Finding Your Voice - Reclaiming Your Life – Ryan Couples Therapy – Tacoma, WA

Finding Your Voice: Reclaiming Your Life

Practice #1: How to Reclaim Your Life and Strengthen Your Marriage.

My e-book, Reclaim Your Life and Strengthen Your Marriage, was written to help those of you who have experienced, or are experiencing now, a deep disconnection from your truest nature and most authentic self within the context of your marriage or intimate relationship.

I wrote this book from the pain of my own experience of abandoning myself in my first marriage.

In that marriage, I learned the hard way (i.e through divorce) that giving up oneself to please one’s partner is not an effective strategy for building a healthy, vibrant relationship that thrives and is sustainable over the long-haul.

All too often I hear my clients talk about:

The pain that comes when they cannot hold onto their own heart and soul in their marriage.
The pain they experience in losing connection to their truest selves.
The deep loneliness they feel once they disconnect from their authentic self.

In this blog series of 10 separate posts, I will offer tangible and practical things you can do in your own reclamation process.

I will address the impact of abandoning yourself in order to “save” or “keep” your marriage.

And I will offer steps you can take today that will help you create a loving connection to yourself as well as a loving connection to your partner.

Let’s Begin…

First things First: Finding  One’s Voice

This is essential to connecting to one’s truest nature and most authentic self. And it is one of the most important things in any intimate relationship.

Without the capacity of finding one’s voice, we become lost very quickly, taken advantage of, unhealthily merged with another, or deeply lonely.

So the very first step in reclaiming your life is to find your voice again.

This can sound like a daunting proposition; one that, if we expect too much of ourselves too quickly, is likely to create feelings of overwhelm and result in keeping us paralyzed.

So in order to get unstuck, and begin to find your voice, I encourage you to start with this simple action:

With much Compassion…Slow down, Breathe, and Pause Before Answering or Taking Action.

Simple right? And yet so effective.

When your partner approaches you with a request, before answering, remind yourself to slow down, breathe and pause. Then ask yourself:

What truly resonates with me here?

What would feel best to me here?

How can expressing my voice in this moment contribute to strengthening my connection to myself as well as creating a positive, intimate moment with my partner?

Do I need some time to think about this more before answering?

This simple step allows us to cultivate a space for reflection. Cultivating a space for reflection, allows you to find your voice.

Reflection allows the truth of what you truly want and what, in any given moment, feels most congruent to your deepest, most authentic self, unfold and become visible.

Instead of giving quick or impulsive answers focused on avoiding conflict and the challenge of facing the differences between you and your partner, slow down and choose transitional responses.

“Maybe” is a good transition word. And “I need time to think about this” is a good transition phrase before giving a definite “yes” or “no”.

When we give ourselves time to pause and ponder, we honor ourselves. When we admit that we need time to reflect to make an informed decision, we are taking care of ourselves and we are respecting the relationship as we show up more authentically.

When we take time to think more intentionally about what we are ready to do or not do, and what we are ready to commit to, we are finding our voice.

Defining ourselves and our desires requires intention and clarity, reflection, and time.

Quick reactions only to appease another and avoid conflict, rarely result in feeling authentic, satisfied and fulfilled.

NOTE To SELF: Don’t Leave the “Maybe” or “I need time to think about this” hanging indefinitely. If you do, then that is just more avoidance and this can become a passive aggressive way to be an uncooperative partner. And this is not the result you are going for here.

In finding your voice, you are striving to show up in an authentic way to create more connection to yourself while creating more intimacy with your partner.

So, once we have taken the time to connect with our authentic self, then we can answer from this place within us, we can express our voice from our own authenticity, and we can begin to establish a stronger sense of self within the context of our relationship.

Not only will this be new to you, but it will also be new to your partner. He/she may not like that you don’t just say what they want to hear; they may not like you finding and expressing your voice…at first. It may make them uncomfortable…at first.

Your partner may push or question you so that you go back to familiar and very comfortable interactions; interactions that support the established pattern.

Remember that pattern? The one in which you abandoned yourself to keep another pleased and avoid conflict? The one that leads to disconnection and inauthenticity, dissatisfaction and deep loneliness?

Even if your partner balks, or pushes, or complains, please lovingly stand your ground.

It will be most helpful to Remember the 8 C’s of open-heartedness:

Be clear, calm and confident.
Be compassionate to your partner as they adjust to this “new” you. Be compassionate to yourself, if you slide back into the old pattern instead of standing your ground.
Be curious with your partner about what they might be thinking or feeling as you learn to express your authentic voice.

Be creative in how you adjust and allow your partner to adjust.
Be courageous in this action and know that in doing this you are strengthening not only the connection to yourself but also strengthening the possibility to create an authentic intimate connection to your partner.

I encourage you to take this simple, yet very effective first step today of finding your voice.

And I remind you that in order for an intimate loving partnership to thrive, finding one’s voice is essential.

Peace in your journey,
Jane

 Introduction  |  Practice #2 in Series  

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Jane Ryan

Jane Ryan, M.A., LMFT, is a Licensed Couple and Family Therapist with twenty years of clinical experience and a speciality in helping couples navigate the challenges of intimate relationships. Jane also has a sub-specialty of helping couples navigate the relational and sexual effects of breast cancer.

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