Is Revenge Ever OK?

Uncategorized Aug 28, 2020

Those who have good boundaries have transcended the need for revenge. Their first goal is to make things better for the other person or group. The other’s benefit is their utmost concern. That does not mean they have no interest at all in their own benefit. It simply means that in their treatment of others, their goal is to do well by them regardless of how they are treated.

They are not interested in settling the score or getting even. Revenge is for immature people, and they know that ultimately the offending person is going to get what he deserves without his needing to bring it about. Life has a way of making that happen, as does also the natural law of sowing and reaping. But even this ultimate payback is not something that those with healthy boundaries wish on another person, and that is the true hallmark of their character. They truly want the best for others, even those who do not do well by them.

That is why people who have healthy boundaries are not full of...

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Why You Can't Change Your Partner

Uncategorized Aug 26, 2020

Stephanie was in love with Kyle. They were great together. They problem was that they had very different definitions of what “together” meant. For Stephanie, it meant being firmly committed and moving toward marriage. For Kyle, it meant being together when he was around, yet his being free to pursue his sports hobbies whenever he wanted — which took him away on lots of fun trips he wasn’t willing to give up. He loved her, loved being with her, but at this point in his life, he was not the kind of guy to make their relationship as big a priority as sports.

So they were in a battle. They would be together, and it would be great. But then she would want more, he would pull away, she would not like it, and she would begin to exert the pressure. She would say, “I can’t see why he can’t see how great it would be for us to settle down. We could have it all. Why can’t he see that?”

We could have talked for a long time about the reasons...

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How to Stay in Control When You Confront Someone

Uncategorized Aug 26, 2020

If you are the one doing the confronting, and you believe you’ve prepared well for it, then you likely have the self-control to evaluate and speak to another’s behavior. Remember, you’re doing this from a stance of love for the person and the relationship.

Although you’ve prepared well, we all know that it doesn’t turn you into a robot that has no feelings or reactions.

Difficult people often have a strategy to get you upset and out of control. Just as a toddler infuriates his parent until he is in control of the out-of-control parent, some difficult people can arouse your emotions until they are in control of you. In fact, people with their behavior problems and toddlers have many developmental similarities. The key is to not regress into a toddler yourself!

Stay in charge of the only person you can control: yourself. Do not get hooked into saying something you will regret; if you feel that happening, take a breath or a timeout before you say anything....

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How to Get to the Truth, Even When It’s Uncomfortable

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2020

Maybe you've heard this before — Become a student of yourself. It’s a trait of successful people, and they achieve that success because they’re able to confront the truth about themselves to get over their inaccurate and unhelpful thinking patterns.

When I consult with people who come to me with problems, I often have them try this exercise. “Imagine that you are in two places at once: one ‘you’ is a real interaction with someone else, discussing some goal or problem. The second ‘you’ is floating above, near the ceiling, looking at the interaction of the other you and learning from it. After you leave the conversation, you can use that floating, observing ‘you’ to review what happened and consider what you could have done differently.”

By employing this exercise, you may learn that you give up power and choice very easily when someone has an objection to your idea. Or that you come down on yourself quickly when you...

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How to Process a Loss in Your Life

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

I worked on a project one time with a person who had been highly acclaimed in corporate circles and was well-known for his accomplishments in marketing around the world. Many organizations were trying to recruit him for his expertise, and I was excited at the opportunity to work with him. I was sure that we were going to be successful in our venture.

The first aspect of it took the better part of a year to put together and would culminate in a launch date that had great expectations. He had assembled several strategic partners and a lot was riding on its success. Because of his reputation, I was certain that it was going to do well.

The launch date came with everyone eager for the results. It was going to be huge, or so we thought. The day after, when the results were in, he called me. “How did it go?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “I just lost more money in one day than any time in my whole business career.”

My jaw dropped and my heart sank. I...

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The Worst Relationship is the One You Can't Let Go of

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

"So why don't you tell him that you want to break up with him?" I asked Monica about her boyfriend, Brian. "You keep telling me over and over about this issue that just doesn't go away."

"Because he has so many wonderful qualities," she said. "There are so many things I love about him."

"Like what?" I asked.

"Well, like his sense of humor, and his charm. I still get excited whenever he is around. I am so drawn to him," she said.

"Yeah, I know." I empathized. "And then when you get together, what happens?"

"We have a great time," she said. "That is why it is so hard."

"You have a great time for how long?" I pushed.

"Well, when he is there. And then when we get together again," she said.

"And... when is that?" I asked.

"Too long..." she said, reflecting the truth that Brian would dip into her life with fly-by romance and investment and then be totally unavailable in any kind of way that would build a true relationship.

"And then what happens?" I asked further, knowing the answer.

"I...

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Why Grief is Different from Other Kinds of Suffering

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

Grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with. It is not the worst human experience, because it leads to resolution, but it is the most difficult for us to inter into voluntarily, which is the only way to get into it. The rest of our human experience just happens “to us.” Hurt, injury, anxiety, alienation, and failure all break through, and we suffer. Grief does not “break through.” It is something we enter into.

But its voluntary nature is not the only thing that sets grief apart from other kinds of suffering. The other difference is that grief is the one that heals all others. It is the most important pain there is. This is why we’re called to enter into it voluntarily. It heals. It restores. It changes things that have gone bad. Moreover, it is the only place where we get comforted when things have gone wrong.

Why is that? What is so special about grief? What is it the “pain that heals”? Because grief is the way of our getting finished...

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Don’t Mind What Other People Think About You

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

As with feelings and attitudes, we must own our own thoughts. Our thoughts have much bearing on our emotional growth. Not all emotional disturbance comes from thinking, but it does play a vital part. (In reality, our emotions affect our thinking more than the other way around because feeling is primary, and thinking is secondary. But this isn’t about theories of psychology. Let’s just say that emotions and thought affect each other, and both must be owned.)

Our thinking affects how we respond to people and situations. We notice that we can have thoughts that make us move away from relationship. We may think, “They would never like me anyway, so I won’t call.” This is an example of thinking oneself into isolation. We must own all thinking that prevents interpersonal relating. Condemning thoughts about others always hurts us. We must own our critical thinking and confess it.

At the same time, we can’t be responsible for the thoughts of others. If...

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Seven Ways to Disrespect Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Aug 22, 2020

Building boundaries in dating situations means that a couple needs to know that their feelings, needs, and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a sexual situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. The couple needs to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem.

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom in one of seven ways:

1. Dominating: The other person won’t hear “no” from her date. When he disagrees, she intimidates, threatens, or rages. She is offended by her date’s freedom to choose. For example, a woman may want her boyfriend to spend lots of time with her. When he tells her he’d prefer to do other things, she may disrespect his freedom by becoming angry and telling him their relationship will be jeopardized.

2. Withdrawal: One...

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The Bad Habit That Destroys Relationships

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2020

Playing fair will destroy every relationship in your life.

Fair is giving good things to others as long as they give good things to us. Then if they fail us in some way, we respond “fairly.” We give it right back to them, either at the moment or soon thereafter. Either our words or our actions say, “That’s not fair. Therefore, I am not going to do good to you any more. In fact, I’m going to give you exactly what you’re giving me. Then you can see how it feels.”

The problem is that operating by the principle of playing fair, all it takes for any relationship to go sour is for one person not to perform, then the other one will do the same. There is an interlocking dependency: the other person must be good so I can be good. In this kind of dynamic, we need the other person to be loving in order for us to love them, or to behave maturely in order for us to behave maturely toward them. And no one ever performs perfectly, so that is why all it...

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