Changes in a Life ~ 2

Expectations-Boundaries-Accountability & Anger ~ 2

Marriage, Affairs & Relationship Discussion Forum ~
My last post ~ 'It is what it is' I say to myself with a smile .... 2-5-06
Coping With Life's Transitions ~
Letting go is a decision ~ 2
Trust ~ 2
Expectations-Boundaries-Accountability & Anger ~ 2
How & When & Why ~ 2
Healing, Forgiveness, Moving on ~ 2
The Sedona Method ~
Toxic & Difficult Relationships -Personality disorders ~ 2
Things to try ~ Things to learn ~ Ways of Looking at Things ~ 2
Metaphysical Points of View ~ 2
Internet relationships ~ 2
Love, Lovers, Friends & Friendship & their Relationships ~ 2
When It's Finally Over ~..OR..~ When it's Over, Finally ! ~ 2
Considerations & Perspectives to stretch your mind ~ 2
The Music ~

Expectations-Boundaries-Accountability & Anger ~ 2


 I do not need you to believe what I say, but if you feel reactions within your body from the words written, then you will know there is truth for you in the words you have read. Everything that is written on this site is something that, on some level, you already know .. and is applicable to all "spiritual pathways"

This material is not about teaching, but about a collective learning from the feedback from each who reads what is written in these pages and makes their own aspect and understanding of personal Truth real in their own body.

This work is about you, the individual making choices from your own deep inner knowing, not from what I  tell you you ought to believe. If you do not have information, you may not be able to see the possibilities or make a personal choice.
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  1. Anger
  2. REAL men keep their word.
  3. Whose Responsibility?
  4. If only.
  5. The Importance of Saying only what you mean!

The coming apart of 2 intertangled people is always painful.
  7. Expectations Exceed Performance - How to be unhappy, married or single.
  8. Pain, Crisis and Evolution - So much of our behavior is habitual stuff, conditioned or learned behavior.
  9.  Your Common Sense
10.  Thought - Feeling - Action
11.  The Skills for Getting Real with your Life
12.  Who's in control of your life?
13.  How Does Character Affect My Relationships?
14.  Letting Go Of Anger.
15.  Love relationships.
16.  Is your relationship stuck?
17.  Relationship rules.
18.  Conflict resolutions skills.
19.  Maturity is.
20.  12 Rules for living outside of the box.
21.  Personal growth.
22.  Anger, acceptance, forgiveness
23.  Do you act or react?
24.  Why do I keep having the same relationship problems?
25.  Fears and relationships
26.  Why Are You Treated The Way You Are?
27.  Personal Boundaries
28.  The Signs of a Troubled Relationship .. a personal check list of things to examine in yourself.
29.  Ten Compelling, Bottom-Line Questions to Answer Before You Launch Your Search for the Love of Your Life
30. Widen And Deepen Your Relationships...

Get to the Good Stuff  (yourself! )


