In my first post about connecting with your partner, I wrote about how to send messages to your partner so that they are received. In this post, I want to address the messages themselves. Are you connected with yourself enough to know that the message you’re sending matches what’s really happening inside? Consider the following situation:
Your partner comes home really late from work and doesn’t call to let you know. He also doesn’t check his phone to see your messages saying “where are you?!” and then “what are you doing?!” and then “why are you ignoring me?”
When he finally does get home, do you:
A. Fly off the handle, yelling “How ******* selfish are you?! You didn’t think you should let me know you were going to be an hour late? And what were you doing that you were too busy to answer my text?”
B. Don’t talk at all, put your resting bitch face on, and ignore him until he realizes he’s being punished for what he did.
C. Ignore the situation all together because nothing you say is going to change him anyway so you’ll just deal with it like you always do.
D. Respond in a way that stems from checking in with yourself and understanding how you’re feeling about what went down.
If you answered A, B, or C, you’re not alone – but you’re also probably not connecting with yourself very well. A lot of us don’t grant ourselves the space to consider what’s happening inside. We don’t choose to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge our fears or validate our feelings. We don’t connect with ourselves. But how can we connect with our partners if we can’t connect with ourselves? What is intimacy in a relationship if we don’t have it with ourselves? Connecting with yourself means giving yourself the space to evaluate what you’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing – rather than just reacting to a thing that’s happened. It means listening to and receiving the messages you’re sending from you, to you. It’s how to build emotional connection from the inside out.
Here’s the good news – you can practice connecting with yourself in a lot of ways and at any time. You can start right now actually. I invite you to have this conversation with me here to practice. You can have it in your head, talk out loud, write it down – whatever feels good for you.
How are you feeling?
Ok, what’s a more specific feeling word that might better represent how you’re feeling?
What made you pick that word?
Is anyone else related to that feeling? If so, who?
Where is that feeling coming from?
Have you felt like this before?
How is that feeling showing up in your body?
How will your day look if you continue having this feeling?
Does it feel like someone else needs to know you’re experiencing this feeling?
If so, who would you tell and how should you do it?
How would this feeling show up in your day if you hadn’t had this conversation with yourself?
How will it show up in your day now that you have?
Are there any other questions you want to ask yourself about this feeling?
If you just had that conversation, you just connected with yourself. You acknowledged, validated, and allowed yourself to experience your current feelings and thoughts. How might connecting with yourself change your response to the example above? I have a lot of my own ideas about how things might change – but instead, I challenge you to connect with yourself and consider what it would mean for you.