The Art of Undermining your Significant Other

One of America’s most under-appreciated talents is the sheer genius of its married and unmarried couples in using the language and insights of therapy to destroy their relationships. Decades ago, when psychoanalysis was all the rage, husbands and wives found that throwing a few Freudian insights into their arguments gave both an air of authority to their dismissive judgments of each other and a death-dealing blow to the survival of a healthy relationship. If your parents knew any Freudian jargon, you may remember exchanges like this:

A: (Emptying another ashtray) “I’m sick and tired of cleaning up after your filthy oral fixation all the time. Why don’t you just suck your thumb instead?”

B: “Well, darling, if you weren’t so anal retentive about keeping this room antiseptically clean, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Those times are past. Freud is out, but mindfulness is in, and a new generation of couples have found that the vocabulary of radical acceptance is a powerful new weapon in the ongoing fight to have the final word—“final” in the sense of bringing the relationship to an end.

Consider these examples:

A: “I just feel that it would only be fair if sometimes I got to…”
B: “You’re clinging to your opinions, darling. When will you stop clinging???”

A: “Honey, it’s midnight. Why are we even talking about this?”
B: “Well, we are talking about it, so just accept the way things are, okay?”

A: “I can’t believe you did this to me!”
B: “Look, what I did was in the past, all right? Why don’t you do us both a favor and just stay in the Now?”

A: (Drops dish while cleaning up the kitchen)
B: (From the living room) “Not being very mindful today, are we?”

A: “I can’t stop thinking about the mean thing you said last night.”
B: “You should know better, sweetie. Just note, ‘thinking, thinking,’ and it’ll go away.”

A: “But you promised me!!”
B: “Everything’s impermanent, okay? Some promises have an expiry date.”

A: “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t say that.”
B: “There you go again, sweetheart: judging mind, judging mind.”

In all these cases, the common denominator is that the person using mindfulness vocabulary is assuming the role of a teacher dealing with a failing student. This assumption of superiority, together with the use of spiritual wisdom delivered with sarcasm, is enough to doom any attempt at reconciliation. The added beauty of mainstream mindfulness is that it’s so mindless. Unlike psychoanalysis, the insights of mindfulness can be reduced to short sound bites just right for a culture that wants everything quick and easy, especially the end of conversations and the demise of relationships. Given that mainstream mindfulness takes almost no time to master, we can expect its vocabulary to become an even more popular tool for bringing future relationships to an end.

via The Art of Undermining your Significant Other | Tricycle.

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Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Causes, Symptoms, Help

If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. But with the right treatment, self-help strategies, and support, you can speed your recovery. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.

Check out this highly relevant article on the subject at: Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Causes, Symptoms, Help.

Working from home: how to avoid feeling isolated

Working from home has many benefits, but let’s face it, considerable challenges also. The most dangerous of which I believe is the possibility of becoming isolated. Human beings are social creatures. Even if your personality makes you happy with your own company for long periods of time, you may not realise just how much you draw on outside stimulation until it is no longer there.

All the things about working outside the home that can be sources of annoyance – the commute, the greeting of colleagues, office banter, going out to get a sandwich at lunchtime and so on – are also bombarding you with images, ideas and personalities that you just don’t get when you only have to roll out of bed and into your home workspace.

Working alone is great for concentration in short bursts, but if there is no relief from the thoughts in your own head, it can quickly become demoralising. The trouble is that the process is an insidious one and can creep up without you noticing until suddenly you feel demotivated and out of sorts for no apparent reason.

The problem is compounded by the fact that home workers talk freely enough about what they do, but not very much about how they do it. It’s understandable – you’re not going to go to a networking event and chat to a complete stranger about your struggles with procrastination and how you think you might be going quietly mad in the back bedroom.

From the perspective of the home office, it can look as though everyone else is hugely successful and thriving while you are the only one struggling. It’s natural that you compare yourself with others, but when you’re not working alongside other people, the picture is distorted and you see only the public success – new clients, publication of a book, an award or honour – and none of the struggle and the failures. You are, however, all too aware of the bumps in the road in your own life. Ironically social media, which does so much to help home workers feel connected, can also make you feel quite inadequate.

The danger here is not only that you make yourself miserable but succumb to something I’ve heard called ‘small fish syndrome’. You unconsciously start to feel you have less to offer in comparison with competitors and limit the scope of what you’re doing, sticking with work that doesn’t take you out of your comfort zone or charging less than you could. The end results on potential and income are obvious.