31.  Emotional Self-Hostage: How to set yourself Free
32.  When relationships fail, you've got mail
33.  How Not To Be Led By Your Feelings ~ 4 personality types -- which one are you?  Does your choice of mate/lover/partner follow the predictible?
34.  Anger & Relationships - What You Need to Know
35.  As a Man Thinketh
36.  Tired of Relationship Break-ups?
               Then Marry YourSELF First
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Westwind  (eating disorder recovery centre)
Nov/Dec 2002
Volume #3, Issue #6
** NOTE: This is part of an article having to do with eating disorders. The explanations are so good that 'what' they are applied to, in this case, eating, doesn't  really matter. "Eating" can be replaced with drinking, physical  &  mental  abuse, gambling and so on...if not simply being unhappy in general. I hope the referrences to food won't be the stumbling block in the way of a better understanding of anger.
This article stresses the need for self examination of root of anger and how it is food, or any of the other ways we choose, is used in place of dealing with the emotional conflicts within us.
How many times has our own manifestation of anger cost us far more than it was worth. How high of a price did we pay by having to hold on to our anger in order to justify or make ourselves feel better?
There much to consider in this piece that may help to identify relationship problems with those who are important to us.
Anger is an emotion that wears many faces. It can be a difficult feeling to handle well all of the time. People deal with their anger in many different ways, some healthy and some not so healthy. Anger is a gift and can help us keep a balance between giving and taking in realtionships. A healthy relationship with anger consists of recognizing your anger, dealing with it and letting it go.
 In contrast, an anger problem is something that makes it difficult for you to handle your anger well. Some common examples of anger problems are stuffing anger, fearing anger or liking it too much.
Anger is a normal part of life. It often acts as a signal of another more serious
problem. Anger should be expressed in moderation without a loss of control. The goal of anger is to solve problems, not to vent on someone. Anger works best when it is stated in a clear and understandable way and then relinquished once the issue is resolved.
Screening invitations for anger is an important skill to develop. Each day provides us with many invitations to become angry. For example, you may be driving in your car when someone cuts you off. Maybe your boss cannot seem to stop criticizing you, or you have tried to phone your doctor three times this week and he has still not returned your call! You could choose to accept every invitation that comes your way, in which case you would be angry all the time. A healthy perspective of anger means to choose to ignore the less important invitations and separate serious situations from mere annoyance.
One style of expressing anger can be referred to as masked anger. Anger is masked when people do not recognize their anger or the severity of it. One way of doing this is to practice anger avoidance. Anger avoiders wear a mask to hide their anger from  others and from themselves. Sometimes anger avoiders are afraid of losing control of their anger, like a monster released
from its cage. Sometimes they fear not being liked. They have learned that being nice, calm and safe cannot go with anger. They are often not open to the warnings of a dangerous situation and as a result can get treated as a door mat.
Sneaky anger is another form of masked anger. The anger sneak also wears a mask, one of confusion, procrastination and laziness. Anger sneaks hide their anger by not doing what they are asked and keeping their resentment to themselves. They gain a sense of control over their life by frustrating others. However, anger sneaks lose track of their own wants and needs and spend their time being resentful of what others ask of them. This often leads to boredom, frustration and unsatisfying relationships.
Paranoid anger is a third form of masking anger. These people hide from their anger by giving it to others. They assume that others are angry with them when they themselves are angry. They often fear that others are looking to attack them and end up spending a lot of time jealously guarding and defending what they believe is theirs. Paranoid anger provides a guilt free way of feeling anger - it is disguised as self-protection. Unfortunately, paranoid anger has many costs. People with paranoid anger are insecure, alone because they trust no one, and confused between their own feelings and those of others.
A second style of expressing anger is explosive anger. This anger is quick, exaggerated and sometimes dangerous. Sudden anger is one form of explosive anger and is characterized by loss of control and quick rage. Like a surprise thunder storm that swoops in unexpectedly and leaves a mess that takes days to clean up. People who practice sudden anger gain a surge of power and a release of stored up feelings.
This kind of anger can leave damage that is regretted later, once it is too late to take back. Shame based anger, based on a poor self image, is also an  explosive form of anger. Shame prone people often feel suddenly attacked and lash out defensively in return. When someone ignores them or criticizes them, they take it as proof that the person disapproves of them as much as they disapprove of themselves. They avoid their own feelings of shame and inadequacy by shaming, criticizing and blaming others. The trouble is that they often end up attacking the people they love which causes them to feel worse about themselves.
Deliberate anger, another explosive anger form, occurs when someone  becomes intentionally angry to show that they will "go crazy" in their anger if they do not get what they want. This kind of anger is planned and purposeful. It lacks emotion, at least at first. They have learned that they can control others with threats and sometimes violence.
Addictive anger is used by people who seek the adrenaline rush that comes with an explosion of anger. For the anger addict, the rush provides them with intensity, excitement and a sense of power. Anger addicts do not learn other ways to feel good and become dependant on their anger.
The final style of anger expression is chronic anger. Those with a chronic  anger style stew in their anger for long periods of time and find it very difficult to break free from it. One form of this is habitual anger, where people have learned and formed a strong habit of anger. These people often become angry at small things that do not really bother them. They start their day grumpy, spend it looking for a fight, and end it even more grumpy. They struggle with ending their anger even though they are unhappy with it. The anger provides them with predictability and stability.
Moral anger, another form of chronic anger, locks people into endless crusades of justice. Those who practice this anger are confident in their righteousness and become angry when others disagree with them. They believe that their anger is for a greater cause and thus free themselves from the guilt of passing judgement on others. Their anger gives them a sense of superiority.
The last form of chronic anger is hate. Hate traps its members in an anger that will not easily release them. Hate is hardened anger which occurs when someone decides that another person is totally evil and unworthy of  forgiveness. It begins as an unresolved and resentful anger and can continue indefinitely. People who hate, convince themselves that they are innocent victims, and create a world of enemies to fight with vigor and enthusiasm. Hate keeps you from letting go and getting on with life.
Expressing anger well includes not using your anger as an excuse to give up responsibility for what you say and do. Ending anger well means to let it  go once it has served its purpose. It is easier to receive anger from someone when they are clear and specific about what behavior was upsetting to them, what feelings it stirred and exactly how they want the behaviour changed. For example, a mother might say to her teenage daughter, "When you came home past your curfew I felt worried and frustrated and I want you to phone me the next time you are going to be late."
We are often required to deal with anger in the moment. We all have signals that  alert us of anger feelings, and allow us to catch the anger when we are still in control. It is important to be aware of these signals. Some common anger signals include a flushed face, rapid heart beat or racing thoughts. It is sometimes beneficial to distance yourself from an angry situation for a moment to think about why you are becoming angry. "Am I being reasonable? Is it really this person or is it something inside of me that is overreacting to the situation? Is this worth getting upset over or can I practice being patient this time? Are there other  reasons the person could be acting this way?"
Sometimes people become angry when they confuse a goal and a desire. A goal is something that cannot be blocked by anyone but yourself. A desire is
something that you do not have the ability to control. Mowing your lawn by the end of the day is a great desire, but not a very good goal, because there are many possibilities that could block mowing the lawn like a rain storm or people dropping by. Anger often arises when we try to turn our desires from others into goals or expectations. For example, Billy might have a desire for his girlfriend Mary to phone him everyday and become angry when it does not happen. Sometimes anger comes as a result of past hurts. Often when we are hurt we  not want to forgive. Forgiving is not the same as forgetting.
Forgiveness is the path to healing the hurt, not because they deserve it, but because anger leads to bitterness, to rage and eventually poisons your life with constant thoughts of revenge. When we ask forgiveness of someone or offer forgiveness, it is  important to remember the difference between goals and desires. No one can control another person's response, but we can control what we choose to say and how we can benefit from the experience of forgiveness.
Potter-Efron, P., Potter-Efron, R. Letting go of Anger. New Harbinger
Publications, Inc: Oakland, Ca.
Excessive shame and guilt are common problems for individuals with eating disorders. There are many ways that inviduals may have been shamed as
children. Some examples include: physical or sexual abuse, when parents aim disapproval at the entire self of the child rather than at the behaviour, when a child loses trust in their parents due to inconsistency in caregiving or neglect, or when a child feels that they cannot live up to the expectations of their parents.
Shame is a feeling of being exposed and feeling self-conscious. When we feel shamed, we want to hide from the world. We want to escape the examination of self by a critical other. This critical other can be a significant other, or it can be a critical voice that we have internalized as our own internal judge. Shame is the feeling that the self does not live up to  the expectations of significant others.
Shame leads to feeling unworthy, bad and imperfect. It is often passed on through generations; parents with debilitating shame often create children with
debilitating shame. We have all experienced shame at some point in our lives. However, debilitating shame is a constant feeling of self-hatred. For people with debilitating shame, they do not make a mistake, they feel they are a mistake. Debilitatating shame is often covered up by one of two "masks". A person may deny and repress their shame and falsely appear egotistical. Alternatively, a person may work towards perfection as a way of  compensating for perceived personal defects.
Shame and guilt have often been confused and frequently the terms are used interchangeably. However, shame and guilt are actually very different concepts.
Guilt is feeling badly for one's behaviour, while shame is feeling that the self is bad. Common thoughts related to shame are: "I am bad. I am worthless. How stupid of me." While common thoughts related to guilt are: "How could I have done that? What can I do to make amends for my wrongdoing?"
As with shame, everyone experiences guilt from time to time. However, some individuals suffer from debilitating guilt. With normal guilt, one feels relief from the guilt after amends have been made or after being punished. Whereas with debilitating guilt, no matter what punishment is experienced or what amends are made, the individual does not experience relief from the feelings of guilt.
Some people try to deal with debilitating guilt by continually punishing or depriving the self. Of course, eating disorders are a prime example of the sort of self-deprivation that can be found with debilitating guilt.
Characteristics of Shame Found in Eating Disorders
1) Intense feelings of being inferior to others. Rather than feeling that one makes mistakes, feeling that one is a mistake.
2) Feeling extremely defensive when given negative feedback by others, even when this feedback is minor. With debilitating shame, there is no such thing as a minor mistake, it is all-or-nothing.
3) Constant apologizing and assuming responsibility for the actions of others.
4) Projecting one's beliefs about self onto others by engaging in "mind-reading" that is not in one's favour.
5) Feeling ugly, flawed and imperfect. This often leads to a focus on clothing and makeup as a way of trying to hide perceived flaws.
6) Feeling ashamed to express normal emotions such as joy, fear, anger and  sexuality.
7) Putting pressure on the self to do things perfectly or not at all. This can lead to procrastination and a fear of attempting new things.
8) Blocking feelings of shame through compulsive behaviours such as  shopping, substance abuse, list-making or gambling.
9) Having caseloads rather than friendships. This is a result of feeling that it is not acceptable to have needs, so instead one concentrates on meeting the
needs of others.
Middelton-Moz, J. (1990). Masters of
Disguise: Shame and Guilt. Health
Communication Incorporated: Deerfield
Beach, Florida.
Sometimes it is hard to tell if it is really your body that is physiologically craving foods, or if you are emotionally craving them.How do we tell the difference between a biological craving and an emotional craving? How do we know when to eat the food we're craving or to search for the emotion that needs to be dealt with? A biological craving doesn't go away, it is a physiological hunger that intensifies over time. Nothing will satisfy this type of craving except the craved food. While an emotional craving is not physiological, it does go away with time if you wait it out.
The craving does not generally intensify over time, but the emotion that you are mistaking for hunger does. Doing something to satisfy that emotional craving, to fulfill the real need of your body, will cause the craving to disappear. Biological food cravings can be satisfied with surprisingly small amounts of the craved food. When you satisfy these cravings you will be a happier person, when you don't  the cravings may become uncontrollable. When you deny yourself of your biological cravings, you will most likely crave the food even more. With denial, the percieved need becomes, for example, a pound of chocolate instead of a piece.
Often the foods we crave are the specific foods our body is lacking. Being aware of your physiological hunger signals will give you the ability to satisfy your cravings. Hunger signals such as growls, pangs, and a hollow feeling, come from your stomach to inform you that your body needs refueling. Hunger signals can also come from your brain in the form of fogginess, lack of concentration, headaches and fatigue. One way to distinguish what your cravings really are caused by is to follow the hunger scale which rates the different levels of hunger and fullness.
1. Extreme Hunger
• feelingings of weakness, lightheadedness, irritablity, or a constant focus on food, results from days of not eating
2. Very Hungry
• stomach growls, hollow, empty and almost in pain, may feel weak and lightheaded
3. Hungry
• beginning to feel stomach growls, and an emptiness, feeling like you need to eat soon
4. Slighty Hungry
• noticing that the stomach is empty, but not feeling any unpleasant feelings
5. Comfortable
• not thinking about or looking for food, feeling content, not hungry
6. Politely Satisfied
• a small amount of food can curb hunger to get rid of the empty feeling
7. Satisfied
• no longer wanting food, feeling satisfied that you've eaten enough physically and physiologically
8. Full
• stomach is not starting to feel distended, you don't want to take another mouthful
9. Uncomfortably Full • stomach now feels uncomfortable, you ate more than you   needed to feel satisfied
10. Extremely Full
• feel stuffed full, you ate too much and felt out of control
What Are You REALLY Craving?
Take a look at the hunger scale. If you feel you are at a 5 or above, you aren't hungry, which means your body and brain don't need anything; therefore, if you are still craving something, it is not biological, it is emotional. If you are at a 3 or 4 your body is telling you it is hungry, this is a biological craving. If you are at a 1 or 2, your body is overly hungry.
When differentiating between biological and emotional hunger, the awareness of mood is equally as important as the awareness of hunger. Hunger always preceeds biological food cravings, but not emotional cravings. You may be feeling sad, tired, anxious, stressed or angry if your body is biologically craving foods.
Satisfying this craving will make you feel better. You might also be feeling sad, tired, anxious, stressed or angry if you are expressing an emotional craving. But, after eating the craved food, you'll probably still feel that way because the emotional  need has not been met.
So, when you are craving a food, follow the hunger scale and ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?", "What am I feeling?", "Will food really help?" and "What do I really need?". For someone recovering from an eating disorder it is especially hard to identify hunger signals. It helps tremendously to adopt the method of mechanically eating three balanced meals, plus snacks, on a schedule every day.
Over a period of time you will once again be able to identify when you are hungry. So, once you've identified that you are truly physiologically hungry, go ahead and satisfy that craving with a small amount of the food you are craving, chances are your body needs it!
Waterhouse, D. (1995). Why Women Need
Chocolate. Hyperion: New York, New York.

