Do you feel like you struggle to communicate or express your emotions in your relationships, or maybe there's just something missing? In celebration of Family Day weekend, I'd like to share with you a course I took that helped me create the relationships of my dreams and more overall happiness, and it can for you too!
Note: I'm not affiliated with this company, I'm just a past participant of their programs and found them extremely valuable.
One of my greatest friends (and former business partner) Natasha would sometimes casually mention this course that she was taking back in 2016. Just as casually one day she asked if I'd be interested in checking it out, and she said I could bring my boyfriend Matt with me so he could check it out too.
I value what Natasha finds valuable, so while I didn't have a clear picture as to what I was walking into, I said sure. And Matt came along too (he had even less of a clue).
At first I was pretty confused about what this program and establishment was all about, but Natasha was beaming and there seemed to be a warm sense of community in the room like I'd never seen before, so I was intrigued.
The format of the event was the following: the leader of the course spoke to introduce us to the general concept of what it was all about, and then various participants from the course went up and shared, saying why they brought their guests and what they had gotten from the program so far.
Their sharing was so raw and some of it very emotional, which I found very interesting considering a lot of us were strangers to them.
At the end of the night the guests such as myself had the opportunity to sign ourselves up for one of the upcoming courses. I was a little thrown off by the cost (I believe it was something like $725 for the weekend at the time — with a $150 minimum deposit), but I put that thought aside when Matt said to me "You know what? I think I could use something like this," and proceeded to sign up.
With a promise of gained benefits like improved happiness and self-confidence, peace of mind, freedom from resentment and regret, and the ability to fully express our love, we left feeling confident in choosing to just go for it.
In January 2017 Matt and I took the first course together, called the Landmark Forum, and our relationship transformed (for the better) basically overnight. We'd been together for more than 3 years at the time, yet we apparently had no idea what the actual potential of our relationship was up until that point.
We expanded our communication and our love, respect and appreciation for each other in a way that I didn't think was possible. We learned so much about each other. We had a great relationship before, but we had one major area that wasn't working and we both agree that had it not been for this course, we probably wouldn't have lasted. Crazy.
Since then I've completed three other Landmark courses and a seminar series. I could go on and on about the amazing breakthroughs I got from them but I'll sum it up to these:
First of all, I love telling this first story because it lights me up every time: I used to be able to count on one hand the number of time my parents and I had said we loved each other. Growing up I'd go to friends' houses where I'd hear them say it all the time, and I was confused. I knew I always wanted that with my parents but I didn't know how to create that habit with them.
It was nothing that was wrong with my Mom or Dad — they definitely showed their affection in other ways and I always felt that they loved me — it was just what they were accustomed to from their own family dynamics.
That same first weekend I called up my parents, in tears, admitting that I felt some resentment toward them for not expressing their love by saying "I love you," but that I realized it wasn't their fault. I then declared that I was going to start saying it to them, whether or not they chose to say it back.
It felt weird to say at first but since then, saying "I love you" at the end of a phone call or parting has become the norm, and the part that makes me SO excited is that most of the time they now say it to me first because it opened their eyes to the fact that they, too, enjoy expressing their love this way.
My second biggest breakthrough was the most open conversation I'd ever had with my Grandma the weekend of the second course. That weekend I was going to bed at the end of the second day, thinking I wasn't really experiencing as many aha-moments as I did the first time. Then it hit me like a brick wall. I had a realization about something from my past that had been completely running my relationship with my Grandma, in a way that I wasn't proud of.
When I was 11 my other Grandma (we called her Nana) passed away. I considered my Nana my best friend, and being that age I had little idea as to what health complications my Nana was actually facing, so her death came very unexpected to my 11 year old self.
It was the worst emotional pain I had ever felt, and whether consciously or not, I decided I'd never experience that heartbreak again. So the years following her death I kept my Grandma at arm's length, being too afraid to get as close to her just to have her leave me too.
As I got older I started to long more and more for a closer relationship with my Grandma, yet felt that too much time had passed with this sense of distance between us that I didn't know how to reconcile.
The next day following this realization, I called my Grandma and I told her all of this and that from now on I was going to call her more regularly. And I have. Our relationship might not be that of best friends, but in that moment I had a sense of what it must have been like for her all those years not feeling like she could have closeness with me. The self expression I had and the fact that we've talked way more in the past year than years prior makes me feel fulfilled in our relationship.
Some other breakthroughs throughout my journey with Landmark include the closure I got with an ex boyfriend (after almost 5 years later — and this just happened last weekend!) and the most real conversations with my sisters and friends. It lead to both Matt and I leaving jobs where we felt unfulfilled and consistently stressed out, which not only improved our relationship even more but also allowed us to build our freelance businesses. It improved my communication skills with my Graphic Design clients in a way that has helped me build long-lasting and trusting relationships. It also taught me greater patience and empathy toward others.
Needless to say, the money I've spent with Landmark has been the best investment I've made in myself, and as a ripple effect, in those around me. I want everyone to invest in themselves this way and transform their relationships too! You can learn more about Landmark here, or if you'd like to come as my guest to one of their events send me a message.
Happy Family Day weekend!
Header image via unsplash.com