The Bad Habit That Destroys Relationships

Uncategorized Jul 15, 2018

Playing fair will destroy every relationship in your life.

Fair is giving good things to others as long as they give good things to us. Then if they fail us in some way, we respond “fairly.” We give it right back to them, either at the moment or soon thereafter. Either our words or our actions say, “That’s not fair. Therefore, I am not going to do good to you any more. In fact, I’m going to give you exactly what you’re giving me. Then you can see how it feels.”

The problem is that operating by the principle of playing fair, all it takes for any relationship to go sour is for one person not to perform, then the other one will do the same. There is an interlocking dependency: the other person must be good so I can be good. In this kind of dynamic, we need the other person to be loving in order for us to love them, or to behave maturely in order for us to behave maturely toward them. And no one ever performs perfectly, so that is why all it...

Continue Reading...

The Toxic Behaviors You Don’t Have to Tolerate

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2018

Simply put — You get what you tolerate. In text, it can look like a harsh truth, but let me explain.

This phrase holds true whether you are raising a puppy, a child, a direct report or a spouse. (Hopefully you’re not raising a spouse, but it happens.) It holds true when you are negotiating a deal, working with an account, or supervising an employee. It will come into every context of life in some form or another. Many times it is innocent, like in very good relationships. One person will have a habit or practice that is not a problem for him or her, but is a problem for the other person. If the other person tolerates that behavior and does not talk about it, then it will remain in place until the other person finally says, “Excuse me, but you are stepping on my toe.” And in good relationships, the ebb and flow of the relationship is to talk to each other about what you would wish not to have in the relationship, and then you will not have it. That’s...

Continue Reading...

Why You Can't Change Your Partner

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2018

Stephanie was in love with Kyle. They were great together. They problem was that they had very different definitions of what “together” meant. For Stephanie, it meant being firmly committed and moving toward marriage. For Kyle, it meant being together when he was around, yet his being free to pursue his sports hobbies whenever he wanted — which took him away on lots of fun trips he wasn’t willing to give up. He loved her, loved being with her, but at this point in his life, he was not the kind of guy to make their relationship as big a priority as sports.

So they were in a battle. They would be together, and it would be great. But then she would want more, he would pull away, she would not like it, and she would begin to exert the pressure. She would say, “I can’t see why he can’t see how great it would be for us to settle down. We could have it all. Why can’t he see that?”

We could have talked for a long time about the reasons...

Continue Reading...

7 Ways You Can Communicate Better with Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2018

When we’re having communication problems with someone we care about, it can be frustrating, it can hurt, and it can have us feeling defensive. I’m going to tell you give all of that up, including your pride, and learn to listen to your partner to get to the root of the issue. Here are a few tips.

Focus. Look your partner in the eyes and give all of your attention. Observe your tendency to get out of the connection.

Monitor your thought. As your partner speaks, are you listening or thinking of your response? Are you evaluating what he is saying? Stop that and just allow what your partner is feeling to sink in—to become your experience. Try to get inside his experience and feel what it is like to be him at that moment. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were in his shoes.

Respond nonverbally. Are you nodding or saying “hmm,” or something to let her know you are tracking? Let her know you are with her and truly listening.

Watch your defensiveness. If...

Continue Reading...

The One Thing We All Have in Common? We All Struggle, and It's OK!

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2018

I once led a retreat in a secluded setting for a few days. Eight people from all over the country had gathered together to support each other and go through the material I was presenting. The first night I had them all talk about where they were in their lives and what they desired to get from our few days together.

We went around the circle and each story was different. The first person had gone through an ugly split. The second one was having significant marriage problems. The third was dealing with the betrayal of a life long business partner. The fourth was doing very well and asking how to deal with success. The fifth was burned out. And then the sixth said something I will never forget.

He was the youngest of the bunch, new in his field of work. The other members of the group were older and further along the path, some with very significant careers. In his mind, they were the models of what he was supposed to be like.

When it was his turn, I asked him what the would like to...

