couples

Boundaries with Family

Boundaries are rules and limits that you present in your interactions with others. They can be physical, mental, psychological and spiritual. Setting boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and are good mental health practice. It can, however, often be difficult to set boundaries with the people whom we are the closest. Setting and sustaining boundaries with family is a skill that needs practice.  

 

Here are a few helpful ideas on how to set boundaries with family:

 

  • Practice self-awareness- Understand yourself and your needs. Remember your needs and feelings are important. Setting boundaries happens when you understand your feelings and honor them.  

  • Name your limits- You aren't able to set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. So identify your limits. Ask yourself- What behaviors will I not tolerate? What kind of relationship do I want with my family?

  • Be firm, but kind- Setting boundaries doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be callous.When you set a boundary make sure you are clear. 

  • Keep realistic expectations- Be realistic with yourself about what boundaries you want to keep. Follow through with boundaries can be difficult, but keep at it and remind others of the boundaries you set.

  • Be direct and assertive- Don't drop hints or be passive aggressive about your boundaries. Being clear about what is okay and what is not okay is the only way you can make sure others understand you.

  • Take care of yourself and your needs- Practice self-care. Go for walks, read, or spend time alone. Make yourself a priority. 

Start small- Boundaries takes practice. Start with a small boundary and work your way up to more difficult boundaries.

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The Dream Team Communication Playbook

Any team sport athlete can tell you that effective communication is vital to the success of a any offense or defense. Team players understand their own role and responsibilities but also need to be able to communicate when they need help, anticipate potential issues, or point out teammates’ blind spots. This is all helpful and productive in the context of shared goals and assuming positive intent. If there is division, selfish motives, or unhealthy players, the team likely will lose. 

 

Communication is defined as “the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.” Each couple has to come up with their own mutually understood signs, symbols and rules. This applies in conflict situations as well as sharing information and feelings. Creating and practicing your own healthy communication “playbook” with your partner can be highly useful for those game time situations that will catch you off guard.As you begin, here are a few helpful pointers: 

 

  • Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”

  • Explain and describe versus accuse

  • Be in tuned to your own needs remembering to H.A.L.Tif necessary

  • Compromise so both parties “win” 

  • Be open to learning from each other and about each other

  • Practice “quick, slow, slow” - Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry

  • Know both you and your partner’s verbal and nonverbal triggers

  • Maintain even TVC when talking - tone, volume, and cadence

  • Validate, validate, validate!

  • Ask for clarification, don’t assume

  • Play to your strengths 

 

At the end of the day, remember to affirm good efforts and small victories. Championships are never won in just one game, but through a compilation of daily efforts, practice, re-evaluation, and improving where weakest. 

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Five Elements Of An Apology

Five Elements Of An Apology

Many times we feel that we have fully apologized to another person about how we have offended or wronged them. But the offended person may want to hear more than just the two words “I’m sorry.” They may have heard that apology several times from the same person and been betrayed or disappointed again by the same actions or words. So the simple “I’m sorry” can seem empty and meaningless. Use these five elements of a sincere apology and then put these elements into action to win a person’s trust back.

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Conflict and Positive Intent

One of the concepts from the business world that transfers well to struggling couples is assuming positive intent. Many times couples come in experiencing gridlock in communications and conflict resolution. They are quick to become defensive and assume their partner is always trying to “win or be right.” After weeks, months or years of functioning this way, the environment becomes very hostile and it can be hard to remember the team commitment once made at the alter. This concept is not a novel one and simply implores giving others the benefit of the doubt. This combined with a little empathy can go a long way. 

The first step in assuming positive intent is to create self-awareness around what it is your partner is doing or saying that is bothersome. Identify the trigger and acknowledge your reactive emotion. Then, step back, and ask yourself, “Is that in my partner’s nature to try to frustrate me?” Then allow yourself to step in their shoes for a moment and see the situation from their perspective. More often than not your partner’s behavior is not an attack on you or your relationship. It is simply self-preservation either emotionally, mentally or physically. Then remind yourself that at their best, your partner has your back and would never intentionally harm you. Overall, extend grace to your partner, acknowledge how they feel, and work towards fostering “we is more important than you or me” in your relationship.

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