Author Archives: davidr

Connecting Dots to All the Wrong Places

I’m very fortunate — I love my work! Not only do I feel a real sense of purpose when I help people but I truly find it fascinating. Trying to understand people’s emotions and what brings them to respond as they do is like a big puzzle. Of course, sometimes that puzzle becomes very frustrating … because people have connected the dots in a way that makes perfect sense to them and therefore lead them to act the way they do. But the truth of the matter is that the sense is only in their mind.

I’ve often mentioned in this post that when I experience the same situation a couple of times in close proximity, I believe it’s meant to show me a lesson. I think I’m supposed to expose this phenomenon to help others perhaps learn from it.
This time for sure

Often, a client will come in and report to me some reaction he or she had and how his or her mate got really upset by it. Yet, as the reaction was occurring, it made perfectly good sense to my client. Naturally, I ask for the details surrounding not only the incident but what led up to it. Yes — I do have to be a bit of a Sherlock Holmes.

Quite often, it’s apparent to me that the details offered are rather innocuous or certainly don’t add up to the response my client felt. Yet, the person is absolutely convinced that there is a basis for feeling what he or she did. And I think that is the key … the feeling.

I have no doubt that the experienced feeling is intense at the moment it is taking place and that for certain, it appears to be triggered by the situation that just happened. But I also know that you can be responding to something that is happening now but, in reality, it is setting off something from your past.

Constant over-reactions like this can be very destructive to your relationships.
Coming into the present

Do you experience something like this? The likely problem is that you truly don’t know that you’re doing this.

In order to change a behavior, you must be aware of it. If your mate keeps indicating that you are over-reacting, you may want to do some self-reflection. Consider how other people might respond to the same set of circumstances. Maybe even ask a good friend how they would handle the same event.

Do you notice that you over-react with others beside your mate? Is there something, in particular, that seems to trigger you, that seems to set you off? For instance, do you always get bothered when you feel you aren’t getting attention? Or, do you tend to always be concerned about the possibility of being rejected?

Here are some other possible check-points: if it wasn’t for this one particular issue, how is the rest of your relationship? If it’s good except for when you get upset about this particular sensitivity, it’s likely that it is your issue. Do you have trouble “letting go” of something after your mate has apologized?

It’s important that you look at the reality of your relationship. Let’s go back to the idea that you don’t get enough attention. Can you come up with times where you really do get the attention from your mate? Even if it is slightly different than the way you would like it given to you, is the overall picture one where you see that you are cared about?

Since this type of behavior is generally so automatic, it’s hard to just quickly change it. One of the things you can do is to think about the behavior of the other person differently. Yes, he or she did (or said) what they did … but can you think of a reason other than the one you assigned for it? Even if you only come up with one possibility, it means your automatic conclusion is flawed.

The book I’ve written, “Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life,” offers tools to deal with these types of issues. Or, you may need to seek a professional to assist you with this process. But learning how to heal wounds from the past will very much enhance the relationship you have today!

A Stitch in Time

As I’ve often said before, one of the most important concerns to any of us is the relationship we have with our mate.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been until recent years that it was realized that most people don’t know what’s needed in order to sustain a truly happy and healthy partnership.

Somehow, it was assumed that people would just know how to be in love — or, perhaps more accurately, that if you were in love, that was all that was needed.  To help further this fantasy, people turned to movies, books, and songs to get a better sense of what love should “look like.”  And now, sadly, our divorce rate hovers around 50%.

New awareness

Today, a lot more information is available to couples in finding the assistance needed with their relationship woes.  Included in these offerings are numerous relationship books, a variety of couples’ workshops, and some programs given on CDs.  Often, these do, in fact, help.

However, many couples don’t even avail themselves of these resources.  Is it that they aren’t aware that there is a problem?  I doubt it.  The need for connection is a basic biological one.  My guess is that, as people, there’s an apprehension of dealing with emotions — perhaps if the pain and discomfort isn’t raised, it will go away.  But, emotions don’t go away.  Rather, they build up and come out in any number of other forms, e.g. attacks or shutting down.

Of course, there are many partners who do attempt to deal with the problems they’re having.  They try to talk it out.  Or, perhaps they do utilize one of the resources I’ve mentioned above.  And, yet, it doesn’t bring satisfactory results.

