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Wading through endless emails, voicemails, and texts, I find myself inundated with various forms of communication. I am constantly connected to the world through electronic devices, and my work requires me to have at least one social media site open, jumping in to comment, post, and share for clients and myself. I am in constant communication. And yet, I feel more disconnected than ever these days.

I know I am not alone in feeling out of touch with people while constantly communicating in one form of electronic chatter or another. I hear and read regularly of others struggling with these same issues. No matter how convenient and instantaneous our messages can be through electronic forms of communication, nothing could be better than communicating in person.

Maintaining a connection with others is a soul-satisfying experience, not to be replaced by electronic devices pinging us or perusing Facebook for updates. Seeing a facial expression, hearing a story with all the nuances and inflections from the speaker, holding a hand, or stealing a kiss-this all requires connecting in the real world, not the virtual one. While I enjoy the ease of convenience with sending a quick text to my fiancé, family, and friends, being with them in person is how a greater depth of connection occurs.

The challenge in the world we live in is making the effort to have these personal connections more often. Here are some tips for connecting (or reconnecting) with others:

  • Invite a friend out for coffee.
  • Schedule a date with your significant other.
  • Coordinate a group of friends for a casual potluck (less work and more time enjoying company).
  • Call someone to simply chat.
  • Invite a friend in the neighborhood to go for a walk.
  • Initiate a regular get-together (monthly book club, quarterly dinner club, etc) with a group of friends.

There are countless ways to be more in touch, but this list is a good start to spark a few ideas for a better connection with others.

Do you have additional ideas?

Share below!


Image credit: A Wild One Within

by Kelly Sajonia

be_youtiful

How comfortable are you getting naked?

It can be scary to present your authentic, stripped-down self to the world, but it will lead to living a happier life. As in life, this is also true in relationships. Without allowing your partner to see the real you, your partner can only love the version you have presented. It will ultimately limit the depth of connection possible, and will greatly reduce the chance of long-term success in the relationship. While it is a frightening thought to be exposed and risk rejection, it will be worth the effort.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." ~Judy Garland

The first step in allowing others to see you as you are starts with two things: confidence and love. Being confident enough to allow the other to see you naked might be an unnerving proposition, but you will be much better being you with your partner than being someone else. And, equally important, love yourself enough to believe you are worthy of love and affection just the way you are.

When you reach a point where you begin to allow someone to see you as you are, you will be happier. Freeing yourself of the exhausting task of pretending to be someone you are not will be a wonderful feeling.

The level of intimacy and love shared with your partner will be deeper as a result of exposing your authentic self. Allowing your partner to see, and fall in love with the real you means knowing you on a more intimate level. It will most likely lead to your partner opening up to you more as well. The result will be experiencing a much more rewarding, fulfilling relationship.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." ~Oscar Wilde


by Kelly Sajonia

dothework

To be successful in a relationship requires hard work.

This is something often said as advice or is an observation of what it takes to achieve a level of greatness in a relationship. It's true, but "hard work" as a description sounds exhausting, negative, and possibly frustrating; it doesn't sound fun.

Does this mean one should not work at our relationships?

No, of course not.

But instead of reading the statement as an act of drudgery, it should be seen as what it truly is: an opportunity to put forth an effort into something that is worth the work involved. It is best to turn around the perception of the work as something happily accomplished.

As for the work required in a loving relationship, it's easy most of the time. Work means remembering to say "I love you," being kind and considering, and expressing love in more ways than words. These few examples of "tasks" keep relationships successful, but also feel good for both people involved.

Sometimes the work is a bit more difficult. It might mean saying "I am sorry," forgiving a partner, or choosing compromise over a win in an argument. Like the easier work, these too lead to relationship success.

Similar to the work required in relationships, it's also hard work training for a marathon, learning to speak a foreign language, giving birth, completing a higher education degree, and raising kids. Ask anyone who has accomplished one of these rewarding endeavors if it was hard work, but also rewarding. As the cliché goes, it was most likely a labor of love for those who have achieved one or many of these undertakings.

Do the work-regardless of the level of difficulty–and enjoy the positive results.

It will be worth it.


by Kelly Sajonia

relationships

"I miss you, sweetie."

This was a comment my fiancé made today. He doesn't mean he misses seeing me, but rather he is feeling disconnected. It has been a hectic week so far and, as he put it, this week feels like we are just passing in a hall, but not connecting.

He's right; it's how I feel as well. Chores, tending to our kids, dinner prep, and work, all attributed to this. Arriving home from teaching at 10:30 last night after working an 11-hour day didn't help either. I am not worried though because the fiancé and I know the formula for success to keep our relationship healthy. It's simple, actually:

Do the work necessary to keep the relationship on track.

Last weekend, for example, we had a kid-free, relaxed weekend to reenergize our relationship after the busy workweek last week. We were slow to get up in the morning, went to two movies, had interruption-free conversations (hard with four kids at home), ate out at great restaurants, enjoyed cooking together, and watched hockey. To us, it was perfect.

Realistically, it's not always possible to carve out that much alone time for most busy couples.

Here are some quick, easy ways to do the work to stay connected when life gets busy:

  1. Place a love note in a briefcase or coat pocket.
  2. Reach out in the middle of the day with an I-love-you text or email. Better yet, a quick call.
  3. Do something unexpected.
  4. Establish a weekly in-home date night. It could be watching a video, seeing your favorite TV show, or having a later dinner without the kids.
  5. When you have that moment to connect, give all of your attention to your partner (i.e., no electronic devices)
  6. Wake up ten minutes earlier to snuggle before the day begins.
  7. Email a link to a YouTube video of a special song you both love.
  8. Slow dance in the middle of the living room.
  9. Get up early enough to see the sun rise together before going to work.
  10. Ask about the other's day, and listen attentively.

Please share: what are the small ways you work to keep your relationship fresh and healthy?


by Kelly Sajonia

Creating A Masterpiece

by Kelly Sajonia

“Life is art, and you are the artist.” ~ Unknown There are times when we have an opportunity to look at life as a blank canvas; it’s a chance to start anew. At the end of each relationship, for example, we are able to place a bright, white canvas in front of us. We have […]

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Know His Heart Before You Give Your Own

by Kelly Sajonia

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” ~Proverbs 23:7 Giving your heart to another is one of the greatest gifts you can give. If given without much thought, it can also be a painful experience. Knowing with whom to share is an essential lesson of love to learn. Take time in the […]

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Serving Those We Love

by Kelly Sajonia

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” ~ Sally Koch Shoveling a snowy walkway for an elderly neighbor, opening the door for a stranger on crutches, donating money to a charity, or volunteering at a local shelter are just a few examples of service to others. Even smiling […]

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Taking Small, Courageous Steps

by Kelly Sajonia

Recently I witnessed a friend become open again to the possibility of dating. She had an unusually difficult past relationship where deceit played a major role. The friend chose to give up entirely on the possibility of a healthy, honest, loving relationship as a result. Slowly, over the past few months, there were mentions of […]

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The Reward of Being Vulnerable

by Kelly Sajonia

“Would you like to go out some time?” “I’m crazy about you.” “I love you.” “Will you marry me?” “Let’s work at this; I don’t want to lose you.” Each of these relationship-based statements has one thing in common: placing oneself in a vulnerable position. The potential for pain and rejection exists when taking a […]

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Achieving Greatness Together

by Kelly Sajonia

I have a confession to make: I have never been great in a relationship. This might seem to be a surprising admission from someone writing a relationship column monthly, but until last year this was true. Let me explain… A relationship is a partnership and it takes both people to be successful. It is something […]

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