Why We Pick the Wrong Relationships and How to Change That

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2019

Please keep in mind that this was written in the context of general relationship conflicts and is not placing blame on victims of abuse.

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way. Consider these questions:

  • Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
  • Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
  • Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
  • Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
  • Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their...

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The 7 Warning Signs of a Bad Relationship

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2019

We don’t always see warning signs of a bad relationship. The “do not cross” sign is flashing, and yet we remain oblivious to the oncoming train that will mess up our emotional world.

But I’ll tell you what you can do. Be engaged in what’s going on in the interpersonal dynamics of your relationships. Regularly take the temperature of your relationship and learn to recognize the problems before they become catastrophes, and you won’t have to worry about being caught off guard.

1. First and foremost, more than anything...you should feel safe. Safe expressing who you truly are, your mistakes and your triumphs. Every little thing that you have experienced has made you the person you are today and while some of this may not always be pretty to discuss, it made you, and the person you’re with will embrace your ups and not shame you for your downs.

2. It should never feel like a game. When someone is truly into you, and wants to pursue you and make...

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The Two Ways We Truly Find What Makes Us Happy

Uncategorized Mar 11, 2019

There's so much research that tells us material things do not bring us happiness. When I look at all of the scientific research on happiness and thriving, and I looked at what all the studies have found in the last decade or more, it's amazing. There are ways of living that make you happy whether you're rich, poor or healthy or sick, or have the job you have or don't, or the car you want or don't, the salary you want or don't.

That all of that external stuff, research shows, only counts for 10 percent of our happiness. Then there are some biological things like temperament. But the rest of happiness comes from basically some life practices. There are things like staying connected and being grateful, and forgiving and having a purpose and utilizing your talents and sharing, and a bunch of things that our brains are wired to release -- positive states of joy and happiness and chemistry and all of this, when we have certain things built into our lives.

Yet, what we do is we don't...

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The 4 Things We Need to Create Healthy Lives for Ourselves

Uncategorized Mar 08, 2019

A few months ago at Dave Ramsey's Smart Conference, I got to sit down with Rachel Cruze and talk about the four key components that give us healthy, fulfilling lives.

We were all designed in a certain way. If you take a house, for example, it was designed for a specific purpose — to give us shelter, to provide protection. Every house is different, but they all have the same basic components.

1. The Foundation: You try to build a house without a foundation, it’s going to fall. The foundation for humans is connection. When a baby is born, you don’t teach it algebra. In the first year of a baby’s life, it establishes the ability to connect and bond with other people and have that secure attachment. Connections are our fuel. If you try to go through life without the fuel of connection, you’re going to feel empty.

2. The Frame: The frame establishes the boundaries and the structure of the house, and that frame does a few things for us. Most importantly, it...

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How to Pick the Right People

Uncategorized Mar 04, 2019

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way. Consider these questions:

  • Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
  • Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
  • Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
  • Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
  • Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their relationships leave them lacking in some way, leaving them to wonder why they end up in the situations they do. They wonder what they are...

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Why 'Self-Help' is Really a Myth

Uncategorized Mar 01, 2019

Self-help is an oxymoron. If we have a problem in something we can't do, then to think that we are going to be the solution when we are the problem is kinda goofy. It's sorta like your car is out of gas, and you're gonna tell it to get some self-gas. That just doesn't work.

Everything we know about a closed system is that it deteriorates, and it runs out of energy, and it runs out of the ways to do things well. To use an example, leave your toddlers at home for the weekend and tell them to get some self-discipline. How do you think that's gonna work out for you?

So, what you see with high-performers, every high-performer, truly high-performer, they have people that speak into their lives and that support them and that help them through struggles, and give them wisdom, and give them feedback, and give them coaching. You take even the athletes. If you look at Michael Phelps, who won more gold medals than anybody, what do you look at? You look at his picture where he's had a coach...

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I Know Why Your Significant Others Hides Their Feelings

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2019

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she said, referring to the grim financial realities he had been hiding.

“You never told me you were feeling alone,” he said, referring to her reason for getting involved with someone at work.

“I didn’t know you didn’t want to go,“ she said, referring to his resentment at going to her parents’ for the holidays.

“You always seemed happy,” he said, referring to her complaint in counseling that her marriage felt dead.

Sound like things you have heard before? Sound like things you have said before? You know the experience of being surprised that someone close to you felt a certain way, and you had no clue. It happens in a marriage! Sometimes one partner doesn’t hear when the other is trying to communicate something important. But at other times the communication is not so clear after all. And often when the hidden feelings are uncovered, it is too late.

Why People Hide Their Feelings

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There’s Something Better Than Striving for Perfection

Uncategorized Feb 26, 2019

Have you ever had one of those moments where everything just seemed perfect? It never seems to last, does it?

What are those perfect moments? How do we create more of them?

We all have a perfect nature, and in a perfect world, every one of us would succeed beyond our wildest dreams. However, we do not live in a perfect world, so we have to manage the imperfection that makes up our day-to-day reality. We have to pursue virtue and ideal outcomes despite living in a world that sometimes seems to reward people who act in bad faith.

We need to develop the character to face reality, to handle whatever challenges are put in front of us, and to overcome them. Part of developing that character is admitting your imperfections to yourself. There may be a lot of qualities that you really don't like in others, that you might give yourself a pass on because you haven't examined your own life the way you scrutinize others. We must do this because otherwise we will be continually disappointed, and...

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Navigating Your Feelings When You Set Boundaries

Uncategorized Feb 20, 2019

Boundaries have a two-sided nature. You may lose something, but you gain a new life of peacefulness and self control.

Fear of the unknown is a really powerful internal obstacle to overcome when setting boundaries. As one woman said, "I didn't want to move out of Hell. I knew the names of all the streets!"

Setting boundaries and being more independent is scary because it is a step into the unknown. Many of us are aware that we can be rewarded for stepping out on faith into the unknown. However, that doesn't always make it easy to do.

Change is frightening. It may comfort you to know, that if you are afraid, you are possibly on the right road -- the road to change and growth. One businessman I know says that if he's not totally frightened at some point in every day, he is not stretching himself far enough. He is very successful at what he does.

Boundaries separate you from what you have known and what you do not want. They open up all sorts of new options for you. You will have mixed...

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How to Take the Steps to Get Unstuck

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2019

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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