10 Steps for Struggling couples

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couples siloughette

Relationships, unfortunately, don’t have a 3 month, 3000 miles rule for going in and getting a tune-up or oil, filter, lube! But just as important as keeping our auto maintenance periodically, our relationships need checkups too, especially if couples have pushed unresolved issues under the rug over and over for years, and they tend to surface over and over, and they seem to be facing the same problems over and over.

Something to remember is that when a person goes years layering the problems and keeping a record of wrongs in their mind, these records tend to fester and grow bigger the more they think about them, and the more they share them with others, who most likely share their victim stories, and then that only adds fuel to the flame as well.

Conflict resolution means two things. It means a willingness for both parties to participate in being teachable toward listening to possible solutions and guidelines and choose their best path. And second, both people admitting their own personal weaknesses and mistakes, taking responsibilities for those, admitting faults, and moving forward in a positive direction toward compromise and forgiveness.

Coaching and counseling fails if one person has their mind set on the deadset belief that the coaching or counseling session is going to be focused on ‘setting their partner straight’ about some things. In other words, they feel that the counselor is going to hear their view, and going to ‘change their partner’. It will always be the coach or counselors position to hear both parties, and present ideas and suggestions that both people in the relationship may choose as a compromise, so that both parties feel they are working together as a team, and that they are both benefiting from a solution, and working together. Sometimes, however, suggestions will be outside the comfort zone of someone. That is because to accommodate our partners in relationships, change is often a part of successful flowing relationships. This does not mean, however, that we are supposed to change in ways that are uncomfortable, or feel unnatural to us. If there is a change our partner wants us to make that is outside of our comfort zone, we have a very HUGE decision to make, and we all know what that is. We must ask ourselves,

Can I continue to live with and love this person, creating this change in my life, and in theirs, easily and comfortably, without feeling resistance to this change, for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship?

If the answer is yes, you can stay in this relationship without hardship. If the answer is no, you will have a big decision to make.

The reason I love this question is that this question helps us evaluate ‘ourselves’; rather than continue to blame, or point the finger toward our partner. People tend to say things like this…

“Well, if my spouse would just stop…….and then they finish this sentence with whatever behavior is unbecoming…this idea sets up the belief that the problem lies solely outside of their self.

OR this one…

“Well, if only he/she would start ________more, then I would be more________.

They tend to fill in this sentence with whatever they desire from their partner to justify their reason to step up.

Here’s the major part of how this all has to work though. There has to be quality communication about what changes are necessary if any. What does need changing? What needs are being unmet? Has each partner even discussed their personal needs with each other? Why do we struggle? What are the fights about? What are the issues? Here are the 10 steps to get back on track to being friends, having fun, communicating, laughing together, finding that passion, and rediscovering the marriage you once thrived on!

  1. Make your needs list. Exchange it, and work on filling each other’s needs. DAILY.
  2. Buy the LOVE LANGUAGES book. Read it together. Know yours. Know Theirs.
  3. Buy the movie: FIREPROOF. WATCH IT together, ASAP. No Interruptions.
  4. Hire a Life Coach or Counselor, but be open, be teachable. It takes 2!
  5. Talk, Don’t Argue. If emotions get elevated; take a break.
  6. Work on your Communication skills. The NO’s of communicating: no interrupting, no yelling, no blaming, no bringing up the past, no name calling, no going to bed mad, no threats, no ultimatums, no defensiveness, no changing subjects; stay on topic.
  7. Anger will never fix anything but only brew more anger. Talk in a calm manner.
  8. Forgive. Unforgiveness is like paying rent for a home you don’t live in or visit.
  9. Don’t keep a record of wrongs, in your head, or verbally expose them to others about your partner, this just keeps the negative energy alive and continuing.
  10. Start new today with a new attitude of moving forward with positive new ideas for a positive future! You must believe it to achieve it!

For more life coaching information- visit http://www.askannalisa.com or find Life Coach Annalisa on Facebook or other sites as Coach Annalisa or Ask Annalisa!

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Do you have a child, or do you RAISE one?

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childpicParenting has two parts. The two parts are two different things. There’s the first part of parenting; the act of ‘becoming’ a parent, where you actually created a child, the child was born, and now you are either a Mother or Father in name only. The second part of parenting, the more committed part, is where parenting isn’t about the simpleness of claiming the title of such a privilege, but the act of loving and caring for the child day in and day out. Even a parent who doesn’t live with their child should know and understand that an emotionally connected parent is the one engaged in their child’s life enough to promote the child earning respect for them. An absent parent = absent respect. A child learns more about their parent’s values by being around the parent.  A parent who is actively engaged in their child’s life, learns about their child’s intentions, and is in a position to guide, support, and mentor the child with the end goal being raising and developing a responsible, kind, confident, and stable adult that strives to succeed in life to their fullest potential. The responsibility for this development shouldn’t be left to only one parent; but all too often, it unfortunately is. Some divorced parents use the excuse that their child never calls them, or reaches out to them. It is not the responsibility of a child (a young, sensitive, undeveloped mind, with an undeveloped level of people skills and maturity) to reach out to a parent; quite the contrary. It is the responsibility of each parent, regardless of a living situation, to reach out to their child, on a regular basis to create and build a strong relationship. It is not the child’s responsibility to be the only initiator for staying in contact or to plan to spend time together.