The next step

It would seem that the next step is to seek the help of a marriage professional.  From my many years of working with couples, my experience has been that this option is the choice of last resort.  I get a call when the marriage is on “death’s door,” so to speak.  I don’t ever remember a time when someone called to say, “We’re doing pretty well, but feel we could improve things between us.”

So, what’s the stumbling block?  Is calling someone professional seen as an admission that you’ve failed?  Is it a matter of finances?  Is talking to an outsider too scary?  Or, maybe … it’s all of these.

But here’s the dilemma:  By the time you come in because your relationship is hanging by a thread or because one of you has one foot out the door, it really is a very tenuous situation.  If this problem (whatever it is) has been going on for years, then there has been a very long time of negativity and hurt feelings and destructive communication going on.  It just may be a matter of “too little, too late.”

I certainly don’t want to write a post that is doom and gloom.  Rather, I always want to offer you hope.  The point of this blog is to encourage you to seek help early.  So often, the differences between you and your mate is a matter of better understanding one another’s needs and how they are best met.  Good marital counseling works — you and your partner deserve the best!

Are You Stuck in Regret?

Have you ever made a mistake? Of course, you have. We all have. Do you look back at some of those mistakes or choices you made and have regrets? My guess is that many of you are answering in the affirmative.

I decided to write about this because of a conversation I had recently with someone very dear to me. And the truth is that if you’re walking around filled with regret and remorse it’s going to impact how you feel about yourself and also affect your relationships. It certainly seems to be a topic worthy of discussion.

Have it your way
While you were growing up, there’s a real good chance that your parents tried to get you to learn something by their experience in order to spare you the heartache or misfortune they went through. And, most likely, it didn’t work. It does seem that “the school of hard knocks” is the best teacher.

The issue then becomes whether you did something that didn’t work out and learned from it. I truly believe that there are no bad choices because each choice you make has the opportunity to teach you something.

Unfortunately, many times people repeat the same mistake. Why? My guess is that the decision is not being made from a stance of clear thinking but rather is emotionally driven. Emotions are very powerful; not only will they win out over logic but they prevent the ability to think something through.

New awakenings
Then, one day there’s an “aha” moment and you wake up, so to speak, and realize the mistake(s) you’ve made. Now, the regret sets in. Along with the regret is usually a good deal of ruminating and questioning about your judgement and the actions you took. Likely, there’s lots of self-blaming.

All of this serves no purpose! Rather, here are some tips to help you:

  1. Choose to forgive yourself. This may be a difficult task but it is a necessary one. To keep beating yourself up will only keep you stuck and, therefore, block you from moving forward.
  2. Stop ruminating over the past. There’s no purpose in endlessly going over the details of your mistake. When these thoughts come into your head, stop them by forcing yourself to think of anything else. With practice, this gets easier and easier.
  3. Apologize to others. If you’re actions hurt another person, consider offering them an apology. In order for the apology to be effective, it must be sincere, include a statement of what you did, and an acknowledgement of the pain it caused the other person. Don’t necessarily expect an immediate response from the person, but offer him or her some time to consider forgiving you.
  4. Discover your motivation. If your past actions were ones that only involved you, think about what motivated you act they way you did. Address these concerns so that they don’t need to be expressed again in some way at another time.
  5. Be willing to “let go” of the past. In other words, what you’ve done is done. Be proud of yourself for facing this issue, know that it is a process, and be willing to continue to move forward.

So, stop punishing yourself but do make an important choice — once you are aware of how you functioned, it is your responsibility as to whether to learn the lesson or not. By making this choice you (and your relationship) will be stronger!

Making Lemonade from Lemons

Have you ever listened to a promo for the 11:00 news and heard something like this: “Family’s house burns down, all is lost, stay tuned at 11:00.” Then you listen in and, in fact, all has been lost — the house as well as all the belongings. Yet, the family is interviewed and manages to seem okay reporting that at least they all made it out including the cat. The kicker is that they also report looking forward to the opportunity to building a new and better house!

Why is it that some people can face adversity without experiencing so much stress? How is it that some people can deal with challenges and see them as opportunities? It turns out that these individuals have a trait called hardiness.

Some background

Dr. Martin Seligman, in his introduction of the concept of Positive Psychology, called upon the psychological community to embrace the notion that rather than the customary pathologizing that is done of people in our society, we look instead at their positive traits.

Having taken his very first class in Positive Psychology, I remember his asking, “What’s right with you?” It seemed like such an odd query since most of us are accustomed to the opposite one: “What’s wrong with you?”

