Tuesday, 26 September 2017

How to Prevent Blame and Criticism from Destroying Your Relationship

“Who is it that’s unhappy? The one who finds fault.” ~Anonymous

If you are anything like me you yearn to know in your bones that you are showing up in your primary relationship as your best self. You want to be loving, kind, and supportive (and to reap the gifts those qualities sow in your love life). But certain habits of interaction get in the way, making you feel inept and ashamed.

Like many of us, I grew up in a family that was steeped in criticism and blame. Though I rebelled against this behavior intellectually, it found its way deep into me.

When the first blush of love-bliss wore off in my more serious relationships, blame and criticism would rear their ugly heads, leaving me guilt ridden and very disappointed in myself. It always created distance in my relationships.

This habit is the top reason relationships fall apart. Not only does it feel terrible to the one being criticized, it also destroys the perpetrator’s own sense of confidence in their worthiness and integrity, further shutting down the free flow of love.

Looking back at my first marriage, I see that this ingrained and destructive habit was at the root of our love’s erosion. Because I tended to use a subtle form of blame and criticism that were harder to label as such (I mostly thought I was asking for things, when actually I was belittling and condemning), it became pervasive. Over time, like weeds left to grow rampant, it overtook our joy entirely.

Criticism and blame can be blatant or subtle. The obvious expressions are often in the actual words we choose. But, as I learned the hard way, it’s the subtler forms of blame and criticism that can do the most damage because they are harder to spot.

Since much of our communication is non-verbal (up to 93 percent!), it makes sense to take a good look at if and how we are imparting blame and criticism without words.

Some of these subtle ways include:

~Tone of voice (“Can you please stop…” said with a tone that drips blame or implies stupidity.)

~Sounds (“Ugh!” meaning, “There you go again.”)

~Body language (rolling your eyes, giving them cold looks… I once stuck out my tongue at my partner in a heated moment.)

~Asking someone to “do better” can be an insidious form of criticism, if not done well. This was my main way of using it.

In my current partnership I vowed to do things very differently. I let him be him, no complaints. We enjoyed years of authentic, kind, tolerant, and loving ways of relating to each other. I felt proud and happy to have seemingly overcome that bad habit.

And then we hit a rough patch. Over the course of one stressful year we had a baby, with all the lack of sleep and physical and emotional adjustments that brings, as well as built a house (a huge and challenging job…as the saying goes: “build a house, lose a spouse”), while also raising my older boys and maintaining the rest of our lives.

The strain of this time put a lot of pressure on me, and I found my old bad habit of blaming and criticizing really hard to suppress, as if it had a life of its own.

I started subtly putting him down, sometimes saying things like, “You never listen!” or once, “You are such a teenager!” because he stayed out later than he said he would. But mostly it showed up in my tone of voice, judgmental and intolerant. This would set him off and send us downhill fast.

This went on for a few months. I felt terrible about it, yet didn’t know how to stop. The effect was that he became more on guard, not as open and warm as usual. And I started berating myself for my behavior, which cut me off from being able to feel and express my warmth and love.

It also made me afraid I might destroy this incredibly good thing we had—one of the most cherished things in my life.

It was time to regroup. So I rested up and rebalanced a bit. It was from this more centered place that I had the capacity to take a really hard look at where I was going wrong.

The powerful insights I discovered have all but completely eliminated that harmful way of relating. Here they are for you, with tips on how to live them so that you can keep, revive, and grow that beautiful thing that is the love in your life.

1. Build an inner eco-system of self-compassion. 

Don’t make the mistake of re-directing any blame back at yourself. Instead, try kindness and curiosity.

Start by understanding that blame and criticism are misguided attempts at protecting yourself and, ironically, at creating a better relationship. At the heart of it is a longing to feel good. Although the goal is virtuous, the method is not. Just understanding this invokes a sense of self-compassion.

Then, consciously cultivate an attitude of kindness toward yourself.

The next time you are experiencing the fallout emotions of having blamed or criticized your partner, simply feel what you feel. Be there with yourself the way you would with a child who is having a temper tantrum—compassionately.

Put your hand on your own heart (or cheek or arm) and say to yourself “be safe, be well, be at ease, my dear.” I like to call myself “my love, or my sweet” when I do this.

