsible for leading and facilitating groups during weekend trainings. Currently, Rachel is pursuing her master’s in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.


Blog image courtesy Flickr user dickuhne.

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.

Let’s Make Friendships Mean Something This Year!

Remember when you were a kid and your best friend lived right next door? I’ll bet you thought they were just like you—you had the same interests, liked the same toys, and went to the same school…


As we get older, our worlds expand, and our interests, values and goals change. We find ourselves less connected to those who are close to us simply because they live next door. We demand more meaning from our relationships. We need friends who elevate us.

We may have allies at work who propel us forward and who we work well with, but are they really our friends? Just because we have simpatico relationships at work, that doesn’t necessarily mean we share common interests and values, or that we’d like to spend time with our colleagues when outside the office. Allies bond around a common objective. Friends bond around common values.

As we get older, it can be more difficult to make friends—not because they aren’t available, but because we aren’t willing to settle for a friendship that’s simply based on liking the same football team or enjoying the same movies. Those friendships can still exist in our lives, of course, but they aren’t the real, truly meaningful ones.

Why Do I Still Connect With My Old Friends?

Chances are you still have a few things in common with your childhood friends, plus, it feels like old times when you see them. You grew up together, so, almost like siblings, you can find yourself picking right up on conversations, inside jokes, and shared memories every time you get together. This familiarity is comforting and it goes without saying that you probably do share some value commonalities, seeing as you have similar backgrounds.

That said, our childhood friends have probably journeyed on different paths. They may not be as connected with us on a deeper level, so we can find ourselves feeling like we’re back in the same old “boxes” and reverting back to limiting behaviors from when we were kids. As we get older, we need to connect with people on a deeper level. We require more from friendship. We want friends who will help us with our personal growth, who teach us, and who keep us on a forward trajectory. We want new friends who don’t feel like dead weight, pulling us back into old patterns.

It’s easy to feel like those first friendships were our closest and that we’ll never find such loyal friends again. In truth, when we’re younger, friendships are based on intimacy and loyalty, but now we want friends who are loyal to higher values we both share (not simply friends who have your back against the neighborhood bully).

Being honest with others and expressing your values to them can help you engage with new people and find commonalities. It can feel strange and uncomfortable at first, but reach past that to really see each person in the true light of who they are. Express yourself honestly and openly and you will draw in those who share common values and integrity.

When Friends Have Problems

Everyone goes through tough times and it can be painful and hard to watch. If your friend is going through marital struggles or a personal crisis, we can often want to distance ourselves lest their “bad mojo” somehow spill over into our own lives. And it’s true: when a friend has marital problems, it can stir up feelings about your own relationship. It’s not uncommon for a friend’s divorce to taint your marriage.

There are ways to let your friend know you care about them. Listen and hear them out, and don’t allow their problems to become your problems. Keep your perspective and don’t let relating to them become a free-for-all to bitch about your own spouse. Be honest with them and express your concern. If a friend is struggling with an addiction or some behavior that doesn’t reflect your values, let them know while you don’t like what they’re doing and you won’t be a part of it, you are there to help when they’re ready.

Unfortunately, we can’t change our friend’s behavior, and in cases of substance abuse and other self-destructive patterns, we can even become so involved it drags us down too. Be sure you don’t fall into drama and swoop in to “rescue” your friend. Ally yourself with others who are also concerned for their well-being (friends, their spouse) and let them know while you won’t enable their behavior, you’re certainly supportive when they’re ready to make a change.

If your friends have a difference of opinion from you or a political stance you might not agree with, engage with them and let them know why you feel the way you do. It can feel a little frightening at first to say, “Hey, this is what I think and I don’t agree with what you’re saying,” and as we all know, some acquaintances can’t stand up to that. Real friendships based on mutual respect can handle differences of opinions. However, some of my best friends have been part of some of my most heated political and social debates. As long as you’re honest and you respect that you might not always see eye-to-eye (but you do know they’re coming from a place of shared values), express your opinions freely.

Patterns in Our Friendships

Maybe you find you seek friends of the opposite gender or you don’t feel as comfortable opening up to male friends as you do to females. Perhaps you’re a woman who feels competitive with female friends and friendships can become more about one-upping than about supporting and growing.

Look at your parents and your siblings, and where you fall into patterns with them. Are you seeking female friends because you’re the oldest and you fall into the pattern of wanting to connect with your mother—looking for the feeling of primacy and importance? Do you feel threatened by friends of the same gender because they might be competing for attention from your spouse who is your best friend, similar to the way your siblings competed for attention from a parent?

Doing your own work can tell you a lot about your friendship patterns and what’s important to you in your relationships. You can learn a great deal about what personality traits you seek in friends and what patterns you fall into simply because they’re familiar or comfortable.

