Today, I want to share with you the first step to reducing relationship anxiety, forever!
It wasn’t long ago; I was the walking poster child for relationship anxiety.
On the surface I looked calm and collected but underneath I was a time bomb with a short fuse. I learned how to change it permanently, and I’m going to show you how to do the same.
In this article, I’m going to give you a short-cut for reducing relationship anxiety forever so keep reading with an open mind.
The first thing you have to understand about your relationship anxiety may not seem that exciting. And I also realize you want results right?
I won’t waste your time, and I’ll do my best to make a boring topic entertaining. Deal?
Here’s my promise to you. If you get what I’m about to share with you, you’ll be able to reduce your anxiety, on demand, so you feel better, make better decisions and create a better impression to those around you.
People will respect you ability to remain calm when others are reactive.
Truthfully, I cannot give you all the answers in one article, but I will give you one essential thing you must learn to get your mind thinking in the right direction so you can change old habits when you want.
Chances are you’ll get it and be able to implement it right away.
Remember, our goal is to reduce relationship anxiety. To do that I’m going to introduce you to a part of your biology that, once understood, will help you to see a perspective about relationships that has profound implications.
When I first learned what I’m about to share, I thought about it for days. I suddenly could see a new world around me that had never occurred to me.
My relationship changed immediately, especially the one with myself.
When you think about it, the relationship with yourself is the most important.
Said another way, stop trying to change others. It’s a waste of time. Shift the way you are thinking instead. Let me explain.
Think about this: Can we change others? We can try but inside they are going to think and feel the way they do regardless until “THEY” want to change. Right?
In truth, we can only influence them to change.
So let’s start here. The relationship with yourself.
There is one aspect related to your biology that directly influences everything about your relationships, especially your interactions and reactions.
It’s useful to understand this because when you do, you have immediate control of how you think and what you say. Having instant control over your responses to life is powerful.
If you get this one concept, you’ll be back in control of all your situations within seconds. You’ll plug the leaks of insecurity and conversations that create bad outcomes.
The result is you’ll have less anxiety.
And the more you practice, the faster you get at it and get even better results.
To get started, let me ask you a question. What do you think causes you to react positively or negatively to anything in life?
Answer: Your memory
That’s right…your memory system.
Your memory is the backbone to all you think and do.
We need a memory system, so we don’t have to re-lean something every time we repeat it. Think how life would be if had to re-learn everything we experience. Life would be very chaotic. Nothing would get done.
Some examples of your memory system in action include: riding a bike, driving a car, doing a math problem, listening or communicating.
When you understand how memory works, you will begin to understand why humans behave the way they do.
You’ll also have very powerful skills for interacting with others.Here is a video I did a while back on memory. Watch it before you go on so we are on the same page.
In this video, I briefly explore the implicit and explicit memory system and why it matters in relationships. Learning about your memory system and how it affects you will help you to:
Interrupt Knee Jerk Reactions So Others Feel "Safe" Around You
Name Your Experience More Easily Rather Than To "Feed" It
Release Early Life Memories More Easily So you Can Make Better Choices "In The Moment"
Build New Relationship Patterns And Belief Systems That Enhance All Your Relationships
The Big “Aha.”
Many years ago I was reading a book on fear by J. Krishnamurti. My biggest “aha” moment was when he talked about our memory system and how human beings are rarely conscious about their behaviors.
I was perplexed and excited by those comments for many years……until I began meditating and watching how my brain worked.
I now recognize that 98% of my reactions to life are a direct reflection of habituated beliefs or reactive patterns. To this day, I’m amazed at how quickly I can default to patterns reflecting my unconscious belief system or just bad habits.
Now, don’t get me wrong, some habituated patterns are good ones. What you want to question and modify, are the patterns you learned that are sabotaging your success.
Examples of Our Memory System In Action
Let’s look at some examples of how our memory system affects us day-to-day.
I used to have a problem blaming others when something didn’t go my way. When I tuned into those experiences, I felt about two years old and angry.
Somehow the current experience was triggering a memory in me that needed to be challenged and updated from when I was very young.
Maybe you can relate to this.
Somehow the current experience was triggering a memory in me that needed to be challenged and updated...
Intellectually, I understand that many things in life will not go my way, and that is normal. Emotionally, though, “knee-jerk reactions” related to my memories remind me that I will need more practice with acceptance and to remember to remove blame from my habituated pattern.
As the years have gone by, I've learned to recognize when I’m angry and give myself the time to pause and feel it until it shifts.
That’s right. If you just breathe and “hang out” with your emotions, they will eventually transform and lose their “grip” on you. Most people never do this and now that you know you'll have higher emotional intelligence.
