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Found 29 results

  1. Guest

    Narcissism

    Narcissism is a tricky concept. Although most people intuitively understand why narcissism is toxic to be around (the superiority complex that makes a person treat all others as beneath them, the aggressive need for control, the inability to take responsibility for their actions, and many other harmful behaviors), many still often find themselves ensnared by a narcissist's charm long before they actually realize the person they're with suffers from a serious personality disorder. If you find yourself dating a narcissist, it is possible to make the relationship work with a lot of strength, patience, and self-love—as long as the relationship hasn't turned abusive. But for many, narcissism is unbearable in the long term, and a breakup is absolutely necessary. The challenge, then, will be to get out safely. If you have decided that it's time to leave your narcissistic partner, you are likely in for a big challenge on multiple levels. Here's what to do to protect yourself.
      Hello guest!
  2. Did you know that one out of every five people is predisposed to experience higher levels of mental, physical, and emotional sensitivity? They're called highly sensitive people (HSPs) and I'm one of them. Many, but not all HSPs are empaths as well—meaning they can feel and absorb the emotions of those around them. Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. was one of the first to study and bring awareness to the unique needs and behavior patterns of HSPs. Aron found that highly sensitive people interact with their environments and approach relationships in a way that’s slightly different from the rest of the population. You can read more about her findings in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, or take this test on her website to determine if you are an HSP. A few attributes of HSPs are that they're more likely to cry and become overwhelmed by sensory input; they also notice and respond to changes in lighting, sound, speech, and body language that others may not notice. Changes in plans, violent television shows, and even strong odors can completely throw HSPs for an energetic loop. This may cause a seemingly unwarranted emotional response or create a need for withdrawal on the HSP’s part. Sometimes when a highly sensitive person has reached his or her "limit," (s)he will begin to find ways to turn the noise down without explaining why to those around them. As I mentioned, many HSPs are also empaths. Empaths have the ability to absorb other people’s emotions and feel them as if they are their own. HSPs are more responsive to environmental stimuli—information coming to them from their environment and perceived by the five senses—while empaths are more responsive to energetic stimuli. An HSP can usually pinpoint exactly what’s triggering their response while an empath may be vaguer, citing that they just "know" or "have a feeling." As an HSP and an empath, I’ve found plenty of information about managing my responsiveness, sorting through what is mine versus what belongs to others, and what I call "pulling back to center," or grounding, after interaction with others. However, if you happen to be in a relationship with an HSP or an empath, then you're dealing with a unique kind of person, and you may be wondering what you can do to be a better friend, lover, and support system for them. Here are a few pointers: 1. We need you to choose honesty. Here’s the thing with HSPs and empaths; if we ask you what’s up it’s because we already know something’s up. We respect your privacy and understand that you may not be ready to share or talk about something we’ve noticed or sensed, but it’s better for you to say that instead of pretending that there’s nothing going on. 2. We need you to support our cleansing and grounding routine. Both HSPs and empaths know their limits, and most of us have learned what helps us reset our energy. That may be yoga, music, alone time, a break from talking, a particular art or craft, or time outdoors, etc. It helps for our friends or partner to take notice and support us by giving us space to reset, or joining us. It means a lot for a loved one to change speed, come to yoga class, or just walk in silence with us. We appreciate that and will repay you as soon as we move back into the emotional space to do so. That brings me to my next point. 3. We need you to take no for an answer. When an empath or HSP is already vibing low (needing to reset or clear energy), it can be massively draining for a friend or loved one to "force" us to go out. We’re not depressed; we’re recharging. We’re not boring; we enjoy a different kind of adventure. So if you’ve asked an empath or HSP to go to the club or to a public event with you, and they’ve said no, simply leave the offer on the table, and let it be. 4. We need you to make sure things don't get one-sided. Empaths understand and care about your feelings and well-being; often we will compromise or move things around in advance for the sake of those around us. For this reason, our relationships can get one-sided rather quickly. We make amazing sounding boards and support systems, but don’t forget that we need that in return, especially from those who are closest to us. By Brittany Jackson
      Hello guest!
  3. By Leah Scott Breakups suck no matter how you spin 'em. But acknowledging the uncertainties and seeking out the positive in the tough moments can help you turn yours into an experience that's illuminating rather than embittering. Ending a relationship is never not painful, but it ended for a reason, right? Whether you were with someone who didn't treat you well or who wanted to be with someone else, you are free from that toxicity. So, why not focus on the good? Your mindset during this time is absolutely crucial to remaining positive and healthy. With that in mind, here are seven things I believe are essential to maintaining a positive outlook and turning your breakup into a blessing: 1. Practice gratitude. Each morning when you wake up, think about what you’re grateful for. It can be as simple as the bed you sleep in, your children, or the fact that you have a roof over your head and a family that loves you. This period of your life will be tumultuous. Some days, everything will seem wrong, and you'll feel indescribably sad or angry. Some days you won't be able to think straight. It’s as if you’re in a fog. And some days, you'll be filled with hope and a sense of freedom. Gratitude will help you to see the beauty that's emerging from this storm. 2. Breathe. Learning to breathe in the good and breathe out the bad is a crucial tool in navigating rough emotional waters. Take deep, cleansing, calming breaths before dealing with stressful situations like court dates, arbitration, or dividing your belongings: 4-4-4 breathing is great for providing structure to this practice when you feel out of control. It is breathing in for 4 seconds, holding that breath for 4 seconds, and exhaling for 4 seconds. Just focus on those breathing techniques until you feel ready to tackle whatever's coming. 3. Let go of expectations. Whether it's a custody agreement or a conversation about how to deal with the holidays, not having any expectations will save you endless disappointment. According to the Second Truth of Buddhism, desire causes suffering. The desire for a certain outcome is what creates our expectations, and unmet expectations lead to inevitable disappointment. Let go of them, and embrace the uncertainty of this phase of your life. Whatever happens, you'll be able to handle it. Trust yourself. 4. Enjoy your freedom. You are free to move, to travel, and to date and meet new people. Embrace that freedom. William Butler Yeats said, "The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." This is a whole new chapter. What do you dream about doing? Does your work feed your soul? Find out what does, and go after it. 5. Learn to forgive. The end of a relationship is inevitably painful, and it may be difficult to forgive your ex. It starts, believe it or not, with forgiving yourself. You are your worst critic, and when things like this happen, we tend to focus on what we did wrong. Reflecting on the past is only beneficial insofar as it helps you make better choices in the future. Learn the lessons, then let go. I’ve been going through a divorce for two years, and I still struggle with forgiveness. I am a stronger person because of what I've dealt with. Knowing that empowers me to forgive. 6. Be present. Our lives are continually disrupted by text messages, phone calls, and social media. It's becoming more and more difficult to just be present. Think about what being present means to you. For me, it means communing with nature. It means going for a walk and noticing the bright sky, the trees changing colors, or the birds chirping. I try to look at the world the way my children see it. They see the ocean in a puddle, a forest monster in a pile of leaves, a valiant fortress in the boughs of a tree. Try to sharpen your sense and see the magic around you. 7. Shed the toxic people. You can't make a toxic person happy, but they will likely succeed in bringing you down if you keep spending time with them. The end of a major relationship should be a time of cleansing, getting rid of the debris of your life. Reconsider your relationships in this new phase, and distance yourself from anyone who drains you. It is OK to distant yourself from people not adding value to your well-being. If you want to make the most of this next period in your life, you need to surround yourself with positive people who will uplift and support you through the hard times and the good.
