Creating Deep Connection by Willemijn Laan
We all know how to feel bad and to feel neutral. But what we often need to learn is how to feel good. And mostly how to feel good over a longer period of time.
We often find ourselves inside a positive/negative motion. of; having fun and crashing, of getting close and having a fight, and so on. As if we don’t want ourselves to be in a positive flow for too long. Having the experience or belief that after everything good that happens to us, something bad will always happen too.
This way we’re actually creating (and sabotaging our own positive flow!) a positive/negative motion for ourselves. But what we want is to move into a more positive motion where we go into something like this; get close and rest, get close(r) again and rest. And so on. Keeping ourselves in a longer and longer period of positive flow within our relationships.
You want to learn how to feel all your feelings and to make space for the feelings that might feel uncomfortable, but lose their grip on you when you sit with them. When you get the hang of that, there is more space to bring more positivity and play into our lives and to bring our focus to all that is positive. We want to focus on the creation of fun, of all the positive that is happening to us and around us and to bring in more conscious curiosity.
And the first thing to do is to UP the appreciation!
It’s actually one of the most simple and effective ways to build conscious connections.
As relationship expert John Gottman explains,
“There’s a habit of mind that relationship masters have… They are scanning their social environment for things they can appreciate and say ‘thank you’ for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully.”
While on the other hand, he says…
“People who are relationship disasters are scanning the social environment for their partners’ mistakes.”
This means that identifying actions to be thankful for and to communicate about to your partner is Level One in having a positive flow in your relationships. And yes, this can be being appreciative about super small things like someone checking in how you’re doing or being appreciative about things that just have to be done like helping with something around the house.
But to go a bit further and into expert level with appreciation, you can share how the action that your partner did impacts you. How does it contribute to you? Why exactly are you appreciating it? And how does it make you feel?
For example: “Thank you for booking that boat ticket for me (like my man did for me). It makes me feel taken care of and gives me a nice sense of space knowing that this has been done already.”
You could also share the qualities or values you see in your partner when they take a specific action. What specifically are you appreciating about them as a person?
For example: “I appreciate how much effort you put into letting me know how much you love me. I think you’re an amazing partner, and I love how much time you put in making sure me and the children feel happy and taken care of”
It’s simple enough to do: Focus your attention on what you appreciate about your partner and your relationship and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you focus on what you appreciate, the more love and gratitude you will have and receive.
And don’t be scared about appreciating your partner too much. Not many people get tired of hearing how amazing they are.
Also, don’t let the simplicity of this one trick you. The simple truth is: appreciation makes everyone involved in a relationship feel more content and happy and seen… And with that, connected.
It’s these simple, everyday things that can make the biggest difference. And that all starts with a choice. You can go on and be unconscious and just move with whatever comes your way in a day. But you also get to consciously choose wonder, love and excitement instead.
Praise, appreciation and acknowledgment matter.
We often assume people know how wonderful we think they are. But the truth is, we can always hear it more.
In my relationships and friendships, I make sure I’m often saying lovely things, how I enjoyed seeing them, how much I enjoyed having a deep conversation or a quick drink and letting them know just how much I appreciate having them in my life. It deepened my connections with my partner as well as with my friends and family. Even, and I’d like to say, especially, when there are challenges in your relationship, actively looking for things to appreciate will help you build the positive momentum needed to create change.
And no, it doesn’t cancel out the tough stuff, but it does help you remember why it’s worth fighting for.