At the risk of over-simplifying his exquisite system, the main idea is that people are born with strengths and skills. Some people are born with the ability to be hardy; some are resilient (they bounce back easily from adversity). Seligman says that it’s important to learn about these traits and teach them to others. It has clearly been shown through research that having a positive or optimistic attitude is a clear benefit to dealing with stress.

What it means to you

Certainly, in today’s economic climate, most of you are feeling quite negative. It’s probably being manifested in feelings like anxiety, depression, or fear. But none of these are helpful in dealing with the situation. As a matter of fact, the experiencing of strong emotion will get in the way of effective problem-solving.

I have no doubt that these feelings are also impacting you in a number of areas — in your relationships, with your children, in how you feel about yourself. And though you can’t control the external situation, you can control how you react!

An article I read recently spoke about the fact that there are some people who seem to have the kind of personality that is allowing them to deal more easily with today’s economic crisis. They seem to look at it as a challenge and as an opportunity for creating different possibilities. Though the article didn’t use the word ‘hardiness,’ I have no doubt that these persons have this trait.

But here’s the good news: You can make lemonade out of lemons, too! There is a “silver lining.” Here’s a quick example: We’ve all gotten so caught up in technology and the stress of everyday living that often our immediate family is no longer the priority they should be. But by having to save money and get back to basics, like entertaining through board games and playing charades, I do believe it will help us re-connect.

I felt so strongly that we were all being inundated by negativity that I created a teleseminar, Psychological Bailout, to offer concrete tools to assist during this time. I’m offering an MP3 download of this 45-minute call that’s packed with positive and uplifting information. If you’d like to learn more about it, check out here: Staying Up When the Dow is Down.

The important thing to remember is that you have a choice in how you react. And if you can focus on the positive, it will serve you more. Lemonade is oh so tasty!

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

No doubt, you’ve been exposed to lots and lots of articles and books and various other communications about ways to cut down your stress. Even I address this subject both in writing and workshops as well as teaching my clients tools to deal with stress. Why? Because stress can have very adverse effects on your health — both physically and psychologically.

But there’s also another side to stress. Stress can actually have some positive benefits! In fact, learning how to deal with stress can make you resilient. You may have heard the expression, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you strong.”

Growing into it

Right from the beginning, a child faces some stress–it might not fit out definition of stress, but stress is relevant. A parent who attempts to protect his or her child from all potential stress is really doing the child an injustice. As the infant is flourishing, don’t worry about playing music or having the phone ring or speaking above a whisper.

A few years later, children will meet up with challenges of not receiving the best grade or not being included on a team. These will feel like sad moments … but will provide important life lessons. After all, the world is stressful and if the child has never learned to deal with it, no coping mechanisms will have been learned.

As a psychologist who works with adults, I find a very interesting paradox in those clients who had particularly difficult childhoods. Yes, they suffered a lot of pain and unhappiness. But, in many cases, they also gained a lot of personal strength and sense of being able to count on their own resilience.

For the two of you

I read an interesting article recently about how stress impacts a relationship. Naturally, no one can anticipate when a horrible situation is going to occur. However, it’s not the stressful situation, itself, that determines how negatively it impacts a couple. Rather, it’s how the couple reacts to the stress, how they handle the adversity.

Some couples get torn apart by the negativity and pressure. They don’t know how to cope. Often, the reaction to the stressful situation, by one or both partners, is to shut down or to act out. Even when things are going well, such behavior is counterproductive; in difficult times, these reactions are even more destructive.

In contrast, when a couple can offer one another mutual support and a willingness to sacrifice, they not only weather the storm but actually help solidify the commitment to each other. It’s as if they take on an attitude of “us against the world.”

Here are some pointers to make the best of a bad situation:

  1. Social support has been found to be a wonderful buffer for stress. Use one another for support. Share your feelings … all of them.
  2. If you are having difficulty expressing your feelings, at least acknowledge that to your partner so he or she doesn’t feel shut out.
  3. Ask for what you need — it will be much easier for you to get what will make things helpful to you as well as for your partner who won’t have to be a mind reader.
  4. Hold one another; physical comfort is very soothing.
  5. Use humor whenever you can. This is another wonderful way to deal with stress.

