When You Set Boundaries, Your Consequences Will Maintain Them

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2019

Danielle had a problem with tardiness. She believed time was like an accordion; the more events you packed into it, the more it would simply stretch to accommodate the activities. As a result, she always planned too many things for a particular time period, thinking she had time to do them, and then ended up half an hour late for the last one. This not only kept her rushed and unable to relax and enjoy life but also inconvenienced her friends who had set aside time to be with her. 

[RELATED: THREE FREE TOOLS TO HELP YOU BREAK CODEPENDENT HABITS]

When she joined a support group, she immediately became an active and involved member. She was a caring person and so well liked that when her lateness trait emerged, the group quickly forgave it. In fact, they would wait until she rushed in before they'd start discussing issues. They finally saw that the problem wasn't getting better, so they told her, "Danielle, we care about you, but we're concerned about your tardiness. It's bad...

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The Hardest Boundaries You'll Set in Your Life

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2019

In each of our lives, there's one person who's always tearing us down, who recklessly spends our money and makes inexplicable decisions that cost us valuable time, and sometimes that person can let us down like no one else. Yep, I'm talking about myself. And you. And everyone who struggles to place boundaries that they can adhere to in their own lives.

Being mature about the boundaries we set for ourselves is tough.

[RELATED: THREE FREE TOOLS TO HELP YOU BREAK CODEPENDENT HABITS]

How to begin:

Address your real need!

Out-of-control patterns often disguise themselves as something else. You need to address the underlying need before you can deal with the out-of-control behavior. For example, impulsive eaters may discover that food is a way to separate and stay safe from romantic and sexual intimacy. Their fear of being faced with those kinds of emotionally laden situations may cause them to use food as a boundary. As their internal boundaries with the opposite sex become firmer, they...

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Having Difficult Conversations about Boundary Violations

Uncategorized Sep 16, 2019

Amanda had issues with her in-laws and wasn't sure how to address the boundary violations that had occurred since she and her husband had gotten married.

"They like to tell us how things should be," she said. "I think his mom comes from a good place sometimes, but she comes across as overly critical."

I explained to her that a good place to start is being emotionally present and connected while confronting her mother-in-law, and this is something that will require quite a bit of grace.

When you're present with someone, it means you're in touch and in tune with your own feelings as well as those of the other person. This is so important because when we are there, meaning, emotionally present, we make ourselves available to the other person. Amanda's mother-in-law won't be shut off from her while she's telling her a difficult reality about the relationship. Confrontation is not easy to absorb for anyone, but presence and connection help make that tolerable.

Also, when you are present...

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How to Reject Your Negative Thinking Patterns

Uncategorized Sep 14, 2019

Your mind has been coming up with excuses to keep you from owning your future, and it has probably been doing so for a long time. As you become more self-aware, start identifying the slogans you have been repeating to yourself that have been chaining you down. We all have them. But go further than that and create new slogans that counter the bad ones. Craft these new slogans so that they put the true vision into perspective.

Write these new slogans down and keep them around you in places that will remind you of what is true and real. Put them on the backdrop on your phone. Place sticky notes on your bathroom mirror and refrigerator. When negative thoughts invade your mind, look at these notes. When you are doing ok, look at them anyway and keep yourself centered on reality. When you are doing the cognitive work of training your mind, the personal work of embracing reality, and being humble and forgiving, the presence of these new slogans can be powerful and effective.

Here are a few...

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A Quick Idea for Improving the Quality of Your Life and Relationships

Uncategorized Sep 13, 2019

So, here is a thought for you. I want you to ask yourself a question.
What percentage of the time are you being yourself, expressing yourself and totally present vs. evaluating yourself? You know what I mean … that inner dialogue of, "How and I doing? What are they thinking? Is this going to work?

How is it coming across? Will this fail? Are they mad at me for saying this? Will someone not like this? Is what I am saying lame?" Etc., etc., etc. There is literally no end to how many versions there are of the exact same thing: not being in our experience, and being all of who we are because we are too busy evaluating ourselves.

Self-evaluation is good. We need it. It is what distinguishes us from, say, German Shepherds, who never ask, "I wonder if I am barking too loud and keeping people awake?" (Wouldn't that be something?) But, self-evaluation should be in service of doing better, a time set aside to get feedback and self-correct, and yes, sometimes that is while we are doing...

