Tag Archives: marriage

Fear versus Freedom

By Amanda Love

If you live in fear, it is impossible to be free.  Fear can take many forms — fear of leaving a job you don’t like for a more challenging one, fear of voicing your opinions to a spouse that constantly argues with you, fear of being alone, fear of changing careers, fear of moving away from family and friends and starting over.

depression

My personal experience has been with a verbally abusive spouse.  I would wake up in the morning to his temper tantrums and go to sleep with them as well.  This went on for about fifteen years, until I looked in the mirror one day and realized I had no respect for myself.  I have a high love and belonging need and a low freedom need, which I pushed so low it was non-existent.

I was fearful of rocking the boat by leaving all at once.  My friend, who is also a therapist, advised me to “leave without leaving.”  Start by doing things that you love to do, seek new challenges for yourself, learn new things, she said.

I followed her advice and slowly became more of who I really am as a person.   I raised a puppy for a service dog organization, and took her everywhere I went, spreading the word about the wonders service dogs work.  When the dog was returned to me for a mild medical condition, she and I trained together to be a pet therapy team.  We volunteered at a nursing  home and a Read to the Dog Program at a New York City library.

I regained my self-respect.  I began writing a novel, a love story.  I became more confident in myself and when I finished the book I was able to stand up and end the marriage.  I recently moved to a different town on my native Long Island, and have conquered my fear of new situations by participating in community groups that I love.

I battle fear every day — and maybe you do too.  Challenge yourself by identifying what you are really afraid of, and try to reason with yourself that the fear is unfounded.   If you can’t do that by yourself, seek help from a trusted family member, friend  or a counselor.

Turn your complaint inside out

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

nagging

Complaining is one of the deadly habits that contributes to destroying relationships according to William Glasser. A recent study reported in a Psychology Today blog stated that the most common complaint men have about marriage is the amount of complaining that their wives do. (Anyone else besides me notice the irony of men complaining about women complaining?)

Most of us can quickly name the expert complainer in our own lives. Sadly this is the person we try to avoid. Quite simply stated, complaining is unattractive and detrimental to our Mental Health & Happiness.

So why do so many people, including each of us, engage in this habit?

Our brain is hardwired to notice what is not right in our world. This attribute is necessary for our very survival. When we were evolving as a species it was important to notice when our environment changed enough to put our very survival at risk. When a pride of lions decided to move into the next door cave where we were living it was important that we noticed this change.  Had our brain not alerted us to this danger and we not then taken appropriate action, that would have been the end of us!

This means our brain notices almost everything that is wrong in our world. Luckily most of us do not need to comment or complain about everything that is wrong. But most of us will comment or complain about some things sometimes.

Several of the recent blogs and social media posters writing about increased happiness advocate that people go twenty-four hours without complaining. Great idea. But what are you going to do instead? If complaining is a natural and brain based urge, if you don’t have some other strategy to follow instead you are most likely to fall right back into complaining all over again.

Why not use this natural brain-based ability to your advantage. Every time you notice something worth complaining about you can take this opportunity to start declaring what you want instead. The more you do this the more you will begin to better understand and appreciate what you really want in your life.

So instead of complaining about the lions who moved in next door you could say I look forward to finding a new home where friendly and safe neighbors surround us.

Instead of complaining about the weather you could say I look forward to the next sunny day or Im sorry for me its raining. Im happy for the gardens and flowers that it is raining.

Instead of complaining about some physical ailment that is causing you pain you could say This stomach ache is reminding me to make better food choices in the future or This headache reminds me to spend more time in gentle light to be kinder to myself.

Instead of complaining about all the complainers that surround you, you could say I wonder what these people want that they are not getting?

Go ahead and eliminate complaining for twenty-four hours. And for better Mental Health & Happiness replace your complaining with a declaration of what you want instead.

 

Acceptance

By Kim Olver

When I think of accepting, the Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And the wisdom to know the difference.

There is however, a Choice Theory modification to this prayer and it goes like this: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change;
Courage to change the one I can; 
And the wisdom to know that person is me! 

When we truly accept another person as he or she is, we no longer experience anger, frustration and resentment, hence the “serenity.” If you find yourself still resenting the other person, angry they won’t change, and/or frustrated with their behavior, you haven’t really accepted, have you? You are still attempting to change the other person, even though you may no longer be actively using deadly habits. You are still using emotions to coerce the other person to bend to your will.

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Acceptance sounds something like this: “I know I haven’t accepted certain things about you in the past. I even tried many things to get you to see it my way and to change. But from this day forward, I am accepting every part of you. I am no longer trying to change you. It is your life and you get to live it in the way that is best for you.”

Then you have a decision to make. Just because you accept someone and their right to live their life however they choose, does not mean you want to stay in a connected relationship with that person. It is your job to take care of yourself. If you want something from another person . . . let’s say it’s your sister and you want her to stop using drugs . . . you can accept her as a person and accept her right to make decisions that may be self-destructive but that doesn’t mean you have to be a bystander witness to her self-destruction. You may choose to disengage from someone whose choices are painful to you.

If you are in a marriage and your spouse is cheating on you, you may accept him or her and recognize your spouse has the right to make that choice but that doesn’t mean you need to stay married and watch.

Is there something about an important person in your life you have been resisting? Are you ready to move in the direction of accepting that thing, whatever it is?