Friday, July 18, 2014

10 Steps to Close the Emotional Gap in Relationships

Emotional gaps or "distance" forms in all relationships - kind of like the ice that forms on the concrete in the winter time, making the relationship take on a cold and heartless feeling.  Sometimes we know it is there and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we think that we can navigate across it, but end up flat on our backs.  Here are 10 ways to break the ice, close that Emotional Gap, and warm things back up.

These 10 behaviors are not gimmicks or quick-fix remedies. Each behavior is based in universal principles that requires a degree of integrity from the reader to extract the power contained within. These 10 behaviors are also very effective to break the ice in any new relationship - whether business or personal. 

1.  Notice where he is strong or talented, and point it out to him
By complimenting and asking sincere questions about his strengths and talents, you communicate that "who you are and what you do is important to me".  It is a first step in establishing an emotional connection that goes beyond the surface of mere small talk by delving directly into the core of a person's interests and self-image.

2. Compliment her on getting better at something
People only improve at something through applying thought, energy and effort. Though she  may shyly brush off a compliment about some area of her own improvement - his acknowledgement of such  becomes a very powerful motivating force when the person is putting in the work to bring about that improvement. His compliment and his image as the source of that compliment, then takes up a space in her mind that causes the flow of positive and motivating emotions.

3. Praise him without expecting praise in return
Move beyond the need to receive praise when you give praise. When she gives praise and then waits with obvious expectation of receiving praise in return, it causes her effort to lack sincerity. I have seen people actually give praise to another person and then become insulted when that person did not return that praise immediately. Let the giving of your gift be your own reward.  

4. Go along with her wishes when it seems right in your heart
Don't be so stuck on always being "right".   Let her be right when she is right. Give her the space to make decisions and think independently, knowing that there is no resistance to her desires  when her desires are right and just. People often feel "controlled" in relationships when they feel deep down that they have to ask permission to follow their own just desires.

5. If the heat gets too hot, walk away, but come back in a conciliatory mood
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. When she is trying to "win" she has to make him lose; when he is trying not to get hurt, he must lash out and hurt her first. Attack and defense become our underlying motivations when things get too hot.  These unconscious motivations cause pain and cause a gap to form between the two enemy combatants as they go off into their respective corners. It is necessary to take a break when you are angry so that you can begin again with the desire to end in peace. 

6. Own your own feelings. Nobody else does. And accept that you don't own his  feelings either; he does.
Become aware of the emotional baggage that you carry and recognize when she is operating from her own emotional garbage pail as well. When his anger or frustration is not about you, and yours not about him, practice re-directing that emotion into constructive activity rather than into destroying one another. 

7. Don't bring up sensitive issues when they could be embarrassing, especially in front of other people or a group.
Self explanatory. Unless your intentions are to cause pain or embarrassment, keep things that should be private, private.

8. Before bringing up a sensitive issue, make sure you're in a good emotional place and then make sure he is in a good place too.
Be aware of your own emotional state and of his as well. When he is beaten down and tired from a hard day's work is not the best time to pull out the "honey-do" list.  Feed him, energize him, build him up - then give him his tasks for the rest of the week, or point out an area or two where he needs to improve.

9. Avoid stale rituals. If you find yourself saying the same things every day, that is a ritual; not a genuine response. Find something new to say, and some new way to show that you care.
Keep looking for new ways to engage with her on every level.  Read or listen to a good book on love and relationships. Keep it fresh.  Even too much of a good thing is no good.

10. Find one thing every day to Forgive him for. Don't let him know what it is. Just Forgive him and let it go.
The most important point of all. We are all flawed human beings and fall short of our true potential every day. Know that Forgiveness must be constant, instantaneous and sincere for any two or more people to remain in relationship with one another for any significant period of time.  To Forgive, is to Give a person a Gift, Be-Fore they Deserve it. And that person is Yourself!!! Master Forgiveness and you will be half-way down the road to a successful relationship.

10 Points borrowed from Deepak Chopra's "The Soul of Leadership".