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You Still Have Control When Your Child Throws a Tantrum

Uncategorized Sep 11, 2019

When a child is not on their best behavior, or perhaps having a melt-down, it’s easy to feel powerless. The first thing to get clear about, however, is that you are the one who is truly in charge. You do have control of the situation. If your child is refusing to do something, don’t let it be an option. Tell him that in the beginning and add these ingredients to the mix:

First, warn him about his behavior before he goes, such as, "Johhny, if you do that again, you have to go to time out for two minutes." This is important to build a cause and effect related to his behavior. Sometimes, kids get put in time out and have no idea why or did not have a chance to get in control of their choices. They just misbehave and find themselves there, which does not build self-control. I say “two minutes” in this instance as you have an initial problem to address that would be good to get a victory with, so make it short enough to win.

Second, when he misbehaves, tell him he...

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What to Do When You've Been Burned Too Many Times

Uncategorized Sep 10, 2019

I worked with someone who once told me they were “done” with people. Their sentiment was understood. After being hurt multiple times in different capacities, I could see why they came to that conclusion. I just didn’t agree with it.

[RELATED: PUT A STOP TO THE UNSAFE BEHAVIORS AND LET YOURSELF BE HEARD.]

But before you believe you’re “done” with people and all relationships relationships, allow me to elaborate on something here.

People who avoid relationships have problems not with functional self-sufficiency but with relational self-sufficiency. The problem with the relationally self-sufficient person is that he operates in his own relational world. He runs his emotional affairs like a one-man business. His emotional philosophy is the following:

  • I take care of my problems.
  • I don’t burden others with my problems.
  • I can handle my problems myself, thank you.
  • I’m fine, really.
  • No, really, I’m fine.

What’s wrong here? We were...

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How to Experience the Forgiveness You Deserve to Have

Uncategorized Sep 07, 2019

“I know that when I do something wrong, I’ve been taught that I’ll be forgiven,” said Erik. “I believe it in my head, but I just can’t feel it in my heart. I still feel ‘bad.’ “

[RELATED: REJECT THE SAME PROJECTED FROM OTHERS.]

Knowing something in our heads does not always translate to feeling it in our hearts, where our emotions live and breathe. This is because we know things in two different ways. One way is conceptual and informational. We know that we are forgiven.

The other way of knowing is experiential. It comes from what we have experienced in relationships. If, for example, a lot of our significant relationships have not been very forgiving and have left us feeling bad or fearful of losing love and acceptance, then that is what our hearts know, even if our heads know differently. The gap between the head and the heart renders us unable to feel what we know to be true.

To close the gap, you have to talk to your heart in...

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Your Anger Isn't a Sin

Uncategorized Sep 06, 2019

In the last 30 years or so, we have seen a big swing in the way that Christians look at anger. Back then, it was almost all seen as sin. And, there are a lot of verses that tell us about the danger of anger, for it can be a very destructive emotion. As Proverbs 27:4 says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming.” We all know what it feels like to be on the wrong end of someone’s rage attack. Because of this teaching, many people were very out of touch with what they were feeling, and a lot of anger went hidden and suppressed. It did not mean that people were not angry, it just meant that the church often did not give them very helpful ways to work it out, especially people who had been really hurt in life and were sitting on a lot of pain and anger. They were often times just stuck with it.

About the same time, the world of psychiatry was getting into the understanding that hidden anger could cause sickness, and play a major role in a lot of psychiatric problems,...

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Intimacy is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2019

We were created to need a close and intimate relationship not with others. Relationships are the fuel of life. They provide us with acceptance, encouragement, empathy, wisdom, and a host of other relational nutrients. These nutrients keep us healthy and growing. In fact, many studies have shown that people without enough intimate relationships in life have more medical and psychological problems, as well as a higher mortality rate. The songwriters are correct: a lack of love can literally kill you. So however we look at the digital age, we need to make sure that we are getting our relational sustenance. The key is this: whenever you have the opportunity, set a limit on the digital and default to face-to-face.

Intimacy Requires Multiple Levels of Information Exchange

This sounds a bit dry or technical, but it’s true: to be deeply connected in satisfying, safe, and vulnerable relationships, we need to express who we are at many levels and experience others at those same levels....

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