All Posts in Category: Love and Relationships

Resentment, Anger and Forgiveness

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Unknown).

When someone hurts us, it is easy to dwell on the feelings of hurt or the injustice of the situation.

When we do this we become stuck in the past and we are likely to either miss the present or affect it negatively with our bitterness.

Life is too short to harbor resentment.

Each moment of our lives is on a use it or lose it basis, we can either enjoy each moment or not, resentment gets in the way of that.

Forgiveness is the key to overcoming resentment.

Forgiveness does not involve changing the person who hurt you and you can forgive the other person even if he or she does not take responsibility, or express sorrow or regret.

Understanding and compassion lead to forgiveness and a more healthy, peaceful existence.

When you forgive someone, you resolve to treat those who hurt you with empathy, compassion and respect.

Even if you feel the person or people who hurt you are not necessarily deserving of it, it serves no one to harbor resentment and treat people with disrespect, instead treat them with kindness (what I like to call killing negativity with kindness).

Obviously there are always times when you have to confront negative behavior (for example if you have tried being kind and it is not helping, or you are trying to find ways to stop the negative behavior from having a continuing effect on you or others who are more vulnerable) but since you cannot control the behavior of others, only your own behavior: “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Negative behavior can be confronted respectfully, it does not help to match negative behavior with the same.

What helps you overcome resentment and anger?

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Letting Go

I recently discovered this and thought it might be helpful to many of us:

Letting Go -
 Author unknown

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring, 
it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off, 
it’s the realization I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable, 
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, 
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To “let go” is not to try to change or blame another, 
it’s to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for, 
but to care about.

To “let go” is not to fix, 
but to be supportive.

To “let go” is not to judge, 
but to allow another to be a human being.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes, 
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to be protective, 
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To “let go” is not to deny, 
but to accept.

To “let go” it not to nag, scold or argue, 
but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires 
but to take each day as it comes, 
and cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody 
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past, 
but to grow and live for the future.

To “let go” is to fear less, 
and love more.

 

In what ways are you holding on to things you shouldn’t?

Why do you think it is so hard to let go sometimes?

 

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Building Good Relationships

Psychologist John Van Epp, after working with couples and studying the topic for years developed a model for building good relationships.  His model makes a lot of sense to me and I often refer to it in my work.  He talks about his “Relationship Attachment Model” as being like an equalizer.  Each of the “5 universal human dynamics” in his model is at a certain level in any relationship.  The 5 dynamics are the extent to which you know, trust, rely upon, commit to and touch another person.  His idea is that ideally the first dynamic should be equal to or higher than all subsequent dynamics (visualize each of the dynamics as lever on an equalizer, with the first lever being higher or equal to the subsequent ones).  They build on each other. In other words, you shouldn’t trust someone you don’t know, you shouldn’t rely upon someone you don’t trust,  you shouldn’t commit to someone you can’t rely upon and you shouldn’t be intimate with someone you don’t commit to (if only all of this were as simple as it sounds!).  Obviously a lot of people do not follow this model, but his point is, that if you do follow this model you will be building a good foundation for a relationship.  There is much more to his model in terms of what to look for in a mate to ensure you are a good match.  I will post more on this in subsequent posts.

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Falling in love with someone’s potential

When you have fallen in love with someone’s potential, you have fallen in love with who that person would be if he or she just didn’t e.g. drink too much, yell at you, say mean things, etc.  This becomes a problem when no matter how many times and no matter in how many ways you ask him or her to change, the person continues to do those things.

Now, of course nobody is perfect, but if you can’t live with the things that you wish this person didn’t do, then you have fallen in love with his or her potential but not with who he or she really is.  If your loved one agrees with you and is willing to make the changes—great.  But if he or she won’t or can’t, then…loving someone’s potential continues and is painful and frustrating.

It is easy to fall in love with someone’s potential, because at the beginning of a relationship we often only show our best qualities.  This is why it is important to really get to know someone before you get too deep into a relationship (see my post on building good relationships).  Often this does not work when chemistry takes over, the relationship moves forward too fast, and we find ourselves head over heels in love with someone’s potential.

Once we are knee-deep in the relationship, love causes us to make excuses for our loved one.  We continue to hope for change and hope that our mate will one day be the person we know he or she can be.

Deciding whether or not to stay in a relationship that is not working boils down to two questions:  Is this person willing to make the changes necessary to make this relationship work? Is this person capable of making the changes necessary to make this relationship work?  (And those are two very different questions!)

What do you think? Have you been in love with someone’s potential?

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Making Changes- The ingredients of Change

People often ask me, do you think he/she will change? Can people really change? He/she says he/she will change, should I believe him/her? How do I know if it will last?

The three main ingredients of change are:

 

Insight (or new information)

Motivation

Time

 

 

Insight or new information, can be many things, but often involves either learning how our behavior or choices are negatively affecting someone else or ourselves, and/or discovering what is driving our current behavior (often an upsetting experience from the past, see my “Getting to the root of the problem” post).

Motivation- There are many things that can motivate behavior change.  A frequent example that comes to mind, is the loss of an important relationship.  When people break up, one or the other of them (or both of them) is often motivated to change whatever caused the break up.  The loss of the relationship (and the wish to reestablish it, or not repeat the pattern) acts as a powerful motivator for behavior change.  People will often make big promises to change in order to win back a partner, or not carry the mistake into their next relationship.

When the motivation is removed (the relationship is intact again, the couple gets back together) is the person able to maintain the changes?  This is why the third ingredient of change is of crucial importance.

Time.  Does the behavior change pass the test of time?

There are really two parts to this.  Time with the motivation present, and time with the motivation removed.

In the relationship example, this means that the person promising to change may need to show that he or she can maintain the behavior change for some period of time before the other partner has enough trust to try the relationship again.

Once this occurs, the bigger test is: does the behavior change persist even with the removal of the motivator?  In other words, if the couple gets back together, is the behavior change maintained?

For a while, the  new motivator may become maintaining the relationship, but eventually that may wear off, and only then, will you be able to see if the behavior change can be maintained in the absence of a motivator.

There are obviously no shortcuts on this one.  You just have to wait and see.

Sometimes these ingredients are not enough for change and people become stuck in negative behavior patterns.  I will address this topic in another post.

What are your experiences with trying to make changes in yourself or responding to someone who promises to make a change?

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