Dr. Rachel Howard’s
THOUGHTS ON RELATIONSHIPS
One of my passions is to help people be able to get into relationships that last and are healthy. That was my main incentive for embarking on my career as a Psychologist.
Some people believe in God. In my opinion, what is just as important as one's spiritual belief is a belief in the essential goodness of people, and their ability to love and connect with other beings. We each create our world as our inner programming dictates it to be. Change the inner programming, and you change your life and the way you see your life situation.
I approach everyone who appears before me in this way. I truly see what is possible when I speak to people. If people present themselves to me in a limiting or negative way, I don't buy into it. I see past that external facade and see their inner beauty, potential and pain, and I use this in my work with them.
I also believe that people grow and learn by being in relationship with others. The most healing relationship there is, as an adult, is our marriage, or the love relationship we have with our primary relationship partner. This relationship is really a mirror for our own inner world's view. It is where we can see how we really feel about ourselves and how we impact the world. Have we attracted a critical partner? Does this reflect our own inner critical voice, or how we think we deserve to be treated? This kind of illumination is the potential gift of an adult relationship.
Therefore, I also think that we have tremendous control over our world and that in some ways we create our world. Not necessarily the facts of that world, but how we experience that world, and that can make all the difference between being happy and empowered and being unhappy and being a victim.
One important aspect of a relationship is taking responsibility for the impact we create, as well as for our feelings, since all feelings are a result of our own inner world. Contrary to popular belief, no one can "make" us feel a certain way, that is, no one can "make" us feel hurt or stupid. We simply feel that way as a result of our own ways of interpreting our experience. We all have within us the seeds of anger, sadness, fear, and joy. Rather than “You made me angry,” what is usually truer is that whatever was said or done triggered the anger that already resides within me. If one is able to speak the deeper truth about this, it is possible to stop argument and conflict in relationships. This is the power of the “unarguable truth.”
Divorce can take a devastating toll on one's health, finances, family, children, and general sense of wellbeing. In today's emotionally and economically stressful climate, it is extremely urgent that we do all that we can to have a healthy, working relationship. Research shows that being in a loving, thriving relationship has tremendous health and economic benefits. Having a healthy relationship prolongs life in both men and women.
Additionally, communication is key in a relationship, as well as being able to feel safe and secure with one's partner. Being able to express appreciation and gratitude, and demonstrate love and affection with words and actions is important. As I have witnessed in the thousands of people I have had the privilege of helping, as well as the research of John Gottman, a well-known marriage expert, one can truly change the landscape of an entire relationship by simply expressing gratitude and appreciation for one's partner. Dr. Gottman discovered in his research that a healthy relationship has to have five positive interactions to one negative one.