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Real Men Keep Their Word

By Mr. Mafioso

A man, without his word, is nothing. You've no doubt heard this expression in a variety of ways and permutations (that's the word of the day boys, look it up), but you probably never gave it any thought. Well you should if you give a damn about being anything in this life.

Keeping your word in my world is a given (unless you want to be sleeping with the fishes). We quickly learn not to say we will deliver on something we know we can't, whether it's promising to pay someone back, keeping a secret secret , or saying we'll do a favor we won't follow through on.

But this isn't unique to my world. In the business world and in your personal life, the same rules apply. In the corporate world, you should never be in a situation where you've let someone down because you should never promise anything in the first place. It's a business, not a freaking charity.


If you are like me, you hate those cafones who wiggle around a question that puts them on the spot. Let's call them wigglers. You know the type of guy I'm talking about: you ask him something and he'll say, "I don't know, maybe, I'll find out, we'll see." The only thing this guy is going to see is my fist. It's either yes or no.

The same principle follows when you make a promise. When you say, "I promise" or "you have my word," it's a done deal. Period. You do as promised. That's it, that's all.

Only a stupid man would give his word or promise something he knows he can't deliver. The dumb wiggler who puts himself in this situation eventually has to lie and BS his way out of his promise to save face, but it's too late. In the eyes of the person he let down, his word means nothing now. It's like respect and trust; it takes a lifetime to get and it takes only one stupid move to lose it.

There was this clown in my neighborhood, Antoni, who thought he was a hotshot because he had a couple of scores that netted him some good cash. He had no talent though, just luck.

So he comes to see me one day, and says this and that, throws out these huge numbers on how he can make my business more profitable because he has so and so connections. I listen and tell him to get the ball rolling. Beyond that, I don't waste a blink thinking about what he promised. It's up to Johnny Lucky over here to prove he can deliver.

So months go by and this finocchio never speaks to me again. His luck had run out and all his connections "fell" into the East River. Not that I'm waiting for his call anyway, but he can't even face me to tell me that he was all talk, and no action. He may have had good intentions, but he got ahead of himself, and in the end he lost my respect. His word is useless to me now.

A year later, this babbo has the testicoli to come see me again wanting to do business with me, promising I'd be making a lot of money with him.


Needless to say, I made sure he'd think twice before coming to see me ever again.

Antoni made three mistakes..

So what was Antoni's downfall in his relationship with me? Three mistakes. First, he got ahead of himself and started saying things he shouldn't have. Second, he showed me no respect by not apologizing to me, and acting a year later like I had the memory of my nonna Maria. Third, he promised me he would make me money and he didn't deliver.

He shouldn't have said anything to me. He should have acted on his own, gotten some kind of solid confirmation of this new "business venture," and then approached me. That way, he wouldn't have disappointed me.

This is something most of you do, day in, day out. You promise things you can't follow through on. You throw around "I give you my word" like it was a cheap whore. Learn from Antoni; keep your mouth shut unless you know your promise is solid.


Here are a few more tips to remember:

Give your word when you mean it.
Like I said before, when you promise something, the other person must assume it's a done deal. Your word should be like currency. It's money in the bank for someone who is counting on it. That being said, you shouldn't dole it out over everything and anything, or it will lose its value. Because your word is like currency, you must give it only when the occasion is important enough to call for it. The person you are promising something to must be able to recognize that your promise has value . You don't give money out to every Tony, Dino and Nick do you? Why do the same with your word?

Admit when you can't do it
When you are faced with a situation where you are asked for something (whether it's a favor, a contact, doing some job), and you know you can't deliver, admit it. Tell them you don't believe in false promises. It's simple. Don't wiggle or skirt the issue. If, in the end, you can make good on whatever was asked of you, it will only make you look better in the eyes of the other person.

Fulfill your promise 100%
The first time you are asked for an important favor in which you must give your word, make sure you give it your 100% effort. First impressions count. I learn a lot from a man after I ask him for a favor. If he keeps his promise fully and completely without any hint of an excuse or hesitation, he has gained my respect. He set the tone properly from day one. So make sure you have the story straight on that first favor. You don't want to be calling back whoever you've made a promise to with questions two days later.