Experiment and see what feels most resonant for you. As feel-good hormones are released through this simple action, you start to feel more safe and at ease inside yourself. This raises your ability to be your authentically loving self in your relationship.

2. Own it.  

Taking responsibility for your unskillful ways is essential for wholeheartedly ending them.

Whether in the heat of the moment or later, you must be able to say: “Oops, my bad—again!” Admitting your blunder to yourself (compassionately) and to your significant other is part of taking responsibility for your actions.

Doing so will help soften your partner’s barbed defenses and start to ease any tension. An authentic “I’m sorry” can work wonders, as a starting point.

Own that when you are complaining or blaming you usually want something but are simply sharing that ineffectively. Instead, figure out what you want. Then be brave enough to ask for it—when you are ready to use a calm kind tone.

3. Notice that fear is the underbelly of blame and criticism. 

Below every angry expression of blame or criticism is fear. Fear of discomfort, pain, or otherwise feeling bad. Fear hijacks our brain and makes even our allies look like enemies, leaving behind the rational, kind, and loving parts of our nature.

A small example would be if I were whining to my man about how he never sticks to his agreements about our division of house chores. Underneath that blaming expression is the fear of feeling stressed out and exhausted by having to squeeze more chores into my already full schedule.

The key here is being deeply and bravely honest with yourself. When you find yourself about to criticize or blame someone, or having just done so, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of here?”

Then ask, “What’s underneath that?” You might find that sadness lives there. Or even shame. Either way, this will help shift you out of anger and into curiosity, compassion, and a sense of integrity as you draw closer to your genuine truth. If you can uncover that truth just once, it will unravel the grip of the habit and make it easier to stop the next time it tries to grab you.

4. Enlist your body.

When the mood of blame and criticism hovers close, smothering you from the inside out, move your body. Shift your position, go for a walk or, my favorite, dance.

Instead of closing in on yourself, as fear and anger cause us to do, allow movement to physically open your posture, shake out the irritation, express the frustration, and soften your muscles.

Or maybe your need is to rest, shifting the body into a softer easeful state. This will melt your fear brain, connect you to your essence and get you back to acting from your natural kind goodness.

5. Redirect to appreciation. 

Ask yourself a really good positivity-boosting question to direct your attention toward appreciation. As a self-protective measure, our brains are wired to look for the negative. To counteract this bias in our relationships, we must consciously look for what is positive.

So ask yourself, “What is wonderful to me about him/her?” If at first answers come slowly, stick with it and the floodgates will open.

When I do this I start to see many things that I adore about my man, and it fills me with love, replacing anger or fear. Nothing is too little: his cheekbones, the way he plays with our sons, the unique sound of his breathing as he shifts into sleep…

Sharing these appreciations with your partner through words or gestures encourages a flourishing of warmth and affection.

Now that I am through those few months of stress when I was once again ensnared by the temptation to criticize and blame, I am grateful for that time because it motivated me to dig out the roots of that harmful habit.

I am now deeply confident in my ability to show up as my best, most loving self in my partnership (which helps my man do the same).

These days, if my love life were a garden, it would be the most lush, colorful, and medicinal place, with an occasional root leftover from that giant old criticism tree that I pulled up not so long ago.

When those roots occasionally grow a shoot, I notice it and gently but firmly pull it up using the techniques I discovered. Then I turn back to adoring my magical garden, allowing it to nourish my whole life. And you can do this too.

Couple painting here

About Hannah Brooks

Hannah Brooks is a Mind Body Relationship Coach who helps deep-feeling and easily rattled women create genuine connection, peace, and wholehearted satisfaction in their love lives. For further tips and guidance check our her free toolkit, 3 Essential Steps to a More Loving Relationship, Even When You Feel Irritable, Resentful, or Disconnected. Grab it free here and find her at lifeisworthloving.com.

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Happy Monday! So I’ve shared about me last Monday and now...



