Category Archives: Relationships

Feeling Out of Balance and Centered at the Same Time Part 2 – Imagination, Skills and Courage

By Barnes Boffey, Ed.; Director of Training, Aloha Foundation… www.alohafoundation.org

Following the imagination process through means getting very specific about our thoughts and actions. In the case of our relative, let’s say we have decided to work toward being strong, compassionate and detached (obvious derivatives of powerful, loving and free). We now need to create the thoughts and actions that might accompany those feelings. The list that follows is one version of what our new blueprint might involve.

Thoughts for strong:

“Getting angry is not going to solve anything,” ” I need to put my energy into action rather than reaction,” “ Not confronting my sister about her beliefs does not mean I agree with them,” and “ Closedmindedness and anger are the very things I say I am intolerant of.. time to prove it.”

Thoughts for compassionate:

“My sister made choices on her best information.” “I am scared, Ill bet she has been too.” “We both want the best for our country.” “I can lead the way to common ground rather than perpetuating the conflict.” “Shes doing the best she can with the information she has at the time, as am I.”

Thoughts for detached:

“Everything doesnt have to be decided and resolved today,” “Her beliefs do not mean I cant express and act on my own,”  “I obviously need to take action to show myself that I am serious about what I say I believe,” and “Our relationship is more important than our politics… she is my sister.”

With these thoughts  in mind, we can now imagine actions that would accompany them. (again, these are not “right” answers, just one version)

Actions for strong:

Make a commitment to be more politically involved. Move conversations to topics which nourish our family not pull us apart. Actually listen to my sister for amounts of time I can handle and show my strength by actually listening. Accept that reality has changed and plot a course that I did not need to in earlier times. Have the strength to change rather than holding onto my old patterns.

Actions for compassionate:

Tell my sister I am happy she won and that I am sure we both want the best future we can have. Forgive myself for not always being the person I say I want to be. Keep a journal to stay focused and write down as a first entry, “I was born not to pass judgement on my family but to love them.”

Thoughts for detached:

Instigate other community building activities in the family rather than just political discussions. Don’t respond in kind to what I perceive as outrageous statements. Pray that both my sister and I find the peaccouplee and courage to heal the wounds that divide this country.

With this information in hand, I have now achieved some early success in the imagination stage.

The second step is Skills. Here is where we explore the reality that although we may know what we should think and do, we may not currently have the ability to do it. We have to self-evaluate to see if we actually know how to gracefully exit a conversation, or not bite at a stupid remark, or reframe the family’s activity, or pray, or even keep a journal. There may be skills we have to learn and practice to be able to bring our imagined blueprint into being.

And the final step is Courage. By now we know what we would be thinking and doing, and we have hopefully learned some new skills to do it, but change can be fearful and fear can only be faced with courage. We may have fears about taking the steps we need to take. Some in this case might be:

“If I back down from fights will others think I agree with them?” “What if I really can’t be more tolerant of others?” “What if I try and fail?” “What if I replace anger with compassion and I lose the fire in my belly to actually take action?”

There fears are legitimate, understandable and normal. We need to remember, however, that whatever emotions we act on become stronger. If we act on our fears by not taking necessary steps to change, the fear will get stronger not weaker. So now it comes to “the moment of truth.” Do I have the courage to face my fears and change myself rather than insisting the world change so I wont have to. I often ask clients, “Do you really not know what you need to do, or do you know what to do but you are afraid to do it?” One is lack of clarity; the second lack of courage.

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We have all put a great deal of energy into creating what we want and hoping that will continue. When it does not we can bemoan our fates and rage at the world, or we can go about the business of making the changes we need to make to be loving, powerful, playful and free in a world we may not like or want to accept. Our inability to accept reality does not mean that reality doesn’t exist. It simply means we are unwilling to go through the difficult process of imagining our new selves, learning the skills to put those selves into being, and having the courage  to face the fears that come with any major change in our lives.

The Important Things In Life

By Michael Rice LISAC, CTRTC

In marriage, what tends to bring people together are their similar values.  What tends to keep people together in marriage are their similar interests.  In non-romantic relationships, it seems that similar interests bring people together and similar values maintain the relationship.  Our values are those things that we find that give meaning to us as a person and in society.  They define us as to the type of person we are, or rather, how we want ourselves and others to see us.  We all know that there are many people who say one thing and yet behave in another.  This might be the result of their value not being fully internalized and one that they profess because others have told them they should possess them.

