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|Dr. Wendy Walsh • 9/25/14|
In this crazy all-about-me world, it can be very difficult to find someone whom you can trust to protect you emotionally, physically and financially.
It can be equally hard to be a trustworthy person, but without trust, you can’t have real love.
Here are seven ways to grow trust (and love) in yourself and your relationship:
Compassion is like empathy, but it includes actual behavior. The best way to do this is to make a commitment to practicing empathy every day you roll out of bed.
Now try and erase all your negative thoughts about giving to others. Practice being supportive and understanding and let it show in your behavior.
Most of us were raised to be independent and to avoid being needy and depend on others, but intimate relationships require a level of dependence called interdependence.
It’s basically a mutual exchange of care that falls in between independence and co-dependence. In order to be intimate, we must be able to give and receive care comfortably.
Naming our feelings and sharing them is crucial to emotional intimacy.
If you weren’t taught to communicate emotions as a child (many of us weren’t), focus on identifying and expressing your feelings using emotional language, such as “I feel” envious, embarrassed, lonely, happy, excited, etc.
It can be terrifying, but it will have a profound effect on your relationship.
“Reminders of gratitude can remind
your partner how much you love them.”
Shame is probably the most undesirable feeling in the human psyche. Most of our psychological defenses function to avoid shame.
It makes us squirm, but it’s extremely important to tolerate it when building an emotionally intimate relationship. We have to learn how to tolerate our own flaws before we tolerate someone else’s.
Learning to tolerate shame can be done by talking about it and relieving yourself of the guilt. Just be sure you choose empathetic people (like therapists and close friends) to express shame to. Boundaries are still important.
Everyone has flaws and some of them are never going to dissipate or change no matter how hard we try. The best thing we can do is learn to accept them.
At the beginning of your relationship, your vision may be fogged by rose-colored glasses and your partner’s flaws will be clouded with bouts of oxytocin and dopamine.
Eventually, those flaws will become uncovered. Most of the flaws we see in others mirror our own flaws.
Write down your partner’s flaws and find the positive in them, but be careful of accepting flaws that can be damaging, including substance/alcohol abuse and domestic violence.
The first fight is usually a critical turning point in a relationship. Good conflict-resolution skills are crucial to the longevity of your relationship and are actually scientific predictors of divorce.
Some ground rules for conflict resolution should be no name-calling, no stonewalling and an agreement on a time to make up. What’s most important is what comes after the fight: repair.
Life gets busy and hectic, but the smallest reminders of gratitude can remind your partner how much you love them.
Whether it’s picking up their favorite meal for dinner, leaving them a sweet note or delivering a hot latte to the office, gratitude strengthens emotional bonds.