Sometimes, we reach a point where we’re ready to move on from a friendship and downgrade it to an acquaintance. That is perfectly natural, and it happens often without much fanfare or discussion. If it’s important for you to express your feelings to the friend and explain why, bring it up. More often than not though, the discussion won’t lead to change or fix the relationship. If a friendship has truly lived past its prime, allowing some distance and moving on can be the best thing.

As you examine your relationships this year, make time for those that bring out your best and help you grow. Spend time with people who challenge your mind and your emotional intelligence. Friends should make you stretch yourself and you should bond around your mutual values.

Learn more about your relationships by joining us for More Life Training workshops. You’ll learn skills to engage your social and emotional intelligence, connect with others, and be your best self.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s book: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available for purchase at Amazon now!)

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Want to learn more about more satisfying dates and relationships? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:


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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Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user 15216811@N06.

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 Kama Sutra
of Conversation

The Kama Sutra, the ancient guide on making love and sex, seems far off from the topic of workplace conversation, at least at first mention.


You’re probably wondering what on earth one has to do with the other.

What is conversation? Conversation is engagement between two people, where desired outcomes are expressed, where people are connecting verbally and stating their yearnings and longings (or sometimes adding them to the sub-context). Great conversationalists listen, they engage, they make eye contact, and they care about the other person’s desired outcome as well as their own.

What is intercourse? Well, besides the obvious, intercourse is engagement between two people moving toward a desired outcome and mutual pleasure. Great love-makers are connected physically and emotionally. Their yearnings and longings are being realized and they’re meeting the yearnings and longings of the other person. Just like great conversationalists, they engage, they make eye contact, and they care about the other person’s enjoyment and pleasure as well as their own.

Unfortunately, there’s no Kama Sutra for conversation, but the same guidelines and principles apply. Truly connecting with the other person, expressing your desire, listening and moving together to a desired outcome—those are the components of amazing conversation.

How to Be a Great Conversationalist

What are the qualities of a great conversationalist? They’re interested in others, they’re curious, they’re good listeners, and they pick up on social cues while maintaining rapport and conversational flow. They understand when to share, and when to hold back. They clarify and ask questions.

Too often in conversation, we zone out or catch ourselves going through the motions. Sometimes we open our mouths and start blabbering on about OUR WANTS and OUR NEEDS with no regard for the other person, or the desired outcome and shared vision. These things don’t make for great conversation. They make for BORING conversation.

When you meet someone who is truly versed in how to make a conversation interesting, they know exactly when it’s time to share and relate. The person they’re engaging with feels listened to, even if they weren’t agreed with. They might say, “Tell me more about that.” They clarify and try to get more information.

A great conversationalist brings their own stuff to the table as well. We’ve all met someone who’s able to fall into a rhythm in any conversation and keep it going without dominating the conversation. It comes back to the Kama Sutra of conversation—understanding when to engage and up-regulate the conversation and when to down-regulate the interaction.

What it really comes down to is excellent social and emotional intelligence—understanding others and caring about them and their humanity, while still understanding ourselves and caring for ourselves; learning to express our desires and feelings without trampling down or disregarding the yearnings of our conversational partner.

Getting Conversations Back on Track

Sometimes you might find yourself engaged in a conversation with someone who scares you. Perhaps you feel they don’t care about your feelings or you can’t figure out the right way to engage with them. Maybe they’ve disregarded you, assaulted you emotionally or said hurtful things to you in the past. They might remind you of someone else who’s made you feel small or disregarded, and you might be projecting your memories of that person onto this new conversational partner.

Any time a conversation is running off the rails, you can always steer it back with honesty. Use the opportunity to be honest, explain, regain your steering, and assess everyone’s alignment.

When you have to engage with someone whom you dread, get the conversation back to the productive range by saying, “Look, I don’t understand what you want from me and I can’t read you. Help me understand your expectations and what I can do to make you satisfied with my work. I want you to be satisfied with me. Help me understand the vision of what that looks like.”

If you’ve made a mistake, apologize and move on. Take personal responsibility. Learn what you need to in order to come out of the mistake, fix what you can, and move forward. When we make a mistake, we have a tendency to see ourselves as victims, to long for a rescuer, and to start down the path of the drama triangle. Don’t do it. Instead, use honesty to regain your steering.

When it comes down to it, conversation is back and forth engagement. It’s connecting with another person. It’s allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to engage openly and honestly with someone else from a place of confidence and authenticity. When we’re seeking a mutually beneficial outcome and we’re honest about our desires, the confidence and ease comes naturally, and we find we become well versed in the art of conversation.

Listen to past episodes of Wright’s Lifestyle Podcasts here on BlogTalkRadio.

