Getting Back to a Self Help Priority

November 22nd, 2013

[With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I thought it would be good to re-focus on giving and gratitude in the articles over this next week.]

If you are a giver and your giving has left yourself in need, it is time to re-prioritize.

In actuality, all the people you love, those that you have expended yourself to help and sacrificed your own well-being, will be better off after you re-focus on self help! This article by fellow SelfGrowth.com professional, Lori Snyder, covers 10 basic steps for getting back to daily care for yourself.

Lori admits that she herself was so busy with everyone else’s needs that she sidelined her own needs, only to discover that the reality was, by neglecting her own needs and not meeting them first, she was not able to give her best to those she loves. These are brief excerpts from Ms. Snyder’s article. Use the link in the footnote below to read the full article.

1. Start each day filled with gratitude for all that you are…Appreciate the beauty all around you. [I would suggest, at the beginning, to make a list of self appreciation points. If you’ve neglected yourself for a long time, it will be difficult at the beginning to really focus on your own value.]

2. Count your blessings for the people who you love and who love you…They all come, and some go, for a reason.

3. Take a moment of silence for yourself to meditate, and think about what your needs of the day are, and what you would like to accomplish.

4. Be mindful of your health, and incorporate a wellness schedule into your week. Exercise, eat healthy, get enough rest.

5. Look at your goals sheet quickly each week, and evaluate how you are doing with them. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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When to Change Your Friends

June 28th, 2013

A reader asked what to do about harmful friends?

The question itself is almost an oxymoron  (opposite terms). You usually do not think of calling someone a “friend” who is harmful to you. However, depending on one’s personality, some people tend to repeatedly choose relationships with people who are harmful to them — emotionally or physically. Other times, it may not be that the person is harmful, but that there is an idiosyncrasy in the friend’s personality that, if discussed and dealt with, would heal the relationship .

Let’s take a look at how to determine if the relationship is harmful, why you chose the relationship, and when to change friends.

A few simple questions can help you determine if the friendship is healthy for you or not.

Answer each of the following questions either (1) most of the time, (2) about half the time, or (3) rarely.

1. Does the relationship with your friend lessen your self-esteem?

2. Does the relationship hinder you from achieving short and/or long term goals? Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Loving Your Life

May 17th, 2013

In each of us is the innate desire to live a life that we truly love.

I read a valuable article which covers many essential aspects of rebuilding your life to be the healthy, effective life that you desire to live. Kim Child’s article featured quotes from 3 life coach experts, footnoted below, to explain how to make lasting changes for a life that you will love. She discovered most effective life makeovers involve starting with (a) small steps, (b) setting boundaries, and (c) reaching out for support. Here are excerpts from the main points in Ms. Child’s article:

First, look at what is already working well in your life.

Even when a person feels like everything in his life must be changed, usually there are some things that are working well which should be noted and appreciated. Life coach Victoria Moran suggests to list 10 things for which you are grateful about in your life each morning before getting out of bed.(1)

Second, take time for prayer, meditation, and/or journaling before the day’s agenda begins.

This is essential to craft a health lifestyle and stay centered [on what is healthful, best, and important] in the midst of change Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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When is Pain Good?

April 5th, 2013

In the physical fitness arena, the phrase “No pain, no gain,” is quite common. For your emotional “fitness” in relationships and boundary setting, “No pain, no gain” is also a necessary practice.

People who repeatedly allow themselves to be hurt or harmed by others, physically or emotionally, have difficulty setting boundaries. They bring a continual flow of harm into their lives due to not setting boundaries, or not making clear what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior mainly due to a fear of the other person’s response. They fear the other person’s anger or they even fear hurting the other person’s feelings. Often, the boundaryless person fears hurting the controlling person because of an “over-identification with loss.” He or she hasn’t dealt with their own personal losses, especially those caused by the harmful relationship, so there is an unrealistic, over-emotional response to the thought of hurting the other person. It is a tragic thing to see destruction rule throughout a person’s whole life when restoration and abundance is attainable — all because he or she fears boundary setting will hurt the other person’s feelings. In such cases, pain is a good thing!

First, realize that it is possible to hurt someone’s feelings by “doing what needs to be done” to be responsible with your gift of life.

