When Do I Confront My Spouse?

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“I can’t stand it anymore!” Says my client who is clearly distraught

“What can’t you stand,” I say in my most empathetic tone of voice, though I know from experience their next statement is going to strain my patience.

“They never put the cap on the toothpaste tube and it dribbles out all over the counter – I don’t think I can live with him anymore”

 

It may sound crazy but this is the substance of most of the conflict in our homes. We seem to turn seemingly trivial offenses into grounds for divorce. The underlying truth is these arguments are rarely about the toothpaste tubes in our lives? Our conflict is at a much deeper level. Here are some examples that I have seen:

  • He doesn’t clean up, therefore, he doesn’t care about me
  • She is late therefore she doesn’t think I’m important
  • He didn’t remember to pick up milk on the way home, therefore, he doesn’t love me
  • She bought an expensive dress, therefore, she doesn’t respect me.

All of these events are interpreted through the lens of our own insecurity regarding the relationship and therefore validate our underlying assumption. For example, did the husband consciously decide to make a statement about his lack of love for his wife when he forgot to bring home the milk? Or did the wife say, “I’m really going to stick it to him” when she bought that dress?  No! But we act like they did and therefore judge our spouse’s actions as if we were prosecuting a murder trial and have found the smoking gun. This leaves our spouse feeling misjudged and condemned saying things like … “relax, it’s only a toothpaste tube!”

But it isn’t a toothpaste tube … it’s much more, it’s how we experience relationships.

Let me propose an alternative. John Gottman in his 45 years of research into marriages has concluded that good marriages have the ability to default to the positive. This means that when something happens that could be interpreted negatively it is instead seen in the context of overall positive experiences and therefore overlooked as an isolated negative event. In what he calls “good enough marriages” this happens often. Couples just don’t make a big deal of all the little irritations that happen in their relationship because they are fundamentally secure in their mutual love for one another.

But this doesn’t mean that you should let everything slip by. Sometimes our spouse does something that we simply must confront for the good of the marriage (not to mention our sanity)

And here in lays the challenge, when should we confront and when should we just let it slide?

Below is a visual for what I refer to as the Tolerance Line.


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Those things that are below the Tolerance Line you let go but when something rises above this line that is when you must address it.

Some may be asking, “Why don’t we just let everything go?”

Because when happens that is at the core of the vision you have for your life or your relationship you must confront or be in danger of losing yourself. Healthy conflict is a golden door to intimacy because it is where you define your values, dreams, desires, hopes, and beliefs. In short, it is where you draw the boundary lines around who you are as a person. If you lose that, then you lose yourself, and if you lose yourself then you can’t possibly be in a healthy relationship with another person. This is because there is no authentic person to connect with the relationship. When we enter into a healthy conflict we allow ourselves to be seen and known because the situation we are addressing is in some way touching one or more of these vital areas. How are we to know each other unless we talk about the things that cause us distress?

The key to this type of healthy conflict is that we carefully consider what to let go and what to talk about. And if we choose wrongly (i.e. we fail to have the courage to confront) these are some of the consequences we experience.

  • Unresolved anger
  • Passive aggressive behavior
  • Isolation
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Loss of self

How do you know the difference? Here are some principles for bringing up issues that cross our Tolerance Line.

Is it trivial?

If it is trivial, then let it go. This means that we stop being oversensitive and realize that somethings just don’t rise to the level of confrontation. Let’s face it, our spouse is much different than we are (that is one of the main reasons we are in the relationship) therefore they are going to think and act differently than we do. This means there are going to many, many times when we just need to step back and say in our best French accent “vive la différence!”

Is it about me?

By this I mean, is this our issue and not theirs? Are my unhealed emotional wounds being triggered? Am I asking those in my life to walk on “egg shells” because I have a problem with crunching sounds? (yes, I am speaking metaphorically … I hope!) If this is your issue then you must not put the burden on them to accommodate your problem. This means you need to get serious about your own healing. I believe that part of the healing process is to let those closest to us into the process by telling them where we are struggling. But this is a far different conversation than the condemnation, shaming or otherwise controlling behavior we often exhibit when our insecurities are triggered.

Will this negatively affect our relationship?

Is this is something that will not go away, and will create distance between us if left unchecked? If so, then it has crossed the Tolerance Line even if you don’t want to confront it. Sometimes when the Tolerance Line is crossed it is not accompanied by our strong emotions. Sometimes, we need to become courageous and speak even when we are loathed to do so.

Will this negatively affect my spouse in other areas of their life?

We are our brother’s (and sister’s) keepers, and a part of the commitment to our marriage is a willingness to watch each other’s back. This means that when we see our spouse do something that will sabotage their life in some other area we must confront it. Not merely when our own comfort zone has been violated. This is love: “To do what is in the best interest of the other person, no matter what!”

Can I put aside my prejudice and judgments and listen to their side?

We are not ready to confront until we are ready to listen. Why is this when we clearly see that something they are doing is wrong? Two reasons come to mind.

  1. They will not listen to us if we don’t listen to them. Yes, what Teddy Roosevelt said many years ago is still true. “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” One of the chief ways we show that we care is when we take the time and effort to understand their reality by listening to them. This shows ultimate respect and when someone feels respected they will most likely offer up the same honor.
  2. When we listen (I mean listen for understanding and empathy) to our spouse it helps us discern if we have been thinking wrongly. Yes, when we believe that someone has crossed the Tolerance Line we often can’t see ourselves clearly. We think we have a righteous argument but in reality, we are just being self-righteous. Confrontation with humility and a willingness to listen and learn is the greatest safeguard for this condition.

Am I willing to share my vulnerable emotions?

Nobody likes being confronted by an angry person. It is the surest way to end any chance of a successful compromise by creating a defensive response. We need to lead with an emotion that will draw them in and help create an atmosphere of understanding. In Gottman terms, this is called a “soft startup”. Think of it this way. If you saw a person on the street ranting and raving, waving their arms in anger would you walk up to them and ask them what’s going on? No! You’d cross to the other side of the street or even call the Cops. But if you saw someone sad and crying you’d probably be tempted to walk over and ask if you could do something to help. That’s the difference between soft and hard emotions? Sadness, confusion, fear, loneliness and the like draw others closer to us but anger, hostility, aggression repel them. Next time someone crosses your Tolerance Line lead with a soft emotion and see what a difference it will make to their receptivity.

The bottom line in all Tolerance Lines is forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not restore a relationship but it does empty the relationship of the toxins that keep people stuck in the revolving door of resentment and retribution. If you want to be in a relationship you will need to get very, very good at forgiveness. Even if someone has crossed your Tolerance Line there is still no excuse for not to forgiving them, no matter how many times they do it. Yes, you may need to confront them, and yes there may be no successful outcome but that does not mean that you have the right to remain in a state of unforgiveness. Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation but unforgiveness does guarantee continued conflict. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself that keeps your heart from growing cold and hard and allows you to grow in love, peace, and joy. 

If this has been helpful let us know in the comment section below. If you would like to receive our weekly newsletter then just sign up and we’ll send it to you.

 Click here to download a free version of the Tolerance Line illustration

How To Boost Your Self Confidence

Training Your Brain To Be More Confident is Possible

We are on a mission to help our clients become more self-aware, more confident, and find balance in their lives.  Although our clients come to us for a variety of reasons,  we find that over 85%  are dealing with challenges within clarity of identity,  self esteem,  and/or  self confidence.  In addition to recently publishing an eBook  (see below free offer) to you  understand and improve self confidence, we also want to share any quality articles or science based findings to help you with your journey.   

Today I read an excellent article written by Bruna Martinuzzi for American Express that  is worth sharing:   

JULY 30, 2018 To succeed in business today, whether as a leader, manager or business owner, knowing how to boost your self-confidence is paramount. A lack of confidence may prevent you from pursuing opportunities or taking risks to help you grow.

Confidence is a strong sense of self. When you have self-confidence, you signal to others that you believe in yourself and your ability to deliver results. As a leader, confidence enables you to lead powerfully. When you approach others with confidence, you increase your chances to engender trust and respect.

If you're looking to improve your self-confidence, it's important to note that this is not something you can achieve overnight. However, there are some actionable steps that you can take.

 Pursue excellence, not perfection.

The definition of perfectionism is "the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness." Pursuing perfection can lower your ability to boost your self-confidence because you would be judging yourself against impossible standards.

By contrast, consider pursuing excellence in everything you do. Aiming for excellence means setting and meeting the highest standards that are reachable. Knowing that what you're doing matches the highest standards boosts your self-confidence. Chasing perfection, on the other hand, lowers your confidence because it creates doubt and anxiety as you try to reach unrealistic standards.

Do you have a tendency toward perfectionism? Consider these three tips:

  • Create a list of the services you provide to internal or external customers.
  • Consider what's required to be outstanding in each of these services.
  • Now create a plan to tackle each of these areas in a way that surpasses ordinary standards.
  •  Invest in your competence.

The adage "fake it till you make it" can lead to feeling like a fake rather than feeling genuinely self-confident.

Instead, you can boost your self-confidence by focusing on increasing your competence in the central areas of your work. Become good at what you do. It's one of the most direct ways to boost your self-confidence.

Moreover, once you reach a certain level of competence, consider raising the bar on yourself. Raising the bar leads to continuous improvement over time.

How else can you invest in your competence?

  • Be honest with yourself about what you don't know. Create a personal competency framework and spend time increasing your knowledge or skill in the areas that need attention.
  • Research your area of expertise to learn new trends and new ways of doing things. The world is dynamic and changing. Falling behind can erode your confidence.
  • Sharpen the saw by attending some online courses which are now available in almost any subject.
  • Read as much as you can—not only in your area of expertise, but for general business knowledge as well. Even if you're very busy, you can subscribe to a book summary service to improve your professional skills and boost your self-confidence are just a few of the services available.

Learn from your own experience.

  • After a significant event, such as delivering a major presentation or doing a sales call with an important client, reflect on the experience.
  • Take a sheet of paper, label it "lessons learned" and capture everything you've gained from the event. For example:
  • What part of your performance went well? That's what you don't want to forget so that you can repeat it the next time.
  • What didn't go as well? What do you need to avoid doing the next time?
  • What do you need to do differently or better to take yourself to the next level?
  • What do you need to abandon altogether?
  • Not taking the time to reflect and capture the lessons may limit your ability to learn from your own experience. Self-confidence is a quality we gain above all from repeated successful experiences.

