Why Isolation is So Toxic to You and How to Find Healthy Relationships

Uncategorized Apr 29, 2018

Whether it’s maintaining personal health, thriving in a certain situation, reaching goals or organizational performance, fulfillment requires our reliance on the “others” in our circle. We need them. And our outcomes greatly depend on the quality of how those relationships are working.There are basically four possibilities when it comes to the kinds of relational connections we have in our lives, both personally and professionally. Drawing them into a rectangle, this model forms four corners. The first corner is what I call “no connection,” which happens when we find
ourselves with little or no real connection to key individuals in our lives.

This can happen even when we have people around us. While we may be in relationships, both personally and professionally, we find ourselves with little or no connection to them. We are not understood, fueled, built-up, corrected and challenged in the ways that are necessary for thriving.
It could be a...

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How to Get to the Truth, Even When It’s Uncomfortable

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

Maybe you’re heard this before — Become a student of yourself. It’s a trait of successful people, and they achieve that success because they’re able to confront the truth about themselves to get over their inaccurate and unhelpful thinking patterns.

When I consult with people who come to me with problems, I often have them try this exercise. “Imagine that you are in two places at once: one ‘you’ is a real interaction with someone else, discussing some goal or problem. The second ‘you’ is floating above, near the ceiling, looking at the interaction of the other you and learning from it. After you leave the conversation, you can use that floating, observing ‘you’ to review what happened and consider what you could have done differently.”

By employing this exercise, you may learn that you give up power and choice very easily when someone has an objection to your idea. Or that you come down on yourself quickly when...

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Leave Your Pride at the Door. It’s Ruining Future Relationships.

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

Humility is a trait of greatness. It is not an aspect of timid people who see themselves as trash. Humility is the ability to see yourself and your situation clearly, for good and for bad. Humble people don’t care if what they do or think makes them look like a hero or a bad guy. They want to get at the heart of the matter.

I knew a guy who was controlled by negative thinking patterns that kept him from asking out a woman he was attracted to. He said, “She wouldn’t go for a guy like me; she’s amazing, and I’m pretty mediocre.” After a few attempts to encourage him, I realized something. I was heading in the wrong direction.

“Actually, in a way, that could be a pride issue for you,” I said.

“What? I thought you were saying I put myself down too much.”

“I did, but sometimes pride can drive our self-talk, too.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, let’s look at it. How prideful is it to...

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How to Expose Your Fear to Get Over it

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

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’m afraid that:

  • I will lose a relationship. Are you sure? Or will that person just get mad and withdraw for a while?
  • 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.
  • I might hurt somebody’s feelings. Certainly, you could. But hurt and harm are two different things. You don’t want to harm, but discomfort can be a help to someone.
  • I might lose my job. Check out the reality of that fear with someone who is balanced. Is the situation truly that fragile?
  • I might fail. You might. You might not. And failure is often a blessing.
  • I might be disappointed. That is possible. When...
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What Keeps Some People in Bad Relationships

Uncategorized Feb 13, 2018

"Understanding fear and how you tend to back off may be the step of awareness that help you make better choices."

Alicia feared losing Daniel. She was so afraid of being alone that she could not say no to him. Blinding herself to the problem, she would take any chance of staying with him. She was controlled by fear.

Have you thought about why you are afraid of confronting another person? If you haven’t, your fears will probably hold you back, and you won’t get the outcome you desire.

Here are some common fears. Do you relate to any of these?

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of disapproval
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of the other person’s anger
  • Fear of requiring another person to take responsibility
  • Fear of depriving someone
  • Fear of conflict
  • Fear of being mean
  • Fear of being seen as the “bad guy.”
  • Fear of not knowing how to confront
  • Fear of a lack of closure in a relationship or conflict
  • Fear of one’s own imperfection and the feeling of...
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How Consequences Enforce Your Boundaries

Uncategorized Jan 21, 2018

Wouldn’t it be nice if confrontation ended positively every time? Would it be nice if every time you confronted a hurtful person, he or she repented and you could go on? Of course it would. In fact, your Creator would like for that to be true also. Yet, that’s not the case. What then?

