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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Emotionally Intelligent Love

In a society that values cognitive intelligence and rationality, we’re told to “do what makes sense” and “be practical.” But this advice is often interspersed with confusing messages about “following your heart.”

In dating, although we’re taught the abstract concept that love conquers all, we’re also encouraged to find a partner who has assets — physical, fiscal, and material.
But if we spend too much time looking for someone who's perfect on paper, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Of course, if we let our hearts get the best of us through the dating process, we set ourselves up for failure too.

So how do we find an appropriate balance between rationality and emotionality? By using emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is essentially the ability to notice, identify, and regulate emotions.
An emotionally intelligent person can recognize what they’re feeling emotionally and sit with those feelings long enough to respond to them mindfully — as opposed to suppressing them or reacting to them impulsively. Emotionally intelligent people are also empathically attuned, meaning they can put themselves in others’ shoes and imagine what another might be feeling.

Emotional intelligence is truly the most valuable skill you can have, both in the dating (and rejection!) process and in relationships. Here’s why:

1. Emotional intelligence leads to healthy attractions.

When we’re guided by our heart and don’t distinguish between anxiety, lust, infatuation, and desire, our physical attractions can lead us to unhealthy relationships. When we’re guided solely by our head and turn off our heart, we risk dating people who are great on paper but unable to connect with us emotionally. But when we have emotional intelligence that allows us to follow our hearts but vet with our minds, we’re far more likely to seek out (and maintain) fulfilling relationships.

2. Emotional intelligence is important for reacting intentionally.

That text you wish you didn’t send? That fight that quickly escalated? That fear of being abandoned that stems from your upbringing or past relationships? Emotions drive the most connecting and destructive encounters in a relationship. Knowing how to sit with these emotions and react to them appropriately is your most valuable skill in a budding relationship (and in life!).
One way to do this is through practicing refraining and self-compassion. Like you’re trying not to scratch an itch, resist the urge to react impulsively. Easier said than done, I know. A trick I use is to envision actually making space for emotion as it comes — I imagine that it is expanding in a contained bubble outside of me. Then, I practice self-compassion by empathizing with myself and saying internally what I might say to a friend in the same situation. For example, It makes sense you’re feeling pissed off right now! You’re totally allowed to feel this way. Anyone else in your shoes would. Still, what’s a more serving reaction, here? Keying his car or going to a friends’, sleeping on it, and re-evaluating in the morning?

3. Emotional intelligence will help you deal with rejection.

In order to date successfully, you have to be open to rejection. If you fear rejection to the point of avoiding it, you won’t put yourself out there. You'll impulsively delete all your apps after a first date doesn't call you back. In order to be open to rejection, you must be able to cope with your emotions mindfully and with self-compassion. My latest course will walk you through how to do so.

4. Emotional intelligence will make you a more supportive partner.

Whether you've been in a relationship with someone for a few dates or a few years, emotional intelligence is essential to being a supportive partner. Why, you ask? You need to have the ability to empathize. You should essentially be able to stand in your partner’s shoes and understand what they’re feeling. So, instead of responding to an argument with something like, “You shouldn’t be upset about this,” try saying something like, “I can understand why you’d be feeling hurt.” This will make your partner feel heard and validated, which in turn will strengthen the communication you two share.
If you don’t identify as emotionally intelligent, fear not: Strengthening the emotional intelligence muscles isn’t much different from strengthening the biceps. Only, rather than doing so at a gym, you can do so using therapy, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. So get looking inside and trust that familiarizing yourself with your feelings will make you a much better dater and partner!

by Megan Bruneau, January 28, 2016 5:00 AM at
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Answer These 40 Questions Before Marriage

If you’re single and you want a partner, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about what you want — mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Are they different? Getting clear on what you want is vital in manifesting your beloved.
Since we attract people who have equal levels of self-abandonment or self-love to our own, it's essential that we embody the qualities we want in a partner. These seven areas are crucial to consider when it comes to identifying the best partner for you — and making sure you have them, too.


