Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk–Until You Understand It

The inner critic is part of your ego. Your ego is your personality. You could not survive in the world without it.

In the first few months of life, you take on one of nine different personalities. Your personality gives you a way to engage with the world. It helps you to know how you are different from others. It helps you to make choices in your life. It helps you to stay safe.

Your inner critic is a big jerk! The trouble begins when you reach maturity. If you do not become aware of your personality and how it impacts you, you will miss much in life. You will also get yourself into trouble because of uninformed choices. You will lose opportunities in life because you are stuck in old habits and thought patterns that no longer serve you.

Your inner critic is the part of the ego that tries to keep you safe by keeping you stuck in your personality.  It wants to be your friend.

The trouble is that the inner critic prefers the familiar rather than uncharted territory. The familiar being the automatic habits that you do without thinking. If you remain imprisoned in your personality, you are going to be miserable.

With practice, you will start to notice when your inner critic is talking to you. The inner critic is that negative voice that is always telling you that you are not good enough, that you are stupid, and that nobody loves you.

Each personality type has particular issues that the inner critic likes to attack.

Type One:criticism

The inner critic for the One is always complaining that you are not doing it correctly. It is always telling you that you need to improve. You need to do better.  It can put a lot of pressure on you by saying to you that something terrible is going to happen if you don’t get it right.

When the inner critic is getting harsh with you, you are more likely going to get tough on others. The One fears that the poor choices of others are going to reflect poorly on you. They are going to interfere with all the excellent work you are doing to make the world a better place.

Type Two:

The inner critic of Two is always trying to tell you that you are not loveable. It wants to prevent you from being hurt by working extra hard to be accepted.  It will also tell you that you have to earn love from those around you. It will keep insisting that you need to go out of your way to help others.

It further insists that if t+e people don’t respond in the way you would like them to you need to go and tell them off.  The inner critic will encourage you to confront anyone who is not obedient to you. The inner critic wants to make you feel like a Queen or King and that everyone around you should treat you like that.

In the end, the inner critic will lead you to self-hatred telling you off that the person left you or didn’t do what you wanted because you were not good enough. You were not worthy of their love. It can leave you in a sad place.

 

Type Three:

The inner critic for the three is always evaluating your success. It wants you to notice if people are acknowledging how hard you are working. Have you met your sales goals? Have you done everything possible to be the best at what you do?

Whenever you try to slow down, your inner critic will keep pushing you to work hard.  Trying to take an afternoon nap is almost impossible.

Whenever you achieve your goals, your inner critic will push you to do something even grander. Every new task you take on you will need to work harder. You will need to change your behavior to fit whatever business/project you are working on.

 

Type Four:

The inner critic for the four is always trying to compare yourself with others. It keeps insisting that you will never fit in. It will tell you over and over that nobody will ever understand you. It will emphasize that you need to prove to the world how different you are.

The Four’s inner critic will encourage you to indulge in your favorite emotions. Your moods will reflect back to you what your inner critic is harassing you to think.

It will try to convince you that only through your moods you will know that you are indeed alive.

The inner critic is a big jerk. The inner critic forgets to tell you that your feelings are always changing. It avoids mentioning to you that staying stuck in depressive emotions for long periods of time only leads to misery for yourself and those around you.

 

Concept of accusation guilty unhappy businesswoman person

Type Five:

The inner critic for the Five is always calling on you to retreat to your inner self.  It wants you to stay safe by learning a topic well. It wants you to learn all that is possible to learn and do not talk about it until you feel knowledgeable enough.

The inner critic wants to instill in you a fear of being found out that you don’t know enough. It doesn’t want you to be embarrassed. It doesn’t want you to be humiliated. So to do this, you need to very cautious about what you say and to whom.

The Five inner critic is only concerned with your mind. It will continually dissuade from paying attention to your body and your heart.

The danger for a five is that you can become an island to yourself disconnected from family and friends.

Type Six:

The inner critic for the six is keeping you alert for all the dangers you and your loved ones face. It will try to keep you hypervigilant watching carefully for any threat that might come your way.

The Six inner critic will get you to question your abilities. It will get you to check out any decisions you are about to make with friends, families and so-called experts. You will be compelled to get as many opinions as possible.

Your inner critic will judge you for experiencing anxiety. It will get you to try and fix yourself making the anxiety worse and worse. The inner critic’s judgment will cause you to try and fix others making you feel even worse.

When feeling threatened, your inner critic encourages you to protect yourself from being hurt through cynicism.  Your cynicism will turn friends, family, and colleagues away from you.

Type Seven:

The inner critic for Seven will do everything in its power to keep you busy, having fun, going on adventures. This is all to keep you from feeling any emotional and/or physical pain.

The seven’s inner critic is desperate to keep you away from any problematic emotions. It causes you to get bored quickly. It lets you off the hook if you are bored with a task. It invites you to abandon the job because there is always something more exciting to do.