I’ve referred before to the Boundaries book by Cloud and Townsend when discussing relationship issues of this type. You do what you need to do to be responsible with the gift of your life though it may hurt the other person’s feelings. This is not a matter of being inconsiderate. You think through and evaluate how the boundary will likely hurt the other person’s feelings; that’s being empathetic and “taking into account” the other person’s feelings. But you still set the boundaries to stop the harm to your life; otherwise, you are being irresponsible to the gift of your own life. The other person will likely Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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When to Change Your Friends

November 4th, 2012

Reading Level: Leisurely

A reader asked what to do about harmful friends?

The question itself is almost an oxymoron-opposite terms. You usually do not think of calling someone a “friend” who is harmful to you. However, depending on one’s personality, some people tend to repeatedly choose relationships with people who are harmful to them — emotionally or physically. Other times, it may simply be an idiosyncrasy in the friend’s personality that needs to be discussed.
Let’s take a look at how to determine if the relationship is harmful, why you chose the relationship, and when to change friends.

A few simple questions can help you determine if the friendship is healthy for you or not.

Answer each of the following questions either (1) most of the time, (2) about half the time, or (3) rarely.

1. Does the relationship with your friend lessen your self-esteem?

2. Does the relationship hinder you from achieving short and/or long term goals?

3. Does the relationship create various stress-related physical health problems, such as headaches, stomachaches, nervousness, or lack of sleep?

4. Does the relationship cause emotional health issues, such as fear, worry, or intimidation?

If your answers were in the 1 or 2 range, the friendship is showing signs of harmful behavior which is negatively affecting the well-being of your life in significant amounts.

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If the friendship is affecting your life mainly in negative ways, ask yourself why you became involved in that relationship.

If you repeatedly choose to be in relationships with people who are not good for you and your life, you need to ask yourself why? Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 2

April 22nd, 2012

Table of contents for Relationship Issues Q&A

  1. Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 1
  2. Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 2

Dr. Henry Cloud, PhD, one of my favorite authors, is a frequent guest speaker for the Family Series event hosted by Bill Hybel.  There are some excerpts of one of his talks. Dr. Cloud is a noted psychologist and author of “Boundaries,” “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping,” and “Safe People.” You can listen or watch the full talk by Dr. Cloud at this link (Part VI on their page).

This is a continuation of a 2 part post. If you missed Part 1, use the above series link.

These are paraphrased excerpts from Dr. Cloud’s question and answer session on some of life’s toughest relationship questions. Please use the link below to watch or listen to the full video or audio. The insights will greatly benefit yourself, your friends, and family.

5. With regard to blended families and step families, how can a parent continue a close relationship with a child who is living with the other re-married parent and both parental roles are already being fulfilled in the child’s life?

This is a painful scenario and there is no way to go through this without feeling some loss. However, the first important step is to remove from your thoughts the concept of “either/or” because you are both in the child’s life. You don’t have control of when you are not there, but you do have 100% control of the relationship you have when you are together with your child. First, if you are nurturing, warm, and positive and do great stuff together, yet have requirements and expectations that he live by your rules, even if the other parent is a non-structure type, kids deep down eventually gravitate toward structure. You will face fights and some “prodigal son” moments, but continue to be the best person you can be in regards to loving and discipline. The child will develop an attachment to you based on that.

The second important point is don’t poison the other relationship with the step parent or the one with your ex. You want the child to have as many Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 1

April 20th, 2012

Table of contents for Relationship Issues Q&A

  1. Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 1
  2. Relationship Issues Question and Answer Part 2

Dr. Henry Cloud, PhD, one of my favorite authors, is a frequent guest speaker for the Family Series event hosted by Bill Hybel.  There are some excerpts of one of his talks. Dr. Cloud is a noted psychologist and author of “Boundaries,” “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping,” and “Safe People.” You can listen or watch the full talk by Dr. Cloud at this link (Part VI on their page).

Here are some paraphrased excerpts from Dr. Cloud’s question and answer session on some of life’s toughest relationship questions. We’ll do this in a 2 part post.  Please use the link below to watch or listen to the full video or audio.

1. Where do you draw the line between tough love and unconditional love?

There is a problem with this term of “drawing the line.” When we look at God’s personality, His expectations are done in ways that are perfectly loving and honest so He never has to “draw the line” due to having gone too far down an enabling, co-dependent road. With parents, too often we have let the child go too long down a path without consequences until it is at a point where harm will come to them if he (or she does) not get control of himself. It should never get to this point, but if it does, it should be done in a loving way.

