Archive

Archive for the ‘Relationship Tips’ Category

Love and fear

April 27th, 2016 No comments
There are two fundamental emotions – love and fear.  All other emotions such as anger, lust, blame, resentment, guilt, shame, adoration, jealousy or joy, gratitude, inner peace, bliss, trust, faith etc. are just derivatives of these two. When you choose to experience and share love you build yourself and others up.  When you choose fear you tear yourself and others down. It is impossible to experience both love and fear simultaneously so at any given moment in your life you must choose which will dominate your thoughts, actions and behavior.  Choosing love regardless of how it is demonstrated or experienced will ensure that you will have inner peace as your motives are noble, caring and compassionate.  Choosing fear no matter how you exhibit it or experience it will guarantee that you will feel stress, frustration and anxiety.
Live wisely this week, Tim
Categories: Relationship Tips, Uncategorized Tags:

The blending process

July 4th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Relationship Tip

Whether you define your relationship as; perfect, miserable, getting better, getting worse or somewhere in between every relationship is a balance or what I’m referring here to – blending – of both the good elements – joy, peace, harmony, intimacy, happiness, fun, laughter, love, unconditional acceptance, joint activities, contentment, respect, support or the bad ones; guilt, resentment, anger, frustration, invalidation, disappointment, jealousy, stress, disrespect, independent roles that sabotage togetherness, fear, bitterness or apathy. Yes there are many more potentially both positive and negative attitudes, emotions or feelings but rather than give you two long lists I would like to explain what I mean by the blending process.

I have had relationship experiences during my life that included a combination of both the positive and negative elements as I’m sure you have as well. I’ve also had a few that were heavily weighted in one way or the other. So what’s the answer to enduring, happy and successful relationships when it comes to these various mindsets that invade or overpower people when they join together?

There are only two basic emotions – love and fear and all of the negative emotions are derivatives of fear while all of the positive ones are grounded in love. So the ultimate secret to relationship success in my opinion is to always come at a situation or circumstance from a posture of love rather than fear and to successfully blend all of the emotions, attitudes so that the negatives don’t overpower or out number the positive ones – yes, I know a lot easier said than done.

The blending process requires patience, letting go of emotional ego control, the ability to let go of your personal reality as the only reality that is possible, a willingness to surrender your need for control of being right and always staying in the present moment and not defaulting back to some previous experience, attitude or memory that only serves to justify your current belief that has out-lived its value in terms of your ability to maintain emotional freedom.

Negative emotions or attitudes will always be with us until we can learn to turn off this part of the fear driven mind. If you want more on this subject I have previously recommended 3 books (if you haven’t read them yet – do it) What Happy People Know, Baker – The Power of Patience, Ryan, The Voice of Knowledge, Ruiz.

Anyway, since it is impossible for most people to turn off these powerfully driven fear mental responses, all we can do, if we want to maintain relationship emotional balance is;

  • See beyond the individual circumstances and focus on the bigger broader picture of life.
  • Look past other’s emotions and ask a simple question – what could really be causing their response, reaction or attitude – given what’s really going on.
  • Always come at everything life gives you from a position of appreciation – no matter what.
  • Recognize that everyone is where they are, believes what they believe, feels the way they feel for a variety of complicated reasons and you will never be able to figure all of these out. But accept that they are for whatever reason based on their history and feelings that they are entitled to them.
  • Don’t try to change anyone. When and if they choose to change anything it will be their decision not yours.
  • Remember that right or wrong are judgments and not necessarily facts or truth.
  • As humans we are all a work in progress – learning, growing, changing, developing and yes making mistakes and failing during this process.
  • We are all perfect in the eyes of God.
  • There isn’t now or ever has been a relationship no matter how perfect people might have thought it was that didn’t have its share of the negatives above at one time or another.
  • Don’t keep score.

There’s a whole lot more you can do to understand and apply this blending process – but it won’t happen if you keep doing what you always been doing, thinking what you have always been thinking and believing what you have always believed. I’m not implying that any or all of these are right or wrong. So just ask yourself a simple question – Is our relationship working? If the answer is no, then follow up with a simple – why not?

