We all have times in our lives where we reflect on the relationships in our lives; this happens, typically, in times of crisis. I have found regularly reflecting on my relationships with intention is a meaningful exercise; this is done in an effort to avoid regret in a time of crisis.
The purpose is remembering; in their case muscle memory. They use their rituals every time they shoot a free throw… even in practice. This establishes a routine which is part of cuing the body, particularly the muscles used for shooting, into remembering how to make a free throw. This ritual helps their body know what to do even when the pressure is on. It helps their body remember.
As I reflect, I often find myself falling short of where I would like to be in said relationship. One I have recently reflected on is my relationship with my daughters; I found that I lack understanding about my daughters’ worlds (how they view the world). When was the last time you took time out to evaluate your relationships? How are you doing in your relationships? Are there areas you find yourself lacking? Or areas you would really like to strengthen? How do you go about addressing this?
As you may recall from last week’s blog post (if not, go back and give it a read), rituals can help us to remember. Remember what meaning our relationships have. Remember what a person really means to us. Remember the value of connection. Remember the joy and satisfaction of intimacy.
Try establishing a ritual in your relationship. This can be an agreed upon ritual or it can be one that you take on yourself. Remember that rituals are something we do on a regular basis; it can be many times in a day, daily, weekly or even monthly.
Make it something that will help you remember what you are working towards. Here are some suggestions: look your partner in the eyes each day before you leave and while looking into their eyes tell them you love them (rather than an “I love you” shouted over your shoulder as you walk out the door). Initiate a daily phone call during lunch with a loved one. Weekly one-on-one walk with a child. Asking your child what the best part of their day was…every day. Family time on a weekly basis (no phones, no tablets, no screens). Monthly dates with your teenage daughter or son.
As you regularly implement this ritual you will find your relationship becoming stronger because of the care and attention you are giving. John Gottman, a well renowned researcher and therapist, teaches us that it is the seemingly small acts of “turning towards” those we love that enhance relationships and creates connection. Rituals can help us be intentional about these small acts thereby increasing connection and improving our relationships.
Give it a try. Identify a ritual. Write it down. Practice it multiple times per day, daily, weekly, or even monthly. As you do this regularly you will feel the difference in your relationships.
Look for next week’s post on using rituals to help you achieve goals.
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