 Stop the self-harassment.

Self-harassment is when we persistently berate ourselves for any failures, whether real or perceived. Instead of severe self-criticism, consider practicing self-acceptance which can help boost your self-confidence. How can you do this?

  • Start by raising your self-awareness so that you can exercise self-control. Just how many times in a week do you belittle your efforts, blame yourself for events, or speak harshly to yourself? Self-criticism becomes habitual, and we hardly notice it. Catch yourself in the act. Self-awareness precedes self-management.
  • Develop an accurate assessment of who you are. What do you do well? What do you do not so well? Notwithstanding this knowledge, accept yourself unconditionally. To achieve this, set an intention to appreciate yourself for who you are.

  • Remind yourself that you're in control of your self-development. Work on ironing out any rough edges or doing whatever it takes to improve what needs to be improved.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Preparation is a key to boosting your self-confidence. When you're prepared, you tend to feel less pressure. Preparation gives you a feeling of being in control. It can give you a head start so that you can think and act your best.

Let's take the example of going to a meeting. Meetings are often events that can put a dent in self-confidence because you're observed and possibly judged by your lack of contribution.

To build your confidence in a meeting:

  • Never go into a meeting unprepared. Be prepared to contribute to the discussion even if you're not scheduled to speak.

  • Try to find out the meeting topics in advance, if possible. What are your ideas about the meeting topics?

  • Prepare a question or two that you might ask. Leaving a meeting with a feeling that you've contributed to the discussion can be a big confidence booster.

Beware of the comparison trap.

When you measure yourself against others, you may rob yourself of the confidence that comes from believing in your abilities. Cultivate an inner trust based on doing the right things for yourself, your staff and your business. If you look to the success of others, do it to learn rather than to measure yourself.

When it comes to comparing ourselves, self-comparison is essential. Are you better today than you were yesterday? Compare your progress with where you were when you started. By focusing on even small improvements that you've made in your skills and abilities from day to day, you may start to see your self-confidence surge.

Learn from the best to help boost your self-confidence.

  • Find out who are the best people in your line of business and study what they do. Think about them, read articles about them and watch their performances. Follow them on social media and research everything about them that you can.
  • What can you learn from these people that can help you reach the same level of success in your field? Once you've determined what they do, consider how you can even surpass them.

Even the most confident people can sometimes find themselves in situations where they doubt themselves. Everyone needs some tools in their toolkit to boost their self-confidence. Self-confidence is key to having the mental edge that helps you success.

Read original article at: American Express / Small Business

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Learn Why Eight-Five Percent of Us Struggle to be Happy

Research Shows that 85% of us are Living with the Effects of  Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Self-Confidence, Resulting in Frustration and Unfulfilled Potential.

What's the big deal about self-confidence?

Confidence is hard to define but easy to recognize. With it, you can take on the world; without it, you live stuck at the starting block of your potential
— Katty Kay and Claire Shipman - "The Confidence Code"

The observation by William James, that most people live in a restricted circle of potential,  holds no less true today than when he made it over a century ago. The reason that so many people never fulfill their potential is not a lack of intelligence, opportunity or resources, but a lack of belief in themselves. Or to put it another way, too little self-confidence.  Without it, you can do little, with it, you can do anything!

 But what is confidence, anyway?

Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for, but that’s not true. Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed.

For instance:

  • Your belief in your ability to speak in front of an audience
  • Your belief in your ability to learn a new skill set
  • Your belief in your ability to be a leader
  • Your belief in your ability to handle confrontation or manage conflict
  • Your belief in your ability to change career path, or start a new business
  • Your ability to exit an unhealthy relationship
  • Your ability to live a healthy lifestyle

It's been long established that the beliefs we hold – true or otherwise – direct our actions and shape our lives. The good news is that new research into neural plasticity reveals that we can literally rewire our brains in ways that affect our thoughts and behavior at any age. Which means that no matter how timid or doubt-laden you’ve been up to now, building self-confidence is largely what psychologists call a volitional action. Or to use layman language: “By choice.” With consistent effort, and the courage to take a risk, we can gradually expand our confidence, and with it, our capacity to build more of it!

Of course, confidence can wax and wane throughout our lives. It’s boosted when we experience a win or receive praise. It takes a hit when our efforts fall short of the mark, we’re criticized, rejected or simply feel a lack of external recognition. We’re only human after all. It’s therefore vital not to become overly reliant on external affirmation to prop up our self-worth but to take ownership for taking the worthwhile actions needed to sustain it. Which begs the question:

How do you build the confidence needed to overcome your challenges and achieve your goals, particularly when you don’t first succeed?

The following FREE eBook "How to Boost Your Self-Confidence" will help clarify several common roadblocks and help you on your journey to being more confident.

Do you want to keep informed on tips and articles on Self-Inprovement? Sign Up for our newsletter and receive your FREE book "How to Boost Your Self Confidence"  

 
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We are passionate about helping others become the person they were created to be.  Your feedback is always welcomed, simply send us a note at connect@totalwellnesscente.net and we will respond as soon as possible. 

 

Warmest,

The Total Wellness Team

5 Steps to Finding the Right Career for You

5  Steps to Finding the Right Career for You

I was one of the rare lucky ones to know what I’d be doing with my life before I turned 21. Although I was never a wiz in school, I could calculate numbers in my head faster then most of my friends could help with their calculators, and no I didn’t become an accountant. But I did focus on my love of numbers and realized I could calculate down to the decimal point regarding the cost of individual processes, and then figure out a more efficient and cost-effective way to make things flow. 

Read More

10 Steps to Create the Ultimate Vision Board

 Download the  FREE Ultimate Guide to Creating YOUR Board

(Bottom of the Page)

The Science that says "WHY" this Works.

Are you one who thinks a vision board is simply child’s play, then think again. They work, and there’s actually neuroscience along with other scientific studies that help us understand the power behind this simple tool.

First of all, visualization has been proven to be one of the most powerful mind techniques you can do. A vision board is basically an extension of your mind, it takes your thoughts and couples them with actions, driving a higher level of results. Olympic athletes have been using it for decades to improve performance, and Psychology Today reported that the neuro brain patterns activated when a weightlifter lifts heavyweights are also similarly activated when the lifter just imagined (visualized) lifting weights.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. - Joel A. Barker

What is a Vision Board?

A vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

What can a vision board do for you?

Your vision board will function similar to a road map,  or more currently ”your online Google map”, as my husband likes to call it, ”His Nav Babe”. It works as a visual reminder of your desired destination and route.  In a way, it works as a primer for your subconscious.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink shares examples of how simply reading lists of words designed to evoke a certain feeling such as aggression or cooperation can bring out that emotion without our conscious awareness, even if we know we’re being manipulated. It sounds a bit scary but it shows how powerful our mind works and the power of the words we feed it. That is one of the many reasons I am an advocate for using a lot of positive words, not only on my own boards but the boards of my clients.

Steve Harvey and Oprah discussing Vision Boards on OWN

 
 

Are you ready to start creating your

Vision Board?


 10  Steps to your Ultimate Board

Step 1: Clear your mind

The most important step to creating any goal or vision is to empty your mind of old thoughts, allowing it to be free to think without predetermined limits or boundaries. Why is this step important?  Because an empty mind is:

  • Aware—embracing the present moment and experience
  • Peaceful—it doesn’t dwell on the same thoughts
  • Intuitive—it’s receptive to input from higher sources
  • Free—from judgment and worry
  • Creative—allowing inspiration and new ideas to come in
  • Relaxed—it releases stress and fosters wellbeing
  • Energized—no effort is wasted on unwanted thoughts

I recommend meditation.

Meditation is the best way to calm your overactive mind. It’s simple and requires only a couple of things—stillness and your willingness to do it.

How to do it—find a quiet place, at your home, office or even outside in the midst of nature. Set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes.

Sit upright, on the floor, ground, or a chair, close your eyes and start focusing on your breath. Take a few breaths, in and out slowly, and follow your breath. Think of a few things that you’re thankful for and name them in your mind, then smile. As you continue to smile, follow your breath; inhale and exhale. Don’t worry if your mind resists in the beginning. Your mind may wander and you may lose focus on your breath. That’s normal. Awareness comes in waves. Just ride it as long as you can, then catch the next one.

If you have a hard time focusing on your breath, start counting with each breath. Once you are relaxed it is time to move to step two.

Step 2:  Today I Am

As in every journey, there is always a starting point. So, before you plan your journey forward you must understand where you currently stand in your life. Defining your starting point will help you set benchmarks and measurables. Grab your workbook (free download) and turn to page - "Today I Am” and answer the listed questions.

TIP: Answer the questions with your initial thought and keep them honest. Your journey forward will start to unfold as soon as you reveal your current location in life.

Step 3: What is on Your Bucket list

Webster states that a bucket list is:  "a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime." I agree with Webster except for the one word ..."hope".  I personally like to exchange "hopes to have" to "Will have".  Remember the power of words in the previous paragraph.   

Turn to the page in your planner "Bucket List" and write down EVERYTHING you dream of having and doing in your life. There are no limits to your dreams.  Make them enormous.

Step 4: Determine Your Theme

Determine a theme for your board. This can be as broad as “My Life” or as narrow as “My Career." Keep in mind; there are no ”Vision Board Quotas” so you can create as many as you want to make. In fact,

Warning; they can actually become addicting once you see the power of visualizations.

Step 5: Materials

Gather all the materials listed in your Planner on the page "Materials",  place them in the workspace you have designated to create your vision board. Keep in mind, some of the materials will need to be kept out of the hands of small children and away from quality furniture (i.e., glue, scissors, etc) but you know that already. In the business world, we call that CYA, so thanks for indulging my old corporate habits.

Step 6: Gathering Images

Your board is only as powerful as your images so choose wisely. You may find images, that at the moment feel perfect, but later you decide not to use on your board - don’t worry, I have never used all the images I ”thought” I would. Also, keep your mind open to all types of media, you can find great images in magazines, on the internet, in ads, or you may even choose to draw your own. All is fair in thought and vision. This is where “Go Bold or Go Home” is a good rule of thumb. The images you choose should move you and stir something deep inside.