According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau every two years (and most recently in December 2011), there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 22 million children.

Single parenting doesn’t always mean that only one parent is raising a child. Many cases of divorced or unmarried parents are co-parenting together, meaning that they both share in the responsibility of teaching, mentoring, disciplining, supporting, encouraging, and paying for the child’s needs. Some of the co-parenting arrangements still involve one parent paying support to the primary custodial parent, while some parents choose to have no child support, but split the child’s costs. There are some children who actually live in two homes; they split their time between both parent’s houses. There are judges in the US that are beginning to award the child support be directly deposited into a child’s bank account, versus being paid directly to the primary custodial parents account when a child is a certain age, and the parent’s income is substantial for this scenario to be beneficial for the child (usually a teenager). But, while money is necessary for raising a child, emotional connections from BOTH parents are more important. If a child grows up feeling loved and supported by both parents, it creates strong trust in their own relationships. A child may not remember the tennis shoes a parent bought them on their 9th birthday, but they will definitely remember if one parent didn’t come to their party to celebrate. A child may not be affected by who pays for their car insurance while they are in high school or college; but you can be rest assured, they will remember if their parent supported them by spending time with them teaching them how to drive. A child may not recall how parents split the cost or didn’t share in paying for braces, but they will surely remember who dives them to their monthly appointments and takes them to the drug store for the supplies, and talks with them about dental care, and idea’s to implement for relieving pain. In all of these common scenarios, it is ‘time’, ‘attention’, and ‘helpfulness’ to a child that instills a strong relationship between a parent and a child.

There is a saying that has been posted about parenting that hits a home run in my opinion, on conveying the difficult task of preparing a child for their future. This quote sums up almost all of what a parents job really is, beyond making a child feel loved, of course.

theroad~Our job as parents is to prepare our children for the road…

not prepare the road for our children.~

It is a difficult task to be in the constant care of a child which involves maintaining organization, scheduling, food preparation, medical attention, discipline, schooling issues, social intervention, teaching, mentoring, hygiene, extracurricular activities, and spiritual guidance. If only one parent is handling these tasks, it means that a child is only getting influenced by that one parent’s perspectives. Even if two people are no longer living together as parents, the child still deserves to know and be encouraged about all of their life’s many twists and turns from both parents.

In many cases, a parent who is ‘not’ the primary custodial parent (the parent the child lives with full-time) feels that sending a child support check, and calling occasionally, is being a parent. News Flash!! Money isn’t what a child needs emotionally. Money is not where a child learns kindness, or patience, or how to talk to an adult with respect. Money doesn’t instill confidence, nor does it reinforce certain values and principles that often get pushed aside because parents are too busy. Values, like loving your neighbor as you love yourself; or the golden rule, treating others the way you would want to be treated are reinforced when a child has both parents guiding them on a regular basis. And if only one parent is trying desperately to persuade a child towards loving and honoring God, but another parent doesn’t engage in the child’s life enough to demonstrate their spiritual walk, how will a child learn the importance of the most important relationship in all of life, connecting to their heavenly Father? And here’s an amazing point: How will a child learn- that maybe, the primary parents perspective may be a little ‘off’ if they don’t have a differing perspective from their own blood-line to compare it to?

Too many non-custodial parents are viewing their young child’s life as they would a friend; they believe the relationship is a 50/50 exchange. If the 50/50 exchange was what marriage counted on; everyone would be divorced. If the 50/50 belief (you give this relationship 50%, and I’ll give this relationship 50%) were what all friendships counted on, there would be far fewer friendships in this world! The truth is, young children didn’t ask to be part of split families. They did not ‘choose’ to have both parents living in two different places. They are not thinking of their family relationships as something they have to invest in. Children and teens are naturally focused on themselves. All children are consumed with playing, school, friendships, and extracurricular (sports, gaming, clubs, social media, etc) It isn’t psychologically in a child’s mind to think like an adult with a thought that might be like this: “Oh yeah, haven’t made plans with Grandma & Grandpa in a while, I should call them and get on their calendar.”…..

The most important thing a parent can ever do for their child, (regardless of ANY living arrangement, regardless of geographical locations, regardless of income, regardless of the support payments or non-payments, regardless of any issue between the non-married parental figures) is to show love, show up, show support, show encouragement, show that you are engaged in their life, show that you’re interested in their life by being there with them. Show them you will be there IN PERSON to guide them along their journey as they develop their own values, their own passions.