As you practice this, it gets easier and easier.
You can see your memory causing you to react in other areas of your life as well.
Ever wake up from a bad night of sleep not feeling connected to your loved ones or life itself? I had this experience this morning. To make matters worse, before I could get my clothes on, my partner wanted to connect with me, and all I could feel was disconnect and anger.
As she approached me, I projected a tone something to the equivalent of “Don’t bother me!” The truth is I knew I needed to sit on my pillow and breathe through my anger because I knew I was not going to be fun to be around.
Heck, I didn’t even want to be around myself let alone someone else that expects me to love them! After around 45-minutes of feeling my anger, I could feel love and connection coming back.
Let’s review before we get any deeper here.
I’ve shared that your memory system is always active. That the memory system is like a database …always getting compared to what is presently happening.
If the memories are emotionally charged or “incomplete” and never got successfully integrated, they will influence the way you are thinking at that moment. Actually, all memories influence your thoughts in any given moment, but for our discussion we are referring to the ones that create negative outcomes.
You'll want to make a note of those reactions and get help dissolving them. The payoff is priceless.
Now, let me share some other insights into how I think so you get an even clearer picture.
Here is how I measure success in my meditations. As I breathe and feel into the sensations of any experience I might be "working through", after a few minutes I ask myself “Do I feel better? Do I feel stronger? Do I feel more of my essence (love and joy)?”
As I breathe and feel the sensations related to a triggered reaction, I begin to sort out the meaning I have put on whatever I’m processing. It can take anywhere from ten minutes to two hours, depending on the magnitude of the memory and belief system you are tapping into.
It’s common to get a lot of “aha” moments when you just allow your emotions to "be" and settle into “what is” without trying to change anything.
As I sit with the feelings and emotions, the meaning of whatever has me triggered begins to reveal itself.
During my meditations, I also might reflect on any assumptions or inferences I’m making. I play the scene back in my head and ask myself “What inferences or assumptions have I made here?”
When you first start this practice, it can be hard to sort out. But it get’s easier so I highly recommend it if you want the long term benefits.
As a final example, have you ever thought or assumed something about someone from what they said or did only to discover later you were wrong?
These assumptions are coming from your memory system that is comparing the current situation with previous experiences. In a split second, you make assumptions based on these prior experiences.
Having Healthy Beliefs and Habits Makes Life Better
When we have habits that get positive results, the “quick to the draw” memory system is very useful.
For example, let’s say you notice someone is distraught and needs comfort. People who didn’t get comfort when they were little, may attempt to talk the sad person out of their experience because they are uncomfortable (based on their past).
On the other hand, someone who had healthy relationships growing up may just sit with them and allow them to share and express them self without trying to “fix” the problem. They “assume” the stressed out person is capable and participate in the experience only as a sounding board.
Once we form positive habits and repeat them enough times, they become the new default in our memory system. Never forget this. It’s the fast path to happiness.
Our memory system and belief system is closely linked. Think of it this way.
Let’s say you believe that loyalty is a good value for partners to share. But let’s say one day you are out together and your partner looks at another woman a little too long, and you feel a reaction inside.
The reaction you are having is an activated memory system. All the beliefs and values you have around loyalty get triggered especially the memories that never got resolved around your “Ex” cheating on you.
There is nothing wrong with the belief related to loyalty. What’s enmeshed with it though is anger, sadness, and fear of what happened in your previous relationships. When you sort that out, you will see that your current boyfriend or husband may not have any intentions of being disloyal. Make sense?
Summary of Reducing Relationship Anxiety Forever
You can now see that our memory system is essential for making life and decisions in life easier.
It’s also at the very root of your relationship anxiety.
When you recognize that in your memory is getting triggered, you can interrupt the knee-jerk response and question the meaning you are making. You can test your assumptions and inferences to see what is true or not.
On the other hand, it’s easy to see that if you have incomplete emotional experiences that are getting triggered your conscious beliefs and values can go right out the window and the unconscious beliefs suddenly and without warning reveal themselves.
The question is, do you have the ability to recognize when this is happening and take action to investigate and correct it?
When you make examining your assumptions and inferences a daily practice, you’ll be rewarded with insights and new habits that are guaranteed to turn anxiety into more fun.
In closing, an excellent daily practice is to see or frame all of your life experiences as opportunities to see unconscious beliefs, values, and habits. That way you can make changes that immediately increase the probability of getting more of what you want in life.
Please take a moment and put your comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends with the social share buttons.
Ask your questions below and I will respond to them.Thank you for your time.
Peace and Blessings,