      Hello guest!
  4. He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. Does your life ever feel like this? Sometimes it's amazing. Sometimes it's less than desirable? Do you ever feel this way toward your partner? Sometimes adoring everything about them and sometimes looking for the exit? There are several habits that take us out of the fun, excitement, and joy of relationships and draw us into the trauma and drama that so often destroys them. If you would like your relationship to thrive continually, to be continuously growing, lose these five common relationship-ruining habits: 1. Looking for what's wrong How often do you focus on what's wrong? What's wrong with your partner, what's wrong with your relationship, and what's wrong with you? Judgment is the No. 1 relationship killer. Judging the wrongness of you, your partner, and your relationship will ruin it faster than anything. If you have fallen into the habit of looking for what's wrong, a great question you can ask is, "What's right about this that I'm not getting?" You can also ask, "What's right about my partner that I'm not getting?" And, "What's right about me that I'm not getting?" Asking these questions will take you from looking for what's wrong to having gratitude for all it. And gratitude is the antidote for judgment. 2. Mimicking other relationships Often we try to mimic the relationship of others. Maybe we think that there's a right way and a wrong way to do relationships, so we try to figure out the right way and copy that. Or, maybe we see a relationship that is working well and we decide that they've figured it out and we try to duplicate what's working for them. This only leads to frustration and more judgment of you and your partner because your relationship will not be like anyone else's. You need to do what works for you. My friend Gary Douglas, who's also the founder of Access Consciousness®, tells a story about a toothpaste tube. Gary likes to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom. His wife, however, likes to squeeze it in the middle. After 16 years of irritation over the toothpaste tube, he had an epiphany. Oh! We could have two tubes of toothpaste. What if you could stop looking at relationships based on what everyone else is doing and ask, "What's the most pragmatic solution I can have here?" You might just find choices and solutions you never considered before! 3. Giving yourself up in the relationship How many times have you entered a relationship only to find that a few weeks in, everything has become about the other person? You stop doing what's fun for you. You stop hanging out with people you enjoy. Your life becomes all about your partner, and you give up more of yourself than you bargained for. This never works! You are the most valuable ingredient in your relationship. If you take yourself out, the relationship doesn't have a chance. Keep you in the relationship. Continue to do what you enjoy. Choose to spend time with people that you value and that value you. This adds to your relationships. It doesn't take away. If you've stopped doing what you enjoy and stopped connecting with friends, you can start again today! Begin by taking one hour each day to do what you love. 4. Replaying the mistakes of the past Do you ever wake up in the morning and the first thing you remember is how your partner messed up yesterday? Maybe they forgot to do something you wanted them to do. Maybe they were cranky and took it out on you. Whatever happened yesterday and every day before that, rather than replaying it in your head, could you let it go? An effective way do this is, every morning when you wake up, is to destroy and uncreate your relationship. To destroy and uncreate your relationship doesn't mean to end the relationship. It means to end the judgment, the expectations, and the resentment that kill your relationship so that you can have all the joy of your relationship. Every day say, "Everything that our relationship was yesterday, all the judgments, all the conclusions, all the expectations, I let those go now." Use this tool and notice that every day the relationship is even better than it was the day before. 5. Getting into a relationship rut Have you lost the fun and excitement that was there in the beginning of your relationship? Do you find yourself sometimes bored? Wondering what's next? Wishing you could ignite the spark again? If that describes your relationship, you can change it! Make the choice daily to be in your relationship. If you do this, you will move from existing in the relationship back into the creativity, fun, and excitement that was there when it first began. Whether your relationship is new or one you've been in for many years, it can still be fun, playful, and enjoyable. It's never too late to let go of the destructive habits that ruin relationships and begin to create something that works. Choose gratitude. Choose to keep yourself in the relationship. Let go of the judgments, expectations, and conclusions that you may have picked up along the way and allow the sense of wonder, creativity, and adventure to be your relationship reality. By Dr. Dain Hair/MBG
  5. “Like a sandcastle, all is temporary. Build it, tend it, enjoy it. And when the time comes, let it go.” ~Jack Kornfield I picked up the butter cookies and a small postcard-sized painting I had brought for her. I took the third-floor hotel elevator down. Closing my eyes, I took several deep breaths. The elevator ride was less than five seconds, but our time spent apart was five years. Five years after the divorce I had flown up to see her again. I’m not sure what led to this meeting. We had emailed each other a couple times out of the blue, and before you know it, we were meeting. It could have been our final goodbye, the closure we needed. Or maybe even in the back of my mind, it was the new beginning that I’d secretly imagined. I don’t know. I walked out to see her after a five-year hiatus. In our memories were the international long-distance romance we had, the difficult marriage we had endured, and the painful divorce we had gone through together. When we initially parted ways, she was still pursuing her education and getting adjusted to life in America. Yet, today she was different. She spoke of her new travels, new experiences, new house, and new job. She talked about the ups and downs of the different relationships in her life. Close friends, social events, and the search for the “one”—her “one”—were her focus. As we spent the day together, a startling but simple realization came over me. She had moved on. Life was on the up and up. She seemed to have let go of everything we had shared. She was a bird that was soaring, while I felt like a bird that hadn’t gone very far from the same branch I was still sitting on. She seemed to have moved on like our past had never happened. I was holding on like it was still happening. I realized it was way past time to completely let go of what we had shared. She had moved on, and I need to finally move on as well. If your ex has already moved on, perhaps my lessons will help you do the same. Shift your perspective on the relationship. Whatever story you’re telling yourself about the relationship, you need to be retell it. You’re likely holding onto the sad and tragic version. You were left behind as the victim as your ex was the heartbreaker who didn’t give the relationship a chance. Shift the story to the one that is the most empowering for you. How about a story of how you both gave it your best? You fought, you loved, you laughed, and you cried. You tried over and over when things didn’t seem to work. You fought, forgave, broke up, got back together, and finally called it off for good. You both gave it your all but it didn’t work out. It wasn’t for lack of trying. It was you coming to the conclusion that you were different people, both good people, who were incompatible for each other. You both helped each other grow and become better versions of yourself. The more you can flip your perspective on your ex and the relationship, the easier it will be to move on. Release blame, anger, and resentment once and for all. If you haven’t completely let go of the relationship, you may still be holding on to instances of on injustices by your ex. You may still be feeling betrayed, hurt, or angry about something your ex did. Until you can let go of these feelings of resentment on anger, you’re not going to be able to let go or move on. You’re not going to lose anything by releasing these feelings, but you will gain your peace of mind and freedom. Let go for yourself. Even if your ex was entirely at fault and deserves the worst kind of karma, you’re not going to get caught up on it. You are not the universe’s policeman. Your ex is human and made mistakes. You’re going to release the resentment and anger and forgive your ex for what they did. If you made mistakes, you have to be willing to forgive those too. When you don’t forgive your ex or yourself, it keeps the past injustices and pain still burning like it happened today. Forgive for yourself. Forgive for your peace of mind. Thank your ex for how far they brought you forward in your life. Instead of focusing of how much better off your ex is doing or how you’re falling behind, while they are moving ahead, reflect on how far you’ve come yourself. While our marriage was difficult and our divorce was soul-crushing, honestly, I grew so much from this relationship. I had so many insights about myself, made drastic life changes, and became an entirely new person. You can either compare and mourn or thank your ex and appreciate how far they’ve brought you along. You might not have welcomed the pain, but it’s likely made you into a newer and improved version of yourself. