How you deal with your emotions has such a huge impact, and for something that affects so much of your life, how you deal with your family, how you deal with your friends, work stuff, community, strangers, you interact with your marriage, and your kids. It's really surprising why we're not taught this in schools, why is that not a requirement? For students? Why are we not taught emotional awareness, emotional intelligence, and effective communication? Can you imagine if, if we grew up learning that not just from experience, but actually learning it? Can you imagine how much drama we could have avoided or prevented in our lives? From recess, and quarrels, to relationship challenges, that would fix a lot of drama in our lives. On the marriage front, imagine all the times you would have spent connecting instead of feeling disconnected and distraught. If I could go back in time, I wish that I would have learned that stuff earlier on.
But that wasn't my story, and if that was, I probably wouldn't be a marriage coach. So everything works out as it should. How we experience and navigate our emotions deeply affects how we communicate, and how we interact with our partners. As I said, I wasn't taught this in school. I felt certain ways. I saw how people reacted. I either ignored the feedback that I received from them, or I tried to tweak it myself. I learned from what I witnessed growing up from my caretakers, the people that I spent the most time with. If you're like me, you were also left to figure things out on your own and make things make sense in your own mind. Because I did that, sometimes things that I kind of just put two and two together didn't really work out for me in the long run. I grew up believing that if I was mad, it was someone else's fault because I didn't make myself mad. They made me mad. So a lot of times my brain would automatically be like, they annoyed me, they did this they did that, oftentimes they would come out like you made me feel Blank, blank blank.
When we are babies, people were so happy to see a smile. We immediately get that feedback, and then as a toddler, when you throw your tantrums and you're angry, and you're having really big feelings that you don't know how to navigate, people have the opposite reaction, like, oh, no, no, no, no, don't do that. And so we quickly learn anger, sadness, and frustration, are not welcome.
We spend less time giving those emotions attention over joy and happiness. Because of that, we have even less experience with figuring out how to navigate it because we're pushing it down. We're avoiding them. I wasn't shown or taught healthy ways to express those very normal human emotions, there was no accountability coming from me because I also grew up in a blame culture. It was deeply ingrained in my upbringing. What I witnessed was if someone felt triggered by something, it was normal to criticize blame, and guilt them for being inconsiderate, or affecting you negatively, thereby, assuming that they did it on purpose. But over time, I realized a little late for me, but I did come to realize that most people are just doing them most of the time. They're not out there spending their precious time, masterminding how to make you miserable, how to annoy you how to upset you, how to make themselves look bad.
Most times, they're just doing whatever they feel like they should be doing in those moments, just like you, sometimes our actions unintentionally impact other people natively. But if you know someone that is doing it on purpose, it's time to say peace out to them, because they are toxic as fuck. So let's just not welcome any of that into our lives.
Back to my journey to how I got to where I am today, where I'm now in this place where I'm teaching women how to transform conflict into connection through self-awareness, emotional resilience, and being a conscious partner. As I said, I didn't start out like, you know, I didn't have a good example of that growing up, I didn't learn it from textbooks or a classroom, it was all something I learned experientially, aka, the hard way. It was from experiencing conflict with previous partners, and even my husband, that really led me to shift away from projecting my quote-unquote, negative feelings onto other people and shifting it into reflecting, turning it back around on me, not from a place of judgment, or shame or blame, but a curiosity. I realized that no matter who I was, in a relationship with, I just kept encountering similar issues, only with a different person. Different person, same shit over and over again. Why is that? I would get annoyed easily, I would get upset easily. Either I'm choosing the wrong people, or there's some inner work that I need to do.
None of the people that I dated before, were terrible people, they're actually really good people. And so if that's the case, there was some work for me to do. Not to say that they also didn't have work to do, but I don't control other people. I only control myself just like you.
That led me to go on a big personal journey of growth. I kept seeing other people handle conflict better. I kept seeing other people not get bothered by certain things that I would be bothered by. There's even a book that's called something like how to not give a fuck or something like that. If you've read it before, you know what I'm talking about. I read that book and I was like, “Whoa.” Okay, I've got some work to do. While it was easier to say when people are like “What's wrong?” The classic question in the relationship is, what's wrong because they noticed that your vibe is all off, or there's some tension? Well, it was easier for me to just say I'm fine when things weren't or blame other people and assume they were the problem that didn't get me anywhere. But in this continual loop of experiencing the same shit over and over again, it was this roller coaster that I really wanted to get off of, but I didn't know how.
