They say experience is the best teacher, but they never tell you how often cruel the teaching method is of this metaphorical professor. As we spin this thread of life we are on, we’re constantly caught off guard no matter how much we prepare, but how we deal with these setbacks and surprises is what shapes us as people.
For Lawyer and School of Love NYC founder, Monica Parikh, her unexpected divorce with her husband was a dark time in her life but it was also the spark that started her journey to guide professionals and young people through the confusing world of intimate relationships.
After her husband suddenly decided one day that he no longer wanted to be married and walked out the door, Monica was devastated. The first years that followed were what she called “the dark night of the soul” filled with questions and longing. However, it is when our hearts break that light enters through the cracks.
After regaining her ground, she decided to study this vague idea of love and dedicate her time and energy to helping others about it. Monica had an Ivy League education, a law degree, but still decided to educate herself in psychology, non-violent communication, and even quantum physics.
She shares with us three tools that you may add to better your relationships, not just in love but in life, holistically.
Monica recognizes that marriages and other romantic relationships do require intimacy. But that intimacy should not be without limits. She says that partners need to listen to each other and approach each boundary with respect to mature as adults.
“We need, basically, someone to calmly teach us how to mediate conflict and de-escalate it,” she says, “how to align needs, how to set boundaries, and how to move to a place of interdependence as opposed to codependence.”
“Your life is not just about one person, where you ask that person to fulfil all your needs,” she adds, “you see that you live in a village, and we have lots of different people we need to talk and relate to. So really, marriage and relationships are just a vehicle for personal self-development.”
The former public interest lawyer shares a story where a woman, after a first date, decided to visit her partner—who lived in a different state—and stay at his home for four days. The girl told her that after a while, the guy started being crabby with her.
The woman told Monica that the guy was a narcissist.
“The problem with, when we look outwards, we sometimes don’t look enough inwards,” Monica told her, “and the inwards look is, was it a good choice to spend four days with a stranger?”
She notes that the situation the woman was in was an overwhelming one for both of them. She notes that people need to start taking “personal accountability” for the relationship-decisions they make.
She thinks that narcissism is a “pernicious disease in society” which is why she also places boundaries on social media—a platform that promotes self-centred behaviour—for her relationships and work life.
“You can’t take care of other people,” she says, “until you take care of yourself. So the better I take care of me, the better I take care of a lot of people who need me to solve relationship problems.”
During the dark grieving stage of her divorce, Monica focused her energy to move on in a healthy and positive way. She maintained a morning routine of one hour for exercise followed by a calming 45-minute meditation.
She also adds that the effect of processed food on her brain was dour, and she’s mostly had a vegan diet.
She adds that our wallets are just as important to our health as much as our food. After that dark time of her separation, she allotted some time on analyzing her personal finances, and since viewed money from a different perspective, adding that it was vital to learn about if she wanted to help this generation’s burgeoning youth.
Visit her website www.schooloflovenyc.com
Monica gives coaching sessions to high-profile individuals and CEOs for up to $500 a session, but she will be giving away a one-on-one coaching session to a lucky listener for free.