Some of My Favourite Relationship Resources

What are some of the most life-changing books and resources I’ve encountered in the past 25+ years of my personal growth and exploration journey?

It was very hard to narrow it down to just a few but here’s a start!

To be in healthy relationships, I think it’s essential that we have a healthy and loving relationship with self.  One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read on this is Susan Anderson’s book called “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing.”  She goes through the five stages of abandonment: Shattered, Withdrawal, Internalizing the Rejection, Rage and Lifting with a description of each and special exercises for healing.  I think everyone should read this book – whether or not you believe that you have experienced abandonment!  Her companion book “Taming Your Outer Child” is another keeper.  You will learn so much about self-sabotaging behaviour from this book.

Gary Chapman has written two very powerful books: “The 5 Love Languages” and “Love as a Way of Life.”  I encourage all my coaching clients to check out his 5 love languages so they can understand what theirs is, and the language of loved ones, whether it’s a spouse or a child.  When you understand your love language you can ask for what you need.  When you understand the love language of loved ones you can express your love in ways that are meaningful to them.  I think this is a real game-changer!  In “Love as a Way of Life” he talks about the qualities of being a loving person.  With descriptions and short assessments you can see if you walk the talk of being a loving person.  Again, a book that is very relevant to relationships

I learned about Alison Armstrong a few years ago from a male friend.  Since then, I have been to one of her “Queen’s Code” workshops, I’ve listened to audios, watched her videos and I’m a convert!  She has been studying men and women for over 25 years and she sees how women often expect men to behave like an ideal woman.  When they don’t women punish them and don’t honour who they are or what they are really good at.  I see this around me all the time and, through Alison’s work, I have learned skills and new understandings for really appreciating and connecting with men.  This is really important stuff!

Lastly, I really like a book by Daphne Rose Kingma called “Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours.”  She starts out with an examination of why breakups are so hard… and the overt and covert reasons we get into relationships.  The author doesn’t see ended relationships as “failures” but instead encourages readers to see them as opportunities for growth.  She offers a series of exercises to help with this process and to give closure.

I do customized coaching with my clients and I incorporate a lot of these resources.   It’s great to read books on relationships but it’s even more powerful working with a trained professional!

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5 Keys to Lasting Love

Well, February is the month of love they say (I prefer to think that every month is the month of love but I guess that doesn’t sell so many flowers, cards and chocolates!)

I was invited by my local TV company to do an interview about lasting love.  I didn’t get very long to talk so I decided to record a video and to write a blog about this because I think it’s really important.

I decided to narrow it down to five points although I have a lot to say about this topic!  Here are the 5 points:

  • make every day romantic whether it’s the time for a prolonged hug at the end of a busy day or taking time at bedtime to exchange an appreciation of one another
  • create a vision for your relationship.  What is possible?  Dream big because you are co-creating what YOU want!
  • honor your commitment.  I find that many couples don’t bring up the concept of commitment and that it’s just assumed – but this is really important!  If you make a strong commitment to one another – and keep it – you are able to express yourself honestly and openly and know that you have created a safe container.  This is where true intimacy comes from
  • take ownership for your experience and take responsibility for your feelings.  Nobody can “make” you feel a certain way.  Understand that your issues are your own unmet needs and that you can be triggered by things that wouldn’t faze others.  Learn how to communicate so each of you can express yourselves clearly and be a good listener
  • make your relationship a priority.  We all know it’s true that the more you put into something the more you get out of it!  I see a relationship as a garden that needs to be nurtured.  It needs to be watered and fertilized so that you both can reap the benefits.  Together you can grow and accomplish things that wouldn’t be possible alone.

I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts on what keeps love alive!  I love to do couples coaching so if you want a great relationship rather than a “good enough” one, let’s talk!

