Celebrate & Affirm Your Efforts (Proactive Period WK1)
The Cost of the Common Approach
Most couples take an it’s-OK-until-it’s-not-OK approach to their relationship. They don’t pay much attention… until there’s a problem.
Leaning into Loving Better as a proactive approach isn’t taught as we’re growing up and for most of us, being proactive doesn’t come naturally. Certainly not as natural as blaming, complaining or focusing on fixing problems rather than aiming for awesome. No one needs to teach us how to do THAT.
The cost of not investing in intimacy is that inevitably, you find yourselves in the we-need-to-talk zone. Then the dynamic between you about fixing a problem or how someone is in the wrong (Usually your beloved).
At that point, most of what’s said creates MORE conflict. Usually, NOTHING gets resolved. Often it gets worse. You both get worked up until it blows up. You get tripped up, triggered and start acting more like adversaries than allies. Then you’re not relating as partners, let alone playmates. Nor are you pursuing any goals together.
The Benefits of a Proactive Approach
It takes something to shift from fixing a problem to aiming for awesome, yet the rewards are immense. One of the benefits of cultivating a proactive approach to relationship, is that you get to relate as allies instead of adversaries. It’s the two of you aiming towards what you BOTH want, leaning into the next steps for your greatest happiness - TOGETHER.
As allies, you listen to each other. Your communication brings you together as allies so the important conversations happen, the fun time is more fun and even the fights when they do happen are “clean” and fair.
It feels great when you both prioritize each other’s experiences as much as your own. When you create and nurture a Couple Culture of win-win-or-no-deal, you’ve already won, regardless of who “gets their way”. That way you both feel fully expressed, accepted and cared about. Those interactions build trust, goodwill and inspiration.
Stretch Not Stress
Creating a shared vision and setting specific goals, seasonally, habitually, aiming for awesome as allies… that’s kind of our thing around here at For Better Love. Three times a year, for 90 days, we stretch, (but not stress!), as we playfully pursue our relationship goals together. I do it with my husband, I support my clients in doing it as well. We’ve been doing this for almost a decade now. It’s the core healthy habit that guides our quality of life and love.
The Purpose of a Proactive Period
Still, all work and no play makes for a draining relationship and life. Our human systems are designed on cycles and those cycles tend to include taking a break. As humans, we tend to crave a “closed loop” with a beginning, middle and end. Endless goals are exhausting. Time specific stretches are far more approachable. That structure builds in a message that says, sometimes we strive and sometimes we reset.
We really value pursuing goals around here at For Better Love, but a go-go-go non-stop attitude isn’t proactive, that’s pressure. We think the playful and even pleasurable approach to growth is a far more desirable, (and effective), pursuit than the usual problem/fixing focused approach. Blaming, shaming and complaining usually cause defensiveness, resistance, pulling away or lashing out. Rarely does it create partnership or an inspiring path forward together.
That’s why here at For Better Love, we created the PROACTIVE Period, a 30 day “break” from striving towards your 90 Day Goals.
The PROACTIVE Period is four weeks, each with it’s own theme to honor the arc of growth and development you’re on. (Celebrate, Rest, Reflect and Take Aim). This week, we focus on the importance of the practice of CELEBRATING your efforts and accomplishments.
Pause Your Pursuits
Being intentional about your relationship goals and investing in intimacy is awesome, yet it’s also important to PAUSE your relationship pursuits now and then to just CELEBRATE your efforts, your successes and the lessons learned. More than anything, celebrate that you even care enough to “do the work” and to lean into Loving Better. You’re here reading this!
Intentional Effort vs Relationship Autopilot
It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. Even beyond the progress, the REAL celebration is for the fact that you put in the effort at all. Congratulate yourself!
Most couples are on autopilot with their relationship. They put up with poor communication. They settle for low expectations. They make up a story they’re too busy for intimacy. When really, their fights suck all their time and energy. They let distance build between them. They get drained by the day-to-day instead of nourished by it. They lose sight of what brought them together and allow tension and resentment to rise like gunky relationship residue clogging their love pipes.
