Having Difficult Conversations about Boundary Violations

Uncategorized Apr 20, 2018

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 being 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...

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How to Reject Your Negative Thinking Patterns

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

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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How to Get to the Truth, Even When It’s Uncomfortable

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

Maybe you’re heard this before — Become a student of yourself. It’s a trait of successful people, and they achieve that success because they’re able to confront the truth about themselves to get over their inaccurate and unhelpful thinking patterns.

When I consult with people who come to me with problems, I often have them try this exercise. “Imagine that you are in two places at once: one ‘you’ is a real interaction with someone else, discussing some goal or problem. The second ‘you’ is floating above, near the ceiling, looking at the interaction of the other you and learning from it. After you leave the conversation, you can use that floating, observing ‘you’ to review what happened and consider what you could have done differently.”

By employing this exercise, you may learn that you give up power and choice very easily when someone has an objection to your idea. Or that you come down on yourself quickly when...

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Leave Your Pride at the Door. It’s Ruining Future Relationships.

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

Humility is a trait of greatness. It is not an aspect of timid people who see themselves as trash. Humility is the ability to see yourself and your situation clearly, for good and for bad. Humble people don’t care if what they do or think makes them look like a hero or a bad guy. They want to get at the heart of the matter.

I knew a guy who was controlled by negative thinking patterns that kept him from asking out a woman he was attracted to. He said, “She wouldn’t go for a guy like me; she’s amazing, and I’m pretty mediocre.” After a few attempts to encourage him, I realized something. I was heading in the wrong direction.

“Actually, in a way, that could be a pride issue for you,” I said.

“What? I thought you were saying I put myself down too much.”

“I did, but sometimes pride can drive our self-talk, too.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, let’s look at it. How prideful is it to...

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How to Expose Your Fear to Get Over it

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2018

Fears, like bad dreams, are best disposed of in the light of day. Expose your fears to yourself and others you trust. Identify them and where they came from. They are much less powerful when you can look at them in the light. Say to yourself, “I have not taken a risk in an important area of my life because I’m afraid that:

  • I will lose a relationship. Are you sure? Or will that person just get mad and withdraw for a while?
  • Someone will get mad at me. The anger of others is unpleasant, but you must be able to tolerate people being mad at you to be successful.
  • I might hurt somebody’s feelings. Certainly, you could. But hurt and harm are two different things. You don’t want to harm, but discomfort can be a help to someone.
  • I might lose my job. Check out the reality of that fear with someone who is balanced. Is the situation truly that fragile?
  • I might fail. You might. You might not. And failure is often a blessing.
  • I might be disappointed. That is possible. When...
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What Keeps Some People in Bad Relationships

Uncategorized Feb 13, 2018

"Understanding fear and how you tend to back off may be the step of awareness that help you make better choices."

Alicia feared losing Daniel. She was so afraid of being alone that she could not say no to him. Blinding herself to the problem, she would take any chance of staying with him. She was controlled by fear.

Have you thought about why you are afraid of confronting another person? If you haven’t, your fears will probably hold you back, and you won’t get the outcome you desire.

Here are some common fears. Do you relate to any of these?

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of disapproval
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of the other person’s anger
  • Fear of requiring another person to take responsibility
  • Fear of depriving someone
  • Fear of conflict
  • Fear of being mean
  • Fear of being seen as the “bad guy.”
  • Fear of not knowing how to confront
  • Fear of a lack of closure in a relationship or conflict
  • Fear of one’s own imperfection and the feeling of...
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Stop the Negative Thinking Patterns from Spiraling in Your Mind

Uncategorized Jan 28, 2018

The minds of some people seem to work negatively all the time on just about everything. Whatever the event, problem or opportunity, they cast a dark light on it which discourages them and keeps them from the moves they need to make. For them, the glass is always half empty, and the light at the end of the tunnel is always a train.

Research indicates that negative thinkers will key in on three basic areas of life: themselves, the world and the future. They see themselves as unlucky, even as losers who never get a break. They look at the world as unfriendly to them, oppressing their chances, and giving others more opportunity. They don’t see their future as positive and hopeful. It seems bleak and dark, with no hope to brighten up.

You may have tendencies toward negative thinking and not even be aware of them. You may think you are simply being realistic. You may even think, “Those positive thinkers are out of touch with reality. They live in the clouds and don’t...

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How to Experience the Forgiveness You Deserve to Have

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2018

“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.’ “

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 its own language, the language of experience. You...

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How Consequences Enforce Your Boundaries

Uncategorized Jan 21, 2018

Wouldn’t it be nice if confrontation ended positively every time? Would it be nice if every time you confronted a hurtful person, he or she repented and you could go on? Of course it would. In fact, your Creator would like for that to be true also. Yet, that’s not the case. What then?

If the person doesn’t respond to the initial confrontation, we need to take a stronger stand by giving him or her some consequences. Consequences work at times when talking does not. For example, if your spouse gets argumentative when you bring up an issue, and continues to do so despite your requests otherwise, you can tell your spouse, “I would love to talk about this. But as I have told you, I don’t like the angry attacks. So I will talk to you about the issue only when a counselor is there. I will make an appointment, and if you want to talk to me about it, I will talk there.” Consequences should not be punitive, just something that naturally follows the...

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The Attitude That Will Kill the Relationship with Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2018

I listened as Faith told me about her fiancé, Daniel. She was excited about their relationship and their upcoming marriage. I was excited as well, until she said something that revealed a dumb attitude people have about relationships: she expected her fiancé to be her other half.

“We are such a good balance for each other. I am the people person in our relationship, and he likes to get out there and accomplish things. It feels so good to have someone who will fight all my battles for me, and I help to draw him out and express himself. So we are a great team!”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news in a thriving relationship, but as her counselor, I had to do it. I could see a lot of potential problems in their relationship if the division of labor was exactly as she described.

Here was the issue: Faith was doing the age-old math problem the wrong way, but the way so many people try to do it when it comes to relationships, like this:

1/2 person + 1/2 person = 1...

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