Everyone is doing it – writing their New Years Resolutions. I thought I would do mine a little bit different this year and resolve to enhance the quality of my intimate RV relationship. Did you know that people who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t?
Nothing, and I mean nothing, adds to the experience I’m having as an RVer more than the quality of my relationship with my partner. So, it makes sense to highlight and focus on our relationship as we start a new year of RVing. Not surprisingly, the warmth you feel on a daily basis in your relationship strongly correlates with the amount of positive feeling you have about your shared life.
I’m going to start out with my number one resolution for the coming year.
#1 Be kinder to my partner!
It’s been said that “kindness makes the heart grow fonder.” And, it’s also been said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” Don’t these two statements contradict each other? Indeed, all we have to do is look around us, and we see humans who are in close relationships treating each other far worse than they would a stranger or a casual friend.
I know I’m most likely to show my worst side to Stephen and I guess it’s because I feel safe to do so. Worst side for me equals judgmental. It’s the part of me I like the least and would just as soon ban forever. Probably not going to happen as I’m just a flawed human being but, for sure I can resolve to be more aware of this in my character and change my behavior. No one wants a partner who diminishes them, and no one wants to be that type of person.
Fortunately, we are hardwired for kindness. A recent segment on one of our favorite shows, “CBS Sunday Morning,” pointed to research that shows how being kind releases oxytocin into our system. If that’s true, then I can increase the amount of kindness I demonstrate to my partner and, it will automatically cause an uptick in my being less judgmental! Acts of kindness towards our partner reduce the emotional distance between us and deepen our bonds. Nice way to create change, I think. How does it work?
Here are some key points about oxytocin and kindness.
Kindness is Contagious – As I said before, we’re hardwired for kindness. On a biochemical level, Oxytocin is the brain’s natural version of morphine. When we’re kind, it makes us feel good. Why is this so? Spiritually we are connecting with a deep and profound part of ourselves that recognizes that love is our core being.
Also, when we feel happy, we act differently. Our happiness causes a ripple effect in the people around us. Because our evolutionary ancestors had to learn to cooperate to survive, being kind to each other was a necessity and, it is now etched into our genes.
Kindness Is Good for the Heart – Kindness creates a “warm and fuzzy” feeling which causes a hormonal chain reaction. The release of Oxytocin releases a cascade of chemical reactions that dilate the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure which is very good for the functions of our heart. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels.
It’s kind of like a circle. First, we show a kindness to our partner, which changes our chemistry and we feel happy. Our partner not only receives this kindness but they also register our happiness, and they then feel closer to us. When that registers in their brain and body, they experience an uptick in their oxytocin level. This high level of connection to each other reverberates throughout your day. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that hugging causes this same chain reaction. Here it is if you haven’t read “All About Hugging.”
So, that’s a very big resolution I’m committing to and, it’s one I am going to pour my heart and soul into. Why? Because I know I will feel better about myself and it will enhance our adventures and the life that we share. I think in order to be a kinder gentler soul, I will also have to pay attention to what triggers any mean-spiritedness toward my partner. Stay tuned for that!
#2 Increase my gratitude
I’ve been working on increasing gratitude in my RV relationship all through 2017. I’ve found that living in an RV has seriously increased my awareness of what my partner does for us and our life on an ongoing basis. Must I bring up the black tank to make my point? Also, he does all the driving and all the stress that entails. These big things keep me constantly grateful for what he does for us without grumbling. I’m not only grateful but in awe! This year I’ll increase my ability to feel gratitude towards some of the finer points in our life.
#3 Show more interest in what he’s interested in
I have a lot of room for improvement on this score. I’m just basically not interested in crossword puzzles, the game show Jeopardy, History and numerous other subjects that Stephen is deeply interested in. I know it pleases him to no end when I truly listen and show interest in what excites him. I can do better on this score.
I think that’s enough change to wrap my head around for New Year Resolutions and make a commitment to doing better. What about you? What do you want to succeed at in your relationship in 2018?
(images behind quotes are from my macrofitti collection of images from photographing graffiti in Detroit this summer. Cartoon, as always, by Stephen Densford.)