How Freedom is Essential to Any Relationship

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2018

Telling other people what you want is key to feeling alive in a relationship and keeping things vibrant for both people. If only one person is getting his or her desires met, the relationship suffers. Unfortunately, many people do not get what they want in a relationship. But, they could if they knew how to communicate their desires.

For example, Aaron began dating Nichole. At first, he was in absolute heaven. She was so “easy to get along with,” he said. About five months later, though, something happened. “I broke up with Nichole,” he said. “It just wasn’t working out.”

”What happened?” I asked.

“In the beginning, she was like a breath of fresh air,” Aaron replied. But as time went on, I noticed a couple of things. First, I could never figure out what she wanted. I would ask her what she wanted to do, or where she wanted to go, or how she felt about something, and she would always defer to me. Even though that felt...

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Three Ways to Fail at Handling Conflict — And One That Works

Uncategorized Jun 07, 2018

Have you ever had a relationship where you thought everything was going okay, and then you didn’t call home when you were going to be late, and your partner treated you like you had leprosy?

Or, have you thought you were doing well in a sport, and then played a rotten game, and felt enormous hatred for yourself? It felt as if you were a total failure, all bad.

Or, have you ever prepared a special meal for friends, planning the perfect evening together, then the cake falls and the whole evening is ruined?

The world around us is good and bad. The people around us are good and bad. We are good and bad.

Our natural tendency is to try and resolve the problem of good and evil by keeping the good and the bad separated. We want, by nature, to experience the “good me,” the “good other,” and the “good world” as all good. To do this, we see the “bad me,” the “bad other,” and the “bad world” as all bad. This creates a...

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Why you shouldn't even try to please everyone

Uncategorized May 31, 2018

To some extent, we’re all guilty of people-pleasing, some more than others. But there are so many reasons not to please everyone that it would be difficult to list them all here. Seeking others’ approval steals time, energy and focus, and even if you did make everyone happy, you’d be worse off.

If you are making everyone happy, you are also making some of the wrong people happy! You’re trying to please people who are judgmental, controlling or arrogant, people who require others to do what they want them to do before they extend approval. So, to keep hurtful people happy, you must do some things that are not good in the long run. You have to make some bad choices to keep these people smiling.

So, here’s what you do — You make decisions based on what is best, not on who is going to like it. Here are a few examples:

  • Choosing a profession that is right for you, even if your friends or family would like for you to do something different.
  • Standing up...
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‘Hate’ Doesn’t Have to Be A Bad Thing

Uncategorized May 25, 2018

One evening as I was doing a seminar, I asked people in the audience to list what comes to mind when they thought of the word hate. The response I got was a list of bad things:

  • You should not feel it.
  • I do it too easily.
  • I feel guilty for feeling it.
  • It comes from fear.
  • I feel uncomfortable with hate.
  • I am afraid to show it.

Such answers were pretty much what I expected, and they are probably typical of those most of us have when we think of hate. When we think of “hating well,” it seems like an oxymoron to most of us. We try to get over hatred because we have seen the destruction that it causes. We usually think of hate as a problem to be solved.

In reality, though, hate is one of the most important aspects of being human. It is one of the most crucial ingredients of a good person’s character. What we hate says a lot about who we are, what we value, what we care about. And how we hate says much about how we will succeed in love and life.

What We Hate Defines Us

...
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People Who Try to Control You with Their Feelings Are Immature

Uncategorized May 25, 2018

Jim came into therapy because of his inability to get things done at home. He said, “I am irresponsible, and my wife is very displeased with me. I can’t seem to follow through on anything.”

“What sorts of things don’t you follow through on?” I asked.

“Well, Jean wants me to rake the yard, plant a flower garden, fix the patio, remodel the kitchen, take the kids to the movies, make more money ... .”

The list went on and on. “Did you promise to do all those things?”

I asked, when Jim paused to take a breath.

“Yes.”

“Do you want to do all those things?” I asked.

“Not really, but I have to,” he replied.

“What do you mean, ‘You have to?’” I asked further.

“Well, if I don’t, Jean will get mad and say that I don’t love her.”

I was beginning to get the picture. “You mean that you promise to do anything Jean wants? How in the world can you make...

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How Abuse Violates Our Boundaries

Uncategorized May 23, 2018

Our most basic boundary is our body. When we possess our bodies, we know they belong to us. We can feel them, we can own the pleasure they bring us through our senses, and we are in touch with them.

To invade another person’s body, to cross over this person’s boundaries, is the most basic act of abuse. The first effect of a crossover in body boundaries is that the person whose boundaries are crossed feels more like a thing than a person. Forcibly using a girl’s body against her will, for example, does away with that girl’s basic feeling of owning her own life. This can happen in several ways.

Sexual abuse is one of the most blatant examples of crossing boundaries, for someone takes what is not theirs. Ours sexual functioning was meant to be freely shared with a partner of our choice, not stolen against our will. People who have been sexually abused may disown their bodies. They may feel that their bodies do not belong to them: they belong to their abusers....

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Understanding What Addicts Lack in Their Lives

Uncategorized May 22, 2018

An addiction is a compulsive physiological need for something, in other words, something that someone needs to survive. People are usually addicted to a specific substance, such as alcohol, cocaine, speed, or food. But people can also feel addicted to activities, such as sex, gambling, work, destructive, relationships, religiosity, achievement, and materialism. These substances and activities never satisfy, however, because they don’t deal with the real problem. We don’t really need alcohol, street drugs, or sex. We can live very well without these things.

However, we really do need relationship, and we cannot live very well without it. We are aware of what happens when it’s absent.

Curing addictions requires a return to sensitivity and humility. Addicted people must admit their powerlessness to others, as well as soften their heart toward those they have injured and realize their deceitful desires. Addictions are not real desires. They are substitutes for some...

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The Fastest Way to Make Yourself Miserable

Uncategorized May 18, 2018

You’re scrolling through Facebook, and what do you see?

That guy from high school you haven’t talked to in years posted a photo of his family in matching outfits and adorable smiles.

That couple you knew in college is doing a food tour in Taipei.

That girl you used to work with is posting another selfie at the gym after losing 15 pounds.

That guy you met at a conference just bought a bigger home in a school district you’ve always wanted to be in.

And what are YOU doing?

You’re sitting in the car rider line at your oldest child’s school while your toddler screams from her car seat behind you because the movie on the iPad quit playing, and you’re hoping your son will be able to fix it for her before you have to drop him off at soccer practice, which happens to end right before you have to be at your women’s group. And by the way, it’s your turn to bring refreshments. You forgot, didn’t you? ... 
Now your husband just...

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Don’t Mind What Other People Think About You

Uncategorized May 18, 2018

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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Taking Steps to Evict the Critical Voices in Your Head

Uncategorized May 15, 2018

Many people go through life with an internal critic, a “voice” inside their head that’s always telling them fearful, negative, or critical things that make them afraid. Sometimes that voice says things such as: 

See, you’re a loser. No one is going to like you if you screw this up. 
• If that deal does not go through, your career is over, and you will never get another job. 
• You’ll never be forgiven for that. 
• Did you feel that? You’re losing it. You’ll go crazy. They will have to lock you up, and everyone will know. You are out of control. 
• That is the worst thing you could ever do. You’re such scum. 
• If this happens, it will be terrible, awful, horrible, and your life will be over. 
• If this person rejects you, it proves you are worthless and that no one will ever want you. 

If you are constantly hearing these kinds of critical messages in your head,...

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