- 7 Tips to Overcome Relationship Obstacles
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #1: Learn to Listen
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #2: Avoid the Blame Game
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #3: Making Time
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #4: Are You Both on the Same Page?
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #5: Do You Appreciate Each Other?
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #6: Financial Issues
- Relationship Obstacles Tip #7: Are You Having Fun?
- 6 Steps to Help Couples Overcome Relationship Stumbles
- Related Articles
- 21 Ways To Strengthen Struggling Relationships
- 1. Embrace Your Vulnerability
- 2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity
- 3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking
- Final Thoughts
- More Tips About Living Your True Self
- Major Obstacles at the Beginning of a Relationship — Exploring your mind
- Learning to communicate
- Adjusting to reality
- Trying to fill the void
- Tips for Dealing with These 7 Relationship Obstacles
- Here are the Top 7 Obstacles with suggested Meditations…
- Be open to the lessons that your relationships can teach you about yourself. @meditationsapp (Click to Tweet!)
7 Tips to Overcome Relationship Obstacles
Have you and your partner been bumping into relationship obstacles? These are things in your relationship that are causing friction, disagreements, and even arguments. However, there are ways that you can overcome these obstacles and strengthen your relationship.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #1: Learn to Listen
Do you ever find yourself wanting to jump into the conversation while your partner is still talking? Or, are you waiting in anticipation to get in your two cents thus ignoring or even discounting what your partner is trying to say? One of the most frequent complaints I hear from the couples who I work with is “my partner doesn’t listen to me.” When we listen for understanding and not to prepare our side of the debate, we actually convey to our partner that they are important to us. By listening for understanding without judgement you are affirming, “I care about you and what you think, you are important to me.” To listen more effectively try the following:
- Take a few deep breaths when you feel cutting in.
- Make eye contact with your partner.
- Hold a pen or paperclip to manage the desire to fidget.
- Once your partner is done summarize what they said.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #2: Avoid the Blame Game
When a conflict arises, it can be easy to blame your partner. However, instead of looking to find the faults in your partner, ask yourself how you contribute to the conflict.
When couples sit together and accept responsibility for their part is establishes a sense of safety and partnership.
This is much more connecting and pro-resolution than getting into an ‘attack and defend model” which so many couples find themselves in. For example:
- In what ways are you playing into the drama in the relationship?
- What is in your power to make different choices?
- When arguments begin to escalate take a break, allow yourselves to calm down so you are able to process.
It is important to later process the disagreement later when cooler heads prevail. Processing means discussing how can we do this differently next time – without getting back into the fight.
A statement , “maybe I over reacted” or “I could have handled that better” do much to reconnect and manage conflicts. Remember, it takes two people to prioritize a healthy relationship.
You may not have the power to change your partner, but you can control how you respond.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #3: Making Time
Often in our busy lives, we spend fewer hours with our partners and families than on other tasks, such as work or entertainment. Are you making the most of your time with your partner? If not this could be a serious relationship obstacle. If you have to schedule it into your daily calendar, but make sure you are spending quality time together.
By carving out even 20 minutes together with the distraction of phones or TV develops a sense of “us.” During these discussions avoid talking about the problems of the relationship, but more of the external stressors you each may be facing. This becomes a ritual of connection and defines the couple as a couple.
Otherwise, you are sending the signal to your partner that your priorities lie elsewhere.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #4: Are You Both on the Same Page?
Another relationship obstacle is disagreement over major issues such as having a family, financial commitments, etc. Ensure that you are both on the same page by utilizing time together to understand each other’s perspectives, wants, and goals. That way you can be united when making these decisions.
It’s important to understand why your partner has a certain stand on the issue. You may uncover some symbolism that has much deeper meaning than the actual disagreement. When we share our perspectives, wants, and goals we are taking our relationship to a much deeper level.
We are creating a positive emotional overtone which leads to resolving issues quicker and increasing the benefit of the doubt.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #5: Do You Appreciate Each Other?
Lack of appreciation causes you to feel unloved, not accepted, and at worst not understood. When we express our admiration and fondness towards our partner we are pointing out what we love and admire about them.
This is an opportunity to build on our connection and friendship which is the basis of any relationship. Take the time to tell your partner when they do something you admire, “You really handled that well” or “you’re so good at that.
” Each of you can make the effort to show appreciation for each other to overcome this obstacle. For example:
- Do something nice each day, such as making the coffee or writing a kind note.
