Healing Love

Love is who we are, what we are seeking, and how we want to be received. Love is the most simple and most intricately complex aspect of life. Love teaches, love hurts and love heals. Remember to love yourself first.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How much patience is enough for love?

One of the known virtues in life is the ability to withstand pressure, to not settle for immediate gratification, and to reveal patience in trying circumstances. One example that can try your patience is when your partner does not grasp something you have been trying to explain to him or her, over and over and over again. Another common situation is when the person you live with continues to exhibit a habit, such as leaving clothes strewn across the furniture and lying on the floor - or - an obsessive cleanliness that drives your crazy.

When sharing space and intimacy with another person, you will inevitably reach a point where strong differences are apparent. Some partners will easily alter their behaviors to accomodate your needs as well as their own. Others cannot and will not bend. You can yell and scream and turn blue in the face, but they will continue doing what they do, regardless of the effect upon you.

At what point does being patient (forgiving and overlooking actions and behaviors that bother you) become unhealthy and a detriment to your own health and well being? There is not one answer that fits all people and all situations. Sometimes, patience over the long haul leads to an awakening at a much later point in time that could not have been predicted early on. And sometimes, many years later, your patience wears thin and you finally decide to break off a relationship that has not changed in months or years.

How do you decide when your patience has reached a limit and enough is enough?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Being Assertive Makes You Feel Good About Yourself

Being assertive is saying what you want and speaking up for yourself and your own needs and desires. Assertiveness involves expressing your wants and needs with clarity and conviction. Being assertive is an act of confidence and concern for your own well being.

But, you might ask, “Isn’t that just being selfish, self-serving, self-absorbed, and disinterested in the expressed wants and needs of others?” The answer is, “No.” When you are being assertive, you are expressing what you want and need but you are not demanding that others give you what you ask for.

Today I was assertive. I am captain of a tennis team and I wanted to play with a stronger partner than previously. So, I placed myself with someone I know is stronger and more consistent and wins a lot. But after I told my teammates the new lineup, two of them were perturbed. Each asked me separately, and very politely, to reconsider and put them together as partners for this next match. So, reluctantly, I conceded and did not get to play with the partner I had wanted.

But I felt so good expressing myself clearly and causing other people to have to explain their points of view. That gave me the freedom to either resist their wishes and aggressively charge onward with my own wants and needs or concede to their wishes, knowing that they have heard what I want.

When you are assertive, you offer others the possibility of negotiating with you. Each person is free to express what they want and desire. Perhaps you discuss the matter for awhile. Or, maybe you have no real power in the situation and you must concede to the other person’s requests. But even if you totally surrender to the other person’s desires, you have expressed what you feel is true for you and what you really want. And that person has heard you – even if they do not go along with what you say you want. And, perhaps some time in the future when you least expect it, that person will remember what you had asked for and actually offer it without your even having to ask. If not, at least you have not kept your feelings all bottled up inside.

Have you ever been totally passive in a situation? Or do you tend to be aggressive and bully or manipulate others into doing things your way and giving you what you want? If it is not already natural for you, try being assertive for the next few days - expressing what you want and encouraging others to express their desires - and then find yourself negotiating a solution. You might be surprised about how good you feel.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dating - Online vs. In-person - Which is better?

Recently, I viewed a discussion debating whether internet dating is more or less worthwhile than unintentionial dating that happens spontaneously while spending time at a museum, bar, dance, or some other activity or event. As cited by several respondents, there are benefits to each type of activity.

At a museum, one might meet some nice guys who are looking to date or some people truly interested in art, who are not interested in dating. At a bar, one might meet people who are just looking for a momentary meeting or sexual encounter,k or people with a real drinking problem and few interests or hobbies. Through an internet dating site, one might meet a person who acts loving, says wonderfully loving things about you, promise to call, and then fails to call for a week or longer, going right back online to search for someone new. But through continued exchanges online, one might truly get to know the person and have a chance for a real loving encounter when you finally meet in person.

I have a friend who said he had a "girlfriend" online. She lived in Russia and was planning to come to the U.S. to visit with him and stay with him for several weeks, or months, for the purpose of developing a close relationship. In good faith and feeling excited in anticipation of meeting with this beautiful, exotic woman, he sent her a large sum of money to pay for her transportation. At that point, he never heard from her again - and he was temporarily devastated. That same person is now dating people locally and having a good time - meeting people in person, sharing activities together, and getting to know them in a real, substantial way. He is no longer jumping into the complete unknown with blinders on.

