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Are Your Relationships Surviving Or Thriving?
The key is in micro-moments of positive resonance
Super Sunday is a weekly newsletter helping readers explore and learn tools for developing success habits through mindfulness and mindfitness. If that’s your vibe, please share with like-minded friends to help me grow it.
Hello friends! 👋
As always, a warm welcome to the new subscribers, and a big thank you to everyone spreading the word - it is beautiful to see our community continuing to expand! 🙏
With the holiday season upon us, I thought of dedicating this newsletter to the power of cultivating positive relationships in our lives.
Positive relationships are pivotal to our well-being; we already know this from our experience as social beings… and science agrees.
In this post on three sources of happiness, I referenced the scientific well-being strategies and how relationships were a common requirement amongst all.
Today I wanted to share three ideas in cultivating positive relationships.
Let’s dive straight in!
🎁 GET USED TO GIVING
Unfortunately, most people tend to gauge a relationship by how much they can take from it.
However, the reality is that how much we can take out of a relationship is greatly impacted by how much we choose to put in it.
Just like how consistent investing compounds to create financial wealth, a relationship’s positive balance compounds with the care and support to create positive connection.
But how can we give what we do not have?
The journey of compassion to others starts with self-compassion.
The ability to wisely and genuinely bring kindness to ourselves when we fall short of our ideals.
To be able to give unconditionally, we will need to give from a place of fullness and completeness not from a place of lack.
Dr. Kristen Neff is literally the inventor of the science of self-compassion. According to her, when running into a rough patch (like failure, mistake, etc..) we can cultivate self compassion in three-steps:
Bring kindness: instead of self-judgment, like you would with a friend in need.
Common humanity: we all make mistakes, you were not the first to have ever made one.
Mindfulness: to be with the emotions as they are, without over-identifying to see clearly and non-judgmentally. (Remember the two arrows and how suffering is optional? We can feel pain AND show compassion to it if we turn towards it)
We can practice compassion by cultivating these steps to ourselves first, and to others as a result.
This allows us to give unconditionally, and with the cyclic nature of this world, we will inevitably get back.
RESPONDING TO BIDS
In the same way care compounds, so does neglect - leaving wounds unaddressed compounds the pain and expands the distance.
Dr. Gottman is considered a pioneer in the research on how to make relationships work.
As part of his research, he found that relationships which ended up in a divorce had couples who responded to bids 33% of the time, compared to 86% response rate in relationships that didn’t end up in a divorce.
So what are bids?
These are subtle opportunities that arise in the dynamic of a relationship where one partner shows vulnerability, openness, request to be seen, request for support, and request for connection.
Paying attention to and turning towards, instead of away from, these bids can cultivate strong and genuine connections.
The biggest gift we can give is our attention - being fully present with those we love while practicing mindful listening.
Below is a sample list of bids you can pay attention to in your relationship.
💌 RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
As I covered earlier, Dr. Barabara Fredrickson’s research on emotions is beautifully put together in her book LOVE 2.0 (summary on this coming soon 😊) - where she tells us that love is the most important of all emotions.
She refers to it as “LOVE 2.0” to go beyond the traditional definition we have for love; reserved for immediate family (Love 1.0).
We can engage in what she calls micro-moments of positive resonance, where we can experience the emotion of love in micro doses as we connect with other people beyond our immediate family.
For example, saying hello to the waiter/waitress and asking about their day.
Or respectfully complimenting someone for an outfit you found elegant and thoughtful.
Another researcher on happiness, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, tells us the same except she calls them “Random Acts of Kindness” (RAK) and doesn’t limit them to face-to-face interactions.
For example, sending an appreciation text to someone you care about.
Or buying a book you know a friend would love to read and delivering it to them.
All these are ways we can cultivate more compassion in our lives such that it becomes easier and more natural for us to do frequently.
In fact, I am currently writing a paper discussing the potential linkage between performing RAK and cultivating self-compassion (could it be contagious?)
This paper is requirement for passing this term in my journey towards Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology. Will be fun to unpack!
Back to you, can you think of ideas to bring more of these micro-moments to your life in your own way?
List them down and decide (now) when you will do them.
Leave a comment if you feel so inspired!
For now, I want to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Have a Super Sunday! 💪
With much love,