The Infinite Journey to Conscious Loving
by Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. & Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make
a heroic shift out of an old paradigm, the default
programming that weíre born into Unconscious Loving to
a new paradigm, Conscious Loving. Hereís a quick look
at the old and the new paradigms, so you'll know what
you're getting out of and getting into.
We repeat the same patterns and problems over and
over, and we donít identify ourselves as the source of
those patterns and problems. We spend a lot of time
ignoring or recycling the patterns, and expend
considerable energy trying to prove somebody else is to
We get defensive in situations where we could get
enlightened. Somebody says, "Hey, youíve got a
drinking problem." We reply, "Says who?"
They say, "Well, you drove into the driveway last
night, ran over the kidís bike, threw up in the flower
bed and peed in your wifeís steam iron." We
reply, "Nobodyís perfect, and you're a jerk for
ruining my day with your negativity." (Defensive
maneuvers: Getting sleepy, bored or tired; getting
irritable, hostile or tense; getting fascinated by TV,
food, liquor, tobacco, drugs; stonewalling, sulking,
We have feelings we don't share, or are carrying
secrets we havenít told to the relevant person.
(Distinction between secrets and privacy: Secrets are
things you hide because youíre afraid of how others
would react if they heard them. Privacy is when you keep
something hidden because to share it would dilute its
personal or sacred nature. Example: For Bill Clinton, Monica was a secret, and the relevant person to tell was Hillary. For Monica, the journal she kept would fit the privacy category.)
We think of ourselves as victims and go back and forth between thinking of others as perpetrators or
fellow-victims. In conflicts, we argue from the
Victim-Position, casting others as Perpetrators. To
resolve arguments, we often join the others in being
Us: You're ruining my life, you jerk.
Them: No way. You're ruining my life, you jerk.
(Repeat until somebody drops from exhaustion.)
Us: You know what? You and I are okay. Itís the world
thatís ruining our lives.
Them: Yeah! Here, have a brewski.
We donít express our full creativity, and have a
variety of reasons, many of which are excellent, why weíre
not doing so.
The new paradigm is built on the earlier foundation
described in our earlier books such as CONSCIOUS LOVING.
In that book, two principles occupied center stage: The
Authenticity Principle and The Responsibility Principle.
The Authenticity Principle holds that relationships only
flourish when both people speak the microscopic truth.
If any relationship problem recycles, look for the
significant truth that has not yet been spoken. If the
microscopic truth is not spoken (for example, "I
didnít have sex with that woman") a costly and
tiresome melodrama usually occurs in the aftermath of
The Responsibility Principle holds that relationships
only flourish when both people take 100% responsibility
for any issue that arises. By contrast, most people try
to apportion responsibility, which always leads to
blame, conflict and power struggles. For example, a
repetitive conflict about money only resolves when each
person claims full responsibility by asking, "Even
if it looks like my partnerís problem, in what ways am
I contributing to the perpetuation of this
EMERGENCE OF THE NEW PARADIGM
Now, two new principles take relationship
transformation into a new dimension: The Commitment
Principle and The Appreciation Principle. These
principles hold powerful keys to an ongoing problem in
human relationships: How to free individual creativity
while simultaneously bringing both partners into greater
The Commitment Principle: Every relationship problem
is rooted in an overlooked commitment issue, and if this
issue is addressed correctly it becomes a springboard to
a profound breakthrough in closeness and individual
creativity. The principle holds true even if the two
people involved in the conflict have been in
relationship for decades. It also applies to boardroom
as well as bedroom relationships. By analyzing hundreds
of conflicts, we discovered that the problem often began
with a withheld commitment. In other words, someone (or
sometimes all parties) did not fully commit. Once we
made this discovery, we worked out a simple way to find
where the commitment problem was located and a technique
for moving through the impasse rapidly.
The Appreciation Principle holds that relationship
problems begin in an "appreciation gap," a
specific place where a break occurs in the ongoing flow
of appreciation. In the absence of a felt-sense of
appreciation čgiven and received, spoken and unspoken)
host of energy-draining problems ensue. After
discovering this principle, we designed a simple set of
appreciation activities, which anyone can do.
