Joyful Relationships

By Sara Joy David, Ph.D.
Published in HEALTH SCIENCE, Tampa, Florida

Letting go of romanticized and superficial models of relationship can open a doorway to increased joy and greater self-awareness.

To reach our highest health potential, we need to address our mental and emotional needs as well as our physical needs. The quality of our relationships has a major impact on our overall well-being.

In recent years there has been a move away from romanticized and superficial models of intimate relationship toward a new paradigm where a primary, committed relationship is seen as a doorway to increased self-awareness, joy, and healing. The mistaken ideas that most of us learned about relationships can lead to behavior patterns that are neither fulfilling nor life-enhancing. These ideas need to be corrected.

Are you willing to have your partner/children/co-workers become co-creators of new and more fulfilling ways of relating? Are you willing to end co-dependent behaviors and joint addictions to suffering, procrastination, inertia and numbness so as to rediscover fun, enthusiasm, and delight in relationship? If so, here are some steps you can take.You can use these tools to create and maintain harmonious, joyful and more meaningful relationships.

Focusing your attention

“Energy flows where the attention goes”. Therefore, there is great benefit to making what we want our focus. Too often, dysfunctional relationship patterns lead to thinking excessively about what is not working. Focusing thoughts and attention on the negative only leads to further ineffective interaction. Since the intention in contemplating relationship distress is usually to alleviate it, many persons remain unaware that their thoughts are becoming the cause of further distress.

Facing dissatisfactions rather than denying them is an essential step that cannot be bypassed. We must identify what we wish to change. However, the way we voice our dissatisfactions can make the difference between successfully transfoming them or entrenching and even increasing them.

Expressing dissatisfaction

One very safe and effective way of voicing a dissatisfaction is to differentiate what we feel from what we are. We can communicate with one another by saying, “I feel angry, sad, frightened, guilty, frustrated, disappointed, etc., thereby making it clear we are describing a momentary state. We also can specify what behavior(s) or circumstances trigger these feelings. By providing this information to our partner, we initiate an opportunity to co-create different, more joyful feelings. When we preface the very same feelings with the words,” I am angry, etc…,” we send a different message, one that says that this is a lasting or permanent state of affairs.

Reserve this “I am…” phrase only for states you are eager to continue, such as “I am gentle, kind, enthusiastic, peaceful, loving, delighted, truthful, etc.”

Voicing your needs

By stating what we want, what we are experiencing, what we wish to end or transform, and what we are willing to do to bring this about, we empower ourselves and our partner. Our partner need not be defensive because she or he is not being accused of anything; She or he is being asked to become an ally in a process of creating solutions.

If it is too great a stretch for you to say with conviction,”I am safe,” “I am beautiful,” “I am healthy,” “I am intelligent and creative,” you can preface these or other positive, empowering statements with “I deserve…,” ” I am willing … ,” ‘I am eager to become (or to feel)” the desired state. The subconscious can still embrace such phrases as being truthful.This is essential so that our own creative process has the cooperation of our conscious and subconscious mind. Only by eliminating our mistaken beliefs and listening to our inner wisdom can we begin to manifest the joy, love, and harmony to which we aspire.

Reinforcing new behavior

Reinforce your new ways of being by drawing upon all of your senses!

One powerful way to reinforce your new thinking and behavior is to use all of your senses when doing your affirmations. Too often, only the left brain (linguistic, linear, logical hemisphere) is enlisted through processes such as affirmations. It is far more effective to call on the visual, auditory, and movement centers of the brain, as well as the parts that register taste, smell, texture, etc. To create a new reality for yourself, it helps to speak it, dance it, sing it, visualize it, hear it, smell it, and taste it. Think of a favorite color, sound (such as music), taste (such as a delicious fruit), aroma (such as the scent of a favorite flower), texture or pleasurable sensation (such as silky fabric or a gentle breeze), while repeating the affirmation. The more colors, sounds, tastes, aromas, textures, visual images and positively worded thoughts become associated with a new relationship, the more easily, quickly, and completely the new reality will manifest itself and be maintained.

Affirming the new you

You can say “Yes!” to more fulfilling experiences!

During this process, it is imperative that you continue renouncing, letting go, discarding, and transforming that which you no longer desire to be part of your life. Repeating a strong, consistent, resounding “NO” to those negative experiences will quickly empower you to declare a joyous “YES” to the more fulfilling experiences awaiting you.

Continually reaffirm your new way of thinking with sentences that begin with “I choose…,” “I am worthy of…,” “I agree to…,” “I am bold enough to……,” “I am jubilant about……..,” “I am eager to…,” “I am confident about…,” “I am excited about..”

Possible new scripts for your new approach to relationships can include: “I create increased love, joy, and fulfillment in my relationship.” “Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, I choose increased harmony and understanding.” “I rejoice at the unconditional, powerful love flowing between me and my partner.” “I forgive myself and my partner for all past mistakes.” “I joyfully accept all the blessings my relationship brings.” “I continually increase my capacity and willingness to experience happiness with my partner.” “Being honest increases my joy.” “The greater my love, the greater my freedom.” “I encourage my partner to be the best s/he can be.” “I welcome my partner’s support for my being who I am.” “l am creative in expressing my love.” “I cornmit to love consciously and deeply.”

Acknowledging your success

State the feelings that you wish to experience, along with the desired outcome, and choose to evoke those feelings intensely and vividly every step of the way to achieving them. Snap your fingers, skip, hop, jump, light sparklers, blow bubbles, draw pictures in the sand, do cartwheels, twirl while pronouncing your goals. Do it alone; do it with your partner; do it with supportive family or friends.

In seeking to improve communication with another, timing is important. It is best to assure an uninterrupted stretch of time when each person involved can give total attention to the issues involved. Meal time is inappropriate because the stress of initial misunderstanding can negatively affect digestion.

You can have what you want

Declare that you are willing and prepared to have it. Be receptive. When you have it, acknowledge yourself for your success. Keep choosing greater fulfillment, deeper, stronger, ever more inspired, loving and joyful, co-creative relationships.