Arguments and How to Best Pick Your Battles

Arguments in any relationship are unavoidable. Two people, with two separate sets of needs, calls for the occasional battle. Whether with a friend, sibling, or your partner, fights are definitely in your future.

Arguments can vary in level of seriousness, or possible detriment they can cause. Regardless, the vast majority may not be worth losing that person, or somehow destroying your relationship. The key to surviving arguments is which ones you choose to pursue.

Picking your battles is something I learned at a young age. My older sister used to always remind me of this in the midst of an argument, and it was definitely a lesson I was happy to learn. Now that I am older, I am able to decide which battles are actually worth fighting. Which battles I’m actually passionate about. Which battles are important to me. And which battles can somehow improve the relationship versus damage it.

In my relationships, I find that there are several ways to decide which of those fights to choose. Many of them require a thought and time to decide if it’s worth the trouble.

How to best pick your battles:

Level of importance 

Is a particular issue an annoyance vs. an actual problem? We all have good and bad days, and some things, like the direction in which the toilet paper roll hangs, can drive you nuts. Be sure, though, to consider how fighting a battle that inferior can ultimately affect the other person. Will they be hurt? Will they feel unappreciated? Sometimes it might be easier to just flip the roll and move on…

Timing

There’s a time and place for everything. Is it the right time to discuss this issue? Or could this be better handled in the future? Somethings just don’t need to be addressed right away. For example, you’ve just gotten engaged, and you are not sure where to send your kids to school. Are you planning on having kids in the next year? If not, maybe it’s not something that you need to get into right this second…

Ability to compromise

Being able to compromise is crucial to the success of any relationship, especially when it comes to potential arguments. Is this a topic that isn’t very concerning to you? Pizza vs. Thai? Or which coffee table to purchase? Which color to paint the new room? Again, take into consideration how important this is to you vs. your partner—will it affect them more than it will affect you? Sometimes it’s worth the compromise…

Is it life altering? 

Fights can vary from life altering to unworthy. Whether it’s relocating to another city/country, or deciding whether or not to have children, these decisions can completely change your life. How significant is the issue? And where do you stand compared to your partner? These types of discussions may be worth the battle—just make that you are able to appropriately get your point across.

Can you let it go? 

If you decide to completely drop a topic and not pursue a discussion, you actually have to drop it. Don’t avoid the problem because you don’t feel like dealing with it, otherwise you can develop negative feelings like resentment and anger. If you’re choosing to comprise, be 100% okay with your decision…

Be constructive

If you choose to pursue the battle at hand, come prepared with valid points, and be constructive. Actively listen, and try to understand the other person’s point of view. Choose your words wisely, and be kind. Take time to think about things first, and engage in discussion after you’ve had time to calm down. Remember, it’s of the utmost importance to always be respectful.

arguments | relationships | compromise | pick your battles | dating | love

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Paula

FOMO: Why You Need to Unplug

FOMO is real. Seeing all of the photos and videos of friends traveling and going on fun adventures makes you want to do that too, right? You want to be at that big party. You want to be at Coachella. You want to be part of all the fun—it’s near impossible to unplug.

So you spend a lot of time looking down at your device feeling left out and uneasy about what you’re missing. Even if you’re out doing your own thing, your focus is on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook—you just can’t seem to unplug.

What if the real fear is that you’re actually missing out on right now. By taking time away from your friends and your own life to look into the lives of others, you are missing out on time that you’ll never get back. Moments that you’ll never get back. Missing out on making the memories that you’ll never forget.

Yeah, it’s cool to look at photos of others and seeing what they’re up to, but taking time away from your life to stay plugged in is not healthy. It’s important to remember that photos are only a partial, and potentially skewed, representation of what’s actually happening. So why live “vicariously” through others, when you can reap joy from your own life?

Have you ever considered what it would be like for you to put your device down and focus on the activity in which you are engaging? To really live your life? What are the benefits of unplugging…?

Here are the possible benefits when you unplug:

1. Live in the moment

BE PRESENT. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, be there. Mind, body, and soul, be there. Drop your device, unplug, and enjoy yourself. When you’re present, you’ll notice people and things you never did before, which can be a blessing.