Happy Monday! So I’ve shared about me last Monday and now I am sharing with you how I came to my Priestess, Moon Mother path. I became acquainted with the energy of the #wombblessing about ¾ years ago when my friend Moon Mother Michelle Balandara came down to Miami and I was blessed to be part of the circle where she was offering the womb blessing. It was such a deep, profound experience. The way I connect to my womb and how I opened, how my womb opened like a rose was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. From that point on I would constantly search the training to do that. Already being a #reikimaster i knew this was my next step. In between that session and my training I experienced a disconnect with my womb i had issues with fertility and I suffered a miscarriage. A year after this on October 2016 I became a #moonmother These experiences and the overwhelming presence of the #goddess the #divinefeminine within me after my training has opened a world to me where I know this is my purpose to help women reconnect with their womb so they can bring forth and birth whether that be a human being or their dreams to reality through the connection to their womb and their divine feminine power. I’m am here as a guide, a doula, guiding you back to your womb to give birth to all that is you! #purplelotusspiritualhealing #heidironquillo #priestessmiami #moonmothermiami #wombhealing #wombhealingmiami #wombblessingmiami #metaphysical #energyhealing #spiritual #spirituality #spiritualhealingmiami #spiritualhealing #spiritualjourney #goddess #sacredfeminine #miami #miamilife #yoga #yogini #lightworker #doula #purityandgrace #om #namaste



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Scolecite Is Powerful To Awaken Your Heart & Transform Your Life

Scolecite

Scolecite is a high vibration crystal that will awaken your heart and make a stronger spiritual connection. Put under pillow for sleep problems, makes you calmer and more relaxed.



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The Telegraph: An interview with author and poet Frieda Hughes, reveals she was diagnosed with M.E. | 25 September 2017

 


The Telegraph, Lifestyle, Family, 25 September 2017.

Frieda Hughes: ‘I genuinely believed I was adopted until I was 14’

Having famous parents is not without its downsides. For every path it opens up, it inevitably brings with it almost endless comparisons between the two generations.

Frieda Hughes knows this better than most. The 57-year-old daughter of the poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath lived in the shadow of the family name for so long, it almost threatened to engulf her.

The fact that neither parent is still alive has hardly reduced the public fascination with them; new light is ever being shed on their tumultuous and doomed relationship.

….

She was not entirely well at the time, however: suffering from chronic fatigue, she was awake just four hours a day, during which she worked in 20-minute stretches. She credits the lack of time the illness left her to accomplish anything with helping focus her mind.

“What was I going to do with four hours a day?” she says. “Not do the things that mattered most because somebody I didn’t know might compare me to my parents? Or do the things I felt made me function more as myself? It was a bit like uncorking a bottle really, and I think that actually helped me. You could argue it was therapeutic.”

But if she felt she was being coerced into doing something she didn’t want to, she would pass out.

“My whole brain would shut down. Chronic fatigue is non-negotiable. I used to think it was a joke until I had it. I had all the blood tests and it showed it was myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). The doctor said: ‘There’s no cure – you’ve got it for life’. If I get too stressed now, I might have a relapse, so I tend to watch what I do.”

She was in her mid-20s when the illness first struck, but so fearful was she of provoking pity, she kept it to herself for many years. In her mid-30s, she broke up with her then partner because the illness had put the relationship under so much strain. When she met her last husband, two years later, she was still suffering from it, but gradually recovered – a healing process helped by her work.

“If I’d just given up, I believe I’d still be suffering,” she says. “The mind has a huge part to play. I’m not saying you can cure yourself by thinking yourself well, but certainly finding out what made me worse and what made me better helped. What made me better was a sense of achievement. I’ve been accused of being a workaholic. Well, if you take away a workaholic’s work, what happens to them? They fall over.”

You can read the full article about Frieda Hughes, in The Telegraph.



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The Goddess loves and accepts who you are. Look at the world...



The Goddess loves and accepts who you are. Look at the world with love, and a miracle happens: you see the Goddess looking back at you with love. -Miranda Gray. Join me October 5 as we connect with the Goddess, her Crone archetype and our mother ancestors on a night of healing and connecting with each other during the #worldwidewombblessing. Register at wombblessing.com select timeframe 24:00 and RSVP with me. Bring with you two small bowls, a shawl/wrap, and a special item to place on altar. See you October 5 at 7pm! #wombblessing #wombblessingmiami #worldwidewombblessingmiami #divinefeminine #sacredfeminine #goddess #crone #energyhealing #meditation #kendallfl #moonmother #moonmothermiami #love #metaphysical #femaleenergyawakening #femaleawakening #wombwisdom #ancestors #spiritual #spiriuality #spiritualhealing #spiritualhealingmiami #miami #miamilife #miamievents #purityandgrace



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Honoring The Life Of Louise Hay – Hay House Radio

New MEA Guide: How to manage at university with M.E. | 25 September 2017

 


The following guide has been written by Pippa Stacey and is now available as a download from our online shop.