Step 7: Inspirational Quotes

Now that you have gathered the images that reflect your future dreams, back them up with powerful inspirational quotes.

You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things so that all the small things go in the right direction.” Alvin Toffler

 Even if you choose mot to put the quotes directly on the board, they are powerful when placed in areas you can see them daily. Take it one step further and write them in your Planner on the designated page for quotes. Another proven fact is; when we write your thoughts down vs. just thinking them, it activates multiple areas of the brain stimulating memory. so write, write, write ...

Step 8: Let the Creative Juices Flow

It is time to create. Cut out the images and plan their placement. You can place as many or as few images on your board. The key is to make sure it speaks to YOU. Since I will be suggesting that you place your board where you can see it frequently, you may want to choose primary colors that go with your decor (or not).

Great Tip: Once you’ve planned out your board, take a photo of it before you start securing the images into place. If you are using glue, you will need to remove the images in order to place glue on the backs and the photo will help you remember their placement.

Step 9: Place and Admire.

You can place your board where wherever you desire - but, again, the power in this board is ”seeing” it regularly. I have clients who take photos of the completed board and use it as the wallpaper on their tablets and phones. You can also do like Steve Harvey did and have a photo in dozens of key locations. Regardless of where you place your board or the photos of your board, you have just embodied your dreams in a visual format.

Step 10: To Do List - Once your board is completed you will need to create a list of  actions that will turn your dreams into reality.

Now, Get ready for great things to start taking place in your life. This is your journey - make it an exciting one.


Before starting your Vision Board, Download and read through this Ultimate Guide designed to take your Vision Board to the next level and reboot your brain to think BIGGER.  We would love to see the photo of your board, along with your success stories.  Please send to

connect@totalwellnesscenter.net or feel free to call us at (310) 461-4107

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Five Steps to Intimacy: Creating Yours, Mine and Ours

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FREE WORKBOOK DOWNLOAD

Do you ever think relationships would be easy if the other person was like you? We may not actually say that but often we act like it, especially when our partner is excited about something that we have absolutely no interest in.

When this happens we must choose a response.

  1. Act like we enjoy it: (ie. Fake it)
  2. Decline to participate: (ignore it)
  3. Negotiate for something you want:  (Leverage it) This becomes a “tit for tat” arrangement, something like saying, “if you’ll see the latest superhero movie with me I’ll go shopping for shoes with you.”

So how are these solutions working? Not so good ugh?

This is why …

1. Act like you enjoy it:

The first solution of acting like we enjoy it doesn’t work … unless we’re going for sympathy. This is because everyone knows how much you are hating what you’re doing and you’re probably so unhappy that they’re probably wishing you just said no to it in the first place. If that’s what you're going for you’d be better off just saying no. Which leads us to the second option.

2. Decline to participate:

So you’ve successfully avoided the hated activity but now you’ve got another problem. You’re missing out on something your partner is passionate about. Why is this a problem? I have found that it is one of the major complaints of that troubled relationships I work with because if you can’t appreciate the things that your partner loves it is very hard to convince them that you appreciate them. That’s right, the things we love are intricately tied to us so that if you are rejecting the things your partner loves they see this as a de facto rejection of them. John Gottman the renown research Psychologist has found that developing a culture of appreciation for your partner's interests and activities is fundamental to maintaining a good marriage.

3. Negociate

Now I hear you saying, “isn’t this just creating a good compromise?” Yes, I believe in compromise, in fact, compromise is at the core of being able to deal with perpetual conflict. In many cases, we need to compromise in order to maintain a healthy balance in a relationship. But if we ever find ourselves creating a relationship based upon, “if you do _______ then I will do ________” then we are headed for real problems. This is because healthy relationships are built on unconditional love and when we create a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” attitude then we find that our back never gets scratched enough and we begin feeling that we are scratching theirs too much. In addition, all the time we are “compromising” we are very likely slipping into the “faking mentality” which will end up making everyone miserable.

Let me share some illustrations that I have find helpful when working with my couples.

INDEPENDENCE

 
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This is where the couple finds little or no involvement in one another’s life. It is characterized by the phrase, “they have their life and I have mine”. There is very little interaction, except in areas of necessity (paying bills, dealing with children, etc.) Often, I see couples at this stage when the children have left the house and now they are wondering why they got married in the first place since they have no mutual interests. They have become strangers to each other.

DEPENDENCE

 
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This is a state where one partner can’t move without the other. They are living in each other’s world even to the denial of their own uniqueness. Psychology calls it “enmeshment” and it is often caused by a fear of rejection or poor self-image. These relationships are suffocating because they don’t allow for the individuality and creativity of the other person and instead attempt to make it wrong for either partner to have an opinion or interest outside of the approval of their partner. When I see a couple like this it is often because one party is making a desperate attempt to find freedom and is pushing them into an “all or nothing” approach.  When this problem is not addressed it often leads to divorce.

INTERDEPENDENCE

 
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This is where both partners maintain their unique personalities and interest but find ways to share in the passionate pursuits of each other's world without the need to isolate or become enmeshed. It is where we acknowledge individuality (viva la difference) but also recognizes the beautiful contribution that this difference brings to the whole. The challenge is:

  • Develop a way to both maintain individuality without becoming independent.
  • Create interdependence without becoming dependent.

The five steps

1.       Celebrate the Difference: We have a saying in Marriage Counseling, “opposites attract and then they attack”. Basically, this means that we are drawn to our partner because of the unique attributes they possess that we find fascinating. But then as time goes on we no longer find these characteristics fascinating but irritating. One of the most common pairings I find is an extrovert marring an introvert. Here is how they become attracted and then attack each other:

When an introvert meets an extrovert they say, “wow, I love the way you connect with people and feel so at home in a crowd. When I’m with you I feel like I’m with a rock star!
When an introvert lives with an extrovert for a while they may say, “why do you always need to be with people … can’t you just stay home more often?”
When an extrovert meets an introvert they say, “You are so deep and thoughtful, I love your calmness and wisdom, I find it very peaceful.”
When an extrovert lives with an introvert for a while they say, “ why do you spend so much time alone reading your books, what’s wrong with you?”

Instead of celebrating our partner's difference we want them to become more like us because that’s more comfortable. But good relationships are not always comfortable – sometimes they require us to stretch. Healthy relationships have this ability to be both totally accepting of our unique peculiarities and also challenge us to grow to experience our full potential. So for an introvert living with an extrovert, there is a challenge to broaden their world of relationships and touch more lives. And for an extrovert living with an introvert, there is a challenge to develop a contemplative life and deepen their inner world. This growth requires that we learn how to appreciate the other’s gifts, abilities, and interests even if we have no desire in those areas.


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Getting to We

This is when we become aware of an interest in our partner's sphere and choose to find something in that interest we can authentically be excited about. That interest is then pulled into our sphere and we then share it in the "we" sphere.


2.       Identify your partner’s passions: You may know what they are or you may not. Sometimes when one partner has been hearing negative things about what they love they lose hope of ever pursuing them. This is a sad state where they live a hopeless unfulfilled life that offers no joy. We need to kindle our partner’s interests rather than dampen them.  A truly happy relationship is where we are the wind under their wings and they are encouraged to become all they were meant to be. So during this step, we need to sit down and take an inventory of our partner’s interests. Ask questions like:

  • If you could do anything, with no limitations, what would it be?
  • What have you always wanted to do but just never got around to it?
  • As a child, what did you like to do that never lost it’s fun?

Okay, I can hear some of you saying, “how is just doing what they want to do going to work for me?” Here are three thoughts about that.

Encouraging the loves and interests of your partner gives you a partner who is more fully alive and who, in turn, has the capacity to help encourage your passions.

Encouraging the loves and interests of your partner produces a deeper and more intimate relationship. We feel close to those who truly know us and to know and appreciate our unique passions is one of the best ways of feeling known.

Our partner will never feel truly loved if we do not appreciate those areas of interest and passion that is the expression of their unique self
— James Tillman

Encouraging the loves and interests of your partner opens you up to a new and expanding world of adventure that offers you a fuller richer life. This leads us to the third step.

3.       Find something in your partner’s interests that you can authenticly be excited about.

Here’s an example from one of the couples I work with.

The wife is passionate about all things fashion and loves to follow the latest fashion bloggers who have enormous influence in the clothing industry. The husband is a numbers guy and has no interest in the fashion industry. There seems to be no way that he will be able to find something that interests him in his wife’s fashion passion. But he did! He was able to look past the clothes and see that there are a few power bloggers who are able to move people to purchase clothes simply by using influence. He found this fascinating because he is in a company that would be greatly enhanced by applying some of the same principles to their product. So when his wife is looking at the latest trend in clothing on her smartphone he is looking over her shoulder at the way the clothes are being presented and the power of influence.  

You may need to get creative and expand your palate of colors but this is an opportunity to grow if you are up for the challenge. Because when you do you accomplish step four.

4.       Pull your partner’s “my interest” into a “we interest”: Finding something that interests you in your partner's passion will create an opportunity for you both to grow closer and experience a more enjoyable life together. Examples:

We both have a “we interest” in amusement parks: I like the rides, she likes the shows
We both have a “we interest” in taking vacations: I like exploring new and unusual sights, she likes finding new and interesting restaurants.
We both have a “we interest” in visiting museums. She likes learning about ancient cultures, I find the artwork fascinating. When you do this you accomplish the fifth step.

5.       Go for the win, win, win as much as possible: Let’s face it, we’re not always going to find something that peaks our interest in everything our partner loves. Sometimes we’re just going to need to love that our partner loves it. This kind of attitude says, “I can appreciate something simply because it gives you pleasure and that makes me happy.”