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Yes, when you’re comparing yourself to your ex, you might feel bad about yourself and like you’re stuck, but it’s not wise to compare yourself to someone else. If you feel a need to compare, then compare yourself to where you were before. In my case, I was stuck in dysfunctional relationship patterns, I was carrying around a lot of emotional baggage, and I was stuck in a soul-crushing career. Regardless of where she’s at today, enough therapy and learning has helped me become a new person. I have many more tools to navigate life, and I’m doing work that sometimes doesn’t even feel like work. I’m living more in line with my values today and have the freedom to pursue my creativity and writing. You don’t have to be soaring like your ex. Just remember that you’re not stuck crawling like you were in the past. Remind yourself that today is the only thing you can do something about. You cannot change the past, the relationship, or your ex. You cannot go back and un-do your mistakes or do something different. There’s no point in wallowing in regret, past disappointments, and failures that you can’t do anything about. Focus on what you can control—the changes you make today. You can become the person you’re capable of becoming today. You can create the life you want today. Keep bringing yourself to the moment you can do something about: the present moment. In this moment, you can shift your perspective. You can make different choices. You can create the life you want. Live less in the futile past and more in the hopefulness of today. See the uncertainty in your life as an adventure. The most difficult part of my marriage ending was the uncertainty of my life. See, when you’re married or in a relationship, you have a location. The world identifies you in a certain way. You know who you’re spending your weekends with or who you have to plan the holidays with. You know who you list in the relationship column of Facebook. Yet, after a breakup, all these questions are uncertain and more than likely, unknown. I’ve discovered that I, and humans in general, hate uncertainty. We would rather tolerate an unbearable situation than the unknown. You can view uncertainty as a tsunami about to happen or a surfing vacation in Hawaii. The more you see your future life as an adventure that is filled with excitement and novelty, the easier it will be for your to welcome in the life waiting for you. Pursue the life you visualize every day. You can get stuck focusing on where your ex is at or what your ex is doing, but this is neither healthy nor productive. Instead, get super clear on what you want. What is the life you envision for yourself every day? What values and principles do you want to guide your life? How would you like your life to look each day? Now, you may not be able to create that life instantly, but you can start doing small things each day that get you closer to the life you want. If you envision spirituality in your life each day, create time for a spiritual practice or class. If you see creativity in your life each day, make time for your creative ventures. If you see self-care as a necessity for your best life, reduce your commitments and take better care of yourself. You might not have the life you envisioned right now, but if you start taking small steps each day to live the life you want, before you know it, your visions will be your reality. What’s helped you let go of the past when your ex has already moved on?
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  6. ‘I’m busy,’ signals you don’t have room for friends; be specific or cut back your calendar I recently asked a friend I haven’t seen in months if she wanted to get together and catch up. I envisioned us gabbing over cocktails at the new Vietnamese restaurant in our neighborhood. Or maybe I could fix her dinner. Her reply: “Sure. Why don’t you stop by for 45 minutes to an hour on Monday night around 8:30.” Continue reading
  7. HereÂ’s what they are: 1. Be together for the right reasons DonÂ’t ever be with someone because someone else pressured you to. I got married the first time because I was raised Catholic and thatÂ’s what you were supposed to do. Wrong. I got married the second time because I was miserable and lonely and thought having a loving wife would fix everything for me. Also wrong. Took me three tries to figure out what should have been obvious from the beginning, the only reason you should ever be with the person youÂ’re with is because you simply love being around them. It really is that simple. – Greg Before we even get into what you should do in your relationship, letÂ’s start with what not to do. When I sent out my request to readers for advice, I added a caveat that turned out to be illuminating. I asked people who were on their second or third (or fourth) marriages what they did wrong. Where did they mess up? By far, the most common answer was “being with the person for the wrong reasons.” Some of these wrong reasons included: Pressure from friends and family Feeling like a “loser” because they were single and settling for the first person that came along Being together for image—because the relationship looked good on paper (or in photos), not because the two people actually admired each other Being young and naive and hopelessly in love and thinking that love would solve everything As weÂ’ll see throughout the rest of this article, everything that makes a relationship “work” (and by work, I mean that it is happy and sustainable for both people involved) requires a genuine, deep-level admiration for each other. Without that mutual admiration, everything else will unravel. The other “wrong” reason to enter into a relationship is, like Greg said, to “fix” yourself. This desire to use the love of someone else to soothe your own emotional problems inevitably leads to codependence, an unhealthy and damaging dynamic between two people where they tacitly agree to use each otherÂ’s love as a distraction from their own self-loathing. WeÂ’ll get more into codependence later in this article, but for now, itÂ’s useful to point out that love, itself, is neutral. It is something that can be both healthy or unhealthy, helpful or harmful, depending on why and how you love someone else and are loved by someone else. By itself, love is never enough to sustain a relationship. Read more:Â
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  8. (Eph 5:21-30) An aerialist catapults from his swinging trapeze and folds into a human ball as he somersaults through the air. He snaps out of the spin and extends his arms toward his partner, confident she will be there to catch him. However, his partner is mad at him and unwilling to support him. She refuses to play her role in this very important part of the act. The result is a failed performance, a shocked audience and an injured aerialist. This illustrates the effort required from both husband and wife in a marriage. It takes two to make the marriage a success. However, if one mate refuses to play their God given role as set out in the Bible, the result can be disastrous. We should never let petty differences, or disagreements keep us from doing what God requires of us as a husband or as a wife. This becomes even more important when there is an audience, such as kids, in the home. The way the mother treats the father or vise versa can have a huge effect on them. It could even influence what type of husband or wife they will be in the future. If each member applies the counsel found in the Bible and works together, the "show" can be a success.
