How to Blow Your Mind

Giuseppe Meazza

Source: DODJI DJIBOM/Unsplash

There are many of theories about self-development. But lots of them didn’t seem to work for me or my clients. I want to fully encounter, challenge, and stretch my clients. I want to challenge my clients emotionally, psychologically, and mentally.

So after 13 years, and hundreds of couples, I’m sharing my therapeutic recipe. Get ready to be mind-bonked.

Play + blocking exits + wanting more = personal and relational growth.

I. Play

Play is the lubricant of relationships. If you want to grow or evolve, you need some elbow room. You need to get curious and to make space for mistakes. Play decreases tension and signals to your partner that you are not looking to fight but to grow. Play offers freedom, vitality, and joy, and it is possible to become more playful in your relationship.

How to increase play in your relationship?

  • Stop taking yourself or life too seriously. Laugh at yourself. They are both going to end soon. So would you rather spend your life happier and more playful or more serious?
  • Cultivate curiosity about yourself and your partner. After all, curiosity is the cure for judgement and boredom.
  • Practice silliness. From time to time, do something a bit silly, whimsical, or funny. Start with small things when you are alone.
  • Learn to enjoy mistakes in your relationship, because “there are no mistakes, only learning”.

A move toward spontaneity helps you enter the potential state between reality and fantasy, where wonder, play, and growth live. This also sets the stage for blocking your exits.

II. Block Exits

We all have a relational business card, which is the part/s of us that we usually accentuate in our relationships. By using the same business card, we create the same relational dynamic and the result is ultimately boredom and stagnation.

The quickest way to grow is actually being restricted, blocked, or challenged. That is the principle of creative limitation, which states that we’re more creative when we’re limited, as we need something to push against. Marriage (or any committed long-term relationship), when done right, can serve as a wonderful creative limitation.

Blocking your (and your partner’s) relational business cards, common defense mechanisms, and avoidances helps you fight the law of diminishing returns. The law states that in most long-term committed relationships, there will be a diminution of excitement, curiosity, and passion over the years, leaving couples bored or looking outside the dyad for adventure. Blocking exits forces couples to wake up, reinvent themselves, and focus their libido inside the dyad.

How do you block your exits?

You take ownership of all the different parts of yourself, summon the courage to expose them, and release your defense mechanisms.

  • Show your partner your cards. Reveal to your partner your defense mechanisms, smoke screens, and avoidance tactics. That will help them to become the best person to challenge you effectively.
  • Call yourself out (even retroactively). When you do avoid or bypass intimacy, own it playfully to your partner: “I just avoided your question again, by changing the topic. Why did I do that? I was embarrassed you might think I am stupid.”
  • When you are called out, own it. In those unbearable, vulnerable moments where your partner sees you at your worst, dare to stay open in the heat of the crucible of intimacy.
  • Enjoy the creative limitation. It is a bittersweet feeling, because being blocked can be experienced as aggressive and embarrassing. Yet there is also a sense of release and joy of finally being pushed beyond your façade.
  • Stop speaking vaguely or fuzzy (I’m not sure… It’s complicated… I don’t know…).
  • Use “I” language rather than “you” and “we” language.
  • Be respectfully blunt and prepare yourself for caveman consequences.
  • Complexify your narrative by blocking your over-the-top generalizations, dichotomies, and oversimplification. An easy way to do that is by adding the word “also” which forces you to go beyond your usual narrative.

III. Give me more!

We don’t always look to our most intimate relationship to challenge us mentally and psychologically. We look for comfort and safety. The result is that often we’re not mentally and psychologically challenged in those relationships. Our partner comforts us more than they stretch us. When your partner is happy with your current business card, you’ll need to want more from yourself in order to evolve..

So after you softened the space with play, and blocked your exits, it’s time for you to discover more sides, dimensions, thoughts, and feelings you’ve never brought to light. To realize more of you.

How do demand more of yourself?

  • Aim for beginner’s humility (not knowing exactly what will happen). Familiarize yourself with positive anxiety (the combination of fear and excitement) as you journey to new dimensions of yourself.
  • Have purposeless conversations with your partner and ‘broadcast live’ talking about topics, ideas, and things you don’t usually talk about (because you’re never asked about). This will widen your relational repertoire and you will discover new, fresh ideas and associations.
  • Increase positive anxiety. Join a class or group that stretches you. Find a mentor, friend, or therapist who isn’t scared of you or your growth, someone to keep it real with you. Have them challenge you to bring different dimensions of yourself. Ideally it would be your partner, but initially it’s harder because they’re part of the existing homeostasis.

Relationships Essential Reads

Play, blocking exits, and bringing more.

As you become more comfortable and execute these processes, you’ll notice that both of you execute them naturally. The result is a vital, evolving, exciting relationship, where your faults are welcome and where growth is prioritized over ego. This will enable you remarry your partner—and discover new exhilarating relational islands, continents, and worlds.

You can do it to yourself.

Or better yet, do it to your partner.

And if you do to them, they might do it to you.

And you will grow.

And feel free.

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