Continue Reading...

When Suffering Leads to Pain and When Suffering Leads to Growth

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2018

I hate exercise, but I do it. I hate lifting weights and riding my exercise bike, but I do it. I do it because, if I do, I will be healthier, will live longer, and will feel better.

So, why bring up exercise when we're talking about suffering and grief? Well, first of all, it shows you that I am naturally lazy. But seriously, I bring it up because physical exercise and suffering is analogous to personal growth and suffering. Pain can bring health. As we go through the pain of exercising our bodies, we gain strength and good things happen. But there is something else at work.

Physiologists tell us there is a reason I am sore after I lift weights: in fact, as I write this, I am really sore, as I just resumed weight lifting after several months off. I am sore because I have worked my muscles past their ability. I have stretched their capacity. After my workout they re-create and rejuvenate and grow back to a higher level of development than before. I tear down to rebuild. And through...

Continue Reading...

Here's What You Do With Feelings of Anger

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2018

Aspects of the self can be paired with guilt messages, and certainly, anger is one of those. Some people feel guilty whenever they feel themselves getting angry. But there is another problem with anger.

Anger is a state of protest and fight. We are wired with this emotion inside of ourselves to be “against” something. We use anger to fight injustice, unrighteousness, evil, and other bad things. Anger is a problem-solving emotion designed to protect what is good and what is valuable.

But sometimes people have not expressed anger toward bad things that have happened to them because they have happened in a context in which expressing anger would have been dangerous. So these people deny their anger.

The problem is that anger is directional. It has to be aimed at something. It is supposed to be aimed at injustice or the person who is being unfair. But if this is not possible - for example, in cases of child abuse - people will aim the anger at themselves instead. Abused...

Continue Reading...

3 Types of Pain That Affect You and What You Can Do About It

Uncategorized Jun 24, 2018

For those growing and for those who help them, the call is threefold. First, do not refer to pain and suffering caused by character patterns as “growth pain” Unless you can use this pain as a wake-up call. It is worthless. It is not legitimate suffering. It is the fruit of a lack of growth.

Not long ago I ran into a friend of mine, who caught me up on someone I hadn’t seen for ten years. His was a sad story. He basically was stuck in the career misfires he was in the last time I had seen him. What stood out for me was a particular character pattern. Literally every conversation I had ever had with him was dominated by his talking about how someone else was to blame for whatever was going on in his life. It was never him. Never. I never once heard him say that any of his problems had anything to do with his performance, his procrastination, his lack of initiative, or his lack of action. It saddened me that he had not learned his lesson, and it did not surprise...

Continue Reading...

Seven Ways to Disrespect Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2018

Building boundaries in dating situations means that a couple needs to know that their feelings, needs, and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a sexual situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. The couple needs to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem.

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom in one of seven ways:

1. Dominating: The other person won’t hear “no” from her date. When he disagrees, she intimidates, threatens, or rages. She is offended by her date’s freedom to choose. For example, a woman may want her boyfriend to spend lots of time with her. When he tells her he’d prefer to do other things, she may disrespect his freedom by becoming angry and telling him their relationship will be jeopardized.

2. Withdrawal: One...

Continue Reading...

Boundaries Are Not Something you ’Set On’ Someone

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2018

There is a lot of misunderstanding about boundaries, especially in the context of marriage. Some people are against boundaries because they see them as selfish. Other people actually use boundaries to be selfish. Both are wrong. Boundaries in marriage are basically about self-control.

A client once said, “I set some boundaries on my husband. I told him that he could not talk to me that way anymore. And it did not work. What do I do now?”

“What you have done is not boundaries at all,” I replied.

“What do you mean?”

“It was your feeble attempt at controlling your husband, and that never works.” I went on to explain that boundaries are not something you “set on” another person. Boundaries are about yourself.

My client could not say to her husband, “You can’t speak to me that way.” This demand is unenforceable. But she could say what she would or would not do if he spoke to her that way again. She could set a...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.