100 day challenge–100 days later

Hopefully you have watched all the videos on the 100 day challenge. Just to refresh your memory, since there 100 days between Valentine’s Day and Memorial Day(hence the 100 day challenge) you can improve the relationship that you are in just by doing a few simple things.

Here is the follow up video on 100 day challenge

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Big Yellow Taxi

Don’t it always seem to go

that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

 

I was contacted by fellow blogger “Ruby’s Reflections” .  She wanted to be a guest blogger since we both like to write about music and change.  Here is her post.:

 

Sometimes you think to yourself “I could do better than this guy/girl I’m with.  I should look for something/someone new and more exciting, prettier/ more handsome, sexier, funnier, richer, more educated….”  So you get rid of the “old” and/or push the “old” away, and you find someone “better”.  But soon you realize “Hey I miss what I once had with that first one, but now it’s too late to get him/her back.”

So in the words of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, before you “pave over” what you currently have in your life, take some time to really think, reflect, and ask yourself, “Could I just be honest with the one I love, and let him/her know I think we have something good, but it could be even better, maybe even GREAT if we work on it? Do I care enough about this person to do the work…..before I just give it all away?”

So remember… that new “paradise” that you are always seeking and think that you might have found, can just as easily end up as your next parking lot. So before you “move your car” into what could be a future “empty parking space”, please first take a look at what you’ve already got…it might just be worth saving!

 

Great post Ruby.  Sage wisdom about “looking before you leap”

Change is possible

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Communication (part 7)

Another blog about communication?    We are communicating about communication for the 7th time.  This must be an important topic or I am an incredibly redundant communicator.

To read the first 6 entries, click on the links below:

crimes between us

listening to you

communication part 2

what’s old can be used in the present

prepositions

communication strategies

Communication can occur in many ways:

    • People can talk about the day; “how was your day?”
    • They can address feelings as part of that day; “I was really angry at my boss today…”
    • They can share more personally;  “The reason I was angry at my boss is he had that smug look on his face like my dad did”.
    • They can share their deepest darkest feelings “that look, that smugness, I wanted to slap it off of him, like how my dad slapped me, how he beat me, how he embarrassed me in front of my friends, all with that look”

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#008000″ class=”” size=””]in order to have intimacy you have to be vulnerable[/pullquote]

To go from superficial to intimate requires a loving, trusting relationship.  It requires that the listener listen and be able to hear what’s being said.  The listener needs to be nonjudgmental and be unconditional. The speaker has to know that what they are saying is safe.  They have to know that it will be heard and not used against them in a future fight.  If he or she is able to take the risk they will have  the intimacy and closeness that is necessary in a good healthy, stable relationship.

This is really risky and it is WAY easier to have superficial, a little off the top relationships.  It is even easier to tell people what they want to hear, and take no risks at all.  In  this video from  Grammy Award winner Tracy Bonham, she tells the mother what she wants to hear:

 

In this conversation between mother and daughter, the daughter gives all of the right answers.  She tells her mom, how great she is doing, how “everything’s fine” . She is able to be authentic and personal with the audience as she tells us all of he pain.  It is only at the end of the song when she says “I miss you  I love you” is she communicating in a genuine way.

We ultimately get to chose the quality of our relationships.  Do we want the mother -daughter relationship in “Mother Mother”  or do we want something else?  If we want something else, then it requires healthy risk taking.  It requires having the communication skills to handle the storms that may occur–the misperceptions, the arguments, the conflicts.  It requires speaking in ways that our partners can hear.  It requires  the hardest skill of all, listening.

If we listen and we trust, our relationships can grow. They can grow deeper, and become more meaningful. Meaningful interpersonal relationships are what we need to be good people, to have a good quality of life, and have inner peace. It starts with the risk.

Change is possible.

 

 

 

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The truth shall set you free

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Billy Joel

Honesty. A vital construct that improves the quality of people’s lives. Seemingly it should be easy for people to acknowledge their wrongdoings and say ” I messed up” However this seems to be harder than I think since famous people (Brian Williams, Lance Armstrong, #13) have the hardest time doing so. (This lying issue has been covered in an earlier blog–go to lies lies and more lies to read more)

Honesty in interpersonal relationships is critical to intimacy, growth and change. It seems to me that many people tell half-truths, white lies, and justify their dishonest behavior. As you would expect, the lies grow, the relationship gets further apart, until the big BOOM occurs. The truth that sets you free causes a boat load of pain to the other person.

Take infidelity. I have never worked with a person who wanted to be unfaithful to their partner. Distance and misery breeds close connections with another. Lack of communication and dishonesty breeds incentive to cheat. At the end, you have an unfaithful partner leading a double life of lies and deceit and an unknowing partner whose life will change dramatically when this affair is discovered. A simple remedy is in order– telling the truth. Saying “I messed up” or those seven difficult letters “I’m sorry” is far simpler than delivering a trauma laden truth bomb destined to crush everyone within a family!

Why don’t we do this? Why is it so hard to say “I messed up” or I’m sorry”. Are our self-centered ego’s so out of whack that we cannot deliver honest bad news and “feel bad” moments? Are we really protecting a softer fragile ego which would make us look bad? Are we so afraid of the shame and guilt that will occur?

Addicted people are aware that in order to have a meaningful recovery, people have to make amends. They have to say “I’m sorry”. They have to say “I messed up” They have to make the relationship better. They need to work on forgiveness.

Forgiveness is one of those words that we all think we know about, but we really don’t. In the most recent tragedy in Charleston, Arthur Hurd, the husband of his murdered wife said to the murderer, Dylann Roof ”I forgive you” . He added “I would love to hate you but hate’s not in me. If I hate you I’m no better than you.” In this moment. Mr. Hurd freed himself. Forgiveness is the elixir to pain. It does set you free.

