Reading Corner

Links related to the weekly posts.


This week’s blog said that you honor your relationships when you listen with your heart. Here are some articles on listening and how a heart-felt approach improves the quality of your listening.

Listening – With Your Heart As Well As Your Ears “How often have you heard these statements? “You’re not listening to me!”… “Why don’t you let me finish what I’m saying?”… “If you only let me, I’ll tell you!”… “I may as well be talking to a brick wall!” … “You just don’t understand!” … “But that’s not what I said!” If you hear any of these comments coming from your partner, children, friends, or co-workers, perhaps it’s true that “you’re not listening” – really listening to the people who are important in your life. Listening is the art of connecting with another person so you fully understand what they are saying and feeling. It is a vital and necessary skill needed in creating and maintaining a marriage, in parenting children effectively, and in working together and making effective decisions on the job.”

Listen With Your Heart, Not Your Ears “if we aim to become better listeners, we must think about principles of the heart. People can sense how we feel about what they are saying. Do we respect what they are talking about? Do we care about them? They can tell a lot by the way we communicate, by the way we are looking at them, and our body language. While we can control what we say, and maybe to a small extent our body language, we cannot control what our heart is feeling. And those subtle sentiments seep through and are detected by others.”

How to Listen Without Getting Defensive “Understanding your partner requires the capacity to listen. Really listen. Couples are advised to hear each other’s complaints without feeling attacked, and as great as this sounds, it’s often unrealistic. When something you said (or didn’t say) hurts your partner’s feelings, there’s a strong impulse to interrupt with, “That wasn’t my intention. You’re misunderstanding me,” even before your partner is done talking. Unfortunately, when the listener reacts to what the speaker is saying before the speaker gets the chance to fully explain themselves, both partners are left feeling misunderstood.”

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This week, Phil wrote that total acceptance from the heart is how you create peace in your relationship. Here are some helpful articles on different aspects of this.

The Secret to Peaceful Relationships “The dictionary defines an expectation as “the act of regarding as likely to happen” and “anticipating the occurrence or the coming of.” An expectation is essentially an imagining about the future, a theoretical pseudo-reality that is created by thoughts in the mind. It is a thought that, when taken as real and true, leads us to assume that a given occurrence will happen. When seen for what it really is, it is merely a thought that has nothing to do with what may or may not happen. I may expect my friend to attend the concert, but this expectation is irrelevant to what she actually does. And believing that she “should” attend the concert when she decides not to only sets me up for an unpleasant emotional reaction.”

5 Rules for Relationship Peace “According to Scientific American magazine, all fights come down to two things: one person either feels neglected or controlled. It seems that Baylor University psychologists recently interviewed 3,539 married couples. They asked a lot of relationship questions related to the subject matter of their arguments. These researchers were trying to understand why couples fight. The assumption had been that the results would point to the usual culprits – money, sex, etc. But, after the data had been carefully analyzed, it turned out that the tension that actually led to the fight itself almost always related to the deeper issues of whether the partners felt understood or valued.”

How to find inner peace: 10 things you can start doing right now “Stress, depression, anxiety. None of us are strangers to these issues these days, which is why more people than ever before have turned towards the search for inner peace. But inner peace isn’t simply something you can turn on; it’s not something you can decide to do and then do it. Inner peace is a state to be achieved and to be improved upon, a lifelong journey that requires a lifetime commitment. So how do you find inner peace and what does it really mean?”

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Our blog  discussed the need to accept each other and look for values without projections. We found some really interesting articles looking at your internal sense of self and how you often project that onto others.

The Tension Between Inner and Outer Self “The tension between the inner self and outer self is common in the modern world. Each of us is tugged in multiple directions every day and our actions and behaviors do not always align with our core values as a result. However, becoming aware of your inner self and how it balances with your outer self is the foundation for good mental, physical, and spiritual health. This is why it is an important aspect to consider when working on a good balance in your life.”

