Archive for: Relationships

Your Hot-Button Emotions

Good or Bad?

Is anger a good emotion or a bad emotion? The answer is Yes!

Angry Woman on Phone

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Perfect Storm, Perfect Boat

Summer had arrived, and with it came many opportunities to dust off the snowy old branches of an upstate New York winter–just in time to make way for the new life and lush green of summer playdays.

JVCL on sailboat

It had been a tough winter for Bob and Cheryl. Nearly 25 years of marriage had strained the rigging, so to speak. They both wanted to weather the storm, but weren’t sure if they actually had the staying power.

For a number of years they had talked about learning to sail, but it was just one of those things that never happened. And now, with their marriage in trouble it began to sound like Don Quixote’s dream.

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Daddy—Watch me!

Aussie swimming teacher Sarah Strangio gets really excited when her young students swim their first lap.

Young Boy in Pool

“Did you see that?” a young boy exudes he he reaches the other end of the pool for the first time.  
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How to Enrich your Relationship with a Mindful Approach

With this guest post, we welcome Kimberly Wulfert, PhD.  Kimberly shares Kimberly Wulferther approach to building relationships through mindfulness.

A mindful approach in a relationship is one in which you are open, receptive, non-judgmental, and in the present rather than reliving the past or predicting the future, when you are interacting with your partner. Differences enrich your relationship in many ways.
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Boys Will be Boys!

We are pleased to have a guest post from Soraya Chemaly, reprinted here with her permission from The Huffington Post.

For months, every morning when my daughter was in preschool, I watched her construct an elaborate castle out of blocks, colorful plastic discs, bits of rope, ribbons and feathers, only to have the same little boy gleefully destroy it within seconds of its completion.

Boys fighting

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Tribute for my Father

Dad was a Navy man, a country boy, a dedicated teacher, a fearless commercial fisherman, and a devoted father. He lived his truth.

With Dad

Sometimes our fathers work hard, love our mothers, and treat us well. Other times fathers have many challenges and seem to do everything that is not good for their kids growing up. And sometimes we get a little bit of both in the mix.

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Goat Tails and Turtle Love

My husband and I love a good road trip. We read good books, and adventures pop from the pages as the miles go by, enhanced by the occasional mocha.

Couple on Roadtrip

We recently shared a two-hour road trip to a historic hotel in the mountains. Along the way, I read aloud from an antique book, now out of print. The Trail Led North, by Martha Ferguson McKeown, tells the tale of her Uncle Mont Hawthorne’s adventures.

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Clownfish and Bullies

Once upon a time in an idyllic setting far, far away, my husband and I had the privilege to sail with friends in Belize (rhymes with puh-leeze, NOT valise). We were reveling in the beauty of the perfectly pure aquamarine water around the boat, swaying gently on the anchor just off a gorgeous little treasure of a cay (pronounced key–it’s a small island).

Off Golf Cay

Off Golf Cay

My husband suddenly began to feel confined by the parameters of the 45’ boat we were relaxing on. Donning trunks, he dove in and snorkeled around, only to return to the boat and proclaim that he had found a skull on the bottom with coral and plants growing out of the eye sockets just a few feet off the cay. He wanted me to see it, so—willing woman that I am—I jumped in and followed him to the spot. We snorkeled, I saw the skull, and we returned to the boat. Our fabulous sailing trip ended too soon.

A couple of days later, we had the beginnings of a biology lesson. We learned all about ‘jellyfish bloom’ and the effects of coming in contact with microscopic jellyfish larvae—which is actually so tiny that it cannot be seen in the water. The larvae attach to your skin where they are then in position to discharge their toxic darts. Jellyfish vary widely, and in our case, we were blissfully unaware—until we began to have small painful, itchy red bumps erupting through the surface of our skin. We have chosen  to never have that happen to us again if we can help it!

Solutions range from staying out of unknown waters to a patented product called Safe Sea. As we learned that the developers of the Safe Sea product had taken a lesson from the clownfish, which never gets stung because it exudes a slippery substance that coats their skin and prevents the jellyfish from attaching.

Image credit: cbpix / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: cbpix / 123RF Stock Photo

Now for the *bullies part. What if we could protect ourselves with a self-made thought process called Safe Passage that screened any incoming verbal abuse?