As for child discipline, in this culture people often say, “Don’t say ‘No’ to your child; give them choices.” As an adult, one runs into ‘No’s,’ with speed limits, job requirements, etc. Our job as parents is to arrange situations in a way that when they make good decisions then good things happen and when they make bad decisions bad things happen. The goal is to transfer self control to the child. They should grow to the point of being in charge of themselves and feeling, “Oh, I better do it this way so something uncomfortable does not happen.” …we must take a stance that requires them to step into maturity so they are in control and we can finally delegate that job to them.

2. How do you address character issues in marriage? How do you let a spouse know you want more from a relationship without making them feel like a bad spouse?

In response to the first part of the question, most problems are the same in every marriage whether or not it is a good marriage, unless something strange is going on. It is how it is handled that makes the difference. Research shows that you can predict divorce in couples by 90% accuracy if couples (1) are judgmental, critical in giving feedback to each other instead of problem solving and (2) if they have a lot of contempt for the spouse. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Enjoying Your Holidays

December 20th, 2011

Do holiday family gatherings bring joy or difficult memories and painful feelings?

I came across a helpful article by fellow SelfGrowth.com author Laurie McAnaugh; here are some excerpts from it to help you overcome the negativity and enjoy your holiday experience. Use the links in the footnotes to read her full article(This is one of the classic holiday “help” articles– a good reminder for each of us each Christmas/New Year’s season.)

Ms. McAnaugh discusses that if holidays are emotionally draining to you rather than a time to enjoy remembrances of all you have to be thankful for, you may need to ask yourself the following questions:

-Why do I behave that way when I’m around certain members of my family?

-I don’t always like who I am when I am around that person.

-What is it about that person that they constantly say things that hurt my feelings?

-What is it about me that I allow that person to get under my skin?

If the holidays cause you to have the above thoughts, Ms. McAnaugh encourages you to ponder these questions:

-How would it feel to spend the holidays with each of your family members and still feel good about yourself, Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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When is Your Generosity Unhealthy?

November 20th, 2011

Generosity should always be a good thing, but the reality is that generosity “done right” will not leave you unhealthy and burned out because it is controlled by wisdom.

Generous people are often compulsive givers, quickly responding to the needs around them, even to their own detriment. It does not take too many years of a lifestyle of compulsive giving to leave one wondering why — when he (or she) has been such a good, caring person — he is struggling with exhaustion and resentment. Ever catch yourself wondering, “How can my life be so miserable and out of control when all I have done is spent my life helping people in need?” People with generous spirits often burn out due to not having healthy generosity. No, not all generosity is healthy; just as with every other area of your life, it must be controlled by wisdom.

A generous person who is also a religious person tends to be more readily trapped into a lifestyle of unhealthy, unwise giving.

As I have mentioned in prior posts, the life of a religious person that is unhappy and out of balance is often due to childhood teaching that is based on religious tradition rather than the truth of Scripture. Let’s look at a quote on giving that is frequently misunderstood due to religious tradition.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Phil. 2:3-5

This quote is used by religious tradition to promote a life of self abasement, or self neglect, when, in actuality, it is promoting a lifestyle of Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Discerning Compatibility in Relationships

January 30th, 2010

Reading Level: Leisurely

Do you appear to choose compatible dating and marriage relationships only to see them fall apart? Some basic points can ensure your compatibility in your long-term relationships.

I came across a link to a video feed (audio only also) of Bill’s Hybel’s talk on “5 Key Compatiblities to look for to guide you through the tricky process of finding a lifetime partner.” I’ve already shared it with a friend and he benefited immensely. Bill covers such incredibly practical yet easy-to-follow principles for determining your compatibility in a relationship that I wanted to share the basic points and link with you, our readership.

This is a brief summary of the 5 Key Compatibilities but I encourage you to watch/listen to the full talk (link below). You will not be disappointed!

1. Spiritual Intensity and Purpose – Do you seek after God with a similar level of passion? Are your spiritual life — purposes similar? Faith permeates a person’s being and has massive implications in their inner world, changes how they think, behave, love, how they spend spare time, etc. It is a person’s core identity and defines them.

2. Character – You must match equally with your commitment to the same level of character or you set yourself up to face a lifetime of trust-shattering incidents.