~Our children are learning how to be the future parents by our actions; which will be developing our grandchildren.~

In the case of Parental Alienation…

Wikipedia: Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a term coined by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner, and introduced in his 1985 paper,[1] to describe a suite of distinctive behaviors he argued were shown by children who have been psychologically manipulated into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members – typically, by the other parent and during child custody disputes.[1][2]

…it is VITAL divorcing parents research the after-effects of this tragedy) the targeted, alienated parent must continue to pray, reach out with love, and be patient, allowing God to embrace the children with truth and the courage around the child to reunite with the lost parent. In no way, should a parent lose hope, or be angry; children can not be held responsible for estranging themselves, when they were led (either passively or deliberately) to shun a parent in their life; especially when no abuse, neglect, nor abandonment was present.

Parents shouldn’t just be a distant figure the child hears from every now and then; a real parent shows up LIVE, and IN PERSON, next to their child on a regular basis, talking to them, looking them in the eye, spending quality TIME with them, demonstrating their perspectives about life.  An engaged parent is the one a child can depend on in happy times of celebration and in sad times of defeat. Our children need both parents. Children don’t deserve to be deprived of the two people in their life that are the sole responsible parties for their development, the support, the encouragement, the love, and the installation of life’s important lessons. The most important life lesson being…..learning how YOU connect to God and how you live out YOUR life in Faith and not fear. Children learn what they see, not what they hear. 

For more relationship or parenting advice, follow this blog! Visit annalisaotoole.com for more info on Life Coaching. For ordering audio downloads, or to learn about an upcoming debuting PODCAST, The Ask Annalisa Show, available beginning June 1st: visit: www.askannalisa.com. 

 

 

 

I love my partner, but they’re making me crazy!

Are you in that love – hate relationship that is having constant conflict? Are you in emotional turmoil most of the time over this relationship? Do you miss the romantic spark you once felt? Maybe you are getting along, but you feel it’s only because you don’t speak up about your feelings, for fear it will develop into an argument. Whatever your relationship problem, there is hope for a positive future. There is good news about this, and also bad news.

The good news is, you DESERVE to have your needs met. You are worthy to be heard and feel understood. You are valuable, and your feelings do matter. You can have a blissful, romantic, fun, friendship and companion who meets your needs and rocks your world. So, that’s all the good news. Moving on to the not-so-good part…

In order to experience positive, flowing, fun, non-combative, friendship and romance, you have to understand this very important belief and absorb this belief into your deepest counsciousness. You must accept and agree with this belief. For some, this may be shocking. For other’s it may be just what the Doctor ordered. Many people will have a hard time accepting this belief as a serious truth. Here is the first step in positive relationships:

~Never allow your need for affection or affirmation; nor your fear of being alone to over ride your ability to prevent emotional connection to someone who does not meet your needs.~

Interestingly enough, the first step in qualifying someone for dating exclusively, is learning as much about them as you can. I had a close friend once who would meet someone interesting, and upon my asking how that new friendship was going, he replied, “oh, she wasn’t my model number!”

Habits and Behaviors that occur during dating (good or bad in your view) will usually multiply upon living together or in marriage. Evaluation should be the mission during infatuation! To clearly establish if someone meets the preferences that align with your needs (or not) indicates you are confident with your own personal path. How could being physically attracted to someone just majically work if you haven’t figured out your own course for life? Maybe you haven’t settled on a career path- or you’ve decided on taking 3 months to hike and sight-see Europe, wouldn’t it be great to know that a person would support your goals or aspirations? If your dream is to live and work in a foriegn city for a year- or do an internship in a busy city, but your love interest is passionate on a farm in the mountains living off-grid, you may need to reconsider getting serious. Geographical incompatibilities are just one area, there are of course, many other preferrences of people to learn about! Having clarity for yourself and knowing what your deepest values and needs would be from a partner, speaks volumes for your confidence level. Relationships have a higher success rate if individuals allow theirself time to become friends and establish a deep understanding of each others inner charachter before becoming emotionally connected. It’s important to understand though, that it’s not our job to mold or change someone so our needs are met. The right emotionally balanced and mature person should meet your needs naturally- for the most part- because they love you.

Individuals who can clearly state what they like, what they don’t like, and have courage and confidence to speak up for their needs, are much more likely to be satisfied in a realtionship, versus someone unable to speak up for what they want. Many times people can not speak up for what they need because they don’t even know! You can’t expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself enough to have a plan for your life! How would you know if someone WOULD fit along side you and your mission- if you don’t even know what it is yet?

Once you’ve discovered your calling, you can gage so easily, (when you’re attracted to someone and you begin talking)- if there could be a potential connection that develops. You would know because a potential dating partner should respond to your interests with enthusiasm, supportive gestures, helpful ideas and be your biggest fan.

If you are in a relationship where your personal needs are not met, and you have expressed what they are (and they are reasonable, doable, and not crazy, costly, immoral or illegal!) then you may need to reconsider how long you plan to stay in an uncomfortable relationship that is constantly resistant to meeting your needs.
Maybe, your needs are not about you. In other words, you’re desiring change in your partner because that change will somehow be more pleasant to you. In your partners life, however, their behavior is comfortable. The change you seek is considered your ‘preference’ (not a personal need) and is in conflict with your partner’s ‘preference’. Here’s a common Example: You prefer no alcohol. Your partner drinks. This can cause serious lifestyle conflicts. The only way a couple with these differing values could grow in a positive way, is for one or the other to “give up” their preference, and honor their word, consistantly. So either the non-drinker accepts the drinker -and all the lifestyle choices that go along with that (over-indulgence with drinking from time to time, spending extra money on alcohol, socially partaking, etc) or, the drinker quits and goes along with lifestyle choices supporting the sobriety. There is no grey area here- unless both people remain in their preferred lifestyle choice; which would mean breaking up or divorcing; or staying together with constant conflict.