What makes any of our values valid?

I believe that first of all, it must be a value that we have chosen ourselves and not because someone else said we had to have it. Parents often instill many of our values.   Some parents may possess some values that are not acceptable or even effective for the parent.  Many of the values  parents give are indeed valid and helpful.  Therefore, the first rule of a valid value would be:  Something that you have chosen freely and not because someone else said you should possess.


values-memeNext, a valid value is one that you have tested among other values and have found it to be right for you.  If you don’t feel that it is 100% right for you, then don’t profess it to others as your true value just to “fit in.”  How well does the value work for your parent’s life as you perceive it?  Just because Mom or Dad possess a specific value does not mean it is necessarily correct for you.  What is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.

I recall the story told by Mark Twain who said that when he was 18 years of age, he found his father to be so ignorant that he could hardly stand to be around the old man.  When he had turned 21, he said he  was amazed at how much his father had learned in 3 years.

Another criterion for a valid value would be that you have considered the consequences of possessing and acting on a chosen value.  Will this value possibly bring wide spread rejection from others?  Will it cause you to be in conflict with the important people in your life?  Could it possibly result in any hardship for you or even incarceration?  Are you willing and prepared to take criticism for your value?  Are you willing to lose acquaintances because they don’t agree with your value?

Lastly, to be a valid value, it should be one that you profess openly and regularly.  In other words, you walk your talk.

What is important to you?  Have any of your values caused you to lose those who may be important to you?  Many of us have lost friends and acquaintances at one time or another due to our beliefs and this would be due to the conflict of one or more of our values.  However, if it seems to cause conflict with many of those who are important to you, you may want to take another look and scrutinize the validity of your values or find those who have similar values as your own.

Kindness Always

One Million Acts Of Kindness is a goal. A goal for each person to individually perform One Million Acts Of Kindness in their life. Can you imagine a greater goal for one’s life? It is a constant mind-set of kindness every day of your life for the next fifty-five years. Doing for others and kindness in your heart for everyone. It is my wish that you will dedicate your life to a charity… finding the passion in your heart for something or someone in need.

onemillionacts

As a father of three college age kids I am concerned for the world in which all kids will live. A great way to create a safer, more caring world is for everyone to start their lifetime goal of One Million Acts Of Kindness. So I bought a bus, had about sixty family members, friends and neighbors help paint it and began a ten year journey with my Boston Terrier, Bogart, to college campuses across the country hoping to convince as many of you as possible about this much needed movement for this world. I love you guys too much to sit back and not do anything about this. Let’s start a kindness movement in this country today to change the direction this world is headed!! You are the change that this world needs.
—  Bob Votruba, http://www.onemillionactsofkindness.com/

Learn more about this amazing man and his journey at our Mental Health & Happiness Summit, October 10th.


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The Caring Habit of Listening

By Kim Olver

As a healthy relationship habit, listening isn’t just about hearing another person, waiting for them to stop talking so you can jump in with your “words of wisdom.” Listening is about doing your best to understand another person. Try to stand in their shoes, be in their skin and see the world with their eyes as best you can. No one can have perfect understanding of another. That would mean you would have to actually be that other person, but we can work at doing the best we can.

Understanding doesn’t mean you have to agree. You can see it from another’s point of view and still maintain your own perspective as true for you. One example is a wife who speaks to her husband about his excessive drinking. She believes his drinking is having a serious effect on his health, particularly his achy joints and his liver. He explains to her that he has a lot of anger that he doesn’t understand and that drinking helps him contain that anger. She is able to understand his perspective without agreeing with him. It helps her be more understanding of the reason he drinks.

Another example, involves an incident when I was sixteen. I remember asking my mother if I could stay home from school. She asked if I was sick and I replied, “No, I’m not sick but I can’t go to school with this huge zit on the end of my nose. Everyone will stare at me!” My mother’s response: “Kimberly Marie, get ready for school. You won’t even remember this five years from now.” Well, I’m 53 and I still remember it, Mom.

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This is not to say I think my mother should have allowed me to go stay home from school. What I wish is that she would have listened to me to understand how devastated and desperate I was feeling. She might have even shared about a time she had a pimple and it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. Almost any response would have been better than having my perspective completely disregarded. (The funny thing is, in one way my mother was right. I don’t remember my classmates reactions that day but I do remember my mother not really listening to me.)

Do you have any stories about a time when someone didn’t listen to you? Or maybe you have a story about a time when someone did and it really made a difference. Can you be the person today who really listens to someone important to you to understand their point of view?