Pippa, who has M.E., recently graduated from the University of York with an honours degree in BSc Psychology in Education. She also runs her own social enterprise called Spoonie Survival Kits, and writes about life with M.E for various publications, including her own blog.

‘Leaving home and heading off to university can be a daunting time for any person, particularly for those with a fluctuating condition such as M.E.

‘Arranging ways of working, studying and taking exams and assessments in high school give some reparation for moving on to a further education course, but there are often many new considerations to be assessed and coped with.

‘So – prior to taking a course – it is important to investigate more fully what is involved in (i) getting through the teaching, tutorials, producing the work, and assessments, and (ii) managing to live on your own.

‘Planning how to manage time, energy and money in some detail can help to get through all the new situations that are likely to be faced.’

The leaflet goes on to talk about the things you might need to consider when choosing a university as a disabled student, accommodation when at university, and how to apply for support to help ensure you can effectively participate in your chosen course.

Financial support is a key consideration for any student, but perhaps more so for someone with M.E., and Pippa also takes you through the various benefits that are available.

‘Studying whilst living with M.E is a remarkable achievement, and going to university can be incredibly rewarding.

‘Whilst you may be concerned that some of these suggestions may initially identify you as ‘different’ to your peers, it’s important to remember that they’re there to place you on a more even playing field with everybody else.

‘By obtaining the support you’re entitled to, you’ll be better equipped to embark on an enjoyable and memorable university experience.’

To download a copy of this new leaflet, please visit our online shop.

 

 



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The Times: Mutiny by ME sufferers forces a climbdown on exercise treatment | 25 September 2017

 


By Tom Whipple, Science Editor, The Times, 25 September 2017.

A patient revolt in collaboration with MPs and academics has led to a major review of NHS guidelines on the treatment of ME.

The reassessment of recommendations for the condition will consider the validity of a £5 million taxpayer-funded trial that claimed sufferers could be helped by simple lifestyle intervention.

About 200,000 people in the UK suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also sometimes known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Its symptoms include debilitating tiredness, joint pain and concentration problems, and its causes are poorly understood.

In 2011 a UK study published in The Lancet found that patients could experience significant improvements through exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy. Its findings have since formed the basis of treatment in the UK and abroad.

However, patient groups claimed that the interventions made them worse and argued that the treatment wrongly implied it was a psychological, rather than biological, illness. Some academics agreed.

In an open letter to The Lancet, more than 40 academics from UCL, Stanford, Columbia and University of California, Berkeley, among others, argued that the trial had “major flaws”, which included changing its criteria for patient improvement midway through.

They said that this was of particular concern “because of its significant impact on government policy, public health practice, clinical care and decisions about disability insurance and other social benefits”.

The severity of CFS means people are often unable to hold down jobs or live normal lives.

Keith Geraghty, from the University of Manchester, said that the apparent improvements in some patients could be better explained by initial misdiagnosis, and that the benefits were marginal. “The problem is, if you look at patients when you do nothing there is a similar level of recovery,” he said.

Because the criteria for measuring recovery was changed, it was also not clear what recovery even meant, he said. “It became farcical because once they did that patients who began the trial as sick could have been deemed recovered when they started.”

The debate about the trial has become one of the most acrimonious in science, with both sides claiming they have been abused by the other. The US has now changed its recommendations.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has been receiving strenuous lobbying to do the same, and this month pressure was increased when 30 MPs signed an early day motion urging a review.

This week Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of Nice, said that it would carry out a full review, expected to report back after 2020.

Trudie Chalder, professor of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy at King’s College London, was one of the authors of the original 2011 Lancet paper. She welcomed the review and said that subsequent trials showed that exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy remained the best treatment.

“There have been several well conducted trials from independent researchers showing that rehabilitative treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy improve people’s lives,” she said. “Professionals who provide evidence-based treatments need an update on the state of play.”

Read the article in The Times.



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