A quick, small step to self-improvement

Hello, loves!

Well, that turned out being a MUCH longer break than I meant to, and I apologize. I should know better than to make promises on content during seasonal-affective season. On top of that, David and I have been passing what can best be described as a minor plague back and forth for the last month, so… things have been challenging.

I can, at least, recommend a couple of things I’ve started doing that help. You don’t have to even get out of the bed to hit a few yoga poses such as child, happy baby, cobra, or even downward facing dog. Hitting two or three of these, then a basic stretch or two, and then mountain or warrior pose once you do hoist yourself out of bed, get the blood going at least enough that you can make it. Even if mornings are as horrible to you as they are to me.

The second practice I’ve taken up is just trying out a smile the moment you notice you’re awake. Granted, it’s definitely more of a growl or grimace at this point, but my hope is that repetition will start to make a happy expression a little more genuine.

Yes, good people, I freely admit that I’m about as far opposite from a morning person as one can get. My partner is generally the exact opposite. And yet, even though I’ve felt like utter crap for multiple months at this point, we take care of each other about as well as ever.

Also, corny as it may sound… It really does always get better. The endless barrage of cold symptoms has passed. The sun is rising sooner and setting later. Spring always comes again if you stick around long enough.

It’s time to get back up. Keep moving forward, and upward.

Relatable Content: your weekend reading list

Hello, loves! Today, I’m sharing 7 recent pieces with insights I wanted to pass on. I love to share experiences, wisdom, and studies that can help to be not just more open and confident, but also more discerning and strategic in your romantic pursuits.

Starting today, every weekend on completelove.life will link you up to some other experts in the field, whose insights complement our regular content.

Welcome to first edition of the weekly reader! This week’s theme is common problems, flags, and how to overcome them. So cozy up, grab your cup of tea or coffee, relax for a moment, and let’s dive in.

From MyPressFly: The 4 most common reasons for divorce, according to research

No one goes into marriage thinking they’ll get divorced; on your wedding day, you vow to stick with your partner for better or worse. But unfortunately, no matter how much love and promise a couple starts out with, relationships can sour, and couples end up getting unhitched for a number of reasons.

An intriguing new study of people who recently split with their spouse took a closer look at some of those reasons, shedding light on the most common factors that cause couples to go their separate ways. read more

From PsyPost: People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire

The researchers were particularly interested in a phenomenon known as indirect support seeking — meaning sulking, whining, fidgeting, and/or displaying sadness to elicit support. People are believed to engage in this type of indirect communication because they fear being rejected. read more

From PsychCentral: 5 unhealthy relationship patterns set up by childhood emotional neglect

When you grow up with your parents under-noticing, under-validating, and under-responding to your feelings (the definition of Childhood Emotional Neglect) you learn exactly how to squelch your own emotions. Your child brain effectively walls off your feelings so they will not trouble or burden your parents.

Childhood Emotional Neglect blocks off the most powerful, valuable, and vital ingredient in every marriage and the key to successful intimacy: your feelings…. If you see these relationship patterns in your marriage, please do not despair. There are answers! Because Childhood Emotional Neglect is not a disease or a life sentence. It can be healed. read more

From Harper’s Bazaar: Men have no friends, and women bear the burden

“Men are taught that feelings are a female thing,” muses Johnson, whose husband often complains about her wanting to “talk deep.” Though Johnson brags about how wonderful her husband is—grateful he doesn’t exhaust her with his neediness like a lot of her married friends—she does wish men were encouraged to examine and explore their emotions in a safe setting, like therapy, before they boil over. “I’m tired of having to replace another broken bedside table because he didn’t realize he needed to talk about his feelings,” she admits. read more

From Women’s Health: 11 signs of an emotionally unavailable partner, and WTH to do about it

Think back to when you were involved with someone who threw you into the emotional wringer. A friend probably called the guy as “emotionally unavailable,” to which you nodded enthusiastically as you triple-checked your phone. (Nope, still no response to your text from seven hours ago.) read more

From Necole: 3 ways to avoid falling for potential in a man

Being head-over-heels for a guy during the honeymoon phase can have you feeling like he could really be the one. It’s in the early phase of dating or getting in a new relationship where we’re focusing on security, intimacy, trust, friendship, and communication–while sometimes ignoring the important signs of bae not really wanting the long-term commitment you’re hoping to get.

