How You Can Understand the Toxic Habits of Unsafe People

Uncategorized Jun 23, 2020

I wanted to tell you about something I see all too often, and it really bums me out. I find it incredibly discouraging when people gossip instead of keeping secrets.   We all know those people who you can't trust with sensitive information. (In fact, some of us may be those people.) The second they hear something, they're already thinking of who they can tell. And most of the time, it's after they've just agreed to not say anything! 

We all have experiences, thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that we don't feel safe telling the world. We need someone in whom to confide. Some of us have secret past actions that plague us. Others have been victimized of abused. Still others simply need a person to tell our private stories to. 

Few things are more bruising than having your secrets betrayed. If you have ever entrusted part of yourself to another, and then heard about it from a third party, you have been triangulated.

Triangulation occurs when person A...

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Seven Reasons Why You Might Be Unhappy

Uncategorized Jun 21, 2020

Consciously or unconsciously, we are all driven to grow. We see a future that we want to live in, and we are either able to intentionally get there, or we cannot. A major determinant of whether you will get there or not is simply that you actually believe that you can.

We carry around a huge amount of personal baggage from our past experiences that forms our attitudes about the future. In many cases we develop a sense of learned helplessness that causes us to believe that we will never be able to get the future we want. This self-defeating logic is reinforced by our own inaction toward overcoming this baggage from our past. It becomes a pattern.

We get used to not getting what we want. We come to believe that it’s normal. That it’s simply the way things are.

Before we can overcome these issues, we have to understand what they are. This is by no means an all encompassing list of issues that characterize bad past experiences that can prevent you from realizing your own...

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Time Doesn't Heal All Things, but Here's What You Can Do

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

Somehow this idea that time heals all wounds has become a very popular one, and yet that kind of thinking can be a big source of pain for a lot of people (especially those with an infected tooth!). Time passing by itself doesn't do much for us at all. It's all of the things that we do that changes us, for better and worse, as we accumulate experiences. For those of us that accept the passage of time but resist making any changes, we shouldn't expect to see much difference.

If someone breaks your heart, and you don't do anything to address the emotional trauma that person has created within you, sure, over time, you might not think about it as much. But it will never be too far from the surface. Those emotional wounds will be ready to rip right open again at the slightest suggestion of any kind of similar trouble.

If someone at work violates your trust in a way that compromises your standing with your boss, do you think those changes are going to heal with time? No, you're going to...

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Don't Let Someone Project Guilt to Influence Your Decisions

Uncategorized Jun 19, 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 Devastating Results of Spiritual Abuse, Shaming

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

Laurel’s father had insisted his 22-year-old daughter come see me. Laurel, a college student, was suffering from depression. She had no appetite and had trouble sleeping and studying. Her father accompanied her to the appointment.

“What’s the problem?” I asked Laurel, after we had chatted for a few minutes. But it was her father who responded.

“Well, it’s pretty obvious,” he said, folding his arms across his chest. “She’s not living like she should.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“She’s doing drugs and sleeping around,” he said with disgust. “She’s failing out of college, and she has no idea what she wants to do with her life.” Before I could ask another question, he continued, “If she would open her Bible, go back to church and find Jesus, she wouldn’t be so depressed! All she cares to do is hang around her loser friends.”

“What would happen if she...

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When to Have Hope and When to End a Bad Relationship

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

One of the most crucial elements someone can bring to their life is hope. Among the most powerful forces in the universe, hope gives energy, sustenance, and direction to people to keep going, and to win against all odds. With hope, we can endure almost anything, and certainly more than if we lose it or never had it to begin with. In short, hope keeps us going.

And that can be a problem.

Hope keeps us going, but when you misspend it, hope can keep you going in the wrong direction, sometimes for a long time. And this brings up a crucial dilemma. If hope is necessary, is it ever right to give up hope? Said another way, when do we need to face the music and realize that a situation, a relationship, a job, is not going to make it? How do you decide if something truly is worth of your hope, and when to pull the plug?

In talking to others, I find that negotiating the “hope paradox” is one of the factors that separates the truly great and successful people from those who...

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Entering a Relationship After Being Hurt

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

You were created to long for attachment, to desire to matter to someone and to “hunger and thirst” for relationship. You were made that way so you could know when to seek comfort and connect. Just like your car’s gas gauge, your needs tell you when you’re on “empty.”

However, your needs for relationship may have been buried. They may be so far underground that you’ve despaired of ever finding them again. If so, this second task, “learning to need,” is vital for you.

You can regain your experience of neediness. You had it once: almost all babies are born with the desire to be protected, connected, and comforted.

  1. Confess you inability to need. Tell the truth to your safe relationships about how hard it is to rely on others, depend on others, and actually want others close. This lets your friends know that you truly need to need. As they draw closer to you, instead of shrinking back, you slowly learn to trust again. What is...
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God Created us to Bond with Safe People

Uncategorized Jun 16, 2020

Bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person. It’s the ability to relate to another on the deepest lever. When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams, and feelings with each other with no fear that the other person will reject them.

Bonding is one of the most basic and foundational ideas in life and the universe. It is a basic human need. God created us with a hunger for relationship—for relationship with him and with our fellow people. At our very core we are relational beings.

Without a solid, bonded relationship, the human soul will become mired in psychological and emotional problems. The soul cannot prosper without being connected to others. No matter what characteristics we possess, or what accomplishments we amass, without solid emotional connectedness, without bonding to God and other humans, we will suffer sickness of the soul.

Why is our need for bonding so strong, and why is our...

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6 Leadership Principles to Take Home to Your Family

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2020

Believe it or not, there’s not a huge difference between leading at work and leading at home.

In fact, if we asked some of our colleagues who actually liked their statistics courses about the predictive validity of certain leadership traits in creating healthy families, my guess is that the number would be pretty high. And the good thing is that these are actual skills and abilities that people have and do every day at work. Our task is to get them to take those skills home!

So, if we think about it that way, what do leaders do that can be applied to creating healthy families? Here are just a few thoughts:

1. Cast a vision. One of the best fathers I know also leads an organization of thousands of people, and he takes this skill home. He gets out the white board and asks, “Ok, team, so what do we want this year to look like? At the end of the year, what do we want to have done that would make it a great year?” Or, “What does everyone want it to feel like to...

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Why You Can't Change Someone

Uncategorized Jun 12, 2020

Are you in some type of relationship (it could be personal or work-related) where you are trying to get someone to be or do something different? But that person isn’t listening, or doesn’t desire to change, or doesn’t want what you want for him or her?

If so ... it’s time to wake up and realize that you cannot change another person. YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANOTHER PERSON!

You cannot get someone to do something they don’t choose to do, or to be someone they don’t choose to be ... either because they can’t or because they don’t desire to.

Why? Because you can never take over another person’s freedom to choose. People are not robots. They are free to choose what they want, what they will do, and what they won’t do.

Once you realize this, you will stop trying to do what will never work, which is trying to change people into something they do not want to be or convince them to do something they do not want to do. It never works. While...

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