Each day we are bombarded with mixed messages and beliefs about what it means to be in a relationship. We encounter shocking statistics on divorce rates and examples on where it all goes wrong. Yet where is the focus on success? What if your relationship could be saved or enhanced based on your understanding of some simple yet powerful insights to human behaviour?
Challenging the trends of society, Love on the Kitchen Table flips common relationship complaints on their heads. With a focus on success, it details one couple’s search to discovering the intentional efforts that make love work—and better than ever.
Through her creative approach, author and human behaviour coach Aleisha Coote uses the setting of the kitchen table as a powerful metaphor to illustrate key themes to creating, embracing, and nurturing a connection that lasts. Within, she explains the ten essential needs that must be met in order to keep love alive, how to know what your lover’s really thinking, and the secret to why women test their men.
Filled with helpful information and practical strategies, this guide seeks to open your eyes to a new way of thinking—and therefore new results.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)|
|Age Range:||1 - 17 Years|
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LOVE on THE Kitchen Table
A Couples' Guide to Creative Communications and Lasting Love
By ALEISHA COOTE
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Aleisha Coote
All rights reserved.
Building the Table: Beliefs as the Foundation of a Relationship
Beliefs are your foundation, and everything else takes place because of them. They are strong, convincing, and highly influential.
What if you were to acknowledge that all the beliefs you have about the world around you are simply made up, chosen by you as a result of your past experiences? I want you to hold this thought for a moment, put the book down, and just ponder this concept for as long as you need. It requires you to let go of a lot of things. It requires you to take responsibility for the way in which your world appears. Total responsibility.
You see, the world is like a dream where the truths of the world are an alluring illusion based on what you choose to see. It's like we each wear an invisible pair of glasses and see the world through the lenses of past experiences—made up of your beliefs, your values, and your way of interpreting your world around you. No one person's pair of glasses is the same as the next, and therefore we all see a different version of reality. There is no truth, only your perception through your unique set of lenses.
If you are slightly uncomfortable right now or even a little confused, please trust the process and allow the confusion to exist. It's a good thing. It means you are stepping outside of your comfort zone, which can then lead to growth. It means you are allowing your mind to consider new possibilities, and in the space of new thinking, new results become possible. This is the entire intent of this book. My purpose is to shift your thinking in terms of the way you approach both your life and your most intimate relationship. An exploration on the fundamental structure of beliefs is where the shift in thinking begins. Often we are led to believe that events control our lives and that our environment has shaped who we are today. Yet this is far from the truth. It's not the events of your life that shape you but your beliefs as to what those events mean and the consequent meanings you choose to carry forward. You are the creator of your beliefs based on your interpretation of your experiences. You then use your beliefs to support you in navigating your world through the lenses of your perception. It is essential you understand this concept on some level. Throughout the book I will be highlighting important concepts such as this one through pop-out text like the example that follows. I encourage you to take note of these statements so you can easily revisit them as needed to support your own journey of growth.
This book must begin here. It must begin with a discussion and reflection on your own beliefs about relationships, love, commitment, and marriage. The single greatest obstacle you face when it comes to your relationship is your own attitude and belief about what things mean. From the day you were born you've been taught basic tenets about what it means to be in a relationship. From your family network, wider community, and global landscape, you've been bombarded with mixed messages. It was this mixed messaging that had me so confronted and confused when Hayden and I first got engaged. While part of me was committed to marriage, another part was challenged by the reactions and responses to our engagement. What this signaled was that my own beliefs around love, commitment, and marriage were not strong enough to back me in my actions and thinking. In fact, when we first got engaged, I had never taken the time to explore my own beliefs around these topics, so the discussion on beliefs had not registered on my conscious radar yet. The reality was I had no clear idea on what love, commitment, and marriage truly meant to me. The Irish rock band The Script sum the danger of this situation up perfectly in their lyrics from their hit song "Fall For Anything": "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." I wasn't clear on what I stood for and therefore was truly open to falling for anything. Would the jelly bean jar ever get emptied? Was fun travel off the agenda for all married couples? Was it really downhill after the walk down the aisle?
Society is filled with vast and varied viewpoints on relationships, and given the prevalent patterns of divorce, many of these viewpoints are negative. I would argue it is harder to be in a happy, fulfilling relationship today than it used to be. Being in a happy relationship or a fulfilling marriage requires a climate that's supportive of this goal, and often this reality is not so. Instead, we are faced with challenges from society that question our happiness and isolate us in our thinking.
The underlying problem is not with love, commitment, and marriage but instead with our individual attitudes towards these themes. The key question is this: What meaning do you choose to give each of these concepts, and what direct impact does that then have on your life and relationships? And more importantly, whose attitudes and beliefs are you adopting? Are your beliefs congruent to the results you desire, or on an unconscious level are you in fact trapped by dogma and living with the results of other people's thinking? Are roadblocks stopping you from achieving true happiness and fulfillment in your relationships?
