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Where in my day did I feel a sense of connection or closeness?

Back in July I added a new prompt to my daily journaling routine, and it’s had such a profound impact on me that I’ve addressed it every single day since.

What’s interesting about this specific prompt is that it helped me see that I was missing something in my life that I didn’t even know I was missing!

**The prompt**: Where in my day did I feel a sense of connection or closeness?

If you had asked me before July if I was feeling disconnected from people I would have said that I wasn’t. I was perfectly fine not seeing people all that much and working alone in my home office, just like I had been for the past 18 months or so. Telling myself that having strong introverted tendencies means that I don’t need to feel close to other people to be happy.

As it turns out, this is not true at all. A major factor that influences my happiness is having a sense of closeness with people. I do need to feel connected to people.

Taking the time at the end of each day to reflect on this forces me to think about the people I’ve spent time with, and has helped me understand the importance of interacting with people on a daily basis.

One of the major outcomes is that I now go out of my way to make sure I spend time with people. In the past I may have seen this as an interruption, but now I welcome it and see it as a priority.

Perhaps that by reading this today you might see that you are also missing something that you thought you didn’t need to feel happier.

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Resentment & Self-Sabotage

When I act and behave in a way that goes against my own values and principles, it’s often as a response to what other people have or haven’t done or said.

It can be an act of punishment – “f*ck you, and if you don’t care [about this thing] then why should I?”

It’s also about me creating expectations for other people’s behaviour based on my own values, which is always going to backfire.

Related Article: Letter XI: Ideals and expectations

What arises is anger, frustration, and the feeling that is mostly prominent in these moments is resentment.

Until this week I thought I resented other people, which, of course, is not a good place to be…but the truth is that I end up resenting myself.

The resentment is for not being true to myself and my own values. For not living with integrity.

So, instead of being easily swayed by other people’s actions and behaviour, and ultimately self-sabotaging, I must come back to my values, do the right thing, and live and act with integrity.

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Reduce conflict with these four ‘agreements’

There are a tonne of great books that will help you to improve your communication. I’ve read a lot of them.

So far, there is *one book that trumps them all*, and that’s because it’s not about the tactics. It’s about getting to the root of why you behave the way you do.

It’s called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. My Mum gifted it to me around about the time when my brother Colin died (about 15 years ago). I’ve read it a dozen or more times. And I’ll read it agin this year.

The Four Agreements will challenge everything you don’t know about why you behave, act and respond to the people around you. It will expose the ‘agreements’ that you didn’t know you had already made with yourself, and give you four new and better ones:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

Every single fight, conflict or bad experience I’ve ever had happened because one or more of these agreements were pushed to the side.

Think about The Four Agreements as an operating system that will help you put all those great communication tactics to better use.

This book is too important to ignore.

If you haven’t read it, go get it.

If you have read it already, maybe it’s time to pick it up again 🙂


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On giving Cara more space…

Cara has an unwavering vision for the future of our family, and she’s determined to make it all happen.

She’s also the hardest working person I’ve ever known.

When she’s knackered after a tough week being a mum and leading Gillies & Mackay, she will go into the weekend with an activity plan for the kids, get the food shopping done, run the kids wherever they need to go, do the laundry…

She’s incredible.

But she has no space for putting herself first.

As it happens, I have quite a lot of time in my days to put myself first, and I don’t do enough.

Here are a few changes we’re making so Cara can make that time.

  1. We now have a second car so I can do the school & nursery run in the morning. This means Cara can get up early, get to work on her own time, and come home early.
  2. I’ve taken total responsibility for the laundry. This means Cara doesn’t have to spend any time or energy thinking about it. One less thing.
  3. Next, I’m planning to cook at least one meal a week for the family.

We all need a little time in our days that we can call our own and prioritise doing something that makes us happy.

When was the last time you looked at your partner and asked “do they have any space for putting themselves first?”

What’s a change you could make to help create more space?

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