- Send a text message.
- Cook a meal.
- Give a small gift.
- Simply say, “I love you.”
You’ll be surprised how simple things done frequently go a long way towards strengthening your relationship.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #6: Financial Issues
Whether you are just dating and deciding who pays for dinner or in a committed relationship and dividing up the finances, money issues can certainly be a relationship obstacle.
Communicate with each other to keep things equitable. Have discussions about what money means to each of you.
When we learn the symbolism of money for our partners than we can easily avoid falling into the negative money pit.
Relationship Obstacles Tip #7: Are You Having Fun?
What’s the point of being together if you don’t enjoy each other’s company? Finding joy, laughing together, and doing fun activities help to strengthen the relationship and your connection to each other. Research what’s available in your community, and don’t forget to do something your partner is interested in!
Relationships are always a work in progress and it shouldn’t be surprising that you encounter obstacles from time-to-time. However, if you are finding that you are still hitting the brick wall after following these tips, it may be time for professional help.
Don’t hesitate to seek support so that you can come through these relationship obstacles together. For additional tips on making relationships work, visit Philip’s Couples Counseling page or call 813-651-1221.
6 Steps to Help Couples Overcome Relationship Stumbles
It’s easy for couples to fall in love. Staying in love is the tough part, according to clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Randi Gunther, Ph.D.
She devotes a chapter to how couples can surmount each stumbling block. Inside, we cover the eight common relationship stumbles most couples grapple with, as well as the six steps to help overcome them.
Briefly, here are the eight relationship stumbles:
- From fulfillment to disillusionment: “You don’t seem to care the way you used to.”
- From excitement to boredom: “What happened to our spark?”
- From constructive challenges to destructive conflicts: “Why does every disagreement become an argument?”
- From sacrificing for your partner to self-preservation: “I can’t always put you first anymore.”
- From being a team to operating solo: “We used to do everything together. Now I handle most of my challenges without you.”
- From feeling unconditionally loved to being on trial: “Before, you loved me without question. Now I have to fight to prove my worth.”
- From focusing on the relationship to pursuing outside interests: “I know I’m gone a lot, but I need more stimulation.”
- From common goals to different dreams: “We just don’t want the same things anymore.”
Her process can help couples start having important conversations about overcoming these stumbling blocks in their relationships.
Gunther suggests exploring these ideas first on your own and then talking it over with your partner. The key is to be honest and listen closely and openly to your partner. Don’t judge yourself or them.
Also, if during the conversation, one partner gets too emotional, take a break.
1. “Go back to the beginning of your relationship.”
Remember the moments when you first fell in love, and share these memories with your partner.
2. “Evaluate your current relationship.”
Talk to each other honestly about your feelings about the state of your relationship. Gunther suggests discussing both the negative and the positive. She also lists many questions to help you better understand your own feelings and communicate with your partner. Some of these include:
- “When I act in a negative or hurtful manner toward you, what am I truly feeling that I am not sharing?”
- “What are the positive things I still feel about you?”
- “In what ways have I changed that have turned you away?”
- “What do I most resent about our relationship?”
- “What do I most miss about the relationship we used to have?”
- “What do I still look forward to or enjoy doing with you?”
- “What do you do or say that hurts me the most?”
- “How hopeful am I that we can change?”
3. “When did you begin to drift?”
Usually, relationship problems start off slow and then build momentum because they go unresolved. Gunther writes: “In this step, you’ll learn how recalling those smaller disconnects that went unattended will help you heal and prevent new stumbles from forming.” Several questions to consider:
- “Do you remember a time or event that made you feel as if you and your partner were drifting apart?”
- “What stopped you from resolving what was going on at the time?”
4. “What prevented your recovery at the time this stumble occurred?”
Gunther says that it’s very ly that whatever prevented you from resolving your past problems is currently playing a role. “Paying attention to what made you ignore them before may help you identify them now,” she writes. Here are some examples Gunther gives in the book:
- “I was afraid to be vulnerable with you because I expected you to hurt me again.”
- “I didn’t want you to get angrier, so I just accepted what was going on and hoped it would get better.”
- “I thought talking about it would just make it worse.”
5. “What do you need from each other to reawaken your love?”
Talk to each other about what each of you needs. Some examples of what other couples have shared:
- “I want you to forgive me for the things I’ve said and done that have hurt you.”