I like Disneyland … it must be because it holds some of my happiest memories when I was growing up. My wife has really no love for Disneyland (grew up in Kansas) and in fact, it would not be a place she would ever choose to go even if someone were to pay. But the other day she surprised me by planning a date to the Magic Kingdom. We had a marvelous time and she authentically enjoyed the park. This was because of seeing it through my eyes. One moment stands out as a precious memory. We were in the Enchanted Tiki Room. This is one of the most outdated but beloved attractions in Disneyland and definitely an acquired taste. During the show, she leaned over to me and gave me a tender kiss. I asked her what that was about and she said, “because I love to see you in your happy place.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get to that place more often in our relationships? Enjoying an activity simply because it brings joy to our partner. This requires that we are willing to cultivate a caring, giving and unselfish relationship with our spouse. This commitment will reward us tenfold in not only a more satisfying relationship but even more importantly a more beautiful character which, in the end, produces greater wholeness, wellness, and joy.

Get your Free "Getting to We" Couple's Worksheet

This workbook  is a step by step guide to help a couple discover their individual areas of interests and bring their partner into these areas so that they become something they mutually enjoy. 

 
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14 Healthy Recipes to "Make Your Lunch Count"

Easy, Delicious Recipes to help you celebrate   "National Make Your Lunch Count Day"  Free Download

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But why wait until April 13th,  when we can start today?  Between breakfast, widely branded as the day’s “most important” meal, and dinner, the meal we spend all day waiting for, lays a conspicuous meal that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves: lunch. It’s sometimes seen as a tide-me-over between breakfast and dinner, and will often be forgotten altogether if a day’s workload proves too large to allow for a break. So, on April 13, let’s take a moment to memorialize lunch. And not just memorialize it, but really make it count! Here’s a hearty, midday toast to National Make Lunch Count Day.

Why We Love National Make Lunch Count Day

  •  It's a window to the world

Lunch is the meal most often eaten away from home, and as such, we're usually around a different crowd of people in a different place than for our other meals. One way we can really make our lunches count is by finding ways to enjoy it with those around us. It's the perfect time to arrange a short, midday meet-up with an old friend, or to get to know a new one a little better.

  •  When breakfast gets in the way, lunch saves the day

We've all had mornings where we're just too rushed to put some food into our stomachs before taking off. If it weren't for our lunch breaks, there's no way we'd make it through those days. Lunch can serve as a much-needed afternoon pick-me-up when there's just no time for breakfast.

  •  It breaks up the day

You'd have a hard time finding a worker who doesn't look forward to their lunch break! After breaking out of those morning blues, lunch can serve as a much-needed hiatus from the day that'll help carry us through to the end.

How to Celebrate National Make Lunch Count Day

1. Arrange a group lunch

We've all got to eat lunch — why not do it together? National Make Lunch Count Day is the perfect excuse to arrange that group lunch that your coworkers have been talking about for lunch.

2. Buy a lunch for someone who can't

While many of us can afford that noontime sandwich, there are a lot of us who can't. If you're in a position to help, consider buying a lunch for someone near you who might otherwise struggle to pay for it themselves.

3. Plan your next week's lunches

Lunch often becomes an afterthought once you're nose-deep in a pile of work. Consider planning ahead to make sure you'll always have something nutritious to take you from breakfast to dinner! To do this, we have created a healthy lunch recipe book packed with easy recipes for the busy lifestyle we all seem to live.

So, regardless of it being "Make Your Lunch Count Day or Week", the key is to make your health count everyday.   In addition to downloading your FREE recipe book, also sign up for our Newsletter and receive tips on how to acheive health in your relationships, emotionally, physically,  spiritually, and  even professionally. 

We are excited to be a part of your life transformation.  As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated. 

 

Fill in your name and email and receive your FREE Recipe Book immediately.

 
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Why YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD CREATE MIND MAPS and 5 EASY STEPS TO HOW

Working Your Brain the Way it Was Created to Work

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Methodical doodling, Mind Mapping, is today’s "science-based" creative business planning. This mind liberating process is a highly effective way of getting ideas in and out of your brain. Mind Mapping is a creative and logical way of taking notes of  thoughts that literally "maps out" your ideas, resulting in data your mind can understand.

Science shows that mind mapping improves your memory, writing, and organizes your thoughts, not to mention it makes for a much more creative and well thought out presentation.

All Mind Maps start with a core axel while the ideas radiate outward by using lines, symbols, words, color and images according to simple, brain-friendly concepts. Mind mapping converts a long list of information into a colorful, memorable and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain's natural way of doing things.

 Mind Mapping experts from Mindmap explains it like this,

“One simple way to understand a Mind Map is by comparing it to a map of a city. The city center represents the main idea; the main roads leading from the center represent the key thoughts in your thinking process; the secondary roads or branches represent your secondary thoughts, and so on. Special images or shapes can represent landmarks of interest or particularly relevant ideas.”

What I love about Mind Mapping is I do not have to have any order to my thoughts, which works great for my randomness, as soon as an idea pops into my brain I put it in the map. No need to worry about thinking in any particular order. Simply, throw out any and all ideas, then worry about reorganizing them later.

 The General Flow of a Mind Map

  • The main idea, subject or focus is crystallized in a central image
  • The main themes radiate from the central image as 'branches'
  • The branches comprise a key image or keyword drawn or printed on its associated line
  • Topics of lesser importance are represented as 'twigs' of the relevant branch
  • The branches form a connected nodal structure

How to Create Your Mind Map

  • Think of your general main theme and write that down in the center of the page. (i.e. food)
  • Figure out sub-themes of your main concept and draw branches to them from the center, beginning to look like a spider web (i.e. meats, dairy, breads)
  • Make sure to use very short phrases or even single words
  • Add images to invoke thought or get the message across better
  • Try to think of at least two main points for each sub-theme you created and create branches out to those

Another amazing thing about Mind Mapping is you can Mind Map about anything, anywhere, anytime.  Try using this with your personal goals, your family goals,  this is also an excellent tool for kids.

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READY TO GET STARTED?  

Fill out this form to download your free Mind Map Template as either an editable PowerPoint  or as a PDF.

 

If you want to take it a step furfure  and use Mind Mapping Software,

I recommend MINDMAP @ www.MINDMAP.com

If you'd like to learn more about creating an effective, results oriented business plan contact one of our elite Master  Business Consultants Today and receive a FREE consultation.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Need Easter (and So Do You)

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I live in a world of pain. It is the world I chose to enter when I became a Clinical Counselor. Nobody can escape some amount pain and suffering in their work but in my case, I invite it into my office every day. Nobody sees a therapist because they are happy and content with their life.

But I also live in a world of transformation – a place of wonder and unlimited opportunity. For where there is pain there is an opportunity for comfort where there is despair there is room for hope and where there is death there is resurrection.

This is the message of Easter. It is the story that is written in our hearts if we chose to believe it. We simply need to open our eyes and see it everywhere, for God has revealed our true destiny in a new blossom of Spring, the birth of a child and the rising of the sun.

Even our modern agnostic culture has embraced Easter in its most popular media. Who can imagine a superhero movie ending tragically?

This is because the fundamental truth of human existence is hope for redemption. Tolkien wrote of the life of Jesus as the archetypical story of humanity. He called the resurrection a eucatastrophe

(eu = good, catastrophe = disaster)

The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the ‘inner consistency of reality.’ There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.
— On Fairy Stories by J.R. Tolkien

Easter is not only a day we celebrate what was done for us – it is a day we celebrate our own resurrection if we are willing to believe it. But there can be no resurrection without death and there can be no great eucatastrophe without first passing through the valley of hopeless desperation. The sooner we accept this great theme the sooner we will be able to participate in the powerful truth of Easter.

So what hopeless situation do you struggle with? Is there an obstacle that seems insurmountable? If so you are perfectly set up for your own personal eucatastrophe. This is not some self-improvement psychological mumbo-jumbo nor is it a quick fix that will make everything around you bright and shiny.

Remember, eucatastrophes come in the last chapter.

This doesn’t mean that you need to wait until you’re physically dead to experience a resurrection but you will need to be willing to die to whatever has held you down and caused you to become hopeless. The sooner you get to that place where you run out of options and are frustrated with all that you’ve tried the sooner you will find your own personal resurrection.

This is the way of the resurrection – when all hope is lost something penetrates the darkness and brings about a metamorphosis that was not expected and could not have been anticipated. The disciples did not expect the resurrection … in fact they were disbelieving even when they heard eyewitness accounts. This was because they “knew” that Jesus was dead and that all hope was lost. Fearful, grieving and stuck in their limited understanding, they huddled in the upper room believing all was lost. It was not until they were shaken from their disbelief by Jesus’ appearance that their minds and hearts were open to a new and powerful reality.  

This is what it means to die. Whatever you “know” must die to make way for the new.

  • You may “know” that a relationship will never improve
  • You may “know” that your career will never be fulfilling
  • You may “know” that you will never be healthy
  • You may “know” that you will never be truly happy
  • You may “know” that you will never be loved

Your personal eucatastrophe will not come from what you know but from you have yet to know. If the resurrection is true then all the other promises of God are also true.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
— Romans 8:11 NIV

When we continue to live in our failure we are denying the resurrection of Jesus and choosing to live in doubt and fear. It’s as if Jesus steps into your room and shows you his nail pierced hands and you refuse to believe.

When faced with the reality of having true resurrection power available to us do we still choose to live in our fears?

But even when we “see” the truth we still need help – so God has made that available to us also. We simply need to honestly admit our own futility, confess our faithlessness and accept the free gift of resurrection power who is the Holy Spirit. This is the doorway to your personal eucatastrophe.

This is not a “one and done” choice, (oh, I wish it were!) but a continual choosing of the Spirit’s power to work in and through us, in ways, we cannot do ourselves.

I confess that I am so weak that I must do this daily. Every morning the clouds of doubt and fear creep over me like a morning mist and I must begin each day with reminding myself that God is in control, that he is good, that he loves me, and he is worthy of being trusted because he is faithful. This is not a small matter to me – it is as important as breathing for if I fail to do this my spirit will wither and die. If there is any good that comes from my life I attribute it to this daily cleansing of my mind and heart and the resurrection work of the Holy Spirit.

Are you ready for your eucatastrophe? Have you reached a point where you are desperate to see resurrection power in your life? Then you are in a blessed place and ripe for miracles.

If we at Total Wellness Resource Center can be of any assistance on your journey or serve you in any way please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through the confidential form below.

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If you are finding yourself in a place where you feel stuck and are seeking your own personal eucatastrophe then sign up for a free consultation ... we're here to help! 