The inner critic of the seven lets you off any responsibility for completing any task.

The inner critic makes it clear that any person who tries to force them to slow down or force them to complete a task is no friend.  A friend of a seven is someone who joins them on their adventures and does what they want them to do.

 

Type Eight:

The inner critic for the Eight wants to protect their vulnerable feelings, emotions, and heart. The inner critic is only too happy to help you to put up protective walls to prevent you from being emotionally hurt.

The inner critic is also there to ensure that no one will stop you on any of your projects. It is there to help you to force your way ahead even if means hurting others.

The eights inner critic is a force to be reckoned with. The inner critic will blind you to the power you are using. You will have no idea of how others are experiencing you.

The inner critic is a big jerk. Your inner critic will make it difficult for you to slow down. It’s the only language is power and force. It thinks that confrontation is the only way to go. It is nervous at any time for inner reflection.  It doesn’t’ want your heart to be hurt ever again.

 

Type Nine:

The inner critic for the nine energy is trying to keep you safe by convincing you that you are unimportant. That no one really cares about you. That the only way for you to survive is to keep everyone calm at any cost to you.

The inner critic will try hard to make you feel insignificant. If you have no importance to others, you are not going to create any conflict.

The inner critic will get angry with you if you are allowing any conflict to happen in any group you are part of. If there is a conflict, there is a danger. If there is a conflict, you had better fix it.

The inner critic will make it difficult for you to speak your mind because it is too risky. It will insist that calm is more important than expressing your needs.

The trouble is that eventually after days and months of not having your needs respected and wants to be taken seriously you explode.  You easily become passive-aggressive.

 

You have an inner critic. The inner critic wants to keep you safe.  It tries to keep you safe by insisting you stay in your Enneagram type which it knows best. Fighting your inner-critic will only make it worse.

Woman breathing fresh air outdoors in summerYou can find freedom from your inner critic by learning to notice how it is impacting the decisions you are making in life. The inner critic is a big jerk – until you understand it. The Enneagram can point out to you through your type, how the inner-critic is operating in your life. The more you are aware of it, the more you are free to choose different options.

The inner critic will never disappear, often showing itself in stressful times. But with practice, you can befriend your inner critic by paying attention to it and letting it know that you as an adult are most capable of making right decisions.

The more you stay grounded in your three energy centers the inner critic will have less need to mess around with your life. When your three energy centers heart, body, and mind are working well, there is no place for the inner critic.  It knows you are safe and in good hands.  It recognizes that the universe will take care of you.

Roland Legge offers life/executive coaching and Enneagram workshops through REL Consultants.  For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by emailing Roland Legge at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com  or book your appointment online Please click on “Discovery Call.”

This Article was first published in the  REL Consultants (Roland Legge) Blog

Nine Incredible Valid Reasons Life Transitions are Hard By Roland Legge

Life is full of surprises!  What was your first significant change? It was probably your birth into the world.

Life transitions are hard. The moment, you arrive in the world you experience your first significant change.  It must be a shock to all the senses being forced out into this alien world. The process of birth is just the beginning of your adventure.

Life transitions include:

 

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Birth:

Can you imagine being in the comfort and safety of your mother’s womb? It is nice and warm. With all your needs met, you are secure. Then imagine suddenly without warning being pushed out into a foreign world.

For the first time in your life, separated from your mother you are alone. Can you imagine the sense of abandonment you felt? You have to cry to get your needs met.

If you could remember this part of your life, it might leave you with some unsettling dreams. Coming into the world Is a massive change. Any change takes a period of adjustment whether or not you label the transition as good or bad.

It might be like being kidnapped and thrown out of a plane with a parachute into a jungle where you have no idea where you are. How would you be feeling?

 

Childhood years:

How much of your early years do you remember?  Some of what you remember may come from stories that your parents told you. Now imagine what it was like for you to learn to walk? What was it like to learn to ride a two-wheeler bike? What do you remember?

You are learning to become more independent. These are never easy years. Imagine how many times you fell over before you were able to walk on your own. Learning to walk, is like most new things you learn to do, takes a lot of practice.

Do you remember learning to ride a two-wheeler bike? Did you first start with learners wheels?  How many scrapes did you have before you were able to ride down the street without falling off the bike? Give your child self-lots of appreciation for all the risks they took to take their place in the world. Learning new skills is not easy!

 

Teen Years:

Take a moment to reflect on all physical, social, emotional and hormonal changes that happen during these exciting years. Your body changes so quickly it can be confusing for you to know how to behave.

Sexual desire in you comes to life! You enjoy these new feelings, and yet they baffle you. You pick up from the adults in your life that this is something to feel ashamed.  You are mixed up. How can something that feels so good be so wrong?

You might even feel growing pains in your bones because you are changing so fast. You are not quite sure if you are still a child or an adult.

