Jul 27, 2022
Let’s get real. Those socks on the floor that you and your partner continually argue over? Those socks aren’t the issue. So what’s underneath the resentment, the irritation, the emotion? My guest says if we want to strengthen our relationships, we must go inward before shifting our attention outward.
Dr. Katherine Helm, Ph.D., has dedicated much of her career (25 years and counting) to helping folks confront their relationship struggles with honesty and empathy. In addition to her experience in multiple clinical settings, Dr. Helm is a professor, author of numerous books, and, most recently, a TEDx Talk speaker. In Revolutionize Your Relationship: A Little Goes A Long Way, Katherine brings relationship realness to the TEDx stage with her trademark practical, collaborative, and sensitive approach. Her wisdom is compelling and easily applicable to all of our significant relationships, not just the romantic ones.
“The little positive things you do in your relationship matter so much,” Katherine says, adding, “the little negative things you do can also really erode your relationship.” To restore balance and deepen true intimacy (think: liking your partner in addition to loving them), she recommends that couples articulate their individual needs, first to themselves, then to each other. “Being self-aware––who are you, what you value, how you express your emotions––you have to acknowledge that you do have needs. It’s also recognizing that our needs (and those of our partner) change over the relationship's lifespan.”
Easier said than done for many of us, Katherine included. “Black women and Black people, in general, often don't allow themselves to be vulnerable cuz we see it as a sign of weakness.” Katherine reminds every “strong Black woman” that our feelings matter! “They help us have healthy, satisfying relationships.” She returns again to the exercise of self-assessment. Black women are often taught to emotionally disconnect from ourselves, to favor perfection over progress. “That’s one of the things that makes it so hard to heal.”
We owe ourselves and our partners honest emotional interaction. We owe future generations the powerful healing influence of relationships that are respectful, present, and, yes, vulnerable.
CONNECT WITH DR. KATHERINE HELM
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
If this conversation has brought you to an insight, a story, a sense of relief, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
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