  9. If you’ve been through a rough breakup, where you've been mistreated in any way—cheated on, emotionally or physically abused, having had to deal with a narcissist, psychopath, or sociopath—you probably have the urge to exorcise those demons by talking out the bad stuff. And, while venting to a close, trusted companion or a therapist can be cathartic, you need to be careful about how and with whom you do it. Here are a few things to consider: 1. Many people prefer not to take sides. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, "You just weren’t a match." That’s what they say when they don’t want to take sides or get involved. Even your best friends might say this, especially if they’ve heard the same story too many times. They’ll give you a sympathetic ear for a while, but then they brush it off with "he/she just wasn’t right for you." Aggravating, yes, because, to you, it doesn't feel like a blameless breakup—but you’ve got to let them off the hook. They just want to see you happy and are hoping leaving your relationship that "didn’t work" will help you find your well-being again. 2. Some people may need to keep interacting with your ex. Perhaps your ex still haunts the places where they socialize, maybe they see the person at work, or they just want to keep them as a Facebook friend. There's no need to create drama with the friends you still have, unless your ex was abusive and the only way to keep yourself safe is to cut all ties. In those cases, it's absolutely your right to expect your close friends to sever their connection with the ex as well. 3. You can't save the next victim. This is often one of our strongest rationales for spreading the truth about an ex who turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing: to forewarn their next victims and save them years of misery. The only problem is that those conquests are not going to believe you. They’ll just chalk up your remarks to bitterness while continuing with their infatuation. As hard as it is, you just have to let them learn their own lessons, even if it has to be the hard way. 4. Preoccupation feeds attachment. Whether you decide to speak out or not, limit the amount of time you spend talking and thinking about your ex. Even this potentially empowering act can perpetuate your unhealthy attachment if you give it too much power. And the longer you stay attached, the less able you are to move on. It’s unhealthy, it’s unattractive, and eventually, even you will find it boring. 5. You'll be best served letting a therapist or support group be your open ear. There are places for venting—support groups, coaches, or therapists. If you were at all abused, reach out to counselors and support groups specifically intended for survivors. That's where real recovery begins. Read more:
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  10. When we find ourselves interested in a certain job or person our initial inclination may be to only focus on the things that we like about it. We zoom in on those aspects of the job or person and this can cause us to miss out on the bigger picture. That great job that pays very well may cause you to miss meetings or service. That guy with the dreamy eyes or that girl with the beautiful smile could have disgusting habits, may treat others poorly or may lack spiritual qualities. It's important that we learn how to back up and look at whatever we may be interested in objectively. Even more important it is to not make costly decisions without relying on Jehovah. Proverbs 3:5,6-"Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, And do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, And he will make your paths straight."
  11. by Donald Miller I’ve only had two friends (that I know about) who’ve looked me in the eye and told me lies. Both of them were trying to cover up mistakes. I certainly had grace for their mistakes, but I’ve wondered looking back if I didn’t have grace for their lies. Neither of these two friends are in contact anymore. We don’t talk. Being in a relationship with somebody who lies is tough. It’s not that you don’t love them or care about them, it’s just that you can’t connect. Without trust, there’s no relationship. Henry Cloud and John Townsend say people lie for one of two reasons. The first is out of shame or fear. Somebody may believe they won’t be accepted if they tell the truth about who they are, so they lie. You can see how religious communities that use shame and fear to motivate might increase a person’s temptation to lie. People who lie for this reason can get better and learn to tell the truth. Until they do, however, it’s impossible to connect with them, all the same. The second kind of liar is less fortunate. Some people lie simply because they are selfish. These liars are pathological. They will lie even when it would be easier to tell the truth. Cloud and Townsend warn that we need to stay away from these people. Personally, I think people like this are pretty rare, but I agree, we simply can’t depend on them emotionally or practically. Still I wonder if people who lie understand what they’re doing. I think some people want grace and certainly they can get grace, but when we lie, we make the people we are lying to feel badly about the relationships and about themselves. We like people who make us feel respected, cared about and honored. Lying to somebody communicates the opposite. Here are the things that lies did to my two relationships: When my friends lied, I felt disrespected and unimportant. They didn’t seem to care about me or trust me enough to tell the truth. This made me feel bad about myself, as though I were not important or trustworthy enough to be told the truth. When I found out the extent of one of the lies, I felt like a fool. Technically, my one friend didn’t really lie. She just told me “part” of the truth. It was as though she were testing out whether she was safe to be vulnerable. (She told many other lies, but this was just one of them). But it backfired. When I found out things were worse than she’d made them seem, I felt tricked and deceived. Again, without meaning to, she’d made me feel bad about myself because I felt like somebody who could be conned. I thought less of my friends. I knew they were willing to “cheat” in relationships. When we lie, we are stealing social commodity without having earned it. People can lie their way into power, and in one instance with a friend, she lied her way into moral superiority. Still, none of the authority or moral superiority (such a thing exists, and while it’s misused, it’s not a bad thing not unlike intellectual superiority or athletic superiority. It just is. An appropriate use of those two examples of superiority might be to lead a team or teach a class.) I felt sad and lonely. When we think we are getting to know somebody, we are giving them parts of our hearts. But when they lie, we know they’ve actually held back their hearts while we’ve been giving them ours. This made me feel lonely and dumb. I felt like I couldn’t trust them. The only thing more important than love in a relationship is trust. Trust is the soil love grows in. If there’s not trust, there’s no relationship. When my friends lied, our trust died. As much as I wanted to forgive them, and feel like I did and have, interacting with them was no longer the same. I doubted much of what they said. Sadly, I think both of them began to tell more and more of the truth. But it didn’t matter. Once trust is broken, it’s