Intimacy is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2019

We were created to need a close and intimate relationship not with others. Relationships are the fuel of life. They provide us with acceptance, encouragement, empathy, wisdom, and a host of other relational nutrients. These nutrients keep us healthy and growing. In fact, many studies have shown that people without enough intimate relationships in life have more medical and psychological problems, as well as a higher mortality rate. The songwriters are correct: a lack of love can literally kill you. So however we look at the digital age, we need to make sure that we are getting our relational sustenance. The key is this: whenever you have the opportunity, set a limit on the digital and default to face-to-face.

Intimacy Requires Multiple Levels of Information Exchange

This sounds a bit dry or technical, but it’s true: to be deeply connected in satisfying, safe, and vulnerable relationships, we need to express who we are at many levels and experience others at those same levels....

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Win the War on Boundaries with Kids and Teens this School Year

Uncategorized Sep 03, 2019

Terri was having problems with her thirteen-year-old son Josh not doing his homework. I helped her come up with a plan that would require Josh to set aside a certain time each night to do homework. During this hour Josh had to be in his study place with nothing else but his work, and he was not to do anything else but study. Terri had no control over whether or not Josh actually chose to study during that time. What she could control was that he do nothing else during that time but sit with his homework.

[RELATED: 3 FREE TOOLS TO HELP YOU STOP ENABLING.]

When I saw her the next time, Terri looked sheepish. She had not lived up to her end of the plan. “What happened?” I asked. “Well, we were all set, and then he got invited to go to a baseball game with his friend. I said no, that his hour was not up yet. But he got so upset, I could not talk him out of it. He seemed so mad and sad.”

“So,” I said, “that’s what he’s supposed to do,...

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How to Stop Feeling so Exhausted

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2019

Talk to enough people and you will find that exhaustion is widespread, especially during this time of year. Managing a fulfilling life at home, a successful career, maintaining friendships, staying on top of your health and physical fitness, and getting enough sleep — it can seem as though there simply isn’t enough time for all of these things. Trying and failing to find balance leads to feelings of exhaustion.

[RELATED: THE HABITS CONTRIBUTING TO YOUR EXHAUSTION.]

Humans have always combatted exhaustion. Previous generations had much more demanding, physical labor-oriented jobs. Earlier still, humans had to hunt and gather to survive. Of course these strenuous physical demands have been attenuated by modern conveniences that allow us to live in comparative luxury. And yet, exhaustion persists. In fact, it may be more widespread than ever before.

Exhaustion is the result of a confluence of factors, some that originate within you and your developed capacities, physically...

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Don’t Be Afraid to Let Someone Struggle

Uncategorized Aug 22, 2019

I want to share a story with you on how NOT to be ruled by fear.  
 
"I know that I hold on to people too long, way past when I know I have to make a change," a CEO told me. "I have always done that, and it costs me." 
 
"What are you afraid of?" I asked. 
 
"I don't think I'm afraid," he said. "I just don't want to hurt them, and I always try to protect them." 
 
"What's the fear?" I asked again. 
 
It took him a while to get to it, but underneath it all, he was afraid for others to have to go through a struggle. 

[RELATED: Get 3 FREE Tools to Stop Enabling and Codependent Cycles] 

The problem is that the brain is wired to avoid pain and anxiety. Over time, when you continue to avoid things that cause you fear or anxiety, such as this CEO's fear of letting someone struggle, a pattern builds up, causing you to respond almost automatically to any situations that would cause you anxiety. But you cannot allow a pattern of fear...

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I Never Thought I'd Learn This From My Daughter

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2019

It was a holiday weekend, and I was at a celebration that included a memorial “paddle out” on surfboards in the Pacific Ocean to honor and remember my brother-in-law, Mark. He was a Navy SEAL, a great American, husband, father, hero, brother, and a friend. Mark died on a mission in Iraq in 2008.

