Take Power Away from Unsafe Family Members

Uncategorized Sep 09, 2019

Becoming an adult is a process of taking on more and more power and responsibility as we become old enough to handle them. Adults identify with the adult role enough to be able to do grown-up things without conflict, including developing a career, engaging in sexuality, establishing mutual friendships, treating other adults as peers, and having opinions. Adults establish a sense of competence over their lives.

This process of starting as little people and becoming equal with big people begins with bonding, having boundaries and separateness, and resolving good and bad, but ultimately has to do with coming out from under the one-down relationship that a child has to parents and other adults and coming into equal standing as an adult on his or her own. This is the final step of development so that one can exercise their gifts and responsibilities. It is a big leap into adulthood, but we are supposed to become equal with other adults.

Adults make decisions, have opinions, establish...

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How to Experience the Forgiveness You Deserve to Have

Uncategorized Sep 07, 2019

“I know that when I do something wrong, I’ve been taught that I’ll be forgiven,” said Erik. “I believe it in my head, but I just can’t feel it in my heart. I still feel ‘bad.’ “

[RELATED: REJECT THE SAME PROJECTED FROM OTHERS.]

Knowing something in our heads does not always translate to feeling it in our hearts, where our emotions live and breathe. This is because we know things in two different ways. One way is conceptual and informational. We know that we are forgiven.

The other way of knowing is experiential. It comes from what we have experienced in relationships. If, for example, a lot of our significant relationships have not been very forgiving and have left us feeling bad or fearful of losing love and acceptance, then that is what our hearts know, even if our heads know differently. The gap between the head and the heart renders us unable to feel what we know to be true.

To close the gap, you have to talk to your heart in...

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Your Anger Isn't a Sin

Uncategorized Sep 06, 2019

In the last 30 years or so, we have seen a big swing in the way that Christians look at anger. Back then, it was almost all seen as sin. And, there are a lot of verses that tell us about the danger of anger, for it can be a very destructive emotion. As Proverbs 27:4 says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming.” We all know what it feels like to be on the wrong end of someone’s rage attack. Because of this teaching, many people were very out of touch with what they were feeling, and a lot of anger went hidden and suppressed. It did not mean that people were not angry, it just meant that the church often did not give them very helpful ways to work it out, especially people who had been really hurt in life and were sitting on a lot of pain and anger. They were often times just stuck with it.

About the same time, the world of psychiatry was getting into the understanding that hidden anger could cause sickness, and play a major role in a lot of psychiatric problems,...

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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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No Matter How Bad It Gets, You Have Options

Uncategorized Aug 26, 2019

A woman complained to me about a coworker who would always interrupt her while she was trying to get her job done. She acted as if her tendency to be behind in her work was her coworker’s fault.

“Why do you talk to her?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” she replied.

“When she comes in and interrupts, why do you get into a conversation with her?”

“Well, I have to. She is standing there talking.”

“Why don’t you just tell her that you have work to do, or close your door and put up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign?”

The woman looked at me with a blank stare. To have choices and to have control of her own behavior was a concept that hadn’t occurred to her. She felt that if something happened “to her,” then that was the way it had to be.

There was nothing she could do to change it.

[RELATED: You Don't Have to Be a People-Pleaser. Here's Why.]

When I suggested that she had many choices, she quizzed me...

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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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Confront That Toxic Person About Your Boundaries

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2019

Being emotionally present and connected while we are confronting another person is the first essential of a good conversation. It truly requires a work of grace in us.

[Related: How to Defend Yourself Against Someone Who Gaslights You During a Confrontation]

Being present refers to being in touch and in tune with our own feelings as well as those of the other person. This is an important skill, because when we are “there” – that is, emotionally present – we are available to the other person. He is not shut off from us while we are telling him a difficult reality about himself and the relationship. It is hard for anyone to absorb a confrontation. Presence and connection help to make that tolerable.

A boundary conversation is very difficult because it feels unnatural – and it is unnatural, in that the natural person within us does not think this way. On our own, we seek to protect ourselves from discomfort. We don’t want to be vulnerable and...

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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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