Peer pressure at school can be challenging. You want to be cool with your mates.

Life transitions are hard. If you are not one of the cool kids, you can feel very isolated. You can feel invisible. Bullies can make your life difficult. Anxiety can overtake your life because you feel like there is something wrong with you.

 

Moving away from home:

Do you remember moving away from home for the first time? It probably is one of the most exciting times in your life? Yet, leaving the safety of home is perhaps one of the most stressful times in your life.

For the first time, you have to take care of your own needs. You need to wash your own clothes. You need to cook your own meals. You have to manage your own schedule. Even if this feels good, change of this magnitude takes a lot of energy.

If you moved to another city, there is the stress of learning to get around a new place. Where do I need to go to get groceries? How are you going to get around?

Then there is the stress of money. When you lived at home, your parents took care of most of your needs. You will have to learn to budget. You might even need to find some part-time work to help you to make ends meet.

 

Marriage:

Marriage is one of the most significant decisions you will make in your life. Once you get past the falling in love stage where everything seems exciting; the success of your marriage will depend on your commitment to growing individually and as a couple.

Your relationship will find strength, depending on how well you are able to know your own needs, show a willingness to compromise, seek to bring out the best in each other and communicate well. Communication is probably one of the most significant challenges you will face.

It takes time to get used to living with someone else. You need time to find your new rhythm as a couple. You will need to find ways that honor the needs of both of you. You will need to experiment until you find a balance that works for you both.

One of the many challenges of marriage is that you get to see each other in the worst and best of times. You get to experience each other’s peculiarities. Maybe the things that you once thought to be amusing is now annoying.

Do you like conflict? I am guessing you don’t. There is guaranteed to be conflict in your relationship. Conflict happens when there are two people with different opinions. You as a couple need to find a way to talk so you can see solutions that will work for you both. Trying to impose your point of view may fix things for the short time, but it will eventually backfire when the person who was imposed on pushes back.

 

Having children:

If you think getting married is complicated, then having children is even more challenging. When a child arrives into your life your world dramatically changes. It is your child/children who are the center of your attention.

There will be a time when you get little sleep. You will no longer be able to do as you please. If you want to have a date you need to find someone to care for your child or children.  Your children will be on your mind for the rest of your life no matter what they do good or bad.

If you haven’t had any conflict about the division of labor in your family having children will likely raise it. Hopefully, you have thought about it before the child arrives. Are you going to equally share the work including child care, cooking, cleaning, shopping, outdoor work and more?

Sharing the labor doesn’t mean you have to divide all tasks in half. But you need to come to an agreement that is fair to both parties.  Watch out that the women don’t take on more than her fair share.

Life transitions are hard. Make sure you take time to care for yourself, besides caring for your children and partner. A healthy you is the best gift you can give to the family.

 

Divorce:

There is no such thing as an easy divorce. Even the most respectful ones take a lot of energy. There is nothing shameful about getting divorced. I hope you would have tried to resolve the issues before you made the final decision.

Sometimes your relationship needs to come to an end for many reasons from the loss of trust, affairs, domestic violence and sometimes people just grow apart.

Divorce impacts the relationships you have with the friends and family you shared with your partner. Depending on how well the relationship ends will determine who you are able to stay in touch with.

Divorce impacts your children. No matter how well you do it, the children’s lives are going to be changed forever. If you are your partner were not getting along,  the divorce will still be better for the children.

All your routines get changed. Tasks you used to share you have to do yourself. There is no one to ask about your day. There is no one to share something important that took place at work or at home. Money can be a problem if you are the one that stayed at home with the kids or you had the lowest paying of the two or more jobs.

During times of divorce, your emotions will be up and down. There will be days when you will find it hard to get out of bed. One moment you will be crying, the next laughing and the subsequent angry. It is like being on an emotional roller coaster.

 

Death of loved ones:

Grieving takes a lot of energy. When someone that is close to us dies, it is never easy. It especially tricky when a person dies young from disease, accident, murder and/or suicide.  Even when a person dies after a beautiful long life, we all must go through grief.

There is no way around grief. The only way is to go through it. It can take up to a year to go through the cycles of loss. Our lives will never be the same, but you will find a way to move ahead in life. Here is the process we go through, not always in this order:

·         Denial

·         Anger

·         Depression

·         Bargaining

·         Acceptance

You may be tired. You may be moody. You may be angry. You may have a hard time accepting what has happened.

Give yourself lots of time to move through this. This is not a time to make big decisions. Find friends, religious leaders, counselors and coaches to help you to explore these intense feelings. Grieving is hard work but so worthwhile.

 

Retirement:

Retirement is all about transition. Do you know what you are going to do when you retire? You might decide to start your own business and work, only, when you want. There may be organizations that you have always wanted to volunteer for and have never had the time.

