8 Strategies to Complain Your Way Into a Happier Relationship

There was a time back in the early days of my now nearly 30-year marriage when a hand-written sign hung over our toilet. It read as follows: “Please remember to put the seat down or [cover your ears, kids] I may be forced to kill you.” Yikes. If memory serves, I believe I signed it, “your loving wife.” Not the proudest moment in my marriage, nor my best literary work, but it did the trick. My husband, rather than being offended (or worried), chuckled every time he saw the note — and, importantly, put the seat down. I felt bad that our gentle-hearted nanny had to witness that whole scene from our marriage. But the fact is that couples therapists might have given me high scores for my off-color antics — why?

Because complaining is good for your relationship.

Not about every little thing, but when it comes to the things that matter to you (like not wanting to fall into the toilet when it’s pitch dark at 2:00 a.m. and you’ve really got to go), complain! The reason is this: Not complaining and, instead, letting those concerns build up could do more harm than good. The longer you wait, the bigger the problem gets, and the more irrational you become. When you finally explode, and you will, chances are that your complaint won’t come out with a cute (however rough around the edges) note. It will be war.

So complaining is good, but it has to be done right.

Researchers distinguish between complaints and criticisms. Complaints are specific concerns about what a person is doing, whereas criticisms are global attacks on why on earth they would ever be doing it.
Shifting from toilet seats to the perennial toothpaste-tube squeezing preferences, a good complaint sounds like this: “Honey, it makes me crazy to see the toothpaste squeezed in the middle because then it will be hard to use it all — and you know how I’m thrifty. So can you please remember to start from the end?”
Whereas a criticism sounds like this: “I’ve told you about the toothpaste 100 times! What is your problem? You never listen to me! You’re such a slob! Nothing matters to you except your stupid football games! Well I could care less about that!”

We don’t have to put on our thinking caps to know which approach gets better results. When you complain, you have a win-win: Your partner gets to be the hero just by not squeezing the middle of the tube, and everyone’s happy. When you criticize, you’re left with shame and blame. Who would want to touch that with a 10-foot pole? And what even happened to the toothpaste tube issue? Lost in the rapid-fire attack. No wonder the other person never listens. They’re too busy running for cover.

Now you may be thinking, why should I work to tailor my complaints about my partner if he (or she) is the one who is doing something wrong (and has been doing it wrong for a long, long time)?
Which gets to the final point: What is your desired effect? Is it to improve your relationship or to make your partner feel bad or corrected? You have to want change more than justice or revenge. When you are ready to make things better — for both of you — then, and only then, is it time to dive in. Here are eight ways to be most effective when you do:

1. Be Specific
It’s not about everything your partner does wrong, it’s about this one thing.
Don’t do the rapid-fire attack, this isn’t character assassination 101; stick with the one thing that is bothering you most right now and leave your partner’s character intact (remember, you love that part).
2. Keep It Current
Stick with the present.
Do you keep magazines on your coffee table from five or 10 or 20 years ago? Of course not, those are old issues. Exactly.
3. Be A Newscaster
Don’t judge, report.
Only the facts, please. Once you start making judgments, not only might you misjudge the “why” behind the behavior, but even if you’re a little bit right when you say someone is lazy or inattentive — it’s highly unlikely that it will bring the kind of change you’re after.
4. Avoid The Absolutes Of “Always” And “Never”
You never help! You always duck out when there’s work to be done! We’re not going to rush right up to the counter and claim those attributes. Don’t generalize; focus on the present: “I need your help with the groceries now.”
5. Know Your Rights
As much as the world would be a more perfect place if this were true, we aren’t entitled to our partners being mind-reading geniuses who live for our every need. And we aren’t entitled to demand someone do something our way just because (we think) it’s better or right. We are, however, entitled to ask. It’s different. Don’t go in assuming that your way is the only right way. Explain why something matters to you. Logic, delivered calmly, often prevails.
6. Be Kind (And Use Humor) Whenever Possible
Levity is another word for generosity. You are literally sharing a laugh. It might take an extra second to find the humor in a situation, but given the momentum and good will it creates, it’s a great time-saver in the end.
7. Use Compassion To De-Criminalize The Offense And maybe even let it go.
Is there a method to your partner’s madness? Does it drive you crazy how long he takes to choose a date-night restaurant? Challenge yourself to find a good reason why. Is he so dedicated to your happiness that he doesn’t want to disappoint you? Too hard on himself? Hardly a crime. Accepting that, you may switch gears and seize the opportunity to read or do your nails while you’re waiting, but if you decide you want him to be less thorough (i.e., faster), you’ll go into that discussion with an open heart rather than an attack weapon.
8. Make Requests, Not Demands And get the handshake.
How do you avoid becoming a nag? Don’t lecture or make demands. That allows the other party to be passive and just hope you finish soon. Instead: make an agreement. An agreement takes two and starts with a conversation: “I’d like help with the dishes. Can you do that? When? Do you want my help remembering? Is there something else you’d rather do instead to pitch in?” Without a two-way conversation, there is no commitment and no accountability. Don’t think high emotional confrontation; think business meeting. Consequences if agreements are broken? Sure, if you like. But the biggest consequence is weakening your relationship; if you’re going to do business or anything else together, follow-through is a must.

