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  • feedwordpress 12:24:51 on 2017/04/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , Esther Moments, Finding The One, , , The One, Video   

    Finding “The One” 

    “How do I know when I’ve found The One?” – Austin, Baltimore, MD

    This idea of finding “The One” is problematic for relationships. The paradox of choice creates a real sense of anxiety for people looking to find a long-term partner. The expectations of one person to satisfy all of our many emotional, physical, and spiritual needs is a tall order for one individual. 

    Perhaps, instead of looking for a person who checks all the boxes, focus on a person with whom you can imagine yourself writing a story with that entails edits and revisions. As a reminder, there are no perfect stories. 

    How do you continue to re-write your story with your partner? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

    Photography: Keith Morrison

    The post Finding “The One” appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:34:52 on 2017/03/21 Permalink
    Tags: , Anger, Bickering, , Chronic Criticism, , , Happiness, , , , Video   

    Video: Stop Bickering. It’s Killing Your Relationship 

    “We bicker all the time, she’s so critical of me and I don’t feel like I am doing anything right. What should I do?” – Anthony, Boston

    The artist Louise Bourgeois once described her tumultuous experience as a child at the dining table listening to her parents fight in this way: “To escape the bickering, I started modeling the soft bread with my fingers…. this was really my first sculpture.” And while conflict may have lead to great art for this artist, in most cases, it can be the constantly replaying soundtrack of a distressed relationship.

    Anthony’s question is powerful because it is so common.

    I think of bickering as low intensity chronic warfare. Ongoing criticism can lead to the demise of the relationship. And if we criticize as a way of asking to be loved, well then we will often produce precisely the opposite effect of what we seek: to be loved and to feel good about ourselves. If we spend much of our time feeling lousy, unloved, devalued, inadequate and inept, we are on the wrong side of the tracks. So what can we do to reset this negative pattern?

    Pay Attention to What’s Working

    When I went to school in Belgium, the teacher would mark our mistakes in red pen. Our mistakes were highlighted; our achievements rarely noted. When our relationship is in distress, we tend to overlook the good and overemphasize the bad.

    To counter this, try keeping a daily list of everything that your partner does that is positive, everything that you appreciate, everything that you can be thankful for. Do this for ten days in a row.

    Each note can be as simple as: “Made me a cup of tea” or “Locked door on way out”. Instead of elevating the annoying, elevate the minute details of your partner’s generosity and thoughtfulness.

    Focus on what is working. Pay attention.

    The ratio of appreciation is crucial to a good relationship. Take the log one step further and make a big deal every time the other person does something positive.

    This will kick you out of a defeating cycle of negativity. And will motivate your partner towards acts of kindness.

    Let Yourself Be Vulnerable

    What’s important to understand about criticism is that it sits on top of a mountain of disappointments of unmet needs and unfulfilled longings.

    Every criticism often holds a veiled wish. When your partner says to you, “You’re never around”, what they may actually mean is “I’m lonely, I miss you when you’re not here.”

    When Anthony’s partner tells him he never brings her along when he goes hiking, what she is also trying to tell him is “I wish we would go hiking together”.

    I recommend that Anthony and his partner both say what they want and not what the other did not do.  

    Often I suggest this to couples and they complain, “But I already did exactly that and I got nothing”. Try again.

    It is tempting to launch into anger instead of experiencing the vulnerability of putting yourself out there, asking for something and waiting for the possibility that you won’t get it.

    For many, anger is easier to express than hurt. Anger can feel like a confidence booster and an analgesic. Yet the more we communicate through anger, the more anger we get in return, creating a negative cycle of escalations.

    Reflect & Take Responsibility

    If you have ever done any breathing exercises, or yoga classes, you may have noticed that there is a space at the end of each inhale and exhale. A moment to pause. Similarly, economists and psychologists often encourage this moment of pause before making a large purchase.

    Instead of shifting into instantaneous blame, take a moment to shift from reaction to reflection.

    Why are you angry? What do you want? Instead of going for the jugular. Take responsibility for what you feel and state it.

    When couples come to therapy and they are in escalating cycles – things change when each person begins to take responsibility. This is true for both Anthony and his partner.  