The Five Basic Needs of Pleasure

By Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC

The five basic and genetic needs for Happiness are Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun.   These needs will almost always require a connection with someone else in order to both achieve and maintain.  As Dr. Wm Glasser asks:  “How happy and enthused would you be if you were playing golf alone and shot a hole-in-one?”  Your excitement would be short-lived at best.  There would be no one to share in the happiness of such an event, much less, confirm that you did, indeed, get a hole-in-one.

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Try as you might to get your friends excited about your accomplishment, you would get feedback such as, “yeah, right,” or “well good for you.”  There will be no shouts of joy or excitement because they didn’t see you do it and therefore, they cannot share fully in your emotion.  Your continued happiness would be the result of their excitement for you.  Since they weren’t there to witness the deed, all they can do is pat you on the back and say, “nice going.”

The paradox of happiness is that while no one can make you happy, happiness requires a satisfying relationship with those who are important to you.   The golfer who shot the hole-in- one did so on his own, but it would take someone meaningful to him to achieve happiness from his victory.   Had someone else been with him to witness the achievement, he would have surpassed pleasure and would have realized tremendous happiness.

When a person has exhausted all the skills they possess to acquire and/or maintain meaningful relationships, they begin to rely only on those things that they can achieve or do that does not involve another person.  The satisfaction they receive from these behaviors is what they wrongly perceived as happiness.   Pleasure is much more intense than happiness but it has one major drawback . . . it is short lived.  Pleasure diminishes almost as quickly as it is achieved.  Therefore, the behavior that creates pleasure must often be repeated several times to maintain the pleasure received.  Think of the mouse in the lab study that keeps pushing the lever over and over to get his dose of cocaine’s pleasurable feeling.  Happiness is not as intense as pleasure but it generally tends to last for days, weeks, months, and even years.

Five Basic Needs for Pleasure

Pleasure is usually attained without the need or involvement of anyone else or at the expense of another person.

  1. Sex (indiscriminant, self-serving, masturbation)
  2. Food, Alcohol, Drugs
  3. Isolating – detaching from others.
  4. Thrill Seeking – Adrenalin surges. Element of danger.  (Gambling, dangerous risks, Hunting, Torture, history of criminal behavior, video games, car racing, sky diving, bungee jumping,   BDSM, Catch & Release relationships, sex in public places.
  5. Reckless Spending

You don’t need anyone in your life to experience pleasure.  You DO have to have meaningful relationships in order to experience happiness.

Five Basic needs for Happiness,

  1. Survival
  2. Love & Belonging
  3. Power
  4. Freedom
  5. Fun

Once the 5 Basic Needs for Happiness are maintained, the need for Pleasure diminishes from compulsive behaviors to occasional behaviors, or total cessation, and will result in a happier and healthier way of living.

Support Yourself

By Dr. Nancy Buck (originally posted December 4, 2014)

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Good relationships are built on many things, including accepting, encouraging, supporting and trusting one another. But a good relationship with others alone is not enough. Strong mental health that leads to happiness must include a good relationship with YOU. That means we each must consistently accept, encourage, support and trust ourselves most of all. For many  this practice feels like a stretch.

Research suggests that most people have an easier time giving and supporting others with compassion than we do turning that inward. And studies link self-compassion to lower anxiety and depression. Another benefit is increased optimism, better relationships and greater overall satisfaction in life. This practice will improve your physical as well as mental health.

Here’s how to get started:

• Notice when you give or receive acceptance, encouragement, support or trust to or from another.

• Notice when you start discounting, discrediting, blaming or beating yourself up.

• As soon as you notice any of the above moments that lack self-compassion, immediately change to a kinder or gentler thought or statement.

• Continue to practice noticing how you give and receive these kindnesses to your family, friends and loved ones

• Continue to practice noticing and changing all moments of disrespect and lack of self-compassion

Emotional Realities

By Dr. Ken Larsen (Originally posted November 14, 2013)

One of the characteristics of mental health and happiness is getting our needs met in and through our relationships with caring other people.

Dr. Glasser describes these needs in a couple of ways.  One, from his first best selling book “Reality Therapy” he points out that we need to “Love and be loved, and to feel worthwhile to ourselves and to others.”