2. Be social

Focus on those sitting across from you at dinner, or those around you at an event. Make eye contact, smile, ask questions, laugh. There’s nothing more exciting than getting to know someone new, or further establishing an existing relationship. Network and get to know others—you may be surprised by what you learn.

3. Enjoy the simple things

Look up. Look around. What do you see? When you’re not staring down at your screen, you are exposed to the beauty that surrounds you. Unplugging is super important for your overall wellness. Awareness can be a very powerful tool, especially when it supports your efforts to appreciate the little joys in life…

4. Go with the flow

Sometimes the things that we least expect end up being the most valuable—go with the flow and see what life hands you. This idea goes hand-in-hand with living in the moment. Constantly having plans isn’t always the best thing…

5. Fly solo

Spending time alone, without your device, allows time for self-reflection, relaxation, and the possibility of new experiences. Maybe you’ll meet someone new, or explore a new place—flying solo can be exciting.

6. Feel less pressure

When you’re not stalking others or posting photos of everywhere you go, everything you do, and everything you eat, you provide yourself with space. Depending on how often you choose to post, there’s a sense of pressure to keep up with those in your social circle, or interact with your audience. When you decrease the amount of time spent staring at your phone, you may feel less pressure to do things for the sole reason of posting.

Don’t live so you can post, post so you can remember how you lived.

7. Appreciation

When you’re not focused on what others are doing, you have the ability to appreciate your experiences and the life that you live. You will be more fulfilled, and will have acquired the key component to happiness…

8. Quit comparing

Living in your moments, rather than those of others, will help emit the fear of missing out. Having realistic expectations is also crucial. Live within your means, and don’t compare yourself to others. The majority of people in the world are not fancy bloggers, models, or millionaires—they are regular people like you and me. Always remember that you are blessed with wonderful friends, family, and experiences.

Bottom line, quit comparing yourself to others because it’s just not healthy.

9. Be yourself

Being online can require a bit of a façade sometimes. When you’re not attached to your phone, you get to live a real life where you can be yourself. Being present and feeling alive doesn’t require a façade, it doesn’t require a device, it just requires you.

Be you, love you, and live your life to the fullest—without your phone! Just unplug…

unplug | fomo | social media | be present | communication

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Paula

Intimacy is About More Than Sex

Intimacy is something all human beings desire, and it is part of each person’s psychosocial development. Intimacy vs. isolation is a concept based on Erik Erikson’s psychoanalytical theory. This is an important stage because it is the time in which adults meet someone they can connect with and commit to. With this, one is able to set themselves up for meaning in life, which is pertinent to success in the following stages.

The meaning of “intimacy” has shifted overtime, as many psychosocial ideologies do. Intimacy, specifically for millennials, seems to now have a varied significance. Sex appears to be a primary marker of intimacy, whether or not an emotional attachment is incorporated.

So can sex be intimate? Yes. But is it the only form of intimacy? No. Can we be taught how to be intimate, just like we’re taught about sex? Think about it—from the time that teens hit puberty, education on safe sex, how not to get pregnant, and how to avoid contracting an STI are part of the curriculum. What about learning how to be intimate? Or learning what intimacy is? There is such an emphasis on sex, and I find that society, and especially media, have displayed sex as the prime form of intimacy.

Is it possible that sex is a way for two people to convey their level of intimacy? Absolutely. Sex is simply a physical act, and anyone can engage. However, intimacy is something very special, and it takes a lot of time and effort to develop such a deep connection with another individual.

Let’s talk about some other forms of intimacy…

7 ways to be intimate:

1. Trust

I cannot express how important trust is in a relationship. The first step to building a strong bond is to trust and feel safe with your partner. Without trust, there is no intimacy.

2. Love

Just like trust, love and care are vital components of intimacy. To see the best in a person, and choose to share your life with them says a lot. Building upon your relationship day by day allows for the constant strengthening of that connection.