 

To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our More Life Training workshops. Kick off the year by engaging in what I promise will be one of the best weekends of your life. It will give you the tools you need to go forth and ignite your world.

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s book: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available now on Amazon!)

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Want to learn more about more satisfying dates and relationships? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:


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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Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user michalo.

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.

Holiday Mayhem:
Your Guide to a
Great Season

During the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of your focus. Family patterns emerge, feelings come up to haunt us from Christmases past, and your New Year’s Eve plans might not go as you hoped. You’re off routine and surrounded by people that stir up your feelings.


Maybe you love the holiday season, but feel it’s too commercialized or that you can’t connect with others in a deeper way. Maybe you hate the holidays or avoid them because you’ve had a rough year, or you feel you aren’t in a financial place to give people lavish gifts. Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas at all and you’re sick of everyone shoving Christmas in your face.

Well, no matter what your belief framework—Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, or Agnostic—you can still see this as a time to end the year on a high note. It can become a time to express your appreciation for others and spread tidings of goodwill towards your fellow men (and women). It can be a time of transformation and growth for all of us.

I think of the holidays as the time of year to express appreciation to my loved ones and tell them just how meaningful they’ve been to me. I like to hear about their memories and the positive experiences the season brings up. I also like to hear about the negative things and let my loved ones work them through by expressing their feelings—getting them out, confronting those fears and regrets, and letting them go. This is a powerful time of year.

As we close the season, our thoughts turn to transformational living and growth as well. Give your loved ones the gift of transformation by sharing our book, Transformed: The Science of Spectacular Living.

What It’s All About: Showing Appreciation

People beat themselves up wanting to buy the perfect gift, when really, the perfect gift is what you give of yourself. Before you feel like you can’t give your loved one a new car, television set, or whatever commercialized “next big thing” is out there, take a moment to reflect on what you CAN give to those you love.

Tell your significant other that although you can’t afford what you wish you could give, you want to express all the things you appreciate about them and the reasons you’re grateful your partner is in your life. Then, tell your loved one you’d like to hear what they want from you for the upcoming year. What are their desires, their yearnings, and their hopes for your relationship? Engage in activities and meaningful moments.

We get in this mindset that the only way to express our love is by giving grand gestures and big gifts. Truly the most meaningful gift is appreciation. Tell others what you appreciate about your relationship with them. Explain the impact they have on your life and the blessings you desire for each other in the upcoming year.

Home for the Holidays Can Be Hard

We all have feelings of inadequacy and longing to be seen for who we really are. We want others to know us and to care about us. No one brings that out quite like family and those closest to us.

When we find ourselves back home for the holidays, old patterns and resentments can die hard. Maybe our parents and siblings dredge up frustrations and regrets. We can fall back into our roles from childhood and all of the feelings that entails.

This year, declare a vacation from resentments. It’s not about being phony or pretending everything’s great. You can even let your parents know that while there are plenty of things left unsaid right now, you do want to address them in the future. However, in the spirit of the season, you want to declare a resentment-free zone. Put the feelings aside. If something comes up or occurs during the holiday, address it and move forward.

Get the conversation rolling by asking your family members to reflect on their best memories of the season. Express your gratitude to your parents for giving you life. No matter how difficult things might have been in the past, your life is of great value to you and you appreciate that.

Pose the same question to your family that you posed to your partner: what can you do for your parents, siblings and family members in the upcoming year? What are they looking forward to in the next year? Even if your family members shut you down, roll their eyes, or get uncomfortable, see it through. Acknowledge the awkwardness and move through it.

Avoiding Burnout

When you’re pulled in different directions and trying to pack in too much stuff, take a step back to engage with those around you. Ask family and friends about their favorite holiday memories. Engaging with a loved one and discussing what the holidays mean to that person can be a powerful way to move the conversation to a deeper level.

Engage with those around you in a meaningful way and you’ll bring the meaning back into your holiday. For example, look at your extra work hours as a way to better serve your clients and help them make the most of their holiday as well. If you’re trying to finish up end of year quotas and close your books, think of all the ways you’re making your business better for next year, and doing your due diligence to close the year properly and on a high note.

Remember, even though it can seem difficult, the holidays are a beautiful time to appreciate all the things we love about each other. It’s a time to express gratitude and think of ways we can give back and care for one another.

Use movement into a New Year as an opportunity to start your own transformation. See this as a time to elevate yourself and the world around you. Engage with others and discover your best self. Start living a life that touches all those around you and discover the ways you can go out and make the world a better place.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

Learn more about our More Life Training. Engage with others and discover ways to bring out your best self. It will give you the tools you need to go forth and ignite your world.

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s book: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available now from Amazon!)

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

Want to learn more about more satisfying dates and relationships? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:

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.


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

Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user michalo.

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.