    How do you experience chronic criticism in your relationship? I would love to hear your personal stories – feel free to leave a comment below. And next week we will take relationship conflict one step further and explore how confirmation bias can affect our partnerships.

    The post Video: Stop Bickering. It’s Killing Your Relationship appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 08:00:02 on 2017/03/10 Permalink
    Tags: , Conflicts, , Fighting, Kitchen-Sinking, , Q&A, , Relationship Conflicts, Video   

    Video: How to Avoid Kitchen-Sinking Fights 

    <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/AvkGdeAodvQ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

    “Every time we fight my husband and I keep bringing up all kinds of old, dirty laundry. How can we fight better” – Nora

    When my son was a boy, he once said to me, “Mom, if you’re upset with me, just tell me, you don’t have to list every single thing I ever did”. Out of the mouth of babes comes wisdom. His request perfectly addressed what I like to think of the Kitchen Sink approach to fighting.

    The well-worn journey to the Kitchen Sink usually starts with one dish, or in one criticism. And then leads to another dish being piled on top. It often starts with an innocuous complaint: he didn’t take out the trash, for example. It then continues on to the last time he did the same thing, how he doesn’t seem to notice that you’re sharing an apartment which is typical because his family is completely self-involved, to which he might reply that your family is self-involved and on and on it goes. Until you have both started piling up of grievances that have happened to you for the last five years.  

    One innocent dish has started the fight and a pile of dishes has been stacked on top of it. And when you pile up all the dishes, the situation has built into an impossible stack of grimy plates to tackle. When each issue is heaped on another, we find that we are unable to discuss anything in particular – the argument has no focus. The initial complaint has become a deluge and whatever irked us in the first place has become irrelevant. Not only does this pull us towards the past, over which we have no control, but also destroys trust. As Clifford Notarius and Howard Markman write in We Can Work It Out, “kitchen-sinking is an excellent foul-fighting ploy that can drag down a conversation in no time at all.”

    Living with someone is one of life’s great joys and challenges. As Alain de Botton points out, in none of the “19th-century novels about love does anyone ever do the laundry, does anyone ever pick up the crumbs from the kitchen table, does anyone ever clean the bathroom.” But these are the tasks we are faced with when we live with the one we love. So, we have chosen our partner in the war against household grime, now how can we stop repeating these patterns and fight better as a couple? I can’t promise you these tactics will always work but I do know that the Kitchen Sink approach will always fail you. What do you have to lose?

    Stick to the point at hand

    Let’s say you want your partner not to slop water on the bathroom floor when they shower. Instead of framing it as an accusation, you can ask for what you want. For example: “Would you mind drying the floor after you shower?” You might find, for once, that your desire is met. Instead of drilling down on this point and adding to it, stay with the first issue. Don’t pile on dirty dishes about the past, the future, your children and the laws of physics which prove it’s not your fault that water flies around bathrooms. Life at home, you may find, is less slippery when the floor is dry.

    Focus on behavior, not character

    Not taking out the trash or arriving home late are actions. They are not the proof of the kind of person your beloved is. Behavior describes something a person has done. Be careful you don’t confuse actions with the essence of who the person is as you will find yourself unraveling into an escalating barrage of accusations.

    Love the one you’re with… and let them know

    If you can convey to your partner that you like them, even though you don’t like the behavior they have enacted, then you are giving them something dignified to hold on to. And they can begin to take responsibility for their actions. For instance, “You look cute in a towel but I don’t like it when you splash water on the floor” is very different to “You always make a mess”. It may be hard to summon feelings of kindness when you are faced with someone else’s peccadillos but remembering that you like them will also have the effect of neutralizing or transforming the situation into one where humor, lightness and ease are possible.

    I would love to know what kind of kitchen-sinking conundrums you and your partner get into. Or how have you found a way out of conflict. Leave me a comment below. And next week we will delve further by exploring how we can go beyond bickering.

    The post Video: How to Avoid Kitchen-Sinking Fights appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:09:06 on 2017/02/17 Permalink
    Tags: , curiosity test, , , , , , , Video   

    Video: How to Address Uncertainty in Dating 

    “How can I be certain I am making the right choice when I start dating someone I meet online?” – Joy

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, Joy, but the certainty you’re looking for is hardly possible in the beginning. In fact, all that uncertainty is part of the excitement. The start of relationships are ripe with the delicious elements of curiosity, the unknown, the mystery of meeting someone new, and the vulnerability of it all.

