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The Perfect Relationship 10 steps to long-term relationship magic Astra Niedra

Smashwords Edition Copyright 2011 Astra Niedra Smashwords Edition, License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

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CONTENTS Introduction Step 1 Strengthen your connection with your partner ~ Learn what connection is and do this simple yet powerful exercise to re-establish and enhance this fundamental part of your relationship. Step 2 Listen with your full attention ~ Few people know how to truly listen to each other; discover how to really listen and transform your relationship for the better instantly. Step 3 The greatest secret unveiled: realise that human beings are multi-faceted ~ You and your partner both have a number of inner selves; discover how these selves affect your feelings and thoughts and your relationship. Step 4 Accept that you may not like every part of your partner’s personality ~ Why this may be the greatest gift of your relationship! Step 5 Respond appropriately to your partner at any given time ~ Discover how and dramatically improve your sex life. Step 6 Give your relationship time and attention ~ Why you need to have 'meetings' about your relationship. Step 7 Give each other the time and space to grow ~ Are you the perfect partner? Is your partner perfect? Or do you need space to grow? Step 8 Take responsibility for your own vulnerability ~ Discover how to do this and feel your confidence grow – and gain the ability to experience intimacy with your partner while feeling totally safe. Step 9 Accept that not all relationships are meant to last forever ~ Is this the right long-term relationship for you? Step 10 Don't communicate more, communicate better ~ Expressing more of your feelings will not necessarily improve your relationship; learn how to communicate better.

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INTRODUCTION Most people would love to have a great relationship over the long term but the main obstacle to experiencing one is that few people understand how relationships work. Our relationships are such a central part of our lives yet we are not taught about this fundamental thing that happens between people. Relating is so crucial to everything else we do, including how we experience ourselves, that it ought to be the most important part of our education. And that is why I wrote this book: because I believe the knowledge of how relationships work should not be a mystery but should be widely available. I have given you this information in the simplest way I can – in ten, practical steps. These steps will give you all the tools you will need to create lasting magic in your relationship. The understanding you will gain of how the relationship process works is something you will be able to use for the rest of your life, in all your relationships. I have spent over 20 years researching this material, including studying with some of the world's most respected consciousness teachers, training as a psychotherapist and working with my clients, and being in a wonderful relationship with my partner of 20 years, with whom I put into practice this work. I personally do not know how people manage to stay in long-term relationships (at least not in fulfilling ones) without this knowledge. For there is far more going on in relationships than meets the eye. Discover how you can harness this knowledge to transform your relationship – all your relationships – for the better.

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STEP 1 Strengthen your connection with your partner ~ Learn what connection is and do this simple yet powerful exercise to re-establish and enhance this most fundamental part of your relationship. The connection between two people in relationship with each other is the lifeblood of the relationship. A connection exists when you feel something between yourself and another person. The connection is like an invisible cord which forms a link between people. The quality of the connection between people varies, just like the quality of a cord can vary. Many of us can feel whether a connection is romantic, loving, friendly, warm, cool, sisterly or brotherly, motherly or fatherly, businesslike, and so on. The kind of connection you experience is dependant on the state of being of each person involved – and this state can change from day to day, even from minute to minute. The language we use to describe this connection includes 'vibe', 'energy', 'we clicked' or 'we didn't click', 'our communication was off today', ' it felt really warm (or cold) between us', 'the buzz between us was palpable', 'the attraction between us was mindblowing'. When two people are first attracted to each other the connection between them is strong. Even if you are not normally the type of person who is aware of connections with others, something in the person you are attracted to opens up this ability for you and you feel the attraction – this is usually because the other person embodies some quality which is missing in your life, and so you become fascinated by it (I explain this in more detail later.) When this occurs you spend time with your attention on the person you are attracted to – and if they are also attracted to you, then you both spend time paying attention to each other. When you pay such attention to someone you are drawn into the present. Your mind is pulled from either dwelling on the past or focusing on the future, to paying attention to the source of what is attracting you. When you are present you are able to be, and when you are being with someone, you are feeding or nurturing your connection with them. It should be no surprise then that at the beginning of most relationships, when people spend long periods of time being with each other, their connection is strong and robust. But people who like to be with each other also tend to like to do things with each other. What happens is that after a period of time in a relationship, the balance usually tips so that couples end up doing more than being. Doing can range from simply talking or doing an activity. Even if you are only watching television or listening to music together you are still doing something because your attention is on the television/music and not on each other. There is plenty of pressure in our modern lives to do – to work, work out, cook, shop, watch movies/shows, study, see friends, read papers and books, care for our children, clean, and the list goes on. Western culture is so doing focused and there is very little value given to being. Even when we are not doing something many of us think about doing something. We think about trivial matters and long term plans. We make mental notes about things we should not forget to do the next day. We look back over our day and evaluate our performance or that of the people we have spent our day with. And in relationship sometimes we do in order to avoid being with each other,