3. Communication

Sharing pieces of yourself that are either meaningful or difficult to talk about allows both of you to become more intimate. Learning about one another, especially when discussing hopes, dreams, desires, or traumatic experiences, will further expand on your relationship. Trust is crucial in instances such as these.

4. Physical touch

Sometimes the more basic aspects of physical touch, such as cuddling, holding hands, or hugging, allow two people to feel closer to one another. It contributes to intimacy, supports your relationship, and keeps the novelty alive.

5. Spending alone time

Spending alone time together as a couple, whether engaging in an activity, or just hanging out, also provides an opportunity to increase intimacy. Something as simple as lying on a blanket in the park while holding hands and watching the leaves blow in the wind is romantic and warrants a deeper connection.

6. Peacefully sharing space

Many couples cohabitate, and this too can increase intimacy. Peacefully sharing space and a life with someone else exhibits a great deal of trust and love. This allows for a deeper level of understanding about your partner and their needs, as well as your own. Compromise and respect will most likely play a significant role here. Learning about one another in a brand new setting will surely improve your relationship.

7. Being yourself

Being your true self with another individual is the highest level of intimacy. Letting your guard down, opening up, trusting someone, and sharing some of the most private parts of yourself takes a great deal of courage. If you and your partner have a connection that allows you to be fully unfiltered versions of yourselves, know that you have reached an incredible place in your relationship, and an extraordinary degree of intimacy.

There are many layers of intimacy, and yes, sex is a part of that, but don’t sell yourself short and miss out on the incredible, loving, and trusting bond you and your partner can have together…

intimacy | relationships | bond | connection | love | trust

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xx,

Paula

How to Keep the Novelty Alive in Your Relationship

The Novelty can wear in any long-term relationship. That doesn’t mean that your love is fading, but rather, that the honeymoon phase is long gone. You two have fallen into a routine, and even though you still enjoy each other’s company, that spark seems like a distant memory. That flame doesn’t burn as bright. And the romance is beginning to dwindle.

Relationships, no matter how long, can always maintain a sense of novelty. That sense of newness and intense desire doesn’t ever need to fade. The secret to keeping the novelty alive is being present.

Be involved in your relationship. Be open, be interactive, and keep the flame burning bright. If you and your partner don’t create a nurturing environment for your relationship, it will wither.

As in all aspects of a healthy relationship, communication is also important. Tell each other what you need, find new ways to expand your love for one another, and make plans to keep your relationship alive.

The earlier you start this process, the better. If you build this concept into the foundation of your relationship, you will thank yourselves later. My boyfriend and I plan something special for each monthaversary because it gives us a reason to celebrate our love, be romantic, and spend quality time with one another. We also take a few minutes to chat before bed every night. This really helps us stay connected to one another…

What will you and your partner do to maintain the glimmer in your spark??

10 ways to keep the novelty alive in your relationship:  

Say I love you everyday

This is a super basic concept, but it makes a huge difference. Remind your partner that you love him or her each and every day. It will allow you to keep the lines of communication open, and it is also a way to nurture your relationship and let your partner know that they’re an important part of your life.

Schedule date night

Life gets busy and time escapes us, so make sure to regularly plan date nights. Whether it’s going out to dinner, having a Saturday picnic at the park, or staying home and playing board games, you and your partner will get to spend some quality time together.

Laugh together

Engage in activities that allow for a lot of laughter and fun. This is also a way to provide your relationship with a re-boot, especially if things have been a bit rough. With this, you and your partner will be reminded of why you love one another so much, and it can also provide you with a fresh perspective on your bond.

Engage in new experiences

Try new things together. Whether it’s bungee jumping, traveling to a new country, or taking a cooking class, this too will help keep your relationship alive. Engaging in new experiences will allow both you and your partner to learn new things about yourselves and each other. It also provides a lot of room for excitement, and to support and care for one another if needed.

Get physical

Hug and kiss each other every day, even if you’re mad. Physical touch is a way for couples to connect and be intimate. Also, who doesn’t love to be cuddled? I sure as hell do…

Say thank you

Day to day life becomes so normal and tedious that we forget to say thank you. Your partner makes breakfast every morning, which even though may be an obligation, is also very kind. Saying thank you can truly make all the difference.

