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|Posted on February 11, 2021 at 6:05 PM||comments (4522)|
Forgive & be Forgiven
Did your spouse hurt you? Have you made mistakes that hurt your spouse?
Except in the case of physical abuse, you can “move on” from anything. In fact, your marriage can end up even BETTER!
I know…you’re probably thinking, “Better? How could it be better than before we screwed up?”
It CAN be better, but you have to do one thing first. You have to forgive. Is that an easy task? Absolutely not. I actually even tell my couples that they have to wake up every single day and choose to forgive. Forgiveness has to have an over and over and over again. Before you get overwhelmed stay with me.
What does it REALLY mean to forgive?
Many people will say, “I forgive you,” but continue to harbor anger in their heart. Some people say the words, but it’s obvious from their actions that nothing’s changed.
Other people will say “I forgive you” but what they really mean is, “I don’t want to talk about this. I can’t deal with this. I’m turning you off.” And so the 3 magic words come out and form a wall that shuts out their spouse. True, they’re not angry, but that’s because they’ve shut down all emotion and refuse to reconnect.
Saying “I forgive you” is an entirely different ball game than truly forgiving.
Look carefully at the word “forgive.” It tells you what it means. “For-Give”…in other words, to GIVE as you did beFORE.
That’s true forgiveness. When you GIVE of yourself like you did beFORE you were hurt, then you know you’ve forgiven. When you stand as close to your spouse as you stood the day your feet got stepped on…that’s forgiveness.
That’s not easy to do. But it is possible. You can forgive each other and move on. That’s one of the things we work on in the Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp.
And once you forgive, you’ll see that your marriage will be BETTER than it was before. You’ll be happy that the mistake was made (in a strange way) because you’ll realize that you would never have achieved the love you finally did without that mistake as your catalyst.
Did you know that when a broken bone heals it’s stronger than it was before it was broken? You too can be STRONGER than before things broke down between you and your spouse.
|Posted on February 11, 2021 at 5:50 PM||comments (1370)|
Moving from Pain to Peace
When it comes to your emotions, there’s a big difference between being in pain and true suffering. What’s the difference? And how does this relate to your marriage?
So what’s the difference between pain and suffering?
Pain has a purpose.
Suffering is true torture because it has no meaning.
Pain is bearable. Suffering for no reason is devastating.
Ask any woman about child labor. How was it? Would you do it again? Most women will answer: It was painful, but I didn’t suffer. I would do it again.
This is the key to surviving marital problems and making it through to a new love and peace with your spouse.
If you think there’s no purpose to your emotional hurt, you’ll just want out. You’ll run from your kids, your responsibility, your vows…you’ll run from it all just to get relief from an unbearable suffering.
But if you can come to understand why you’re in this situation, then you’ll succeed to make it through like a woman in child labor.
Why is this happening to you? What are you supposed to be learning from all of this? Can you see how your marital problems are really an opportunity for you and your spouse?
It’s an opportunity to grow and learn about one another. What are each other’s triggers? What do I need to be mindful of when we are dealing with a situation as a couple. Conflict does not need to be volatile and destructive. As a matter of fact I share with many of my clients that conflict is actually healthy if it’s handled the right way. Please check out my friendly fighting rules list to get a better idea of how to handle situations or not.
|Posted on February 11, 2021 at 5:35 PM||comments (3650)|
The Ten Forms of Self Defeating Thoughts
1. All or nothing - thinking
You see things in black and white categories If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, 'I've blown my diet completely.' This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream!
You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as 'always' or "never" when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the windshield of his car. He told himself, 'Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!'
3. Mental filter
You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of all of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.
4. Discounting the positive
You reject positive experiences by insisting they 'don't count.' If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn't good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positive takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.
5. Jumping to conclusions
You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion. Mind reading: Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you. Fortune telling: You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, 'I'm really going to blow it. What if I flunk?' If you're depressed you may tell yourself, 'I'll never get better.'
You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the 'binocular trick.'
7. Emotional reasoning
You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: 'I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly.' Or 'I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person.' Or 'I feel angry. This proves I'm being treated unfairly.' Or I feel so inferior. This means I'm a second-rate person.' Or 'I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless.'