- “I want you to encourage me in the places I am frightened, and respect my choices when I need to find my own way.”
- “I want us to respect our differences and strive to include them in our lives.”
6. “What will you do differently to safeguard your relationship if it stumbles in the future?”
Gunther suggests couples make “relationship vows based upon your new knowledge of each other’s wants, vulnerabilities and capabilities.” Some examples of promises Gunther’s clients have made:
- “If one of us feels dissatisfied with the relationship, we’ll tell each other what we need to make it better, and together we will make a plan for change.”
- “We’ll make certain that we save prime-time energy for each other no matter what else is going on in our lives.”
6 Steps to Help Couples Overcome Relationship Stumbles
21 Ways To Strengthen Struggling Relationships
Last Updated on April 17, 2020
We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.
When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.
In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.
Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.
If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.
According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.” Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.
No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.
When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.
Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.
1. Embrace Your Vulnerability
When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.
Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.
When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.
Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.
In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.
It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.
You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.
Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.
What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?
You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.
That’s where we all should be.
So, answer me this:
How are you, really?
And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.
Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.
Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.
Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)
Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.
It’s taking control.
2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity
You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by staying true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.
You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.
In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.
Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.
You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…
Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’ When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.
But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?
It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.
In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You
It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.
Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:
Change will happen.
Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.
You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.
And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.
You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?
That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.
You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.
When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.
There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.
3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking
Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.
In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.
If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s you rise twice.
Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.
Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable. It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved. It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.
How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?
Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.
“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.
Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.
Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.
It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.
Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,
“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”
What would you do if you felt you were enough?
By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.
So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.
By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.
Staying true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.
When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.
You will find that making decisions what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!
More Tips About Living Your True Self
Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com
Major Obstacles at the Beginning of a Relationship — Exploring your mind
In every relationship, especially at the beginning, there are different obstacles that you’ll have to overcome. This is inevitable and quite common, since you’re getting to know the person deeply and trying to fit your puzzle pieces in with theirs without piercing each other.
You’ll have to deal with some difficulties in your interactions. Your expectations will slowly fall apart and you’ll start running into reality. This can cause a lot of frustration if you’ve idealized the other person too much.
In general, these obstacles result in getting to know the other person better, and overcoming them will form the foundation of your relationship.
Because it’s a process of adaptation, you’ll have to accept the complications for what they are, and in some cases you’ll have to arm yourself with patience in order to overcome them.
This is part of the process of discovering and re-discovering your partner.
“We get together on the basis of our similarities; we grow on the basis of our differences.”
Learning to communicate
Communicating, and doing it well, is one of the main challenges that partners are presented with, especially at the beginning of the relationship, when they still haven’t constructed a shared dynamic. For communication to be healthy, you have to learn to express what you need.
Someone who has been with you for a long time has probably become an expert in interpreting your nonverbal language, but a new partner will probably have an easier time if you set a standard of open communication, rather than being cryptic.
Communication can often be tarnished by misunderstandings and quick, almost automatic interpretations. To overcome this, it’s good to always ask before interpreting what they say and especially to invest all your attention in listening when they’re talking to you.
Learning to communicate in a relationship is a challenge you’ll have to overcome sooner or later. If you don’t learn to communicate, the relationship is destined to fail. It’s a basic pillar for the proper functioning of the relationship, and therefore it should not be neglected.
Good communication is respect, empathy, listening, and understanding. It’s expressing your own needs while still paying attention to your partner.
Adjusting to reality
Idealization is closely related to falling in love. It’s inevitable to focus more on the good things about your partner at the beginning of the relationship. However, it’s important to try to keep your feet on the ground so that your expectations don’t veer too far away from who they really are.
If you put on blindfolds with the intention of living in a fantasy world where everything your partner does is wonderful, you’ll ending up falling from cloud nine, and the frustration will leave you distraught.
It’s important to know that while your partner has many positive aspects, they’re also going to have many that you don’t . Ultimately, true love is found in acceptance, when you’re prepared to see the other person for who they really are, without trying to change them.
Trying to fill the void
Your partner isn’t there to fulfill your expectations, nor are they there to fill the void you feel inside. Being with someone to feel less alone and forget past experiences with other partners is the first paddle stroke towards the wrong dock. You have to fill your own voids yourself, although others can contribute to making them more or less rich in content.