Give positive feedback

Similar to saying thank you, tell your partner when they’re doing something you like, or something that makes you happy. Positive feedback will reinforce this behavior. Also, it will help your partner see that you’re aware of, and recognizing his or her efforts. That’s really important.

Communicate

Talk to each other. About what? Anything. Pass time chatting—it’s such a great way to connect. Regardless of your conversation being that of a serious nature, or making silly jokes, just talk to one another. Feeling comfortable sharing things with your partner will absolutely help strengthen your bond. With this, you and your partner will be able to jointly embrace the joys of life, and also lean on one another in times of hardship.

Just the two of you

Whether you have kids to care for, or it’s just the two of you, make sure that there is something that is just yours. As a couple, have a special TV show you watch before bed, or have a quick phone chat each day at lunch, or a coffee date before work every morning. Whatever the situation, this mini-date every day will provide you with an extra opportunity to connect and know that you’re thinking of each other.

Be present

Being present is vital to keeping the love alive. Be there. When you’re together, be involved, be aware, be part of the conversation. If you’re engaging your phone instead of your partner, you’re sending a very clear message that he or she is not important. When spending time together, be conscious of where your mind is. When not present, there is a clear distance that will begin to tear apart your relationship.

Be kind, be loving, and be supportive. Love is a such a beautiful thing, and we need to care for it as best as possible…Keep the love alive!

novelty | keep the love alive | love | relationships | hope

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Paula

Don’t Waste Time: 10 Things to Consider When Dating

Dating can take up a significant amount of time.

Time is of the essence. Even though I’m not dating anymore, I remember what it was like to sift through online profile after online profile, and chat it up with all the fellas that approached me. I literally went on what felt like a million first dates. Needless to say, I met the love of my life when I least expected it, and he was totally worth the wait.

Even though I’m no longer on the market, I continue to support my friends that are in the dating game. When we talk about what they’re looking for, what questions to ask, and what they should consider when dating someone new, I always share my dating tips with them. What tips you might ask? The ten golden rules that will keep you sane and on track.

Time is valuable, and it is not to be wasted. So what is it that you need to ask yourself when dating someone new?

To avoid wasting time when dating, consider these 10 things:

1.Are they into you?

First off, you’ll know when someone is into you. If for some reason you’re not sure, ask. If you two are not on the same page, that’s okay—word on the street is that we only get one soulmate, and this person just isn’t it.

2. Go after the one who wants you

I cannot emphasize how important it is to spend time with someone who feels the same way that you do. The chasing game is not pleasant, so please don’t put yourself in that position. Spend time with someone who shows a mutual interest, and is willing to invest time and effort. Trust me, it makes dating so much easier and significantly more fun.

3. Communication

Communication can be super tricky at the start of something new. Unfortunately, there is such a negative connotation associated with being “needy” or “clingy.” Doing what feels right for you, regardless of it potentially coming off as “clingy” or not, is the way to navigate the waters here.

Reciprocate communication if it’s mutual, and remain responsive. However, if the other person isn’t making an active effort of contact, it’s probably time to move on. You definitely don’t want to end up have conversations with yourself via text…

4. Go with the flow

Sometimes you may not hear from someone you’re newly dating for a few days, and that’s okay. Being open-minded and going with the flow is the best way to handle a situation such as this. I’m not saying that ghosting is okay by any means, but sometimes things come up. Just continue to live your life as is, and if this person wants to be a part of it, they will find a way to make that happen. If not, nothing is lost.

5. Wondering if you’re good enough

Don’t ever question your self-worth. No one has the right to make you feel like less of a person, or make you doubt how awesome you are. If this person is going to make you feel bad about yourself, in any way, it’s probably best to say goodbye…

6. Be real

Always be yourself.  Open and direct communication when starting a new relationship is of the utmost importance. Honesty is the best policy, and this will allow you and your date the chance to see if you are compatible. Not to mention, you’ll be able to figure out if you two want the same things. Be the real you, and see how things flow naturally.

