You Were Created to Thrive – Not Be a Victim

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

There is a big difference between a victim and a winner. Victims see things the way they are and think they will always be that way, because uncontrollable forces are acting upon them. But winners have a different attitude, especially about failure and trying something new to see if it works better. They know one of the most important things we can ever know: they know that they can learn.

If your hope lies in your abilities, then you are on precarious ground. If your dream works out because you are able to accomplish it successfully, then all is well. But if you put everything you have into your dream, and it doesn’t turn out well, where is your hope then? You have come to the end of your ability, and there is nothing there but failure.

But if you have in your toolkit another instrument of hope – your ability to learn – then nothing seems hopeless. If you can’t accomplish your dream now, you can learn how to do it. Winners think this way every day, and it is...

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Saying No is Enough — You Don’t Have to Justify It

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

Psychologists spend an enormous amount of energy building psychological tests, assessments and the like, and then administering them to people to help them understand themselves. This practice is very helpful in many settings, from work, to education, to couples and individuals. Insight into ourselves and others is really helpful for a number of reasons. I believe in good, validated testing.

But one of the best tests for our psychological well being, the tenor of the family or work culture we live in, and the health of our relationships, is free and can be self-administered. All you have to do is monitor the internal response you have when you want to say the word “no.”

Let’s start with ourselves. What happens when someone you love, someone you want to please or maybe even someone whose anger or frustration you fear, wants you to do something that you do not want to do? I do not mean the kind of need or desire that will call for sacrifice, effort or even discomfort...

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Expose your past, learn, and move forward

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

Have you ever had someone tell you, “The past is in the past. It shouldn’t have any power over you”?

That’s not entirely true. The things we would say are “in our past” are really part of our present.

People have hurt us, and we have hurt people. We have suffered wrong, and we have done wrong. We would say, “All those things happened in the past and can’t be changed.” But have your past experiences been addressed? Have you forgiven? Have you given yourself a chance to grieve and let go?

Address the past so you can be healed and open to change. Don’t let the shame of the past keep you from moving forward.

These directives reveal why dealing with the past is so important:

1. Acknowledge your past to establish a starting point. Your past is part of your history. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened; what matters is that you’ve exposed it. You can’t make the right changes in your life if...

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The characteristics to look for in good people to have in your life

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

New and unfamiliar situations tend to make us feel anxious. The tense part of a business deal just before the pens come out. The exposed vulnerability of doing something for the first time, or doing something that could easily go sideways unless all the pieces fall exactly the right way. Anxiety is the brain’s natural reaction to these experiences. It activates a fear response that’s meant to shield us from risking our well being.

The first thing most of us do is look to others to confirm or disaffirm our perception of the facts. Is anyone else sweating this like I am? What we expect to find is that everyone else is as hesitant and unsure as we are, but what we’re really looking for is that person who will make us feel like everything is going to be OK.

I don’t mean OK in the sense that everything will turn out perfectly, or even good. I mean OK in the sense that a person gives you a feeling that everything that can be done has been done. You’re...

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Let Go of the Toxic Friendships and Feel Good About It

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

Michelle and Kristin were partners in an online craft business they launched over social media. Though the two had seen a great deal of success, personal issues were starting to come between the two friends.

One day Michelle confronted Kristin on a behavior that had been bothering her.

"You always interrupt me when we are meeting with vendors,” she said. "It makes me feel inferior."

"Well, that’s because I think you’re too soft and undersell our brand!” Kristin shot back.

Michelle stared at her, stunned. "How can you say that?" she asked. "I've always worked just as hard as you, and I care about building relationships with our vendors!"

But Kristin could not take the implication that she was flawed, and when she heard about it, her immediate response was to insult Michelle. When Michelle tried to resolve the conflict, their friendship and the joint business venture eventually fizzled.

Michelle was devastated. But as she thought back over the years with...

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10 Things to Help You Take Steps to Address Trauma

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2017

War. Terrorism. Abuse. In today’s world, feeling secure is an elusive goal. It seems that, at least of late, there is a new reason for fear almost daily. And with all the information that is available to us so quickly, if we want more scary things, we can all too easily find them on the television or the internet. The unsettling realities seem to be much easier to find these days than the free and easy existence we knew before terrorism hit America.

So, at least for now, fear has become part of the American tapestry. And with some of these realities, some fear is an appropriate response. Fear is not always a bad thing, for it can motivate us to protect ourselves. It is the fact that we fear another attack that has moved the nation to make airports more secure, speed up investigations of terrorist networks, and protect our vital interests. If we were not afraid, we would not take those steps and would be much more vulnerable. So, fear that protects us is very important and very...

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It's Not Selfish to Set Boundaries

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

I get this a lot from different people I talk to: Why do I need boundaries, and aren’t they selfish?

You were created to be free and act responsibility with the freedom you were given. You’re meant to have control of yourself and your decisions, and to have a good existence. But as we all know, we have formed habits to misuse our freedom, and as a result, have lost it. With the loss of freedom came the loss of self-control, and the results of losing self-control have been experienced in a wide variety of miseries, such as:

Controlling relationships where people try to control each other.
Faith that is practiced out of guilt and drudgery instead of freedom and love.
Being motivated by guilt, anger and fear instead of love.
The inability to gain control of our own behavior and solve problems in our lives.
The loss of control to addictive processes.

These are to name just a few. It is no wonder why the need for Boundaries is felt so deeply.

So aren’t boundaries selfish?

...

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How to Tell if Your Relationship is a Waste of Time

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

Laura had been in a relationship with Jason for about four years. Her biggest complaint was that he took her for granted and did not make her a priority. He was a nice guy, but too self-centered to make a relationship work. Over and over again, he would leave her feeling ignored and unimportant. She had broken up with him several times, missed him, reunited, and nothing had changed. She would break up with him again and then a few months later would run into him and, with the pain gone, begin to enjoy all the good things about him and want to try again.

They would both talk about how they had been foolish to break up with so much good in their relationship, how they really loved each other, and how they truly should be together. “I was wrong to leave. I miss you and want to be with you again,” would be their mutual feeling. So they would get back together and do it again.

So what’s wrong with that? Everything. But please understand something: I am not saying that...

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Don’t Let Toxic Family Members Shame You into Compliance

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

Holly was one of the angriest women I had ever seen in my office. She was angry at her family’s excessive expectations of her. Her mother expected her to call her every week and to accompany her on shopping trips. If there was a family function, Holly had to be there. Her father expected her to come home for Sunday dinner. Her brother expected her to come to all of his sporting events.

And if she didn’t, Holly’s family shamed her into submission.

I agreed with Holly that her family’s expectations were extreme, but when I suggested that her family wasn’t going to change and that she had to free herself from their expectations by changing her attitude, she became angry with me. She felt that if I didn’t see her as a victim, I didn’t care. I assured her that while she had indeed been victimized growing up, she had to stop allowing herself to be victimized by freeing herself from both her family’s expectations and her expectations of them....

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When Someone is Angry at Your Boundaries, it’s Their Problem, Not Yours

Uncategorized Oct 27, 2017

When you establish a new boundary with someone else, the most common form of resistance one gets is anger. People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem. Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort. They see others as extensions of themselves.

When they hear the word “no,” they have the same reaction a two-year-old has when deprived of something: “Bad Mommy!” They feel as though the one who deprives them of their wishes is “bad,” and they become angry. They are not righteously angry at a real offense. Nothing has been done “to them” at all. Someone will not do something “for them.” Their wish is being frustrated, and they get angry because they have not learned to delay gratification or to respect others’ freedom.

The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It...

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