3. Emotional Health – There is a long complicated story to each person’s past which must be uncovered thoroughly before you can have any idea of who the other person is. Have each of your you’re your past pains been processed enough to be able to make forward progress in a relationship? If not, it is not the time to feel sorry for someone and try to rescue them. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Controlled Generosity

August 9th, 2009

Reading Level: Gratifying

These sound like incompatible terms, but the reality is that healthy generosity will not leave you unhealthy and burned out because it is controlled by wisdom.

Generous people are often compulsive givers, quickly responding to the needs around them, even to their own detriment. It does not take too many years of a lifestyle of compulsive giving to leave one wondering why — when he (or she) has been such a good, caring person — he is struggling with exhaustion and resentment. Ever catch yourself wondering, “How can my life be so miserable and out of control when all I have done is spent my life helping people in need?” People with generous spirits often burn out due to not having healthy generosity. No, not all generosity is healthy; just as with every other area of your life, it must be controlled by wisdom.

A generous person who is also a religious person tends to be more readily trapped into a lifestyle of unhealthy, unwise giving.

As I have mentioned in prior posts, the life of a religious person that is unhappy and out of balance is often due to childhood teaching that is based on religious tradition rather than the truth of Scripture. Let’s look at a quote on giving that is frequently misunderstood due to religious tradition.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Phil. 2:3-5

This quote is used by religious tradition to promote a life of self abasement, or self neglect, when, in actuality, it is promoting a lifestyle of balance in the attitude of giving. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Spiritual Guidelines to Stay Free

April 8th, 2009

Table of contents for Freeing Yourself from Abusive Relationships

  1. Practical Steps to Free Yourself
  2. Spiritual Guidelines to Stay Free

Reading Level: Gratifying

Those in abusive relationships frequently live in a state of confusion and hopelessness or blaming God for not helping them because they are unable to identify why continual destruction takes place in their lives.

Unfortunately, one is usually unaware of how his daily choices, lack of boundaries, and violating of spiritual and natural laws open the doors for harm to repeatedly come to him. Today I want to help you identify areas of your life that may be “opening the door” to harm in your circumstances and relationships. If you can begin seeing where you are violating spiritual boundaries or guidelines that God set up for your own protection, you can avoid the pitfalls, protect your life, and fulfill your destiny.

A person who continually faces destruction in his life often feels that he is being loving “like God” by giving in to controlling people and not having boundaries to protect his life and destiny.

This person often becomes bitter and blames God for the hardships he or she is suffering, but it is not God that has caused these things. God is not just “loving,” He IS Iove itself. There is a difference. He is perfect love and His perfect love includes boundaries, natural and spiritual laws, correction, and justice for the sake of our protection and well-being. To have real love and beneficial results in one’s daily life and relationships, you must implement God’s type of love, a real love that has boundaries and protection built into it.

A person would not blame God for self-imposed harm that came to someone who chose to violate the laws of nature. Yet, whether or not you implement spiritual laws for daily relationships is also a decision to avoid or cause self-imposed harm.

Here is an illustration. If someone chooses to violate the natural law of gravity by jumping off a skyscraper and bringing destruction to his or her physical body, you would not blame God for the result of their choice. God did not do it to them. The person chose to violate a natural law and it resulted in personal harm. God lists in Scripture many practical, daily guidelines (I’m going to call them spiritual laws as compared to laws of nature), which are given to help us be wise in our relationships with people, particularly those who are controlling or potentially harmful to us. People often violate these laws for one of three reasons:

–A lack of knowledge. They have never received instruction on the subject.

–They know about them but mistakenly feel that compromise is a loving choice because it is what the controlling person wants them to do.

–The person is so worn out by surrounding themselves with “leech” type people instead of giving people that they do not have the strength to fight for their personal rights, well-being, and fulfillment of destiny.

By stating the following spiritual guidelines as what should be avoided, it will be easier for you to identify if you already have violations of these spiritual guidelines affecting your relationships with people, and make changes necessary to bring restoration to your life. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Practical Steps to Free Yourself

April 4th, 2009

Table of contents for Freeing Yourself from Abusive Relationships

  1. Practical Steps to Free Yourself
  2. Spiritual Guidelines to Stay Free

Reading Level: Gratifying

Have you ever wished for a plan of action to get out of the abusive relationships in your life?

There is a step by step plan in an exceptional article written by Dr. Joseph Carver, Psychologist, explaining how to free yourself from controlling people and/or abusive people. Dr. Carver says that most people fail trying to get out of abusive relationships because “they leave suddenly and impulsively, without proper planning, and without resources.” Dr. Carver is a reputable psychologist whose articles on Love and the Stockholm Syndrome and the article we will discuss in this post are used by counseling groups across the globe.