If you are one of the people who has spent the majority of their working life focussed on their job, retirement could be a very stressful time. You may feel a loss of identity. You might feel depressed. So it is better for you to start volunteering and finding other interests before you retire.

You are likely to have more time with your spouse. This may be great, but you may find your spouse driving you crazy. Does it feel like they are under your feet too often? Each of you will want to discover your own interests so that each of you has time apart.  You will also have different experiences to share with each other.

You might find it challenging to organize your day now that you are retired. There is no longer any requirement for you to be at work at a particular time. You might want to set a regular schedule for yourself each week. Like when you are going to get up?  What are you going to do?

It is at these times of significant changer in our lives we are more likely to face depression and other mental health issues. If you are getting down don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Give yourself time to get used to your new life. Remember life transitions are hard. Make the best of this season by seeing this as an opportunity to re-focus on what is really important to you.

 

Your life is full of transitions. No matter what change you are going through it takes time and energy to make the adjustments.

You may be one of many who do not realize the energy it takes to go through:

·         Birth

·         Childhood

·         Teen years

·         Moving away from Home

·         Marriage

·         Children

·         Divorce

·         Death of Loved Ones

·         Retirement

 

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Life transitions are hard! So during these times of change, you may feel like you are going crazy. I assure you, you are not going crazy.  The only way to get through these times of change is to fully experience the ups and downs that your body, heart, and mind will take you through.

Give yourself space to make your ways through these vulnerable times. Let others know what you are experiencing. Allow yourself more time to sleep. Eat well. Enjoy time with good friends and family. Cry when you need to. Laugh. Seek support when you are feeling alone.

Congratulations, you have made it this far in life. You have been through a lot!

You have become a stronger and more compassionate person through all of your life experiences.  You are the amazing person you are because of all the ups and downs you have faced.  Go and celebrate each moment of life. Be kind to yourself, with gentleness, when you are facing difficult times and truly celebrate the good times.

Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online at   https://www.relconsultants.com/coach-roland-legge  Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

Originally Published by REL Consultants  http://www.relconsultants.com

 

A Fascinating Overview of How the Enneagram Personality System Works

Seven years ago I began learning about the Enneagram Personality System. It has changed my life for the better. I am much more compassionate and forgiving of myself. I have a lot more patience and compassion to work with people who experience the world differently from me. I am a healthier and happier person. It has helped me so much I want to share it with others.

This is a story of how the Enneagram the Enneagram personality system works.

Ennea means nine, and gram means figure in Greek. So together it means a nine-pointed figure. What is its history?  Here is a short synopsis:

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The symbol dates back about 2500 years. The actual date of its beginning or where exactly it started is unknown. It is a coming together of the wisdom of many different spiritual traditions. Much of it has come from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam (especially Sufis) and Judaism.

Much of this spiritual wisdom, was forgotten for hundreds of years. In 1875 Gurdjieff re-discovered the symbol in his search for the knowledge of the esoteric religions of the past. He formed a group called Seekers After Truth.  He and his friends traveled through Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, Persia, and India.

Gurdjieff used the Enneagram as a tool to help his students to find their way in the world through dance and movement.

He explained that the Enneagram has three parts that represent the three central laws that describe divine law which governs all existence.

The circle represents unity, wholeness, and oneness and symbolizes that God is one (Hudson, 1999).

The next symbol is the triangle. In Christianity, this is referring to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in the Enneagram world, the Law of Three. This symbolism found in the Kabbalah, an esoteric teaching of Judaism. The ancient traditions do not see the world as a place of opposites but of non-duality. Hence the world is full of many hues of color rather than black and white (Hudson, 1999).

The third part is the hexad, referring to the Law of Seven. It demonstrates to us that nothing is static. Our world is continuously changing, recycling and evolving or de-evolving. The Periodic Table and the Western musical octave are all based on the Law of Seven (Hudson, 1999).

The modern Enneagram as we know it came to life in California in the 1970’s under Claudio Naranjo.  Naranjo and many others since him have woven psychology into the Enneagram to bring it into the modern age. He used panels of each type as one way to teach the Enneagram.

Today the Enneagram teaches that when you are born into the world, your ego chooses one of the nine fundamental ways to survive in the world. These represent the nine Enneagram types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

You could not have survived without the ego type your inner self chose. No one knows why we choose the type we do. It is probably a mixture of genetics mixed with early life experiences.

Our personality can begin to get in the way when we become adults if we do not become aware of the limitations of our nature.  When you are stuck in your personality, you are only using one-ninth of the tools given.

All the things you do without thinking are your personality speaking. When you begin to be aware of your limited pattern (type) talking, you then become open to responding in new and different ways.

I always say to my clients that when you can notice your personality acting out, you then have the option to respond in ways that are more appropriate for the situation in which you find yourself.

The Enneagram is like a map. It shows you when you are healthy, and not so healthy. It points you in the direction you need to go to get healthier. It warns you when you are getting stuck in old habits that no longer serve you.