Never go back on your word
Even if you've been screwed over more times than a one-legged prostitute, you should never back down from your word. I don't care if you don't trust your own shadow. If you are in a situation where you have promised something, you do it. Period.

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 Whose Responsibility?
By Peter Shepherd
This time we move on to look at the issue of responsibility. This is often confusing. If I make a comment to someone - even though it was kindly and sincerely meant - and they get upset or take offense, is their upset my responsibility?

Take the example of a father who needs to tell his son it is time to go to bed, and no, he can't watch the rest of the film on TV, he needs to sleep and be up in time for school. The boy is angry and resentful and reluctantly goes to bed, feeling little love for me even though my action was based on my love and care for him.

There is a principle here: another's choices and creations (which includes their emotional responses) are their responsibility, not yours or anybody else's. In the same way that jealousy is less than love, since it resents the other's freedom to choose, to be themselves. This might seem like a cold or hard-hearted view but really it is based on love and respect for the other person's freedom.

So what is your responsibility? What if you do something wrong. Take this example: I promise my son to go to the circus with him, but then I'm too busy and don't have time to go, and he is understandably upset. For me, breaking my promise has been a wrong action on my part, and I would be responsible for it.

The conventional wisdom is that I have caused my son's grief. In truth however, it is my son who causes his grief, not me. But yes, it was still be a wrong action since I promised to take him to the circus and didn't. I am responsible for doing what I think is right, according to my ethical judgment. If I do something wrong according to my own ethics, I am responsible for that. I decided my work was more important than keeping my promise - in retrospect I may realize I made a mistake, apologize to my son and learn from that experience. I am not responsible for my son's reactions though, that is his determinism, his freedom, his life.

If you do something you think is right and someone gets upset about it, even if you could have predicted that, the upset is nevertheless that person's responsibility. And if you do something you know (or later realize) is wrong and another person is upset about that, their upset is similarly their own responsibility.

Another example: if you were to withhold doing personal development because your partner has said they do not want you to change in any way, perhaps because of their personal fears and insecurities, that is your choice. But if you consider making a better life for yourself is the ethical thing to do - for the benefit of yourself and ultimately for others too - and you tell your partner that and she gets upset, it is your partner who is responsible for the upset - it is her interpretation of your actions that creates her own upset, not your action in itself, which is a responsible action.

You can genuinely love someone whilst nevertheless doing something they don't like or agree with. You do it because you feel it is the right thing to do, though you still understand and have empathy for their different viewpoint (which causes their emotional reaction) which they have created by their own choices and belief system.

If one only did things others can easily accept then the status quo would never progress. That would truly be a trap. The solution here is better communication, leading to increased understanding of each other's viewpoint, and therefore acceptance of the differing personal realities.

There is a strong imprint in our culture to feel sad, guilty, etc. for painful emotions our actions may cause to others. There's a general misconception that you are your emotions. "I am angry" and "you make me angry". This is conditioning not truth. In terms of cause and effect, it's a viewpoint at effect. Some say that to be happy, only do what others can easily experience - it's the same lie.

The Church teaches "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you". I believe this IS true, as if you are being ethical - acting from integrity, being true to your self - then it's going to be OK for others to do the same to you. And if it isn't then you'd better re-think whether you are indeed doing the right thing. It is one definition of a 'wrong' action: that which you would not like another to do to you.

You are responsible for your choices, decisions and actions. For being true to your judgment. For communicating with honesty and integrity, developing and maintaining an open mind, and promoting understanding and empathy. For never compromising your freedoms and rights nor trampling on another's. For always acting from the primary motivation of love. That's all and quite enough.

Look at some experiences you have had and perhaps see them in a different light. Times when somebody was upset and you felt it was your fault. Separate the right and wrong actions you made from the interpretation the other made, based on which they were upset. If you made a mistake, learn from that - if their interpretation was faulty, realize that is their responsibility, their freedom.

Look at times when you were upset and you felt it was their fault. Realize that you created your emotional reaction, and that their actions were based on their own understanding (or misunderstanding) of the situation. If they were mistaken, forgive them.

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 "If Only. . ."
by Susie and Otto Collins

We don't know if birds do it or if bees do it but we do know that most of the people we've come in contact with do it. What we're talking about is the mantra of the modern era--"If only...."

"If only" is what most of us tend to focus on in all of our relationships. We tend to focus on the qualities that we don't like in others rather than the qualities that we do like. "If only he/she would listen to me." "If only we had a bigger house." "If only he would pick up his clothes." "If only I had a better job." "If only there was more passion in our relationship."

One of the biggest obstacles to having great relationships is focusing on what we don't like about someone else. In fact, it's not just in our relationships that we do this. It's in most of the areas of our lives.

One of the keys to creating great relationships requires you to change the way you look at life. It requires you to focus on what you like, love and admire about the people in your lives instead of what you don't like.

Otto's son Steven says he wants to improve his performance in little league baseball. The challenge with this is, Steven doesn't really have the desire to improve. He would prefer to spend his time watching his favorite shows on TV, playing with his Poke'mon cards or playing video games. What ends up happening is, Otto spends a lot of time trying to help him become a better baseball player by telling him "if only you'd do it this way you'd get better." Steven and Otto both usually end up frustrated.

Every time you find yourself saying those two little "If only..." words, this should serve as a reminder that you are wanting someone or some thing in your life to be different than it really is. You've heard us say before in this newsletter about how important it is to love others in your life wherever they are and not where you'd like them to be.

We suggest that if you find yourself saying "If only..." about a person or a situation in your life, stop yourself and focus on the good things about this person or situation.

The joy in life just gets sucked out of you if spend your time dwelling on past unhappy events, things you don't like, things you can't control and futurizing about negative events that haven't happened yet.

In life and in your relationships you have a choice. You can spend your time trying to get someone else to change and be more in alignment with what you want or you can find a way to love them where they are.

If it's not possible for you to love another person where he or she is, then you have another choice that only you can make.

This is also true of a job or any situation in your life. If you spend your time at work saying to yourself (if not out loud) "If only..." then I'd like my job-- then you are hoping for someone or some thing outside of your control to change or be different. In this situation, you are again faced with the same challenge. If you can affect change, do so. If you cannot, then your only option is to accept your employer and your job as it is or move on.

So we suggest that tomorrow you pay attention to the situations where you find yourself saying or thinking,"If only..." then write down what you appreciate about that person, job or relationship. Keep that list handy so that you can focus on the positives in your life instead of the negatives. This is gratitude in action and can change your life.
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"The Importance of Saying only what you mean!"
by Susie and Otto Collins

Several  years ago, we read "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz and we think it's a great resource for tearing up your past belief systems and starting over with more empowering ones.

The first agreement is "be impeccable with your word."  In other words, speak with integrity--saying only what you mean. We think this is really important in relationships of all kinds and especially in intimate ones.

If you aren't impeccable with your word, trust begins to erode within the relationship--and we're not just talking about the big stuff. Our belief is that there is no small stuff in relationships.

When Susie bought her new used Buick, the dealership couldn't find the remote control and an extra key. In fact they said that this model didn't come with one. A mechanic even looked at it and said that it wasn't wired for a remote. To Susie, a remote is a nice amenity but not a necessity. But--she'd had one with her previous car and this new car just didn't feel as nice because there was something missing. Trying to get to the bottom of the problem, Otto sat in the dealership and made the dealers look in the specs to see if a remote was standard equipment for this model or not. To make a long story short, Otto managed to get a remote for the car.