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How to be a Love Magnet

Have you noticed that some people seem naturally magnetic where others are prickly?  What are some of the elements that make some people love magnets?  In a recent speaking engagement I pointed out that most babies are love magnets without having to do anything: they are magnetic just by being themselves.  What happens over time to interfere with our natural birthright of being love magnets?  I think a lot has to do with others telling us we have been bad or wrong – or that we’ve disappointed them.  We start to doubt ourselves and question whether or not we’re lovable.  How can we shed ourselves of those negative messages and return to loving beings?  Here are three ways:

1) Fall madly in love with yourself! Celebrate your triumphs and be compassionate toward yourself when you make mistakes or believe that you have fallen short
2) Be friendly to others and create connections even if it’s just in a supermarket lineup! A friendly smile could be the highlight of someone’s day and it’s going to make you feel good, too!
3) Recognize the value of community. Get out there and participate! Make a difference in the world and shine that light of yours!

How might your life be different if you intentionally gave and received love with an open heart?  Why not give it a try?

With Valentine’s Day coming up very soon why wait for someone else to express love to you?  When you make a conscious choice to be a more loving person you can treat everyone you meet with kindness and compassion.  Many people save themselves and their love for a romantic partner but my belief is that if you don’t use it you lose it so why not practise love every day?

I have a friend who teases me about shining white light at people!  Actually when I walk down the street I smile at strangers.  Sometimes I get a smile back but often the person averts his or her eyes.  I hope someday everyone will feel safe to smile at a stranger.  I know it makes me feel good!

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Dev and Rachel need me!

love coach

I thoroughly enjoyed a new series on Netflix called Master of None which focuses on the life and love of Dev, played by Aziz Ansari. His love interest is Rachel. DEV AND RACHEL NEED ME!

Why do Dev and Rachel need a love coach? They, like many dating couples, are building the plane as they are flying it! How might things be different for them – and for you – if you really knew who you are, what you want, if you were able to communicate positive and effectively and if you could manage differences between you and your partner?

What is your vision for love? What do you think is possible in marriage? At one end of the spectrum is unrealistic fantasy of bliss that requires no work… and on the other end is the cynical belief that marriage is an outdated institution that clips one’s wings and that sucks the life out of people.
How can you have a partnership that enhances your life? First you need to know who you are and choose a partner who shares your key values and vision. Get to know him or her over time and determine whether you are both ready to make a commitment. I believe the key here is not to rush. It takes time to get to know someone. As you get to know the other person, you get to know yourself.

I believe that commitment is the key to a successful relationship. In this world of instant gratification and disposable everything, commitment might be a foreign concept to many of us. Think of what you’ve been committed to – whether it’s learning to play an instrument, learning a language or playing video games! Commitment takes dedication and focus. It’s also the key to getting results.

How might things have turned out if Dev and Rachel had me, as a love coach, in their lives? How might things be different for you?

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Always Hungry – for Love?

David Ludwig’s new book called Always Hungry? was released earlier this month.  He debunks a lot of myths about weight-loss saying that it’s not about lowering your caloric intake because you naturally get hungry and then have a tendency to overeat.  He advocates a high-fat diet rather than the high-carb, low fat diet that most people have been on for the past 40 years or so – because it simply doesn’t work.   For decades people have been trying to lose weight by following the “rules” but the rule book is flawed.  I imagine most people have experienced the hunger and deprivation of a “diet” and Dr. Ludwig gives us hope.

What does Always Hungry? have to do with love?  The way I see it is that there is a “rule book” about love in our popular culture.  It says things like:

  • you need to be young and attractive to find love
  • if you’ve met your soulmate you’ll recognize them immediately
  • chemistry has to be very strong right from the beginning or it’s not “the one”
  • don’t be your authentic self because you might get judged, dismissed and left
  • you’re no one until someone loves you
  • my partner should meet all my needs

I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about loved fueled by movies and other entertainment (similar to recommendations on eating from decades ago that suggested multiple servings of crackers and pasta daily)  The portrayals in the media of couples who have perfect relationships which seem to require no effort give people such an unrealistic idea of what is actually required.

What would my new rule book for love include?  One of my rules would be that you love yourself and having loving relationships with others rather than “saving” yourself to give love only to your partner – whether you currently have one or are hoping to have one.