When you look at most Enneagram images, you will see arrows pointing in the different directions of integration and stress (disintegration).

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The Enneagram is never static. The health of your personality is never static. Each day you go up and down depending on how much stress you are experiencing.

There is movement on the Enneagram as you move to ether your integration point or your stress point.

The integration points you toward the functional aspects of another type when you are dealing with life well. When you are integrating, you are living beyond the trappings of your personality.

There is nothing wrong moving towards the stress type. The stress point is a safety valve. It prevents you from moving down to a lower level of health than you have ever been before.

Just to learn the types can be a fun thing to do. It can be a great party conversation. But it is only of use if you commit to learning through this tool through workshops, reading, reflection, counseling, and coaching.

The only person who can tell you who you are is yourself. For many people, it takes time to discern what type you are. It is easy to misidentify when you are not self-aware.

The Enneagram is no excuse to behave in a particular way. The gift of the Enneagram is that it points out to you the personality box in which you find yourself. A healthy person will develop strengths in all nine types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

Learning the Enneagram together with someone that knows you well such as your spouse can be a lot of fun. Your partner can help you to see who you are. When we are so close to ourselves, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing our desired image of our self when in reality people around us experience us differently.

The Enneagram teaching is an excellent tool for any group such as spouses, a whole family, congregation or business to learn how to get along better with each other. You begin to understand your differences because of how you see the world through your different lenses.

I expect at some time in your life you assumed that everyone thought the same as you did—until you got a rude awakening.  We all have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

You will discover that most people don’t want to annoy you. They just see the world in different ways and have different priorities.

The nine Enneagram types divide into a triad of gut, heart, and head. These are our three energy centers. Your type suggests which one of these energy centers you either avoid or overuse. It just means this is where you are most comfortable but to be healthy, we need to keep all three of these wisdom centers open.

You can also use another triad of assertive, withdrawn and dutiful.

The assertive types of people move out into the world with force and conviction. They are a force to be taken seriously.

The withdrawn types when under stress like to withdraw into themselves to recharge. They are usually great observers of what is going on around them. They are easy to get along with.

The dutiful types when under stress feel responsible for taking care of everyone around them and making sure everyone stays safe. The dutiful types can often feel overly responsible.

The Enneagram is all about finding ways to live with as much presence as possible. Presence is the ability to stay open to the wisdom of your three energy centers: the gut, heart, and head.

The Enneagram is meant to help you move out of the fog of life. When you are stuck in your personality, it is easy to go to sleep to your true self. You live out your image of yourself without any self-awareness. Your life becomes more and more limited unless you find the courage to discover who you indeed are.

Using the Enneagram takes time and intentionality. It is a tool that will give you new things to learn each day no matter how old you are. It is no quick fix.

If someone claims you need fixing with the Enneagram, run away as quickly as you can. These teachers are dangerous!

I love the Enneagram! I hope it can help you as much as it has and continues to help me. I learned that being a type six explained why I had had lots of anxiety issues through my life. I have a lot more compassion for myself. I have learned how important meditation is for me to quiet my mind.

The Enneagram can change the world!

Learning that I am a type six has helped me to acknowledge my strengths such as my ability to look for problems before they become serious.

It has been a blessing in my relationship with my wife, Jen. She is a type five (the investigator). She thinks everything through before she says anything. She finds it difficult to express herself especially when she doesn’t feel that she has enough information.

I am the opposite. I think out loud. I learn through my conversations with others. We have had to learn much. I have learned to give Jen lots of time to think. She has learned that she needs to tell me what she is thinking, especially when it is a decision that affects both of us. We now laugh together instead of cursing each other.

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I invite you to try out the Enneagram. It is a productive tool that reflects the complexity and holiness of each person.  It shows you where you are right now and where you need to go to get healthier.

This fantastic tool helps you to find your true self or God self. The Enneagram shows you a way to be aware of your sensations that are full of wisdom. The Enneagram shows you a way to remain open to your emotions through your heart. This is how the Enneagram personality works.

You learn that your feelings shine the light on how you are experiencing the world in each moment. Then your mind, when quiet, helps you to connect with your intuition.

Please join me on this journey to new life. May it be full of surprises, wonder, and hope.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Originally published at http://www.relconsultants.com/blog

Author: Roland Legge

 

 

How to Connect with God without Going to Church

Silhouette of woman praying to godGod is in the in-between. Spirit lives within us and around us. Spirit connects us with all of life both animate and inanimate. To communicate with God, we need to stay present and open to the wisdom that is available to us all the time. You don’t need to go to church to open your channels to higher vibrations.

Here are Nine ways to connect with God without going to church.

1.       Slow Down:

Your life is precious! You have a limited time on this fantastic planet earth. It is your job to make the most of it.  Staying open to this limitless sacred energy helps you to know how to live your life fully.  You will discover a natural flow to life that will carry you on like a gentle river.

