The stabilizing effect of routines and rituals

The stabilizing effect of routines and rituals

Hard anniversaries, like the birthday of someone we've lost, are helped by routines and rituals. They create a grounding structure with a reassuring and stabilising effect.

  • Routines are repetitive actions to help us develop skills while creating continuity and order.
  • Rituals are routines elevated by creativity, driven by intention, and injected with meaning. Rituals help us through transitions. If setting the table is a routine, a ritual is taking the special china and making grandma's favourite recipe to remember her and process the time passed since her death.
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  • Power and control fights: "You undermine me with the kids."/ "Because I make less money, I feel like I have to check with you before I buy anything."
  • Care and closeness fights: "Why am I always the one to text or call you? "Why can't you support me when I'm anxious?"
  • Respect and recognition fights: "You never acknowledge my accomplishments."/"I don't think you realize how much I do."

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This stable ambiguity inevitably creates an atmosphere where at least one person feels constant uncertainty, and neither person feels really appreciated or nurtured.

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