The Four Agreements

June 20th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Relationship Tip

One of my favorite and engaging authors is Miguel Ruiz. He is the best selling author of a number of great books but the one I keep coming back to again and again is The Four Agreements. In it he discusses four simple yet life changing agreements that you make with yourself to change the course of your life (if it needs changing) or to improve the quality of all of your relationships (and I’ll bet there is at least one relationship in your life that could improve in some way). So here is an abbreviated version of his four agreements from my perspective. But I urge you to read the book – you won’t regret the time spent and the benefits you can gain from just a couple of hours of reading time. Or you can get the 2 CD set (the full text narrated) for a bargain on Amazon.

Be impeccable with your word

What exactly is being impeccable with your word? Well it simply means that when you speak your words are driven by integrity, accuracy and action. When you talk to yourself (and most of our communication on a daily basis is self-talk) you are clear, honest and open to the consequences of your communication. You don’t hide behind; ego, arrogance, disrespect or any negative or manipulative agendas. When you speak whether to yourself or someone else you always come from a position of truth – not as you have come to believe or accept but truth as it is. For example – each of us has a mind full of lies or stories we have told ourselves over the years about ourselves or others. We have accepted these lies, and they are lies, as who we are and how we define ourselves. If you believe you are less than perfect in any way, then you have accepted a lie whether it originated in your own mind or was planted there at some point by another.

When you speak from a mindset that you are not perfect but have flaws, you are not being impeccable with your words – because you are perfect. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t be better in some way as life unfolds but to see yourself as imperfect is to accept a lie. When you make excuses, misrepresent, or tell half-truths for fear of another’s reaction or response you are failing to be impeccable with your word.

Don’t take anything personal

Sooner or later we all take a comment by another person – personally. What exactly is taking things personally? For starters it implies that someone else knows, feels or believes that what is good or better for you than what you know is better or good for you. Someone says you lack confidence or need to change something about yourself or need to improve in some way – these are their attitudes and are not an accurate reflection of who you really are. They are their opinions only. You can accept the opinions of others or you can learn to see them as just that – their opinions that are grounded in their view of the world, values, judgments or conditioned beliefs. But in the end these do not define you unless you choose to let others rule your life, beliefs, behavior or world in general. So when you take things personal in essence you are turning your life over to the people you are surrounded by rather than maintaining your personal integrity and accepting who you are unconditionally.

Don’t make assumptions

Everyone makes assumptions every day. Little ones that have little or no impact on the quality of their life and big ones that increase stress and cause us to lose our inner peace and often happiness. What is an assumption and I’m not referring to the common phrase that everyone is familiar with? It is simply accepting a belief, statement, action, comment or the lack of these without any proof, validation or verification. Stop for a moment and think about an assumption you have already made about a situation or person today? I’m serious – stop reading and just take a moment and think about either a recent conversation, a rumor you heard or something you want to be true but this desire is rooted only in your own mind and isn’t based on any proof whatsoever.

Assumptions cause us to lose sleep, time, productivity, happiness and create a whole hose of other negative mental as well as physical consequences.

Always do your best

Always doing your best doesn’t mean always doing things right, good or even acceptable. Doing your best is not about always pushing or maneuvering yourself to achieve more or better. Doing your best simply means that no matter what you attempt, act upon or do – you bring “your best” – whatever that means to you – to the action activity, decision etc. Doing your best doesn’t mean doing things perfectly, on time or to the satisfaction of others – it is just you being the best you you can be at whatever you tackle.

Anchoring in the positive

June 6th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Relationship Tips

“I expect to pass through this life but once. If therefore there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
~ William Penn

What is an anchor? And I am not referring to the nautical term for you non-sailors. It is a psychological process or technique for grounding yourself with a memory either positive or negative that reminds you of how you felt, what you did or what you believed when the anchor is thought of, touched, or focused on. Let me give you a positive and negative illustration of how an anchor can be used.

Positive: You were in the courting stage of your current relationship and your significant other held your hand and squeezed it in a certain way whenever he or she did or said something loving. As a result you began to associate the squeeze with the positive loving behavior. Years later, to experience the same positive thoughts, would not require any words just a simple squeeze of your hand and it would bring your consciousness back to the positive feelings you once experienced.