If you want to stay connected with God, you need to slow down so the Spirit can get your attention. It is hard to remain related to the Holy when your life is so busy that you barely have time to sleep. God’s light will be revealed in our lives whenever we open up space for it to shine.

Make time for God, and you will be blessed.

2.       Meditate and or Prayer:

Meditation and prayer are all about creating openings for the Holy to reveal itself in our lives. Meditation can help you to experience God within yourself through your body, emotions, and mind. Prayer is more like an open conversation with Spirit.

There are countless ways to pray and meditate. One method you can use both is Centering Prayer. Father Thomas Keating has brought this practice back into our modern consciousness.  I love it because it does not require us to empty your mind. You choose a focus word to help bring you back into presence whenever you get too focused on a thought.

In the end, you need to find a practice that works for you.  You can have a conversation with God, but don’t expect instant answers. It may seem like God is not hearing you, but years later you will find that God did respond; not necessarily in the way, you had hoped. Prayer can include a lot of active waiting.  It is about living as though your prayer is answered but without any expectation of how God is going to respond.

There are many traditions to explore from a variety of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. Then there are the Eastern religions/philosophies to explore. There is no wrong or right way to pray. The only condition you should put on prayer and meditation is the holy intention of generosity, love, and respect.

Don’t expect this to be easy at the beginning. You will need to practice this new habit most days of the week, intentionally, before it becomes a regular part of your life.

 

3.       Enjoy the Outdoors:

Most of us feel connected to something higher than us when we are out in God’s fabulous natural world. I love walking along the seashore, lakes, and rivers. I love the grandeur of the mountains!  What do you enjoy?

Find where these sacred places are for you whether you live in the country or urban area. Make time for it. Go to these sites and just be. Soak in the beauty, wonder, and energy of the place.  Take deep breaths to quiet the mind so you can truly soak in the ambiance of the area. You will come out of these experiences at a higher vibrational level.

4.       Stay Open to Finding God within Yourself:

God is within you! God is as close as your breath and the beat of your heart. Going within helps you to find the oneness of God within you. Yes, you are worthy.  Yes, you are loveable.  Yes, you have a purpose in the world.

You might journal about how God is active in your life. Explore all the small and big things you have done that have made the world a better place whether that be for a person, pet, wild animal or for the whole earth.  Everything we do that blesses the earth, and all its inhabitants make a difference.

How do you know if it is God who is speaking to you?  It isn’t God if you are feeling shame. It isn’t God if it is destructive or violent. It isn’t God if you are trying to control or manipulate another person.

With practice, you will know the difference.

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5.       Look for God in each Person You Meet:

You meet all sorts of people every day. Try looking for God in each person you meet. It will change the way you see the world. It is tough to get angry with someone when you are open to the divine in them. Even if you can’t see God in another person, just know that God is there.

It is the holy within you that connects with the sacred in all people you meet, even people you don’t know. You know that you are part of God’s great family which includes every person on this earth.

6.       Stay open to Experiencing Spirit in Unexpected Places:

God will surprise you! Think for a moment of an experience of someone encouraging you or helping you, who you never realized cared about you.

Maybe it was the time a stranger stopped to give you directions. Perhaps it was the time when a person you had never met changed your flat tire. Maybe it was all the neighbors who brought you food when you were going through a rough time. Don’t focus just on people. Animals are amazing. Our pet dogs and cats intuitively know when you have a rough time.  Even wild animals warn us of wildfires. They let us know what kind of winters are to happen.

The most challenging gift from God is when it comes from a person you don’t like. It could be a sincere apology from a person who hurt you many years ago. An apology doesn’t mean you are required to become buddies with them. It can be enough to free you from the painful experience this person caused you many years ago.

 

7.       Find Music that Touches Your Soul:

What type of music touches your heart? Music can help you to get in touch with the inner part of your soul. I love Celtic music. What do you enjoy?

Music can take us to places in the heart that no words could ever hope to achieve. Music is universal. Everyone can appreciate music no matter where you come from, what you believe or how old you are.

There is spiritual music that is universal because it gets you in touch with the rhythms of life. Take time to listen to music that inspires you. Music is incredible when you are feeling down. Music can re-balance the body, heart, and mind.

Music takes you to your spiritual depths. It returns you to thin places where the holy and ordinary become one.  When you find yourself in thin places, you find joy in just being.

 

8.       Honor Your Body as a Sacred Place:

When you acknowledge that the Spirit is within you, it changes the way you see yourself. You begin to see yourself as valuable just for being you.

When you can feel the sacredness within you, you are called to take care of yourself. Imagine your body is your church, shrine, mosque, or any other holy structure. Our bodies need good food, exercise, relaxation, and meaningful work.

Our souls need loving relationships. Our emotional, spiritual and physical health needs attention, time and practice.

