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Episode 006: Relationship

Transcript from Stirred By Words Episode 006: Relationship

Chrissy Holm (00:05):

Do you love words? Are you passionate about diving into meaningful conversations? Hi. Welcome to Stirred By Words, a podcast that focuses on words and questions that impact our daily lives. I'm your host, Chrissy Holm, health educator, writer, curious creature, and now podcaster.

Chrissy Holm (00:42):

Today, we'll start with a health tip. This week it's active listening. Many of you may know this term and some of you may not, but active listening is really making a conscious effort to hear, understand and retain information that's being relayed to you, and is more than just listening to words. I know I could do a whole podcast episode diving into what skills it takes and how to improve them, but I'm going to sum it up just using a quick acronym, LOVE, love. So listen and be attentive, open-ended questions and clarifications, validations and reflections, empathize and summarize.

Chrissy Holm (01:23):

That leads me into well, what are the benefits? Active listening is going to help build trust and strong relationships. It can help you resolve conflict. It prevents you from missing important information. It really enables you to identify or anticipate problems, and it helps you to build more self knowledge. When you have those tools in your toolbox to solve problems, you can have higher self-esteem and the ability to identify those stressors that trigger your negative emotions. That's going to ultimately lead to higher life satisfaction.

Chrissy Holm (02:02):

This week, I encourage you to share a little love and actively listen.

Chrissy Holm (02:18):

Now it's time for today's word; relationship. has four definitions. Number one, a connection association or involvement. Number two, a connection between persons by blood or marriage. Number three, an emotional or other connection between people. And number four, a sexual involvement or affair.

Chrissy Holm (02:45):

Fun fact: The word "relationship" was first recorded in 1735. And some of the words that are related to relationship are accord, affair, communication, contact, marriage, rapport, alliance, and bond.

Chrissy Holm (03:02):

Today's question that I'm pondering is what do you look for in a relationship and why is that important to you? For me, I look out for several different things in a relationship, but the three that are top of my mind are honesty, willingness to grow and communication.

Chrissy Holm (03:18):

For honesty, I look for someone that I can be honest with, and they can be honest with me. A pet peeve of mine is when somebody's fake or not expressing their true feelings towards me. I always appreciate that direct and honest feedback. Even though it might be difficult to swallow, I'd rather have someone tell me the truth, which really leads me to my next thing that I look for in a relationship, which is a willingness to grow.

Chrissy Holm (03:45):

I'm a lifelong learner and one of my core values is growth. And when I find a partner that's always interested in becoming a better person, whether it's a significant other, brother or sister, friend, et cetera, I really value that drive and openness to change. Whether they're doing therapy, personal growth, a class, reading self-help or anything in between, it's always refreshing to know that somebody's willing to grow and not settle for mediocrity.

Chrissy Holm (04:15):

And the last thing that I look for in a relationship, communication. It's somebody that I can talk with about anything. Whether it's deep topics, such as social justice issues, society, the meaning of family, or lighter topics of plans for the day, or sharing random thoughts, I really need somebody that I can dive deep with and talk.

Chrissy Holm (04:37):

Another part of the communication is active listening, and I find that super important in a relationship. For example, if my husband, Scott and I are having an argument, we'll try to talk it out and actively listen to each other, to really share what's bothering us. We're far from perfect, but we always try to make sure that we are pausing whatever we're doing and actively listen to each other, especially if we're trying to work through an issue. I feel these things are important to me because if I can't be authentic with someone and they can't be authentic with me, then we're not meant to be in a relationship. Things are going to burn out. We're going to get exhausted trying to be somebody that we're not.

Chrissy Holm (05:22):

And there's that saying, "change is the only constant in life." I truly believe that. When I look back over the last 10 plus years with my husband, Scott, half of it married, half of it dating, we're not even close to the same people we were back then when I was in college. Of course, having a baby changed us completely, but through the communication, willingness to grow and honesty, we built that foundation to have a deep relationship, and that's what helps us through.