Negative: You have just had a terrible argument with your spouse. As they are screaming at the top of their lungs berating you for every conceivable offense they slap your hand to vent their frustration. (They are not the violent type and the purpose of the slap is more symbolic than to inflict pain) The argument ends. You are back to being friends once again but whenever your beloved slaps your hand even if it was meant to be a loving gesture would tend to bring you back to the negative feelings you had when you were having your heated argument.

In both cases you have created a psychological anchor for your consciousness or thinking. The key in positive relationships is to develop as many positive anchors and as few negative anchors as possible.

  1. Why not look at the behavior of your partner and see if you can determine where and if you have created positive or negative anchors. Discuss them with each other and see if you determine their cause or origin.
  2. See if you can identify all of your negative anchors and their cause. Can you replace the negative ones with positive ones. In other words see if you can give the negative anchor a new positive meaning or twist.
  3. Next see how many new positive anchors you can create to keep you, your partner and your relationship grounded in the positive rather than the negative.
  4. Make a game out of creating positive anchors.
  5. When you feel yourself falling into a behavior or feeling due primarily to the anchor and not what is happening in the present moment, stop and discuss it with your partner.
  6. Learn to get out of auto-pilot. Staying focused in the present is one of the most positive things you can do in any relationship. Learning to let go of what happened last year or yesterday can go a long way in helping you create a loving and open relationship.
  7. If you find yourself slipping into past behaviors that contribute to negative anchors keep asking yourself, why.
  8. Give your partner permission, without retribution, to give you feedback whenever you use a negative anchor.
Categories: Relationship Tips, Words of Wisdom Tags:

Thoughtfulness

May 20th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Relationship Tips

“When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.”
~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Have you ever noticed that some people are more generally thoughtful and appreciative than others? Why is it that some people:

  • Say thank you regularly.
  • Return phone calls on a timely basis.
  • Acknowledge gifts and thoughtful acts in a positive and responsive way.
  • Think more about how they can help others vs. themselves.

Over the years I have tended to notice this character trait in people, whether friends, family or total strangers. Are we just too: into ourselves, preoccupied, self-centered, busy, or do we downright just not care about others’ issues, feelings, dreams, concerns or challenges? Are our own personal agendas taking precedence over any thoughtful behavior? There are a number of considerations when it comes to this simple idea of being thoughtful and appreciative. Here are just two.

One: To be thoughtful of others because in some way you can bring sunlight into their lives regardless of their life dramas, position or status. Everyone needs some degree of acknowledgement, validation, appreciation, thoughtfulness or cheerleading. Can some kind act ease their burden or lighten their emotional load – even if only for a moment in time?

Two: The other is to show some recognition of the acts that other’s do for you whether solicited or not. Some people don’t show appreciation because they:

  • Have no manners.
  • Do not want to send the message to the other person that they approve of their behavior, therefore sending the message, keep it up. They would prefer they stop. They don’t like feeling guilty, obligated or uncomfortable.
  • Don’t even notice the thoughtful acts of others.
  • Expect thoughtful acts from others. They deserve them.

I could go on indefinitely with this information, but I am sure you know or have known people who you would define as less than thoughtful or appreciative. Maybe, even you fit into that category if you are willing to do a little honest self-appraisal. So what are our options when it comes to thoughtful attitudes:

  1. Don’t attach strings to your thoughtfulness (expectations or barter)
  2. Stop being thoughtful of others. (Let their behavior determine yours)
  3. Be thoughtful only where it is appreciated, even if in small ways.
  4. Start keeping score.
  5. Be who you are and give and show thoughtfulness because that is who you are and it has nothing to do with the receiver. Gifts given with love have no expectations or agendas for a return of any kind.
  6. Start giving anonymously. Send cards, notes of inspiration etc. to people and don’t sign them.

And, if you are the lucky recipient of a thoughtful act from a friend or stranger take the time and energy to show appreciation – every time. Don’t break the chain. Even if the thought or act meant nothing to you or had no value for you, what is lost with a heartfelt thank you – I appreciate that!

Closeness vs. Distance

April 26th, 2011 No comments

“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.”

