We took a real, honest look at how our relationships, in particular how WE are showing up in relationship… can affect our stress, weight, body image, digestion, metabolism, immunity, mood… the list goes on.
Let’s generalize and make a bold statement: Our state of Health is directly connected to our Relationships!
Ok, Tessie, I buy it. Especially because I know how ‘he/she/they’ stress me out every day! Soooo…
Why are we only focussing on how WE are in relationship? After all, it takes 2 to tango, and I’m always right anyways! (Hmm, interesting, 99% of people claim that they are usually “right” in an argument)
Either a lot of people are arguing with a very small amount of “wrong” people… or most of us need to check ourselves and be willing to see things from a different perspective than our own.
We are focusing on who we are in relationship because the only person you can control…is YOU. And by control I mean take responsibility for your reactions, perception, emotions, communication, wellbeing, etc.
Am I saying that when we really DO feel like we are being fair and honest and trying to see someone else’s perspective, and we are willing to be wrong, that all relationships will be smooth and perfect? Heck NO! Maybe we think that would be nice, but it would also probably be boring.
What I am saying is that in many relationships we find most stressful, the VACT is, there is something we can do about it! I suggest the following 4 virtues:
- Vulnerability– This does NOT mean weakness! Being vulnerable means you are able and willing to communicate your feelings, experience of a situation and fears. It means you are transparent with the things that challenge you. We often grow up thinking this makes us lose credibility and pride. Quite the opposite. One of THE biggest reasons we feel connection with others… is when they share something vulnerable that we can relate to. Or when they admit being lost and not knowing what to do.
2. Authenticity– Tell it like it is. No sugar coating. No apologizing. If you are authentic, you know yourself. You know what you like and what drives you crazy. You tend to be blunt and straightforward. You are not a people pleaser, and you don’t change who you are at your core in order to make someone like you. This is an important quality… AND, if this is a dominant trait for you, remember that it will be most effective IN CONJUNCTION with the other 3 qualities so you don’t just bulldoze over people who may be more sensitive… like me 😉
3. Connection- This includes both affectionate, physical connection, as well as social, emotional, and spiritual connection. We are design to connect with others on a sensual/physical level, and in everyday life. If you haven’t had a good hug or affectionate human contact in a while…well, you literally may start to get depressed. Current research demonstrates that touch is truly foundational to human communication, bonding, and health (1).
4. Trust– Do you trust the majority of people you come into contact with throughout the day? Or do you walk down the street with some low level anxiety that you may be attacked? Is your motto “guilty until proven innocent” when you are making new ‘friends’? If so, what are your results? Do you feel at ease? Or do you create scenarios of how you will be burned because you’ve been burned in the past, and you are just being realistic and “people are (bad/out to get me/evil/untrustworthy). This, my friends, comes down to the law of attraction. I truly believe we influence the world we experience by the world we expect. If I expect to meet a lot of really nice people, and I believe the world can be a safe and loving place… that’s what will show up. If I expect that the world is dangerous and I will be betrayed… that’s what I will experience. Now, I’m not saying there are not things to consider, or things outside of your control that happen even if you are a trusting person. But the overall question is,
What ARE YOU DOING to CONTRIBUTE to a United, Loving, TRUSTING World?
Take a personal VACT inventory. Think about which one of these qualities comes most naturally to you. Why do you think that is? Think about which one is the most uncomfortable and unnatural to you. Por que?
Until next time,
(ps- My strongest is Vulnerability and my least is Authenticity when it comes to being boldly honest about what works for me and what doesn’t)
Sources: 1. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hands_on_research