On a personal note, someone in my extended family is very ill right now. Watching his immediate family rally around him in lots of different ways is so heart-warming. I know that the love and support they are giving him and each other will go a long way to help him through this and create a very strong bond among them that goes far beyond words.

Relationship Mechanic

It’s so interesting to me that many times, as people, we do things that really make no sense.  In the past, I’ve spoken about how you’re willing to spend lots and lots of time checking out which jeans to buy or which computer will really suit you.  But you don’t spend nearly the same amount of energy exploring if you should speak to a professional about your own personal psychological health or that of your relationship.

Here’s another analogy that boggles the mind (at least mine):  Some of you pamper your autos by washing it and cleaning it out.  Most of you will make sure that you take your car for regular maintenance check-ups.  Or, at the very least, you are diligent that your car runs smoothly be changing the oil.

But what about your relationship?

Of course, generally, everyone knows that the oil in the car is supposed to be changed every 3,000 miles.  And, there’s a manual that comes with a car that indicates what servicing needs to be done at what point.  But how do you do a relationship check-in and how often?

I’ll get to the nuts and bolts in just a moment but here’s a general game plan: you and your mate can decide to “check-in” once a week, every two weeks, or monthly.  I’d suggest putting it on your calendar as you would any other important event.  This is really important because if you don’t, somehow you never get to it.

Plan to talk for about ½ hour with a10-minute “overtime.”  This will allow enough time to cover the points so the women are happy and not go on too long so that the men get frustrated.   And, of course, really be paying attention to one another as you do this exercise.  That means, turn off the TV, don’t answer phones, and attention is not put anywhere else.

Down to the nitty-gritty

For each of the points I am going to lay out for you, you each take a turn.

I think I’ve told you before that studies have shown that there’s a 5:1 ratio between positive and negative.  That means that you can say 5 positive things to your mate and then 1 negative which will wipe out the 5 positive.  That’s how heavily negative comments weigh!

So to start your check-in exercise, first let your partner know the positive things you noticed in the relationship.  Little things count — remember you are trying to improve upon your partnership.

Next, move to areas that could be improved.  In presenting these, still talk about these in a positive light.  As a concrete example, you might say, “I really liked that you started picking up your clothes; if you could be even more aware of that, it would be really great!”  What you don’t want to say is: “You’re still not picking up your clothes.”

Then, move on to needs you may have.  Yes — it’s okay to have needs and it’s okay to ask that they be respected.  But, you don’t have a right to demand your needs be met or even expect that by the expression of them, they will be met.  However, your chances of having them met will be more so based on the way you ask.  Here’s where “I” statements are really important:  “I would feel much more appreciated if when I cooked/changed the oil in the car you noticed.”

Finally, if you’ve had a conflict since your last “check-in,” now might be a good time to talk about it.  First, make sure you’re each ready to discuss it.  The factor that determines readiness is if the emotion has calmed down.  If it hasn’t, it’s not a good time to discuss it yet and agree to do so later.  But do come back to it — unresolved conflicts do not go away.

The purpose of the discussion is to understand each person’s perspective on the situation.  If you had seen it the same way, there would not have been a conflict.  It’s similar to two people witnessing the same accident; likely each will have a different version.  Once you understand your partner’s perspective, you can come to some understanding or compromise.

Finally, if there’s time leftover, you might talk about things you want to watch for until your next check-in.

So, there are your steps.  I would suggest that if, as couples, there were regular check-ups (or check-ins) the state of our partnerships would be a whole lot better!

Another Relationship Lesson – It’s All in the Phrasing

I hope you’ve been reading the last couple of posts I’ve written. They have been based on information I gained at a conference I attend every year, SmartMarriages. At this annual meeting, there is a multitude of subjects presented on every aspect of relationships one could imagine.

In today’s blog, I’m not going to discuss a particular subject matter as an entity. Rather, I want to bring to your attention something having to do with how you communicate to your mate. To be honest, this insight can have meaning for anyone with whom you relate to where you are concerned with your communications.

The ABC’s of communication

I know you’re aware of how important good communication is in a relationship. Of course, what does get tricky is the concept of exactly what makes up good communication. In previous articles, I’ve offered advice on being aware of your tone as well as facial expression, gestures, and body language. All of these non-verbal indicators are sending your message also — often to a greater degree than your actual words.

On the other hand, I’ve told you that sometimes, simple words can go along way. Here are some reminders: If men would say, “My bad” when they’ve goofed, women would feel much better. Or, if the person who feels overwhelmed in an emotional situation would merely state, “I don’t know what to say right now” rather than remaining silent, the other person wouldn’t feel blown off.