extremely hard to rebuild. If they didn’t confess (or lied in their confession) I felt like they didn’t care enough about me to come clean and make things right. They were still thinking of themselves. Here’s what didn’t happen. I didn’t think less of them. While I was angry, I wasn’t angry because I thought they were a bad person. The person who lied probably assumed I felt such things, but I didn’t. What really happened was I felt terrible about myself and when somebody makes us feel bad about ourselves, we tend to get hurt and move away. To be sure, somebody who lies has a lot of other stuff going on and it’s not so easy to come clean. For a liar to change, they need a lot of help. Lying is manipulation, so if a person is a manipulator and gets caught lying, they are most likely going to keep manipulating. They may tell more lies to cover their lies, or manipulate by playing the victim. They may try to find things other people have done that they see as worse and try to make people focus on that. What they will have a hard time doing is facing the truth (which would be the easiest way out of their dilemma. It’s just that they don’t know how to do it. (They’re survivors, scrappers and have learned to cheat to stay alive socially.) If you’ve lied in a relationship, though, and are truly wanting to LEARN to live on the up and up, what can you do? Well, there’s plenty. Life isn’t over yet. Here’s some places to start. Confess. And don’t half confess (just another lie) but actually confess. This may take some time for you. You may have to sit down with a pen and paper and write it all down. Your mind will want to lie, but you have to tame your mind. It may take you some time to even understand what the truth really is. You’re going to feel ashamed and at risk, but you have to go there anyway. People are much more kind and forgiving than you think. And if they’re not, you should confess and find people who are more safe. Accept the consequences. You’re going to have to pay for your lies. People will not and should not trust you as much as they did before. However, getting caught in a lie and confessing a lie are two different things. The former will cost you everything. The latter will cost you a bit, but you can rebuild quickly. Another thing to consider is that the truth might have lost you a small battle, but you’d have won the war because in the long run people would have trusted you. From here on out, be willing to suffer the slight, daily consequences of telling the truth. You’d be surprised at how much less tension there is in your life when you walk openly and honestly. Don’t expect the relationship to be the same.If the person doesn’t forgive you, just know you can move on. You’ve confessed and hopefully apologized and you aren’t beholden to them anymore. They need to wrestle with forgiving you and that’s now their burden. It’s an unfair burden, but we all have to face such things. Don’t lie anymore. It’s not important that everybody like you or approve of you. Allow people to get used to who you are. Telling the truth may mean you don’t get to be in control anymore or that people won’t like you as much. That’s fine. At least they are interacting with the real you. The deep connections you’ll make from telling the truth are worth it.
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  12. Relationship issues are inevitable; they are a part of our human experience. And this part of our life, essential to our well-being, can bring us to our knees or make us feel bad about who we are. Have you ever heard yourself say these things? "I hate the way you make me feel." "What you are doing makes me insecure, and when you stop doing that, I will be happy." "I can't deal with the way this relationship makes me feel anymore." We are all affected by our relationships in some way. However, no matter what you are experiencing, there is one thing you can always do that will immediately affect how you feel and, in addition, will empower you and make you feel good about who you are instead of leaving you feeling depleted, exhausted, or lost. So what can you do in the moment that you are at your wit's end, feeling hurt, upset, or confused? Simply reconnect to yourself and use this very challenge, issue, or difficulty to become stronger and more of who you are meant to be. Use this challenge to become stronger and more powerful instead of allowing it to break you down or make you feel like a victim. Here are three ways to take back the reins of your life and immediately change how you feel about yourself and your relationship: 1. Let go of the concept of "right and wrong." Very simply, instead of focusing on what the other person did or didn't do, observe how you're feeling and identify what you need. By doing this, you are turning your attention back to yourself instead of being paralyzed and disempowered by pointing the finger at the other person. If you've ever said, "If you would just change, everything would be OK," you know how easy it is to focus your attention on what the other person has said or done. The next time you find yourself doing this, ask yourself, "If this is the perfect person to help me become who I'm meant to be, what am I supposed to be learning from this relationship?" 2. Give up trying to change the other person. Although this isn't easy, make a commitment to yourself to work on accepting the other person as they are. Each person brings their own "stuff" to a relationship—we all have our own history with our own issues, wounds, and challenges to overcome. The next time you feel yourself taking on the other person's issue or trying to "fix" them, remind yourself that the only person you can change is you. And affirm for yourself, "I will focus on how I'm being affected and what I need to work through and will allow the other person space to work through their issues as well." By declaring this, you will be better equipped to not take on the other person's issues or take their actions personally. 3. Learn how to stop basing your worth on the condition of your relationship. Give yourself the gift of diving deeper into your own inner exploration and development. By doing this, you will become more at peace with who you are and will know at a deep level that you are OK—even when your relationship isn't perfect or when things are happening that are hurtful or upsetting. Begin by making a commitment to your growth. Affirm that reconnecting to yourself is the most important journey you will ever take. Then take one simple action this week: Start reading a self-help book, research a personal development course, or take 10 minutes each day to check in with yourself and identify what you need by asking, "What can I do in this moment to reconnect to who I am and what I need?" A few examples could be writing down three things that make you feel good about yourself, looking at some photos that bring a smile to your face, or spending some time in nature today. Relationships are in a constant state of flux and bring a level of complexity to our lives that is out of our control. The one thing we always control is whether we will use our challenges to grow, expand, and become more of who we are meant to be or, instead, allow them to hold us back and limit our potential. Today, make a declaration that you will use even the most difficult relationship in your life for a monumental purpose—your life's purpose—to grow and evolve into the person you are meant to be. And then do just that.