    In our commodified society, a date is no longer an open-ended exploration, but an intake interview to see if a person matches your pre-determined check list.

    We are overwhelmed by the paradox of choice, and want so badly to find happiness. We are drowning in cognitive overload, floundering in the uncertainty and self-doubt that comes with limitless choice.

    The only way you will become certain about a potential mate is simply by spending time with that person. Discovering, communicating, asking questions, sharing experiences and getting to know them. And if you really want to get to know somebody, challenges, crisis, and loss will give you a view like no other.

    Try keeping yourself open to a gradual unfolding of the many layers of a person. Allow yourself to be surprised. You may discover something you didn’t even know you were looking for.

    Here a couple ways to gauge your early connection:

    The curiosity test

    The level of curiosity you have about a person is a great indicator of your interest. If you are captivated and want to learn more, that’s a great start. If you have zero curiosity, then you’re probably not in the right place.

    How you feel in the presence of this person

    Do you feel heard and understood? Do you feel expanded? Are you present? Do you feel beautiful?

    If you allow yourself that uncertainty and openness, rather than forcing yourself to know right away, it will ease a lot of the anxiety around choosing the right person.

    How do you feel when you first meet someone new?

    The post Video: How to Address Uncertainty in Dating appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:33:07 on 2017/02/10 Permalink
    Tags: , Confidence, , , , , Speaking with confidence, Video, YouTube   

    Video: How to Speak with Confidence 

    “How do you get the confidence to go up to someone in real life?” – Jaime 

    In today’s video, I answer this question from Jamie in Florida. 

    The bottom line is that we all want to create meaningful connections with others. Human connection and being seen by another person is a fundamental human experience.

    Most of us also have a deep rooted fear of rejection.

    Personally, I experienced an insecurity when I felt that my accent was blocking me from being able to connect with people in real life. Until I understood from a teacher that this is something I could use and say “I don’t know what you are saying” or they would ask me “Where are you from?” In fact, I didn’t have to say anything because they were asking me all the questions. You are a mystery as much as they are a mystery to you.
     

    When dating and seeking connections from others, we can hide behind screens and profiles. Step outside of your comfort zone, and try to connect with someone in real life.

    I want to hear from you, how are you connecting with people in real life

    The post Video: How to Speak with Confidence appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:57:34 on 2014/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: Video   

    How to Revive Your Flatlined Sex Life (3 Part Series) 

    Has your sex life flatlined?

    Dr. Oz and relationship expert Esther Perel want to help you put the spark back in your bedroom! Learn why lack of desire is affecting more than just relationship and what you can do to revive your sex life.

    Continue to Video

    The post How to Revive Your Flatlined Sex Life (3 Part Series) appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:57:10 on 2014/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: Video   

    Explores the Complex and Often Unconscious Desires that can Drive People to have Affairs 

    Comedy Central | The Colbert Report
    June 9, 2014

    Download Video

    The post Explores the Complex and Often Unconscious Desires that can Drive People to have Affairs appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:56:39 on 2014/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: Video   

    The Nature of Erotic Desire 

    Psychologist and sexuality expert Esther Perel discusses the nature of erotic desire. We owe it to ourselves, says Perel, to be happy and search for our own gratification and sexual expressiveness. Continue to Video

    The post The Nature of Erotic Desire appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:56:14 on 2014/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: Video   

    Sexuality, Eroticism and Creativity with Esther Perel 

    Esther Perel is recognized as one of the world’s most original and insightful voices on personal and professional relationships. She is the best-selling author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, translated into 25 languages. Continue to Video

    The post Sexuality, Eroticism and Creativity with Esther Perel appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:55:24 on 2014/12/01 Permalink
    Tags: Video   

    The secret to desire in a long-term relationship with Esther Perel 

    Feb 2013 | Ted Talks

    In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.

    Interactive transcript | Download Video | Download Audio

    The post The secret to desire in a long-term relationship with Esther Perel appeared first on Esther Perel.

     
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