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Creating Exceptional Relationships: 14 reminders


14 reminders

Show up

Sometimes easier said than done. But remember, if you're only half in the game others are going to feel it and so are you. Notice your distractors. Do what you need to... to be present.

Stay present

With attention to this moment, listen to yourself and the other with openness and non-judgement. Look to the mind, the heart, the body, and the communication between you for guidance.

Connect with your intentions

Especially during conflict, do a self-check.... or two... or three... Is your intention to get your way?... have your position validated?..  Or is it to connect with the other person and resolve issues collaboratively?  Is this about a win for you, or a win for the relationship? 

Take risks

Rethink the idea of vulnerability and realize the power you claim when you take that risk. Challenge those beliefs you hold about your limitations or your capacity to handle the unknown, or an expected response. Uncertainty means you get to practice trusting your gut and moving at the direction of your heart, both of which are worthy of your time and attention.  

Lead with gratitude

An authentic expression of gratitude is fuel for the relationship. Express yourself generously, let them know how their words and actions have moved you. Not only is it good for your health, your gratitude is an acknowledgement and affirmation of their power to contribute meaningfully to the relationship and to the world. They need to hear it.

Your values are your compass

So get to know yourself. What's important to you? What needs and values motivate you deep down, in your big picture life and also in the immediacy of this moment? Let this be the lens when choosing your words and actions. Treat yourself and your relationships to a life of integrity.

Get curious

Emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, get curious. What does life have to teach you through this relationship and in this moment?  How is this other person feeling and what do they need? Ask questions and seek to understand.



Empathy balances and soothes the nervous system and leads to a more robust understanding of what matters to someone. Silently or verbally, attune to their experience, and ride the waves with a respectful and compassionate presence. Remember, this moment is about them, not you. 

Make friends with the pain

Pain and suffering are an integral part of this great dance of life.  With acceptance and a tender connection to the parts of ourselves and others that hurt or struggle, we allow pain and suffering the freedom to move and be transformed. 

Take care of yourself

Know your triggers and recognize when you're emotionally flooded. What do you need to restore emotional balance? replenish your emotional generosity?  Practice self-empathy so you're more prepared for the tough moments. Taking responsibility for yourself sets a strong example and often inspires others to do the same. No shame, no blame. 

Slow down

And I mean really slow down. Notice when conversations move so fast that misunderstandings pile up and pain and disconnect accumulate. This is especially important during conflict. Going slowly and mindfully will save you time and energy in the long run. 

Do the repair

Did you do or say something you wish you hadn't? Let them know. Saying "I'm sorry" has it's limits, but bundle that with a good dose of empathy and sharing why you'll do it differently next time....that can be transformative. It's courage, humility, and a powerful antidote to disconnection when done with sincerity. 

Hold things lightly, increase the fun

Be willing to laugh at yourself and invite others to laugh with you. Embrace absurdity and paradox. Practice a sense of humor and appreciating the tough moments and what they have to teach you.

Commit to authenticity

Most people recognize it, or at least feel it, when you're not giving them the real deal. If you want trust to flourish in your relationships, honor and trust yourself enough to be real. Say what needs to be said to clear the air. The messy, clumsy, clunky, or hurt parts of you are also part of your story and what brought you to this moment.

You will never lose will only learn.

©2019 Blue Heron Coaching and Mediation

Yarrow Pospisil, MA, CCC-SLP; CNVC Certified Trainer

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