Because we were told that the car didn't have a remote and it through persistence found out it did, we have an issue with trust with that dealership. We'll put a question mark in front of anything they say from now on.

Isn't this the way it is in relationships? It's like Steven Covey's concept of the emotional bank account in "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."  Good deeds, kind words and following through on your agreements build deposits in your emotional bank account with another person. False statements, not following through on agreements create withdrawals in an emotional bank account in a relationship. The idea is that you must make many more deposits than withdrawals to keep the trust level high between
the two of you.

Being impeccable with your word means following through on what you say you're going to do. Susie asked Otto to use the weed eater the clear the weeds along the driveway this weekend and Otto said he would. Although this is a small matter, if he hadn't followed through and whacked the weeds when he said he would, some of the trust between
them would be eroded. When we don't follow through on what we say we're going to do on the small stuff, doubt creeps in about follow through on the "big stuff" too.

Being impeccable also means being conscious of what you say and the intention behind it. Have you ever said something that you really didn't mean? As soon as it left your mouth, you wished you could capture it and destroy it before anyone could hear it?

The challenge of being impeccable is to be aware of how you are feeling, watch what triggers you, and stay in the present moment without reacting from past unhealthy patterns and old family tapes.

This week as you go through your day, be very aware of what comes out of your mouth. Be very conscious of what promises you make and what you say to someone when your are emotionally triggered. Make a new agreement, as Don Miguel Ruiz says, to be impeccable with your word.
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by Harlan Jacobsen


Unfortunately, people seem to be unable to come apart until staying together is painful enough to motivate splitting. Fearful of being alone, most stay together for too long. "Trying harder" to stay together only makes a bad situation worse. They do a lot of emotional damage to each other before they get apart. A good percentage of marriages seem to end from a year to two years past their ending.


When you have been through a difficult, lengthy, prolonged agonizing, splitting process, it is like pulling off adhesive tape slowly.


This is more painful suddenly, like jerking off adhesive tape to the other partner, but you can then get on with building a new life. So you may be lucky, if your partner left quickly rather than if it had been a gradual, slow process. Some compare coming apart gradually to cutting off a dog's tail a little at a time so it won't hurt so much.


A general feeling of being inept or a failure at making a relationship (marriage) work. A feeling that 'if only' they had been better or tried harder, they could have made it work that there was something "wrong" with them or their spouse wouldn't have left. To top this off, the spouse, in trying to feel better themselves, tried to put the "blame" on their partner, helping convince them they were, indeed, defective.


It wasn't, and marriage now days averages 7 years. As a result of your erroneous expectations, you are probably going to do one of the following:

I. Be angry at your ex for not making it last forever--feel short changed and cheated by your ex.

2. Feel guilty or angry at yourself for not being able to make it last forever.

3.. Or alternate between the two..


If we are a woman that was raised before 1945, we expect to be successfully married as long as we are a good job of housekeeping, cooking meals and keeping his clothes ready. As long as we were doing those things we expected to be married forever, as that was the way we were brought up and trained as the requirements of being a good housewife. Now if you never kept the house clean, never had dinner ready, you could expect to get divorced. That's the way we were raised. So if you get divorced, now you feel you must have been inadequate.


If you are a man brought to adulthood before 1945, your expectations are that if you worked hard, were a good provider, brought home a check regularly, then you could expect to be married forever. If you got divorced, then your erroneous conclusion now is that you must somehow be lacking or deficient.


Now it is 90% affectional and 10% functional. When the affection is gone, the marriage is gone. In the past, the affection didn't last either, but you were so intertwined functionally to survive, you continued to love the person that helped you survive.

Now you can survive on your own nicely, so can they, though it may be a little scary proving to yourself you can survive and thrive on your own. It used to be if you lost your spouse (usually through death) you were in big trouble, and you had better hope that there was an insurance policy. You used to see movie scripts where one where one spouse was plotting to murder the other (not much divorce then) and collect on an insurance policy. That scenario is no longer believable.
In fact, they have been putting things in the spouse's soup for centuries.


Now forever is another 40 years, so at least one partner says, I do not want to spend 40 years more with this person. I want to do something else. They used to need you to survive, now they don't. So the fact things have changed means you must now realize relationships do not end because one person is defective.

They to ask, Whose fault was it? They rarely if ever ask that now. People now have begun to realize relationships end and it is no one's fault. The biggest fault is most people stay in relationships long after the relationship has ended. They are programmed that they are not supposed to end, that if only they 'try' harder they should be able to make the relationship last.


What was maybe years ago a good match up, no longer is. The apartment or home you lived in no longer meet your needs so you move. You outgrew or for one reason or another were ready for something else. The fact you moved did not mean there was something wrong with you.

When someone moves on from a relationship, that does not mean there is something wrong. Usually that's progress or a result of growth.

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 Expectations Exceed Performance
©  2000 Harlan L. Jacobsen

  • How to be unhappy, married or single

Marriage and love relationships used to be functional. Today they are "affectional". You used to love one another because you needed each other, and now you need each other only because and as long as you love each other.

  • You must learn that love and individuals both have their limitations.
The old myth that there is only one man or woman for you in your life has gone down the tube. If you are genuinely capable of love, you can love many times and many people.
  • Second marriages, for example, are often a much stronger love than the first marriage.

    The old myth that there was only one love for each person has brought much devastation to many people over the years.

  • The idea that if you just marry that certain someone it will cure all your problems is a very cruel hoax.

    The idea that all you have to do is find them and they will do the rest will get you nowhere

True love is a sort of form of prejudice.

You learn to love what is available, what is near, what you meet.
You feel you can only love that certain person you found, when in actuality there are ten thousand members of the opposite sex you would love even more if you ever met them, but, of course, you'll never meet them all.
  • You can certainly meet some other you can love more.

However, you have expectations which no one person is ever going to be able to fulfill - no matter how kind, understanding and loving an individual they turn out to be.

  • If your relationship does not deliver all the levels you expected, then the negative gap opens and degenerates, a gap that widens as you find that what you expected and what you actually see and feel are two different things.

You need to stop dreaming the impossible dream and having impossible expectations of utopia. Instead you wind up disillusioned, disappointed and crushed by the whole thing. You erroneously feel that your expectations were realistic, but you just had the wrong person.

  • This myth is very painful to give up. Reality intrudes.
  • The old fairytale where the magic mate appears at the last moment and solves all the problems and they live happily ever after just does not work out in actuality
  • This has all been reinforced now with TV commercials, advertising, movies, all, in fact, escapes from reality.

Singles now seek a partner as an embodiment of all their unrealistic fantasies. When the partner cannot live up to these unrealistic expectations, they part bitterly.
  • They each blame the other and the dreamers go back to their fairyland world, since they failed to change their lover into the imaginary person they expected.
  • You must not surrender your ability to feel and to act. If you surrender to the 'one and only' theory, you subordinate your will.
  • You lose touch with your real self because you are afraid if you act on your sentiments, you will, in fact, lose your "one and only."
  • You stop being your real self.

You need to develop self-assertion, self reliance, self­development and interest. A realistic lasting love is a " we" feeling.