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particularly when there is an issue which needs to be addressed and we don't feel comfortable about addressing it. To start to re-connect with your partner, you can choose to spend more time being. Consciously taking the time to be with your partner will have profound results. It allows the connection between you to re-establish itself and to strengthen. It is like watering a plant – if you do not water a plant regularly it will not do as well and if left unwatered for long enough will die. The same applies for the connection between people in relationship. And if the connection between you and your partner is not fed, you will both eventually seek a connection elsewhere. Human beings need to feel connected or linked to someone or even something (such as computer, ipad, food, gym); our connections feed us emotionally. The healthiest relationships maintain a very strong connection between the two partners – if you make this your primary connection (we also connect with other people in varying ways) your relationship will withstand anything that comes its way. Being exercise to enhance the connection with your partner If you have never ‘been’ with your partner, it is not too late to try. Start by taking ten minutes out of your schedule to sit facing each other – in silence. Do not answer the phone, the door, or let anything distract you. Just look at each other, not saying anything. Allow any feelings to arise. If you need to share what you are feeling do so, but leave it at that – try not to analyse and discuss your feelings, simply share them while your partner listens. Then continue sitting silently. If you feel anger or other negative emotions toward your partner, tell them you are feeling that way but do not say what you are angry about. This is not the time to discuss your relationship or what you see are the problems with it and with your partner. If you feel sadness, then say that you do, but, again, do not say why you feel sad. Just communicate the fact that you are feeling the emotion – and only if you want to – and feel it while being with your partner. Cry if you need to and if you feel comfortable doing so; giggle if that is the response you have. You might find that as you sit with each other, feelings of love arise within you. These feelings can range from subtle to overwhelming, depending on how much other emotion first needs to be processed. This happens because when you allow yourself to be still and to focus on the person you love, your heart has an opportunity to open. Without interference from the distractions of day-to-day life, connecting with your partner through your heart is a lot easier. It may be that you feel embarrassed or as if what you are doing is silly. All kinds of thoughts might arise. There is no right or wrong response to this exercise so just take a mental note about what happens and continue. Try to keep this as a process where you both are simply with each other, without discussing anything. After you have finished this exercise, then you can discuss what happened. Being with each other in silence allows you both to focus on each other and truly 'be together'. This might sound simple enough – after all, you may already have done this at the beginning of your relationship – but it is surprisingly difficult for many people to do again. This is why I suggest starting for small periods of time. You can use this technique also with your children and with yourself. With children you don't need to do it formally – simply look at your child and hold their gaze

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without saying anything to them. They might give you a smile or start to chatter but many such small moments over time will strengthen the bond with your children. Most parents do this naturally with their babies. They spend much time simply being with their baby, holding it and gazing at it, and enjoying the connection which grows between them, which is crucial for the infant's development. Spending time by yourself, with yourself in silence, also builds a connection with a more centred part of yourself. It is a little like meditating and can bring stillness, calm, peace and inner strength. This process will nourish you even if you do it only for a few minutes each week. Try to find the time to do this 'being exercise' with your partner at least once a week and increase the time you do it for to 30 minutes or longer. You will share a lot more during these sessions than in a week of communicating with each other in your usual, habitual way. You will strengthen your connection with each other, thus feeling closer and more intimate, and your feelings of love for each other will grow.

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STEP 2 Listen with your full attention ~ Few people know how to truly listen to each other; discover how to really listen and transform your relationship for the better instantly. You don’t have to agree with or even be interested in everything your partner says but if you want to engage with your partner in a deeper way then you must listen to them properly when they try to communicate with you. Listening properly, with your full and undivided attention, will bring tremendous rewards both in your relationship with your partner and in your relationships with other people in your life. Consider this: if your partner is expressing something to you, no matter how trivial it may seem to you, it is valid to them. If you do not listen with your full attention, to the other person it feels as if you do not consider them important. They may not articulate it that way, but if they think you are not interested in what they have to say, on some level they feel that you are not interested in them, and that they are not interesting. Feeling like that makes a person withdraw and shut down a little. It affects their self-esteem. You can see this effect clearly in children who have not yet developed defences like adults have: when a parent or teacher validates a child the child literally beams and stands with greater self-confidence, yet when caregivers put a child down in even the slightest way, maybe ignoring the child or not paying full attention when a child wants to say something important to them, the child will visibly contract and they will appear less confident. When you give someone your attention you acknowledge them. And the more complete that attention is and the longer it is given, the more recognised and known the other person feels. When people feel such a way, they feel good; and in relationship, when your partner feels good that will affect how they treat you. The more attention you give, the better you will be treated. You may even remember a time when someone payed such undivided attention to you and how that made you feel. Even at the most basic level of having an everyday conversation, if you and your partner do not listen to each other properly you can both sense this. You can probably tell if your partner is thinking about something else or about his or her own response while you are still expressing yourself, and you possibly would not feel like continuing to express yourself or even to be with them if he or she began to read their text messages or watch television. Communication is not only words and the occasional nod of your head, or even being able to remember and repeat what the other person has said. When communication takes place there is an exchange of energy between people and something has been understood by both parties during the exchange of energy. When you give someone your full attention you establish a connection with them, literally forming a link between you, or if one exists already, you support that link. But when your attention wavers or turns to something else, your part of the connection also turns to that something else. The other person can usually sense the change – unless they had not made a connection with you and were talking to you as if you were a sounding board, in which case they could just continue talking for hours, with you not listening at all. Often people assume they know what the other person is going to say and so they either get on with formulating their own reply and discontinue to listen or they

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impatiently finish the other person's sentences for them. If you cut someone off that way you cut off the connection with them at the point at which you interrupt – and you lose what they would have communicated to you, while they feel as if they haven't quite expressed what they were going to say. They, in turn, become unable to fully listen to you because they have been left wondering what happened and attempt to put their thoughts together for the next time there is a break in the conversation. Each person continues to partially express themselves, incompletely listening to the other, and guessing and assuming what the other person is thinking and feeling. Not much understanding takes place in such attempts at communication. All it takes to improve matters is for one person to stop – and listen with their full attention. If you start to listen to your partner in this way, you will both feel your connection with each other strengthen. You will feel more comfortable opening up to your partner; and if they continue to listen with their full attention on you, you will feel thoroughly heard and validated. Being heard in such a way draws out deeper feelings and insights and encourages us to get closer to the heart of a matter. This type of listening with full attention promotes good communication and feeling between people and allows you to engage with each other on deeper levels. Do this even if your partner happens to be talking about something that does not interest you fully. Simply concentrate with all your ability on them as they speak, even while there are pauses in their communication. Look into their eyes and be present with them, following everything that they are saying, every single word. Ask questions for clarification, ask them how they feel or what they think about what they have just expressed. You will inevitably find that if you listen in this way, the quality of your conversation will change. By giving your partner your undivided attention, the connection between you will intensify and the conversation will take off in directions you are unable to predict. For example, what might have started off as complaining about someone at work could turn into either humorous banter about politics in large organisations, thoroughly entertaining you for hours, or it could lead to the sharing of feelings of fear about not being taken seriously enough at work to be considered for promotion. And then the expression of those vulnerable feelings and having them acknowledged could lead to the awakening of new feelings of empowerment and to the discovery of creative ideas for moving on in more positive directions. But if you hadn’t listened with such attention to the original whining, then your partner might have just continued on that track, with you intermittently saying ‘yes’ while your focus was on something else such as the newspaper or television, until something else distracted either of you and the conversation stopped. You both would have felt that although you had exchanged words with each other, the communication was not entirely satisfying. If you and your partner are having a discussion about something you disagree on, or even an argument, then also listen with complete attention to your partner’s point of view. Most people, when they argue, reluctantly pause for their partner to have their say but they do not listen to what they are expressing with the intention of trying to understand them and to draw out a deeper response. Instead they stay stuck in a disconnected state where they passionately believe how right they are, and with equal righteousness judge the other person to be absolutely wrong. But if you catch yourself and are able to restrain – even just a little – the selfrighteousness we all feel when we are arguing our perspective and instead begin to

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listen to your partner, then you will either break or decrease in intensity the negative reaction pattern you are both in. Your argument will be less severe and you might even come to a surprising resolution. It is remarkable to witness a person who one minute is defensive and seemingly completely unable to move from their stance transform as they are fully listened to. In many cases the topics people argue about are only surface issues hiding deeper vulnerabilities which are more easily able to be acknowledged and dealt with properly when given attention and a safe space in which to emerge – and your relationship ought to be such a place. We all come into our relationships with baggage from our past, with the initial patterns having been set during childhood and adolescence. No matter how hard we try to create a new relationship experience, if we have not become aware of and replaced old patterns with new, we will continue to find ourselves in situations which re-create the emotional landscape we are accustomed to experiencing. One way to help with this is for partners in a relationship to fully listen to each other because when someone really listens to you it brings to the surface past issues, which can then be let go of and replaced with a new and positive experience – that of having the full attention and acceptance of the main person in your life, an experience which occurs in the instant that your partner listens to you in such a way. This simple action will go a long way toward healing any hurts experienced in the past and creating a new blueprint for better future experiences.

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The Perfect Relationship - 10 Steps to Long-Term Relationship Magic