9.       Practise Radical Gratitude:

Practising radical gratitude opens the heart to the soul. Radical gratitude is the art of giving thanks to everything good in our lives. It can be:

·         The Sun that keeps us warm and helps to grow the food we eat

·         The Moon that controls the tides

·         Water that sustains life

·         Food that supports life on our planet

·         Friendship

·         Our pets

·         Animals, fish, insects e.c.t.

What else can you add to this list?

 

Practising this art of loving the world opens you up to experience the holy in your life. It is an excellent way for you to keep God in your day every day.  Our experience of the Spirit will become increasingly aware of the sacred the more you practice living with thanksgiving each day.

As you can see that connecting with God without going to church is achievable every day; but it does take practice.

It takes intentionality through slowing down, meditating, praying, enjoying the outdoors, looking for God within your self, being open to God in each person you meet, being open to experiencing God in an unexpected place, enjoy music that touches your soul, treat your body well and practice radical gratitude.

Staying attuned to God is a lifelong journey.  You are required to make these practices a regular part of your life if you want to live life to your best.

The best part is that you know deep within yourself you are never alone; the universe always holds you.

Yes, you don’t need a church to do this, but finding a community of like-minded people to encourage you on your journey is often helpful. But this can be any group. It doesn’t need to be a formal religious organization.

Find what you need to thrive with joy, hope, and purpose.  You are worth it!

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

This article was first published at REL Consultants

Nine Powerful Tips for Building a Good Relationship Between Husband and Wife

Mixed-Race Couple, Piggyback

 

Do you dream of the perfect relationship? I think most of us do.  As children and teens, you dreamt of the ideal relationship. Just like it was portrayed in the movies. It was magical!

When you got older, you probably found that a healthy relationship between a husband and wife is never easy. It takes persistence, dedication, self-awareness, and faith.

I want to encourage you in you in your desire to find joy and happiness in the relationship you have chosen.  Here are nine ways to build a good rapport between you and your spouse.

1.       Get to know yourself:

How can you get to know your partner if you don’t know yourself? Getting to know yourself takes time and dedication. You might want to ask yourself some deep questions such as:

a.       What do I want in my life?

b.       What makes me happy?

c.       What gives me satisfaction?

d.       What makes me angry?

e.       What do I want to be doing in ten years?

f.        What makes me uptight?

g.       What do I fear?

I invite you to reflect on these questions through the sensations of your body, the emotions of the heart and the quiet of the mind.

Body:

You can do something physical like yoga, dance, walk, run, gardening, sports to get in touch with the sensations of your body. Take time to notice what is going on. Your body will help you to acknowledge what is going on and is less likely to lie than compared to your mind.

Warmth and relaxation in the body suggest you are getting healthier. Tightness and a lack of energy indicate you are experiencing dis-ease.

Heart:

To get in touch with your heart, notice what is going on in your chest area. Is it warm or cold? Does it feel relaxed or tight? How aware are you of your chest area? A warm and comfortable chest suggests you have an open heart. A cold and constricted chest suggests a closed heart.

To open it requires you to breathe in your chest area. Often guided meditation and yoga can be of great help. Stay open to what your heart is trying to tell you.

Head:

How busy is your head? Do you have lots of conversations going on in your head? Too much going on in your head can create a lot of anxiety. Decisions can be overwhelming because your mind has too much going on at the same time.

The best way to quiet the mind is to do something physical like walking, running, dancing, gardening or something else. Other excellent practices are meditation and taking time to breathe intentionally. Find out what works best for you.

 

2.       Excellent Communication:

When you need to communicate with your loved one, here are some practices to enhance your communication:

a.       Stand or sit at the same level of your partner.

b.       Look each other in the eyes.

c.       Be aware of each others body language.

d.       Ask questions of clarification if needed.

e.       Say in your own words what you heard your partner say.

f.        Use “I” statements. Take responsibility for what you say.

g.       Do not blame. Stay curious about what your partner is trying to tell you.

h.       Keep communication open.

Make sure you are grounded before you talk to your partner. Take a few deep breaths if you are feeling upset; and if you can not talk now make arrangements to speak at another time.

 

3.       Deal with Conflict Openly:

Conflict happens every time there are at least two different opinions in a room. Conflict is normal and can be healthy.

When there is a minor misinterpretation, and resolution is possible; you just need to clarify what each of you intended to say.

If it is a more complex debate, you will require more time to work toward a resolution that will be satisfactory to all involved.  Intentional listening takes time, requiring open minds, hearts, and bodies that are grounded.

If you felt hurt by something, your love has said or done. You need to be clear with her or him as to what you experienced, felt and thought. Keep your conversation descriptive rather than judgmental. Give your partner a chance to respond.

If you did something wrong, admit your error and show your partner that you won’t do it again. If you didn’t do anything wrong, don’t appease your partner to make them happy.  Appeasing is destructive to the relationship.