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  13. Lindsay Dodgson/Business Insider May 11, 2017 Unless you're a genetic anomaly, it's likely you will meet people you don't like throughout your lifetime. Whether it's your mother-in-law or one of your colleagues, you're bound to come across someone you simply don't click with. According to Deep Patel, author of the book A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success , it helps to remember nobody's perfect. That includes you. In a blog post for Entrepreneur.com , Patel highlights some tips successful people use to deal with people they don't get along with. After all, it's unlikely you'll simply be able to avoid people you don't like - in fact, Patel argues if you restrict who you can work with, you are only limiting yourself. Instead of burying your head in the sand, try and shift your perspective in the ways successful people do. Here are some tips from Patel and other sources such as Psychology Today . 1. Accept that you can't get on with everyone. As much as we hope to like everyone we meet, it often simply isn't the case. Patel says the first step to dealing with the people you don't click with is accepting nobody gets on with everyone, and that's okay. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, and it doesn't mean they are either (not necessarily, anyway.) According to psychologist Dr Susan Krauss in a blog post on Psychology Today , it's likely that you and the person just aren't a good fit. Consultant and author Beverly D. Flaxington explains in another blog post on Psychology Today that our behavioural styles can get come between people. Some are dominant, whereas others are timid. Some people are optimists and others consider themselves "realists." A research paper by Hamstra et al looked at something called "regulatory fit," which translates as: we are much more likely to put effort into the things we like doing. Chances are you don't enjoy interacting with the people you don't like, and so you don't put much effort in. Over time, this lack of effort can turn into contempt. 2. Try and put a positive spin on what they are saying. Krauss says you could try and look at how people are acting differently. Your in-laws might not have meant to imply that you aren't smart, and your co-worker may not actually be trying to sabotage you. Even if the person you're having difficulty with is aggravating you on purpose, getting angry about it will probably just make you look bad. So try and give them the benefit of the doubt. 3. Be aware of your own emotions. Patel says it's important to remember your own emotions matter, but ultimately you alone have control over how you react to situations. People will only drive you crazy if you allow them to. So don't let your anger spin out of control. If someone is rubbing you the wrong way, recognise those feelings and then let them go without engaging with the person. Sometimes just smiling and nodding will do the trick. The key, Patel says, is in treating everyone you meet with the same level of respect. That doesn't mean you have to agree with a person you don't like or go along with what they say, but you should act civilised and be polite. In doing this, you can remain firm on your issues but not come across like you're attacking someone personally, which should give you the upper hand. 4. Don't take it personally and get some space. More often than not a disagreement is probably a misunderstanding. If not, and you really do fundamentally disagree with someone, then try and see it from their perspective. Try not to overreact, because they may overreact in return, meaning things escalate quickly and fiercely. Try to rise above it all by focusing on facts, and try to ignore how the other person is reacting, no matter how ridiculous or irrational. Concentrate on the issue, Patel says, not the person. If you need some space, take it. You're perfectly within your rights to establish boundaries and decide when you interact with someone. If you feel yourself getting worked up, take a time-out and get some breathing space. President of TalentSmart Dr. Travis Bradberry explains it simply in a post on LinkedIn : if they were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? No, you'd move away and get some fresh air. 5. Express your feelings calmly and consider using a referee. Usually, the way we communicate is more important than what we actually say. If someone is repeatedly annoying you and it's leading to bigger problems, Patel says it's probably time to say something. However, confrontation doesn't have to be aggressive. Patel recommends you use "I" statements, such as "I feel annoyed when you do this, so could you please do this instead." Being as specific as possible will make it more likely the person will take what you're saying on board. It will also give them a better opportunity to share their side of the story. Krauss says it might be a good idea to use another person as a mediator in these discussions because they can bring a level of objectivity to a situation. You may not end up as friends, but you might find out a way to communicate and work together in an effective way. She says learning to work with people you find difficult is a very fulfilling experience, and it could become one more way of showing how well you overcome barriers. 6. Pick your battles. Sometimes it might just be easier to let things go. Not everything is worth your time and attention. You have to ask yourself whether you really want to engage with the person, or your effort might be better spent just getting on with your work, or whatever else you're doing. Patel says the best way to figure this out is weighing up whether the issue is situational. Will it go away in time, or could it get worse? If it's the latter, it might be better expending energy into sorting it out sooner or later. If it's just a matter of circumstance, you'll probably get over it fairly quickly. 7. Don't be defensive. If you find someone is constantly belittling you or focusing on your flaws , don't bite. The worst thing you can do is be defensive. Patel says this will only give them more power. Instead, turn the spotlight on them and start asking them probing questions, such as what in particular their problem is with what you're doing. If they start bullying you, call them out on it. If they want you to treat them with respect, they have to earn it by being civil to you, too. Dr Berit Brogaard, a neuroscientist, explains in a blog post on Psychology Today that workplace gossip and bullying can be a method of power play, or a way of bullying others into submission. If you want to be sneaky to get someone to agree with you, there are psychological tricks you can use. Research suggests you should speak faster when disagreeing with someone so they have less time to process what you're saying. If you think they might be agreeing with you, then slow down so they have time to take in your message . 8. Ultimately, remember you are in control of your own happiness. If someone is really getting on your nerves, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. However, you should never let someone else limit your happiness or success. If you're finding their comments are really getting to you, ask yourself why that is. Are you self-conscious about something, or are you anxious about something at work? If so, focus on this instead of listening to other people's complaints. You alone have control over your feelings, so stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Instead, remind yourself of all your achievements, and don't let someone gain power over you just because they momentarily darken your day. This story originally appeared on Business Insider.
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  14. We all want to feel understood, respected, and appreciated in our relationships. But life can often get in the way and undermine the connection we used to have with our significant other, leaving our love feeling lackluster. It doesn't take much to feel like you're moving in opposite directions. Then there are the couples that appear to have perfect relationships. They light up when they see each other, speak highly of their significant other, and rarely seem to bicker. It's easy to assume that there is a magical connection between them that only a few get blessed with. But what if they were doing a few simple things that were responsible for keeping their relationship healthy? There are some basic things you can do to foster that sense of deep love and connection, even when you feel like your relationship is already starting on the back foot. These tips have the ability to significantly improve how happy and satisfied you both feel in your relationship. It's these behaviors that keep those happy relationships flourishing. Here are 3 ways you can start fostering positivity in your relationship: 1. Start with your personal happiness. Happy people create positive relationships. If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you will always feel let down. When you're happy within yourself, you reflect that back into your relationship. Start with recognizing how you would rate your level of happiness currently. If you're not as happy as you'd like to be, ask yourself, "What can I do to support myself to feel happier?" The answer could include restarting a hobby, beginning a new health routine, connecting more with friends, or taking steps to follow a passion that is deep within your heart. The crucial element is that you need to step up and take responsibility for your own well-being. By taking action, you will feel more empowered and recognize that happiness ultimately has to be an inside job. This change in energy will move into your relationship. 2. Look for the good. We're all happier when we feel appreciated. It's therefore hardly a surprise that relationships need more positive interactions than negative ones if they are going to thrive. Dr. Gottman's famous research found that you need to have five positive interactions for every negative interaction if your relationship is going to stay happy. Begin with consciously watching for what your partner is doing right, rather than consistently focusing on what they are doing wrong. Look for opportunities to voice your appreciation and aim to add as many positive interactions into your shared experience as you can. Feeling positive emotions is a precursor to a happy relationship. You have the ability to focus your attention so that you look for and appreciate the good in your partner. This simple action ultimately helps to remedy the balance of positive-to-negative interactions and set a relationship back on a healthy track. 3. Make space to nurture your connection. Positive relationships are sustained by a foundation of strong connection. Just like a small child needs attention to feel truly happy, a relationship needs nurturing if it is going to continue to stay healthy. It is important to put time aside exclusively to connect with your significant other. Rather than assuming it will just happen, create it. It may be a monthly date night (where, thankfully, there is no TV to distract you), taking a walk together, scheduling a vacation, or choosing to fall asleep while cuddling on the couch rather than going to bed alone. Remember that time and energy dedicated to fostering your union is essential. Where your energy goes your attention flows. Attention is the fuel that will help your partner feel important and valued in your life, which will likely lead to the reciprocating of care and kindness. Even when your relationship isn't as happy as you'd like it to be, there are things you can do to improve it. When you take care of yourself and resolve to show up positively for your partner, things begin to flourish. The result—you'll feel both happier in yourselves and in your coupling.