Later, when he wrote “Choice Theory” he listed our basic needs as “Survival, Love and belonging, Freedom, Power and Fun.”

bowlingballs

One way I meet my fun needs is by learning.  Recently I was reading a book entitled “The Female Brain” by Louann Brizendine, MD.  One paragraph jumped out at me because it spoke to ways to grow closer to the ones we love.  Having a wife, three daughters, and five granddaughters, the more I can understand the female experience of life, the closer I can be in these very special relationships.

This is a quote from the book: “If she’s married or partnered with a male brain, each will inhabit two different emotional realities.  The more both know about the differences in the emotional realities of the male and female brain, the more hope we have of turning those partnerships into satisfying and supportive relationships and families.”

I highly recommend this book.

Choice Theory, Reality Therapy and Power Tools 

 

by Mona Dunkin 

All of us seek identity, significance, purpose and power. The power need is the need to feel important and to be appreciated for who we are and for what we do. The power need is met through confidence, being heard and understood, accomplishments and in the giving and receiving of service and respect.

Motivational speaker Les Brown has six “Tools to Reclaim Your Power” that I think applies to the continuation of Dr. Glasser’s life-changing Reality Therapy and Choice Theory concepts and legacy.  Using these tools will certainly contribute to mental health and happiness.  Here is my brief interpretation of Les’s tools.

  1. It’s possible. When you have an idea that will benefit self and mankind it is possible that you can implement it. If anyone else in the entire world has done something out-of-the-box, then it is possible that you, too, can do something beyond your current skill level, whether simple or exemplary.
  1. Its necessary.Once you begin the possible it becomes a need to carry through. Having left a place of safety it is necessary to broaden one’s comfort zone. It becomes a white-heat passion that must be fulfilled.
  1. Its you. Others may in time come alongside to assist, guide or carry on but initially the weight is on your own shoulders. It is dependent upon your own unlimited belief in yourself. It is you investing your time, your energy and your resources into a fledgling concept. It is you motivating you to keep on keeping on, to continue when everything within says, “Quit.”
  1. Its hard. An airplane needs resistance to fly. Mechanically – as well as physically and emotionally – it is not easy to overcome pull and drag in order to soar. It is not easy to keep up momentum when others may think you are crazy. It is not easy to get up after a seeming defeat. It is not easy to push for change in a complacent, smug, self-satisfied world. But it is doable.
  1. Its worth it. Your second wind kicks in, the goal is in sight and nothing will stop you now. The rewards, small and no-so-small, begin to collect and grow. You are filled with gratitude for what you have learned and how you have grown in the journey.
  1. Its finished. This is the most beautiful part. Even before crossing the finish line, your dream has taken on a life of its own and it will succeed in spite-of-you, with or without you. Your legacy is intact and will be passed on to future generations.

There has been a tremendous amount of momentum built over the last 85 years by Dr. and Mrs. Glasser, the Board of Directors, and all of the people around the world who have dipped into Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy ideas. We have gained strength from them and have come too far to turn back now.  Let us be like Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor and add “more power” to our learning and “teaching the world Choice Theory”.

When inspiration calls, answer the phone and give it directions to find you. You have the tools.

Take Charge of Your Life

 by Mona Dunkin 

Noted Psychiatrists, Dr. William Glasser, suggests the term “mental health” be replaced with “responsibility”.  Responsibility is the ability to get one’s needs met without depriving others of meeting theirs.  When needs are unmet we feel unfulfilled and fail to live at optimum wellness. We are not taking charge of our lives.

In 1998 I attended a lecture given by Dr. Glasser in which he intimated that certain physical and mental maladies are chosen. I took issue with that; I mean, anyone who would choose pain and misery would have to be crazy!

He went on to explained our basic needs and how we are driven to have them met.  Our health – physical as well as mental and emotional – is dependent on how our body handles our actions, our thoughts and the way we feel about things.

This led me to do some deep thinking. I ask myself some hard questions: Was swallowing my anger inflaming my joints?  Was my anger not only harming relationships but also my physical heart and blood pressure?  How am I hurting myself?  I do not want to hurt others but neither do I want to harm myself.

I began to practice the genius of Dr. Glasser’s wisdom.  When we begin to lovingly notice our disconnecting habits of thought and actions we can then choose to turn our attention to matters that leads to greater health and happiness and improved relationships. Only when we come to a conclusion for our self are we willing to make changes or take charge of our own life.

Oh, and my health today? Thanks for asking.  Peace reigns, relationships flourish, business is good, movement is pain free, most meds have been cut in half and I am releasing weight every day.

How about you? Are you ready to take charge of your life?