Once accepted, our beliefs become automatic commands to our nervous systems. What we think about comes about, and our thoughts lead the way to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore, if we want to actively influence the results in our lives, then we must take conscious control over our beliefs. This means understanding what they really are and how they are formed. I can share with you all the insights I've learnt during my research and journey to date, yet if you have underlying limiting beliefs around love, commitment, or marriage—as part of what it means to be in a relationship—then the insights shared in this book will fall on deaf ears.
Beliefs truly are the foundation for the kitchen table. Represented by the symbol of the tabletop and supporting legs, everything else happens around them and because of them. They are strong, convincing, and highly influential.
What Is a Belief?
Beliefs are intangible. They are simply a feeling of certainty about what something means. If you say you believe in love at first sight, all you are really saying is this: "I feel certain that love at first sight exists." This feeling of certainty then allows you to tap into resources that exist within you to produce results that reinforce your belief—in this case, "love at first sight." All possibilities exist within you, yet often your lack of certainty means you are unable to access your potential and bring desired possibilities to fruition.
Self-help author and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins says the simple way of understanding this concept together with the structure of beliefs is to think about the basic building block—an idea. There are lots of ideas you may think about but not really believe. For example, take the idea that you are worthy of love and say to yourself, "I am completely worthy of love." Now whether this is an idea or a belief will come down to the level of certainty you feel about this statement. If a part of you is not congruent with the idea or a small voice in your head is whispering, "No you're not," then all this really means is that you don't feel very certain that you are worthy of love. This makes the concept an idea as opposed to a deep-set belief that you feel certain about.
So how do you turn an idea into a belief? Inspired by Anthony Robbins and his work on beliefs in Awaken the Giant Within, a simple tabletop metaphor can be used to clearly explain the concept of beliefs and as an appropriate beginning for the magic to follow as part of the Love on the Kitchen Table model. The beliefs table metaphor requires you to think of an idea as a tabletop with no supporting legs. Without the supporting legs, the tabletop is flat on the ground with nothing to support it. On the other hand, a belief is a tabletop with supporting legs. These legs act as reference points that tell you the belief is true. The legs, as reference points, increase the level of certainty and reinforce the belief to form a solid structure. The more reference points, the stronger the belief. As an example, the following diagram illustrates the belief that "it's all downhill after marriage." The legs of the table then illustrate the reference points that support this particular belief. Examples of reference points, as perceived by an individual, may include the following:
Divorce rates are high, so something must go wrong at some stage.
My parents are divorced and seem happier on their own.
My best friend got married, and now she never goes out or has fun anymore. In fact, she spends the majority of her time complaining about her life.
These reference points have no real significance on their own until they are organised under the belief that "it's all downhill after marriage." Once connected to this overarching concept, they then work to solidify the idea and increase the associated levels of certainty. When an idea is supported by certainty it then becomes a belief. Each belief has its own set of reference points, and the more reference points you have to support a certain belief, the stronger it becomes. You can develop a belief about anything, providing you have enough reference points to support the idea as a belief through high levels of certainty.
As a belief becomes stronger, the automatic commands to your nervous system are increased, and you begin to delete, distort, and generalise information so that you are only taking in what your mind is searching for. The brain loves consistency, and it constantly works to make order of chaos. It will search for evidence for what it perceives to be true based on your perceptions and beliefs of the world. The brain will automatically look for reference points to support the tabletop and further reinforce the belief. In order for change work and transformation to take place, the overarching belief must be addressed, as opposed to addressing only the specific details of the reference points.
A belief can be described as your best explanation of the world based on your current evidence. You have thousands of beliefs, the majority of which you are not even aware of, that direct the results you experience. Some of these beliefs support you in creating the results you desire while other beliefs hold you back and even sabotage your efforts. As a general example, one person may have the belief that "life is hard" while another person may believe that "life is an adventure." Imagine how you might compare the ways in which these two people are going to experience their world around them. Imagine how these beliefs may impact their relationships with others, including their most intimate partner. Ultimately, based on these two diverse beliefs, these people are going to experience very different models of the world. As another example, the feeling of certainty, or belief around "love at first sight," can be explored further in terms of achieving relationship goals. If you are looking to find a lifelong partner, then this belief may support you in achieving that goal more easily and effortlessly, as it allows you to be open to an extended range of possibilities. Alternatively if you believe that "love takes time to achieve and needs to be developed over a period of time through trials and tribulations," then your experience of finding love may be very different to the version that believes in love at first sight. The key point here is that neither of the beliefs is right or wrong. Exploring beliefs is not about asking whether a belief is true or not. Rather, the exploration of beliefs is about asking the key question: "Is this belief I currently have nurturing, serving, and supporting me right now to achieve my desired outcomes? Or is this belief holding me back?"