8. "Should statements"
You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, 'I shouldn't have made so many mistakes.' This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. 'Musts,' 'oughts' and 'have tos' are similar offenders.
'Should statements' that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general lead to anger and frustration: 'He shouldn't be so stubborn and argumentative' Many people try to motivate themselves with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. 'I shouldn't eat that doughnut.' This usually doesn't work because all these shoulds and musts make you feel rebellious and you get the urge to do just the opposite. Dr. Albert Ellis has called this 'musterbation.' I call it the 'shouldy' approach to life.
Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying 'I made a mistake.' you attach a negative label to yourself: 'I'm a loser.' You might also label yourself 'a foal' or 'a failure' or 'a jerk.' Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist. but 'fools,' 'losers,' and 'jerks' do not. These labels are useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration, and low self- esteem.
You may also label others. When someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: 'He's an S.O.B Then you feel that the problem is with that person's 'character' or 'essence' instead of with their thinking or behavior. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves little room for constructive communication.
10. Personalization and blame
Personalization occurs when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn't entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulties at school, she told herself, 'this shows what a bad mother I am,' instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman's husband beat her, she told herself, lf only I were better in bed, he wouldn't beat me.' Personalization leads to guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy. Same people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways that they might be contributing to the problem: 'The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable.' Blame usually doesn't work very well because other people will resent being a scapegoat and they will just toss the blame right back in your lap. It's like the game of hot potato - no one wants to get stuck with it.
|Posted on January 20, 2020 at 8:00 PM||comments (1575)|
What is a co-dependent
Welllll …there isn’t a guidebook for setting boundaries. Each of us has our own guide inside ourselves. If we continue to work at recovery from being co- dependant , our boundaries will develop. They will get healthy and sensitive. Our selves will tell us what we need to know, and we’ll love ourselves enough to listen.
What do we need to do to take care of ourselves?
Listen to that voice inside. What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What don’t you trust? What doesn’t feel right? What can’t you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don’t you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good As we shed the co-dependent chains we learn that self-care leads us on the path that we and our higher power have for our lives. Self-care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it.
Learn to nurture that voice inside. We can trust ourselves. We can take care of ourselves. We are wiser than we think. Our guide is within, ever-present. Listen to, trust, and nurture that guide.
A helpful tool in our recovery, especially in the behavior we call detachment, is learning to identify who owns what. Then we let each person own and possess his or her rightful property.
If another person has an addiction, a problem, a feeling, or a self-defeating behavior, that is their property, not ours. If someone is a martyr, immersed in negativity, controlling, or manipulative, that is their issue, not ours.
If someone has acted and experienced a particular consequence, both the behavior and the consequence belong to that person.
If someone is in denial or cannot think clearly on a particular issue, that confusion belongs to him or her.
If someone has a limited or impaired ability to love or care, that is his or her property, not ours. If someone has no approval or nurturing to give away, that is that person’s property.
People’s lies, deceptions, tricks, manipulations, abusive behaviors, inappropriate behaviors, cheating behaviors, and tacky behaviors belong to them too. Not us.
People’s hopes and dreams are their property. Their guilt belongs to them too. Their happiness or misery is also theirs. So are their beliefs and messages.
If some people don’t like themselves, that is their choice. Other people’s choices are their property, not ours.
What people choose to say and do is their business.
What is our property? Our property includes our behaviors, problems, feelings, happiness, misery, choices, and messages; our ability to love, care, and nurture; our thoughts, our denial, our hopes and dreams for ourselves. Whether we allow ourselves to be controlled, manipulated, deceived, or mistreated is our business.
In recovery, we learn an appropriate sense of ownership. If something isn’t ours, we don’t take it. If we take it, we learn to give it back. Let other people have their property, and learn to own and take good care of what’s ours.