My daughter, Olivia, was 10 at the time, and she wanted to participate in the paddle-out to honor her uncle. So, we borrowed a surfboard and began to walk out to the beach where the surfers were gathering, with me carrying the board. I was excited for her to take part in honoring her uncle Mark and was inspired by her fearlessness in wanting to paddle way out into the ocean with all the adults. She did just great and when we came back to the beach we hugged.

She was very proud and thankful for her uncle Mark, and we spent a moment talking about all of it before everyone gathered their things to make the long walk back up the hillside to the main event. Everyone, that is, except...

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Fewer Fights and Better Boundaries: 3 Steps to Seeing Improved Behavior in Your Child

Uncategorized Aug 11, 2019

Children need more than a parent who will talk about boundaries. They need a parent who will be boundaries. This means that in whatever situation arises, you respond to your child with empathy, firmness, freedom, and consequences. But, sometimes parents contribute to the problem by trying to justify their kid’s behavior, rather than addressing the issue.

Setting boundaries with kids isn’t about “making” your child do anything. It is much more about structuring your child’s existence so that he experiences the consequences of his behavior, thus leading him to be more responsible and caring. Use the following three key steps to help begin the process with your kids:

Step 1: Acknowledge that your child is not perfect.
All kids are immature sinners; this is our human condition. Some parents have difficulty with this first step. They deny their child’s behavior. They rationalize genuine problems. For example, smarting off becomes a cute sense of humor....

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How to Teach Your Kids to Connect with Others

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2019

One of the coolest things we ever see is children playing together, having fun and laughing with joy. It’s a pleasant feeling when we see children playing together in unity. It warms our hearts.

But as a parent, as wonderful as it is to see my kids playing with their friends, I also see it as a psychologist. And the psychologist in me knows that it is not just a nice thing to see our children having friends. It is crucial for their future, as the ability to create and maintain good relationships is one of the most important skills that anyone can have. Research has shown that it is related to our happiness, goal achievement, success in almost every area of life, physical and spiritual health, financial well-being, stress resilience, and on and on. So, I want my kids to have fun with their friends, but I want it more than for today. I want it to be a part of learning an ability that they are going to need for the rest of their lives.

And that brings us to a question, “How...

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How to Get Rid of Toxic Relationships and Codependent Behaviors

Uncategorized Aug 06, 2019

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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Making Someone Happy Can Hurt Your Marriage

Uncategorized Jul 31, 2019

I was talking to a young man one day about his girlfriend. He was thinking about getting married, and he had questions about their relationship. Several times during the conversation, he said that something she did or something about the relationship did not “make him happy.” It was clear that this was a theme for him. She was not “making him happy.”

When I asked, he said that she wanted him to deal with some things in the relationship. He needed to do some work that took effort. It was not a “happy” time. When he had to work on the relationship, he no longer liked it.

At first, I was trying to understand what the difficulties were, but the more I listened, the more I saw that he was the difficulty. His attitude was, “If I’m not happy, something bad must be happening.” And his immediate conclusion was always that the “bad” was in someone else, not him. From his perspective, he was not part of any problem, much less...

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Reap the Rewards of Setting Boundaries with These 3 Steps

Uncategorized Jul 30, 2019

Brianna used to believe that she would never learn how to say no and make it stick. But, as she sat at her kitchen table with a coffee cup in hand, she felt amazed. It was an unfamiliar sensation, but a pleasant one. Her mind wandered back to the events of the morning. Her eight-year-old son, Bryson, had begun the day with his usual waking-up shenanigans. He sulked and pouted his way to the breakfast table, announcing, “I’m not going to school — and no one’s going to make me!”

Normally Brianna would have either tried to talk Bryson into attending school, or blown up at him in frustration. However, this morning was different. Brianna simply said, “You’re right, Honey. No one can make you go to school. That has to be something you choose to do. However, if you don’t choose to go to school, you are choosing to stay in your room all day with no TV. But that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, like you did last...

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