When an insecure bully starts in on you, just let it run off, like water off a duck’s back. Don’t let that abusive person in your world get into your head and tell you who you are! Whenever someone is pouring on the verbal abuse, they might as well wear a sign around their neck that says, ‘I’m feeling small and scared. Let me stomp on you to make me feel big and strong.’

In response, you can do some self-talk like this: ‘Watch out bully! I have a brain and I know how to use it!’

When someone is in bully mode, their view of you is not correct. It is our own fears that maybe they are right—we really are a [insert bad word] that causes us to cave and want to slink away.

Separate yourself from the bully in whatever way is best in the situation, but remember that you are a human just as much as s/he is, and that automatically qualifies you to hold your own opinion. You are ‘As good as the best, but no better than the rest.’

Wishing you Safe Passages!

Resource – http://www.stopbullying.gov

*Disclaimer: This post addresses garden-variety verbal abuse in our everyday lives. It is not meant to be the only response to a violent abuser.

Whose Fault Is It Anyway?

When you and your love are pulling in different directions, you may find yourself wondering how you got there. Whose fault is it anyway?

It may not surprise you that in spite of all the androgynous press, men’s and women’s brains are wired very differently. And before you groan, stop and think about it—these differences are delightful, and something to be celebrated! Do you really want to be married to someone exactly like you? I’m betting your answer is a resounding “No!”

Argument!

So what’s the difference in this brain wiring I’m talking about?

One of the differences in brain wiring is what psychologists call ‘the locus of control.’

Men tend to have an external locus of control, whereas women tend to have an internal locus of control. So what does this mean practically speaking?

When something goes wrong, men tend to look outside themselves to find out what the problem is. In a relationship, that can look like, “I don’t feel so hot, so it must be your fault!”  When something goes wrong, women tend to look inside themselves and ask, “What did I do wrong?”

Whoaaa you say–that sounds pretty harsh! Sexist! Blatantly unfair! But wait…

Am I letting women off the hook? Not at all. For women, it feels more like, “Help! I’m out of control. If it is my fault, then I can do something about this! If it is not my fault, then that leaves me helpless, and I can’t stand that!!”

So why do people want to be in control anyway?

It’s because we learned at a very young age that life can hurt! And our subconscious brain tells us that if we can keep things under our control, then we will never be in this bad space again. We can protect ourselves and those we care about by being in control at all times.

Except that doesn’t work very well.

Men and women also tend to have different styles of wanting to be in control. Men may more frequently use their brawn to threaten their spouse if they don’t “do what I say.” Women may try to “strong-arm” their man verbally, spewing out a torrent of demeaning verbal trash. Neither style is nice. And neither style works for very long.

So . . . next time you find yourselves pulling in different directions, and wondering whose fault it is—take a look in the mirror! Check out your default thought patterns. If the shoe fits, figure out how you can take this little insight and make it work for you in your relationships!

What’s the bottom line—for you? For your spouse?

Giving each other the benefit of the doubt is one of the sweetest gifts you can give your partner. After all, no one of us is perfect! And ‘humble’ is a whole lot more attractive than ‘arrogant’ right?

Sending you blessings for you and your love!

 

 

Looking for Love. . .

Are you one of those people who look in the mirror one morning and realize that your love life is on the rocks–again? Glancing back through my own memory bank, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s no fun to be in this space!

Impasse!

When you realize something isn’t working, it’s a good idea to step back and look at what you might be doing to sabotage the joy in those failed relationships.

I think of the sardonic quote that reminds me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again—and expecting a different result ‘this time’! When I’m looking in the mirror—reluctantly—I must admit that this makes sense.

So what am I doing wrong??

Well, this may take some sorting out with a trusted therapist. Relationships can be pretty complex.

But in the meantime here is something for you to chew on.

There is no greater block to intimacy than insisting that you are always right!

 Can you think back over some of the rough spots in your relationship and recall times when you have made it very clear that ‘it’s my way or the highway’?? Alas! Insisting that things have to be your way—you must be the one in the relationship who is in control—is a sure block to those warm and cozy times with your love that you dream about.

There is more to this story. Stay tuned! Looking for love doesn’t automatically put your love life on the rocks!