If you’ve been journeying with me for a while, you might remember that earlier this year I took a step back from my work. Now, I’ve been taking sabbaticals every January for a few years as a way to refresh and renew myself, but this one was a little different.
I’m a big proponent of listening to your inner wisdom and what energy is guiding you to do, so this break was exactly that—me listening to what I needed. Something felt a little misaligned, so I gave myself a few weeks for deeper self-reflection.
The message I came away with was this: You’re not showing up as authentically as you could.
If you’ve worked with me or attended any of my Breath Is Prayer ceremonies or trainings, you know that I am very candid and open about my life. There’s power in vulnerability, so I always offer that to others.
How could I not be showing up authentically?
I really didn’t have an answer, so I sat with it, letting my new awareness guide me deeper into the layers of what was going on. A new revelation soon came: It’s time to look deeper into communication so you can feel the flow in relationships you’ve always craved.
Communication Is a BIG Deal!
Knowing how to effectively express your needs and emotions to others, whether it’s in a romantic relationship or to your family, is essential. We’d all fall into chaos if we couldn’t communicate! But sadly, most of us are poorly educated on how to open up to others and express our inner thoughts, feelings, and needs. Growing up in a family that never talked about emotions, communication is something I’ve been guided to focus on a lot to improve my life.
Over the years, I’ve collaborated with many different mentors. I’ve always taken what I’ve learned, integrated it, and used the modalities and tools to improve my circumstances, relationships, and my coaching with clients. But after my break this year, I realized I had only been guided so far. I kept feeling a pull that I was missing something, some piece that would take me to a new level of communication with others.
It seems all I needed was the awareness of what I was missing for everything to fall into alignment. I’m always amazed at how often life works that way!
Serendipity: Meeting My New Communication Coach
When I say it was “serendipitous,” it truly was! A little while after my sabbatical, I was browsing FaceBook, not doing anything in particular, and I stumbled on Trevor Justice, who is a communication coach.
I felt guided to look at his website and explore what he was offering, though I remained very skeptical. As I said, I’ve received a lot of mentoring over the years. I knew I was still missing something and that my romantic relationship was struggling, but I honestly doubted that a guy I randomly stumbled upon on FaceBook would have what I was looking for!
I was happily proven wrong about those assumptions! Deciding to trust the universe no matter how skeptical I was, I signed up for Trevor’s free Love Breakthrough Session so we could chat.
After only a few minutes of talking with him, I was blown away. He was like a hawk on a few things that came up in our conversation (a hawk in a good way!). He highlighted some insights that resonated so deeply with me that I immediately enrolled in his course. This was completely out of character because I usually take time to make decisions on what I’m going to study and devote my time to. But his eight-week course was so niche and exactly what I was needing that I knew I had to do it.
Recognizing My Personal Needs
Let’s talk about needs for a moment.
Because of the stigmas in our society, many of us act as if we don’t have needs. I’m definitely guilty of this! The word “needy” was actually repelling to me. People who appeared needy were offensive and I often wanted nothing to do with them and their “neediness”.
As I worked my way through Trevor’s course, I realized that my repulsion to people I saw as needy came from denying my own needs in relationships.
I’m talking about fundamental needs, not tasks like taking out the trash (though it is nice to get that done!). When I say “needs” I mean needing connection, consistency, affection, touch, etc. As I discovered what my needs were—ones I had always struggled to voice—I realized that some of my patterns in relationships came from not getting those needs met. If I found myself being passive-aggressive, resentful, or even controlling, it was an unconscious attempt to get my partner to fulfill my fundamental needs—methods that obviously backfired.
So many of us do this! It’s nothing to feel bad about because we’ve been conditioned either by our families or society to keep a lot of things bottled up. But it is important to become aware of these tendencies so you can shift into more intimacy within your relationships (nothing kills intimacy more like trying to control your partner or making snappy comments!).
Instead of focusing on a fear of rejection or trying to be “humble” by not speaking up, it’s healthier to realize and admit, “Yes, I do have needs.”
I HAVE NEEDS!
I’m getting much more comfortable with saying it 🙂
Admitting this sounds so basic, yet acknowledging and validating what I need, regardless of any preconceived notions or conditioned beliefs, has been life-changing. These needs are valid. YOUR needs are valid. And learning to validate them for myself and vocalizing them out loud has improved my relationships in so many wonderful ways.
