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4 Relationship Problem-Solvers


Clementine Daily
by Erin Loechner


Even the best of relationships require a healthy dose of perspective, hard work and sacrifice. Recently, we heard some essential advice from Michelle Skeen, PsyD, a therapist, radio show host and author of the book, “Love Me, Don’t Leave Me,” which describes how understanding your story (and how it is affecting the present) enables you to change your relationships moving forward.


Care to read a few of her tips?:


1. Mindfulness. Cultivating awareness of your behaviors gets you out of your limited mindset and allows you to make behavioral choices rather than defaulting to habitual responses. Skeen recommends such mindfulness exercises as taking a walk, consciously noticing your own sensations as well as what is around you, and then recording your experience in a journal.


2. Letting Go Of What You Can’t Change. The pain engendered by past experiences won’t go away, says Skeen. The key is to accept the pain that emerges when your core beliefs get triggered, and then change your behavior in reaction to this pain. “You need to begin to see your experience as transitory,” the author writes.


3. Identifying and Committing to Your Values. “By getting in touch with your core values and committing to living a values-driven life, you can stop resorting to your old core belief-driven behaviors,” explains Skeen. For example, valuing intimacy and openness is in direct conflict with withholding the “real you” from your partner due to fear of rejection.


4. Managing Your Emotions. Emotional pain is what drives people to engage in unhelpful coping behaviors, declares Skeen. “You can’t eliminate negative feelings, but by accepting them rather than trying to control them, you can use them to help you learn and grow,” she writes. There are a variety of small ways to deal with painful emotions when they surface, from exercising to volunteering, and from taking care of items on your “to do” list to getting a manicure or facial.


For my own list, I’d add prayer, selflessness and a great home-cooked meal! Tell us, what are your secret relationship problem-solvers? We’d love to hear!


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