~Anonymous

You can be a million miles apart and feel as close as the next heartbeat or in the same bed and feel hundreds of miles apart.  Have you ever had the experience of feeling really separated or far apart from your partner even though you were within touching distance?  Have you ever felt really close to someone that you see infrequently?

How can you explain this paradox?  I have had both experiences in my life and I have tried to determine the root cause of these feelings regardless of the distance that separated me from my loved one’s.  I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I think I am getting a lot closer to the heart of the issue.

There are several types of closeness or distance.  There is: physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and psychological.  I have felt really close emotionally to someone yet a million miles apart physically.  I have felt a great valley of distance between a spouse spiritually yet a closeness in family or financial agendas.  If you are in a relationship and do not feel intimately close to your significant other in any of the above ways, I suggest you consider why you may be experiencing this distance.

The real problem here is – to be close in some ways and yet distant in others.  For example if you have a greater need for more affection, emotional closeness or romance and your significant other has a greater need for more sex or physical closeness, you will never bridge this gap focusing on a totally unrelated common area in your relationship such as money, career or children. You will tend to bring the unresolved resentments, baggage, expectations, guilt etc. into the other areas of your relationship.  You may not do this consciously, but you will certainly do it unconsciously.

There are a number of causes to these feelings of distance and or closeness.  They can be summarized in just 3.

1. Expectations.  You want or expect a certain type of attitude, response, action, word, feedback from your spouse and it doesn’t (hardly ever or never) comes.  You have an expectation and are constantly disappointed. These unfulfilled expectations can lead to a variety of resentments, disappointments then anger and finally apathy.

2. Needs and/or desires.  You or your significant other has no interest in knowing, understanding or satisfying some or any of your basic emotional or physical needs or wants.

3. Your agendas are purely self-focused and you therefore set your partner up for disappointment wherever you go or whatever you do.

During a break in one of my recent seminars I recently overheard a conversation between two female friends.  One person said, “The passion is gone in our relationship.”  This simple comment caused me to think for a few minutes.  Passion is not in a relationship any more than fun is in a job.  If there is no more passion in the relationship it is because there is no more passion in the two people in the relationship.

A relationship doesn’t have feelings or emotions.  People in them have these things and they either bring them to the relationship or they don’t.  So if there is emotional distance in your relationship it is not because these are missing in the relationship but because they are in one or both of you.

In His service, Tim

Compromise

April 15th, 2011 No comments

One of the hardest things for people to do in relationships is to compromise their needs, expectations, wants, desires, values and beliefs.  I am not suggesting that any of these are wrong or need to change.  I am suggesting however, that if your unwillingness to be flexible with any of them – other than those that are entrenched in your DNA – you will experience a great deal of frustration, anxiety, stress, resentment and even anger in your relationships with others.

When you and your partner disagree and end up in a conflict I would recommend that you first look at what opinions, expectations, needs etc. that you are bringing to the table rather than what he or she said.  It is always easier to point the finger at someone else and say:

– You are wrong
– You need to change
– I am right
– My way is better
– I don’t need to change
– You just don’t understand

Everyone has personal emotional blind spots.  These are areas where you believe or feel that you are right or your way is better.  Since you are often not accurately in touch with them, often your partner will unconsciously act as a mirror because he or she doesn’t have the same blind spots as you – but they do have their own as well.

When there is a conflict in your relationship the first thing you might want to consider is look inside rather than outside for how your beliefs, expectations, attitudes or values are contributing to the conflict.  For most people this is a very difficult first step because they tend to take ownership of their own opinions and expectations. Therefore their first reaction is to look outward toward their partner for the cause of the problem.

The second thing is to ask yourself a question, “What is my partner seeing in me that I can’t – relative to my own beliefs, values, attitudes etc.

The next thing is to ask yourself, “Am I willing to be flexible or compromise in this expectation, value, opinion etc?”  If you aren’t and he or she isn’t the conflict will tend to continue.  If both of you are willing to look inside first and then evaluate your inside stuff with integrity it will give you the opportunity to take your relationship to a new and deeper level of understanding and love.

No one likes to let go of an expectation, belief, value, opinion or attitude that they believe is right. No one likes to give ground unless they are pushed into a corner.  Most people get emotionally defensive when asked to change.  There are many ways to approach these changes, but one way for sure that will guarantee a lack of success is to invalidate your partner in the process.  You invalidate them when you say or imply that they are wrong and you are right or they need to change implying that they are not OK the way they are.