Making Sense Out of Your Partners Nonsense

Learn to Decode Your Partner's "Reality"
 

Ever had this happen – Your partner gets upset about something that seems to you like a trifle. So you downplay it or ignore it and then all hell breaks loose. When you pick yourself up off the floor you are left scratching your head wondering, “What just happened here? All I did was …” Your partner wasn’t logical, reasonable or even slightly made a bit of sense so how do you respond? If you’re like most of us you do one of the following.

  • Close your eyes to the illogic and move on
  • Try to engage in a rational, reasonable manner
  • Put your foot down and assert your right to common sense

But none of these options really work, do they? Because –

  • If you close your eyes to it you end up bumping into it over and over again
  • If you try to engage, you end up going down the black hole and lose your way
  • When you put your foot down it just makes the gap between you larger by filling it with resentment.

So what are you to do when there seems like there are no viable options?

When you encounter the irrational remember this – It’s rational in that person’s world, you just need to better understand their world.

Yes, you heard me right. You are dealing with someone who has a different reality than yours so there will be times when their rationale will also be different. If you ever want to communicate – much less have an intimate relationship, you will need to be able to understand their reality.

But you say, “I didn’t sign up to be a part of someone else’s reality!” You did when you entered into the relationship, for every time we enter into a relationship we are choosing to interact with another person’s reality. Think of it like traveling abroad. When you step off the plane you are now entering into a country with a different set of laws and customs. Yes, there will be a lot of similarities to home but there will be a lot of things you don’t understand and may seem illogical.

Okay, now I’m going to throw you a curveball – sometimes your partner won’t even understand their own reality! Yes, that’s right, we all do things, feel things and say things and we are clueless why. That’s because we humans are great at ignoring our emotions and not tending to our hearts. We think we can just push through childhood trauma or ignore our emotional wounds. But they end up coming back to bite us through our feelings and thoughts that often sabotage our lives. We experience “irrational” fears when we attempt to move forward in our career or feelings of shame when we try to engage in close relationships.

“Okay, now I’m really confused. You’re telling me to try to understand the reality behind my partner’s irrational actions and now you’re telling me they may not even know why they are feeling the way they’re feeling? I give up!”

Real relationships are not for wimps! We all need to roll up our sleeves and try to understand our partner’s world as well as help them try to understand their own world. Believe me, there is logic in there somewhere. Here are a couple of examples of illogical logic.

  • A person who continually blows up every relationship that gets too deep even those they desperately desire to intimacy? Irrational right? Wrong! In their world, if you get too close you will find out who they truly are and reject them. They are protecting themselves from that pain.
  • A person who never accepts the promotion at work even though it would mean more money, more opportunity, and much more satisfying work. Irrational right? Wrong! In their world, they are certain that they are incompetent and the promotion would only reveal that fact.

How do you live with illogical logic?

You say to yourself, “This makes sense in their universe, I just need to understand it and maybe help them understand it”

You slow down the conversation and begin to ask clarification questions. For example:

  • “So what is your greatest fear about this?”
  • “Have you felt this way before about other situations?”
  • “What was it like in your family when this happened?”
  • “Help me understand what you need?”

Believe me, I am not saying this is easy. But if you are willing to choose to discover rather than judge there are great rewards for those who want to enter into this level of real relationships.

  

As always, if you are needing any help or I can be of any service just reach out via email at connect@totalwellnesscenter.net.

HOW TO PRIORITIZE TO MAXIMIZE

Prioritizing Your Tasks and Maximizing Your Results

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What do people say in this new millennium when you ask them how they’re doing?  In my experience, they say “I’m so busy”.  It’s as if they wear it like a badge of honor.  Everyone is running around like crazy, buried under an avalanche of social media and digital information!  I’d be truly impressed if they said: “You know, I’m so successful and happy, I’m trying to decide what charities to share my wealth with … after that, heck, maybe I’ll work out at the gym and then help coach a softball team”  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration for most of us, but I believe that Tim Ferriss was really on to something when he wrote the “Four Hour Work Week.”

Want to know how to prioritize task and achieve your goals faster  resulting in more personal time?

In Steven Covey’s bestselling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”  he states the billion dollar industry he created was founded on solid success principles.  A few key success tips include:

     Take Action: Surround yourself with a powerful intelligent team that compliments you.

 My personal favorite is …

     Sharpen the Saw: Take time to prepare your tools and plan.  When you do that effectively, your work is 10x faster and more effective.

In Covey’s book, he outlines a two by two square matrix for prioritization of tasks.  On one axis, he has importance and on the other he puts urgency. The beauty of this model is you simply need to focus on actions that are important to become efficient and achieve success.  However, the fatal flaw of this model is when we have too many items that are “important”.  When we have a to-do list like that our brains fogs over and we begin checking our email, seeing what our friends are doing on Facebook, and doing what is brainless becomes our “priority

By mastering self-management and prioritization you will be amazed how much time you really have to accomplish your tasks.  We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week.  So why do some people succeed while the majority do not? How can you add your name to the list of those who succeed?

Here’s what I suggest to my clients:

Add a third column to Covey’s model - “Significant”. This concept is simple yet powerful.   

What makes a task significant or not?  One way to measure the significance of a task is to measure the long-term effect.   Here are some examples:

  • Deleting an email vs. unsubscribing.  Unsubscribing takes longer but lasts forever.  
  • Answering a clients’ important question over the phone helps that one client.  Adding the answer to your website under Frequently Asked Questions helps unlimited clients forever.  
  • Providing a training session helps a limited class learn.  Creating an online training or digital information product helps unlimited people learn and can also create leveraged income for your business.

Think of Significance as “how many people it will help, and how long will it last”. I promise you, if you spend an hour a day on significant tasks, you will stop spinning in circles and start moving forward - closer to your goal of success.

Whether you are starting a new business or working on becoming more focused in your current job let me know if we can assist in any way.  Also,  if you struggle with breaking through self imposed limitations  we offer a proven process to help you conquer self doubt and fear of the unknown.    Email us today and learn how to live the life of your dreams.

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Want to Change the World? Change This First

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I remember singing the old spiritual “Dem Bones” as a kid and especially liked the part where all the bones are listed as “connected” to each other. It was fun naming all the connecting pieces, and if it had been a bit more anatomically correct, it could have helped me in my physiology class. 

The reason I mention it is sometimes we forget we are connected both externally and internally. For the past several decades our society has awakened to the fact that how we treat our environment will affect everyone else on the planet.  For example, drop a plastic bag in the ocean, and it could eventually turn up on a shore in the Philippines. 

The internal connection is just as valid - we can't neglect any area of our inner life without harming another. 

  • Our thoughts are connected to our relationships
  • Our relationships are connected to our health
  • Our health is connected to our careers
  • Our careers are connected to our finances
  • Our finances are connected to our thoughts

In short, our lives are made up of a lot of moving pieces – neglect one, and it will ultimately affect the others.  We can’t afford to focus on one dimension. 

 
Want to change the world? Change yourself first!


We at Total Wellness Resource Center are committed to precisely doing what our name implies – becoming your resource for total wellness. That means we are committed to giving you the best information so you can live your fullest life possible. Only then can you employ your gifts and talents toward helping others and begin making the beautiful connection between your internal and external world. 

The problem is it’s hard to change. We want a better life, but we don’t want to go through the process to get there. This dilemma has given rise to the instant gratification culture - 

  • Five weeks to a perfect body
  • Seven days to an all new you
  • Three steps to ultimate success 

We’re not going to promise instant transformation but incremental progress. You and I are on a journey, and by definition, we will encounter ups and downs, the ins and outs, successes and failures, heartaches and laughter. That is what it means to be human. What we must do each day is to rise with the sun and commit to making this day count toward living our fullest life possible. We can’t get there by one leap, and even if we could, we would miss all the wonder and wisdom that comes from the daily slog. 
Here are some examples for you my fellow traveler.

  • Ponder one noble thought today
  • Reach out to someone with a word of encouragement, praise or kindness
  • Do something healthy
  • Take a few minutes and be thankful
  • Open your mind to unexplored possibilities

We sincerely hope that you will allow us to travel with you. It is our greatest desire to be an instrument in God’s hands to help you experience all that you were created to be. 

Below is a way we can walk together on this wonderful adventure called life. Sign up for our weekly updates, so you don't miss out on any of our insights.  And if you have anything to share with us we'd love to hear it! 

Let's be a community committed to lifting each other up.

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Who’s Going to Plug the Relationship Leak?

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You are out on a lake in your rowboat on a beautiful day with four of your friends when you notice your feet are wet. You look down and realize that the water is up to your ankles as someone shouts, “there’s a hole in the boat.” You and your friends quickly convene a meeting to discuss the options.

One friend says let’s just ignore the hole because “we probably won’t sink”.e

Another friend begins to blame the others in the boat and says, “someone should have noticed the defect before you left the shore.”

One sits smugly with arms crossed and says, “this teaches you all to take boat maintenance more seriously.”

You notice another friend is totally disengaged from the conversation, staring off into the distance. When you ask them why they say, “they’re looking for another boat”

At this point, you’re feeling desperate because the water is creeping up past your shins. You shout, “someone plug that #$@! leak!”

So what does this have to do with relationships? Actually quite a bit. The international renown research psychologist Dr. John Gottman believes that one of the key indicators of a healthy, thriving marriage is the ability to recover when something happens to put a hole in your “relationship boat.” This hole could be as simple as a thoughtless remark – the fact is, you can’t be in a relationship long before someone puts a hole in your boat.

Gottman calls this effort to plug the leak a “repair attempt.” When repair attempts are made and accepted it is indicative of a healthy marriage. When repair attempts are not attempted or rejected it is a symptom of a troubled relationship.  

So why don’t we plug the leaks in our relationships? Just like the four friends in the leaky boat we have reasons to let our relationship slowly sink.

The Ignorer: This is the one who thinks if you ignore the hole it will go away. Yes, we really do this and guess what, my counseling room is full of couples who have chosen this option. The reality is if you ignore the small holes in your relationship you will find yourself swimming … alone.

The Blamer: This Tactic is to put the responsibility of healing the relationship “hole” on the other person. The problem with this tactic is you go down with the boat too. Not to smart, right?

