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Harvesting Your Strengths in Relationships

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Where there is the greatest love, there are always miracles. ~ Willa Cather~

When was the last time you celebrated what was working well in your relationships? When was the last time you noted what you were contributing? Rather than feeling inadequate when a connection steers off course, why not help set it straight again by plugging into your relationship superpowers? Do you know what yours are? Noting that is definitely worth a moment of reflection. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on what isn’t working, or on the problems you are having with someone. Instead, concentrate on what you might do differently in that moment. As I love to remind my coaching clients, it is by recognizing and using our strengths that we experience true joy in relationships. If we harness our strengths, we can also more easily make positive changes when needed. Problems get more quickly resolved. The result – feelings of empowerment in the art of intimacy and connection!

Let today be the day you really appreciate the strengths you bring to all the important relationships in your life. I can pretty much guarantee that if you reflect on and embrace the gifts you offer in your connection with others, you will feel the bonds you have deepen. Not only that, but you will feel the appreciation you have for yourself grow significantly. How delicious is that? And perhaps most importantly, as you recognize and value your interpersonal strengths, you will get even better at utilizing them. Get ready for greater satisfaction in your relationship world.

There are a number of areas where relationship strengths empower us and deserve to be further harvested. Consider, for instance, your ability to communicate with those in your inner circle. Perhaps you are a pro at being able to speak openly and without judgement. This straightforward, direct style helps your dear ones know where you stand, and where they stand with you. Pretty significant, yes? Or maybe you have the talent of addressing tough issues in non-blaming, or matter-of-fact ways. What a gift this strength is! Issues can be more easily discussed without the likelihood of your pal shifting into a defensive posture. To be able to communicate respectfully, even in times of trial or stress, can bring a healing quality to many a hard moment. Tension can be greatly reduced by the strength of a gentle, considerate, clear communication style.

Another area relationship strengths deserve to be celebrated relate to commitment values. Maybe you are a person who is highly dependable, and consistent in showing up. These traits foster trust and deepen attachment. Or what about honesty, loyalty, or optimism? These qualities represent powerful strengths that can fuel relationships. If you are a person who brings commitment strengths to relationships, you are helping to foster a spirit of well-being, joy and hope for others you are close with. With your commitment energy, you demonstrate that the relationship you are participating in is truly important and sacred to you. Imagine what can grow from this. Imagine the love you’ll harvest!

Lastly, let’s consider the strength of being available for another. Sharing quality time is key to developing lasting bonds. Carving out time to be together with those we care about, and to be truly present during this time, is to give the gift of attention. The other person feels seen and acknowledged by your capacity to be strong in presence, especially if you come to them with care and kindness of heart. Spending meaningful time with someone you love also contributes to their sense of feeling known. Sharing experiences together also creates feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and fulfillment -not to mention lots of fun memories that can later be harvested and savored!

Having read to this point, I challenge you now to celebrate the specific strengths you offer those in your world. Recognize as well all the character strengths those in your inner circle shower upon you. What we give attention to is always what grows stronger. Attend not to the problems in your relationships, but rather to the positive qualities you can offer, especially in tough moments. Always be ready to bring more of those strengths forward. Watch for the magic that will happen next! Get ready to harvest treasures.

This article is also published in The Brick Magazine.

Instead of Heading Deeper Down the Doubt Path…

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Cooler September breezes are upon us, reminding us we are heading toward a transition. The close of summer and the beginning of fall is just one of a myriad of transitions we experience in a lifetime. Transitions are a common theme in my life coaching practice, as many clients seek support when faced with a transition point in their life. There are multiple reasons why a person might seek help when transitioning from one aspect or area of their life to another, but I believe it is the experience of uncertainty that these times call forth, that especially drives clients my way.

What is it about the feeling of uncertainty that haunts us and can feel so daunting? One element is that we, as human beings, love familiarity. Being familiar with something is comforting, cozy, and confidence affirming. We know what’s what and that is so satisfying! We love and seek certainty for just this reason.

To step from the familiar into a new landscape can be terrifying! Life transitions force us to sit with uncertainty, and all the feelings of insecurity or anxiety such can bring. One can’t know ahead of time, or exactly predict, how a change will pan out. Whether you are moving from one job to another, or ending a relationship or navigating a new degree-to-career path, you won’t (at least at first) know exactly how the new opportunity will feel or how it will unfold. The question you will be faced with is whether the effects of the change are desirable or not.

And something funny, but common, often happens next. When you can’t predict an outcome, or have limited knowledge as to the way a situation will go, you begin to doubt yourself. Uncertainty fuels self-doubt. So true, yes? Clients come to me for support during life transitions because as they sit with uncertainty, they doubt themselves and their ability to create the transformation they want. Things feel very much out of their control.

So, here is where I introduce a magic bullet: I remind my coaching clients that they still have all their strengths, inner resources, skills and abilities under their control at a time of change. They can easily bring these to the table to help them successfully navigate whatever uncertainties come with the life transition they are in the midst of. What a gift it is to know that you can face uncertainty not by going deeper down the doubt path, but rather by harnessing your strengths, emotional savvy and inner resources. So banish all doubts! Try instead to embrace the idea of what you do have control over, namely your deep inner wisdom, the next time you head into a life transition. Watch your anxiety go down, and your excitement increase, for whatever is to come!

This article was also published in www.TheBrickMagazine.com

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