Love is possible at any age, not just for the young and/or attractive.   I know someone whose 83 year old step-sister found love in a seniors’ home with a man of 84. Never give up!

Another rule would be that you acknowledge that chemistry is not the only indicator of a successful relationship but that companionship and commitment are also integral.  Once the sparks and passion at the beginning dim, what do you have left?

Be your true self.  Sometimes it feels risky but whether you’re looking for a partner or married, you need to have a strong sense of yourself so you will be healthy and whole even under stress.

Believing that your partner will meet all your needs sets you up for disappointment and sets your partner up for a lot of stress!  What do you need that supports, nurtures and interests you?  Maybe it’s a service group or your church or good friends with whom to share activities.  Be sure that you have a support system so you don’t expect your relationship and your partner to be everything.

Most songs about love and portrayal of love in movies and TV shows are about infatuation and romance, not about real love.  Romance sells, unlike the daily investment it takes for self-awareness and for co-creating a healthy relationship.

If you do the inner work and hone the skills necessary for a healthy relationship you will have a much better likelihood of feeling beautifully satiated and no longer “always hungry for love.”

 

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Someone Out There is Praying for You to Show Up

Do you ever feel discouraged as a single?  Do you wonder if you’ll ever meet your ideal partner?  Does that inner critical voice nag you about all your perceived shortcomings?

How would things be different if you really believed that someone out there is PRAYING for you to come along?  Someone who celebrates you for who you are.  Someone who really “gets” you and who loves your authentic self.  Take a moment and just sit with that thought: that someone out there is praying for YOU.  How does it feel?

Can you relax and surrender into it?  Can you allow that belief to permeate your consciousness?  Think about all you have to offer: maybe it’s your kind and generous nature, or your skill and knowledge in an area you’re passionate about; maybe it’s how conscientious and responsible you are; or how you can see the silver lining in every cloud.  You do have a lot to offer!

Do you feel the excitement and anticipation of having your ideal partner in your life?  This is what will carry you through the times of doubt and despair.   Get to know yourself, celebrate who you are, and live your best life authentically, and get ready to meet the one whose prayers will be answered when you are in their life!

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Being Single: An Opportunity not a Liability!

How do you feel about being single?  Many singles would much rather be in a relationship and feel like they are putting in time until their ideal partner comes along.  Other singles are relieved to be out of a dysfunctional partnership or an unhappy marriage and are afraid of choosing someone just like their ex.

How can you make the best of being single?

The way I see it is to use this time to learn more about yourself: who you are, what you want, and to acknowledge your part in past breakups.  What would you need to do differently next time?  Maybe it’s being more cautious about who you get involved with. Maybe it’s learning some new relationship skills like being able to communicate calmly instead of yelling.  Perhaps you need to cultivate the skill of seeing someone else’s point of view even it’s not the same as yours.

Over the years have you lost yourself?  I see this very often, in both men and women, because they have focused so much on their partner and kids that they don’t really know who they are.  Who are you?  What are your dreams?  What are your deepest-held values?  What is your vision of the relationship you want?  These are all important questions to answer before getting involved with someone new.  This is how you approach dating “consciously” instead of repeating old patterns or getting swayed by chemistry.

Being single is an opportunity not only to learn more about yourself, but also to appreciate your own company.  When you can enjoy time alone, then you can approach dating from a place of contentment and abundance, rather than desperation.  It is then possible to have a significant other in your life because you want someone, not because you need them to make your lonely and miserable life better!

Need some help in becoming your own best friend?  Seeing a counselor, therapist or relationship coach can be very helpful.   There is no substitute for the soul-to-soul connection and perspective of working with a trained professional.   Is this the next step for you?  I encourage you to see how being single is actually a wonderful opportunity for growth and evolution – and to see the value of reaching out so you can get there!

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Feeling the dating fear, honouring the feelings, being curious … and doing it anyway!