Another example is a couple who is unequally yoked spiritually. One is an avid church goer, one is not. But if one person continues to try and judge or change their partner due to the difference (could be either partner here) it doesn’t feel good- one feels resistance on a consistant basis. However, if both parties agree on the situation, it can be a non-issue. If they can not agree- it means resistance continues; or to avoid resistance on a consistant basis- one partner decides they do not want to live with that resistance over a vast difference in values. The only way to live with a partner having a different value or lifestyle choice is to accept it- and make no resistance over it, or determine that value is unacceptable to you, to the point of it being completely unbearable – and get out of the relationship.

Before getting out, (if thats your decision) it is a good idea to express to your partner what your very serious ‘need or preference’ is and express that the future of staying together depends on it. Someone who loves you and wants to be with you, someone who respects you and your lifestyle, will either comply, or choose their preference over you. But, respectfully accept this, because this means at least they have clarity for what they value and need.

Positive relationships will have situations that feel resistance, but they shouldn’t be continual. If resistance continues, over the same differences for long periods of time; it simply means someone, after agreeing to a solution, has broken their word. It is important to know if you are someone who can continue forgiving and restarting new committments, or if this is unbearable.

Counseling can help individuals- if a person is consistant to seek guidance.

Remember this…

~The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results~

Know yourself, know your needs. Honoring yourself is vital before you can successfully unite with someone in an exclusive relationship. And, never try changing people. Inspire them by sharing your convictions- but know when it’s a fit or time for a flight!

~LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

For more info on #relationships visit http://www.annalisaotoole.wordpress.com

Is my partner happy in our #relationship?

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Wondering if the person you’re dating is happy in the relationship? This is a common concern among many people. A person in a relationship will usually have concerns about this at the beginning of the relationship, because they may have feelings they have not expressed; or, the person their dating hasn’t expressed their feelings.  To ease dater’s minds about how to know for sure, if the person your seeing is totally into you, I completed a list of common signs to look for. This list is made up of things that your partner will do, so you know for sure…they are experiencing happiness and contentment in the relationship.

First, they reach out! THEY CALL, TEXT, EMAIL, FACETIME, SKYPE, or send SNAIL MAIL….and they initiate contact consistently. Someone into you will want to reach out often and keep in touch. The amount of someone’s correspondence, or how many times a day they reach out, will vary. The thing to recognize here, though, is that they WILL reach out, and do it with some consistency. Here is an example of a warning sign with this particular action: If you hear from them on Monday, and you are the only reaching out for say, the next 3-5 days, they just might not be that into you.

Next, If the person you’re dating is happy, they will listen to you.  If someone is listening, they will respond with great feedback, great idea’s, and you feel as though they ‘get’ you, and understand, and enjoy conversations. Couples probably won’t run out of things to talk about and share if both people are happy in the relationship. It’s when there is the awkward silence, or arguments happen a lot, or neither partner seems to be able to get on the same page of understanding, that trouble can begin on the horizon. Someone who is not that into you will not be as attentive, may not remember important things you say, and seem distant much of the time. Someone who seems easily distracted by you most of the time, may be a sign, they are losing interest or they are no longer emotionally connected. If they demonstrate these behaviors, it doesn’t always mean they are tired, stressed, or worried (they often will use these as reasons) but truthfully, they could possibly be getting bored, or have lost interest in you.

(key tip here: don’t get angry if someone is showing signs of not being into you. No one ever stays in love or falls ‘back into’ love because their partner gets angry. People have their preferences; if your personality or lifestyle isn’t their model number; you don’t want them anyway! You want someone to ADORE how you are! Be transparently you! 

When someone’s really happy in their relationship, they will always initiate wanting to spend time with their partner. But, here’s the clue: it isn’t time that you request -(sure, if they are into you, they will try to accommodate that too) but the real test is when they are initiating the request to be with you, often, say at least once a week or so. If they are suggesting a plan or asking for you both to spend time together, this is a definite sign they are happy and want to be with you!

Whenever someone is really happy in a relationship, they will ‘edify’ this relationship with others. This means, they are proud to be with you, and they do not hesitate at all to have you around their friends or family (with a new relationship, this may take a little time before occurring, that is normal, reasonable, and should be expected. ) If they are talking positively about you to others, they are possibly posting pics of events you are at together, pics of the two of you, ect…this is a sure bet, they are into you.  Now, don’t judge a person being happy or unhappy by posts, certainly don’t do that; some people are private, and they may just not be the ‘social media-I post-everything-type’. But, there are other ways in which they can ‘share’ their joy of being with you. Taking pictures for their own personal phone or use is a good indicator they are happy. Speaking highly of you in front of others when you are standing there, that’s awesome. Or, if you hear back from someone on how highly they spoke of you when you weren’t around…that’s even more awesome!

