In my experience, after physical safety, the number one challenge to healthy relationships is a lack of emotional safety.
In working with individuals and couples — and with myself — I see it over and over. It’s the off-limit topics that make relationships feel unsafe. It’s the unspoken wants and grievances that keep partnerships superficial or in pain.
Through my clients, and a lifetime of trial and error, I learned an important lesson. Before we make long-term relationship commitments, we must know that we can talk about the things we believe we can’t talk about. …
“You will never be more powerful or peaceful than when you are completely vulnerable, with nothing to defend.” — Unknown
I don’t know if I read that quote or made it up many years ago, but it has to some degree shaped my adult life as a person and my approach as a therapist.
I teach psychological flexibility — the ability to be open and curious about pretty much everything. Which is the opposite of psychological rigidity — closed-mindedness — a characteristic that many of us struggle with our entire lives.
Personal experience has taught me that the world becomes…
As a psychotherapist, I often hear, “He’s only after one thing, and it’s not a permanent commitment,” or “She’s only after one thing, and I can’t afford it.”
My response in both cases is similar — there are plenty of trustworthy people out there who are looking for what you are — commitment, kindness, companionship, and integrity. But unless you change the lens through which you’re looking, you’re not going to see them. Instead, you’re going to see what you expect, what you believe to be the truth — that you can’t trust anyone.
If that’s what you see, you’re…
Ever spend time around someone who is out to change the world, and that includes you?
Byron Katie, a present-day philosopher and author, says, “There are three kinds of business in the world. God’s business, everybody else’s business, and our business. She says that unfortunately, many of us spend ninety-nine percent of our time and attention on God’s and everyone else’s business, leaving one percent to manage ourselves.
There are many reasons why we keep our attention everywhere except on ourselves. Lately, I’ve been paying attention to how easily I come to anger about the state of the world, accompanied…
Humility can be a slippery concept.
When clients describe themselves as humble, I sometimes wonder, hmmm, is that true?
When we believe we’ve arrived at humility, we need to be careful what we’re experiencing isn’t arrogance. Arrogance is a sense of pride that makes us feel we’re better than others. The opposite of humility, right?
Humility is a modest view of one’s importance.
But it’s not a negative view of oneself. It’s not reflective of positioning ourselves as doormats. Nor is it about meeting others’ needs at the expense of our own.
Humility is a realistic assessment of our place…
As Byron Katie, philosopher and author of Loving What Is says: “If you argue with reality, you will only lose 100% of the time.”
When life dishes up something you don’t want or denies you something you do want, it’s human to resist. And that sums up the story of my life — every time I resist ‘what is,’ I’m arguing with reality. And I lose every time.
Sure, I sometimes get what I want but, more often than not, it’s the other way around. The ‘easy, no problems, I have everything I need’ moments of my life are fewer…
Whether you’re fifteen or eighty, you can identify a want and set out to achieve it at any stage of life. You start with one step in the direction of that goal. And then take another one, and another, until you’re going full steam ahead.
You won’t always know precisely how you’re going to get from where you are to where you want to end up. That’s okay, but you do need some faith that there really is an organizing principle in the universe.
I define organizing principle as the idea that things seem to work out better if I…
Let me count the ways I’ve felt I acted like an idiot or thought I appeared to be an idiot. No, I won’t because they are endless.
Whether I looked like an idiot or just felt like one, my take-away from those experiences is that I learned something useful from every single one of them.
Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want or think they should. But more often than not, they work out the only way they can. And from that, we can learn how to do things differently.
Quality of life is all about the learnings…
We’d all be a lot happier if we learned this in grammar school — just because we believe something doesn’t mean it’s true!
At some point, whether we’re co-working, co-habitating, or simply co-existing on the planet, eventually our wants will clash with someone else’s. And then what? When we don’t take both sides into consideration — my needs and your needs — manipulation and bullying can become the norm.
We all have ideas about how things should be. People should be loyal. Even to someone who does horrible things? Homes should be neat and sparkling clean. …
I don't get it. I just don't. The thought of not having your team as my go-to is hugely deflating. I love all the comments here about the human touch you all brought to editing. Every time you made a suggestion, you nailed what my article needed. You saw what I couldn't, and shared it--it's been a joy working you.
Thank you for helping me develop as a writer. And for doing it with kindness and respect.
Is there anything we can do to change Medium's decision?