Beliefs and Relationships
Beliefs are the building blocks for the way in which we experience our world, and they have a profound impact on the way we choose to experience love and relationships. Many relationships today are crumbling because they lack a sturdy and strong foundation based on solid relationship beliefs about love and commitment.
I worked with an incredible woman who was experiencing relationship challenges. She felt her partner was constantly absorbed in his own life, spending very little time with her and more concerned with working, making money, having a social life, and playing sports. She also felt disconnected with what it would mean to experience a strong, trusting, and loving relationship. A part of her knew it was not about her man but rather a familiar cycle she was witnessing in her history of relationships with men in general. The same part of her knew that if she were to end the relationship and seek a loving connection elsewhere, she would continue to experience the same emotions relating to a lack of love, appreciation, and trust. Yet she couldn't quite put her finger on exactly what was missing.
We worked together to explore her beliefs around men, love, and marriage. Not surprisingly at the heart of the exploration her core beliefs were obvious barriers to her ability to experience love. She believed the following: "Men are selfish. Love is challenging, and marriage is doomed for divorce." The results in her life were a direct reflection of these beliefs and a self-fulfilling prophecy guided by the fundamental thoughts present in her unconscious mind. Together we explored the reference points—the legs of the belief table—that told her these beliefs were true. Her relationship was experiencing challenges because of her perceived lack of love and consequent anger towards her man's focus on external elements, including his work, finances, friends, and sports. Each of these examples was a solid reference point that reinforced her beliefs. When her man chose to go to the gym after work rather than come straight home to see her, this supported her belief that "men are selfish." When he chose to see his friends once a week, again she chose to make this a reference point that supported the same selfish association with men. She had experienced similar challenges in previous relationships, so naturally this evidence point reinforced to her that "love is challenging," another one of her overarching beliefs. She had no plans to commit long term through marriage, as she couldn't understand why she would put herself in a situation that she believed would lead to heartache and divorce based on her belief that "all marriages are doomed for divorce."
We broke this third belief down even further to analyse the reference points that reinforced the sense of certainty behind this belief. Not surprisingly she talked about her parent's messy divorce, which is a primary reference point that often triggers limiting beliefs around marriage for many youth growing up in a split-marriage environment. She also discussed other relationship challenges she had witnessed with family and friends close to her, and when prompted, she was unable to name a single couple she knew who were happily married. Through this acknowledgement of the vast amount of reference points supporting her limiting beliefs around men, love, and commitment, she realised the immense impact these beliefs were having on the results she was getting in her life at that moment. She also realised that even if she were to end the relationship and move on to the next man, the same challenges would quickly emerge. The challenge was in the way she was viewing the problem, as opposed to the perceived problem itself. Her limiting beliefs were completely stopping her from achieving her desire to have a happy and fulfilling relationship.
Another young married woman talks to her friends about marriage. "I'd always had this feeling that if you got married, it was like the end of who you are. Well, I'm married now, so I'll see how it goes." Not surprisingly three years following the time the woman made this statement, she was now divorced. Having a negative attitude towards commitment and marriage beforehand creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that presupposes the end. Entering into a marriage believing it will be the end of who you are prevents you from making the emotional investment necessary to produce a successful marriage.
Excerpted from LOVE on THE Kitchen Table by ALEISHA COOTE. Copyright © 2014 Aleisha Coote. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1 Building the Table: Beliefs as the Foundation of a Relationship, 1,
2 Lighting the Candles of Value: Understanding How Values Guide Relationships, 40,
3 The Essential Tools: The Ten Core Needs of an Ideal Relationship, 66,
4 The Special Touch on Setting the Table: Exploring Feminine Energy, 107,
5 Providing the Food: Exploring Masculine Energy, 143,
6 Saying Grace: The Power of Gratitude, 169,
7 Feeding Our Bodies: The Seasons of Intimacy, 199,
8 Dinner Conversation: The Power of Communication, 233,
9 Temptation for Dessert: Keeping Sexual Desire Alive, 282,
Closing Gifts of Gratitude, 325,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the use of exercises that helped make the book more interactive, in particular the questionnaires (50 questions for exploring your partner's love map). This exercise was great to do with my partner and it certainly started a discussion and we learnt a lot more about each other. I would recommend this book.
Masculine and feminine energy. I want more... Great read and my highlights were definitely chapters 4 and 5 on masculine and feminine energy. And of course "why women test their men". Super content and ALL couples should get their hands on a copy - well worth the read.