The journey after weight loss surgery can be one of the most profound life changes. The fact is, somewhere around half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, and weight-loss surgery patients are not immune. When it comes to relationships we need to face it; Cinderella Stories are few and far between. In order to increase our chances of success within our relationships it becomes important to have psychologically sound success driven principles to follow. Through my clinical observations I have developed what I call, “The Thriving Principles”. They are as follows:
- Principle One: Self as Success – Fulfilling our true self and not developing a relationship that is focused on vicariously reinforcing the needs of others is fundamental in developing a healthy relationship. Chances are that we will maintain a healthy relationship if it keeps nurturing our emotional and psychological development. If our relationship makes us feel like a fake; disconnected from our inner-selves, we may unconsciously sabotage our relationship in order not to feel like a fake.
- Principle Two: Culture of Success – Providing an internal culture of success means protecting our true selves from abandoning our ideals; while at the same time staying connected within our relationships. A true culture of success within a relationship is one that encourages safety of self-expression, where ideas are encouraged and not discouraged. The goal is to create a relationship, a culture, where individuals can experience themselves as being integrated, coherent and realistic and not filled with destructive behavior.
- Principle Three: Paradoxical Experiences – Great relationship success will be paradoxical. While relationships can make our dreams come true, they can bring out our worst fears and deepest anxieties. A dream come true may also signal the beginning of a nightmare. Since the road to relationship success can be one requiring great force and veracity, the attainment of success can be a signal for relaxation. In such a heightened state as “attainment”, some unconscious motivating feelings that drive us may suddenly become overwhelming and painfully conscious. The maintenance of success requires insight into the process of paradoxical experiences. Our ability to understand that even the most joyful experiences can be filled with periods of anxiety can greatly aid in our quest for personal relationship success.
- Principle Four: Vision – Vision is the ability and awareness to notice, comprehend and reflect on the concept of the world through which we travel. It is the foresight not to get buried down; the ability to remember to look up. Possessing a vision regarding our relationships creates the tenacity to experience the world for much more than the mud and the muck we are required to tread through. When times get tough in a relationship it is our vision that allows us to return to a perspective of wanting to continue (keeping our eye on the ball).
- Principle Five: Facing Our Resistance – Managing our resistance to relationship success requires us to understand our unconscious desire to resist change. Intellectually we all want to mature and grow within our relationship but emotionally growth can be filled with anxiety and fear; so we resist. Developing a strong will to face our resistance is synonymous with discovering success. In gaining and maintaining our success we must develop “courage” and not give in to self-destructive desires.
- Principle Six: Intimacy – For most individual’s intimate expression becomes an extension of their true self. Sharing a “piece of themselves” may feel positive or traumatic in nature depending on their personal strength. If early childhood experiences were traumatic, “sharing” may engender fears of retraumatization, abandonment, or engulfment within relationships. It may reactivate feelings of humiliation that can lead to self-destructive behavior. On the other hand, positive acceptance of “sharing” may empower a desire to feel whole integrated and validated. Whatever the situation, “sharing” is taking a risk can either inflate or deflate a sense of self.
Success within our relationships requires that we understand both the conscious and unconscious forces that interact in our lives. The ability to have faith in our choices after weight loss surgery and master the complexities of life experiences can make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful relationship.
This article was originally posted at Obesityhelp.com by: Dr. Howard Gluss