The problem, as I see it, has less to do with how you meet a new person and more to do with your personal expectations, emotional responses, and degree of patience. I believe that it takes at least 3 months (90 days) of spending time with another person to at least "begin" to have some inkling of who this person really is. Then, it actually seems to take almost 3 full years of continued relationship with someone to finally have a more in-depth knowing of this person. And even then, once people make a a commitment to live together or to actually marry, new aspects of the person are often revealed. Whatever a person appears to be like in the first few days and weeks of relationship will often change, and sometimes drastically, as we continue to spend time together and become more intimately involved.

So, it is helpful to take a "Wait and see" attitude with new people, a sense of exploration and discovery, looking at each new relationship as an adventure into an uncharted territory where danger may lurk but there might be some exciting and exhilarating moments. And maybe these moments will last longer and longer and develop into something truly intimate and enduring.

Relationships can be wonderful, fun, uplifting and life changing. Some will last a lifetime but most will only be temporary connections for some limited amount of time. We can feel like victims when relationships end before we are ready - or - we can appreciate whatever we have enjoyed and gained during our connection with this unique individual. And we can take our learning and wisdom with us into our future experiences.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Relationship Problems? So What's New?

Sometimes I think the whole purpose for relationships, especially close, intimate relationships, is to make us struggle, suffer, and wish we could be alone. But then when our wish is granted, when we finally break up with this person who has been the "cause" of all of our suffering, something strange often happens. We begin to "miss" this person. We start to reminisce about all the good times, the good feelings, the happy moments, and the unlived possibilities. Often, in a very short time, one or the other makes contact and the relationship is right back where it was before. For a few moments or hours, or perhaps days, we are back on our honeymoon of love. And then, the relationship problems creep back in and we start feeling upset, angry, anxious, moody, frustrated, bored, or whatever our emotional tendencies are.

What's wrong with this picture? Why do close relationships often create intense emotional problems for us? Why do we remain in such painful, difficult claustrophobic situations? And, once we react in anger, gain the courage, develop the insight to take charge of our own life, and begin to move on, why do so many of us return right back into the lion's den?

The answer is quite simple. We are naturally social beings. We need others to know we exist, to validate our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. However, the media and our culture provide mixed messages about how "cool'' it is to be self-sufficient, independent, and even self-centered. And our well meaning "friends," in their attempts to help us do what they think is best for us, sometimes plant their own doubt, confusion and downright hostility into our minds just when we need to think our own thoughts.

So what's the deal? Why bother to get close to someone if it's only going to cause suffering and unhappiness? And why bother to have friends if we can't count on their unbiased wisdom in our times of need?

To me the solution is: Ask not what your relationship can do for you, but what you can do for your relationship? How would your relationship change if you practiced this principle? When your partner is not behaving "appropriately" and is hurting you unnecessarily, what would happen if you applied this new way of thinking? How might you respond in any relationship problem if your first concern is what you can do for your relationship, rather than what the relationship is doing or not doing for you?

It boils down to this. What do you believe is the purpose for your relationships? Is the purpose to please you and provide whatever you desire - or- is the purpose to help you develop greater self-awareness, compassion and insight into the thoughts and feelings of others so that you can overcome relationship problems and enjoy life?

If you would like to create a new way of handling your relationship problems but do not know how, a few sessions of counseling can make a huge difference. Seek out a qualified therapist and discover new possibilities for enjoying love and intimacy - perhaps for the first time in your life.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

A New Perspective on Problems

Most of us spend a lot of time worrying about problems. We complain about problems we have had in the past, even when they no longer exist. We complain about our current problems because they seem to interfere with our pleasure of the moment. And we worry about potential problems in our future, even if they are preventable, unlikely to occur, and fairly easy to handle and overcome.

Take a moment to think about a problem you once had, maybe even a huge one, a problem that no longer exists or no longer disturbs you. How did you approach this problem at the time? Did you avoid facing it? Did you handle it cleanly? Did you create turmoil, anger, resentment and pain, in yourself or in others, because of the way you dealt with it?

Problems are not our enemies. In fact, in very many situations, our biggest problems gradually become our best friends. Because of a problem, we might seek counseling that unravels our emotional past and provides us with strong resources to handle our future.
Because of a problem, we might reach out to a friend and develop a closeness that was not possible before. Because of a problem, we may make a complete career change that leads to greater satisfaction, higher income and perhaps a sense of fulfilling our life’s purpose. And, because of longsuffering from an overwhelming problem, we may seek a spiritual sanctuary and develop a soothing, affirming connection with God that keeps us tranquil in the face of adversity.

When we give power to our problems rather than to our own potential to seek resolution, we lose a part of our consciousness and we lose a sense of our own self worth. When we give power, instead, to our dreams, our goals, and our unforeseeable future, we gain access to the joy and love and caring that is available to us in every moment of our life.