I’m passionate about my vision, my mission, my calling – to help people to date more consciously and to have more loving relationships with others and themselves.  I’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes.  I’ve been keeping journals since I was 16 years old so I have all the ups and downs of my love life documented (and have made a mutual agreement with a close friend to burn our journals upon our passing!).  I’ve taken lots of courses, read lots of books, done lots of blogging, helped close friends… but playing it safe and being invisible really wasn’t serving anybody.  It wasn’t getting my message out into the world and it wasn’t stretching me.  I was happily in my comfort zone, but quite stuck.

Public speaking is a strategy for getting out there: so that people could get great information and get a sense of who I am and where I come from but, frankly, the thought of standing up in front of a group was terrifying for me.  I had lots of “but what if’s???” and I imagined feeling so exposed!  Yikes!  I felt the fear.  I honoured the fear.  I started getting curious about the fear.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  How old was that part of me that was so scared of getting up in front of people?  Is it really true that people would be there to judge me – or were they there to learn?

I joined Toastmasters so I could get some experience in front of a group.  I could feel my heart pounding before giving even a short toast (about 1 minute!)  but I survived!  In preparing for my first public presentation  last month I had sleepless nights punctuated by feelings of dread and overwhelm.

Interestingly, after I’d prepared my talk and all the handouts (and some small prizes) I wasn’t nervous!  Interestingly, after all the dread I had about how badly it might go… I actually enjoyed it!  I’m looking forward to the next one!  I focus on how I can connect with my audience and how I can be of service.  I took the risk and got in touch with a gift I hadn’t realized that I had!

How does this story apply to you and dating?  For many people, dating is very nerve-wracking.  Feel the dating fear.  Where do you notice it in your body?  If you are observing safe dating practices like meeting in public, what’s the worst thing that could happen?  If you’ve allotted 20-30 minutes for a coffee date it’s not forever and you can always end things sooner if your date is rude or unpleasant.  How old is the part of you that is dreading the date?  Maybe feeling like a 5 or 6 year old on the first day of school?  You’re an adult now and you have a lot more resources and coping mechanisms than you did back then.

You can stay home and be invisible – but how are you going to share your gifts with a beloved partner if you never get out and meet people?   Yes, it can feel risky to put yourself out like that, but you never know what magic can happen when you take that first step!

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The Importance of Being Prepared Before Dating

I meet many singles who just want to get out there and date and forget the importance of being prepared before dat.  “How do I meet people for dating?” is their primary question.  What I’d like to see as being the primary question is “What do I need to do to be prepared to date?”

I came up with an analogy recently.  What if you and someone you had just met decided that you wanted to start a garden together.  Each of you had done a little gardening in the past but with mixed results.  You figure there’s nothing to it: just put some seeds in the soil and in time you have a nice garden!

You may discover that your seeds don’t actually thrive.  You needed to prepare the soil first, but you didn’t know that.  You’ve planted sun-loving crops in shady areas.  You didn’t know that.  You just assumed that the other person would take responsibility for watering… but you didn’t discuss it.  Your plants aren’t doing so well.  And it turns out that your partner can’t stand zucchini but you planted lots of it because everyone else does.

This is what I see in a lot of relationships these days.  People dive right in figuring that no preparation is required and if their partner is “the One” then it should all be easy.  Many people want the crops without the work, and it doesn’t work that way (unless you buy your produce at the store and I haven’t figured out how that works with long-term relationships!)

The divorce rates are sobering and the percentages of marriages that end in divorce gets higher with second and third marriages.  People who don’t get prepared by being clear on who they are and what they want, who don’t recognize their patterns, who don’t learn how to communicate effectively and how to resolve conflict… they don’t have much hope for a healthy, lasting, loving relationship, in my opinion.

What can you do to increase your chances of lasting love?  Do the inner work!  Get the help you need!

I offer programs that help you to discover who you are and to get ready for dating… before you ask “How can I meet people for dating?”  I want you to be successful, and I can help you.

Let’s talk!  Here’s how you can contact me: http://lovecoachlynn.com/contact/

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