If someone is happy with you, really happy with you, they won’t always seek their own agenda. For example, if they call you often, but it’s because you always foot the bill.. (say for example, that maybe they have been without a job for quite some time, and they need something each time they call; that is a serious red flag.) Always be sharp enough to know the difference between them wanting to be ‘with’ you, verses, them ‘needing’ you. Another example of this would be if they only call late at night, and want to come over without pre-planning, often. They most definitely could have a romantic agenda, but don’t you feel you are worth some notice, and your time should be respected? Do they just want some lovin’, touchin’, squeezin’ time, or do they actually want to spend time doing other activities through the week with you? Did someone else cancel the plan, so maybe you are plan B? Are you OK with being the spur of the moment type of partner?  I always preferred a partner who valued my time and requested it ahead of time. I deserve that, do you?

~You will always be treated in a relationship, in the manner in which you feel deserving of.~

I’m not saying never to be spontaneous; that is fun! But, if a guy or gal isn’t requesting your presence ahead of time, (asking you out) you might just be being used for a good time at their discretion, not because they are really into you. Beware of the self-seekers!

Last but not least, a wonderful example of someone who is totally happy with you is the partner who TELLS YOU and SHOWS YOU that they are!! This can be verbalized and demonstrated in many ways. Love notes, meaningful conversations, gifts, (big or small), special acts of kindness are all examples of loving gestures. If they remember your meet date, or birthday, if they get you a little gift for no reason, these are all acts of kindness that really show appreciation for not just you, but for the relationship. Consider yourself lucky if you have a thoughtful partner who doesn’t take you for granted, and does the little things, because really…those are the BIG THINGS that show happiness.

Here is one last tip: Some people SAY they are happy, they offer gifts, offer time, do most of the things on this list, however, one partner may be a nag or have constant unmet expectations. One of the biggest relationship mistakes a partner makes is trying to ‘change’ someone. If a lover is truly happy with their partner, they wouldn’t need to change them. Trying to make someone live up to a set of expectations is only hurting themselves.  If someone continues to try and change their partner;  there’s a highly likely chance, the two are not true soul mates. ~

For more #realtionshipadvice, follow this blog. Remember, you can always email a question to possibly be featured on this blog (no names used, of course!) Email your question to:     lifecoachannalisa@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Why can’t I meet ‘THE ONE”? ~a guide to successful dating practices~

datingFirst of all, let’s review your THOUGHTS. Since your thoughts create emotions, and your emotional vibrations play a direct role in manifesting and attracting what you want, we should work on your thoughts.

If your thoughts are the same as the title of this blog: ‘Why can’t I’…(a double negative thought) this creates the same. In other words, if you believe you can never or will never do something…you will continue to not do it. You will never do it. So, your first tip in manifesting your soul mate, or the person of your dreams, is this: BELIEVE you can attract them. Then, think thoughts, and express words that allow your belief, words and thoughts that express the desire you want. So, shift your thoughts and feelings to this:

  • I will be meeting ‘the one’ soon.
  • I am ready to meet the one.
  • I am attracting the one.
  • I know ‘the perfect’ companion is arriving.
  • I believe the perfect mate is on their way.

One close friend of mine, believed so deeply in this concept of preparing and expecting his ideal mate, he actually rearranged his home in a way to prepare for her! He cleaned out the closet, and made half the space empty, ready for her things! He only uses 1/2 of the medicine cabinet in his bathroom, I think he even bought a new toothbrush and tooth paste and placed them in their new packaging in the bathroom drawer!

The next shift toward meeting your ideal mate, besides believing and preparing, and thinking thoughts that speak life into this desire, is to become the very best YOU. I hope you are not making the mistake of thinking that the ideal mate is your ‘end-all’ for solving your loneliness, or will end your yearning for companionship. Thinking a mate will rescue you from any pain, is a lie many people fall into believing.

You will be amazingly interesting, amazingly intriguing and ultimately attractive when you have passion in your life. When you are aiming for something that is enthusiastically driving you to serve in an area where you are using your creative talents, using your skills and gifts to help others, you will not likely make the mistake of being needy-clingy. Nor will you tolerate a mate who is. Maybe it’s your career, maybe it’s a part-time thing, or maybe you are at the beginning of figuring it out. However, if you have no idea what your calling is, or have no dream or excitement that drives you, you may want to consider spending some time on yourself, take a break from dating, or ‘trying’ to meet the right one. Going on a personal growth journey can be invigorating! Did you ever watch the movie, or read the book, Eat, Pray, Love? Fabulous.

