How to Take the Risks that are Worth it

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2017

Do you ever let your fears hold you back? Of course you do, we all do. Maybe if we were a bit more honest about our fears, we wouldn't have to be prisoners to them. Fear is a mechanism that allows us to avoid stuff that is unknown, scary, unpleasant or hard. Fears can be painful, and I'm not trivializing yours, but I would suggest that sometimes we don't really understand our fears.

Fears, like bad dreams, are best disposed of in the light of day. Expose your fears to yourself and others you trust. Identify them and where they came from. They are much less powerful when you can look at them in the light. Say to yourself, “I have not taken a risk in an important area of my life because I am afraid that…”

1. I will lose a relationship. (Are you sure? Or will that person just get mad and withdraw for a while?)

2. Someone will get mad at me (The anger of others is unpleasant, but you must be able to tolerate people being mad at you to be successful.)

3. I might hurt...

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6 Ways to Have a Better Relationship with Your Adult Children

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2017

Very few parent-child relationships make it out of the teenage and young adult years without some battle scars. We all have them! This being said, there's often some work that can be done to strengthen and/or repair even the strongest relationships between grown-up kids and their parents. Other than giving love, moral support and being an ally, one of the best things parents can do is to allow their adult kids to set up their own boundaries within the relationship. This is a time of profound emotional, spiritual and overall life development for young people, and finding your 'sea-legs' in the rocky waters of adulthood can mean temporarily pushing away from those closest to you. I've mentioned it before, as a parent you can say the same things to your kids over and over yet they never listen, but the minute an aunt, uncle or family friend mentions it to them all of a sudden they think it's genius advice.

We just have to be there, waiting, respectful of our adult child's autonomy,...

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Is it the Blues, or is it Depression?

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2017

A few years ago someone asked me the difference between being in a funk and experiencing depression. It’s important to know when you have the “blues” and when you are truly depressed and need help. Let’s look at the dynamics of each.

If you have the “blues” about something specific, you can pinpoint why you feel the way you do and then take the appropriate action – talking the problem over with a friend, working through the relationship issues that are causing the feelings, moving on to a new relationship, developing spiritual disciplines, expressing your feelings more, starting an exercise routine, and so forth. There’s a reason, there’s an answer, and you implement it – with the support of people who care about you, you will feel better with a little time and a great deal of effort.

Overcoming a breakup, for example, is something you can recognize and deal with. It takes time, support, effort, and some changes, but you...

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The Addictive Habits That Ruin Relationships

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2017

Sometimes when activities are meeting some need other than those they are intended to meet, you can become attached or addicted to that behavior. You develop a need for it to perform some function that regulates how you feel. For example, some people develop an inordinate need for food when they are feeling lonely of stressed, and they cannot stop eating when they are in an emotional need state. Others act out impulsively with sex to make themselves feel better. Some may overspend. Others drink too much. Still other people work to avoid other issues or feeling states in their lives. I have had many executives tell me that there are times when they know they escape into work because of how something is going at home or in the rest of life.

If you cannot be away from email for some period of time to do something vital in life, like connect with your loved ones or take a walk or play golf, then something is wrong. If you cannot go to a social dinner without checking email...

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When Someone Can’t Respect Your Boundaries, Do They Love You?

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2017

Eric sat in my office, despondent. His wife, Jennifer, whom he loved deeply, had just moved out because he had lost another job. A very talented person, Eric seemed to have everything he needed for success. But he had lost several good jobs because of his irresponsibility and inability to follow through. Bosses loved the talent but hated the performance. And after several family disruptions because of his failures, Jennifer had had enough.

“I love her so much,” Eric said to me. “Doesn’t she see that?”

“I believe that you love her,” I said. “But in reality, I don’t think that she does see your love. All she sees is the effect your behavior has had on her and the children, and she asks herself, ‘How can he love us and treat us this way?’ You cannot just love someone and not deliver. Love without the fruits of love is really not love in the end. She feels very unloved because of what you have put her through.”

