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Why “Heroing” Never Works


What happens when you have an epic day planned with your partner, and instead of things going as planned, your partner is in a bad mood or feeling stuck with some uncomfortable stuff?

What do you do?

Do you take a deep breath while surrendering your romanticized picture of the day, and offer them your compassionate attention? Or do you pull out every trick in the book to fix their mood (which may include making them wrong for their experience)?

Welcome to beauty and challenge of relationship: Things don’t always go as planned and we can either surrender or fight it. In addition, no matter how many tools we may have, our partner’s mood can often influence and affect our mood.

While on the coast of Italy, Justin and I had an incredible day planned in Cinque Terre. We were going to hike through 5 picturesque villages. I was looking forward to this hike for months.

As the hike began, Justin started moving through some uncomfortable stuff. At first I was supportive – asking him questions, listening with compassion, and offering him my presence. But after an hour I could feel my Hero starting to engage. I wanted to fix him, so that he would no longer feel uncomfortable, and as a result I would no longer feel uncomfortable. I felt that I knew what he needed (more so than him) in order to get through this. I also felt irritated with him and wanted him to speed through this so we could get back to our romantic day in Cinque Terre.

Heroing our partner doesn’t work for several reasons. When we hero someone we are seeing them as less than Whole and viewing their experience (no matter how uncomfortable it may be) as less than perfect. Being a hero means we are seeing ourselves as the savior – more than whole and capable. Heroing doesn’t work because it robs our partner of a valuable learning/growing opportunity.

I know I have been in Hero when on the other side of it I feel a familiar backlash of irritation, exhaustion, resentment and grumpiness.

So the big question is this: Without going into Hero, how do we support our partner when they are moving through some challenges? Well, to be honest, we are still discovering how to do this. But what we are learning is that it starts with being willing to surrender our plan, vision, or idea for how it “should” go (the date, the hike, the romantic evening together). Not being a Hero means being willing to see that your partner is having the perfect experience. Just because something is hard and uncomfortable, does not mean it is necessarily bad or wrong. Often our greatest challenges are ripe growth opportunities. Not being a Hero means being hugely compassionate and empathetic without losing ourselves in our partner’s stuff. Sometimes that means taking a solo walk or spending some time apart. Other times it means that just our ability to listen is the most supportive thing we could do.

If you want to learn more about the Hero Archetype, we created a free 10 Video E-Course. You can sign up HERE to receive it. To check out more of our free videos or to submit a topic for us to explore on camera, go to http://www.dailyrelationship.com/

Thank you all for your love and support,
Juna & Justin

Supporting Each Other in Overwhelm


What do you do when your partner is in overwhelm? (Yes, I had to choose this goofy video image of myself)

Do you support them by trying to talk them out of overwhelm — attempting to rationalize them out of their current train of thoughts? Do you attentively listen to them while offering empathy and kindness? Do you snap at them with frustration and annoyance? Do you quickly try to fix them, so that you can alleviate the discomfort within yourself?

We have tried all of the above… many times, with little success. What we have learned is that each of us has very specific ways that we like to be supported when we are in overwhelm. The key is to have a conversation about overwhelm in order to better support your partner.

Overwhelm occurs when the “stress response system” has gotten activated. Meaning, something happens in our environment and we feel afraid, stressed, or anxious and our brain sends us into fight or flight. Having lost contact with our wise pre-frontal cortex, we are quite literally 4 years old — reactive, vulnerable, highly emotional, and easily triggered.

The funny thing is, when one partner is in overwhelm, the other partner forgets that they are dealing with a tantruming 4 year old. Instead, we attempt to rationalize with them and support them like we would any adult. But this doesn’t always work. In many ways, our tactics end up backfiring.

Justin and I have found great value in asking each other the following questions (please note, we highly recommend having this conversation when you and your partner are NOT in overwhelm, instead try having it when you are in a pretty good place):

1. When you are in overwhelm, what have I done that DOES NOT feel supportive? What kinds of things do not feel helpful when you are in overwhelm?
2. What have I done that DOES feel supportive? What would you like to see more of when you are in overwhelm?