Here’s a major News Flash: How will you know WHO you want, and if they will connect with you on a deep level, if you don’t know who YOU are, or where YOU’RE headed? How will you know if someone aligns with your dreams, aspirations, retirement plans, or mission, or values, if you haven’t discovered those for yourself? Everyone has a dream, everyone has a calling. I hope you’re not expecting another person to complete you. I hope Hollywood hasn’t saturated your mind with the notion that a love affair is the answer to make all of life’s crazy problems disappear!!

Falling in love will put a temporary hold on your existing issues. Discover your Calling, work toward that, and when you attract the right person, everything will line up perfectly.

A third vital step to meeting THE ONE, is knowing who you want. Do you have a list? I always encourage singles to ‘make the list’. This is a real, written out, bullet point list of all the traits you love, all the characteristics you need. Believe your worthy of this ideal person. Believe this person exists. Believe in God’s guidance toward attracting this person to you in His way, in His time. A big mistake I see in coaching single adults over the years is people having the same mentality about dating as we all had when we were young. It is the cycle that runs a little like this:

  • The Attraction: chemistry with someone based on looks and personality first.
  • The Hook: trying to see if they are interested, and will go out with you, or ask you out.
  • The Hopefulness: dating this person, hoping they will turn out to be everything you need!
  • The Reality: learning their flaws, believing they will change, or that these flaws won’t bother you much
  • The Let down: you are emotionally connected, intimately involved, and  scared you may be realizing they may not be suited for a ‘forever’ relationship with you.

A better, healthier, emotionally stable scenario for dating should run like this:

  • The Meeting: the first time you meet; you learn some interesting things and are intrigued.
  • The Talking stage: talking on the phone, or texting, getting to know them.
  • The Dating: Learning all you can, for as long as you can BEFORE becoming emotionally attached to them, intimate with them, Evaluating if their values and priorities jive with yours!
  • The 90 day rule: Don’t give up the cookie for 90 days. See if you can sustain getting to know them for at least 90 days before you become committed, or enter an ‘exclusive’ relationship. This way, you can feel assured that you have spent time discovering and evaluating whether or not they are safe, healthy, kind, and meet other important traits on your list. A great book that includes this awesome idea, is Steve Harvey’s, Act like a Woman, Think like a Man. 

If you have been dating, and you possibly are experiencing some of the following results, These are RED FLAGS. Red Flags are cautions about behaviors that usually do not produce positive, successful relationships.  Remember (this had a HUGE impact on me when I first read it) “We only allow people to treat us in a manner that matches how we really feel about ourselves” —WOW. Where is your deserve level?  Do you need to raise it?

If any of these Red Flags are happening, it is wise to try and re-evaluate your decisions about dating this person.

  • The person you’re dating is dating other people, so you feel confused and jealous.
  • The person you’re dating is not always available, and your unsure as to why.
  • The person you’re dating is needy, calls all the time, and is overly concerned with you.
  • The person you’re dating is emotionally unavailable; but seems to be into you
  • The person you’re dating won’t talk about where your relationship stands
  • The person you’re dating sleeps with you, but will not commit to being exclusive
  • The person you’re dating has an addiction. (drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, gambling, or other…)
  • The person you’re dating is unstable. (Not working, not responsible, not taking care of themselves but relying on others for meeting their basic needs)
  • The person you’re dating does not share your views spiritually
  • The person you’re dating does not share your same values about food, diet, and nutrition, or a healthy lifestyle
  • The person you’re dating does not make you feel energetic or important
  • The person you’re dating seems to be focused on their self mostly
  • The person you’re dating is estranged from their immediate family
  • The person you’re dating asks you for money, a loan, or to borrow things
  • You just have a ‘bad’ vibe, or an ‘off’, unexplainable, negative feeling about them

This list could go on and on, but I tried to hit the important ones.

Believe in meeting the one. Believe timing will be perfect. Believe everything in your life is in divine order. Believe, everything is happening for a good reason. There is power and wisdom in all that happens. And most importantly, know who you are, what it is you want, and then, you will, by default, attract who and what you deserve!!

~Coach Annalisa

For more relationship advice, or a free phone consultation about your situation, call Life Coach, Annalisa at 678-431-6528.

