But It Worked On The Playground
School is back in full swing and as a mom of preschoolers this is a whole new territory for me. When I first started in this field I actually worked primarily with kiddos in therapy, but over the last 10 years, I’ve really focused my work and training on establishing an expertise in couples and relationships. My days of building blocks, finger painting and endless imagination are purely devoted to my home life now.
So emerging back into the school dynamics has been an interesting one. I’m trying to teach my kids the balance between not personalizing every disagreement that happens with their classmates while also allowing them to share their feelings so as not to shame them when they’re struggling. I’m a mix between a “rub dirt on it” but first tell me how it makes you feel kinda’ mom and it’s a really hard balance to find.
Because as a couple’s therapist, I know that long term I’m setting up my kids to fail if I tell them to “shake it off “or “don’t let it bother you” or any of those other things we may have heard growing up.
I know that the hard shell they may need to survive on the playground is actually one that’s going to do them a disservice in relationships down the road.
Successful relationships require vulnerability. They require the ability to identify and talk about our feelings. They require us to let someone inside the walls that we may have needed to survive growing up.
And what if we’ve had to keep up our exterior longer than necessary? What if we keep trying to apply the rules of the playground to our relationships?
Well, we’re probably missing a lot. Because the rules on the playground don’t work in love. If we can’t be vulnerable, express our needs or meet someone else’s, we’re likely to remain disconnected and feel pretty unfulfilled in love.
My intention as you read this post is that you’ll be able to step back and evaluate your own relationship and ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you feel safe to ask for what you need and receive that from your mate?
2. Do you know how to identify your feelings and how to share them with your mate?
3. Can you hear your partner’s needs and work to meet them without getting scared or insecure?
4. When your mate brings up their feelings, can you lean in and listen for understanding?
5. Do you acknowledge your own feelings without shame, judgments and should’s?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions…fantastic! If you answered “no” to one or more, than you may be struggling with leaving the rules of the playground outside of your relationship.
If you are or know someone that struggles with vulnerability in love, share this post! Help to spread the word so we can start an amazing movement of couples being brave enough to be vulnerable in love. And leave the rules of the playground where they belong….outside on the four square court.
As always, I want to know what your journey in love and connection is like. That’s why I do this work. Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call, 916.955.3200.