The 4 Things We Need to Create Healthy Lives for Ourselves

Uncategorized Mar 08, 2019

A few months ago at Dave Ramsey's Smart Conference, I got to sit down with Rachel Cruze and talk about the four key components that give us healthy, fulfilling lives.

We were all designed in a certain way. If you take a house, for example, it was designed for a specific purpose — to give us shelter, to provide protection. Every house is different, but they all have the same basic components.

1. The Foundation: You try to build a house without a foundation, it’s going to fall. The foundation for humans is connection. When a baby is born, you don’t teach it algebra. In the first year of a baby’s life, it establishes the ability to connect and bond with other people and have that secure attachment. Connections are our fuel. If you try to go through life without the fuel of connection, you’re going to feel empty.

2. The Frame: The frame establishes the boundaries and the structure of the house, and that frame does a few things for us. Most importantly, it...

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How to Pick the Right People

Uncategorized Mar 04, 2019

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way. Consider these questions:

  • Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
  • Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
  • Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
  • Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
  • Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their relationships leave them lacking in some way, leaving them to wonder why they end up in the situations they do. They wonder what they are...

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I Know Why Your Significant Others Hides Their Feelings

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2019

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she said, referring to the grim financial realities he had been hiding.

“You never told me you were feeling alone,” he said, referring to her reason for getting involved with someone at work.

“I didn’t know you didn’t want to go,“ she said, referring to his resentment at going to her parents’ for the holidays.

“You always seemed happy,” he said, referring to her complaint in counseling that her marriage felt dead.

Sound like things you have heard before? Sound like things you have said before? You know the experience of being surprised that someone close to you felt a certain way, and you had no clue. It happens in a marriage! Sometimes one partner doesn’t hear when the other is trying to communicate something important. But at other times the communication is not so clear after all. And often when the hidden feelings are uncovered, it is too late.

Why People Hide Their Feelings

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How to Take the Steps to Get Unstuck

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2019

Do you ever feel like you're stuck on a path that's not leading you where you feel you ought to be going? Sometimes we can get stuck in these comfortable grooves, which because they are familiar, feel safe, but maybe aren't actually all that good for us.

Change is hard. Often, change carries a fair amount of risk, and risk is something many of us avoid like the plague. However, it's important to consider when taking a risk might be worth it. Likewise, ponder whether what you need to gain a fresh perspective on your life, goals or relationships is just the right kind of change.

Part of recognizing this opportunity to improve your circumstances is just seeing the needs you have. You have to regularly undertake a self-evaluation and question whether your needs are being met, and whether you're going the direction you want to be going. If you're not, it may be time for a change.

Be vulnerable, be open. Other people often cannot see that you need emotional support, or that you're...

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Face the Threats that Don’t Put You in Danger

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2019

You’ve heard this before: Every day, do something that scares you.

So, why is that a good idea? Well, first of all, let's make sure we are talking about the right kind of scared. Basically, your brain has no idea whether or not your feeling of scared is good or bad, accurate or inaccurate, helpful or life-limiting. All it knows is that there is a "perceived danger" and it alerts your body to react. Your heart rate goes up, your breathing changes, and you are motivated to fight, flight, or freeze.

But, are those the best options? If a train is coming at you and you are stuck on the railroad track, by all means, choose one of those options quickly. If you are Superman, you can either fight or flight —punch out the train, or fly out of the way. Freezing is probably not a good idea. If you are a mere mortal, then flight (diving off the track....quickly) is your best option, And in this instance, being scared was good, accurate, helpful and life enhancing. Thank God for...

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Is Valentine's Day an Amateur, Hallmark Holiday?

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2019

When I first became a Christian, I remember a wise older man told me he wasn’t going to church on Easter. I was surprised, especially in my newfound excitement about the faith.

“What? Why not?” I asked.

“It’s amateur day,” he said. “People go who never go any other day of the year and really aren’t serious about it. So, it is too crowded and I just stay home with God.”

I walked away thinking, “weird.” But there was a point to it ... sometimes “special days” take on a meaning to people as if they are the essence of what they are meant to symbolize and commemorate. Easter should be a day that symbolizes what we realized each and every 365 days: we have a risen Savior. He is alive every day. And then on that day, we celebrate the reality that we have all the year long.

Now, about Valentine’s day ...

Apart from being a windfall for Hallmark, what is it for us? Hopefully, it is also a symbol for what...

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The Consequences of Making Decisions Based on Emotion

Uncategorized Jan 29, 2019

In a very real way, we have more than one brain. Or, at least more than one system in our brain. One of them “thinks” emotionally, and subjectively, and the other more logically and with reason and judgment. On a good day, they are partners and work together. It would not be far off to say that they “inform” each other and add to the decision-making of each other. In a balanced character, they are good friends and work a little like a small committee.

But like any other committee, this one is subject to “takeovers” as well as harmony. In a real committee, one member may be more powerful than the others and overtake the process and end up calling all the shots. Our brains can work that way too. If the emotional side becomes overpowering, we can be vulnerable to making some really bad decisions that show poor judgment.

The integrated character, as a pattern, does not do that. He or she, over the long haul, maintains balance between strong emotions...

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Just Because You Forgive, it Doesn’t Mean You Have to Trust Again

Uncategorized Jan 27, 2019


“I know I’m supposed to forgive,” a woman said to me at a recent seminar. “But, I just can’t open myself up to that kind of hurt anymore. I know I should forgive him and trust him, but if I let him back in, the same thing will happen, and I can’t go through that again.”

“Who said anything about ‘trusting’ him?” I asked. “I don’t think you should trust him either.”

“But you said I was supposed to forgive him, and if I do that, doesn’t that mean giving him another chance? Don’t I have to open up to him again?”

“No, you don’t,” I replied. “Forgiveness and trust are two totally different things. In fact, that’s part of your problem. Every time he’s done this, he’s come back and apologized, and you have just accepted him right back into your life, and nothing has changed. You trusted him, nothing was different, and he did it again. I...

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Being Angry isn’t a ‘Bad’ Thing

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2019

There’s a lot of confusion about anger in our society. It’s usually seen as a negative emotion that someone needs to “get control” over. And in some instances, that is true. It can be destructive, but are we really giving it a chance to listen to what our anger tells us.

In the last 30 years or so, we have seen a big swing in the way anger is perceived. Back then, it was almost all seen as something bad.

We all know what it feels like to be on the wrong end of someone’s rage attack. Because of this, many people were very out of touch with what they were feeling, and a lot of anger went hidden and suppressed. It did not mean that people were not angry, it just meant that the people weren’t given  very helpful ways to work it out, especially people who had been really hurt in life and were sitting on a lot of pain and anger. They were often times just stuck with it.

About the same time, the world of psychiatry was getting into the...

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Your Response When Your Significant Other Hurts You

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2019

Please note: The following article addresses general conflicts of boundaries, feelings and attitudes in relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help from local law enforcement, as well as a counselor, safe place and/or support group.

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Each and every one of us will hurt other people, even the people we love the most. We all get it wrong sometimes, and that will often cause hurt. Partners in good relationship realize this, and as a result, they develop the following attitudes and practices that preserve the connection, even when one has hurt the other.

Accept the fact that your significant other will sometimes do things that hurt you. When you accept this fact, you’ll be able to deal with the hurts when they come, and those hurts won’t destroy the connection and the love you share.

Hang on to the things that you love about your significant other, even when he/she disappoints you. Do not label your significant other as “all bad.” They...

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