The Punisher: This is the person who thinks that not addressing the leak in the relationship will somehow teach the other person a lesson. The major problem with this strategy is that it loses sight of the overarching goal – an intimate marriage. Intimacy in a relationship never comes from our dictating the terms of the relationship. It comes from being able to freely express our feelings and desires and allowing our partner to do the same. That means when we see the hole, address the hole!

The Escape Artist: This person’s strategy for dealing with the leaks is to look outside the relationship for a solution. They disengage from any meaningful problem solving and emotionally distance themselves. The Escape Artist is always looking for the next option when the present relationship requires them to do something uncomfortable or confrontational.    

So how do we repair a leaky relationship?

Here are some thoughts:

Take responsibility for your own feelings.

Don’t assume that your partner is aware of how you feel. It is quite possible they are totally oblivious to your hurt. This is because each person has their own perception of reality. A great amount of damage is done to a relationship when we mistakenly think that our reality is their reality. I can’t tell you how many times I have been confronted with this fact. I have been hurt by something someone said and harbor resentment only to discover that they are totally clueless as to why I am upset.

Commit to sharing how you feel in a respectful, non-critical way

Yes, you can tell your partner that you have noticed the hole in your boat in a way that doesn’t cause them to get defensive or dismissive. Here’s how:

  • When (name the actual event without embellishment or subjective criticism)
  • I felt (name the emotions you felt without giving up your own responsibility for feeling them)
  • I need (name what you are requesting from your partner that would help plug the hole)

Yes, I know this is not easy when you’ve been triggered emotionally. You may need to take a few minutes to calm yourself so that you can talk to your partner with a rational mind. Many of us have developed some pretty bad relational patterns that leave every repair attempt in tatters. In fact, some of us instead of plugging the hole take out a knife and put a dozen more holes in the boat. Not smart, I know but very human.

If you find yourself getting wet in your relationship take heart, you can learn these skills if you don’t lose hope, stay humble and keep the ultimate goal before you. To love and be loved in return.

If we can be of any help to you don’t hesitate to reach out to us. And if you’d like to receive our regular blogs and postings please sign up for our weekly updates below. 

12 Declarations for Becoming More Assertive

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Many of our clients struggle with low self-esteem which leads to troubled relationships, career problems, depression and high levels of stress. They usually come to us complaining of one or more of these symptoms but it is soon discovered that at the root of their problem is an unhealthy belief about their value, significance, and worth. The usual cause is that they have based their value, significance, and worth on someone else's standards. These standards are external to them and are contingent on the approval of others, their looks, performance and/or social status. In short, they have been working so hard to meet these standards they have lost their own true identity.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is healthy to set high standards for oneself. This is a necessary component of a successful and productive life. The problem occurs when these standards become the basis for  our worth. When this happens our worth rises and falls with the tide of our performance. So let me give you three foundational principles that lead to a healthy self-image and helps us achieve our highest performance and satisfaction.


The first and most important principle is that we ground our identity on a foundation of intrinsic worth. Our value cannot be contingent upon anything external to ourselves. This is fundamental to a good self-image because it gives us a platform for taking risks and overcoming life’s obstacles. It also makes us resilient when we do fail - because everyone fails!

So how do we hold on to this belief when seemingly everything and everyone places human value on something external to ourselves? The only logical way is to appeal to an authority that transcends our own limited judgments. We need to appeal to our Creator. The framers of our government knew this and that is why they made the fact that we were created by God a basis for all our human rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
— Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

 

If we lose this understanding of the absolute worth of man then we are susceptible to choosing one standard over another and creating a hierarchy of value based upon; race, economic condition, attractiveness, intelligence, religion or a myriad of other factors. That doesn’t work for nations (consider Nazi Germany) and it doesn’t work for individuals.


Secondly, we need to accept the fact that we are not perfect. You may say, “I certainly know I’m not perfect”, but how do you deal with your imperfections? If you recoil from them and put up defenses everytime they are exposed then that is evidence that you are still basing your value, worth and significance on your ability to keep an external set of standards.

Please hear me on this, I am not saying you should somehow feel good about your failures. What I am saying is if your value, worth, and significance is given to you by your Creator then your identity is not diminished by your failures and you are free to make adjustments, grow and learn from them.


Lastly, you now have the ability to revel in your strengths and accomplish great things with your abilities without comparisons, pride or judgments. You can do this because you know that they don’t make you better or worse than anyone else it is just a part of who you are.

Those that struggle with low self-esteem usually also struggle with feeling they can be free to be who they truly are. This self-imposed limitation is often learned at a very early age and reinforced by countless interaction over the years. For many, just to speak up for themselves is a traumatic experience.

That is why I have written the Assertive Persons Declaration of Rights. The best way to use this is to review these rights every day (especially the ones that are most difficult to declare) Gradually your brain will adjust to this new way of thinking about yourself through a process called cognitive dissonance. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Remember you have probably held these false beliefs about yourself for decades so give yourself time to rewire your brain.

12 Declaration of Rights For the Assertive Person

  1. I have the right to be wrong without experiencing shame, criticism or rejection.
  2. I have the right to my ideas, values, and dreams without criticism or judgment.
  3. I have the right to ask questions without being shamed.
  4. I have a right to say no without giving a reason that makes sense to other people.
  5. I have a right to my own feelings and not explain them to someone else’s satisfaction.
  6. I have a right to make decisions on my own time schedule.
  7. I have a right to feel good about my accomplishments.
  8. I have a right to make mistakes and not have these mistakes devalue me.
  9. I have a right not to be in a relationship if I believe it is wrong for me.
  10. I have a right to always be treated with respect.
  11. I have a right to respectfully disagree.
  12. I have a right to like what I like and not give a reason for it.  

If there is anything we can do for you please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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A Meditation On the Lord's Prayer

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he gave them a short, concise prayer that really went to the heart of an authentic conversation with their Heavenly Father. For no reason I can explain, I woke up the other day with a desire to meditate on this prayer and now I would like to share it with you. Be blessed, not because of my thoughts but because God has given us such a beautiful pattern to follow!

Your brother in Christ;

James

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“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13 NIV

 

“Our Father”

Is there anything that can be more beautiful than to be able to claim the Creator of the Universe as our Father? What a privilege! It is beyond our limited capacity to comprehend. Meditate on this relationship you have with the perfect, loving, all-powerful God. You are not just his creation but you are born into his family and given the right to call him your Father. Is there any good thing your perfect Heavenly Father would withhold from you?

He is also “our Father” meaning you have a family. You are not alone but have brothers and sisters who join you in this beautiful family of God. Jesus the Son of God – the God-man who existed for all eternity with the Father is now inviting you into His family to join him as a child of his Father. This is a great mystery and we cannot come close to fully understanding it but what a wonderful contemplation. You will forever have a family that is perfect love, perfect harmony, and perfect truth. This is your identity – receive it.

“In heaven”

Heaven is a real place – even more real than the place you are at this moment. All that you see about you will someday be destroyed but heaven will remain. This is because heaven is the dwelling place of God and He is eternal. Places are important to God. Jesus has made it clear that he is preparing a place for us to be with him. So let your heart long for that place. Set your imagination free to explore its beauty. There is no way we can fully comprehend it but when we stop and contemplate our true home it causes our spirits to be lifted up and hope to rise in our souls. So give yourself over to meditating on that beautiful place that God has prepared for you. He knows you perfectly and has created it with you in mind. It will be perfect.

“Hollowed be your name”

Holy is a concept that we don’t use very often. It means “set apart”, “not common or ordinary” This is a great mystery, that we can at once be so intimate with the Creator of all things and yet he is infinitely unlike us. Steach your soul on this thought; the one who holds a billion, billion stars in place, and holds together every atom of your body, is the one to whom you are addressing. You are speaking to him and he is listening. This thought is humbling - it is good to be humbled when we come into the presence of the God of glory. Let yourself feel the power of Almighty God – give yourself over to the awe of this encounter.

Even the name of God, the word we use to represent Him is holy. It should be set apart for worship and adoration. It should never come flippantly from our mouths or carelessly tossed about in meaningless phrases or derogatory associations. Yes, Jesus taught us that the name, the words we use to describe Almighty God, are to be kept sacred. We live in a culture where nothing, absolutely nothing is sacred, so this concept is very difficult to articulate. But it is a necessary component of a right relationship with God. When faced with the majesty of our God our proper reaction is like Isaiah.

’Woe to me!’” I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’
— Isaiah 6:5 NIV

O Merciful Father, forgive me for making your name commonplace. Forgive me for associating your name with anything that depreciates your great worth. I truly am a person of unclean lips. Touch my lips with the holy fire from the altar and may I honor your holy name always.

“Your kingdom come”

The closer you are to God the more disconnected you become to the world and all its priorities and desires. This is because we are truly citizens of another kingdom and our purpose on earth changes from one set of purposes to a completely different set. As Jesus said …

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. 
— John 18:36 NIV

When we pray we are implicitly acknowledging and submitting to another King and the priorities of another kingdom. So why are we so often praying for the priorities of this earthly kingdom? Why are we praying for health, wealth and prosperity when the heavenly kingdom priorities are often exactly the opposite? If we are unsure of the purposes of our true heavenly kingdom we need to look no further than to the example of our King – Jesus.

… have the same mindset as Christ Jesus

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
— Philippians 2:5-8 NIV

We have entered into this kingdom through the new birth and are set to the task of representing our King to a world refuses to acknowledge him and openly rebels from his authority. We must realign our prayer life after the desires of our King. “How do you do that?” you may ask. There is only one way – to deepen your knowledge and love for your King. This is done by a transformation of our hearts through the Spirit of Christ. This is the only way, for apart from this transformation we will never know our true purpose and calling much less be able to pray for kingdom priorities.

O Heavenly Father I confess that I am so often seeking the priorities of this earthly kingdom rather than your priorities. I confess I often pray for comfort rather than endurance, wealth rather than wisdom, happiness rather than humility, popularity rather than bearing the shame of rejection that you bore for me. I often want to be first in this world and am ashamed to admit that it has made me last in your kingdom. I beg you to transform my heart and increase my love and devotion to you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and let me love what you love, seek what you seek, crave righteousness, seek your justice and walk humbly in the way of my Master, my Lord, and my King.