If the person doesn’t respond to the initial confrontation, we need to take a stronger stand by giving him or her some consequences. Consequences work at times when talking does not. For example, if your spouse gets argumentative when you bring up an issue, and continues to do so despite your requests otherwise, you can tell your spouse, “I would love to talk about this. But as I have told you, I don’t like the angry attacks. So I will talk to you about the issue only when a counselor is there. I will make an appointment, and if you want to talk to me about it, I will talk there.” Consequences should not be punitive, just something that naturally follows the...

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The Attitude That Will Kill the Relationship with Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2018

I listened as Faith told me about her fiancé, Daniel. She was excited about their relationship and their upcoming marriage. I was excited as well, until she said something that revealed a dumb attitude people have about relationships: she expected her fiancé to be her other half.

“We are such a good balance for each other. I am the people person in our relationship, and he likes to get out there and accomplish things. It feels so good to have someone who will fight all my battles for me, and I help to draw him out and express himself. So we are a great team!”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news in a thriving relationship, but as her counselor, I had to do it. I could see a lot of potential problems in their relationship if the division of labor was exactly as she described.

Here was the issue: Faith was doing the age-old math problem the wrong way, but the way so many people try to do it when it comes to relationships, like this:

1/2 person + 1/2 person = 1...

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What it Means to be Independent from Your Mom

Uncategorized Jan 07, 2018

If you had a controlling mom, you’ve most likely experienced problems in separation, autonomy, and individualization — becoming your own person. We’ll go through the necessary steps to repair yourself, but first, let’s clarify the real problem.

A controlling mom may be the hardest mother type to perceive accurately and realistically. The bottom-line issues and dynamics are often difficult to identify. This is because of the following two tendencies:

1.) To see mom as the solution. While the controlling mom may be controlling and enmeshing, she can also be loving and supportive. Her care and concern are often genuine. She can be very involved in her child’s life in positive ways. Because of this, the symptoms — depression, relational conflicts, and independence failures — don’t necessarily lead you to wonder about mom issues. In fact, you may even return to mother over and over again for support in the very problems that began with her....

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4 Steps to Getting Through the Winter Blues

Uncategorized Dec 16, 2017

Winter can make it feel like everything is frozen in time. Between the holidays and the cold weather, in can feel like real life has come to a halt. As the days get shorter and the night gets longer, it's tough to maintain the energy to even get through the day. Many of us have to remind ourselves that, yes, the sun does set every day before 5PM for a few months. And no, we should probably not feel this tired.

Our goals, drive, personal time, discipline and all of the other things we work on so relentlessly, may feel like they've gone into hibernation. Maybe this is one of the reasons so many of us get excited about New Year's resolutions. We crave to be our best selves, even when our schedules, families and life demands get in the way of our individual wants and needs.

Don't fret: It's important to remember that there's a lot of growth happening underground in the winter. Our interactions with families and friends may stimulate a lot of positive aspirations, or they may remind us...

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Why that Narcissist You Know Won’t Get Far in Life

Uncategorized Dec 15, 2017

I had a very interesting conversation recently with a leader who accomplishes a lot and is very driven and effective. I have always been a fan of his work. We were working on a project together, and he made a reference to a particular work habit of his, logging almost every thought he has about his work into a very complicated matrix in a journal, and I asked him about it. Nothing wrong with carrying a little book around and jotting down good ideas when they come. But this was much more; it was obsessive. He said, “I think it’s probably part of my anxiety disorder.”

I inquired more, and he told me that he had been managing a significant anxiety disorder for some time and had relied on a number of tricks and habits to keep it in check. As I listened, I couldn’t help being moved by how much effort it must cost and how distressing it must be for him to manage this condition. I also couldn’t help wondering how much better his life and work could be if he...

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