After 27 years of marriage, my husband and I have had our fair share of toilet seat lid and toothpaste-tube discussions. But make no mistake. This is how we got here. Underneath these deceptively small details is the real deal. The motherlode. These complaints are really about respect: Can you respect my preferences even if (or especially if) they don’t matter to you? Respect is at the foundation of any relationship that is going to work, so the most fulfilling relationships are built on the brick and mortar of these ground-level concerns. No matter how lofty your aspirations in your relationship — no foundation, no go.
So next time you are unhappy with something in your relationship — pause and see the opportunity for these little complaints to do their work for you, or else… I may… be forced to… No, no, no… just kidding! You’ll see just how much stronger your relationship becomes.

For more by Tamar Chansky, click here.

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Tamar Chansky: 8 Strategies to Complain Your Way Into a Happier Relationship

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The Art of Deep Breathing: A Sanity-Saving Strategy

Have you ever had one of those days where you were so stressed that you felt like you could use some help to save your sanity? If so, you’ll be happy to discover a strategy you can use to reduce stress and improve your health at the same time. This strategy is easy and convenient, and it’s called deep breathing.
One response to stress is shallow breathing.  This type of breathing is not the best way to draw air into the body, since you are mostly filling the upper part of your lungs. On the other hand diaphragmatic or deep breathing fills the lungs with life-giving oxygen. This type of breathing fills the lungs to their capacity. Here is a deep breathing exercise. While lying on your back or sitting in a chair, place your hands on your abdomen near your naval. Take deep breaths, feeling the rise and fall of your abdominal area. Taking a few deep breaths will not only oxygenate your body but also will help improve circulation, decrease anxiety and increase alertness.
We automatically breathe without thinking about it too much, unless a medical condition affecting breathing is present.  The moment we bring breathing into awareness, we begin to control how we breathe. The beauty is that it doesn’t cost you anything to breathe. But when is it appropriate to do breathing exercises? And how often can they be done?
When To Do Deep Breathing Exercises
There are no hard and fast rules stipulating when to do breathing exercises. It really depends on what you’re wishing to achieve by doing them.
You can use breathing exercises at any time to:
• Achieve a state of calm
• Feel alive, invigorated, and ready for your day
• Reduce stress in tense situations
• Wind down at the end of the day
When you wake up in the morning, you may wish to do some quick deep breathing exercises to feel invigorated and ready to go. You can go outside, take a deep breath, and then breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
This breathing exercise can serve as a workout for your abdominal muscles and lungs. It can make you feel quite refreshed at the beginning of your day and provides a similar effect to taking a morning jog.
When you’re having a rough day at work or dealing with conflict, you can use a few calming breaths to help reduce stress. Sit back, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Hold it in and then let it out. Repeat the process until you feel relaxed.

Health Benefits of Breathing Exercises

If you just need a quick lift, then you’ll only need to spend a short time here and there doing some deep breathing exercises. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have a significant impact on your health and serenity, you can form a routine of several breathing exercises throughout your day.
 
Whatever the duration, breathing exercises may bring you many health benefits, including:
• Reduce your blood pressure
• Calm your nerves
• Tighten your core muscles
• Aid in better digestion
• Aid in the elimination of waste and toxins
• Bring you higher levels of energy
• Increase your awareness of the functions within your body
• Reduce stress
Your own results will depend upon the type and frequency of breathing exercises you use.

