On January 18th I embarked on a personal challenge: writing every day for 12 days.
I'm kind of a perfectionist and I'm learning to let go of control, so writing every day, having little time for editing and being accountable to someone for it seemed to be something I just needed to jump in & do. It was hard at times and I did take a weekend off, but it really gave me more confidence in my own writing skills and knowledge. So yay!
I chose to write about 12 important relationship skills because that's what I care about and what I wanna share with the world. Relationships can be difficult, and there's a lot of stuff to navigate. That shit requires SKILLS to get right, so it's important to learn as much as we can about it, and practice acceptance and patience while on this path.
Obviously, there is so much to say on each of these topics, so this is only a snapshot of my thoughts & learnings.
In part 1/3 of this series we'll be covering:
Without further ado, here's the collection of all of those writings.
Day 1 - Compassion
Compassion involves putting ourselves in the other person's shoes & trying to understand things from their viewpoint.
Everyone experiences current situations within the context of their present lives & their past. To have compassion for your partner, lover, friend or family member is to (try to) understand where they've come from & how that context affects their feelings & their reactions.
Compassion leads to more understanding and helps us avoid conflicts and come to resolutions faster.
To start cultivating this skill, take some time to sit and imagine yourself in that person's situation, and connect with the feelings of that experience. Conjure up every detail of that situation in your mind, and allow yourself to really feel it in your body.
What feelings come up when you see yourself there?
What other parts of your life are affecting your reaction?
Use your insights to remind yourself of what that person might be feeling when you next interact with them... And perhaps ask them about their feelings, if it feels appropriate, so as to gain an accurate picture of what's going on for them.
Day 2 - Forgiveness
We all make mistakes & we always will - it's simply part of human nature.
Learning to forgive people is an important part of making relationships work, as we can take the lessons learned from the situation & use that knowledge to improve how we relate to each other.
Forgiveness may not come easy, especially when we've been hurt, but not forgiving can close us up to deepening our relationships & growing as people.
Of course, some things are harder to forgive than others and it's important to use our best judgement to understand when it's appropriate to continue with the relationship or not. Forgiveness does not necessarily have to mean staying together.
Not forgiving ourselves can also hinder our relationships with others and stop us from forming close bonds due to the fear of making mistakes & hurting others.
Day 3 - Honesty
Being honest means communicating our thoughts, feelings, needs and fears with another person (but with ourselves first).
We all have a need to belong, to feel loved and accepted and to be validated, but often the society we live in punishes us for being authentic and expressing these needs.
For example, a lot of modern dating culture tends to encourage 'no strings attached' encounters and shames those who want anything beyond that by calling them needy, intense, too much etc... When in fact, the majority of us are actually seeking love & acceptance but are too afraid to say so in fear of being rejected, so we settle for what we can get... Or we pretend we want nothing much until the other person lets on they also care about us, and it's safe for us to admit it too.
When people are truly honest with each other, it makes everything much more straight forward and saves everyone involved time & effort.
There are no games to be played or meanings to decipher. Honesty can sometimes hurt in the short term, but being lied to causes more long term damage - like trust issues, feeling deceived and manipulated.
How can we be more honest today?
Day 4 - Affection
Humans are social animals. We need to feel like we belong and that we're cared for and loved. Affection, in the many ways it manifests, is an important way to show another how you feel about them.
It isn't just physical, it lies in the little ways in which we interact; how we speak to each other, look at each other, and how we treat each other in general.
Everyone shows affection in different ways, which is dependent on their past & childhood experiences. We all also receive & understand affection in different ways, which depends on what love languages we prefer.
For example, one person may prefer verbal expressions of love over receiving a gift, whilst another may be more able to understand they're loved with non-verbal acts like hugs & caresses.
It's useful to know what your and your partner(s)' love languages are, so you can both know how to best communicate the love you share for each other 💖
Have any of these resonated or helped you in any way? Have they sparked some interesting thoughts?
Let me know by tweeting @sarahadefehinti or slide into my DMs 👀
Stay tuned for part 2 next week ✨