Self-Empowerment

Here is a glossary of words to help you feel EMPOWERED to design the life you ‘really’ want….
ANXIETY….thinking on the past or future. Remedy: Be grateful in this present moment, enjoy the moment you are in, put away the electronics at times when you need to take in what is around you; engage in building relationships (not online, but real-face-to-face time) and simply, let go…allow…flow….in the ‘now’.
DEPRESSION…allowing your mind to default to the doubt, fear, worry, past hardships, future anxiety, sadness of something in the past. Remedy:
SHIFT… shift your mindset to your blessings. What do you have in your life right now that you are so appreciative of? WHO do you have in your life right now that you are so thankful for? Think on things that you desire so much, you can almost taste them showing up!!
BELIEVE…in yourself…in your gifts and talents….in your dreams…in your abilities to serve others and make a positive difference. YOU can, but if you think you can’t, your right.
RELATIONSHIPS….think on what IS working. What is DYNAMIC, not on what is not working, not going right. ONLY entertain the thoughts of positive outcomes, what you want, as if those things are already happening. When you do this, it’s like magic. Opportunities and change in others starts to happen. What we focus on; we bring on. Bring on flowing energy of love! Bring on your soul mate. Bring on the things that make you smile!!!!
MANIFESTING…. is awesome. Just remember, you can not think yourself thin by continuing thoughts of how fat you are! Contrasting thoughts are confusing GOD!!! Get clarity and vision for what exactly what you desire, think on that– as if it IS happening, it IS taking place, it IS developing…and you will recognize amazing results, fast, too!! But, as long as you have thoughts of what you don’t want, those will keep showing up.
Ever started liking a certain car, and then all of a sudden, you seem to see it everywhere? AH…..interesting.
SELF-TALK…the words we say to ourselves are powerful. Are you speaking life into yourself? Or, do I hear doubt, worry, fear, anxiety, disbelief, unworthiness, undeservedness whispering over there between your ears? Every great endeavor, every great relationship, every great entrepreneur started with someone putting value in him or herself first, otherwise, how could they get others on board for their mission, idea, or service? We will only receive in life, that which is aligned and equal or above to how we think of ourselves and what we deserve. Are you receiving what you deserve? No? Let’s raise our deserve levels, by acknowledging and believing we are unique, wonderful, and have gifts and talents that serve a greater purpose that can make a difference in this world. YOU ARE DIVINE!!!! No less than an amazingly talented, spiritual being who has work to do. First, in loving and forgiving yourself, and next, recognizing your great qualities, and then lastly; discovering a need in the world that your creativity can go and make a difference !!!! It can be with family, with a spiritual mission, with a business, or a career, or even within something part-time; but we are all called to do something; we must discover that calling, and begin with positive, loving, kind self-talk to accomplish our dreams. Remember Mohammad Ali? When I recall him being filmed, his famous words were: “I AM the greatest, I’ll show you how great I AM.” God worked through him, he was a champion in his field. In the movie, “Facing the Giants”, a teen was doubting his ability to kick for the football team because of his small size. His father said, “God can use you, David”. The boy said, “How can God use me, I’m so small, and the other kicker is the best at it”. His dad looked at him and said, “David, God works through the last, lost and least, to show how mighty He is. You go out there and do your best, let God do the rest!” In the cliff-hanger ending,Image result for champion pic David needed to make a 50 yard field goal to win the State Championship, and the coach asked him, “David, do you believe you can do it?” David said “I’ve never kicked that far before, coach” Coach asked again, “But David, DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT? I NEED YOU TO BELIEVE YOU CAN!”…..
……..YOU ARE A CHAMPION, but not until you believe it!!……

When she says, “We need to talk!”& other communication survival tips…

downloadCommunicating…

with live speaking is a lost art. If verbal articulation is involved, people bail out, they would rather send a text. God forbid we dial a number! Youth these days begin getting to know someone through text messaging first. I asked my teenage daughter the other day if the cute guy at the gym asked for her friends number. She said yes, he did. I asked her, “Well, did he call yet?” She responded, “Mom, no one calls you! He’s not gonna call.” In shock, I said, “What do you mean he won’t call?” She went on to explain he would text her, and they would start talking. So, innocently, I said, “Oh, so after he texts her, he will call and they start talking.” She says, “NO, Mom. They start texting, you know, talking through texting.”  What a shame, I thought.

The young people today are losing ground on quality communication, and fast because of the vast text messaging that is the preferred method of transferring information. It’s really sad that they are not able to perceive tones, moods, fluctuations of voice, or even detect silence, through texting on a device. What’s even more alarming is that the people skills and social skills that many adults have learned through the youthful experiences of real interaction and real conversations on the phone, will be a weakness for this younger generation of avid text messengers.

As a relationship specialist, I am floored with the number of couples who try to work out problems and actually communicate through text messaging. Couples need to realize that one priority of a solid, love relationship is to be transparent. Couples who share their feelings openly help to create or maintain intimacy through talking in person. When they can look at one another eye to eye, and feel free to express their feelings in a non-judgmental, non-threatening way, they are able to feel a closer connection and bond. When they are able to get better and better at having discussions, versus regular arguments, they can learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses regarding differences and expectations.

Communication involves three phases. First, it involves a talker, and a listener. Second, it involves one person needing to feel understood, and one person being understanding. Third, it involves a talker with a motive, and a listener with feedback. In each of these phases, there are two distinct roles. One role is the giver, one is the receiver. Arguments happen when both people try to take over the same role. Discussions stay discussions (not developing into arguments) when one person seeks to help the other more frustrated person, feel understood, INSTEAD of trying harder to be understood him or herself!

Here’s the best tips for communicating effectively, and having regular discussions that never turn to arguments. The basic five rules critical to follow for productive talks.

  1. Never interrupt.
  2. Never bring up the past; stay on the subject at hand.
  3. Never name call, or criticize your partner.
  4. Never threaten to leave the room, the house, or the relationship.
  5. Never go to bed mad; agree to disagree, or reschedule your talk, but be kind before sleeping.