Working through conflict should be a win-win!

 

4.       Play:

At the beginning of your relationship, it is always easy because you are in love. You can not get enough of each other. But as the relationship continues on you need to choose to stay in love. A good way to nurture your love is to play together. What do you enjoy doing as a couple?

a.       Do you like to play games?  What games do you like?

b.       Do you enjoy going to live theater?

c.       Do you enjoy reading out loud a book to each other?

d.       Do you enjoy singing? How about joining a community or church choir?

e.       Surprise each other with gifts such as a bouquet of flowers or a ticket to show.

Make sure you have enough time to enjoy each others company. Do it at a time when you both have the energy to enjoy it.

5.       Intimacy:

Are you thinking of sex when I talk about affection? Yes, sexual intercourse is one small part of being intimate. But there are many ways you can express/share that deep love with your life partner. Show love:

a.       By looking into each other’s eyes

b.       By holding hands.

c.       By cuddling on the sofa and bed.

d.       By kissing.

e.        By listening deeply to each other’s stories.

f.        By enjoying a candlelight dinner together.

g.       By doing something, your spouse loves, and you don’t.

Let each other know what you need to feel loved. Let your partner know what you enjoy. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. In the end be thankful they can’t know all your thoughts.

 

6.       Friends:

You need friends whether or not you are in a close relationship. No one person can provide all you need in life. Friends are the spice of life. They bring out different qualities in you that your spouse would. They are also there to give you another perspective on your relationship. When you are so close to another person, it can be difficult to see the truth.

You need a friend more than you need a spouse.  As a human being, you are intended to live in relationship with others. You can not survive in our world without others. We are so interconnected that when one person hurts, we all hurt.  When a person succeeds, we are all better off.

 

7.        Forgiveness:

Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood concepts. Forgiveness is a process. It can take a long time, even years. The goal of forgiveness is to release you from the negative experience so that the memory will cease to poison your life in the future.

In close relationships, forgiveness plays a vital role in learning from our mistakes. Forgiveness creates room for you and your partner to learn from your or your partner’s error of judgment.

If your partner is abusing you, first you need to get away to safety and later on and see how the forgiveness might look. Forgiveness could include staying with your partner if they take responsibility for their actions or leave the relationship for good if it is not safe to remain. Forgiveness is hard work!

 

8.       Ability to Live Out Your Vocation

Over time you need to be able to live out your vocation. If your partner loves you, they will support you in living this out. You may not be able to do everything you like, but in the end, you need a relationship where over the long term you are going to be satisfied in how you are living your life.

If you keep putting your life on hold to meet the needs of your partner, this will eventually backfire. If you don’t honor yourself in the relationship, tension, in the end, will build up to the point that it flares into anger and resentment.

You and your partner need to find a way to honor both of you.  When you are both happy, you have the best chance for a joy-filled relationship.

To do this you both need to express what you honestly desire in life. In the end, it needs to be a win-win solution.

 

9.       Self-Care:

To enjoy your relationship you need to take good care of yourself. You are your most happy when you take time to rest, eat well, get enough sleep, have a healthy balance between work and play and get enough exercise. No one feels romantic and sexy when they are exhausted.

So if you are missing sex in your relationship, you might want to check if you are both taking care of yourselves. If you are always fighting, you might both be too tired and stressed to think clearly.

If you find yourself stressed and tired; I encourage you to get, some help. See how you can better organize your life so you can slow down. Are you trying to do too much? Do you have a hard time saying no?  What is blocking you from taking the time to care for yourself?

Then take one step at a time to add in self-care into your daily life. You might need to let go of things that you have no interest.  The reality is that there is only so much time in your day to do what is important for you.

Closeup of happy couple looking at camera

 

A good relationship between a husband and wife is never easy. It is a lifelong commitment. If you both are willing to see this as a great adventure, will be rewarded with surprise and joy. The moment your partner doesn’t surprise you, or you stop growing emotionally and spiritually suggests your relationship is getting stuck.

If you practice these nine tips, you are dramatically increasing your chances of having a long and satisfying relationship. Know yourself. Practice good communication. Deal with conflict openly. Don’t forget to play! Discover the type of intimacy you and your partner needs. Enjoy great friendships. Practice forgiveness. Find a way to live out your vocation. Lastly and not the least practice self-care.

A good way to get to know yourself and your partner through learning about the Enneagram. There are many books on the Enneagram. Here is a list of books you might like to read. The Enneagram will help you to understand each other better. It will help you to see your strengths and your growing edges.

Most of all take the time to enjoy each others company. Take the time to play. Make an effort to share with each other honestly. Accept responsibility for meeting your own needs.

If you are feeling stuck, don’t be ashamed to go for help. Talk to a friend, a spiritual leader, a coach, a counselor, or psychologist. Enjoy the one life you have.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

This post was originally published on the REL Consultants Blog on September 26th, 2017