  • You must learn that love and individuals both have their limitations.
  • To learn to realize the limitations takes real maturity on your part.

You must learn to love life, to learn to grow and change. When you learn to love life, to love growth and aliveness in general, love children, love ideas, and to love a man or woman, you find you can love many things and many times.

  • Love and love again; with mature, realistic "expectations".

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 Pain, Crisis and Evolution

So much of our behavior is habitual stuff, conditioned or learned behavior. We are conditioned from before our conception. We are conditioned in our mother’s womb. We are conditioned from our birth. We then learn our behavior without thinking. We have codes of conduct and behavior projected on us without even being aware that we are unconsciously performing to the expectations of others .. and reacting when our needs and expectations are not met.

Without even being aware of what is going on, we have been and we are, continuing to be unconsciously manipulated. We are supporting extras in a play of consciousness that has been written and directed by other people, society and the system. Mostly we are not the directors of that play.

Most of how we interrelate with others is a reaction .. as a consequence of deep ingrained unconscious and subconscious behavioral conditioning..
‘stuff’ that is laid on us.

· from the moment of our conception
· whilst we are growing in mother’s womb
· by what happens during our birthing process
· by genetic inheritance of the patterns of our ancestors
· by the expectations of family, peers, teachers
· by society role models while we are growing up
· throughout our lives every day as we seek acceptance for being alive.

Modern society has become the new, disguised jungle.

Man has been reduced, in his own eyes, from 'the semblance of God' to a progressive Darwinian ape, with no better incentives than those that an ape has learned, to use his hands and to read and write.

Our view of Man and existence has disintegrated Life into a sequence of dissociated experiences. It is the common belief that Man has no destiny any more, nor even a fate. For most, the purpose of Life has been lost, and Man spends all of his time here on Earth killing himself trying to avoid death. He is in the victim of society, the system and the law of accidents which he has created.

Consequently, a system of conscious and unconscious beliefs has been developed which sees that:

  • Love has degenerated, from the time of Freud onwards, to a cover-up myth for sexuality which has become nothing more than the psychological superstructure and justification for glandular processes.
  • Sex has lost its meaning from the sacred act of communion and procreation to become a tool, a weapon and an act of avoidance.
  • Work has been debunked from its once exalted view as a worship to the sacredness of life, to the point where it is considered a horrifying degrading enslavement by exploiters and a means of acquisition to satisfy self imposed needs. Lack of work has come to mean a lack of purpose and a social stigma.
  • Morality has been transformed from a sacred link between an external God and Man to a social convention system to be taken as a pretence in order that we shall adjust and conform to society structures.
  • Life therefore, is a drag through detested work, in which escape to pleasures, also without meaning, sometimes offers temporary relief, unless, of course, the pursuit of pleasure and leisure has become a competition, as is so often the case.
  • Loneliness is the fundamental mode of address of one Man to another, and emotional distance is his attitude towards everything end everybody else. Even in the company of others, the individual finds loneliness within his or her own self.
  • Death, finally, has become the total annihilation of all hopes fears and experiences, the point in time where Man finally comes to meet the nothingness in which he has lived all along. A pointless, accidental death is the end of the existence of a piece of flesh, a compound of chemicals in which all of its reactions and responses disintegrate with the chemicals comprising it. Yet the unconscious mind fears Death more than anything else.

We spend our lives killing ourselves in the pursuit
of a means of avoiding the death we fear most!

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 Your Common Sense

A Sense is an awareness through which Life and the external world is perceived and interpreted to give the individual a meaning for the experience.

How many times were we told as children "Use your Common Sense" - or "You don't have any Common Sense".

Well - what do those two statements mean to the child who hears them .. and also to the adult who uses the phrase?

  • As a child, you used your "Common Sense" but you did not have the words to understand how your were able to just "know" something - even when the words were not spoken.
  • As an adult, we know that there are the basic senses of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell. Of course, we have forgotten about the so-called "extra senses" unless we have become involved in some metaphysical pursuit.

Even taking the just the five normal senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and feeling, each one contributes to an overall perception of your experience in any inter-relationship between you and life. 

Each one of these senses is either pleasant to you or arouses some reaction. These reactions come from some unconscious memories - located in your body.

The common sense or awareness (in that part of the mind beyond the conscious thinking process) looks at the reactions to each of these senses and decides whether the "average" input from the senses (the Common Sense) is either a pleasant one or one that you will react against.

Your Common Sense is a Transpersonal Awareness - beyond any personality or mask that you (or others) may think you are.

( In some cases, there can be a Dominant Sense which can over-ride or bias the "Common Sense". Maybe it is a smell that you have been programmed into a complete aversion to - maybe it is a visual image - maybe it is ... )

- and -

All of this happens well before your thinking mind (which has the words to translate, interpret and "consciously understand" the experience) is even aware that the integral you (the whole of you that you see when you stand and look at yourself naked in the mirror) has well and truly summed up the situation and sent a series of programmed responses to every other part of the body except that part of you (what you call mind) that thinks it knows better.

This is called your reaction - and, because it has already happened before the mind is aware there was something to react to, there is very little that you can think that you can do about it.

- now -

If your awareness or common sense says "This person - because of the smell, taste, and the pitch of the voice coming with the words - is telling me lies", what is going to happen to the rest of your body (and its senses) if the mind decides that, for some reason, it is appropriate to believe this person and go against the "Common Sense" response?

When a person is not speaking with the conviction and integrity of the "Common Sense", there is no synergy behind the words and there is a hollowness to them. The linear thinking mind of the listener might like the words because they satisfy some need ..

- but -

Unless a person is speaking from the "Common Sense", the pitch of the voice, the smell given off from the body,  - even the body language - betrays the speaker's integrity.

As a child you were aware of this when your parents, peers and society used words to try to condition your thinking mind into believing that you didn't have any common sense.

Buried down under the repression of those same conditioned thoughts, you have the memory of all of your sensory stimuli and how they responded to what you were being taught to believe .. even to the point that some of the sensory organs became imprinted with non life-supportive responses ..

The five senses we sometimes begrudgingly admit to (when it suits us) are only the beginning of our awareness of life and the world around us .. and, consider for a moment, that the conditioning of these sensory perceptors started - for you, in this body - from the moment the sperm united with the egg in your mother's womb.

This provided the environment into which the seed (which has grown up to become you) was sown.

Thus, Common Sense is the governing awareness ..
the integration of all the individual sensory awareness's
through which Life and the external world
is given a meaning to the individual.

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 Thought - Feeling - Action

By Peter Shepherd

There is a simple model that I find useful to understand how the mind works. Briefly stated, it is our beliefs and considerations that drive emotions and resulting behavior. The thoughts that go through our mind in particular difficult circumstances may trigger an unpleasant or self-defeating emotional reaction, resulting in behavior that is not in one's best interest.

These thoughts derive from times when they seemed like the best solution to trying circumstances, and they may be an agreement with a dominant, authoritative or persuasive force, or derive from the conclusion to an episode in our life of success or failure. If the original circumstances were unpleasant and become painful to think about, the accompanying thoughts, decisions and purposes become suppressed too, but continue to operate subconsciously.

