3 Relationship Lessons I’ve Learned From TED Talks

If you're like me, you love a great TED talk. I love gaining insight from what other people have learned and studied so I ouragean make more informed choices in in my own life. While I didn't really see TED talks as a place to look for relationship advice early on, I've come across some gems that have great insight on creating better relationships.

So today, I want to share three of them with you, with the hope that maybe you can find some inspiration to improve your relationship as well:

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability [Run time - 20:12]

Brené Brown does an incredible job of breaking down how our fear and discomfort with being vulnerable causes so much struggle in our lives.

As we grow into our relationships over time, it becomes more and more evident how much vulnerability is required to make them work.

In order to build intimacy or even to resolve our disagreements, we have to open ourselves up to our partners by sharing our fears and desires, which can be scary.

We have to share what makes us tick. We have to share our hopes for the future. We have to share our weird habits.

Our desire to avoid those uncomfortable feelings is what often keeps our relationship from making progress.

Instead of embracing and leaning into the discomfort, we adopt damaging habits like numbing ourselves emotionally, blaming our partner to avoid responsibility for our stuff or pretending what we do doesn’t have an effect on our partner.

If there’s one quality I’ve learned is powerful in building a strong relationship, it’s courage.

Having the courage to accept our imperfections. To embrace uncertainty. To practice gratitude and joy in moments of vulnerability, instead of giving into fear.

It’s not easy, but it’s a quality well worth having if you want the relationship you deserve.

Laura Trice: Remember To Say Thank You [Run time - 3:25]

This talk touches on an issue couples deal with all the time. Giving or getting enough words of affirmation.

I’ve written about it in the past on multiple occasions and am constantly encouraging couples to get on the same page about this one, because your beliefs around it can be so drastically different and end up breeding resentment down the road.

Giving words of affirmation is something most of us do at the outset of our relationship. Once things start settling in, we get comfortable and it doesn't seem as important anymore. But it is important; especially if it's your partner's love language.

More importantly than just giving words of affirmation though, Laura Trice focuses on asking for them when we need them and why that's so difficult to do for so many of us to actually do.

While it's something we deserve from our partner and a perfectly normal thing to do, we end up making all types of excuses to keep ourselves from having to ask, like the one I hear from couples all the time, "My partner should already know what to say to me, I shouldn't have to tell them everything."

She points out how we often avoid asking for what we need because doing so makes us vulnerable. We believe It reveals where our insecurities lie and where we want our partner’s help for support.

This goes right back to Brené Brown’s point about how the fear of vulnerability can break down our connection with our partner by keeping us from communicating our needs and desires to our partner.

So if you want to build a strong relationship, I would encourage you to take on her challenge. To make it a habit to be honest about what you need from your partner. It's the only way your relationship will ever work.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare To Disagree [Run time - 12:48]

This talk is so critical because it flips a common idea many couples have about conflict right on its head.

Conflict is something many couples view as “bad”. It doesn’t feel good. It often ends up fostering negative feelings, creating tension and provoking arguments that are difficult to manage.

And while those observations hold some truth, conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it’s necessary in a relationship.

What if instead, we saw conflict as simply challenging an idea and thinking through it together?

It would then become a tool we can use to strengthen our relationship and not a thorn in our side, keeping us from enjoying each other.

Margaret describes conflict as something most of us avoid simply because we don’t have the skills to navigate it, and I agree wholeheartedly.

The fact is, conflict will never go away in your relationship. There will always be concerns that will be raised and disagreements in how to handle them.

You and your partner can choose to avoid them until they blow up into major problems or to approach them without knowing how to skillfully do so, which will just make things worse.

You can also learn ways to approach it constructively and choose to think through it together to find the value it has for your relationship. The choice is really up to you.

So which one of these talks can your relationship benefit from the most? What are your favorite TED talks with great relationship lessons? Link them in the comments below!