How to Exist in a World with Good and Bad

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2020

The world around us is good and bad. The people around us are good and bad. We are good and bad.

Our natural tendency is to try to resolve the problem of good and evil by keeping the good and the bad separated. We want, by nature, to experience the good me, the good other, and the good world as “all good.” To do this, we see the bad me, the bad other, and the bad world as “all bad.”

This creates a split in our experience of ourselves, others, and the world around us—a split that is not based on reality and cannot stand the test of time and real life.

This splitting results in an inability to tolerate badness, weakness, and failure in ourselves and others. It leads to two basic problems: sometimes we deny the existence of bad; at other times, we deny the existence of good. We feel like we are all bad when we fail, or we think we are all good when we are doing well. In addition, we blame and punish others for failing to be the all-good person we want them...

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How to Process a Loss in Your Life

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

I worked on a project one time with a person who had been highly acclaimed in corporate circles and was well-known for his accomplishments in marketing around the world. Many organizations were trying to recruit him for his expertise, and I was excited at the opportunity to work with him. I was sure that we were going to be successful in our venture.

The first aspect of it took the better part of a year to put together and would culminate in a launch date that had great expectations. He had assembled several strategic partners and a lot was riding on its success. Because of his reputation, I was certain that it was going to do well.

The launch date came with everyone eager for the results. It was going to be huge, or so we thought. The day after, when the results were in, he called me. “How did it go?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “I just lost more money in one day than any time in my whole business career.”

My jaw dropped and my heart sank. I...

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The Worst Relationship is the One You Can't Let Go of

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

"So why don't you tell him that you want to break up with him?" I asked Monica about her boyfriend, Brian. "You keep telling me over and over about this issue that just doesn't go away."

"Because he has so many wonderful qualities," she said. "There are so many things I love about him."

"Like what?" I asked.

"Well, like his sense of humor, and his charm. I still get excited whenever he is around. I am so drawn to him," she said.

"Yeah, I know." I empathized. "And then when you get together, what happens?"

"We have a great time," she said. "That is why it is so hard."

"You have a great time for how long?" I pushed.

"Well, when he is there. And then when we get together again," she said.

"And... when is that?" I asked.

"Too long..." she said, reflecting the truth that Brian would dip into her life with fly-by romance and investment and then be totally unavailable in any kind of way that would build a true relationship.

"And then what happens?" I asked further, knowing the answer.

"I...

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Why Grief is Different from Other Kinds of Suffering

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

Grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with. It is not the worst human experience, because it leads to resolution, but it is the most difficult for us to inter into voluntarily, which is the only way to get into it. The rest of our human experience just happens “to us.” Hurt, injury, anxiety, alienation, and failure all break through, and we suffer. Grief does not “break through.” It is something we enter into.

But its voluntary nature is not the only thing that sets grief apart from other kinds of suffering. The other difference is that grief is the one that heals all others. It is the most important pain there is. This is why we’re called to enter into it voluntarily. It heals. It restores. It changes things that have gone bad. Moreover, it is the only place where we get comforted when things have gone wrong.

Why is that? What is so special about grief? What is it the “pain that heals”? Because grief is the way of our getting finished...

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Don’t Mind What Other People Think About You

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

As with feelings and attitudes, we must own our own thoughts. Our thoughts have much bearing on our emotional growth. Not all emotional disturbance comes from thinking, but it does play a vital part. (In reality, our emotions affect our thinking more than the other way around because feeling is primary, and thinking is secondary. But this isn’t about theories of psychology. Let’s just say that emotions and thought affect each other, and both must be owned.)

Our thinking affects how we respond to people and situations. We notice that we can have thoughts that make us move away from relationship. We may think, “They would never like me anyway, so I won’t call.” This is an example of thinking oneself into isolation. We must own all thinking that prevents interpersonal relating. Condemning thoughts about others always hurts us. We must own our critical thinking and confess it.

At the same time, we can’t be responsible for the thoughts of others. If...

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Seven Ways to Disrespect Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Aug 22, 2020

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...

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Don't Let Someone's Guilt Influence Your Decisions

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2020

When it comes to making decisions, one of the things we experience is guilt. When you choose to do something for yourself, or make any kind of decision-based on your conviction that it is the right thing to do, you may sometimes feel as if you have done something bad because of people’s adverse reactions.

I had one experience along these lines when a friend put his elderly mother in an assisted care facility. His family had been helping her in many ways as she got up in years. Although she was relatively healthy, the burden was getting to be too much for any of them. The situation had reached the point where their family life could not continue intact if she were not where she could get the kind of help they could not provide.

When my friend told his mother of their decision, she ranted at him with enough guilt messages to weigh down several families. “After all I’ve done for you.” She began, and it went on from there. “Just send me away to die!”...

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The Bad Habit That Destroys Relationships

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2020

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...

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You are Not Responsible for Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2020

When you marry someone, you take on the burden of loving your spouse deeply and caring for him or her as for no other. You care about how you affect your spouse; you care about your spouse’s welfare and feelings. If one spouse feels no sense of responsibility to the other, this spouse is, in effect, trying to live married life as a single person. On the other hand, you can’t cross the line of responsibility. You need to avoid taking ownership for your mate’s life.

The law of responsibility in marriage is this: We are responsible to each other, but not for each other. The word burden indicates a backbreaking boulder, such as a financial, health, or emotional crisis.

Spouses actively support each other when one is carrying an overwhelming burden. The term load, however, indicates one’s daily responsibilities of life. This includes one’s feelings, attitudes, values, and handling of life’s everyday difficulties....

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Why Self Help Isn't a Real Concept

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2020

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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