If...

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Embrace the Power of Saying No and Live with Fruitfulness

Uncategorized Nov 10, 2017

Much of our identity comes from the positive assertions of who we are. We say things such as, “I love sports,” or “I love to travel.” We are asserting positive truths about who we are.

There are many people who aren’t in touch with their “not me” experiences. They don’t know how to disown who they are not.

I once knew a student in med school who wasn’t performing very well, but he felt pressured to stay because it’s what his parents wanted him to become. He needed to scream at the top of his lungs, “I hate medicine!” until he was finally heard, but he kept quiet. His “voice” eventually came out in his poor performance in school and his failure in residence.

Negative assertions are a reality. Just as we need to take responsibility for what lies inside our boundaries, we need to admit to ourselves what lies outside. Some negative assertions would be: “No, I don’t like to speak before large...

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You’re Never Responsible for Your Parents’ Feelings

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2017

Micah had taken an overdose of drugs. At 24, he had dropped out of school and was living at home. Since his parents were “good Christians,” his behavior was very upsetting to them. It tarnished their image to their group of friends, so they brought him to therapy.

As Micah and I began to explore why he was suicidally depressed, I discovered that his parents were having serious marital problems. They would get into screaming fights and then wouldn’t speak to each other for days. They would bring Micah into conflict. Micah’s father would ask Micah’s mother something, and vice versa.

At other times, Micah’s parents would both confide in him about the other person, instead of confronting each other directly. Micah’s mother told him that she could never stand to be left alone with his father. If Micah left home, they would divorce. If that happened, she said, she would commit suicide, implying it would be “Micah’s fault.”

Micah...

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When Can You Trust Someone Again?

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2017

Just wanted to leave a quick note about trust. Specifically, If someone said they wanted to be more “trustworthy” in their life, what my advice for them would be...

-Get clear on what trust means to not only you but to those you serve. One of my favorite definitions of “trust” is the “ability to be careless.” Meaning, if we trust someone, we do not have to be looking out for what we have entrusted to them. You put your money in the bank and sleep at night, carelessly not obsessing about whether or not someone is stealing it. They have your back.

Likewise, people who depend upon your performance in some area, should be able to be “careless” and not worry about your performance letting them down. You spouse should be “careless” about worrying where you are and what you are doing. Your boss or board should feel “careless” about the assets they have entrusted to you. Your partners should feel “careless”...

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Set Boundaries with You Teen Without the Anxiety

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

One parent once described adolescence as the terrible twos all over again, but this time in a bigger body. We personally don’t see either time period as “terrible,” but each one can be a time full of difficulty if you don’t recognize the important stage of independence, separateness and autonomy that a child is going through. In the “twos,” toddlers are moving away from the early dependency of infancy. In the teens, children are moving away from their lifelong dependency of learning on parents for a lot of functioning.

They are looking to…

  • Think for themselves and have their own opinions
  • Question, evaluate and choose values
  • Follow their own desires and goals
  • Build skills and abilities
  • Develop their own spirituality
  • Find their own ways of making money
  • Have parents available to them while they are working all of this out

These are all good things. Participate in your adolescent’s emerging autonomy by being proactive. Many parents just...

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How to Address Boundaries Conflicts in Friendship

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

When we think of friendship, it conjures up images of intimacy, fondness and mutual drawing together of two people. Was this what friendship was supposed to be about? Friends are symbols of how meaningful our lives have been.

But friendship can be a broad category; but for our purposes, let’s define friendship as a nonromantic relationship that is attachment-based rather than function-based. Let’s see friendship as comprising people we want to be around just for their own sake.

When we practice mindfulness in a friendship, we can’t assume we always understand the wants and needs of the other person, and at the same time, we can’t hold someone accountable if they don’t understand what we need. No one is a mind reader.

Let’s take the friendship between Sean and Tim as an example. They enjoyed the same sports, activities and recreation. They had their favorite hangout spots and kept similar schedules. But there was a problem – they had a...

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