Who hasn’t utterly disappointed their GPS by making a wrong turn once in awhile? I had a rental car once that would say “Recalculating” in a judgmental tone whenever I missed my exit on the highway.
The GPS’s job is to re-route you in these circumstances. If you’re lucky, it’s as simple as making a u-turn, or 180 degree turn. And on you go.
(If you’re not so lucky it will direct you through side roads back to the correct route, sending you many kilometers out of your way. As I’m sure you’ve experienced once or twice yourself.)
It’s the same situation in relationships that take a wrong turn. You can be your own GPS and let your Self guide you back on course. This is making what I call a you-turn, and then a return to your partner.
Sometimes it’s too early for the return (to your partner)
When your relationship is under-performing, there’s just not enough love swirling around. You’re both expecting the worst. Your partner will be in their extreme behaviors, and when they meet with you with those behaviors, they’ll be looking out through a lens that tells them you are in your extreme behaviors. Even if you’re not.
It doesn’t always work to make that return to your partner when your relationship is that inflamed. So what can you do?
You can take better care of yourself in your relationship by doing a you-turn and then returning to YOU – not your partner – with what you know you need. Ask yourself the question, give yourself the answer, and then take action in the service of yourself.
#1: First find out what you need and want
Download the breathing exercise on this page to bring calm into your body before turning your attention inward. Get curious about what you need and want.
When you think about this you will probably feel sad and think, “I wish I could have this or that in my partner.” Most likely you had it at one time and you want it again.
That can happen but not yet. First, you hear what you want and you show up and give it to yourself.
I often hear these statements from my clients:
- I want to be appreciated
- I want my partner to have my back
- I want some attention and care
- I want to be touched.
- I want peace and quiet
- I want love and empathy.
Absolutely all of these are important needs. And if you have been in a rocky relating place for awhile with your partner you are in deprivation mode. So begin by listening to yourself and then meeting these needs in some way. Broaden your life and get what you need.
#2: Think about the ways you can meet those needs all by yourself
I go into more detail about this on my podcast, so if you’re intrigued please give it a listen. For this blog though I’ll provide a brief overview.
- I want to be appreciated. Use positive self talk to tell yourself what you really appreciate about you. “I am always happy with my planning and organizing part because it gets things I want in my life to happen.”
- I want my partner to have my back. Well, do you even have your own back? If someone is yelling or raging or being demanding, how do you usually protect yourself? Wake up and see how you can be there for yourself. Have your own back.
- I want some attention and care. Give yourself the attention and care that you usually give to others. Book a massage, meet a friend in the evening for conversation, or take a nap or a walk. Read more ideas here.
- I want to be touched. You might be getting it by hugging your children or petting your dog and not even noticing it. Start noticing all touch and get more if you want it. Give yourself a massage if you can’t get to a massage therapist. Again, I go into this more deeply on the podcast.
- I want peace and quiet. Only you can know what’s possible here given the considerations of your life. Maybe you can get up early and take some time for yourself. If mornings are busy at home, maybe you can go for a walk outside in nature.
- I want love and empathy. This is considered Self Compassion on the inside. This is the act of being your own best friend especially when life is hard. To give kindness to yourself and show care by self caring or nurturing. Read this blog post to learn more.
Once you have separated yourself from the extreme emotions showing up in your relationship and brought yourself back into balance you can now see more clearly. You are showing up more centered, calm and responding not reacting to the situations at hand. You feel better and have set positive change is in motion.
“Beautiful Drive” by Flickr user Four Corners School of Outdoor Education is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.