Next time you are caught in the quagmire of a seemingly insurmountable problem, turn your vision toward your unknown future. Imagine the problem already resolved in a manner that you could not possibly handle all by yourself. Continue to hold that vision and watch what happens.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Winning and Losing - in Love and in Life

"Would you rather win or lose?

If I asked you that question, your immediate response would probably be "Of course I would rather win!" In the moment, winning feels wonderful. If we win money from securing a contract with a client, from securing a loan for our immediate needs, or even from a gambling spree, we may feel elated. On the other hand, if we lose the contract, are rejected for the loan, or lose all our money in gambling, our mood would become much more sombre.
If we win the heart of the person we have been desiring, we feel wonderful. If we desire or love someone who does not feel that way toward us, we will feel sad, dejected, hurt, jealous, insecure, and other unpleasant emotions.

As painful as losing is, sometimes losing is a gift in disguise. At first, we may feel the emotional pain of loss, but losing may be just what we need to reevaluate the present course we are taking. If we have lost money, we may have to reassess our finances and our work habits. This may be just the impetus we need to enroll in a training program or go back to school to complete a degree. If we are rejected by the object of our desire, we may begin to self reflect and discover aspects of our personality that could use improvement. We may reevaluate our choice of potential partners and seek new social adventures.

Losing can be a blessing in disguise, but we can't possibly know that until some later point in our life. When we look back, months or years later, we may realize that what had appeared to be a terrible loss was actually the stimulus that brought us into a totally new experience - new career, new lover, new environment, new friends, new perspective. If nothing else, losing offers us the opportunity to be more compassionate and less judgemental of others.

So, if you have recently experienced a painful loss and you are feeling down and out, take heart. Just around the corner waits a new experience, a new person, a new life. But you may not be able to see the possibilities in your deflated emotional state. Then, reach out for help. Push your pride and self-righteousness out of the way and reach out for help.

Successful people are not people who always win. They are people who win some and lose some, just like everybody else. The difference is, when they lose their way, they seek out someone to help them, mentor them, counsel them, or uplift them. Successful people hold their vision so strongly that lossess, setbacks, rejections and upsets are seen as mere stepping stones, opportunties for growth, temporary roadblocks.

So, the next time you lose, stop for a moment and ask yourself: What is the gift I can gain from this experience? What do I need to change, improve, or study so that I can win in the future?

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Love is the Answer - What is Your Question?

Love is the answer. It always is and always has been. But what is love? First, we need to be really clear about what we mean by love. Next, it is essential to understand why love is always the answer.

Think of any problem:

* a problem in one of your current relationships
* a problem with your finances or your career
* a problem with one of your family members
* a problem with your self-esteem, self-acceptance, appearance, health

Now, think of the way you approach your specific problems.

- Do you generally feel upset, angry, resentful and at the effect of others?
- Do you usually spend time and energy worrying about or escaping from your problems?
- Do you often feel sorry for yourself because you do not have the support you need?
- Do you envy others who have succeeded where you have failed?

Seems to me, your problem - whatever it is - is not the problem at all.
The problem, as I have come to understand it, is that you are out of sync with love.
It is that simple.

Now, think of your problems in a new light, imagining that you have all the love you could possibly need to support you, to show you the best way to handle the situation or dilemma,
to help you overcome obstacles, remove blocks, heal from traumas, and eliminate negative emotions.

How would you then handle:

* a problem in one of your current relationships
* a problem with your finances or your career
* a problem with one of your family members
* a problem with your self-esteem, self-acceptance, appearance, health

It becomes a lot easier to cope with life's inevitable struggles when you know you are loved, when you know without a doubt that you have real live people that will stand by you, support you, lend a helping hand and uplift you when you need to lean on someone else.

The trick is to utilize your amazing brain to simulate, in your imagination, all the love you could ever possibly want. Every day, when you awaken, sit quietly for just one minute, and fill your mind and body with the definite sense that you are loved and taken care of. Close your eyes and visualize your life with the current problems or dilemmas already resolved. Then, begin your day with a sense of hope - that somehow, in some way that you do not yet comprehend, all will be okay.

At night, regardless of how difficult, frustrating, painful or confusing your day turned out to be, just before you go to sleep, once again spend only one minute visualizing your life the way you truly want it to be - regardless of how the circumstances of your life are continuing to evolve. Find a way to emotionally step back, take a back seat, observe you and your life from a distant perspective. Find a way to love that special, unique being, you, that person who is craving love and support, that person who could become anything he or she desires with enough love.

Find a spark of love, for yourself, right in the midst of whatever chaos, turmoil, rage and negativity you are currently experiencing. Find that small spark and ignite it, every single morning and every single evening. Give the gift of love, to yourself, for just one single minute every day, one minute of love for you, only for you, no matter who else is asking, needing and taking from you.

Love is the answer. Add love into your life and watch what happens!

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