  1. Do you want a partner who is open to learning about themselves and about you as well as open to learning in conflict and when their fears are triggered? I have found this to be an absolutely essential ingredient in creating a loving relationship.
  2. Do you want a partner who is interested in personal and spiritual growth, who shares his or her feelings and is available to receiving help with relationship problems? All relationships experience some problems, and being open to receiving help can often make the difference between staying together or ending the relationship.
  3. Do you want a partner who is kind, caring, compassionate, capable of empathy, honest, reliable, and trustworthy, and who has integrity?
  4. Do you want a partner who is basically happy with his or her life?
  5. Do you want a partner with a good sense of humor, who laughs easily and is fun to be with?
  6. Do you want a partner who is close to family members and who has close friends?
  7. Do you want a partner who is motivated, self-disciplined, competent, and a hard worker?
  8. Do you want to be with someone who has a passion for life?

Physical Appearance

While looks don't form the basis of a loving relationship, we need to basically enjoy the way the person looks.
9. Do you care how tall the person is?
10. What’s important to you in terms of weight and/or fitness level?
11. Do you prefer someone well-groomed or a more rugged look?

Education and Intellect

We each have the right to decide what we want, so it's important to get clear on it and pursue it with confidence.
12. Is connecting at a common level of intelligence and academic learning important to you?
13. Is it okay for someone to be a high school graduate, a graduate of a tech school, or be self-educated?
14. Is it essential to you that your partner have a college or graduate degree?


15. Do you want a partner who wants kids?
16. Do you want to live in a spacious house or a compact apartment or condo?
17. Would you prefer to live in a rural area or a highly populated city?
18. Can you live with someone messy? How about someone neat? I can't tell you how many couples I've worked with find this a huge problem.
19. Do you want to be with someone who can (and likes to) cook?
20. Is it important that your partner have mechanical know-how and the ability to fix things?
21. Do you need a partner who can take care of a home and all that that might entail — like shopping for food and clothing?
22. Is it important that your partner be health-oriented?
23. What about eating organically, being a vegetarian, vegan, following a raw diet, or Paleo?
24. Do you want a partner who works out or who is athletic and enjoys outdoor sports?
25. Do you want your partner to earn as much as you do or more or less than you do? Is financial success important to you?
26. Do you want a partner who is passionate about their work?
27. Is it important that you see value in your partner’s work?


28. Are you pro-choice or pro-life? Is a disagreement on that a deal breaker? What about birth control, guns, and hunting?
29. Are politics important to you? Does your partner need to identify as liberal, conservative, independent, or apolitical?
30. Do you want to be in a traditional, monogamous relationship, an ethically nonmonogamous relationship, or an open relationship?
31. Does your partner need to share your religion? If so, do you also need to share the same level of devotion?
32. If not religious, does your partner need to be spiritual? If so, what kind of spirituality? Is it okay if they are agnostic or atheist?
33. Do they need to love animals? Do they need to be a dog person, a cat person and/or a horse person?
34. Is it important to you that they care about the environment?
35. Do you want a partner who donates to charities? Do you prefer to save or spend?
36. Do you want a partner who is a professional, a businessperson, or someone in a creative field? Would you prefer a partner who made a living doing manual labor? Would you consider living on a farm or ranch?

Substance Use

We each have the right to decide what is okay or not okay for us.
37. Is it okay or not okay with you for someone to smoke?
38. Is it okay to drink moderately or heavily, or it is important to you that your partner not drink at all?
39. Is marijuana use acceptable or not?
40. What about the use of recreational drugs or prescription drugs?
This is certainly not a conclusive list, and, since we all have some baggage, you won't necessarily find everything you want in one person. It's important, however, to explore your feelings, desires, and priorities. I suggest you make your own lists of what you want and don't want in a relationship. Clarity is essential for manifestation!

Adapted from "Don't Get Married Until You Can Answer These 40 Questions" by Margaret Paul on (January 11, 2016)
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