When brought to light, it is apparent that the thoughts are affecting current life unnecessarily. The over-generalization, exaggeration, negativity, false assumption or intolerance frequently does not stand up to rational inspection. In personal development we can learn to become aware of these thoughts and to examine them objectively. We can be more conscious of the present moment, and so act (rather than react) in a way that is more emotionally intelligent.

To "be in the moment" means to observe consciously right now, rather than being stuck in our thoughts, which are linked to time: past memories and future expectations.

The route to the beliefs is to recognize the situation or circumstance that triggers unwanted feelings and subsequent behavior, then see what the underlying thoughts are that drive that reaction. Most often these are fleeting and subconscious, since they are associated with painful experiences or because they have long been installed in the mind as seemingly safe solutions to the situations of life and have therefore become taken for granted - 'built in' as part of one's identity. Normally you can't see what you are being.

Finding the underlying thought pattern is therefore crucial to resolving our problematic reactions, and when it is seen in the light of an objective view this is a great relief, because the decision - and the beliefs surrounding it - can normally be changed quite readily.

The way it works is this: As a result of an experience, a person makes a decision or intention for the future, such as "men are selfish bastards, I can't trust them" which becomes part of their belief system. Because the experience was painful it is suppressed, along with the accompanying decision, but both remain in the mind and continue to have influence. When the past experience is re-stimulated by similar circumstances in the present, the old decision is utilized. The tape replays subconsciously. The decision may have seemed relevant and appropriate to the original circumstances but it is probably not appropriate now - it is therefore irrational and somewhat stupid, i.e. it may contain an assumption or generalization that causes intolerance or negativity. The current situation is interpreted according to these old beliefs and fixed ideas - we hold onto them because they we feel they serve us - and so the person creates unpleasant emotions (sadness, fear, antagonism, anger, etc), which then drive him or her to behave in an inappropriate and self-defeating way; rather than the appropriate and self-empowering way that a rational and objective interpretation would encourage.

You are not responsible for everything that happens to you (although often you may contribute to it.) But you are responsible for how you react to these events, how you experience them and move on from there. Your reaction has three facets:

  • A mental reaction, how you interpret the situation, which is often a replay of old stuff you've attached to as part of your identity.
  • An emotional reaction which results from your interpretation, so you feel happy, angry, sad, or frustrated.
  • And a behavioral reaction: based on your feelings you act in a certain way, such as jumping for joy, getting away as soon as possible, or punching the other guy's nose.
It might seem that the circumstances caused your emotional reaction, or even that it caused your behavior. So, if your girlfriend criticizes your manners, you might get angry and leave the restaurant. Later, you may feel that your girlfriend made you angry or that you had to leave the restaurant because of her. But really it was your belief that no one has a right to question your rightness, such as the way you eat with your mouth open. "That's rude and intolerable."

So you created your own reaction with what you told yourself. It may have been instant and below the level of your consciousness but there was your voice inside telling you these things. Actually, though, you did have other choices. You could have actually listened and understood her viewpoint - you would then still have a girlfriend and have learned something useful. And your girlfriend would have renewed respect and love for you.

Your inner voice can talk you into a lot of trouble or it can create a positive outlook that changes your life experience. The secret is to stay in the moment, to stay conscious, and spot your voice when it is replaying old tapes and talking nonsense, when it is being intolerant, exaggerating or over-reacting.

You are made of love; when your thoughts are judgmental and resisting what is, then you can recognize that is not the real you. So my advice is: if it's not love, STOP, gather yourself in the moment and reconsider.

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  Life Skills are the skills to change your life so that YOU are able to dream, determine, incubate, create and direct your own meaning from life - free from the attachments and co-dependencies of the past.

Life Skills

Responsibility is a measure of your ability to respond. It is only by taking personal responsibility for yourself that you can create change.

Life Skills are not about some mythological "Spirituality" or some hypothetical outcome or some goal that can be realized. There isn't one.

The Skills for Getting Real with your Life

What you experience today, you either consciously or unconsciously dreamed, determined, incubated, created and directed yesterday and all of the yesterdays before that.

But then - who was the you that set this process in motion. Who was the eye ( I ) that saw and the I that interpreted and experienced. Who was the I that judged. Each of these is a separate personality.

Life Skills to create Meaning and Purpose for your life

What you will experience tomorrow depends on how you (whichever personality mask you happen to be wearing at the moment) both consciously and unconsciously process all of the sensory inputs you receive today. This is the mastery of Reality Creation, the true meaning of Enlightenment, Self Realization, Personal Growth, Spiritual Development  ..

Broken Hearts and Lives

The Skills to find meaning from life cannot come from a fragmented personality. The fragmented personality cannot focus, cannot dream, cannot determine, cannot incubate, cannot create and cannot direct.

The " I " you think you are is a leaderless community in conflict - within itself and with all other communities. The personalities of your inner community cannot even work towards a common goal.

Pause for a moment .. and reflect on you, as you, now, stand naked and transparent looking at your self in the mirror. If you could see inside of yourself what would you see .. what are the parts of you that you don't want to look at .. ?

Then, let me ask you one simple question .. ?

What are the organs or organ groups of your body that are involved in each of the functions of dreaming, determining, incubating, creating and directing .. what memories do these organ groups hold which shape their personalities .. ?

I will give 2 clues here - the Heart has nothing to do with any of these things, yet, depends on all of these things for its survival - and Mind, the last to know depends on the Heart for its survival.

True gentleness can only be built on a firm foundation .. Life Skills

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Who's in control of your life?Part 37

copyright 1996 by Harlan Jacobsen


Up until now you have probably been looking around, taking applications for someone who wants the job of making you happy. If you found someone interested, they either don't do a very good job of making you happy, or just when they seem to be getting good at it, quit and move on to something else.


You should not be expecting to be good at it initially, if up until now you had little experience in "doing it yourself." You need to watch what you say to yourself because you are still telling your big computer that others control you.


That your happiness still is controlled by someone else is programmed into you. Saying instead that, "I feel angry when my ex calls" is programming your big computer that you have control and you decide. Extreme care in what you hear yourself saying is important to program yourself correctly, that you have control of your happiness and well being.


You had somebody who worried about you and your welfare. Getting divorced leaves you — often for the first time — with nobody who worries or cares what you do or don't do. That's scary.


You fear that maybe you'll become too independent and you'll never allow or need anyone again. You fear you will be incompetent, and never succeed in life by yourself because you have never had any experience and track record of successes on your own.

Your ex may have threatened that you'll never make it by yourself. The solution—run out and find somebody, anybody. Even Jack the Ripper will do.


That is growing up. Growing up is painful. Nobody wants to grow up. Growing up is forced on you. You will as a result of your divorce, grow up more emotionally and in taking responsibility for your own outlook, emotions, and physical well being, than any similar period of your life.


I can make it by myself. When I get to where I am totally in control, self-sufficient and happy on my own and take total responsibility for my life succeeding, then I can move on and add significant people of the opposite sex to my life.


If you are still dependent on someone else, then they can do it to you. They can wipe you out by leaving or control you by threatening to leave. Your happiness will be dependent on them. You will have demands that they will have to fill to make you happy. They may decide that as a result of your excessive demands they do not or no longer want the job. You will say they are "all alike". They pretend they want the job of making me happy but when it comes right down to it, they leave. They are all defective. I am looking for one that isn't defective.


