Sometimes when you're struggling in your relationship, you might jump to conclusions. That means you might assume that it's all you, or you might go straight to blaming your partner entirely. Pain can make us short-sighted, and it's hard to take in the whole picture. But creating meaningful change starts by taking stock of what's really happening. So here are some questions to help you hold yourself and your partner accountable in a way that can lead to an improvement in your relationship.
Tis the season, and all that jazz. But many find themselves shorter on patience and lower in tolerance just when we're supposed to be feeling the most thankful and giving. People have all sorts of reaction to stress, and one of the most under-recognized is irritability. So once you realize it, what do you do about it?
I know, it sounds like crazy advice. You've got a new baby at home. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO! AND IT JUST KEEPS COMING! HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY JUST "BE"? I recently wrote an essay about my three months of maternity leave, and how I wish I had a re-do. New moms, I don't want you to feel the same. So I'm going to pass along a few thoughts for your consideration. Then you can go back to doing (or not doing.) Deal?
None of us know what's ahead. The country feels unsettled. Regardless of how you voted, or if you didn't vote at all, we're all in this together. We're all facing a degree of uncertainty about the future. This is not a political blog; it's a mental health blog. These are anxiety-provoking times, and there are no easy answers. But here's my best prescription, and it is a simple one.
Assertiveness is often misunderstood. People might think it means being confrontational or strident; they might assume it's about having to sound powerful. In truth, assertiveness comes in many different styles, and sometimes involves vulnerability. At its core, it's about expressing yourself--your feelings, your perspective, your beliefs--in a respectful way that allows you to be truly heard. Maybe you used to speak up but after encountering resistant, you've stopped. Or maybe you speak up in some situations (like at work) and not others (with your parents, or with your partner.) Here are some suggestions for finding your voice.
I just finished the fantastic book "Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life" by Emily Nagoski. What was most striking about it for me wasn't the science (though Nagoski does a great job at laying that out, along with the misconceptions, inaccuracies, and propaganda we've all been fed for too long.) No, what was most striking was the frequent refrain/reassurance that we're all normal--in terms of our body parts, our desires, our arousal, our orgasms. You name it: it's variable from person to person. And the number one enemy, what's really keeping you from having the sex life you want, is preconceptions about what's normal, or right, or what everyone else is doing, or what we're all supposed to be doing and feeling. The question, "Am I normal?", does us all a disservice. But the answer, every time is yes. Here are some ideas of how to get the sex life you want, and to want the sex life you have.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and this week I had the pleasure of attending Rosh Hashanah services and hearing a sermon on the value of listening. As a therapist, I listen for a living. But in my personal life, sometimes I can be a little lax. I imagine that's true for all of us: We can get used to thinking we know how our partners feel, and we don't actually check it out. Here's why that's a mistake, and how to correct it.