So, over the many years I’ve been working from home, I’ve come to believe that the most important priority is to plan in your diary, every week, the contact you need with other people and the outside world.

I know you’re probably thinking “But I don’t have time for that, I have to get my work done”. My answer is that all too often we limit ourselves to the home office, believing we are being more productive when in fact we’re wasting time fretting about upcoming tasks and not focusing. Getting out brings all kinds of benefits – fresh perspective, new ideas and a renewed passion for what we do.

So how can you vary your routine to get the input you need?

Phone calls: Make business calls first thing in the morning so you’re immediately hooked into life outside the house. It can also help you plan priorities for the day. Sometimes you might want a chat with friends or family, but take care that you’re not encouraging them to ring you during the working day when it could be a distraction.

Skype: Use it to catch up with contacts as well as for business, with the same proviso as above.

Social media: A brilliant way to connect with likeminded people all over the world, but do use it in a disciplined way with an goal in mind and log off when you need to concentrate.

Get out of the house: Do it at least once a day, even if it’s just a walk to the shops, and enjoy the time out instead of rushing back. Stop for a chat with a neighbour, do some window shopping, or take a different route home.

Attend events: Conferences, networking and training. Go to networking not with the thought of getting more business, but as a way to meet people and build a support network.

Work outside: Take your laptop, tablet or a notebook and spend time outside the house. This could be in the local park, a coffee shop, hotel lobby, library or any public space with free Wi-Fi. Go out and work regularly in a coworking space or attend Jelly, groups of home workers, freelances and small business owners who work alongside each other for the day.

I’ve found through my own experience that making these activities a priority not only prevents the slide down the slippery slope of isolation, but makes my everyday routine much more lively and enjoyable. It might take you a while to find the combination that suits you best, but will pay dividends in many ways.

via Working from home: how to avoid feeling isolated | Guardian Small Business Network | Guardian Professional.

Being Alone And Content To Be

Being alone can be painful. It can also be blissful. It all depends on your level of personal development in this area. A joyful state when you’re alone is attainable. And it is a very worthwhile pursuit.

Once you learn how to be alone you will no long be chained to the desperate need to keep a person in your life even though the relationship is bad for you. Whether the person is a lover, a marriage partner, a friend, or even a family member what good is it if the relationship brings you pain and lower self-esteem? If you can’t bare the thought of being alone you will always be in a position of weakness in your relationships. However, once you learn how to be alone and truly enjoy it you’ll be able to negotiate your relationships from a position of strength knowing that you can end it and be okay.

We all experience moments of intense loneliness. We initially experience this when we are left alone for the first time as children. As we develop and grow we learn not to fear being alone. Nevertheless, there times when we face feelings of loneliness. These times can be extremely difficult at first.

Transitions in adulthood can bring on powerful feelings of loneliness. When we break up, get a divorce, or a partner dies we are suddenly alone. Before this event, we grew to rely on their companionship. We knew that during almost every evening, weekend, and holiday we would have someone to share it with. The sad feelings that you experience can be the same when a close friendship ends.

If your break up or divorce was preceded by months of tension, the separation might come as a relief initially. After a few nights and weekends alone, however, the relief can turn into desperation about being alone. It is at this point where profound growth is possible. You can use the pain of the break up and the loneliness to move yourself past the sometimes terrifying feelings of facing the future alone! Once you breakthrough and find your strength, which is present in you right now, you’ll experience a whole new world of personal power and freedom.

via Being Alone & Content To Be Strong Together – Solotopia.

5 Tips for Enjoying Your Own Company

Many of us try to avoid spending time alone as much as possible, and fill the silence with distractions, turn on the TV as soon as they get home, having it as a constant companion, or even avoiding going home until it’s time to get some sleep for the next day.

We have lost touch with being immersed in our own thoughts and inner guidance, being comfortable with who we really are. We hide our true feelings and thoughts in order to feel accepted among our friends, family or when getting to know new people. We have become so good at it that we hide our soul from ourselves as well, seeking our value through other people’s viewpoint.

For some people, being alone is easy and something that they enjoy doing. For others it can be fairly difficult to learn. If you are an introvert, quiet time is energizing. Unfortunately, in this world where extroverts are praised, not wanting to socialize every evening is often looked upon as antisocial and weird behavior. However, many of the world’s greatest talents, artists and musicians are often introverts who recharge their batteries by spending time alone.