Chrissy Holm (05:56):

Now we're going to hear from our listeners. First, we'll hear from author L.M. Bennett on her thoughts to the question, what do you look for in a relationship, and why is that important to you?

L.M. Bennett (06:09):

My partner and I are headed into year three of this relationship, which has just been amazing. It's the longest romantic relationship I've ever been in. And if there's anything that's new and different about this relationship for me, it's been vulnerability. The idea of slowly, deliberately building towards something that is stable through emotional honesty, where both people allow themselves to be seen in health, even those awkward and not so pretty parts. It's been very freeing to not have to put on a happy face all the time just because that's what someone else wants.

L.M. Bennett (06:46):

And it's not something that I've had in other relationships where there hasn't always been space to show that softness and that vulnerability without judgment. In the past, there's been affection and passion and moments of human connection, but it all builds very quickly and burns out just as quick. But this more slow, intentional connection, this emotional honesty that we show each other every day, I believe is laying down the foundation for what I hope and believe to be a lifelong love.

L.M. Bennett (07:20):

So that's what is important to me; vulnerability.

Chrissy Holm (07:26):

Next, we'll hear from Lisa Fabish, writer and finalist in the San Francisco Writer's Conference 2021 contest.

Lisa Fabish (07:34):

When I started prepping for this podcast, I was stressing out about what I would say and how I would say it, and a voice popped into my head. It said, "You don't have to be perfect. You just have to be you." And a warm feeling like a soft hug surged through my body. That voice, it was a blend of my partner Tina's voice, my best friend Janine's voice, and my own voice. And that's what a good relationship feels like to me.

Lisa Fabish (08:12):

Six or seven years ago, before I was dating Tina, I was asked what I was looking for in a partner. One of my top criteria was that either they've dealt with their shit, they're dealing with their shit, or they at least admit they have shit. That's because if we understand our own patterns, we can come to the relationship whole. Not perfect, but whole. We can own our own feelings. We can communicate our feelings, and we can ask for help when we need it. But we're not asking our partner to fix us or to fill a void, and our self worth doesn't depend on our partner needing us to fill their every need.

Lisa Fabish (08:58):

I recently learned a new word "compersion". It's the happiness that you feel when someone you love is happy, whether their joy is related to you or not. My friend Janine the other day mentioned that she had spent all day Sunday making art with another friend, and for a split second, I was really jealous. Why didn't she want to do that with me? But then I saw the joy on Janine's face and I was happy that she spent that time without me, because I love Janine and it makes me happy to see her happy. It's that simple.

Lisa Fabish (09:40):

So ultimately, what I value in any kind of close relationship is a space where I can bring my whole messy, imperfect, badass, beautiful self, and be loved for exactly and entirely who I am. Not in spite of my mess, and not because I need my partner to fill my every need or vice versa, but simply because I'm me.

Chrissy Holm (10:19):

Today's book recommendation is All About Love by bell hooks. All About Love offers radical ways to think about love by showing us its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In 11 concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fails us and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love without narcissism that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives and asserts the place of love to end struggles between individuals in communities and among societies.

Chrissy Holm (10:59):

Moving from the cultural to the intimate, hooks notes the ties between love and loss and challenges, the prevailing notion that romantic love is the most important love of all. Visionary and original, hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame. All About Love is essential reading and a brilliant book that will change how we think about love, our culture, and one another.

Chrissy Holm (11:34):

Before we wrap up the show, I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions. What do you look for in a relationship, and why is that important to you? How can you strengthen your current relationships? And how can you communicate your desires for a future relationship?

Chrissy Holm (11:58):

If you have any thoughts on this episode, suggestions for the show, or want to be a future guest, contact me via my website at That's C-H-R-I-S-S-Y H-O-L-M.

Chrissy Holm (12:16):

Thanks for listening to another episode of Stirred By Words. This has been your host, Chrissy Holm. Until next time keep learning new words, always ask questions and stay curious my friends.

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