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  15. Opposites attract, so date someone who's nothing like you. But, wait a minute—isn't it important to find someone who has a similar background, values, and goals? There's so much conflicting dating advice out there, how can you possibly figure out how to find love? While it's true that finding a partner with qualities that differ from yours can add balance and excitement to a relationship, problems can arise when there are too many differences. The more compatible you are with your partner, the more successful your relationship will likely be. Here are seven areas of compatibility to examine when choosing a partner. They don't all have to line up perfectly, but the more aligned you two are, the better the relationship will be. 1. Temperament Do you get along well most of the time or find that he/she irritates you on a regular basis? Do you find yourself saying, "If only she'd think before she spoke" or "I wish he'd be less lazy"? Is he overly anxious? Does her alphabetized music collection make your skin crawl? What you see is what you get; so if you don't like your partner's temperament, don't try to fix it. Find someone whose personality is more compatible with yours. 2. Communication style Are you direct or indirect in communicating what's important to you? Are you passive while she's assertive? Do you hold things in until you explode or speak your mind clearly and directly? If you can both communicate clearly and in a similar fashion, you'll have a much higher chance for a successful relationship. 3. Friends and family Do you like and get along with each other's friends and family? Do you agree about how much time to devote to both? And if you're both single parents thinking about tying the knot, are you clear about how you'll parent? If friends and family issues become too stressful, they will have a very negative effect on your relationship. 4. Nutrition and fitness Are you a gluten-free vegan while he is a Big Mac addict? Do you surf the waves on the weekend, while she's home surfing the web? This may seem like a minor point, but think about how many meals you will share with each other. How do your partner's food choices and attention to fitness align with your lifestyle and values? If you're not a good match in this area, you will probably have big challenges in your relationship. 5. Financial Many people say that they are seeking a partner who is financially secure. In today's volatile financial market, financial security is not something you can count on. A few more appropriate questions are, "Are you responsible with finances? Are you generous? Do you contribute to charities?" Money is one of the things couples fight about most often. It is helpful if you share similar financial goals and habits. 6. Education I don't believe you have to be with someone who has the exact same level of education. In fact, there are many brilliant people who never graduated college (Steve Jobs, Rachael Ray). However, couples who share similar backgrounds in education (and that includes self-study), life, and professional experience are usually better suited for each other. They have more in common and can relate to each other in a deeper way. They are on the same wavelength and truly "get" each other. 7. Intimacy There are many things that come under the category of intimacy, including romance and public display of affection. Some couples have different sexual needs, which can lead to anger and resentment. An essential component of a lasting loving relationship includes having similar ideas about frequency and style of intimacy. So if you're more Mr. Fifty Shades and she's Ms. Low Libido, you will have issues in your relationship. What can you do if you are not compatible? It doesn't have to mean things can never work, but these are your options: Accept things as they are. Work on yourself and the relationship. Leave the relationship. Remember that the only person you can change is yourself. You partner will only change if he/she wants to. If you are dating to find a lasting, loving relationship, it is far more effective to choose a compatible partner from the start than to try to fix a relationship with a weak foundation. Don't be afraid to walk away if your basic needs are not met. There are millions of singles in the world. Move on and find a better fit. And make sure to use the most powerful four-letter word in dating—"Next!"
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  16. Guest

    How to keep a relationship

  17. What's your idea of the perfect date?
  18. I received the below question from someone recently, and it reminded me how difficult it can be to distinguish the things that truly matter in a relationship from the things that we have been told "should" matter. Question: I've been dating Josh for about three months. He's a great guy, good-looking, smart, and most importantly, he treats me with respect. However, I've had a tough dating and relationship history. I was engaged to a guy who never followed through with his promises and broke off the engagement. I was married to a man who cheated. As you can imagine, trust has been difficult for me. I've been working on myself, and I now love and respect myself so much more. Because of that, I've been able to slowly develop this wonderful relationship. I don't want things to go wrong. Here's the problem: Josh has never said, "I love you." I feel that he really cares, but I'd feel so much better if I heard those words. Am I being silly or insecure? Or should I be concerned if he doesn't say those three magic words? Here's what I told her. I hope it helps you, too. Josh sounds like he's a good partner for you. He respects and cherishes you, which is fundamental to a lasting relationship. He honors and values you because you've learned to love yourself and to stop tolerating liars and cheaters. It sounds like this is a much healthier relationship than you've ever experienced. Let's celebrate that! You ask about those three little words; when is the right time to say, "I love you"? It sounds like you're ready to profess your love, and he might not be there yet. Here's how to know where you stand. Watch his actions, not his words. If he's showing you that he cares for you, that's what matters most. As you probably know, words are not as important as follow-through and consistency. I would be more concerned if he said "I love you" after only four dates, and his actions didn't match up. How do you know if his actions mean that he loves you? I have created an assessment to help you figure out if someone loves you, whether they've said it or not: Is this person calling and texting consistently? Do you get together on a regular basis? Is the relationship escalating and growing? Do you feel valued and cherished by this person? Do you feel safe with them (emotionally and physically)? Are they considerate, kind, and thoughtful? Do you feel good about the relationship when you're with them AND when you're not? Is this person open to talking things out when you disagree? If you can answer "yes" to all of the questions above, that person cares deeply about you and prioritizes you in their life. It's helpful to know that people express their love in many different ways, and it's not always in the way that we expect. In the wonderful book, The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman lists the five ways of expressing love as follows: Words of Affirmation Quality Time Giving Gifts Acts of Service Physical Touch I suggest you take the love languages assessment to find out what your preferred language of expression is. I highly recommend that you ask Josh to do the same so you can learn his love language too. Understanding the way you each express love is one of the keys to accepting and embracing your partner. It can lessen the anxiety you feel when you aren't getting what you need in a relationship. So, is it really important to hear the words "I love you"? I believe those three words are highly overrated. They can be meaningful if they're said in the right context and with sincerity. But they can mean different things to different people. To one partner, "I love you" means "I think you might be the ONE I've been searching for my whole life." To the other, "I love you" means "I like you a lot, and I want to sleep with you." There are many other ways to express your love. So, remember to watch what he does more than what he says. Understand each other's love languages. And once you've done that, you'll be able to take a deep breath and stop worrying so much about whether or not someone says I love you. Do you feel loved? That's all that matters. By Sandy Weiner/MBG
