The Fastest Way to Make Yourself Miserable

Uncategorized May 18, 2018

You’re scrolling through Facebook, and what do you see?

That guy from high school you haven’t talked to in years posted a photo of his family in matching outfits and adorable smiles.

That couple you knew in college is doing a food tour in Taipei.

That girl you used to work with is posting another selfie at the gym after losing 15 pounds.

That guy you met at a conference just bought a bigger home in a school district you’ve always wanted to be in.

And what are YOU doing?

You’re sitting in the car rider line at your oldest child’s school while your toddler screams from her car seat behind you because the movie on the iPad quit playing, and you’re hoping your son will be able to fix it for her before you have to drop him off at soccer practice, which happens to end right before you have to be at your women’s group. And by the way, it’s your turn to bring refreshments. You forgot, didn’t you? ... 
Now your husband just...

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Don’t Mind What Other People Think About You

Uncategorized May 18, 2018

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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Taking Steps to Evict the Critical Voices in Your Head

Uncategorized May 15, 2018

Many people go through life with an internal critic, a “voice” inside their head that’s always telling them fearful, negative, or critical things that make them afraid. Sometimes that voice says things such as: 

See, you’re a loser. No one is going to like you if you screw this up. 
• If that deal does not go through, your career is over, and you will never get another job. 
• You’ll never be forgiven for that. 
• Did you feel that? You’re losing it. You’ll go crazy. They will have to lock you up, and everyone will know. You are out of control. 
• That is the worst thing you could ever do. You’re such scum. 
• If this happens, it will be terrible, awful, horrible, and your life will be over. 
• If this person rejects you, it proves you are worthless and that no one will ever want you. 

If you are constantly hearing these kinds of critical messages in your head,...

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Empower Yourself to Take Control and Be Free

Uncategorized May 14, 2018

If you’re going to get in control of your life, you’re going to have to do just that — get in control. You cannot control other people, but you can get in control of yourself. You have to be able to make the choices you need in order to make your life work, belong to you and integrate around the things important to you. That may require you to set some boundaries and limits with other people.

In order to do that, consider the following:

  • You need to confront a spouse who’s in denial about a significant problem.
  • You need to confront a difficult boss about mistreatment.
  • You need to talk to an unreasonable friend.
  • You need to tell someone you are dating that something needs to change.

But what if the following things are also true?

  • You can’t handle your spouse being upset with you, and you know that he or she will be upset if you confront the issue.
  • You need your job so much you are afraid your boss will fire you, and you doubt your ability to find...
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How to do an Honest Audit to Evaluate Potentially Toxic Relationships

Uncategorized May 12, 2018

In my book, Power of the Other, I talk about how relationships exist in four corners, and in this post, I’m going to help you examine Corner #2, bad connection. 

A “bad connection” leaves you feeling like you are “bad” in some way. These relationships leave you feeling like, no matter what, you are not good enough. While this kind of connection might be overtly abusive, that’s not always the case. A bad connection might simply be someone who is highly critical. A boss with demanding expectations that can never be met. A friend who only points out the bad. A partner who is shaming or guilt-inducing. A co-worker who leaves you feeling, “I am not good enough.”

Trying to live and perform from this corner works against all of our internal systems of thriving…both personally and professionally. We were not designed to do well when we’re feeling bad. And the symptoms are debilitating.

Clinical...

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The Difference Between Being Responsible For Someone and To Someone

Uncategorized May 10, 2018

When it comes to helping others, I get a lot of questions about the difference between being responsible for someone and being responsible to someone. Hopefully this will clear some of that up and help you make the distinction in the future.

The Law of Responsibility says that you are responsible for yourself and to others. It is realizing the boundaries of what you are to worry about and how. There is nothing wrong with helping another person. It’s one of the foundations of relationships. But the lines must always be clear as to whether you are helping them to do what they should be doing, and thus empowering them, or if you are doing for them what they should be doing for themselves.

Stephanie is losing a lot of work time helping Diane. She was always covering for her, it seemed, when Diane was overstressed and overloaded. Diane had a lot of personal issues that were taking more of her work time, and as that was happening, she was coming in later, not getting projects done...

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How Envy Can Destroy the Heart

Uncategorized May 03, 2018

At some point in our lives, we feel envy. It’s part of the human condition, some more than others. Generally, the more we fill our lives and hearts with good things that are meaningful and are humble about how fortunate we are to have them, the more gratitude we feel and the less envy we experience. Nevertheless, all of us would do well to be aware of it when it creeps up in our hearts, minds, and souls.

Envy works this way. It defines what is good as what we do not have. In other words, if I do not possess something, it takes on a higher value than if I do. Likewise, once I attain it, it is no longer valuable to me, because I have it. It makes keeping up with the Joneses a full-time job.

When envy dominates a person, he or she is looking over the fence at the yards of others. They think that another person’s position or some other relationship or status or possession would make them happy. They think that the real things of value are the things that others have, not...

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How to Break the Patterns that Make Us Miserable

Uncategorized May 01, 2018

In human development, structure is internalized from the outside and becomes internal. Teach a child that if he chooses A then B is coming, he begins to think in a linear path. Therefore, he makes choices that are going to give him the B that he desires. In other words, before the misery comes, he learns to make a choice that is going to prevent it. That is the move to maturity.

Sometimes, we do not know the structure of life or certain situations or certain relationships until we are in them. So, we do not anticipate the ways that those jobs, projects, contexts, or relationships need to be structured. We don’t know what causes misery until we are there.

But, once we are there, an the misery becomes a pattern, we need to realize that this is not a one-time occurrence. It is a pattern. And we need to take ownership of the reality that whatever internal structure we are depending on to not have this happen is not working. If it were, we would not be having the problem on an...

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

Uncategorized Apr 22, 2018

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...

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