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The Self-Discovery Digest

by Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh
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March 2010 Archives

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, let's think about the love in our lives and those who are most important to us. Even though we care deeply, how good are we at showing our affection in a way that is meaningful to those we love? Is our own "baggage" blinding us to how special the person right in front of us truly is?

When we reflect on our love lives (and we mean that in the broadest possible sense - romantic partner, family, close friends), we often focus on how we would like to be loved, what we're missing, what we need. Further, we tend to give love in the way we would like to receive it, rather than seeking to understand our loved ones' wants and desires. With this in mind, use the suggestions below in order to better understand and honor the needs of your significant others as well as decrease the potential for misunderstandings in your relationships.

Three Powerfully Simple Things Often Overlooked:
Are you overlooking the unique methods of caring your loved one(s) are providing because they aren't precisely what you'd have wanted or imagined? How might you begin to show your appreciation for the gifts of love that are being given?

Are you overlooking the love shown to you here and now in favor of a vision of some perfect future or nostalgia over times past? How can you recognize and celebrate what you have rather than being distracted by comparisons and fantasies?

Are you overlooking opportunities to show your love in ways that would truly suit your loved ones because they don't fit your definition of caring? How might you expand your repertoire of love and support?

Three Powerfully Simple Tips to Try:
Listen and observe. Whatever your loved one(s) do or mention repeatedly is important to them. Show your interest. Share what you've noticed, ask questions, and explore that activity, issue, or topic with them.

Ask your loved one(s) what their idea of a perfect evening would be. Once they describe it, make it happen as soon as possible by doing whatever part(s) of their ideal evening that you can manage.

Ask your loved one(s) what type of help they wish they had in whatever area of their life that feels challenging for them. Once they describe it, start helping as soon as possible by providing whatever kind(s) of assistance that you can manage.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 23
Relationships offer many opportunities for self-discovery. Part of that process is fearless self-reflection. Another key part is learning how to appreciate and give to others in a manner that fits them. Pay attention - to yourself and to your loved one(s). Take a look at your relationship assumptions. Try out the above strategies and don't worry about perfection. The attempt is more important than the result. Most importantly, enjoy the good will that this engenders. Your significant other(s) will feel so valued - nothing says "I love you" more than paying attention to the individual needs of those who matter most!