Here's Why You Feel Stuck, So Let's Change That

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2018

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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Time Doesn't Heal All Things, but Here's What You Can Do

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2018

Somehow this idea that time heals all wounds has become a very popular one, and yet that kind of thinking can be a big source of pain for a lot of people (especially those with an infected tooth!). Time passing by itself doesn't do much for us at all. It's all of the things that we do that changes us, for better and worse, as we accumulate experiences. For those of us that accept the passage of time but resist making any changes, we shouldn't expect to see much difference.

If someone breaks your heart, and you don't do anything to address the emotional trauma that person has created within you, sure, over time, you might not think about it as much. But it will never be too far from the surface. Those emotional wounds will be ready to rip right open again at the slightest suggestion of any kind of similar trouble.

If someone at work violates your trust in a way that compromises your standing with your boss, do you think those changes are going to heal with time? No, you're going to...

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No One Can Make You Feel Guilty — Guilt Trippers are Manipulators

Uncategorized Oct 31, 2018

When is the last time someone made you feel guilty even though you know you shouldn't have felt that way?

Guilt is a difficult emotion. It's not actually a feeling the way that sadness, anger or fear are. It's our conscience punishing us by saying "You are bad."

Guilt comes mainly from how we have been taught in our early socialization process. Because of this, sometimes we fill guilt when we shouldn't. Feelings of guilt can appear when we haven't done anything wrong, per se, but maybe we have violated some internal standard that we have been taught. We have to be careful about listening to guilt feelings to tell us when we are wrong, for often, the guilt feelings themselves are wrong.

Guilt distorts reality. Rather than feeling 'bad', we should consider the impact of our actions. Has my action actually hurt someone? Why do they feel hurt? Could I have done something differently? Should I have?

Sometimes we feel like we're doing something bad or something mean when we set up...

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How to Get Rid of Toxic Relationships and Codependent Behaviors

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2018

You’ve heard it said many times before that people are “stuck in their ways,” and maybe you’ve said it as well. Depending on the person and the situation, it’s often said with confidence and satisfaction. That’s because there is a comfort to being resistant to change because it puts a stop to pain or helps you avoid it.

So getting the brain to create an ending, and getting the people around you to do the same, is going to take both the fear of the negative and the draw of the positive. Your brain really needs to get that if you don’t move, something bad is going to happen, and also that if you do, you will get what you desire. You have to break through the comfort level that you’re in because you were not designed to cope, but thrive.

So, what needs to happen to create the urgency needed to pursue what needs to happen for progress?

Your brain will get you moving toward anything that it agrees with, and avoiding pain is on top of its...

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Don’t Keep Going Back to Failed Relationships

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2018

Have you ever had a relationship where you weren’t getting what you needed or wanted? Or one where you were getting things that you didn’t want? Certainly you have. The question is, what did you do? Did you try to continually figure out what to do right, so you would get what you need? Did that work? We’ll explore the common human dynamic of trying harder with people when it isn’t going to work and talk about a better way to get what you need.

This is the story of the Coke machine. I want you to think about a vending machine for a moment. What do you do with a vending machine? You approach the machine, and there’s a little slot where you put your money, and there are all these choices...Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc. You need something from the machine! You need something to drink! So you think, “AH! Finally. I found the Coke.”

So you approach the machine. You reach inside your pocket (note: this inside is important, because I’m...

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How Living in Misery Can Actually Be Good For You

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2018

Your brain doesn’t move you toward pain, and yet pain is one of your biggest and best motivators. If you are afraid of the dentist, even though you want healthy teeth, you avoid going as long as you can chomp on food without wincing. But when it starts to hurt at 3 a.m., you go the next day. Endings are like that. We tend to execute them when we get a tummy full of the misery. To the degree that we can stay distant from it, we don’t get moving.

I once worked with a CEO who had a significant need for an ending to an ongoing quality problem in his company. It was so significant that he had prioritized it as the number-one issue for their next five years’ growth and competitive position. When I came on the scene, it had been a “focus” for about three years, yet no progress had been made. It had to do with some disconnects between manufacturing side of the business and the service-delivery and customer-facing side, with the usual rock throwing that happens...

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When Fear Actually Hurts You

Uncategorized Oct 27, 2018

Just as there are smart and dumb risks, there are also helpful and useless fears. Like any emotion, fear serves as a signal to us. It alerts us to potentially dangerous situations and prepares us to take proactive action. That is why there are physiological component to fear: increased heart rate, adrenal surges, and muscle tension. These responses prepare us for flight from harm. So, fear is helpful when there is a truly dangerous situation ahead of us, and when we need to take evasive action.

At the same time, some fears are useless to us and keep us from the risks we need to take. These usual fears are not about reality, but more about misperceptions and distortions we have in our heads. We need to learn to pay attention to the one and get rid of the other.

For example, I love rock music, and used to play in a band when I was a student. When I grew up and started working, I figured that my playing days were over, and I resigned myself to being a listener, not a performer. One...

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Don’t Keep Rescuing Someone — Let Them Face Consequences

Uncategorized Oct 24, 2018

Allowing someone to suffer logical consequences is another way of getting them to realize their need for grace. Ideally, we can do that by confronting them, have a difficult conversation and hope they have a willingness to face reality. But sometimes people cannot (or do not) hear the truth of confrontation, and they remain stuck. At those times we often have to allow reality to touch their lives.

Too often in our lives, we protect people from the harsh realities of logical consequences that would force them to see their need for grace and what it can provide. Either we feel sorry for them and bail them out, or we fear them and try to appease them. No matter what the person’s plight, we must help him face the truth. And sometimes that means letting him deal with harsh realities.

This isn’t necessarily about discipline and correction, but how it’s important to see that sometimes our “helping” may keep others from experiencing the tough realities that...

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Empower Someone by Letting Them Take Responsibility

Uncategorized Oct 23, 2018

Some people struggle with the fact that they are not always the cause of their problems. This often hinders them from taking full ownership.

No one would disagree that we aren’t the cause of all our problems. It is one of the truly tragic realities of living in a fallen world. The innocent are wounded. However, ultimately, in terms of solving the issue, fault is irrelevant. So here’s a much more helpful way to look at it: The person who cares about the problem owns the problem.

When we take responsibility for our lives in this way, we’re empowered to make changes. Ownership empowers us to act — to use our various skills to make plans, tackle a hurtful situation, or right a wrong. People who “own” their problems are people who can take initiative.

Ownership also gives us freedom. You are no longer a slave to the past, to false hope, to wishing someone would change, or to discouragement and passivity. You are free to try out answers, take risks, and...

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You Can Avoid Having Drama in Your Life

Uncategorized Oct 19, 2018

I can still remember what happened that day when I was eight years old. I made a big mistake, but I didn’t know it at the moment. I thought I was getting back at my sister, who was sixteen at the time. Opportunities for revenge were few and far between, and I was not about to let this one slip by. Sharon and her friend were goofing around in the den when one of them threw a pillow and broke the overhead light. They quickly figured out a way to arrange the light in such a way that you could not tell it was broken. They thought that they were off the hook. Little did my sister know that she had a sociopathic little brother with a plan.

When my father came home, I could not wait to tell him what they had done. I told him that they had broken the light, and he asked me to show him. I led him into the den, not knowing that Sharon and her friend were still in there. I was caught. Here he was, asking me about the broken light, and there they were, watching me seal my fate as a...

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