I felt a huge sense of relief after Justin and I had this conversation. It helped illuminate for me that I need physical space when I am in overwhelm. I do not like it when someone tries to grab onto me or touch me. I also crave genuine compassion and kindness. For Justin, the conversation helped him see that he does not want advice, harshness, or to be fixed. Instead, he wants an empathetic space so he can communicate freely.

To check out more of our free videos or to submit a topic for us to explore on camera, go to www.DailyRelationship.com.

Thank you all for your love and support,
Juna & Justin

Celebrating Big Steps Forward

It can be so easy to focus on relationship challenges, dramas and issues, but how often do we take the time to celebrate the good stuff?

In this video, Justin and I celebrate and appreciate the HUGE steps we have taken over the last few months. After facing into one of our biggest marriage hurdles, we are finding tremendous value in taking time to appreciate one another for not giving up, and for consistently doing the work required to create a healthier version of our relationship. Has it been easy? Nope, but it has been extremely rewarding.

Justin has been changing his relationship with his peacekeeper by learning to communicate, in the moment, what he is truly feeling, thinking and desiring. Through consistently communicating, he has faced into some big fears about “rocking the boat” and disrupting the peace.

I have been learning to see my PDD (what we compassionately call Perpetual Dissatisfaction Disorder). Studies have shown that humans have a “negativity bias,” where we spend 70-80% of our thoughts focused on the negative – what is wrong with our relationship, what needs to be fixed, and what I am dissatisfied with. Instead of blindly following this well-established neural pathway in my brain, I am instead pausing and orienting towards something I appreciate. Through consistent practice we are finding that there is a great deal more joy and fun in our relationship.

We would love to hear things that you are celebrating. Feel free to share them with us here or on our website. For more free videos or to submit a topic for us to explore on camera, visit: www.DailyRelationship.com. Thank you!

~ Juna & Justin

5 Steps to Navigating Major Relationship Challenges

A few weeks ago Justin and I posted a video on our biggest relationship challenge to date. It was a vulnerable process for us and we are so grateful for the overwhelming support from all of you. It has helped us to remember that we are not alone in this process. Yep, the relationship journey is no joke. 😉

Several of you requested that we create a video about the specific tools and techniques we have been using to navigate this rocky terrain. In this video, we explore 5 tools that have been instrumental during this time. And… please note, we are not out of the woods yet (ironically we shot this video in the woods), and we have made incredible headway.

The 5 tools are: 1. Cultivating Patience 2. Self-Awareness 3. Claiming 100% Responsibility 4. Taking time to Integrate 5. Getting 3rd Party Support.

To check out more of our free videos or to submit a topic for us to explore on camera, go to www.DailyRelationship.com.

Thank you all for your love and support,
Juna & Justin

Our Biggest Relationship Challenge To Date

Justin and I have not shot a DailyRelationship video for 3 months – the longest we have gone since starting this project over 3 years ago. Over the last few months we faced into our biggest relationship challenge to date, and it didn’t feel particularly friendly to be publicly sharing such a vulnerable, raw, and traumatic experience with all of you.

So here we are, 3 months later, after many therapy and coaching sessions, ready and willing to share what we are currently learning about what happened.

So what happened?

The gist of it is that our unresolved shadow material (individually and in the relationship) came out to bite us in the butt – to the point where we thought our marriage was over. In several of our previous videos we have spoken at length about Justin’s “peacekeeper” and my “controller”, but we had NO idea how much they had started to run amuck in our relationship.

Are we surprised this all happened? In some ways, yes. It completely blindsided us. In other ways, no, we weren’t surprised. We made one of the biggest commitments of our lives 9 months ago on an altar in Bali. We then proceeded to have two more weddings and launch two relationship E-Courses. Thus, any integrity gaps within our relationship were bound to surface.

As painful as this process has been, we are infinitely grateful that our shadow parts have surfaced AND that we have called in the essential support necessary to do this crucial work. We are certainly humbled by this process.

PS. After recently reading Jeff Brown’s book, An Uncommon Bond, I feel so grateful that we both are willing to face our shadow parts. It is my opinion that “shadow work” (aka. skillfully and compassionately working through our most unconscious material) is one of the most sustainable and healing paths towards true love, individually and in partnership.

All our love and gratitude,
Juna & Justin

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