Blaming others and ignoring my true feelings and opinions and experiences with keeping me stuck on that awful roller coaster. What it did was it created more distance in my relationships, rather than more intimacy. It didn't bring us closer, it didn't make us stronger. It just made things harder. Whenever it came time to decide to take ownership of my experience of my feelings of, you know, mind missteps, my nervous system would go crazy as if it thought that I was going to die. My heart would be racing, adrenaline pumping, and I would feel tense, like all things that no one likes to experience on a physical level. And it felt safer for me to stay on that pedestal that I put myself on, and blame my partner, rather than stepping down and coming to their level. So that we are equals and admitting that I also make mistakes, that I also am human.
My husband started opening up more sharing what he thought his missteps were sharing his insecurities, sharing appreciation for what I shared, so that he could understand me on a deeper level, and have that kept in mind for future interactions, we were able to ask each other for what we needed going forward. We became more connected. We had more vulnerability on the table, and we had more safety emotionally with each other, and that is what built our emotional intimacy. With each conflict, we grew closer and stronger. Our fights lasted less time, they were less intense. Our fights became more intentional and team oriented, where it was formerly me versus you shifting into us versus the problem. We were less defensive and became more curious and compassionate, which led to both of us actually feeling heard. So if you're in a place where your arguments feel detrimental to your relationship, I invite you to have the courage to tell your ego to tell your pride to take a backseat and ask yourself, How am I contributing to this moment right now?
Sometimes, when we're upset, our minds do this funny thing. We are upset not because of the emotion or the circumstance but because our mind has created this narrative in our minds like, oh, they did this because of that. And that means this about you. It's like the Regina George from mean girls in your head, all operating in your subconscious. You don't even know what's going on. But it's driving your actions, it's driving, how you communicate, and how you react. Whatever narrative or soap opera, it's crafted in the background, what it does, it pulls and highlights, all these things that you notice the words that you hear the actions that you saw, or didn't see. What's happening is that your mind is operating from a place of, we've experienced this before, we've felt not enough before we felt too much before we felt unlovable before we felt wronged before.
Your relationship, your desire for a strong relationship to serve a chance to be curious and understand what happened to invite the perspective of your partner into the situation so that you can't expand what you think is going on, and then build a story with all the facts in place. So if you're in this place right now, where your arguments are wreaking havoc on your relationship, check-in to see how much you're taking ownership of your own experiences. Because no one can make you feel a certain way. If you're feeling activated or triggered by a situation, it's time to turn inwards instead of outwards and ask yourself, Why am I having this reaction? What about this situation is so upsetting to me? What does this remind me of? How does this make me feel? What beliefs or fears or insecurities are being activated from this event? These are all really powerful questions to ask yourself in those moments so that you can not only become more self-aware, but more emotionally resilient so that you can communicate with clarity about what's happening inside you.
This is actually the process that I do for myself, that has led to my marriage growing stronger and closer for me to learn more about myself and my husband to learn more about myself and how we work as a couple with, all the stuff on the table, his insecurities, my insecurities, his past experiences, my past experiences. All of that is really pertinent information for you to have a successful relationship with each other. So here's my question for you.
Are you comfortable experiencing them? Or are you quick to pass it off to your partner because you want them to, fix things? Being able to learn to sit in your feelings, aka hold space for yourself. To really sit and understand your anger makes a really big difference in how you navigate your emotions when you're in conflict with your partner. Being able to hold space for yourself and not judge yourself, or not try to shoo it away, or say I don't have time for this shit. But actually, taking the time to pay attention to your anger is what will help you learn more about yourself in terms of what you need, what parts of you need healing, how your body tells you you're angry, how you experience it, how you express it, and what you'd like to shift towards.
So how attuned are you with yourself? Do you take responsibility for understanding yourself first? Or do you push it off to your partner and say, you fix it, you created this problem, you fix it, I don't know what I need, but you got to guess and you got to figure it out. Because if you are not able to attune to yourself, it will negatively impact your relationship, and how it'll negatively impact your relationship is that your partner will not know how to support you. It will set them up for failure. Not only that, but it will be harder for you to attune to your partner's needs because you will be in your shit and not know how to get out of it or how to get through it. Meanwhile, they're having their experience.
Your relationship with yourself is really where it starts. Your relationship with yourself dictates how you experience all other relationships. However deep you're willing to go with yourself determines the depth that you experience in all other relationships. If you cannot give your experience the love and attention that it needs as you do with your happiness, then you're likely not able to give the same to your partner. Because when you're out there arguing with each other, you're going to be triggered and not know how to handle yourself because you're experiencing really big feelings and end up reverting to destructive patterns that you've come to lean on. Such as; blaming, criticizing, judging, yelling, all the things that you feel guilty about after the fact after the things have settled down, versus being intentional with supporting yourself and being able to be present for your partner.