7. Time is of the essence

If you feel that there’s a special connection, take the time to get to know your date. But if after a few meetings you two are not seeing eye-to-eye on topics or values that are very important to you (i.e. human rights, politics, family, religious beliefs, etc.), don’t waste your time.

8. Is it a deal breaker?

Okay, so you like this person, and there’s an obvious connection. However, you notice some red flags. The question is if you can actually live with these differences. Compromise is crucial and necessary in any relationship, but some compromises, or “sacrifices,” are just too big. You’ll need to consider if it’s something you’re willing to deal with on an ongoing basis.

Remember, people don’t change. If you can’t accept a person and their flaws as is, things may not work out in the long-run… 

9. Calculate the risk

Dating can help you make an educated and calculated decision. Are you willing to invest in this relationship? Is it a safe bet? Or is it an investment that you expect to crash and burn? Sometimes things like needing to “chase” someone, or having different values, is an explicit sign that it’s going to crash and burn. 

10. Listen to your body

Listen to your gut—what’s it telling you? Are the butterflies due to excitement or anxiety? Is something off? Or is it just that you’re really looking forward to your date? Basically, do you want this person in your space? If you answered yes, that’s great. If you’re not looking forward to this person being around during the honeymoon phase, you probably won’t want them around 2, 3, or 10 months from now…

No matter what, have fun and don’t give up!

dating | time | don't waste time | love | relationships

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Paula

How Communication Can Make or Break a Relationship

It’s all about communication. Having a healthy relationship also includes trust, love, and respect, but I don’t think any of that is possible without clear communication…

The concept of communication can seem so basic because people just talk to each other, right? How can it be so hard? Well, it’s important to realize that communication can either be extremely complex, or very simple—it all depends on whether you’re utilizing the appropriate tools or not.

So, one might wonder, what constitutes good communication? Is it how a couple speaks to one another? Is it when they speak to one another? Is it about feeling safe enough to openly share thoughts and feelings? Is it about being kind and listening?

The answer is YES. All the above create for healthy, clear, and concise communication. Being able to respectfully speak and listen to one another, and engage in a dialogue vs. a fight, is what communication is all about. Allowing enough space for each person to express his/her thoughts about an issue, have a discussion, and come to a compromise, is truly the epitome of love.

Ok, so now that we’ve got that down, why can communication make or break your relationship? Let’s discuss…

1. Back to the basics

Let go back to the basics: how do two people get to know one another? They talk.

Above all else, learning about your partner is what it takes to build a relationship. By openly speaking to one another, whether it’s sharing your deepest, darkest secrets, or talking about your favorite dinosaurs and make-believe lands, engaging in any kind of talk that provides comfort and freedom is crucial. This will allow couples to really get to know each other.

2. Safety in speech

Feeling safe sharing anything and everything with your partner is such a vital factor when it comes to healthy relationships. How can two people have a relationship, and potentially build a life together, if they’re not comfortable sharing things with one another? It’s basically impossible. If you don’t feel safe talking with your partner, this will most likely lead to fights and/or break-ups.

3. Respect

Respect is the most important aspect of communication. Speak respectfully to your partner. Try not to be hurtful, don’t place blame, take responsibility for your feelings, listen to one another, and tell the other person what you need in that moment. The sooner you start, the better. It makes all the difference…

4. Discussing needs

Expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs is necessary for a healthy relationship to continually move forward. Happiness is super important, and when you’re not able to share what you need with your partner, happiness just won’t be in the cards for either of you. Being unhappy is not only detrimental to you, but also to the relationship. Some of the negative feelings that may also occur when needs aren’t met are anger, resentment, and frustration. They’re not fun, I promise.

It’s of the utmost importance, to both your wellness and the vitality of your relationship, to feel comfortable sharing your needs with your partner…

5. Compromise, compromise, compromise—cheese or fries?

Making changes in a relationship so that both parties are happy requires compromise. This can sometimes elicit a little bit of a back-and-forth discussion, and will also involve a great deal of open and clear communication.

Remember when we talked about respect and safety? These aspects are particularly valuable in a situation of compromise. Talking about “issues” in your relationship can potentially bring up negative emotions, however, with listening, respect, and feeling safe with your bleeding heart wide open on that table, you’ll find a way to work out your differences.