Dr. Carver says that there are 3 necessary stages in freeing yourself from abusive and controlling people: The Detachment, Ending the Relationship, and the Follow-up Protection. These are only brief, paraphrased excerpts from Dr. Carver’s article. Please use the link here or below to read his article in full so that you have all the practical steps, information, and confidence you need to free yourself and start over on a new healthy path to a life that fulfills the God-given destiny for your existence!

Stage 1: The Detachment

-The abuser will have caused you isolation by methods such as controlling the finances, modes of transportation, etc. Pay attention to methods the controller is using to isolate you from freedom and help.

– Gradually become more boring, talk less, and share less feelings. The goal is to lessen the abuser’s emotional attachment to you.

– Quietly contact your family and friends to determine who can provide a place to stay, protection, financial help, etc. [An added note, only contact those who will keep your plans absolutely confidential.]

– If you fear violence or abuse, check local legal or law enforcement options.

– Slowly remove your valuables from the home. You may lose some personal items.

– Stop arguing. Stop defending and explaining yourself. Express that you are too stressed or confused to know why you are doing anything anymore. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Loving Your Life

March 16th, 2009

Reading Level: Gratifying

In each of us is the innate desire to live a life that we truly love.

I recently read a very valuable article which covered many essential aspects of rebuilding your life to be the healthy, effective life that you desire to live. Kim Child’s article featured quotes from 3 life coach experts, footnoted below, to explain how to make lasting changes for a life that you will love. She discovered most effective life makeovers involve starting with (a) small steps, (b) setting boundaries, and (c) reaching out for support. Here are excerpts from the main points in Ms. Child’s article:

First, look at what is already working well in your life.

Even when a person feels like everything in his life must be changed, usually there are some things that are working well which should be noted and appreciated. Life coach Victoria Moran suggests to list 10 things for which you are grateful about in your life each morning before getting out of bed.(1)

Second, take time for prayer, meditation, and/or journaling before the day’s agenda begins.

This is essential to craft a health lifestyle and stay centered [on what is healthful, best, and important] in the midst of change.(1)

Third, it is importance to focus on a daily plan of nutrition and exercise.

Moran refers to this as “taking care of the vehicle,” saying, “Regardless of what you want in life, you have to get it in this physical body…You’re not going to have a very good shot at changing your attitude and thinking positive thoughts if those thoughts have to be filtered through a brain that is living on junk food and doesn’t have enough oxygen because you don’t exercise.(1)

Fourth, once one has begun to make positive changes, he needs to clean up the environment in which the old, self-destructive habits flourished. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Motivation Check

March 11th, 2009

Reading Level: Gratifying

Checking the often un-noticed motivations for one’s decisions and actions can reveal the source of either success or failure.

I recently re-read an example on the source of motivations from Cloud and Townsend’s “Boundaries.” It refers to a man who was burned out physically and emotionally and came to see them for help. The man’s explanation for the source of his problem was “loving people too much.” The authors’ response to him was that it could not be love, as love would not cause him to end up in the negative situation he was in. It was discovered that the source of the problem was his un-noticed motivations.

Here is a list from “Boundaries” of types of unhealthy personal motivations for decisions and actions of which we are often unaware. I’ll provide a definition of each motivation.

Fear of a Loss of Love: If, during childhood, a person frequently experienced a withdrawal of love by a parent whenever that parent was displeased with him or her, it creates an emotional pattern or habit in adulthood to base decisions and actions of the fear of a losing people’s love. One acts or decides out of compulsion, not because it is an action or decision that is in his own best interest; he is compelled to do whatever the other person wants due to fear that, if the person is displeased or disappointed, they will no longer love him.

Fear of Others’ Anger: Because of past boundary violations which caused emotional hurts (people mistreating a person as a way to manipulate his or her behavior), a person can feel instant fear when another person shows anger, or when he is in a situation which he believes will cause the other person’s anger; as a result, he immediately decides a course of action to appease the person and avoid their anger, rather than doing what is best for him personally.

Fear of Loneliness: This is similar to a loss of love. A person with this motivation will give in to other people’s unreasonable or unhealthy demands because he is trying to win the other person’s approval; he fears that the other person will end the relationship and he will be alone if he does not continually give in to win their approval. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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