Today, I will work at developing a clear sense of what belongs to me, and what doesn’t. If it’s not mine, I won’t keep it. I will deal with myself, my issues, and my responsibilities. I will take my hands off what is not mine.( Its not your box)
Sometimes, life and people seem to push and push. Because we are so used to pain, we may tell ourselves it doesn’t hurt. Because we are so used to people controlling and manipulating us, we may tell ourselves there is something wrong with us.
There’s nothing wrong with us. Life is pushing and hurting to get our attention. Sometimes, the pain and pushing are pointing toward a lesson. The lesson may be that we’ve become too controlling. Or maybe we’re being pushed to own our power to take care of ourselves. The issue is boundaries.
If something or somebody is pushing us to our limits, that’s exactly what’s happening: we’re being pushed to our limits. We can be grateful for the lesson that’s here to help us explore and set our boundaries.
Today, I will give myself permission to set the limits I want and need to set in my life.
|Posted on February 10, 2019 at 11:45 PM||comments (2102)|
What is it and do you do it ??
The second behavior that predicts divorce with over 90% accuracy, according to John Gottman's research and the experience of most couples' counselors, is stonewalling. Different from an occasional timeout to calm down or collect your thoughts, stonewalling is absolute refusal to consider your partner’s perspective. If you listen at all, you do it dismissively or contemptuously.
The common songs of the stonewaller are:
“Just leave me alone…”
“Do whatever you want...”
“End of conversation…”
“Get out of my face…”
“I’ve had it!”
The other divorce-predictive behaviors – criticism, defensiveness, and contempt - are gender neutral, i.e., men and women do them more or less equally.
Frustrating vs. Painful
The experience of being stonewalled tends to be different for men and women. Men who are stonewalled feel frustrated – their goal of resolution is blocked by the stonewalling. But the experience is downright painful for women who are stonewalled, as they are apt to feel isolated – a sense that no one cares about them. To understand the effects of stonewalling on most women, a man need only think of how bad humiliation feels. That’s how isolation feels to his partner, which is why she tries so hard to break through the stone wall.
Looks Different on the Outside
While stonewalling can look aggressive, mean, or childish from the outside, if feels very different on the inside. The defensive stonewaller feels like he’s trying to protect himself. He can also think that he’s protecting his family. Not only have I observed this countless times in my clients, I experienced it my personal life. Knowledge is power.
|Posted on July 12, 2017 at 10:10 AM||comments (2620)|
The terms anxiety and stress are often used interchangeably, and it is true that they are related conditions with many of the same symptoms. Feelings of stress--even chronic stress--are not the same thing as an anxiety disorder, although they can contribute to developing one. Anxiety and stress are categorized by separate feelings.
The stress we experience in our day-to-day lives is associated with frustration and nervousness, where anxiety often comes from a place of fear, unease and worry.
1. What is Stress? Stress results when we’re overcome with life’s pressures—a deadline at work, rushing to get to an appointment on time, a crisis at home with the kids—it causes the sudden release of adrenaline, a hormone that negatively impacts the mood and emotions, and elevates the blood pressure.
2. What is Anxiety? While anxiety is not the same as stress it can result from being put under stress. This negative stress response will overcome all other stress responses with intense fear, worry, and disabling dread that the individual will be literally incapacitated by jitters, chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, and a panic attack.
Mental health professionals differentiate stress from anxiety because anxiety continues even long after the stressor is removed (or you remove yourself from the stressful situation). The feeling of doom can set in suddenly and without any recognized stressor, which usually aggravates the anxiety level and causes an attack.
The key difference [between the two] is the sense of helplessness. When it comes to stress, you can deal with things and master them. By rolling up your sleeves and tackling that stress, you can feel less helpless. Anxiety converts fear into feelings and people who suffer from it tend to avoid what’s making them fearful, which can make it worse.
Tip 1: Identify the sources of stress in your life
Tip 2: Replace unhealthy coping strategies with healthy ones
Tip 3: Practice the 4 A's
- Avoid unnecessary stress It’s not healthy to avoid a stressful situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
- Alter the situation If you can't avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
- Adapt to the stressor If you can't change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain you sense of control by changing you expectations and attitude.
