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The way you are loved is written ALL OVER your face.

February 27, 2024

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Yesterday our landlord in Toronto came to have my wife sign the lease amendment (so she’s *officially* living here) and mid-conversation he stopped, looked at her and said:

“You know? I’ve never seen Nicolas smile this much..”

She giggled and we kept going over the contract.

It’s so true.. though.

I recently read a study showing that a stressful relationship can shorten your life up to 20 years!

Wild, isn’t it?

Relationships are LITERALLY either life-giving or life-draining.

Blooming or wilting.

Never still, never half-full.

And the proof’s always in the pudding.

Last year I worked with a couple who runs a large infrastructure development business (8-9 figures) and while their finances were beyond settled..

Their family life was a mess.

When I first saw them, they looked like they had barely slept in weeks.

Bags underneath their foggy eyes and an underlying feeling of tiredness, stress and overwhelm.

They loved each other so they weren’t being abusive towards one another but it was clear that they were just brushing under the carpet and suppressing all the pain and frustration that they felt.

And it takes A LOT of effort and energy to keep such strong emotions suppressed.

So our bodies (especially our faces) are the first to show.

You can eat the healthiest foods, get good sleep, workout and move a lot..

Yet it your relationship is not working, you’ll feel like you are hungover, irritable, easily annoyed and overwhelmed.

Every. Single. Day.

And it’s true..

You are hung-over.

Your relationship is hanging over you.

All the stuff you tried to communicate and fell on deaf ears..

The boundaries you allowed your partner to cross…

Your fears about raising a concern and being seen as naggy, controlling or too volatile..

And in many cases, the endless back & forths where nobody feels seen and the wounds just deepen.

The constant internal negotiation about whether to prioritize connection or authenticity..

Being a good partner, or being an honest one.

You get the idea.

Fortunately, by the time we finished our work together they had come back to themselves.

He went from answering with single-word responses, always staring at the floor and having to repeat himself (for he was speaking too low, almost as a child who is afraid of being punished would..)

To taking up space, chest forward, shoulders back and legs spread wide.. topped with a smile that lit up the whole room.

Cracking jokes here and there, dancing around..

Giving me surprise hugs and telling me he loved me.😅

He went from being someone who seemed to have been dragged there by his wife, to a Man owning the moment and sharing his heart wide-open with gestures of generosity and affection.

I’m sure his wife got a much juicier expression of that love later on.

In fact, a couple of months later she said to me:

“Nico.. My daughter said ‘wow.. whatever you guys did really got daddy! it got it good!” referring to how unrecognizable he was.

He stopped a lot of his workaholic tendencies and was now waking up, having tea or helping to make breakfast and sitting with his family..

Instead of his usual 5am workout followed by 13 hours of work, work, work..

She teared up when I asked her how things were..

She said he’s a new man.

Now her, where to start?

She reclaimed her confidence so much that people at work commented on it..

She was being decisive, assertive, confident and speaking her truth (with kindness) and people just LOVED IT!

She fired people she was hesitant about for a while and made decisions that she’d been confused and paralyzed to make for YEARS.

Her gifts started to flourish.

And after a long time of never having enough time to take good care of herself (because of family, responsibilities and running a business) she shared that she now couldn’t stay in bed past 5:30am and had started working out again..

Falling in love with her body again..

No more shame or guilt around eating or prioritizing herself.

Last time we talked she’d lost 10 pounds! And told she was able to wear an old dress she really liked and people at work literally told her she looked “Smashing!”

Even her older daughter now relates to her from a completely different place.

She listens, acknowledges their differences and is able to both be seen and see her mother during moments of conflict..

And the list goes on…

It is WILD how much of our life can transform once we commit to doing the work.

And it’s incredible how fast the wins stack up once you know exactly what is keeping you stuck, what you need to do instead and how you need to do it..

Thrown in the level of accountability from a group of badass people and a gentle but firm guide and there’s no limit to how much and how fast your life can change.

The sky is the limit!

When it comes to our health, vitality and confidence NOTHING takes a toll on us more than being in a stressful relationship (and seeing it get worse by the day).

You can meditate, pray or do all the affirmations and bio-hacking that you want..

But if you’re on a sinking ship, you’re bound to get more anxious by the minute.

And the biggest challenge is that who we are with mirrors so many things to us..

Especially our standards.

“If he treats me like this, I must be X”

“I must not deserve to be treated like Y”

“I must not be good enough for Z.”

“Maybe I should just feel grateful for what I have.” (AKA: I’m not worthy of the life I dream of!)

What does it say about you that the person you say you love the most (and is supposed to love you the most) treats you in ways that PROVE the opposite?

It’s a huge mental battle…

Self-worth goes down the drain..

Self trust follows.. (how did I end up here? did I make the wrong choice? should I stay or should I quit?)

Confusion arises and then anxiety as a consequence..

Then come the sleepless nights.

The anxious eating.

The self-abandonment.

The neediness.

The fears and insecurities.

The judgements and resentments.

And the thousand ways you’ll hide just so you don’t have to feel any of it.

Working.

Shopping.

Business.

FAMILY.

Martyr mothers are a dime a dozen.

They confuse self-abandonment for virtue..

And all they teach their kids is how you must lose yourself in order to maintain love.

Eventually, it all leads to one of 3 places:

You either get out, get sick, or get better.

I’ve definitely been there myself..

7 years ago I was in denial about my drinking & drugs problem

30 pounds heavier

A couple of overdoses I brushed off as “no-biggies”

Slowly losing friendships and isolating..

All because of the unprocessed pain of a relationship that I allowed to consume me for far too long.

Of course I smile more!

I DID THE WORK.

That’s why my relationship no longer feels like work.

(I lost 30+ pounds, stopped lying, quit a toxic work environment, started 3 businesses, started to date quality women and eventually got married, healed the relationship with my mother, father and siblings, quit drinking and using substances, wrote an international best-seller, among so many other beautiful manifestations of living in harmony with my heart..)

I did what I need to do so it became an oasis that nourishes my health, creativity, aliveness, passion and sense of meaning..

And my finances as an enjoyable side-effect from being in integrity.

My relationship is longer a black hole that consumes all my hopes and dreams.

AND the interesting thing is..

When I met my wife, I picked up right where I left off with my previous long-term partner.

I even called her my ex’s name by accident a couple of times.

(Talk about deeply embedded trauma-bonding and stagnant patterns that repeat.)

I wanted to cry when I realized that it was the same software, different hardware.

Same patterns, different woman.

My body felt it, that’s why my Ex’s name slipped.

As much as I hated it, I knew I could not run away from it.

I realized that if I did not do the work, my relationships would be forever doomed.

Because it wasn’t about my EX.

It was about me and the way I showed up which pulled very specific parts from the women I dated.

This took a lot of suffering and humility for me to eventually accept.

(For a while I thought I was right and they were all wrong..)

But wow…

What a difference it makes in our life when we get clear on what is NOT working, what ACTUALLY works and get support to take those steps forward.

NOTHING beats the feeling of taking daily progress towards seemingly-impossible, yet worthwhile goals.

A conscious relationship being one of them.

Yesterday, more than my wife “officially” moving in with me in Canada, I celebrated the fact that we’ve officially (for a while now) become nurturers of each other’s lives.

I have become more of a man, thanks to her.

She has become more of a woman, thanks to me.

I now understand what they meant when they said that 1 + 1 is not 2..

It is 11.

Or Zero.. if being together slowly sucks the life out of you.

🙏🏽