You might not be okay with yourself, but you can’t expect your partner to resolve your conflict and give you the peace and security that you need in your life. Nobody else can do the work that you need to do to resolve your inner conflicts, not even your partner.
A healthy relationship consists of being with the other person to share who you are, not to fill an empty space. If you’re fleeing from loneliness, you’ll make the mistake of not learning how to be by yourself.
“Infantile love follows the principle: ‘I love because I am loved.’Mature love follows the principle: ‘I am loved because I love.’Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’
Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’”
We Need to Talk: The 4 Words Every Partner Dreads
Tips for Dealing with These 7 Relationship Obstacles
Valentines Day comes around once a year. Relationships are here to stay. Whether you’re happily single, in a new relationship or in a long term relationship, there may be a tip or two here for you from our meditation collection. As the Co-founder of Meditation Studio, I asked some of our top meditation teachers to create a meditation collection devoted to relationships.
Before we began, we asked this question to many of our customers, “what are your greatest obstacles when it comes to relationships?”
Not surprisingly, we all have our own ways of dealing with relationship issues, but the core challenges are common to just about everyone. Addressing them is how our Meditation Studio Relationship Collection was born. This is one tool that you just may want to have on hand this year.
Here are the Top 7 Obstacles with suggested Meditations…
1) Obstacle: My partner doesn’t hear (or understand) me.
Suggestion: Probably the three greatest relationship needs are being seen, being heard, being understood.
Getting these three basic desires met takes empathy (and compassion). Mastering empathy is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy long-term relationship, it’s also a key to simply getting along better in life.
Meditation: “Learning To Empathize” by Lodro Rinzler is nothing short of relationship gold.
2) Obstacle: Getting impatient and/or angry about issues instead of discussing them (aka being passive aggressive).
Suggestion: Successful couples often commit to having the tough discussions and start with a focus on a hoped for or positive outcome. Doing this is easier if you can focus on kindness first.
Meditation : Stefanie Goldstein’s meditation, “Kindness Toward Your Partner” is well worth practicing.
3) Obstacle: Both of you think you’re right.
People can get very invested in their “rightness,” though we all know that everyone has their own point of view.
Suggestion: There are some things worth arguing about, but there are times when we need to accept a different point of view and move on.
Meditation: Chrissy Carter’s “Reflecting on Acceptance” will help.
4) Obstacle: Being critical (or feeling criticized) because someone isn’t meeting your expectations.
Suggestion: No one is perfect (including us). Learn to patiently accept others for who and where they are and you’ll have happier relationships.
Meditation: Try Listening to Understand, by Chrissy Carter
5) Obstacle: Fear of appearing vulnerable. Many of us turn mute when it’s time to express our true feelings. We want to be tough and strong. We’re afraid that if we say what we really feel we’ll look foolish.
Suggestion: Being vulnerable is about the bravest thing you can do.
Meditation: “Communicating your Truth” by Chrissy Carter will inspire you.
6) Obstacle: Resist seeing our own faults. Intimate relationships often reveal traits in ourselves that we’d rather not confront.
Suggestion: We may unconsciously choose relationships that force us to learn what we need to learn.
Be open to the lessons that your relationships can teach you about yourself. @meditationsapp (Click to Tweet!)
Meditation: Explore “Relationship Lessons” by Chrissy Carter.
7) Obstacle: Waiting until you’re in the “danger zone” to talk about a problem. Many people store up resentments and unexpressed grievances until they’re furious, leaving the other person feeling blindsided and attacked.
Suggestion: It’s much more effective to talk about problems when you’re not upset.
Meditation: Try Finding Calm in Conflict, by Chrissy Carter.
For more relationship meditations plus meditations for stress, sleep, anxiety, happiness, confidence and so much more…download Meditation Studio… and fall in love (with it!). PS…you may also want to listen to our podcast this week…Your Love Questions Answered with Ashley Turner.
Patricia Karpas is the co-founder and head of content for Meditation Studio LLC, the home of Meditationstudioapp.com. This 5-star app includes 200 meditations, 16 collections, 3 courses and 27 teachers.
The app focuses on stress, anxiety, pain, sleep, happiness, confidence, performance and so much more, providing tools for beginners and experienced meditators.
It’s a must have! She’s also the host of Untangle, the podcast that showcases the stories of experts, authors and real people whose lives have been transformed by meditation or mindfulness practices.
Image courtesy of Katie Salerno.
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