A Paradoxical Way to Boost Your Relationship Satisfaction

We all want to have healthier, happier relationships, whether romantic or otherwise. 

 

We long for deep connection with other people. We were wired for intimacy and deep connections with a few close, trusted people. 

 

If you want to boost your relationship satisfaction there is a seemingly counter-intuitive, way to do this. 

 

"Love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away..." Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

If you want to deepen your relationships, you need to spend time in SOLITUDE. 

 

I've recently had the privilege of sharing about Self Care to a few groups of people. One thing that I emphasized is solitude. Solitude is a concept that is anti-cultural these days. People don't spend time in solitude anymore. They binge watch Netflix, or go to a spin class, or lose themselves by scrolling through a social media platform. 

 

It takes work creating a space for solitude in your life.

It isn't easy getting away from everyone and everything to be with your own thoughts. It can even be a bit scary. Removing your phone can be like removing an appendage. It feels like a lifeline, and it is in so many ways! It connects you to the world.

 

But sometimes, disconnecting from the world can be the most refreshing thing for you. When you unplug, then you have the opportunity to bring the world something original. Something that hasn't been copied from Pinterest, or stolen from another person. 

 

Solitude is a beautiful, sacred space where you unplug from everything and everyone. By removing yourself from all your work, home, and other stress, you can get to know yourself. You can begin to recognize your own voice. Solitude is deeper than a yoga class or a hike by yourself. It has the connotation of being lonely, but by embracing the loneliness you can feel truly filled. 

 

"Love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away..." Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

It is normal to be uncomfortable in solitude. Sit in the uncomfortable. 

 

  • When you are alone, what do you feel?

 

  • Without someone or something to distract your thoughts, what do you think about?

 

  • What does your voice sound like when you talk to yourself?

 

  • When you pray in solitude, what happens?

 

  • Do you feel lonely when you intentionally seek solitude? 

 

Solitude is taking the opportunity to be vulnerable with yourself.

To show yourself your shame and to accept the grace that you desperately need. 

 

So yes, it is a paradox. I can hear you now, "You're telling me that if I want connection I should disconnect?" 

 

Yes. Disconnect with the world so that you can connect to yourself. Don't numb, or distract, but actually connect with yourself. 

 

If you are seeking a relationship, or you are unsatisfied with your current one, schedule a time of solitude.

Take a journal and write out your thoughts. Listen to your own voice. Get to know yourself. Even the ugly parts. Especially the ugly parts. Don't shy away from it. 

 

When you practice being vulnerable with yourself, then you can be vulnerable with others.

If you can't be vulnerable with yourself, it will be even more difficult for you to be vulnerable with others.

 

True intimacy comes from a connection at the point of vulnerability. 

 

If you're feeling unsatisfied with your relationship- take some time to be in solitude. See what happens. You may find that you weren't satisfied with them because you weren't clued in to what is going on with you. It's hard to be intimate with another person when you don't know what's going on in your own heart. 

 

By the way, I didn't come up with this whole solitude idea. Retreating to solitude was Jesus' mode of operation. So I can't take credit.

 

I hope you do more than try this out. I hope you create a rhythm in your life where solitude has a regular space.

 

Until next time, take some solitude,

 

~Molly

 

P.S. If you want to talk with someone about this please fill out the Contact form found here. I would love to walk beside you through this!