Spending time alone with yourself, without distractions, is crucial for all of us because it opens up space for our real thoughts to come through. It lets us discover what we have been trying to cover up, and failed to take time to hear earlier. Most importantly, it lets us become who we really are when we learn to listen to our inner voice and intuition.

Never ever count on any other people or a single person to make you happy. Don’t settle for something that your soul doesn’t have a desire to do, only because you want to please other people. You are giving away your power. You have the keys to your happiness, but you need to find the locks first, and that is something that you need to figure out by yourself.

Here are five tips for learning to enjoy spending more time with yourself:

1. Have a home environment where you really want to be. Surround yourself only with things that you love. Colors, artwork, fresh flowers, and candles. Whatever makes your home feel like a special place where you want to spend time, and relax.

2. Have a retreat at your own home. For a weekend or even one day. Disconnect from your computer, social networks and turn off your phone. Meditate, listen to your favorite music, read, take a hot bath, go for a walk, write a journal and let your thoughts flow. Do all the things to pamper yourself that you usually ignore because you feel that you don’t have the time.

3. Find out what you really love to do or have always wanted to try. Instead of switching on the TV, logging into Facebook, or doing things that are based on social pressure, write dream journals and love lists, experiment and be spontaneous.

4. Tap into your creative power. It can be anything from cooking to singing. Go into different workshops or art classes, listen to inspirational lectures, guided visualizations and audiobooks to develop your imagination.

5. Make every moment special. Use nice dishes and light a candle when you are eating alone. Savour every spoonful mindfully and appreciate your food. Wear your favorite dress, on a normal day or why not even if you are spending the day at home. Don’t save things just for special occasions. Everything is made to be used.

via 5 Tips for Enjoying Your Own Company.

Great relationship advice: Stop giving advice!

Maribeth knows her husband Joe so well she can see through his blind spots. She loves him so much that she draws on her wider perspective to give him great advice. He could get a raise if…. He’d tell jokes better if.… He’d be happier if…. She’s always right. And it backfires every time.

Give advice only when asked.

Or at least, that’s how it used to be, when Maribeth first became my client. “Joe just can’t take advice,” she complained. But as we reviewed their relationship history, she recalled instances early on when he had asked for her suggestions and followed them. That was the key: He asked.

Romantic partners want empathy first and foremost.

Soon she’d begun giving unsolicited advice and he had stopped turning to her for counsel. In fact, he had turned away. Why? Because what everyone wants most from a romantic partner is empathy, in the form of validation and appreciation (yes, people want this even more than sex!).

Bust the gender myth.

Some relationship gurus suggest that only women want empathy, and only men give too much advice. Not true! Whether sharing daily tribulations or life-long dreams, women and men both seek validation and appreciation. Such support keeps partners romantically happy. And, it makes them stronger individuals—in fact, strong enough to ask for advice, if they need it.

Good advice is still bad.

Even well-intended unsolicited advice tends to be in-validating. Here’s an example. Joe says, “I really deserve a raise, but my boss is a total miser.” Maribeth responds, “You need to be more assertive!” Let’s say she’s “right.” Well, to be assertive requires confidence. But she has basically just told Joe he’s doing things wrong. This undercuts his confidence.

Giving unsolicited advice gets opposite results.

It also puts Joe on the defensive, by painting the situation as his fault. This will make him loathe to take Maribeth’s suggestion because to do so would feel like siding against himself. Rather than spurring him to action, her advice may immobilize him.

Offer praise instead.

Fortunately, there’s a powerful way to help: Validate and appreciate, specifically in the form of praise. In the example, Maribeth could validate Joe by saying, “Your boss really is a Grinch!” and then praise her partner by adding, “You sure do deserve a raise. The company would fall apart without you.” This boosts Joe’s conviction and confidence, making him more able to demand a raise. More importantly, he now trusts Maribeth to be on his side.

Praise is a great teacher!

Try this: Refrain from advising your partner to change something that they do wrong. Instead, praise your partner for whatever he or she already does right. You will soon see even more of that right stuff! (Never squelch your own needs. Just know that unsolicited advice won’t get those needs met.)