Anyone Can Benefit From Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can benefit virtually anyone. The only individuals who should take extreme caution are those with respiratory issues. Always check with your physician before attempting these exercises.
Nevertheless, sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the relaxing effects that deep breathing can provide. It’s an effective solution to reduce stress, bring you peace, and improve your life.
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Love Will Heal Your Life: Enrich Each Moment

We are all connected in that space of my heart. A love that is ever connected, ever free and whole hearted. How we infuse each moment with love life is ever renewing and unfolding beautifully. There is no greater joy than to know where you have come from and to recognize how far you’ve grown relaxing into the truth and the power of who you are.  
To be afforded insight into the human heart, to be able to bare witness to the light bulb moments, reconnecting and resurrecting parts of yourself that have long lay dormant, detoxing from whatever weighs you down, is intense. Do not be alarmed. Give yourself the space. Surrender your defenses and open your heart. It is okay. You are not alone. You are not alone in your feelings, You are not alone in your joy, you are connected to everything that is or ever was.
Resolve to release any story of the past in the present moment. that doesn’t thrill and create a new one. Head into the world, open your eyes and try something new. Whatever it takes. Experiment with a different way of being. Right now. Every time you do, the mind is expanded, new worlds open up and your intuition gets to frolic. Enrich your life love. Watch wonder and curiosity blossom.
May your soul be full of joy and your life ignite in ways you never dreamed possible.

Love Will Heal Your Life: Experience The Joy Of Yes

There is a deep inner power that resides within. When you say YES to your still small voice and live in the spontaneity of expression where judgments fall away and you are in harmony with the present. IN this breath of presence, let your heart BEAT to the rhythm of Love. Allow love to flow through you igniting your heart song.

John Welwood describes this so perfectly there is nothing to do but share “the words “I Love You” spoken in moments of genuine appreciation, wonder or caring arise from something perfectly pure within us — the capacity to open ourselves and say yes without reserve. Such moments of pure openheartedness bring us as close to natural perfection as we come in this life. The radiant yes of the heart is perfect like the sun in bringing all things to life nourishing all that is truly human.”

Allow the flame of your truest self to burst ever higher. Let today represent a deepening of the Divine Loving experience, an opportunity to cleanse the past and an embracing of a new loving, powerful, radiant being.

Say YES with all your heart.

Take today to live life to its fullest, basking in the sunshine of a delightful day!

Love Will Heal Your Life: Be Happy With What You Have

Life is what you make it. As someone said quite beautifully the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

God bless each moment. God bless your neighborhood. God bless your family. God bless everyone. Seriously. God bless everyone.

Feel the shift and be present enjoying the happiness of this moment. When you are ready to complain about some circumstance or point a finger and feel bad. Be grateful for all of it. No matter what. Be grateful!

Stop and live in full appreciation for EVERYTHING and bless everything.

Be grateful for how much power and strength lie on the other side of beliefs. Let your faith take root and remember with infinite love and gratitude for what is, you have the possibility of shifting the only thing you can. Your perception.

As Ekhart Tolle says make friends with the present. Happiness lives there. How this is true for each of us becomes the happiness of the days of our lives.

You don’t need to be a wise man to get the saying it matters not what happens to us it is always our perception that needs tending. Be happy with what you have. May the best of the past be the worst of your tomorrows!

May your soul be full of joy and your heart leap and spark at the sheer thrill of discovery in happiness with what is.

Love Will Heal Your Life: Transform Your Thinking

There is a different way to look at everything. A way for a switch. Whatever is occurring in your life. Release the chronic thought. Take a step back and change your perception. Open your heart. Think with love. Take a deep breath, kick back your shoulders and drill deeper into the center of your being. Take another look.

Be Willing To See Everything Differently.

We can’t change what other people do or say we can always change our thinking. When we are thinking without love ninety nine percent of our thoughts are untrue and hurtful.

Give a new spin to an old thought. Go beyond appearances and see the deeper truth. Defy expectations. Change your thinking about a word, a person, a place.

How we respond to an event, a person etc. and how we remember to hold this in our being makes all the difference and demonstrates the grace of life filled with ups and downs and losses and finding and creates the fullness of the glass. No matter how you look at it. People make mistakes, forgive and move on. Each memory released and each piece put in service offering a moment of healing and inspiration.

This is not the world that we were born into this is the world we create through our thoughts and actions and like any inheritance we work to become what we need to be for us and we unlearn that which we have acquired and we know our path is our path and all that we are shackled to when released is the way that we come into the truth of who we are.

There is always a different way to see. One of my favorite Rumi sayings almost Confuscian in its wisdom. What you sow will bear fruit. So if you have any sense my friend, don’t plant anything but love.

Slow down, calm down, don’t worry, don’t hurry, trust the process. -Alexandra Stoddard.

Love Will Heal Your Life: Dare To Be Remarkable

Infuse your action with the confidence of your being, remembering who you are.
A remarkable glorious one of a kind creation.

You are a beautiful essential expression of life filled with joy and inspiration.
It is time to own it.
The human condition is uncommonly extraordinary
There is nothing arrogant about remembering the lord of creation is within you as it is in everyone.