When we’re at a point that we prioritize our partner, we tend to want to focus on the best parts of them. However, this could lead us to immediately ignoring red flags like him being emotionally unavailable, manipulative, or a player. This is known as falling for potential. read more

From Terry Gaspard: After an argument, focus on repair, not damage

In over 40 years of research in his classic “Love Lab” studies, Dr. John Gottman discovered that the number one solution to marital problems is to get good at repair skills. He explains that repair attempts allow a couple to get back on track after a dispute and are an important way to avoid resentment. A repair attempt is any statement or action – verbal, physical, or otherwise – intended to diffuse negativity and keep a conflict from escalating. read more

Which article had a tip that resonated for you? Feel free to discuss in the comments!

5 ways to show healthy love even when you’re freakin’ exhausted

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Gosh dang it, I’ve been wiped out this week! I meant to put out the next part of the Fail Series, but I’m sorry, darlings. I didn’t get it done. It’s all back on track for Monday, the 18th, though. I’m looking forward to a productive weekend of writing and behind-the-scenes planning/maintenance/etc.

Plus, I’m putting the finishing touches on a first steps to your soulmate journey checklist I could NOT be more excited about! If you haven’t subscribed to my emails yet, I’d definitely recommend doing so, because subscribers get first dibs on all the goodies!

Today is a little pick-me-up for the folks who are already seeing someone special. It’s just, overall, a tiring time of year – straight through from Halloween til after New Year’s seems like a grind sometimes, doesn’t it? So if you are coupled up, and feel in danger of hitting a rut, here are five little ways to keep things fresh:

It’s the tiny rituals that tend to matter the most.

1) Always take that second to kiss them goodbye before work.

I go to work first, and get home last, every day. In almost two years living together, my partner David has never failed to kiss me goodbye at the door. And it’s never gotten old! Yes, it’s easy to just rush off or to stay in bed if you’ve got the day off to recoup. But lemme tell ya – I feel like a million bucks every single morning, even if I’m grumpy, tired, and in a hurry. Even if HE’S in a hurry. He cares enough to never neglect that little thing. it’s the tiny rituals that tend to matter the most. Pucker up those lips and try it out.

2) Light a pretty candle and have dinner together.

Life is BUSY. Lots and lots of people don’t get to match their schedule up for dinner, so you end up nuking a Lean Cuisine just… whenever, and having a lonely meal while Partner’s working late. I understand that the world is just what it is now – you just can’t do family dinner night every night. But, pick a night. Plan ahead that dinner will be on the table at, say, 6:30. You don’t have to cook a thing – just order a favorite. Uncork a nice wine – or a bubbly to celebrate just getting through the day. Then just enjoy a quiet meal together.

3) Leave them a love note.

You don’t have to write a letter or a sonnet – just a simple “have a good day, I love you!” is plenty to bring a smile. If you pack their lunch, put a little note in their brown bag. Or, you know it’s cold enough they’ll have to wear a coat when they go out. Sneak it in the pocket! If you can’t think of any place to secret away a cute little note, just send a “thinking of you, hope you’re having a good day” text on your lunch break.

4) Toss their towel in the dryer to have it warm for right after their shower.

A fresh, fluffy warm towel is magical. When your partner hops in the shower, take their towel and throw it in the dryer so it will be warm for them. Low effort, high reward. Like I said… It’s the little things!

5) Snuggle! Cuddle. Whatever you want to call it.

Pick the couch instead of the La-Z-Boy and stretch out together during the next TV binge session. Bonus points if you queue up their favorite show before they even have to ask. Take some deep breaths, together. This really might just seem ridiculously simple, but how many times have you been in the same room without really being there in the moment, together? Take turns giving back rubs or head-scratches. Ahh, doesn’t that feel better?

Feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments. Happy Thursday, everyone – we’re almost through this week!

A mini-challenge for today!

Challenge for today: write down at least ten things that you’re thankful for, today. RIGHT NOW! Grab a scrap of paper, or your Evernote or WordPad app, and just do it!

Gratitude lists sound like a corny concept, but they work. Take hold of that little bit of things that make you smile. Joy attracts MORE joy! And people flock to a joyful, confident person.

What amazing dividends can that pay, as you seek your freakin’ soulmate? Think about it. Little shifts lead to BIG RESULTS!

What’s going well for you today? Say a little thank-you out loud, and watch as the gratitude grows into joy and confidence that brings love in.