But not you! If you’re here, reading this now, then YOU should celebrate and be celebrated. You clearly value true satisfaction and have high expectations for your quality of relationship and even for your day to day life. You’re on the positive, proactive path towards boosting the quality of connection between you. Celebrate!
Aiming IS Winning
Just the fact that you are leaning into love and setting relationship goals in the first place is a WIN and should be celebrated. Most people never even try! You’re a winner just for playing this Game of Loving Better.
Rarely are you worse off for pursuing being better. Even if you only achieve 25% of your goals, that’s 25% better than it was before. Plus you build goodwill (and attraction!), with your beloved when you engage in growth and development.
Positive Partner Pressure
Often couples will use each other’s poor behavior or communication and justification for their poor behavior or communication. This downward spiral trend can be reversed! Instead of justifying a devolving dynamic with each other’s unhealthy habits, when you talk about what you DO want and you aim for awesome TOGETHER, you start inspiring each other to do better. To love better. Your dynamic becomes an upward spiral instead. They way you treat each other becomes a form of positive partner pressure!
Acknowledgement Is Affirming
One reason to celebrate ANY efforts towards Loving Better is that when we take the time to acknowledge ourselves and each other for the efforts we’ve made and the impact we’ve created, it is affirming. It validates your efforts and accomplishments. It builds inspiration for the next set of goals. Acknowledging your efforts and progress boosts confidence for taking that next step towards enjoying even greater levels of play, peace and passion together.
One of my favorite acknowledgment practices I’ve learned is to ask my beloved what HE wants to be acknowledged for. Often the things he is most proud of or he worked the hardest on, I wouldn’t even have on my radar. This makes sure the acknowledgement lands spot on, hitting straight to the heart. Ask them, then give it to them good!
Physiology & Psychology
Another benefit of celebrating is that it releases endorphins in your body. This just feels good.
It not only feels good in the moment, that positive boost of every success and celebration gives you the dopamine hit that ends up seducing you into doing it again.
If you’ve taken action, made progress and celebrated any efforts to improve your relationship, you’re actually feeding and nourishing your brain to reinforce pursuing further success.
And if you DON’T celebrate, you’re training your brain that your pursuits aren’t that important or meaningful. Your communication says “this takes a lot and isn’t really worth it”. This puts you at risk of the dreaded “why bother” syndrome. The syndrome that seduces people into quitting their pursuit of what’s possible. Heartbreaking when that applies to relationships. Don’t let “why bother” happen to your relationship!
Celebration Calms Conflict
Embracing celebration also strengthens your ability to handle challenges and conflicts as they pop up. When you know you’ve done a lot of good, covered a lot of ground, made a lot of progress, then any momentary lapse in connection or break down in communication, seems more like a resolvable hurdle than a cause for relationship chaos. The memories of celebrations of successes in the past can remind you of what you have created before and can do again.
These expected and very human relationship challenges then have minimal weight and actually bring you closer together, rather than becoming insurmountable challenges that weigh heavy on your heart, building barriers between you.
Celebration Mindset Attracts Success / Celebration
Celebration invites more celebration. So build on that momentum! Success begets success. It doesn’t have to be a huge step. Reinforce the progress you and your beloved are making. Even if it is small. Every step forward counts! Nourish that next chapter and “act as if” with your Loving Better state of mind.
Awesome Isn’t Automatic
This mindset doesn’t happen on it’s own. Most people default to being busy, stressed and feeling unappreciated for their efforts and struggles.
You have to cultivate the garden of your mind or weeds will grow (and choke your relationship). As the famous essay says - “as a man thinketh so shall he be” Pull the weeds of negative thinking such as “ But it’s not enough.” “We should be past this by now.” Tend to the garden of your thinking. Think about celebrating and more celebrations will happen. You can bring celebration to your Couple Culture and your day to day experience.
Just pursuing Loving Better IS a success in itself. It shows you value love, connection and intimacy. It shows you want more than just your relationship surviving, you want it to THRIVE. You value deep connection and want true satisfaction.
Awesome isn’t automatic, but it sure is awesome!