A new insight

So, with all this “expertise” on my part, what is it that I heard that I felt worthy of writing about? When someone is sharing something with you and they seem to have finished, try saying, “Tell me more.” What most of us say (myself included) is, “Are you done?”

Think about it for a moment. Now, on my behalf, I do believe I ask that question gently. But in this particular case, the words will have more of an impact than the tone. The very question, “Are you done?” sends the message to the other person that you are waiting for the end, that you are anticipating the finish.

Perhaps that’s not what you mean to convey; perhaps you want to make sure you are not cutting the other person off. But in a subtle way, that is the message.

In contrast, when you state, “Tell me more,” it is an invitation. You are sending the message that you are open to hearing more of what your partner has to say. You are not done, ready to leave, or tired of listening. If your mate is, in fact, done, he or she will let you know that there is no more. But now your partner will feel cared about.

Who knew that besides “I love you,” there were three other little words that could make such a difference?

Perceiving is Believing — Not!

Not too many weeks ago, my husband and I returned from a trip we took out in Utah. While there, we hiked some national parks — Zion, Bryce, Snow Canyon, and Kolob. I cannot even begin to describe to you how magnificent these natural sites were. I couldn’t stop gasping as we turned every corner.

I think by now you know how even while I’m relaxing my brain never rests. I’m always on the “lookout” for special experiences or lessons that I can learn and share with you. Of course, when you look for something, you find it (that, in and of itself, is a lesson).

A little help

Never having been to this region before, we asked the assistance of the concierge at the facility at which we were staying. I thought we were very fortunate to gain the help of someone who was a hiker herself. She was quite knowledgeable about the paths and offered her expertise as to their difficulty; my spouse and I are moderate hikers.

She told us about one at Zion and said that it was an easy trail. For those of you who may have hiked Zion, I refer to Canyon Overlook. Based on her recommendation, my husband felt we wouldn’t need our hiking poles; based on my trepidation, I felt it was wise to take them. Thank goodness for my caution!

Though the final destination offered a magnificent site and was well worth the climb, the hike was by no means an easy one. As a matter of fact, the park puts out a brochure and in it, Canyon Overlook is rated as moderately challenging.

Mind the gap

So why the discrepancy? Would this woman purposely report something inaccurately? I am absolutely certain that the variation in assessing the challenge level so differently was due to a matter of perception.

The truth of the matter is that in life there is no absolute reality. Everyone has his or her own perception of what is going on. And whether that perception is accurate or not, the person will act on it.

Now, you may think that I have just contradicted myself because I said that there is no absolute reality; so, how can something be inaccurate? I’m thinking in terms of relationships. I cannot even begin to tell you how often a couple gets into trouble with one another because they have either misperceived or misattributed the other’s reaction.

Let me give you an absurd example to help out. One partner asks for help from the other. The second partner, while thinking about the response simultaneously grimaces. The partner asking for assistance upon seeing the grimace assumes the other wants no part of helping. However, maybe at the exact moment of responding, the mate doing so experienced gas accounting for the grimace.

Since humans are so emotionally frail, you tend not to ask questions to clarify but act based on what you perceived as the reality. And … to complicate matters further, your partner is doing the same. It really can get quite cumbersome.

But if you know that as two different people you are likely to look at the world differently, you both might be able to enjoy spectacular views!

A Different Look at Attachment

I believe that I’ve shared with you the fact that aside from being a psychologist in private practice, I also serve on the faculty of a local University in the undergraduate Psychology Department. In this role, one of the things I pride myself in is the ability to explain to a student a concept that she may find difficult in a way that is understandable. Admittedly, it gives me great personal satisfaction when I see the student’s face change from a blank stare to one of acknowledgment.

On the flip side of the coin, one of my pet peeves is when I don’t “get” something and the person at the other end merely responds with the exact same statement I didn’t get the first time. This is especially frustrating to me when the person with whom I’m speaking is a Customer Representative of some company — it sort of feels like he or she isn’t doing what their getting paid to do.

The low down on attachment

In former postings, I’ve written to you about the importance of attachment in your relationships. In case you missed those or need a quick refresher, here’s the low down: the need for attachment is a biological one that exists at birth and continues till death. Basically, attachment lets you know you matter to someone. It allows you to feel connected to the people who are important to you.