My client Maribeth switched from advice-giver to empathizer. She also came to realize how deeply she benefits from Joe’s consistent emotional support. He has rarely ever offered her advice! “That aspect of him was invisible to me before,” she said. “Now I believe it’s one of the reasons I feel so secure. I thank him for it!”

via Great relationship advice: Stop giving advice! | Jane Ransom.

Shift Your Self-Perception

Feeling worthy requires you to see yourself with fresh eyes of self-awareness, , and love. Acceptance and love must come from within.

You don’t have to be different to be worthy. Your worth is in your true nature, a core of love and inner goodness. You are a beautiful light. You are love. We can bury our magnificence, but it’s impossible to destroy.

Loving ourselves isn’t a one time event. It’s an endless, moment by moment ongoing process.

It begins with you, enfolding yourself in your own affection and appreciation.

Read on for steps to discover your worth and enfold yourself in affection and appreciation.

1. Begin your day with love (not technology). Remind yourself of your worthiness before getting out of bed. Breathe in love and breathe out love. Enfold yourself in light. Saturate your being in love.

2. Take time to mediate and journal. Spend time focusing inward daily. Begin with 5 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of journaling each morning. Gradually increase this time.

3. Talk yourself happy. Use affirmations to train your mind to become more positive. Put a wrist band on your right wrist. When you’re participating in self-abuse of any form, move the band to your left wrist.

4. Get emotionally honest. Let of go of numbing your feelings. Shopping, eating, and drinking are examples of avoiding discomfort, sadness, and pain. Mindfully breathe your way through your feelings and emotions.

5. Expand your interests. Try something new. Learn a language. Go places you’ve never been. Do things you haven’t done before. You have a right to an awesome life.

6. Enjoy life enhancing activities. Find exercise you like. Discover healthy foods that are good for you. Turn off technology for a day and spend time doing things that make you feel alive.

7. Become willing to surrender. Breathe, relax, and let go. You can never see the whole picture. You don’t know what anything is for. Stop fighting against yourself by thinking and desiring people and events in your life should be different. Your plan may be different from your soul’s intentions.

8. Work on personal and spiritual development. Be willing to surrender and grow. Life is a journey. We are here to learn and love on a deeper level. Take penguin steps and life becomes difficult. One step at a time is enough to proceed forward.

9. Own your potential. Love yourself enough to believe in the limitless opportunities available to you. Take action and create a beautiful life for yourself.

10. Be patient with yourself. Let go of urgency and fear. Relax and transform striving into thriving. Trust in yourself, do good work, and the Universe will reward you.

11. Live in appreciation. Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, beauty, and brilliance. Love your imperfectly perfect self.

12. Be guided by your intuition. All answers come from within. Look for signs and pay attention to your gut feelings. You’ll hear two inner voices when you need to make a decision. The quiet voice is your higher self; the loud voice is your ego. Always go with the quieter voice.

13. Do what honors and respects you. Don’t participate in activities that bring you down. Don’t allow toxic people in your life. Love everyone, but be discerning on who you allow into your life.

14. Accept uncertainty. Suffering comes from living in the pain of the past or the fear of the future. Put your attention on the present moment and be at peace.

15. Forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes and go forward. Use this affirmation, “I forgive myself for judging myself for __________ (fill in the blank i.e.: for getting sick, for acting out, for not doing your best.)

16. Discover the power of fun. Self-love requires time to relax, play, and create face-to-face interaction with others. Our fast-paced world creates a goal setting, competitive craziness that doesn’t leave room for play. Dr. Stuart Brow says, “The opposite of play isn’t work, it is depression.”

17. Be real. Speak up and speak out. Allow yourself to be seen, known, and heard. Get comfortable with intimacy (in-to-me-see).

18. Focus on the positive. Go to your heart and dwell on and praise yourself for what you get right in all areas.

19. Become aware of self neglect and rejection. Become conscious of your choices. Ask yourself several times throughout the day, “Does this choice honor me?”

20. Imagine what your life would look like if you believed in your worth. Dedicate your life to loving you. Make it your main event.

21. Seek professional help. Self-rejection and neglect is painful. You deserve to be happy. You have a right to be accepted and loved. If necessary, seek help from a support group, counselor, or coach. It’s the best investment you can make.

Because we are all interconnected, when I love me, I also love you. Together through our love, we can heal ourselves, each other, and the world. Love is our purpose, our true calling. It begins with and within each of us.

via 21 Tips to Release Self-Neglect and Love Yourself in Action. (Tiny Buddha)