6. Communication styles

The more you talk to one another and share how you feel, the sooner you can learn about your communication styles. Maybe during a heavy discussion, one of you needs to step away to cool down. Some people may potentially be offended by this, but if you’re aware of the way in which your partner communicates, you will allow them the space they need without it damaging the trust in your relationship.

Everyone communicates differently, and that’s okay. Just make sure that you’re aware of the differences…

7. Body language

Communication isn’t just about words, it’s also about body language. Body language can be conveyed positively with kisses, hugs, smiles, eye contact, and all those fuzzy things. However, it can also suggest negative or mixed emotions. If your partner says he/she is “fine” after an argument, however, is rolling their eyes, has crossed their arms, and won’t look at you, you’re faced with conflicting verbal and physical reactions. Definitely something to discuss using our handy-dandy communication skills, right?

It’s important to be aware of those frowns and mean faces, or anything that is out of the ordinary, as it’s a good indicator that something is going on…

The first step to improving your communication is remembering that patience is a virtue. Sooner or later you and your partner will have communication down, and you’ll function like a well-oiled machine. Until then, continue to learn about one another, love one another, always respect one another, and forgive one another quickly.

communication | trust | respect | body language | relationships

Is there something you’re not sure how to share with your partner? Check out some tips on how to say the difficult things here!

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Paula

Communication: How to Say What You Need to Say

Communication can be super tricky….

Have you ever had an interaction where you wanted to say something totally different than what you actually got to say? Yeah, I’ve had a lot of those lately. What would the world be like if we could say what we wanted to say? What if we could be direct? What if we didn’t need to sugarcoat everything? Yeah, that would be awesome. But how can we do that and get away with it? Let’s discuss…

Saying certain things to people can be seriously frowned upon, socially speaking. This can be true especially if someone is sensitive, or if you’re in a professional setting. Regardless, I believe that people should be able to freely express themselves without being hurtful to others.

I know this may seem impossible, but it’s definitely not. So what can you do to make this a reality? Open and honest communication is key. Regardless of what you need to say, the way that you say it makes all the difference. What the hell does that mean, right? It means that you can say what you need to say, but word it in a way that is respectful and kind.

Being open and honest can potentially benefit you and the other person. But again, it needs to be done appropriately.

Check out these tips on how to say what you need to say:

Know your audience

Depending on the setting, and who you are with, decide if this is the right time and place to say what you mean. Know your audience.

Is this a battle worth the fight?

It can be difficult to discuss certain topics with certain people, so it’s important to figure out whether it’s even worth saying whatever it is that you need to say. If it’s a work thing, you may just need to go up the chain of command. Not everyone is willing to engage in an open dialogue, and that’s okay.

Stop and think

How’s the best way to phrase what you need to say without being hurtful? Take a second to think about it—rushing in a situation like this can potentially cause a lot of harm. It’s possible to completely step away from the situation, collect your thoughts, and re-visit the issue at a later time. Regardless of when the interaction takes place, be cautious, and be thoughtful.

Use “I” statements

Using “I” statements can be really beneficial in a situation like this because you are taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. With this, you will not be placing blame on anyone else, and it is purely a reflection of your perspective.

Body Language

Body language is a huge aspect of communication. Tone of voice and facial expressions can sometimes convey a lot more than words, so be aware of some of the other messages your body might be sending…

Don’t be hurtful

I really can’t stress this enough: we can say things without purposely offending or hurting someone else. Again, take your time, think before you speak, use “I” statements, and be as kind as possible.

Be prepared to explain 

Sometimes people may ask for additional feedback on what’s making you feel the way you do—be sure to have some follow-up info to back your statement. This definitely helps the other person, and also provides support for the issue you’re addressing.

It’s always the things that are hardest to say that hurt the most, so be aware of the words you are using, as well as your body language…

Be bold. Be strong. Be kind. YOU GOT THIS!

Communication can be stressful—check out my article on how to cope with stress here.

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xx,

Paula