"The quality of your relationships is what determines the quality of your life."
- Esther Perel, SXSW 2018
As you know I hold a deep love and respect for the work of Esther Perel. So I was very excited to hear she was speaking at this year's South by Southwest event.
As usual, her talk was provocative and incredibly informative. I'm outlining a few of my favorite takeaways for you below. I'd love to talk with you more about it if you're interested give me a call.
Conversations are the heart of relationships.
But most of us are shying away from direct communication, complex conversations, and fully present connections. We text instead of call, we back out instead of showing up, and we dive into distraction every chance we get.
If we want to combat the epidemic of loneliness our culture is facing we need to start showing up more courageously in meaningful conversations.
The tension between change and stability is key to relationship success
Thriving relationships can reconcile these two fundamentally different needs (security and safety vs exploration and adventure). Some of us emerge from families needing more autonomy and some needing more safety. Which leads to one of us more afraid of losing the other and the other more afraid of losing themselves.
The more we can name and work through this tension together, the closer we become. Couples and partnerships who can hold this tension and carefully balance it (not too much of either end of the spectrum of autonomy vs connection) build more fulfilling relationships.
"Soulmate" is a new concept
How do I know I have found the one? My one and only. We want one person to meet the needs that a whole village used to provide. Soulmate used to be god, and many of us have replaced religion with expectations on a partner.
When we listen deeply to the experiences of another we end up standing in front of a mirror.
And we get inspiration for the kinds of courage we need to have in our own lives. Prioritize relationship work, intimacy, and repair in order to combat loneliness.
We need complex and nuanced conversations to transform the nature of relationships. To modernize relationship structures as we have outgrown the old paradigms of binary gender. Shifting the roles of men and supporting their complex emotional experiences will create opportunities for wholeness in relationships.
And in order to change the future of intimacy and connection in our society, we all need to courageously tend and show up in more of our relationships.
Watch the full talk below:
Please participate with the blindfold activity by closing your eyes.
Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.
Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease. She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow.