How to be an Adult in Relationships - With Psychotherapist David Richo
Gloria Steinem said, too many people are looking for the right person instead of trying to be the right person. My guest today is Dr. David Richo is a renowned psychotherapist he's author of 20 books. And he's been working in this field for 50 years and still practicing. He is a beautiful human being
You're going to love this conversation. His work emphasizes the benefits of mindfulness, loving kindness and personal growth. And in this episode, we are going to discuss the book that I have just loved, which is ‘How to be an Adult in Relationships’.
We're going to talk about the five A’s - attention, acceptance, action, appreciation and allowing and how they are the key to true intimacy.
I have read the book and really enjoyed it. My husband and I are working together through the exercises in the book right now and really approaching it mindfully and very slowly. We are taking big pauses and making sure that we're are not bringing what we might've done before we read the book, to create some new levels of intimacy.
We've been married for 28 years and I don't think this process comes naturally to people necessarily. I think there's so much debris piled on top of us over the years that whatever part of our spirit or a soul had access to this early can get buried. What I love about David Richo’s book is how he invites the spiritual journey as well as the therapeutic journey. In this podcast we have delved into:
The mindfulness journey and the pathway to intimacy
How David Richo found Buddhism and the impact it had on his work as an introduction to something spiritual in a new way.How we advance on our spiritual journey toward being a person of integrity and love and how through mindfulness you can turn that reflection inwards and start to become an adult in the relationship. And that's the pathway to intimacy.
We speak about the journey that invites us to reflect within and how that journey is so integral to the message in the book, teaching us to become aware of our needs first and then our fears of having them fulfilled, instead of pushing these feelings aside.
The irony that informs so many relationships - we look like we're really wanting intimacy, but at the same time, we could be fearing that same intimacy because of what it entails, which is becoming vulnerable, letting ourselves be seen as we really are. With all our warts and wounds.
We focus on The 5 A’s – ‘How to be an Adult in Relationships’ explores five hallmarks of mindful loving and how they play a key role in our relationships – from our childhood with our parents, through to our intimate partners: Attention to the present moment; observing, listening, and noticing all the feelings at play in our relationships
Acceptance, acceptance of ourselves and others just as we are
Appreciation, of all our gifts, our limits, our longing and our poignant human predicament
Affection, shown through holding and touching in respectful ways.
Allowing, life and love to be just as they are, with all their ecstasy and ache, without trying to take control.
How to manage when you don’t receive the 5 A’s in childhood – letting go of the anger, the healthy path out of childhood into adulthood.
How you know you are ready to be in a relationship?
Being ready is becoming an adult first. Then you can have an adult relationship one in which there is love. To do your own personal work to get you to be the best partner you can be. That's how you know that you have a real commitment, not the wedding ring or the big day.
Drama thrives on adrenaline. Whereas the true intimacy thrives on oxytocin, our hormone of closeness. If you are keeping things at a fever pitch and it's always a big drama going on. There's always a big conflict, which can't be worked out. And when you're doing that, you might ask yourself, do I really want closeness or do I, or what am I actually just looking for?
The See Model – the way to ask yourself and analyse what is getting you so upset or reactive? Using the acronym SEE – is it a shadow – is it my ego – is it from early life.
Ego is one of the most vicious enemies of intimacy - ego, and how that affects relationships. The ego fears that you won't be acknowledged as you need to be, to the rest of the world but it's also the fear that you won't be able to handle not being given the special treatment that you think you deserve. We discuss the practices that can help you get out of the ‘solo act of ego’ in relationships.
Anger is a strong energy -instead of blaming in anger, where can we go to within ourselves to achieve a healthy response? Grief and anger, learning to work within and avoid being stuck in anger.
The Heroes Journey to Redemption
David and I both love the mythological journey, the hero's journey to redemption. And I see the elements of this in the book by design strongly. The hero’s journey starts out externally and then the moment when the hero is truly transformed is when they realize that which they sought outside was always within them.