As we begin a new year and new chapter, I have been attempting to set goals – goals for myself, my business and my relationships.
Since relationship goals require you to understand and work with others, I wanted to share a strategy that has helped me improve the way I connect, communicate and support my loved ones and their needs in relationships.
It has to do with your instinctual style in relationships, meaning what you prioritize first – time for yourself (known as self-preservation), time being social or time being intimate (or one on one time with your special person).
Ideally, when you and your romantic partner share similar priorities, the relationship flows better. When priorities differ the goal becomes about finding balance between the priorities to allow for both you and your partners needs to be met.
Your instincts are correlated with your biological drives for survival. These instincts are primal and hardwired to ensure survival. When your survival is threatened, you don’t think or feel, you just react.
There are three core instinctive ways that support survival – Self-Preservation, Social, and Intimate (or One to One), according to an ancient model for understanding human personality types, known as the Enneagram.
These instincts are primal and hardwired into the oldest part of our brain – the part that operates automatically to ensure our survival. When a threat to our survival appears, we don’t think or feel, we just react, often prioritizing the following three instincts:
The Self-Preservation Instinct
The Self-Preservation instinct focuses on self-survival, including protecting your body, your health and ensuring you have enough resources to survive in the future. It is about taking time for yourself and the care of the body: eating nourishing food when you’re hungry, sleeping when you’re tired, exercising regularly and giving yourself the time and space to recharge when you need it.
As a survival instinct, Self-Preservation came in handy for hunting, gathering and preparing food, making warm clothes and collecting resources to last through the winter.
Self-preservation instinct not only maintains the needs of the self but also guards against a loss of self. Boundaries can go up when self autonomy feels threatened by others, so you do not get caught up in the expectations and demands of others or lose who you are in a relationship or a group.
The Intimate Instinct (One-to-one instinct)
The intimate (one-to-one) instinct supports a preference for being with one other person vs. a group of people. It focuses on intimacy with a romantic partner or close friend which includes seeking one-on-one time alone with them, intense connection and intimacy.
Survival of a species required that you find a mate and focus on intimacy. The intimate instinct requires that your partner’s boundaries be open to being more available to the relationship and going beyond casual social interactions to a deeper level of interaction.
The Social Instinct
The social instinct focuses on inclusion and participation in a group or community and the safety that participation provides. You may seek belonging, recognition and relationships from the groups including your family, community groups, work teams, companies, institutions and society.
Historically, the social instinct provides safety in numbers, ensuring everyone had tasks or roles that helped the tribe survive and that no one was left behind when they moved to a new location. The social instinct prioritizes the group over the individual and will sacrifice for the good of a group.
Preferential Order of the instincts
As individuals, we prioritize these instincts based on our personal needs and historical experience of survival. While we all employ all three instincts, all of us have a preferential order in which we ensure these instincts are addressed.
For example, I personally prioritize self-preservation first, making a point to walk, run or do yoga every morning as a self-care ritual to set me up for success during the day. Once I have filled my own personal self-preservation cup, I have the capacity to show up for others.
My second instinct is one-on-one interactions and my third, or lowest priority instinct in social. As an introvert, I often find social situations to be overwhelming, but less so when I support my self-preservation and intimate instincts first.
My partner, by way of contrast, is an extrovert who prioritizes the social instinct first, followed by the self-preservation instinct second and the intimacy instinct last.
Understanding the contrasts between our preferential order of instinct has allowed us to balance our needs and priorities so that we both get our needs met.
Essential Oils to Support Relationship Goals
Essential oils can help you support your unique instincts so that you can better balance and support your partner and yourself to get your individual and partnership needs met.
Essential oils for the Self-Preservation Instinct
The Self-Preservation instinct is the “fight or flight” instinct. It keeps you safe in the face of a survival challenge, narrowing your perception so you can identify and survive threats. This turns off your ability to focus on anything outside of the pressing danger, including the needs of your partner.
Parasympathetic™ helps you activate your parasympathetic “rest and digest” state which can enhance your sense of safety and ability to focus on and support the needs of others along with yourself. Applying Parasympathetic™ behind your earlobe on your mastoid bone helps you drop into the “rest and digest” parasympathetic state, alerting you that you do not need to focus on survival, but can also focus on connection.
The parasympathetic nervous system supports connection, as Dr. Stephen Porges, author of the PolyVagal Theory noted in a recent podcast: “Through the history of humanity, when humans were threatened, they mitigate the threat response through social interaction, through being hugged, through being with a trusted individual. It is part of the toolkit that humanity had always used to regulate threat.”
Essential oils for The Intimate Instinct (One-to-one instinct)
The intimate (one-to-one) instinct is the heart connection between two people.
Heart™ helps amplify feelings of love and gratitude, helping to increase the amount of love in your life. The Heart™ blend was formulated to balance the heart to support, integrate and reset all the systems of the body, including your capacity to love and connect with others. By applying 2-3 drops of the Vibrant Blue Oils Heart™ blend directly over the heart (left side of chest). it helps return the heart to balance, opening up your capacity to love and connect in an intimate and one-on-one relationship.
Essential oils for The Social Instinct
The social instinct and navigating group dynamics in relation to a one-on-one relationship requires healthy boundaries.
Your personal boundaries determine how you choose to show up in a relationship and how you allow yourself to be treated. Healthy boundaries ensure that your time, your energy and your mental, physical, and emotional health are valued and respected. They determine how you choose to behave and be treated in relationship and what you deem acceptable and unacceptable for both yourself and others.
Your small intestine plays a critical role in the digestion process, absorbing and assimilating key nutrients while preventing harmful pathogens and toxins from entering the body. On an emotional level, the small intestine plays a similarly discerning role with emotions, helping to understand experiences and determine healthy and appropriate relationships and boundaries.
Small Intestine Support™ helps support positive boundaries and confidence to assist in bringing a sense of peace to our lives. It also helps correct imbalances where you are overly in tune with other’s feelings at the expense of your own.
Apply Small Intestine Support™ over the small intestine or pulse points to nourish and support a sense of harmony and belonging, balancing the emotional equilibrium and fostering clear boundaries that are supportive and nurturing to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
You can also apply around the ears for emotion related issues. You can start on the bottom of the ear at the earlobes and gentle massage upward along the exterior of the ear, hitting many of the major reflexology points. This article and chart show specific points on the ears for specific issues.
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