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Let's Talk About Love

Relational Reflections


Photo Credit: Brenda Ladd Photography | Austin, TX

If 'how we do anything is how we do everything', then it makes sense that the ways we relate to ourselves might affect the way we relate to others. With this in mind, I've been thinking a lot lately about communication and the role it plays in all relationships: professional, personal, romantic, even internal. Communication can flow both inward--as in self-talk and the internal messages we affirm for ourselves, and outward--as in our relationships with others.

 

Relationships of all types can teach us about our internal relationship with ourselves, and vise versa. For example: When I notice the common values I expect people in my life to uphold--such as honesty, patience, and respect--I can notice my internal thoughts and consider if I'm treating myself with the same honesty, patience, and respect.

 

Mindfulness Practice:

You could choose to be curious about your own self-talk. You might try noticing your thoughts--that inner voice listing "to-do's", "what-if's", or "should have's"--while doing a short and simple task you undertake regularly, such as brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Try to remain objective and observe, rather than deciding the thoughts are good or bad--just notice.

  • After observing this way a few times, you could choose to play a game and find a positive thought or affirmation to say to yourself or think about intentionally while you do this mundane task.

  • Alternatively: you could focus keenly on the sensations of the action you're engaging in, perhaps to find enjoyment. For example, "this hand soap feels slick, or smells floral, and the water is pleasantly warm" or, "my gums tingle as I massage them with my toothbrush, and it feels good to care for my dental health."

 

Communication is a Love Language


A trauma-informed yoga class emphasizes communication as a tool for creating a sense of safety, trust, and belonging in a group environment through language of choice and consent. Providing options and accessible movement variations allows practitioners in the room to have an internal conversation with their bodies, breath, and thoughts. They have an opportunity to practice autonomy, rather than fret with common internal chatter and worries like, "am I doing this right?!", etc.  


A TIYT instructor is also trained to observe bodies on the mat through the lens of the nervous-system, and offer tools for exploring self-regulation in real-time when dysregulation observably happens. To me, this is the really powerful stuff that we can take from the yoga mat out into our daily lives.


#SFW Acts of Love


"Love" doesn't get much spotlight in a professional setting--and understandably so when it comes to romance, for the sake of propriety and creating safe workplaces. However, there are still ways to be a love-ly coworker and express those loving feelings in ways that are safe-for-work.


Still thinking about communication as a love language, I firmly believe it's a great place to start for being a stellar teammate and generally super sweet in the workplace. It might take one of many forms, such as:

  • meeting agendas included with calendar invites to help teammates avoid surprises and feel respect for their time

  • a bullet-style email instead of direct conversation when someone is busy or feels nervous in personal interactions

  • a post-it note telling someone their help on a project made all the difference

  • a clear note to leadership asking for an opportunity to voice concerns, draw boundaries, or make requests

These are all forms of communication that affect workplace relationships and, for me, contribute to a sense of "loving" who I work with.

 

Further reflection:

  • Do you speak as nicely to yourself in your mind as you speak to others in your life? Or vise versa?

  • Do you hold yourself to a higher standard than you do others? Or vise versa?

  • Can you identify one point of regular "self-talk" that can be reframed more positively? For example: Instead of "I'm never on time", maybe, "I'm learning to give myself more time to get where I'm going."

  • Can you think of a time when someone gave you a complement, or said something encouraging that made you feel good about yourself? Can you think about a time when you did this for someone else?

 

With that, gracious reader, I hope something here encourages you to give yourself a gift. Find a way that works for you to turn love inward, whether it's a break from that inner critic who might be a little too tough, or communicating with those in your life about your boundaries or needs--they're valid! Perhaps you'll give yourself the gift of grace, or self-inquiry, and explore a trauma-informed yoga class to practice these tools in a setting that feels safe for you.

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