In Conscious Loving, we do things very differently
than in the old paradigm:
If a pattern or problem repeats itself, we look for
the source of the pattern in ourselves, even if another
person looks like the main character in the drama.
Example: Even if your partner is the one whoís come
home drunk every night for the past sixteen years, the
conscious person thinks, "Hmmm, how am I inviting
this sort of behavior in my life?" and "Hmmm,
who was it that didnít kick him/her out fifteen years
and 364 days ago?"
We commit ourselves to learning, instead of getting
defensive, in every interaction. We get skilled at
thanking people and the universe for giving us feedback,
instead of punishing them. "Thanks for pointing out
my drinking problem. From my actions (the bike, the
flower bed and the steam iron), it appears Iím out of
We make conscious commitments, and hold ourselves
scrupulously to those commitments. We commit to things
that are within our control, such as telling the truth
and taking responsibility, not to things that can't be
controlled (promising to love the person always,
promising we'll never do it again, etc.)
We tell the truth, and give enough detail so that the
relevant other person fully understands. Bill:
"Yes, indeed, I had sex with that woman. The first
five times were fun and titillating, although I didnít
ejaculate, but the last two times were ho-hum even
though I did. I feel guilty as hell and scared you wonít
We take full responsibility for what happens in our
lives, and seek out relationships with others who also
take full responsibility. In a conscious relationship
there are no power struggles because each person takes
We commit ourselves to full creative expression. If
we're fully engaged in our own creativity, we don't
have time to accuse others of oppressing it.
We speak appreciations frequently. Examples: I
appreciate you for helping Kevin with his spelling last
night, I appreciate the way you look today, I appreciate
your sense of humor.
Weíve found that itís possible to take a rapid
ride to hitherto-unimaginable relationship heights by
adopting one very radical concept and practicing one
very simple technique.
Stop focusing on problems, difficulties and issues
for a period of time (a month is a good period of time
to start with) and instead, focus only on expressing
appreciations to your partner (or to anyone else you
want to be close to, such as children or co-workers.) At
the end of the period of time, you can always go back to
focusing on problems if you want to. However, most
people find that expressing appreciations clears up even
long-standing, recurring problems that nothing else has
Choose a heartfelt commitment to making the expression
of appreciation your top creative priority. In other
words, choose to regard thinking up and delivering
appreciations as your highest art form. A year or so
ago, I (Gay Hendricks) chose appreciating Katie as my highest
priority art form. Until then, I regarded my writing as
my highest priority art form. I decided to put as much
time and energy into noticing things I appreciate about
her, thinking up ways to appreciate her and delivering
appreciations to her as I did to my writing. To my
delight, our relationship took a quantum jump (it was
already great!) to absolutely transcendental. To my
great surprise, my writing became even more fun and
For one month, put your focus on one major activity:
Think up and deliver appreciations as often as you can,
but at least ten to twenty times a day. Focus mainly on
verbal appreciations, appreciation-by-touch and
telepathic whole-body appreciations. Use material
appreciations sparingly if at all.
At the end of the month, evaluate the level of
positive energy thatís flowing between you.
Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks and Dr. Gay
Hendricks are known as the relationship experts the
other relationship experts go to. Their genius is
showing you how to accomplish huge changes QUICKLY. They
have have authored several best selling books, including
"Conscious Loving" and have been seen on Oprah and CNN.
direct The Hendricks Institute and its Center for Conscious Relationship in
offer a free online video series,
One-Minute Relationship Miracles, which include
techniques that take no more than ONE MINUTE to do, such
How To Stop An Argument ...
The One-Minute Aphrodisiac
How To End Blame And Criticism
The Law Of Attraction For Couples
Ending Money Struggles
How To Tell When Your Partner Is
No More Jealousy
Restoring Harmony After A Fight
For Singles: The One Thing You Must
Do To Attract A Healthy Loving Relationship