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Entries from March 2008

6 Keys to Maintaining & Repairing Relationships

Our identity and self-worth is formed by the dialogues we share in our relationship circles. People give us meaning. They reinforce our value. That's why discrimination and unhealthy relationships are so destructive to our physical, psychic & spiritual well-being. As John Donne said, "no man is an island." At the end of the day, we are responsible for how we connect to others. Our interactions with people are circular which means how someone behaves can impact our response to them which in turn impacts their response back to us, etc. It also means that we have the power (and responsibility) to break the cycle by responding differently. Here are 6 keys to maintaining and repairing relationships.

-Listen (To truly listen means that you must suspend your thoughts and responses while the other person is sharing...the amazing paradox is that REAL listening begets real listening from the other person.)

-Check your body (Sometimes our neurological memory and primal brain takes over when we feel threatened and makes our evolved brain think the target of our distress is the other person...we can control this emotional hijacking by focusing on a bodily sensation and separating the sensation from the dialogue with the other person...another paradox, but it works.)

-Respect time-outs (A general response to the physiological distress is to walk away or take a time-out...while this can create feelings of abandonment in one person, try to hang in there and self-soothe until the person is ready to rationally discuss the situation and be emotionally present.)

-Repair as soon as possible (The longer the time out, the easier it is to sweep the matter under the rug. Resist this destructive temptation! Discuss and LISTEN to each other's side, providing empathy, validation and reassurance.)

-Keep healthy boundaries (Some people are too narcissistic or psychically wounded to be emotionally available. They will never be able to provide the kind of emotional empathy needed for a healthy relationship. In these cases, love from afar. Listen when you have to and offer your empathy without turning it into a one-way relationship. Maintain a healthy distance and protect your boundaries.)

-Stay connected (Human contact and relationships are essential needs. Stay connected with people. Cherish your relationships. Open up, share and grow with people. Remember success means nothing unless you have loved ones to share it with.)

(c) 2008 Kimberly Key

Are You Living Life in the Fast Lane?

I learned my preference for pace of life the hard way. I once had the opportunity to "escape" the fast-lane and move to a quiet little village tucked away in the magnificent Sierra Mountains that overlooked the breathtaking Lake Tahoe. It was a dream come true-or so I thought. I had a lovely home with the kind of stone fireplace that makes you feel warm and loved. Aromatic pine trees reached high above and into the heavens. Life was grand. I was going to use this soulful communion to be a writer and release the novels that were screaming to get outside of me. Then a reality began to creep in. I fought it as much as I could, but it won. I discovered that I could only commune with the pine trees for so long. Boredom, no isolation, kicked in and drove me nuts. It's a long story, but that's when I learned that I needed a little bit more than just peace and solitude in my life. Some people thrive on continuous calming serenity with while others require the nonstop buzz of a fast-lane life. I am somewhere in the middle. (Note to couples-figure out if you match in this area and/or learn how to compromise!)

To find find out where you stand on the continuum of needing quiet solitude & being addicted to the fast-lane (without actually moving like I did!), take this short 7-question "Pace of Life" quiz by Prof. Richard Wiseman and The British Council.