So, in the relationship with your significant other, you want to try to express behavior that exhibits things like: “I’ve got your back,” “I’m here for you,” and “You are important to me.” All of these will let your partner know that he/she has meaning and your partnership will be a more connected one.

Same end point, different path

In some recent work with a couple who really didn’t honor one another as respectfully as they should, I started to speak to them about the fact that they were being destructive to one another. They, as so many of you, knew one another’s “soft” spots, one another’s vulnerabilities. And … it was those areas that were coming under attack.

First, a note of warning: when your partner has revealed something about him or herself that is considered private — make sure to honor it. Never throw this information back at him or her because it will be construed as a major violation in trust!

When I was working with this couple, it occurred to me that another way to explain attachment was in terms of knowing one another’s shortcomings and helping each other feel better in their area of vulnerability. For instance, if your mate is uncertain of his ability to do a task but attempts to do it, be encouraging and reinforcing. If your other half is apprehensive about something, rather than minimizing it, let her know you believe in her.

When you offer support, the message you are giving is one that is positive rather than negative. It is another way of saying, “I am here for you.” It is vital that you be a cheerleader for one another. Though you may think that this is not such a big deal, do not underestimate the power of someone feeling that another believes in you.

Choosing to be Grateful

Choice Relationships: 2009: Choosing to be Grateful
Circulation 3422
Volume 43 November 2009

My Personal Insights:

As I ended the sessions with my various clients before Thanksgiving, I wanted to wish them each a Happy Thanksgiving. In many cases, it was difficult to do since I knew that they were facing a great deal of struggles in their lives. As I have referred to in the past, there is also some personal situation that is particularly troubling right now due to a serious health issue of an extended family member. So I certainly understand. Yet, there is always something for which to be grateful. At this point, I would like to extend my thankfulness to all of you for your support and continued readership.

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Choose to See the Upside

There are times in life due to certain circumstances that will make it challenging to feel happy or upbeat. Generally, these are not things you can even anticipate. Losses of all types happen: finances, sickness, broken relationships. And when these things occur around the Holidays, they seem to be even more devastating.

As I’ve often stated before, you cannot control when things happen and you also cannot control how others act. However, you do have a choice as to how you react to these matters. No one is suggesting that you do away with your feelings completely; that would be unhealthy. But when you make a choice to not dwell on the negative, you will be making an impact on your health – both physically and psychologically.

Choice Tips:

  1. As taught in a class on Positive Psychology, do an exercise to increase gratitude. Each night (it has to be done at night), write down three things for which you are grateful for that day (it must be written to be effective). They should be small things like you didn’t hit traffic. The idea is to find more and more small things to make you happy enabling you to find more and more small things in life that make you happy.
  2. If something bothers you, ask yourself, “Will this upset me in a month, in a year, in five years?” This query allows you to put things in perspective.
  3. When something bad happens consider what the lesson in it is. Even bad things offer meaning.
  4. If there is something tragic that occurs, consider that it happened as a reminder to help you take on a broader awareness of the important things in life.
  5. Try to laugh more; humor is very helpful for “letting go” and seeing things in a different light.
  6. Try to see the very same situation from a different perspective (this is called a reframe). When you look at it in a different way, it often isn’t as upsetting.
  7. Learn to accept others (and yourself) as they are — warts and all. No one is perfect and our diversity is what keeps us interesting and allows us to learn from one another.
  8. Know that whatever is upsetting will pass.
  9. When things are bad, one of the best things to do is hold your partner – it gives each other a sense of security.

Additional Resources I Recommend:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~Melodie Beattie

If you haven’t seen this video, you must take a look at it! There are just so many lessons to be learned by watching it.
Click to Watch

And just in case you are having trouble finding things to be grateful, here’s something to help:
Click to Read

Since this is a newsletter about relationships, here’s an interesting article about how, in times of adversity, marriage can help:
Click for Article

Empowering Tools and Information:

As you may or may not know, my childhood background is one of exceptional dysfunction. Yet, I now look back at it with gratefulness. Yes, you read that correctly. Even though there were many tough challenges, I believe that they made me stronger and able to learn and then teach tools to help others.

Do you know that you don’t have to be a prisoner to your past? Rather, you can live a life of joy! Take a look at my award-winning self-help book, Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life to learn the tools that can give you the choice to have the life you deserve.