It is humble to accept and embody the feeling of comfort and deep inner peace claiming your true power. Knowing whatever comes up when you embrace this remarkable part of yourself is meant to be released. Let everything be in service to Love’s fullest energy allowing the depth of experience to emerge with no judgment allowing whatever sparks to cast into a flame the light of which will burn what needs to burn illuminating the way ahead.

Remarkable is who you are.
Magnificence is your destiny.

Dare to be all of you.

“What basic objective I had… was to grasp every opportunity to live and experience life as deeply, as fully, and as widely as I possibly could. It seemed to me stupid to have the gift of life and not use it to the utmost of one’s ability.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

Your Power for Unlimited Success & Abundance – Have a Magnificent Day!

Dawn of Your Dreams
God or the Universe does not make mistakes.
There are no accidents or coincidences.
This is the way it is.
Everything in your life has led up to this moment and these exact circumstances.
As they say in the game of poker, this is the hand you were dealt and this is the hand you have to play out. It is totally up to you.
Based on your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions you create your reality.
The outcome is totally dependent on you!
YOU make all the difference in the world.
Whatever you focus your attention on is where your energy goes.
This is the Law of Focused Attention or The Law of Attraction.
You have free will and freedom of choice so you determine the outcome.
So, be clear that everything in your life depends on you.
You are the cause and source of everything that you create.
It starts with your inner reality, your inner game.
You can focus your thoughts, energy and resources on what you want in a positive direction.
Or you can focus on the negative…..on fear……on most of the things you hear people talk about.
Most of the topics in the news, on the Internet, TV, radio, etc are fear-based and negative.
Sad that drama, trauma and scandal is more interesting than the wonderful things in life.
Your most important choice is where are you going to focus your attention.
POSITIVE or negative, FREEDOM or fear, ABUNDANCE or lack, OPPORTUNITY or limitation?
Because whatever you believe is what is. Whatever you choose is your reality.
This is the Power of Acknowledgement.
Complaining is just a waste of time and energy.
Wise people do not pay attention to this. They do not spend time wSave as Draftith negative people.
They create positive environments, they look for opportunities, they create solutions, they create positive results. They make things happen.
It takes much more effort, courage, determination and persistence to think creatively and to follow your own path. It is much easier to let things be the way they are and not create what you want and follow your dreams. Creators and achievers use their energy to think differently, to trust their intuition and inspirations.
What are you going to do now?
Successful people create rather than compete.
When they are told that they can’t do something, then that is exactly what they must do.
They have an overwhelmingly positive and triumphant belief that anything is possible.
They do what it takes to succeed.
You can do all of these wonderful things and not violate the rights of others.
You can follow proper principles and create magnificent results.
Be clear that temptation will present short cuts and the ego will attempt to manipulate you.
How you conduct yourself and how you achieve your results are even more important than the results your achieve. So choose wisely. Once you say something or do something it cannot be taken back. Make sure your efforts are for your highest possibilities and for the good of all concerned.
This time in history offers you the greatest opportunities that we have seen since the Great Depression.
Make it count……seize the day……..seize the moment.
Turn your dreams into reality.
I found this inspiring article on beliefnet.com. The original article was written by Lee.
Images credit unkown.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

RULES FOR A PERFECT DAY

  1.     Just for today, I will try to live through this day only — and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do some things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep them up for a life-time.
  2.     Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that. “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within — it is not a matter of externals.
  3.     Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.
  4.     Just -for today, I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, and nourish it and not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my will.
  5.     Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer all day. I will.read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
  6.     Just for today, I will.exercise my soul in three ways, to wit: (1) I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. If anybody knows of it, it will not count. (2) I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, just for exercise of will-power. (3) I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt. They may be hurt, but today I will not show it.
  7.     Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, and criticize not one bit nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.
  8.     Just for today, I will have a program. I will write down just what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it as a pattern to follow. It will save me from the two pests – HURRY and INDECISION.
  9.     Just for today, I will have a quiet half-hour, all by myself, and relax. In this half-hour, some time, I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective to my life.
  10.     Just for today, I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love and to believe that those I love, love me.

Stop caring about things you can’t control

Some forces are out of your control.  Accept this fact of life.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.

The smartest thing you can do to compensate for the things you can’t control is adjusting your attitude.  Your attitude has a profound effect on your overall potential.  Consuming yourself with the negative aspects of a circumstance gets nothing productive accomplished.  But if you instead look at the circumstance productively and positively, coming from the standpoint of “What’s my next best move?” you put yourself back in the driver’s seat.
Bottom line:  As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  You can’t change what happened, but you can change how you react to it.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.  The opposite is also true.  The choice is yours to make.