  19. Guest

    If you have to beg

  20. Guest

    How to Deal With Difficult People

    Sabrina here and I'm going to share a few insights that will actually change your life. Few things are inevitable in life: death, taxes.... and dealing with difficult people. From work to friendships to romantic relationships, difficult interactions can hit us from all angles and can take a heavy toll on us. A few days ago, I was doing some much needed reorganizing and I found this packet from a class I went to many moons ago. I can't remember who taught it, but the packet was filled with amazing and humorous "rules" for dealing with difficult people. Within these humorous insights are pearls of wisdom that can help you keep your cool during an argument or any other trying exchange. I really wish I could give you the source, but no names were written on the sheet so all I have is the information. I couldn't keep it all to myself though, so here are some amazing (and I'd even say life-changing) rules. The 24 Hour Rule It is imperative to wait 24 hours before reacting when we feel angry. This is because: - natural consequences will take care of the problem - you can calm down and come up with a different perspective - the issue is no longer important The Elephant Rule Picture that a huge, fat elephant is coming your way. What do you do? You move away and let the elephant go by. The same is true when someone negative, angry or bitter is coming your way. Instead of getting in his way, just move and let him go by. Don't provoke or try to argue with him because he might stamp you. The Madhouse Rule While walking, you see a sign on a building that says "Madhouse" and for some reason you hear a man shouting from one of the windows saying: "HEY!! You man, are so crazy!" Do you really believe him? Do you take it personally? Do you let it bother your? Or do you ignore him and think: "Poor guy, he is locked in the madhouse and yet he thinks that I'm the crazy one." You might find it humorous or might even feel compassion, right? Well, you could have the same attitude towards other people, especially with strangers, people that hardly know you, or people in the street. For examples: why bother to react when another driver insults you? Or when a coworker is trying to push your buttons and you know it? This would be a good rule to apply. The Hospital Rule Imagine a very sick person that is lying on a hospital bed, hooked up with so many tubes that it's almost impossible for him to move. You are sitting on the other side of the room feeling very thirsty. You notice that there is a glass of water right next to the sick person. What do you do? Do you ask him to pass you the glass? After all it is just a small glass, no big deal, right? It is obvious that you would not bother him; you know better than that because he's so sick! You don't expect him to pass the glass to you and you don't get angry or take it personally. And that is exactly what you should do when you are with people that cannot understand what you need, or are incapable of doing, saying, or giving what you would want. It is much better if you do not ask them, and do not expect them to do something for you. Trust me, you will definitely live better and you will have less stress in your life. Sabrina Alexis A New Mode
  21. You hear it again and again: "After I got married, I stopped having time for myself." Cooperation is a healthy part of a relationship. The trick is to grow together, and as the old saying goes, to "row in the same direction." Growing in a long-term relationship or marriage takes skill. Marriages that stagnate become ripe for problems. So how do you grow in your marriage? Just like the flowers and trees, all relationships need water and sunlight, a little tending to pull up the weeds and a little talk to encourage them. 1. Be present. Being present can mean staying off your smartphone during mealtimes or whenever you're together. It requires truly listening to what your partner is saying. It means actually focusing on the person in the room rather than thinking about the four other places you could be. When you are present with your spouse, they're made to feel important, validated, and treasured. Again, this pays dividends. 2. Give them the benefit of the doubt. If your spouse takes an interest in something that doesn't immediately include you, don't react with suspicion or anger. If they suggest that going off and doing it will make them a better spouse, they might be right. So long as their new interest doesn't risk anyone's physical or emotional well-being, it would be wise to believe in them rather than ripping their idea to shreds. Giving them the benefit of the doubt. Support pays huge dividends. 3. Praise. Don't punish. We're all going to fail sometimes. And who's the first person we talk to when we're disappointed or scared? If your other half has experienced a setback or disappointment, it's not productive to berate or find fault. Find something—anything—positive that you can say about their effort. Now, I'm not suggesting that you lie. Be authentic. A little praise at the right time goes a long way. 4. Be affectionate. Our spouses need gentle words, that same touch. How much? Well, that's up to you. Sometimes one member of a relationship puts a heavier emphasis on affection than the other. Sometimes, we're just feeling a little needy. A simple hand on the shoulder, rub of the arm, a kiss on the cheek, or quick shoulder rub shows that you care. 5. Communicate. Marriage can become routine. Partners assume the other can read their mind. As a professional psychotherapist, I always tell my clients not to assume. Being able to regularly share thoughts, ideas, and feelings is critical. We lead busy lives, so a frequent excuse for not communicating even the basic events of our day is "I just don't have time." Well, everyone is busy. Your spouse is busy. But if you want them to stay your spouse, open your mouth and tell them what's going on. Ask how their day was. The few minutes it takes to "check in" and ask how your spouse is doing says "I value you and what you're doing. You're not alone." This sharing of ideas and experiences is crucial. 6. Find an activity. The happiest couples share common activities. Identify what you both derive pleasure from. Maybe you haven't done it lately. Brainstorm up a little excursion. Plan a getaway. Maintaining routine is important, but taking time out to enjoy being with each other in an activity that isn't doing errands is a way to spread growth. All of these ideas can help lead to positive growth in your relationship. Every good relationship is planted in fertile ground; when things become too routine, it's as if that dirt has been stripped of all the important minerals and nutrients. Whatever gets planted in there won't be as strong as it can be. But when we revitalize that soil and replenish the nutrients, what comes back will be twice as strong as before. By Dr. Janna Fond/MBG
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