- Accept the things you can't change Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are.
|Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:05 PM||comments (1610)|
Every encounter with the external world presents a conflict with a person’s cherished inner world. Disappointment is the gap between expectations and reality. There are two ways to be happy. Improve your reality and lower your expectations. How would you go about doing that? What would you start with?
|Posted on April 22, 2017 at 4:30 PM||comments (934)|
"Attitudinal Healing is based on the principle that it is not other people or situations that cause us distress. Rather, it is our own thoughts and attitudes that are responsible for our distress, and the actions we take as a result of those thoughts and attitudes can hurt us. Healing results when we concentrate on changing our own attitudes rather than trying to change the attitudes of others. Thus, the goal of Attitudinal Healing is self-healing in the face of each life challenge.
Attitudinal Healing is not just adjusting or adapting our attitudes; rather, it is consciously choosing to let go of our fearful attitudes. The goal is not to change behavior, but to retrain the most powerful instrument of change we possess, our own mind.
Questions to ask ourselves
Is there another way of looking at the world that changes our experience of life?
Is it possible to choose to let go of fear and conflict completely?
Is it possible to heal our painful thoughts and attitudes about the past and to bring peace to ourselves and others?
Is it possible to forgive everyone who we think has hurt us, and to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and for the shame we feel about the past?
Can we truly know peace and happiness while living in a world that seems so chaotic and crazy?
Can we remove all our self-imposed blocks to love and come to know and trust in who we really are?
Can we simplify our lives by recognizing that there are only two emotions - love and fear?
Attitudinal Healing answers all these questions with an unqualified and enthusiastic Yes.
|Posted on April 22, 2017 at 4:25 PM||comments (1272)|
ARE YOU NEGOTIATING YOUR BOUNDARIES??
Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem. They set the limits for acceptable behavior from those around you, determining whether they feel able to put you down, make fun, or take advantage of your good nature.
The ‘Five Things’ Method
▪ List five things you’d like people to stop doing around you, for example, criticizing absent colleagues
▪ List five things you want people to stop doing to you, for example, being rude or inconsiderate, or ignoring you
▪ List five things that people may no longer say to you, for example, “you always give up” or “you’ll never get promoted”
Think about your current boundaries and ask:
▪ How much attention people expect from you at a moment’s notice
▪ Whether you always make yourself available (e.g. do you answer the phone no matter what’s going on?)
▪ How much praise and acceptance you receive?
▪ Why are you popular with your friends?
▪ How do you feel after spending time with each friend or family member?
Redefining your boundaries may mean swapping the belief “I want to please others” to “I value my time and want to keep some for myself.”
Once you have established strong, clear boundaries, people will give you more respect. This means you can be yourself to a greater extent, asking for what you really want and need without fear of judgment. Emotional manipulators will back off and in their place sustainable, loving relationships will thrive.
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|Posted on April 22, 2017 at 4:25 PM||comments (2848)|
WHAT'S WRONG WITH ASSUMPTIONS ??
Wrong assumptions can separate just about any two individuals.
An assumption can seem to grow out of nothing.
Ever think about that water cooler talk? We see people talking at the office water cooler, and our brain automatically starts creating a story about what we assume is being discussed. Our self-talk, or inner dialogue, starts going ….and usually in a negative direction.
We assume that people have a specific motivation for their actions or that an event took place for a specific reason, and then we start to see these possibly incorrect assumptions as the truth.
Instead of basing our understanding of people and events on what we observe and what we know for a fact, we often prefer to make judgments based on our emotions, beliefs, expectations and wishes.
We too easily confuse these psychological mechanisms with reality, and the assumptions that spring from them become the basis of our own version of “reality,” even though it’s not actually real.
We don’t recognize just how much our inner world is coloring the way we see and understand our outer world, and how it distorts things for us. When making assumptions becomes a habit, we are less and less grounded in reality and more and more prone to creating problems for ourselves and others.
So, how do we stop making so many assumptions and start basing our understanding of people and the world on more tangible facts? We simply pause as we’re jumping to our conclusions and ask ourselves, “How do I know this?”
1.What am I noticing?
2.What am I what am I thinking?
3.What am I feeling?
4.How much of this is actually true?
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