“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”

Be assured that the rebellion will not be tolerated forever. Man’s shaking his fist at God’s authority will cease – the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords will be revealed and peace will be restored to the universe. This is a reality beyond realities! When we acknowledge this fact we are putting ourselves on the winning side. It’s like when Théoden the king of Rohan acknowledged Aragorn the true king of Gondor. There was still a desperate battle to be fought and evil to be conquered but the true king would come into his own and claim his rightful place on his throne. Tolkien knew that all great literature was based on the reality that good would eventually win out and evil would be ultimately defeated. So it is with us, we live in the middle of the greatest story where evil seems unassailable and the truth is twisted. Still, there is hope, for God has risen up those who will not bow the knee to the golden statue of King Nebuchadnezzar or shirk their calling to the true King even if it means death. Our confidence does not lie in our own abilities, or strengths. We are supremely confident because God has already written the last chapter of man’s sojourn on earth. The King is coming and this time it will not be as a helpless baby in a manger. He is coming in glory and power to judge the living and the dead. So when we declare our submission to his will to we are simply stating a historical fact.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of lords.
— Revelation 19:11-16 NIV

Lord help me to live in this reality. I confess that the pressures of life and the intoxicating lies of this present world too often lead me from the truth. You are my King, my Lord, and my Life. I desire everything I do, say, think and feel to be in total alignment with your will. All will someday kneel before you and proclaim you as King but I desire to do that here and now, laying all that I am before your feet in praise and worship. You are not only King of Kings and Lord of Lords but I proclaim here and now that you are my King of Kings and my Lord of Lords.

Give us today our daily bread

So much of our lives seem to be spent just trying to live. We spend so much time trying to accumulate stuff and then the rest of the time trying to preserve what we have accumulated.

O Lord I confess I am often anxious and fearful about the future as I become preoccupied with the “necessities” of this life. This is how faithless I am. But you are faithful and true. You are gracious and never withhold a single thing that is good and profitable – because you are good all the time.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 
— Romans 8:31,32 NIV

Father, all I am is yours and all I need comes from your gracious hand. Nothing that I will ever need is neglected and in fact those things that I don’t even know I need you give out of your abundance. I am above all blessed. So I acknowledge you as the giver of all good gifts. You are the sustainer of my life. The air that I breathe and the bread that I eat are all provided by you. My heart is at peace because you are my source for life and I will rest in your loving sufficiency. 

And forgive us our debts

Is it possible for us to completely comprehend the enormous distance between us and a holy and righteous God? No. Any comparison would be wholly inadequate. For example, could we say the distance is similar to an ant and a human? Most would say that’s quite a gap. But understand this, both you and the ant are infinitely more alike than you and God. Both of you are creatures made up of matter and bound by time and space. Both have bodies limited by natural forces and both will die. It is a matter of degree that we are different not a matter of essence. For both are made up of atoms and chemicals. But any comparison with God is completely absurd. He is beyond our knowledge and beyond our comparisons. He has no beginning and no end, no limitations, no needs, no requirements for existence. There is nothing he cannot do nor is there anything he does not know – intimately. So when we depart from his will we are not merely choosing another path we are rebelling against the super-reality of the universe – that being God. This puts us at odds with God and creates a list of offenses that put us in a deeper deficit than can ever be repaid. In short, he can never allow this active state of rebellion to exist in his universe because it is at odds with the essence of who he is. There is only one solution – forgiveness. God must forgive us and make us capable of living in his presence. The miracle of miracles is he grants us the freedom to accept or reject this forgiveness. When we accept his forgiveness, he gives us a new spirit, one that is eternal and alive to God. This is what happens when we call out to God in repentance. He doesn’t just wipe away our sin but he makes us new creatures that are now capable of living in harmony with him.

O Father, thank you for your forgiveness of all my debts. I receive your forgiveness and I accept your Spirit to wash and regenerate me so I can be alive to your will and ways. I could never repay the debt I amassed. But through your Son’s atoning death and resurrection, I now have a new life that makes me dead to the rebellion of this world and alive to eternal life in you.

… as we also have forgiven our debtors.

God calls us to live out in our horizontal relationships what we experience in our vertical one. We are not only to receive his love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, and goodness but to be a conduit of those same graces to others. In fact, it is evidence of an authentic relationship with God that we treat others as God has treated us.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
— 1 John 4:7

The fruit of an authentic relationship with God is to be like God in all that we do.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
— Acts 4:13 NIV

Peter and John were ordinary men with no special abilities or intellect. However, when filled with the Spirit they took on the characteristics of Jesus which was unnerving to the powerful people in Jerusalem. Clearly, they had been with Jesus and now in this moment when we are with Jesus, we can fully expect that there will be a change in us. Those that are with Jesus will always be different.

O Lord I come into your presence no only to seek your comfort and encouragement but also to be transformed into your image. I want all my interactions in this world to be empowered and motivated by your purpose and priorities. Give me your heart for all I encounter, grant me your wisdom to speak eternal truth, fill me with hope that is anchored in the certainty of your promises. May others see me and be drawn to you. And yes, I am also willing to bear the rejection that comes with my identification with you for if they hated you then they will also hate those who are like you. O Lord make me more like you.

And lead us not into temptation

It is good to be humble, but it’s not easy. To admit to our weakness’ and how easily we fall into temptation is the first step toward maturity. We need to recognize how weak we are in order for us to receive God’s strength, for God’s strength in us is perfected in our weakness.

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
— 2 Corinthians 12:9

God’s grace flows into a life that looks to him for strength rather than relying on our own abilities, talents, intellect or skills. Why is this? Because when we rely on our own strength we cause two things to happen.

  1. We fail to utilize the incredible power of God which is far beyond our own meager abilities. This is like having a billion dollars in the bank and choosing to live homeless on the streets. It makes no sense!
  2. We fail to experience our true purpose which is to bring glory to God. Who gets the glory when we perform in our own strength? We do! But when we are tapping into the infinite power of God and all our activities are infused with his strength then we give him the praise. And he deserves it!

My Lord, I confess that I too often live life in my own strength, relying on my limited understanding, my limited capacity for doing good and my minuscule ability to love. Because of this, I have sought glory for myself and failed miserably to bring you the glory that you deserve. I am weak and I admit it. O Lord be my strength. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I can resist the temptation of relying on myself. May your power rest upon me so that you receive all the praise and glory.

but deliver us from the evil one.

We have an adversary. He goes by many names.

  • Father of lies
  • The Devil
  • Murderer
  • Lucifer
  • Deceiver

Jesus called him “the evil one” for truly he is. He is more powerful than you or I can imagine and capable of performing wonders that impersonate God. He is not a trifle and ignoring him will not make him go away. In fact, one of his greatest strategies is to hide his works so that none see “behind the curtain” and instead are distracted by the façade.

Jesus ends his prayer with a warning that we need deliverance from the evil one. He should know for he had a face to face encounter with him and would deal with him many times before he finished his work on earth.

The Apostle Paul also recognized that his true enemies were not the those who were threatening his life and standing in opposition to his ministry. Those were only the puppets of the true adversary.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
— Ephesians 6:12 NIV

If we fail to recognize where our true battle lies we do so at great risk. We need to be delivered from the evil one – and our deliverance is awesome!

… because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
— 1 John 4:4 NIV

We have the very power of God living in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Our ability to overcome the evil one is solely in the utilization of this power. Our foe is a defeated adversary, but his power is in deception and lies. As we proclaim the truth that is revealed through the Holy Spirit, (“… he will guide you into all truth” John 16:23) we will be able to not only stand against the devil but thwart his purposes and bring freedom to those who are held captive by his lies. God has defeated our adversary in the empty tomb. In this confidence, and through this power we shall stand.

O Lord I confess that I have often been deceived by the evil one, believing that the enemy was a person, circumstance or even something internal in me. I have tried to fix myself and those around me with no success. So now I come before you and recognize that my true enemy is, “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Help me to recognize his strategies and to be aware of his deceptive schemes. O Lord I now go forth boldly with the confidence that your Holy Spirit abides in me and your power rests upon me to accomplish whatever you call me to do. 

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Want a Happier Relationship? Get This Book!

Why you should read the ABCs of Love.

In my practice, I often use the illustration of the three domains of awareness. I draw a circle and then divide it into pie-shaped thirds.

The first third I write, “What we know we know.” We all know we know certain things, like how to drive a car or cook a frozen pizza.

In the second third, I write, “What I know I don’t know.” This is also a fairly simple category for us to understand. I know I don’t know how to fly an airplane and I know I don’t know how to make a souffle.

When I come to the third domain of awareness I write in the circle, “What I don’t know I don’t know.”  Then I turn to my client (with a bit of a mischievous smile) and ask what don’t you know what you don’t know? They work on this conundrum for a while before I tell them there’s no way they can answer that question because if they did it would be in the domain of what they know they don’t know.

I then explain to them that many of the things that are not going well in their life are found in this domain. These are the unconscious and unexamined areas of their lives that typically cause the greatest pain and suffering. We then set a goal to explore this domain with the purpose of uncovering those hidden hindrances to a successful life and creating competencies.

But the big question is how do we explore an area where we have no conscious awareness?  Here are some of the ways:

  1. Look at your emotions and begin to ask why you feel the way you do. Our emotions often hang out in the third domain when our intellect is locked out.
  2. Explore the universal truths of the way humans interact and build relationships. You are both unique and common. How we successfully exist with other humans is something that has been rigorously studied.
  3. Develop a keener understanding of your family of origin and its effect on you. For most of us, we consider the home we grew up in as “normal.”  Therefore, we reproduce the beliefs and behaviors that are most ordinary to us. This especially gets us in trouble when we are in a relationship with another human who comes from a family whose “normal” is different from yours.

It is for these reasons that I encourage you to read “The ABCs of Love.” It will help you move from “Not knowing what you don’t know” to “knowing what you don’t know” with the hope that your new awareness will help you break free from the unconscious traps that are keeping your relationships from being intimate and satisfying. Dr. Shulman does this by exploring the way humans build relationships.She grounds her short concise chapters on solid, empirically based relationship theories and does it in a way that is both personally engaging and easily understood. I also love that Dr. Shulman does not speak from some lofty academic perch but uses her own failed relational attempts as examples of how she went from not knowing to knowing. If you want to grow in your relationships this is a must read!