After getting guidance from Trevor, I can now identify, “This is a need, and this is why.” Then I learned how to request that my needs get met in an affirmative way. The language Trevor gave me to do this is so specific and helpful that I feel so much more prepared when speaking up to my partner.
If you’re like how I was in the past (and let’s be honest…I still do this because patterns take time and consistency to break), you may get a little accusatory with your partner (or family/friends). You may aggressively demand something changes or use phrases like, “You never do this! Why??”
Instead of constantly highlighting the negatives, it’s more effective to emphasize the positives when making requests, expressing how wonderful it felt when a particular need was met. And instead of aggression, being affirmative simply means that you speak up with compassion and confidence, affirming how vital certain actions are to you, clarifying that you wouldn’t ask a random stranger to meet your need—you’re asking your partner because that person is significant and meaningful in your life.
Here’s an example:
I realized that one of my needs is “consistent connection” due to never feeling fully connected to my parents. My attachment style tends to be anxious because I was never provided reliable support growing up.
My romantic partner travels a lot, so he’s usually in different time zones. In the past, our time apart has created conflicts between us because it didn’t cross his mind to message me every day when he’s gone. He has a different attachment style and consistent connection isn’t one of his needs.
It’s perfectly okay for us to be different in this way, but I was expecting him to be a mind reader. We all do this, don’t we? We have this sense that our partners should instinctively know what’s bothering us and what our needs are. But we’re all different with different upbringings and experiences, so something that seems so obvious to you won’t be the same for your partner/friends/family.
We all need to communicate our needs directly because expecting an intuitive understanding without speaking up is unrealistic.
So when I realized I was putting pressure on my partner to just know what was wrong, I confronted the pattern. Then I made a request. I asked for what I needed: “Can we connect daily? It doesn’t always need to be a phone call. Even a text is fine. But I need that daily connection with you to feel settled. I’m asking because you’re important to me and our relationship is important. Consistent connection nourishes me and I love hearing about your travels because you bring so much richness to my life through your humor and worldview.”
His response was…
“Of course, I can do that.”
So simple! And it made such a HUGE difference. Having that consistent connection really calmed my nervous system and I’m no longer so anxious when he’s away.
In past relationships, when my consistent connection need wasn’t met, I grew resentful and would tell my previous partners that I felt disconnected…but that was it. What is someone supposed to do with that?? I was missing the step of actually understanding my need and then making a loving request for it.
Not only am I now feeling heard, but I’ve also been learning how to share myself more vulnerably. Also, I’ve been learning about myself, and at the end of the day, this way of communicating feels more natural to who I am.
Sharing the Love
I’m so thrilled to have this deeper understanding of how to request needs because it will inform my Life & Intimacy Coaching. I have so many years of wisdom, and I’ve learned so much from all of my mentors, and now I have another piece of the puzzle to help couples achieve intimacy.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from couples is that they feel like two ships passing in the night—they’re just going through the motions and starting to feel like roommates instead of partners. A lot of couples simply don’t feel connected. So I work with them through the emotions and resentments and bottled-up needs. Then I help them practice Intimacy Sharing, addressing their needs so they find that loving bond again.
Love Breakthrough Sessions
Voicing a need sounds so basic, but when I’ve broken it down for coaching clients, I can see the spark of insight flash in their eyes. Nobody I know communicates in the way Trevor taught me—not my friends or family. Not anyone I’ve ever met! So when I tell others about it, they’re all so surprised and enthusiastic.
That’s why I have a special offer for anyone who wants to explore Trevor’s offerings from his coaching company Attract Love and Respect.
If you’ve been feeling disappointed, frustrated, or taken for granted in your love life, Trevor offers Love Breakthrough Sessions where you can meet with a coach one-on-one for an hour, FREE.
This session is most valuable if:
You’re in a relationship, seeing someone, or ready to start dating actively.
You take 50% responsibility for your dating and relationship challenges.
You’re willing to practice what the coach suggests.
Between scheduling and meeting for your session, you can fill out an intake form and watch an 11-minute video.
The schedule fills up quick though! So if you’re interested, click here as soon as you can to book your complimentary session.