Posts Tagged ‘self help’

Ending a Destructive Relationship

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Ten years ago I accepted an invitation to dinner with a man I was dating at the time. It was a warm Spring evening and he came to pick me up on his motorcycle. Once he got to my house, it didn’t take me long to realize he’d been drinking as I could smell it on his breath. Never-the-less,  I decided to get on the back of the bike and also chose to leave without two items I almost always take with me–my purse and phone.

Once we got to the restaurant and sat down he ordered drinks. I got a familiar sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach but chose to ignore it opting instead to go with the flow which was standard for me in this particular relationship.  After downing several beers he became obnoxiously loud and  rude with the waitperson who was serving us so was escorted out the door. I got up and walked out behind them. There were many thoughts spinning around in my head not the least of which was frustration with the fact that I was dealing with this situation at all.

Once outside the restaurant he went to get his bike and although I was used to going with the flow, I knew there was no way I would this time.

He pulled up to where I stood expecting me to hop on but I told him no. Agitated, he  said “get on the bike now!” And again I affirmed I wasn’t going to.  After a few more go-rounds of his insistence and my refusal he left. And there I stood no purse, no money, no phone and no ride home. I’m not sure why, but I elected not to go back in the restaurant to make a phone call maybe because I was too embarrassed or maybe because I just wanted to be alone. Whatever the reason, I started walking home–all twelve miles. (more…)

Celebrate Small Steps

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Celebrate and focus on the small steps you take each day as you move forward. Minimize the setbacks.

Support

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Spend less time with critical people and more time with those who love and support you.

Starting Point

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Arriving at one point is the starting point of another. –John Dewey

Getting Burned & Life Lessons

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

One time when my oldest son was two I was standing at the kitchen stove just starting dinner.  I turned the front burner on. My son came up to the stove and I told him “Hot don’t touch, it will hurt. No!”

He looked at me and said “Hot!”

I said “That’s right, hot!”

He looked at the burner then looked at me, looked at the burner, then looked at me again.  With no warning what-so-ever he firmly placed his hand right on it! In the same instant came his blood curdling scream and me picking him up. I dashed out of the kitchen him in my arms to take care of the burn repeating, “Hot, hot, I told you hot!”

Well, I may have told him hot but he didn’t understand hot until he felt hot on his hand! He definitely learned about hot after that incident. Fortunately the stove burner wasn’t on high or even medium heat but it was hot enough to burn his hand and as a result he never touched a stove burner again.

Lesson learned. Stove burners are hot. Place your hand on one and you’ll get burned.

For me, there have been situations in my life where it took more than one experience to learn a lesson. There have been times when despite red flags, warnings, and incidents where it was clear I needed to pay attention, I repeatedly didn’t learn.  Instead I wished and hoped and prayed things would work out.  I often ignored my gut instincts opting to second guess myself instead. So it went like this:

Lesson not learned. Repeat lesson.

Lesson not learned. Repeat lesson again…

I would rather confidently say, I know what is best for me

than after the fact say…

I was afraid that would happen!

Or

I’m not comfortable with that

rather than…

Oh, I guess it will be okay.

When we think about what we want, we really do know.

And if we really are unsure in a given situation then what we’re really saying is no.

How many times does it take to learn one life lesson?

As many times as we allow it to take.

There are some lessons we don’t want to repeat more than once because these lessons take a toll on us.

So the next time you come into contact with a hot burner and you’ve already felt the pain pay attention to the voice that tells you to turn your back and walk away.

 

Leaving a Bad Relationship

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Nearly eight years ago I walked away from a bad relationship. I had been warming up to the idea of leaving for about a year. I kept thinking of reasons to stay. I’d see a ray of hope and latch on clinging to it for days until the ray dimmed and the down cycle began again. I waited through each bad cycle hoping again for another glimmer to emerge. These cycles were my lot inside this particular relationship and it took me a long time to realize that all my hoping was doing nothing more than keeping me stuck. I had to get through enough of the up and down cycles until I “got it.” Eventually I understood that the relationship was nothing more than a series of very short good cycles and much longer bad ones.

It’s hard to give up hope when you care for someone. It is painful to face the reality of what is clearly a losing proposition. We all need hope in our lives; it keeps us going and encourages us to move forward yet we’ve all got to face that staying in a bad relationship is a waste of precious time. The relationship I had was never going to bring me anything different than what I’d already experienced–why in the world would I want that?

I knew it would be better for me to stop the cycles cut my losses and walk away. Yet what prevented me from leaving was my dread of facing the end. I didn’t look forward to the misery I was sure would follow; I didn’t want to experience the emptiness I was certain would be mine to come. Looking back, it’s like I stepped on a bee got stung wished later I’d been wearing shoes but continued to walk around barefoot.

So even though my immediate thought was to keep things status quo in order to avoid pain I knew that long term suffering would have been the outcome of staying.

