The National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) | Pioneers of Whole Health Education® and Whole Person Care
November 23, 2013

What Happens to Relationships When We Don’t Feel Understood

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

When couples are asked what it is in their relationship that makes them feel fulfilled, the answer is inevitably that they feel “understood and cared about”. Contrary to what many of us believe, having misunderstandings is not the problem in our relationships. It is not having a misunderstanding that is what creates bad feelings and unhappiness in relationships, but rather not feeling that the person we are most intimate with and care most deeply about doesn’t understand who we are and what we are feeling.

In order to feel loved we must first experience that others understand us and regard us as good and valuable human beings. If our significant others do not understand or get who we are and how we feel, that leaves us with a feeling of being misunderstood. It can also lead to our feeling alone because only someone who truly knows us, rather than just thinking they know us, can truly love us for who we actually are.

When we are in a relationship we do not want to continually explain ourselves to another person, or justify our values, beliefs or the choices we make in our lives. If after a time, that person cannot be really present to us, listening to what we have to share and sharing their own thoughts and feelings, the relationship quickly deteriorates. This is why one of the important focal points in good couples counseling is learning what is called “active listening.”

The main purpose of active listening is to let your partner know that you are truly listening to them and that you are really “present” to them as well – that means they have our full attention.  And by giving them our full attention, we can more authentically understand how they feel and what their point of view and opinions are about the important discussions that make up all relationships.

A key component of active listening is when we reflect back to the other person what we understand they were communicating to us so that we can be sure that we understand and not mis-interpret their communication. When we do this, we ask questions to clarify, such as “Are you saying that you were upset that I did not go to your aunt’s house for dinner on Sunday, even though you had said it didn’t matter if I went or not?

By working together so that the listening partner and the speaking partner both understand that clarifying their understanding of what is being communicated and also participating in active communication as well as active listening, the relationship can take on a greater depth, intimacy and fulfillment. Effective communication is always the key to any good relationship. For a free chapter download from the award winning, Changing Behavior, visit changingbehavior.org.

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November 9, 2013

Being Happy with Who We Are

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

With such a strong emphasis on achievement, accumulation and recognition in our society, it can become easy to be discouraged or disappointed with who or what we perceive ourselves to be, especially in how we stack up in the “pecking order” with those around us.

Being happy with ourselves is a choice that each of us can make every day by taking simple, practical steps to develop habits of happiness. It starts with creating an environment for us to work and live in that reduces our stress and work load, and brings order and ease, making our work and our living easier.

This uplifting environment can also provide us the experience of soothing tranquility rather than focusing us on the disorder and chaos that often becomes the working and living environments we find ourselves in.

Cleaning out desk drawers, closets, discarding excess and re-defining what is important to keep and what feels good to get rid of is a first step to creating a peaceful and happy living or working space. Creating an environment that truly resonates with our values is like building an oasis in the desert. By eliminating the need to accumulate more and more “things” around us, we can unburden ourselves, have a more orderly, relaxing and peaceful space to live and work in.

This is also true with friends and acquaintances. Just like with material things, we can also accumulate unnecessary or unwanted relationships that can make demands on our time and energy and often insert negativity or sap our physical or financial resources. Clearing out the toxic or unhealthy relationships we may have can bring personal renewal and further our sense of happiness and contentment.

Take the time to appreciate family. For most of us there are few individuals who have done more for us than our family members. This includes anyone and everyone in our family who support us, are there when we need them and provide a “safe harbor” throughout our lives.

Losing loving family members can be devastating but no more so than when we fail to appreciate them as they are helping us along life’s bumpy road. By taking time to give back and express our gratitude to those who care and nurture us will not only bring them pleasure and a sense of being appreciated, but will give us a reminder of how loved and cared for we are, allows us to feel more content and happy with being who we are.

For more information about this topic you can access a free excerpt from the bestselling book Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn Proven Communication Skills by visiting www.changingbehavior.org.

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September 14, 2013

Love and Romance Research Surprises

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

With help from Reader’s Digest, Huffington Post, AOL, and AARP, along with Pepper Schwartz, PhD, from Yale and James Witte, PhD, from Harvard, screenwriter and author Chrisanna Northrup, not to be confused with women’s health specialist Christiane Northrup, MD, has done interesting and revealing research on the “secrets of happy couples”. Ms. Northrup and the doctors from Yale and Harvard put together a survey that was then taken worldwide by over 80,000 participants. The survey revealed fascinating surprises about love and romance surprises.

The research findings were the basis of her book, The Normal Bar, which reveals fascinating aspects of romance that many of us may have had an inkling about, but how now been shown to be grounded in the day to day reality of relationships. Some of her revealing “romantic secrets” have shown that:

1. Two-thirds of couples don’t agree with each other’s politics
2. 56 percent of people say they never or rarely passionately kiss.
3. 70 percent of couples in England say they laugh often or all of the time
4. Two-thirds of men say their female partner criticizes them a lot
5. 75% of men and women in France and Italy keep secrets from their partner
6. 25 % of men and women do not talk to their partners about how much they earn
7. Over half of men and women pretend they’re happier with their partners than they really are
8. 33% more men than women around the world say it bothers them “a lot” that their significant other isn’t more romantic.

9. Men are much more likely than women—48% vs. 28%—to fall in love at first sight.
10. The richest couples surveyed were less likely to be happy than those with less money. In fact, couples who earn $20,000 or less argue less frequently than couples who earn $250,000 to $500,000.
11. 57% of those in unhappy relationships still find their partner extremely attractive.
12. More than 33% of men and women say they have watched a TV show or movie that affected them so much they considered breaking up.
13. Those who put their partners in the category of a “good teammate” were most likely to describe their relationships as slightly unhappy.
14. Nearly 60% of both men and women who were unhappy with their relationships say they would still be happy to spend eternity with their partners.

For a free download from the award-winning book on transforming your relationships, Changing Behavior, visitwww.changingbehavior.com

 

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