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WHAT WILL YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE IN 2019?

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What ?????? Am I really talking about 2019 when we are only a few days into 2018 - or could this be another one of my notorious typos? 

When you can’t change the direction of the wind – adjust your sails, 
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr, 

This quote is one I personally hold onto when the going gets tough and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the things I can’t control - very much like a captain fighting the winds of a storm.

The only things you can change are those in which you control. Therefore, you need to find a way to “adjust your sails” and look to the future rather than looking back at what didn’t work or fear the unknown which is ahead.

If a sailor knows a storm is coming from a certain direction, he or she will adjust the sails and let the wind blow them safely out of harm's way. They know that remaining on the same course might mean facing a storm that could cause a disaster and sink their boat.

The same principle applies to your life. Continuing on a course where disaster is looming might make it impossible for you to get out of the “storm,” and find safe passage.

It may be difficult to change a course that you’ve been on for a long time because the route is familiar and even though filled with turmoil, it can be strangely comfortable. Taking an unknown course of action may be scary, but necessary if those changes will bring you success and happiness.

The first thing you must do to rid yourself of fear of the uncharted course and decide where you want to land. Then you must stop negative thoughts from knocking you off this course. Practice replacing negative thoughts (the lies we tell ourselves) with positive ones. Mentally prepare yourself by gathering knowledge about your new course of action; visualize reaching your goals and create new resolutions by speaking the truth to yourself (positive affirmations). As I tell my clients, “Be careful what you say because YOU are listening”. You may still run into situations where you feel unprepared – and you may make some wrong decisions on the path – but, perseverance, positive attitude, and determination will help you stay on course through the dark and stormy times so you can joyfully reach your destination.

Next, remove the negative elements from your life. This may be extremely difficult, because the negative elements may be some of the people closest to you. They may be your coworkers, friends and even family. But by setting healthy boundaries you will be better equipped to rewrite the negative tapes in your head that have held you back from reaching your goals and becoming all you were created to be.

So yes, - 2019 is exactly what I meant – begin to set your goals and envision the life you want to be living one year from now. Take action, keep your eye on the prize. As simple as this may sound this formula truly works. I know - I’m living it.

If you need help defining your goals or creating an action plan feel free to reach out to me by filling out the form below.

Happy New Years 

"I am passionate about helping others reach their full potential" 

Life Coach

Cheri Tillman MBA, CLC, CWNC

 

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Expectatitus: The Disease that Stole Christmas!

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Are you without someone you love this Christmas season? Are you longing for a tradition that will not be happening this year? Do all the decorations and happy wishes make you wish that it were January? If so, you’re not a Grinch you probably have a bad case of Expectatitus.

Other names for this disease are the holiday blues or a bad case of nostalgia. It comes on when things are not the way they are supposed to be and our dream for that “perfect Christmas” doesn't come true. When this happens we are in danger of catching the disease Expectatitus.

Expectatitus: A disease of the spirit that is often caught around major holidays and special events when expectations are not met. Symptoms include a general malaise brought on by an unsuccessful attempt to recreate a past experience or tradition. Below is a symptom checklist

Diminished Vision:  Those afflicted become blind to the true joys of the moment and the beauty all about them.

Difficulty Hearing: New ideas and creative solutions are not heard

Negative Speech Patterns:  These and other phrases are common to those afflicted with Expectatitus “I wish it was like it was”, or “If only __________ were here”. Or “we’ve always done it that way” 

Perception Problems: Dilutions regarding a perfect past and flawless expectations are experienced by those afflicted with Expectatitus.   

Warning: Expectatitus is a progressive disease that ultimately affects the heart.

The Heart becomes rigid and obsessed with the past and unable to find contentment, peace, and joy in the present experiences.

If you or someone you know is showing any of these symptoms then it is critical that you take immediate action because this disease is both highly communicable and often genetic. Those with the disease spread it to others causing them to exhibit the same symptoms. It is also passed down from generation to generation through creating unalterable and pointless traditions.

Is there a cure?

Yes! It requires one to put aside their own preconceptions and unbending expectations to focus on the true nature of the event. In the case of Christmas, the afflicted person must stop making Christmas about what and more about who. The ability to be flexible, and focus on the true meaning of Christmas is essential to full recovery.

Mary: a case study of one who did not contract Expectatitus

The circumstances of Jesus’ birth was not at all what Mary had in mind for her first child. Nine months pregnant she was forced to travel hundreds of miles to a town where she knew no one. When she arrived she began to have contractions but discovered there wasn’t even a corner of a room for her to have her baby. An animal stall became her delivery room, her attendees were the displaced animals and the welcoming party consisted of a band of shepherds; societies outcasts. This wasn't even close to what she would have dreamt of much less hoped for. So how did she deal with this situation? The record shows that Mary took it all in and this was her attitude.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
— Luke 2:19

Mary put aside her expectations and experienced the wonder of the moment. Even if she didn’t quite understand the significance of what was happening. She kept herself open to these experiences and in the coming years gained greater awareness of the miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.

So that is the cure to Expectatitus? It is not in the forsaking of our dreams and traditions but rather in being open to all that is new around us. It is the ability to focus on what is truly important. So during this Christmas season let’s do what Mary did and treasure the unimaginable gift of God in the birth of Jesus and make our goal to share our love and joy to all around us. No matter what our circumstances.

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Does “Turning the Other Cheek” Really Work?

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I was sitting with a client yesterday who was alone even though they had originally come with their spouse for marriage counseling. She told me things were going better in her marriage and she wasn’t quite sure why. Our recent sessions had been focused on how she responded to unfair, unkind and hurtful situations in her marriage. She had been focusing on not escalating the battle of words and when she was ill-treated to respond with kindness.  My thoughts immediately went to the words of Jesus.   

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
— Matthew 5:38-41 NIV

When Jesus said these words the prevailing wisdom was that when someone hit you, you needed to hit them back harder. (that philosophy is still very common) Jesus was expressing a radical ethic that has its roots in trusting in an all-powerful and just God who will ultimately bring down judgment on the wicked and reward the innocent.

But there is another very practical reason to employ this new ethic. It works.  It works because it is based on the way humans relate to each other. This should not be surprising. I have found that EVERYTHING God has said we should do is both empirically true and relationally effective.

That is why my client is experiencing greater success in her relationship.

The predictable pattern is to respond in kind to others. When someone is nasty to us we respond by being nasty to them. If they are kind to us we respond by returning the kindness. In other words, the old “eye for an eye” ethic. And as someone once said if we live by the “eye for an eye” ethic everybody will be blind. But if we are maligned we respond in kindness and when treated harshly we are gentle the whole dynamic of the relationship is turned on its head. The downward cycle of aggression and retaliation is broken. How do you stay angry with someone who simply refuses to return the anger? How do you continually criticize and malign someone who refuses to return the insults? You simply can’t. Either the dynamic in the relationship changes or the oppressor gives up and finds another victim to justify their behavior.

Please hear me on this, I am not talking about physical or emotional abuse. It is not right to allow unchecked aggression to be directed toward you or anybody else. If this is the case then you need to seek help to correct the situation and/or get separation from the abuser.

I am referring to those arguments and personality conflicts that are common in most marriages and dissolve into long-standing resentments and perpetual arguments.

This new way of being in a relationship is not easy – in fact, it is practically impossible apart from a powerful spiritual transformation of the heart. It is also not a quick fix cure. The aggressor is not likely to suddenly “see the light” and change their pattern of behavior overnight. But for those who decide to walk as Jesus walked there are awesome rewards waiting for them. Here are a few.

  • The soul-destroying cancer called resentment is reduced or eliminated
  • The potential for developing reconciliation is vastly increased
  • Harmful conflict is greatly shortened and vastly reduced
  • Intimacy with God is deepened. (whenever we choose to obey the words of our Lord we deepen our love for him) John 14:15
  • We become more open to examining our own hearts and correcting our own faults
  • We set an example to other family members of how to deal with difficult people and situations

Again, this is not easy to do – especially if there is a long-standing pattern of tit for tat conflict. But it is so worth the effort to escape the hopeless maze of unending struggles.

As always if there is anything we can do for you or if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Are You Ready To Get Organizeed

SMART Goals work Both in Business and Personal Lives.

Start Using the SMART System of Goal Setting and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

 

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People struggle with setting goals. It seems like a daunting task. This is largely because they lack the proper knowledge to do so. After all, not everyone goes to management school. Even those that do are not always as prepared as they should be.

This may be the reason why management consultant, Peter Drucker, came up with a system as part of his Management By Objectives (MBO). This system is essentially the SMART Goal setting system. If you are not familiar with SMART, it is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related. Each component deals with a part of goal setting.

Some have interpreted the letters in different ways. That’s okay as long as there is agreement. If you are using the acronym for your own purposes, use what makes the most sense to you and what works best.

To have a specific goal, imagine creating a video with you telling the viewers what your goal is about. They should be able to comprehend your goal without any questions. The more specific you can get, the better the overall goal setting process will be. For example, suppose you specify that you want more money as a goal. Would this draw questions if you presented this goal as it is? If the answer is yes, then you need further refinement.

When you figure out your goals, the next step is to understand how to measure them. General goals will be difficult to measure, whereas specific goals will be easier. This is the part that can help you be accountable for meeting your goals.

For a goal to be assignable, you need to be able to describe it in a way that you can pass it off to someone else. They should be able to run with it, and not get too stuck on the details.

Your goals should be realistic. People often get overzealous when setting their goals. They believe they should push themselves. Non-realistic goals will frustrate you and make you fail when trying to accomplish them. Of course, you don’t want to set goals that are too easy that you don’t see any growth.

You need to set time frames for your goals. Otherwise, you will come up with excuses to push them off, and you will never get them completed. The best way to do this is to break up your goals into tasks, and then come up with milestones for each of those tasks.

 

So, if you are looking to start your own business, climb the corporate ladder, or working on simply being more focused and efficient in life- email me and I will send you more detailed information on how to set and accomplish your goals.

 

connect@totalwellnesscenter.net

 

 

 

Connect@totalwellnesscenter.net