I would suggest that each of you make a list of those topics or relationship issues where you currently have differences and spend some time discussing each other’s list.  Remember – stay neutral.  Just listen.  At this point it is not about change but understanding.  It is about growing not digging in your heels.  If you can get past this step with success you are well on your way to understanding that compromise is not a loss of self-esteem but progress towards a more fulfilling and less confrontation relationship.

In His service, Tim

No – Are you willing to look in the mirror

March 18th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Relationship Tips

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
~ Will Rogers

Before this day ends I guarantee your partner will give you the opportunity to learn something about yourself.

Relationships are an interesting and fascinating blend of events, processes, challenges and growth opportunities.  Life is not about what your relationship partner is trying to teach you but what you are willing to learn about yourself as a result of sharing life with them.  Relationships are  a classroom. In a sense class begins the day we begin our new relationship and ends the day the relationship ends for whatever reason.  There are no vacations, recesses and you never graduate from this relationship school.

There is no final exam and there is no pass or fail.  You can however repeat a grade again and again until you learn the necessary skills or attitudes that your teacher in this or any relationship class is trying to help you learn.

Each of us is traveling through our very unique lives toward a variety of circumstances, events, people, and outcomes.   We are bringing these outcomes and people into our lives both unconsciously and consciously.

Some people are good students and learn the necessary lessons the first time they appear while  others are stuck in the same old patterns, life dramas and situations because they fail to bring the learning back to themselves.

You can’t quit school and you must complete each assignment before you get to move on to the next one.  There are however a number of pop quizzes.  Some people refuse to see the learning as theirs.  They continuously point their fingers outward toward their partner or circumstances and blame them for their own issues, frustrations, stress, fears or challenges.

Life is a neutral experience.  It doesn’t care whether you are poor or wealthy, happy or unhappy, educated or ignorant, good looking or ugly, afraid or courageous, from Boston or Atlanta, are a Catholic or Jewish, single or married working or retired.  It doesn’t have opinions.  It doesn’t judge. It just is.

Class is not about what comes into your life, but how you handle it that matters.  Relationship success comes to many people.  Some handle it well while others do not.  Relationship adversity comes to all of us sooner or later.  Some people give up while others use the struggle to get better, wiser or stronger.  Everyone has problems in their relationships; with children, in-laws or spouses.

The opportunity for personal growth or learning, can be found in each of life’s experiences or teachers.  The key to success and happiness is to learn to bring all of the learning back to yourself and not to point your finger or blame others or life, for the teachers you get.  You and I don’t get to choose all of the lessons in our lives or our relationships and we certainly don’t get to choose how other people should learn their lessons. Each of us is on our own unique path through life into our future.

One way to know if you have not yet learned one of life’s particular lessons is to observe that which is in your life now.  For example if, you are having a particular relationship problem there is most likely a relationship lesson that you failed to learn in the past.

The opening line in the all-time best selling book by Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled states, “Life is difficult.”  Scott goes on to explain that life is only difficult for people who expect life to be easy.

Are you learning your lessons well or are you in blame or denial?

Work vs. Relationship time

March 4th, 2011 1 comment

Weekly Relationship Tips

“Leave things to their natural course, and do not interfere.”
~ Lao-tzu

Cell phones, pagers, email, PDAs, voice mail, laptops, iPhones etc., etc., etc. If I see another person at a restaurant while with their kids or in the men’s room talking on a cell phone, I think I will scream. Whatever happened to a little privacy or personal time? Technology and the drive for 24/7 is creating a wedge in relationships today. More and more – people are expected to be available at the beck and call of their customers, suppliers, fellow employees, supervisors and anyone else who feels an urgent need to get in touch with them NOW.

Why is this so? Is it because;

  • we have nothing better to do with our time than work?
  • we are running away from relationship challenges?
  • we believe we are really that indispensable?
  • we need to feel needed, validated and important at work?
  • we are so afraid that if we miss an email or text message the world will end?
  • we are becoming a society of workaholics?
  • there is something missing in our lives, and we are trying to fill that void with work?