Here are some other guidelines to keep in mind, so that when you need to talk, both of you have a productive conversation where you both feel that your feelings matter, that you’re being heard, and feel understood.

If one person is frustrated, or even angry, even if it’s not ‘at’ you, it is VITAL, that you become a strong listener, and do not let the elevated emotions of your partner, elevate your own. Keep calm, and offer support, empathy, understanding, and concern. This is not the time to offer opposing viewpoints, alternate suggestions. If tension is high on the subject, become a listener, with little advice, more phrases like, “I hear you” “I understand” “I know what you’re saying”, “I feel your (pain) or (hardship)”

If one person ‘becomes’ highly emotional during a talk or discussion, they should recognize that elevated emotions will decrease chances of coming to a resolution; and increase chances that a full argument could arise. Signs of escalated emotions are: yelling, rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, physical outbursts of hitting, stomping, kicking, etc..

If any of the following things happen when you get frustrated, it is highly advised that you seek anger management, counseling, or help with what may be triggering your outbursts of stress that turn into unhealthy behaviors. Here’s a list of unhealthy characteristics indicative of needing help in communicating:

  • VERBAL THREATS of any kind.
  • HYPOTHETICALS (defined as false accusations or assumptions that are not real) example: “So, if your Mother plans another party, most likely she will be rude again, and then what will you do?” (key words indicative of a hypothetical situation: If, Most likely)
  • CRITICIZING, Blaming, accusing, badgering, harassing, name-calling, or bullying
  • Physically abusing material items, destroying property
  • Physically harming a partner, child, or pet.
  • Hinting or proclaiming statements implying your intent to harm yourself, or take your life.
  • Hinting or proclaiming possible intent to break up, divorce, or leave

The following behaviors are absolutely not appropriate when you’re wanting a productive conversation.

  • Replying with defensive statements.
  • Creating avoidance tactics (changing the subject, not answering the question, blaming, twisting a response around to point toward you, making critical statements, using any response that doesn’t pertain to the subject (the root of the issue)
  • Having a heated discussion in front of others, around the children, or at work.
  • If one or both partners are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If one person is unwilling to talk, but the other keeps nagging.
  • If one person is getting aggravated and their emotions are escalating, and they don’t take a break.
  • If one person is angry, and the other person decides to be angry because the other one is.
  • When one person is ‘assuming’ things.
  • When one person is ‘taking things personally.’
  • When one person is not willing to ‘own their wrong’ or ‘take responsibility’ for their actions.

~Sometimes, it’s not a matter of one partner being right, and the other wrong; but each having a ‘different’ perspective. Mature couples can recognize this scenario, and accept the difference, rather than try to convert their partner to their view.~

Most people get agitated when they have an unmet expectation. It is important to clearly, and lovingly, express what you need, and get in agreement with both your needs and how each of you plan to fill the other’s. There is nothing more frustrating in a relationship than expressing your need, but continue to have it go unmet. If this is happening, it is necessary to find out ‘why’ your partner is not willing to fill this need. It is usually one of three things:

  • They are incapable of filling this need for some reason
  • They are unwilling to meet the need for some reason
  • They are unclear  of your need or expectation

It is also VITAL to use the FEEL, FELT, FOUND principal when communicating things to your partner. You can begin statements with, “I feel _____________, when _____________” or “I have felt ______________, and _____________’ and then, “I have found that when _____________”

When beginning with these statements, the issue is about YOU, and not about what your partner is doing wrong; it is perceived more as a need of yours that you need filling, versus a wrong behavior their doing.

It is important to learn the art of setting boundaries. Boundaries are a way to inform others of your needs, in a loving way. This is in no way, a permission slip to command your desires, or be demanding of what you want. Here’s a great example of a person who is setting a healthy boundary in a loving way:

Susan, I really feel loved when you take the time to move my laundry over when I forget to. It means a lot to me that you work with me as a team” This works a lot better than saying “Why didn’t you move my laundry over? I forgot to do it last night, what did you do all day?”

Here’s another example: “It is really important to me that the boys eat healthy before practice, but we both get home so late, should I put something in the crock pot today, or can you get home to make something, or should one of us pick up something on my way home?”

What’s great about the latter example, it incorporates questions. The great thing about asking more questions than making more statements in communicating with our partners, is that it sends the following VERY important messages.

  • Questions imply you care about your partners input, their idea’s, and their viewpoint.
  • Questions create a team-mindset, versus a single-mindset that is perceived as selfish or uncaring.
  • Questions make another person feel heard, understood, and creates respect toward the one asking.

During communication, we should be mindful of the Biblical truths as a guideline. Galatians 5:22, 23, and Corinthians 13.

Love is.Kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, not keeping a record of wrongs, not self-seeking, not jealous, joy, hope, forbearance, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, not boastful, not easily angered, not rude. Love never fails.

If you need more communication tips, I can Skype, phone coach, or do an in person session with individuals or couples. Life Coaching is a great way to reconnect in your relationship, or prepare for marriage. 

Happy Talking!

LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

678.431.6528