In order to forgive, we have to be ready to do so. We have to be able to let go of bitterness and pain and hurt. It doesn’t excuse the injury; it makes us better because we’ve freed up the resentment and pain. In relationships this works best as a dual process. The offending spouse apologizes, the hurt spouse forgives. They then work on healing together. Forgiveness is very powerful. I can heal my hurts without another. I have to make the decision to forgive. Once I make the decision, I get my power back. I am no longer the victim; I am the victor. Forgiveness is the truth that sets ME free!

Change is possible.

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How to pick your next partner

Originally published by Expert Beacon:
https://expertbeacon.com/dating-after-divorce-how-pick-your-next-partner/#.VPb6mC7KMW7

 

 

You found the courage to end your last relationship. Maybe the relationship ended amicably. Maybe it had a dramatic and painful ending, perhaps in divorce. Either way you are finished with the relationship and are looking to begin to date. You may have some fear and apprehension about getting back in the dating game. To find the right person you need a plan. Here are some dos and don’ts for your plan to finding your next partner.

Do

allow time for healing

Ending relationships are hard. It is normal to have feelings of grief and sadness as well as anger and fear. Give yourself the time to heal and process these feelings. If you need additional support, find a good therapist who can help you with loss as well as to look for possible patterns in your relationships.

make the right choice

Most of us don’t make a major purchase impulsively. We research, talk to others, and identify what our needs are. Why wouldn’t you do that for your next partner? Identify what you want in a relationship and don’t settle for someone who doesn’t meet your needs.

pay attention

You started dating again but there is something about this person that bothers you. Pay attention to it. The old adage, “If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right,” is true with people as well.

talk to others

There is no reason to keep your date a secret from family and friends. Let everyone meet him/her. They will have opinions and insights to share. It’s more data to work with in order to make your decision.

feel the chemistry

There is no reason to keep your date a secret from family and friends. Let everyone meet him/her. They will have opinions and insights to share. It’s more data to work with in order to make your decision.

 

 

Don’t

repeat the past

If you are paying attention to your relationship history, you know what types of people you are attracted to. You also know which people didn’t work out the first time. It probably won’t work the second, third or fourth time either!

date everyone

Just because Mary from bookkeeping is single or Bob from shipping is available doesn’t mean that you should date them. Be clear about who you want to be with and stay with that plan. No one has ever died from being lonely. It feels crappy but probably won’t cause death.

ignore the “flags”

You know what flags are: they are the comments that are made, the illogical behaviors that occur, the stories that you question. Communicate about them. Pay attention to them. Don’t excuse them because you really like the person.

listen to everyone

Everyone thinks they know everything about relationships. They are more than happy to share their beliefs, opinions, feelings about who would be best for you. You have an idea about who your ideal partner is — listen to yourself.

think that the relationship will get better
If you are dating someone and there is regular conflict, major areas of disagreement, or addiction/mental health issues, these will not improve by themselves. The relationship will continue to be affected by these issues — they won’t go away. Love will not make them better; only the other person can make them better.

 

Summary

In order to pick your next partner, you need to look inward. You need to pick “the best athlete available” — the one that fits your needs! It’s ok to be afraid and apprehensive. Collect data from both your heart and your head. Don’t be afraid to eliminate people from your search. Pay attention to the “flags”, listen to yourself. You will know when you have found the right person.

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Don’t You Want Me

In the fall of 1982, I was a graduate student in Baltimore, Maryland.  Every morning, I got up early to go to my job that started at 7AM.  From work it was onto class at 4PM .  This was what I did every day for 6 months straight.  Part of my morning ritual was listening  to the radio en route to work.  It seems that I heard this song every morning:

Over 30 years later, this song is still playing on the radio. I hear this song today  differently than I did then.  This song has a therapeutic theme which I have heard many times.  For example-

How many of my clients :

  • have told me this story?
  • got involved with a controlling possessive person only to have to extricate themselves from that relationship?
  •   did not or could not get out of that relationship?
  •   have been with that “love of my life” only for their partner to drop them and move on?

It’s always interesting how people choose their partner.  In previous blogs, we focused in on the communication patterns that stirred up “old stuff”.  I  often wonder what each person looks for in a relationship and what “old stuff” is contributing to that decision.    I’ve worked with countless number of women who grew up in addicted families and married another addicted person.  It was a familiar match made in hell.  I’ve worked with men who had a cold, rejecting, hurtful, mother who married a woman who was cold, rejecting, and hurtful.  Some of these decisions were consciously made.  The person thought that their partner needed fixing or that they would get better.  Other times these discoveries were made in my office after the fact.  Regardless of the motive, the question that I hear is “why did I do this”?  “Why did I marry him/her?”.

Michelle Weiner-Davis is a therapist, and author of the book Divorce Busting.  Her approach is to save marriages  because of the costs, both financial and emotional, of divorce.  However, when people are married to the wrong person, or have a dysfunctional, magnetic connection to a partner, those marriages can not work.  The cost of staying is far greater than the cost of leaving.  Staying in bad marriages, strips self-esteem, self- worth and self- love.  People tend to deal with these partnerships through “quick fix band aids”–addictive behavior, infidelity,  or by developing physical illnesses or mental illness such as anxiety or depression . These costs are chronic, painful, and some times leads to worse problems.

The “Should I Stay or Should I Go” decision  is difficult and scary.  It requires weighing out the  advantages and disadvantages of staying or going.  If you follow the Divorce Busting     approach,  you stay and you work it out.  If you are in a dysfunctional, painful, empty relationship, you have a lot of thinking to do.  Don’t You Want Me Baby is a painful refrain full of rejection; it’s also a song of getting away and getting healthy.

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