I can’t answer any of the above questions for you. I can tell you however that this incessant drive toward faster responses and turnaround time for anything and everything is causing a great deal of stress and relationship disconnect for most people – which, if not managed successfully, contributes to burnout and the loss of connection and intimacy in our relationships.

Consider – the average person today in a relationships spends over 100 hours a month (that’s over 2 weeks of time) surfing the internet, on their cell phone or playing with some type of technology. Compare this to the average couple today spends, on average, aprox. 27 minutes a week (that’s less than 2 hours a month) in sharing and intimate conversation (Not sex talk but just talking with each other). Get the picture????

Is (or has) your relationship suffered because of this business/career technology” influence? Why not answer the following to see if your relationship is in jeopardy.

  1. Are you spending less time together as a couple than you did last year? Five years ago?
  2. Can you go out to dinner on a weeknight with your partner and leave your pager or cell phone at home?
  3. When you are running errands on a Saturday, do you check your business voice mail?
  4. Are you spending less time with your children than in the past?
  5. When you go on vacation, are you in touch with your office: once – twice – every day?
  6. Would you interrupt some important personal time for a business/career issue of any kind?
  7. Do you lack time for yourself to: read, relax, play, travel, have a new hobby?
  8. Do you feel like your life is out of balance?
  9. Are you feeling increased stress lately? (However you choose to define lately)
  10. Do you sometimes feel like just ‘chucking’ the whole thing and moving to Vermont or Fiji?

Sure, sure – I know – some of you are going to tell me, you need all of this stuff for important personal needs. Like if you forgot to get something at the grocery store you can call home for a reminder! Or you can page your twelve year old on the soccer field. What did we do for the last 100 years? We wasted more time? We got less done? Maybe so, but we also spent more time together sharing feelings, dreams and simple conversation and there was less stress. You decide which you would rather have: more money or a longer life – more fame (or power), or to know your children – a more successful business, or a successful relationship.

You ask – Why can’t we have it all?” Sorry, it’s just not that kind of world. You have to choose your priorities and then honor them with integrity, courage and passion.

I’m not suggesting that you trash technology only that you consider its short and long term impact on your life, your relationships with thoes close to you and your inner peace and happiness. Think about it…

Is the grass really greener over there?

February 14th, 2011 No comments

Weekly Relationship Tips

“Don’t look for the path far away, the path exists under our feet.”
~ Tung-Chan

Many people in relationships, and I would include myself in this category in my previous relationships, believe that the relationship that awaits them in the wings is better than the one they are in. Yes, there are destructive relationships. Yes, there are people who have made relationship mistakes, and yes, there are people who have poor judgment when it comes to selecting a life partner. But, in the long run, sooner or later you are either going to stay with someone you have chosen or spend your life alone. I don’t mean to imply that being alone is a bad thing. If that is what you choose for your lifestyle, then go for it. However, many people who are alone are not so out of choice, but due to a lack of commitment, indecision, insecurity, fickleness, etc.

One of the lines I often use in some of my keynote presentations is that if the grass seems greener across the street maybe it is because they are using better fertilizer!

No question about it, folks, the relationship guru’s tell us that relationships take lots of work. Some people would argue that many couples seem to have it really “together”, or seem to just really “fit”, or seem to really be “blissfully happy”. I am sure that thousands of couples fit any one of these definitions, as well as other positive ones. I will also bet that many who seem to have it “together” from outward appearances deal with the same issues, challenges and troubles facing the rest of us. No one gets to achieve success in any area of life – especially relationships – without a certain degree of: on-going attention, focused awareness, diligence, patience, effort and the ability to manage adversity.

So, my friends, here are a few ideas to consider the next time the grass looks greener somewhere else (with another person):

  1. Spend more time tending your own lawn than gazing upon your neighbor’s.
  2. Buy better fertilizer (invest time, energy and resources into your current lawn.)
  3. Recognize that wherever you look, you have to look through the same set of eyes (your own and that you will filter out what you don’t want and keep what you want as you gaze across the street.)
  4. Accept the fact that maybe your lawn may be dying – not because of your partner but because of your inattention.
  5. Have a plan to improve your lawn and implement it daily.