With the breakup came wisdom, courage, and hope. This hope wasn’t misplaced; it was hard-won. I learned that any relationship is not better than no relationship. I also learned that healthy relationships require paying attention in all aspects of life. It’s not hard to make good relationship choices but it does take knowing what you will and won’t accept and sticking with it.

Courage to say NO!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.   Barbara De Angelis

Self-Belief in New Relationships

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Half the battle when developing great relationships is taking enough time to develop a strong relationship with yourself first. Do you have self-belief?

Are you growing yourself as an individual? Do you believe in your ability to be successful? Do you believe in your ability to make good decisions? Do you trust your instincts?

If you don’t believe in yourself how will you maintain strong relationships with others?

It is relatively easy to say “I believe in myself.” It is harder to live life each day with self-belief. It is difficult to stand by an opinion when others disagree but if you sincerely believe in your opinion why go along with others if in reality you don’t agree with what they say?

Solid relationships develop over time. Starting out a new relationship without self-belief makes you vulnerable to accepting and believing that your partner’s likes wants needs and opinions  are exactly like your own even when they’re not. Say your new friend loves red meat and eats it regularly. You on the other hand don’t care for it and rarely eat it. Are you more likely to say you love red meat even if you don’t or admit that you don’t care much for it? Say he loves science fiction movies and has a collection he watches over and over again. You on the hand love comedies and only occasionally watch anything else. Do you hide that difference or bring it out in the open?

Owning up to who you are won’t make or break a viable relationship. Standing by your true self and believing in your abilities will enhance your relationships with others. Sure, we want to respect individual differences in others but not to the point where we disregard our own. Who we are and what we think separates us from the pack.

Pivotal Moments in Destructive Relationships

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

When you think about the pivotal moments in life the big ones come up first—graduating from high school, getting into college, graduating from college, getting the first job, meeting your life partner, marriage, buying a home, having children.

Those are definitely big moments but there are others happening daily which lead us toward or away from who we are as people. We can choose a path that leads us in a direction where although not perfect, we feel good about. It’s a place with people, choices, daily life, events, and opportunities that are in line with our values. Movement on this path may take on a two steps forward one step back characteristic. Instant gratification isn’t typically part of the landscape but when followed this path usually produces satisfying results.

We also have the option of a path which is more exploratory and quite different from what we’ve experienced. This is a tricky path to navigate because on one hand it is unfamiliar, on the other it is exciting interesting and fun. It can even feel like we’ve hit the jackpot and can’t believe our good fortune.

Relationships we develop down this lesser known path initially seem good. They start quickly and appear to be all we could hope for.  Yet after a little time we discover things we may have overlooked at the onset. We may experience a sinking feeling thinking we’re not good enough or exciting enough for a new partner who is suddenly restless. We don’t know what we did or didn’t do to get to this point but we’re scrambling to figure out what we can do to make things right. We might observe questionable behavior–like ranting or off the wall rudeness toward us or others. Decisions are made which don’t make sense.

When we question circumstances in these relationships we’re doing something good—we’re recognizing pivotal moments and it’s up to us to figure out what we’re going to do with the information we’ve been handed. Do we ignore it or do we take action by asking questions, listening, stating our feelings, and if necessary, leaving.

If you aren’t sure about a current relationship think about the following:

Question why you feel uneasy

Decide if you are willing to compromise your values to meet those of your partner.

Determine whether or not you can continue to live with the situation and the person. If you know you can’t let them know and exit.

Recognize if you’re saying you’re okay with things as they are but know deep down you’re not. It is not wise to accept the unacceptable to keep a relationship going.

Give yourself credit for knowing when a relationship is and  isn’t right for you.

 

Being Where You’re Supposed to be and Knocking on Doors

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Have you ever wondered if where you are is where you should be?

I mean, we can wonder about everything we do and the decisions we make as it relates to us and the truth is we’ll probably never know for sure if we’ve got it all exactly right. So if we weren’t where we are now, where else would we be? What would we do? Who would be in our lives? What would life look like?

We all have times when we question our direction. Yet if we are spiritual (and that is certainly different for everyone) have faith in that spirituality and are moving forward by living life in a way we feel good about, we’re most definitely on a positive path.

If I were homeless, with no means of support, no friends or family near by—I would have serious doubts about whether or not I was in the right place. In fact I’d make a point of doing whatever I could to change my situation by coming up with a plan and working on it daily.

There have been times in my life when I’ve faced setbacks and have struggled economically, emotionally, and spiritually. Each time has been frustrating primarily because I didn’t know for sure if the smart move was to stay on my current path or choose a different one.

Sometimes we are fearful or uncertain no matter what we do. The goal at this point is to move forward every single day by gathering information setting goals and eventually getting our nerve up to knock on a few doors. We might get to the first one and it slams in our face. That’s okay, we just try another one. If we get the same result we continue to try again and again and again.

Some decide it’s too discouraging so abandon knocking on any more doors. Others keep trudging on. Not giving up is the American way, right? Sure staying the course despite rejection builds character yet at some point it’s a good idea to step back and consider whether it’s possible we’re trying to open the wrong doors. (more…)