Projecting an “Idealized Other” “For better or for worse, most of us carry some kind of “romantic ideal partner” in our heads. This is the basic shape of the partner we wish to have, a perfect fit for all our needs and wants, the mold into which we then try to fit any human partners we acquire. Sometimes we do a reasonable job of adjusting our expectations down from that idealized, “perfect version” to fit the actual human we wake up to in the mornings, but sometimes we can’t let go of the ideals enough to fit ourselves in with this other imperfect human being.”

You have to stop projecting in your relationships “Do you see your partner as they are? Or do you build them up to be someone that they aren’t? Many of us fall victim to projection, a toxic habit which isolates us and drives our partners away. Rather than seeing the other person as they are, we insist on seeing them as we want them to be. This leads to endless disappointments and a number of frustrations that can be corrosive to our sense of self and self-esteem. Strong relationships aren’t those in which we change ourselves to fit the dreams of other people. They are those in which both partners are able to see one another as they really are, without judgement and without expectation of change.”

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This week we wrote about how you can best be supportive and help other people. These articles discuss this topic from various points of view.

How to Be Emotionally Supportive “It’s not enough to simply ask questions. Listening actively, or empathically, is another important part of providing emotional support. When you really listen to someone, you give them your full attention. Show interest in their words by: displaying open body language, like turning your body toward them, relaxing your face, or keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, avoiding distractions, like playing with your phone or thinking about other things you need to do, nodding along with their words or making noises of agreement instead of interrupting asking for clarification when you don’t understand something summarizing what they’ve said to show you have a good grasp of the situation. Using good listening skills shows others you care about what they’re going through. For someone who’s struggling, knowing that someone else has heard their pain can make a big difference.”

Formula for Providing Emotional Support “As someone who researches and teaches what makes emotional support effective, hands down the number one question people ask me is, “What do I say?” There are so many moments, large and small, when someone we love is in pain or upset and our natural desire is to help. Yet, for many of us, when someone comes to us, we pause, wondering how to best respond. Or, we go to what we know best—we offer advice. Unfortunately, advice as a go-to strategy for when a loved one is upset usually backfires. Research shows that while most people offer advice, men and women both overwhelmingly want emotional support. And although there isn’t one “right” message you can employ when someone is upset, there are behaviors you can use that will make your attempts much more successful.”

The Importance of Supporting Each Other in a Relationship “Being supportive does not mean doing anything for your partner that makes us uncomfortable. It doesn’t also necessarily mean that we need to try and solve other people’s issues. Part of being supportive is to be really present and a good listener, to not constantly stand in judgment and actually have a sincere and caring disposition. To really hear and understand what the other person is communicating and not allowing our own stuff to get in the way. When someone truly loves and supports you, they will challenge you, stand beside you when you need them and give you space to be yourself and grow as a person.”

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This week, we wrote about how to honor both closeness and space in your relationship. We feel that our view offers new insight into the nature of connection within relationships. These articles deal with the issue of connection from different perspectives.

3 Steps to Reconnect When You Feel Disconnected From Your Partner “In relationships people offer what Dr. John Gottman calls a “bid” for each other’s attention, affection, or support. This can be as insignificant as “please cut the carrots” to something as significant as helping a partner deal with the struggles of an aging parent. In these moments, we have a choice to turn towards our partner or away from them. If we turn towards our partner, we build trust, emotional connection, and a passionate sex life.”

Emotional Connection “Many of you have probably heard complaints from your partner about “not feeling connected.” If you have not spent some time considering your own emotional needs, you may have no idea of what s/he is talking about. Here I will address three basic questions: What does it mean to feel connected? How do two people get disconnected? What can be done to minimize the problem of disconnection?”

10 Ways to Connect with Your Partner “There are many reasons that partners become distant over time. The thrill of infatuation inevitably gives way to the regularity of daily routine. That is normal. The combination of work, family obligations, children, finances, and friends all conspire to drain a relationship’s vitality. So are all long-term relationships doomed? Do we submit and suffer in silence? The question is, with the demands of life, how do you keep relationships moving in tandem? In what ways can you connect with your partner?”

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