Every Step Counts/ Deserves to be Celebrated
It’s important to give yourselves a moment to celebrate your efforts and what you’ve accomplished. Go ahead and for a moment, or a few weeks, let go of the to-do list of relationship improvements that are yet to come. Celebrate this moment and every step of the journey to your ideal relationship vision. Every effort towards Loving Better counts and warrants celebration. It is another thread in your Couple Culture and invites the next positive proactive action you might take together.
Proactive or Problematic
Let’s face it, long term relationships are NOT easy. I hear that all the time… “I wish it wasn’t so hard.” “ I wish it was easier.” Well it CAN be. IF you invest in intimacy as a regular and habitual practice. It doesn’t have to be work, but it DOES take effort.
Keeping things playful, peaceful and passionate, especially over time, pretty much requires an intentionally positive and proactive approach.
Otherwise, there’s usually a slow drifting apart until one day the fun is gone, the connection is weak and you’re both wondering where’s the door way out. How many couples do you know that default into getting better and better all the time?
Celebration Increases Motivation
Celebrating the milestones along the way to your ideal relationship vision to gives yourselves a win and reinforces your efforts to keep going. It reminds you both that love is about progress and not about being perfect. It is about effort over time.
Plus the research is clear. Positive reinforcement works. Play IS important. It is how we best learn and grow. And celebration is a key part of taking a positive, proactive approach to love and life.
Pause the Pursuits to Celebrate
This is why, for the first week of the PROACTIVE Period at ForBetterLove, even though we’re personal development junkies, we put a PAUSE on our relationship pursuits and just CELEBRATE. We celebrate our efforts, our progress and just paying attention to US. We invite YOU find your own way to celebrate your efforts at Loving Better.
Adventures in Woo-Hoo!
There are endless ways to celebrate. Have fun coming up with YOUR favorites. Create new traditions and games with your beloved. Make it meaningful and fun for both of you.
Ways to Woo-Hoo!
- Hoot and holler - “We did it! We’re leaning into Loving Better!”
- Write a poem or haiku to commemorate the moment/achievement.
- Post your achievement on the fridge or frame it and put it where it can be seen.
- Share your relationship accomplishment with your family and friends.
- Tell the world and share your relationship success publicly on social media.
- Get a special bottle of wine or champagne.
- Take some time off together - (We sometimes take Monday mornings off and call it second Sundays).
- Create a word cloud made up of words that represent your love and relationship.
- Get gussied up in your most celebratory outfits.
- Go out on a date to celebrate, picnic, dinner, etc.
- Dance to your favorite celebration songs playlist.
- Get a bouquet of flowers, a new plant or even a tree.
- Get each other a special piece of jewelry or token of some kind.
- Have a party or gathering of loved ones.
- Get massages together or give them to each other.
- Book that bucket list trip you’ve both wanted to go on.
Celebrate YOUR Way
The reality is, it matters FAR less what you do, than it does that you just do SOMETHING to celebrate. Find YOUR favorites for fun ways to celebrate your accomplishments and even your attempts in the first place.
You shouldn’t step over your efforts and successes any more than you should sweep your troubles under the rug. Take a moment, or in this case, a week to CELEBRATE that you care about the QUALITY of your connection. You’re investing in intimacy. You’re in action for love! That’s far more than most. Bravo. And here’s to your next chapter in aiming for awesome.
Let us know how it goes. Post your questions and comments on our social media today. We love hearing from you!
- Celebrate! Hoot, holler and call out your efforts.
- Acknowledge yourself and your beloved for the efforts you DO put into your relationship. BONUS: Ask them what THEY want to be acknowledge for.
- Praise each other’s efforts by sharing it with others. Post it. Share it with friends. Publicly praise your beloved’s efforts.
- Reward yourselves with something special. Go somewhere, do something or treat yourself to a splurge.
BONUS: Check out the three other weeks of the PROACTIVE PERIOD - REST, REFLECT and TAKE AIM. Experiment with this 90 day on - 30 days off format. Find your own flow, cycle and habits for cultivating your intentional Couple Culture.
Your Ally in Aiming for Awesome,
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