The path of relationship is sometimes called the most difficult spiritual practice of all, but these five simple guidelines can go a long way toward helping you to happier, healthier relating of all kinds.
1. Speak your heart. This is the most important guideline hands down, and the most horrendously difficult, especially when we've been hurt or triggered by something our partner has said or done. Truth has so many layers that it can be all too easy to say something hurtful with the justification, "Well, it was the truth!" But the deepest layer of truth is usually so self-exposing and scary that if you're not feeling like that, you probably haven't dug down deeply enough yet. Care2: Communication: The Foundation of Strong Relationships
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This guideline comes with a helpful little rule: make "I" statements rather than "you" statements. Example: not "You're a thoughtless, selfish jerk for forgetting my birthday," but "I felt so hurt and not cared for when you forgot my birthday." And if you're really brave, digging even deeper and saying "It reminded me of being forgotten when I was little, and it felt really bad. I got scared that you didn't love me." Big difference there. And here is a beautiful fact just waiting to be discovered: when we find the courage to speak from that terrifyingly vulnerable, completely exposed place of deep truth, the place of no more hiding, we suddenly find ourselves standing on bedrock, and nothing can dislodge us from it. And it is a healing balm for your own deep self when it hears you speaking your truest truth, even if your partner doesn't get it.
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Written by Cait Johnson for Care2.