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Relationship Anchoring or Love Me Baby One More Time
"Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you," - Richard Bach.
In the previous article I explained the basics of anchoring, and together we began exploring your hot buttons. To remind you, anchors are automatic emotional responses to visual, auditory or kinesthetic triggers. For example, someone shows you a middle finger, and you get angry - that's a visual anchor.
Today I continue with relationship anchoring. The simplest way to maintain a wonderful relationship is to create just a few positive anchors. And the easiest way to screw up your relationship is to create just a few negative relationship anchors. Most people, being unaware of how anchoring works, habitually set negative anchors that wreck their relationships. Let's look at a simple example:
Your boyfriend comes home late. He approaches the house, opens the door, and... you berate him for being late, make him feel guilty and maybe even help him regret he showed up at all. Next time he comes home on time, approaches the house, opens the door... and for a split second re-experiences the scene from the last time. How is he going to feel? Even if he was beaming with happiness and joy, it will now be mixed with a pinch of salt. Have you ever been on the receiving end of such relationship anchoring?
What's going on in this example? We have two behaviors: a complex one of being late and a simple one of entering the house. You attempt to punish your boyfriend's complex behavior by connecting negative feelings to it. But because anchoring is a subconscious process that works on the basic level, negative feelings mostly get anchored to the simple behavior.
This doesn't mean that you should tolerate behaviors you don't like; just be skillful about handling them. There are two ways you can go about it, the first works well and the second works really well. Let's see how they would apply to our example:
(Works well). Your boyfriend comes home late. He already knows he's late, and probably expects you to feel upset about it. He approaches the house, opens the door, and... you immediately greet him like you did on that day when you first realized that you are in love. Smiles, laughs, hugs. Then, you reconnect to establish rapport by talking about how your day went. And only afterwards (at least half an hour later) you bring the conversation back to him being late, tell him how you felt and decide on what will change the next time.
(Works really well). This is an advanced way of applying relationship anchoring. It might seem unusual at first, yet it is the most effective approach in the long run. It is build around encouraging (anchoring) positive behaviors and ignoring others. Whenever your boyfriend comes home late, you let go of your pent up feelings and just act like nothing happened. And whenever your boyfriend comes home on time, you express your joy at seeing him very strongly. This way you are anchoring the strongest positive emotions to the behavior that you want, and you do *not* use negative emotional anchoring at all.
You might be curious why positive emotional anchoring is best in the long run, and why throwing tantrums to anchor negative emotions to the behaviors you don't want only works short term. Simple. Anchoring works on many levels, and every emotion you create, in addition to becoming tied to the behavior, is ALSO partially reflected on your self. So, throw one too many tantrums, and he will feel bad whenever he sees or thinks of *you*. Perfect relationship destroyer.
Here is another simple application: what do you do in the bedroom? If the bed is a sacred place where you only make love, then the images of the bedroom, the feelings of the sheets, the sounds in the room will help create and sustain sexual arousal. If instead you watch TV, read books, eat breakfast in bed, you are anchoring all sorts of emotions to the bedroom and diluting its sexual energy. You might later on complain how you no longer feel aroused in bed. No wonder. The cleaner is your separation of environments for different purposes, the easier it will be for you to anchor specific emotions to each environment and the more will each of them support your emotional states.
And while you practice relationship anchoring, in the next article I will show how to communicate your strong emotions skillfully to get the message across while avoiding a fight.
You’ve just read TIP #79 FOR CREATING AN EXTRAORDINARY AND MEANINGFUL LIFE brought to you by Holographic University. To get the next Tip visit us at:
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May You Be Happy!
- Arman Darini, Ph.D.
About the Author: Arman Darini, Ph.D. is the director of Holographic University, the author of weekly Tips for Creating an Extraordinary and Meaningful Life, and a certified international NLP Trainer. As the leader of a dynamic team of Life Trainers and Coaches, Arman's motto is "I don't believe in your limitations". To learn more about Arman, visit ArmanDarini.com