Therefore we caution over and over—develop friends and relationships but no earth-shattering, committed relationships until you get your own act together.

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 How Does Character Affect My Relationships?
By Joel Orr

Our character is formed by the choices we repeatedly make, and by the choices we determine not to repeat.

I like the old Russian saying: “A fool learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” I also like the definition of insanity I once heard: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over—and expecting different results each time.

But let’s face it: We don’t all start out in life with parents who have a clear view of how to help us develop good character. They may have meant well, but for the most part they were “winging it.”

So we enter into life with characters that are unevenly developed. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Life will supply us with the lessons we need to strengthen the weak areas of our character.

The biggest asset we can have in facing these challenges is a clear realization that building character is the purpose of human life. We are working at it every moment of our existence here, and it’s the only thing we take with us when we leave.

So, if we live consciously, recognizing that the core of our purpose in life is to build and refine our own character through the way we treat ourselves and others, we can avoid the insanity trap of doing the same mistaken things over and over while expecting things to change.

All these things apply to women as well as to men. But men usually have the greater hurdles to get over in order to resist letting their character slump.

Just as a potential Olympic champion must continually strive to exceed his own best, and needs good coaching to do it, so a man needs to strive to exceed his own best, and needs good coaching to do it.

The model I've adopted and advocated is this: Every man is born a Hero, and every wife is his natural coach. (My book, "Every Man a Hero, Every Woman a Coach," develops this fully.)

In marriage, one of the main jobs of the Coach is to help the Hero build his character by showing him that he is making the same mistakes over and over, and that there are alternatives that will give him more of what he wants.

That’s what every good coach does for their hero, but it is a difficult job. No one wants to be told they can do better. But getting this coaching is part of the Hero’s quest.

Some growth and improvement will happen in the course of overcoming challenges, but the character-building process can be accelerated by becoming conscious of it.

Character has something in common with the weather: Everyone talks about it, but few people do anything about it. So my goal in this section is to focus your attention on what you can do in the realm of character improvement with the help of wisdom capsules in the form of quotations.

Face it: If you are not entirely happy with your life, you need to change something. Waiting for change while doing the “same ol’ same ol’” is futile.

The most important self-improvement project in your life—it runs in parallel with everything else you do, have done, or will do—is the purposeful construction of your character.

William James, in a talk to teachers on “Habit,” said, “We are stereotyped creatures, imitators and copiers of our past selves. What we become is not the result of a single act, but of the cumulative decisions and actions of our lives.”

Beryl Markham, 20th-century English adventurer and author, wrote, “If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.”

Jenny Craig, of weight-loss fame, said it well: “It’s not what you do once in a while; it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.”

The word “character” comes from a root word that means, “engraving tool.” That’s why the (Random House) dictionary definition of “character” is: “The aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person or thing; moral or ethical quality; qualities of honesty, fortitude, etc.; integrity; reputation.”

Of course, one can develop a bad character. But that’s no accident either.

From the point of view of physics, qualities of character—good and bad—are highly organized; they are not arbitrary arrangements of traits. They do not occur spontaneously or accidentally; they are found only in those who repeatedly choose to act in certain ways, and not to act in other ways.

No designer expects to produce a great design without a plan; in fact, “plan” and “design” have similar meanings. To produce great character, in yourself or in others, you must have a plan.

Philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “A character is a completely fashioned will.” To develop good character, we work on our will. We exercise it according to our choices, and we are responsible for the outcome.

Our life is like driving a car. If we close our eyes and take our hands off the steering wheel, we are still responsible for where the car goes—and will bear the consequences of our choices. And be aware of your motives. President Woodrow Wilson offered this caution:

"If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself. Character is a by-product, and any man who devotes himself to its cultivation in his own case will become a selfish prig."

This is why most wifely coaching consists of reminding a man to do his duty to others. As he does this, his character develops beauty and strength with minimum effort.

That is why—in our nation’s earlier history, when character was more universally taught, understood, and worked on—it was a common saying, “Behind every great man stands a good woman.” In our more cynical age, that became the humorous, “Behind every great man stands a surprised mother-in-law.” But if the man is truly great, the mother-in-law will not be surprised; she will know her daughter coached him to greatness.

There’s a Chinese saying about thoughts, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.”

Character development begins with your thought life. Thoughts do not just “happen” to you; they are under your control. Identify the thoughts you want to think, and refuse to entertain others. When negative thoughts pop up, have a set of memorized antidote thoughts—your chosen beliefs, an encouraging song, or a recounting of your blessings—to which you can turn your attention. After a while turning from negativity and ugliness becomes automatic.

By taking control of your thoughts, you ultimately control the formation of your character. Tryon Edwards (great-grandson of Jonathan Edwards, the well-known New England preacher of Colonial times) expressed it neatly, “Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.”

Men: You already know what good character is; you know it when you see it. Few will contest that it includes honesty, promise-keeping, integrity (that is, having all your thoughts, words, and deeds bear the same message, even when no one’s looking or listening), loyalty, virtue, and love.

Do these words describe your character? If not, where are you falling short? If you examine yourself, you’ll find you have wrong habits in that area. To improve your character, isolate those habits, and plan to change them. Then enlist help: Your Coach will be your greatest aid.

Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” You have the power to change your life.

* * * - Dr. Joel Orr, "The Marriage Fixer," has counseled married couples for over 25 years. Joel's most recent book is "Every Man a Hero, Every Woman a Coach"
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Letting Go Of Anger

Duang Dow Tavee

Anger is the emotional response we have to something that is obstructive to our pursuit of happiness or threatens our way of living. This basic human reaction can be expressed in a variety of different ways depending on the individual and situation. At one extreme, anger is mild irritation at missing a stoplight or getting stuck in a long line at the store. It expressed as a look of disapproval or perhaps a swear word under the breath, but the emotion is limited to the situation itself and ends within a matter of minutes.

If the anger is held within for a prolonged period of time and tension is allowed to build in the manner of a pressure cooker, an emotional explosion can occur at the smallest stimulus. This can sometimes lead to the other extreme of anger, which is the state of rage. This is the most dangerous type of anger as it often results in a total loss of self-control. The physical manifestations of rage are readily apparent to the observer. The face hardens becoming unrecognizable, the voice changes, and a barrage of verbal thrashings is unleashed upon the object of anger. Worse yet is when the anger is directed at the innocent - friends, family members, or people just in the vicinity. The loss of self awareness can easily lead to acts of violence out of hatred and vengeance. All forms of reasoning completely disappear and the desire to destroy and inflict pain is overwhelming, driving some to commit murder.

By now, we've all heard the news stories about violence in the workplace by disgruntled postal workers, stock brokers, and computer programmers. Driven by anger at the government, the world, and life in general, they open fire on their fellow co-workers taking out as many people as they can before doing themselves in. This level of violence has now extended into the schoolyards with students killing teachers and their fellow classmates. The perils of anger have become readily apparent to all of society.

Where does all this anger come from? Much of it stems from patterns of behavior formed in childhood. The pattern of anger belonging to the spoiled child who rants and raves when he does not get his way carries over into adulthood and becomes a habit unchanged by time. This is the simplest pattern of anger to recognize as we have all felt this to some degree when our needs and desires are not met. In many cases, it may actually originate in the adult who was not spoiled as a child but through wealth and power acquired later in life becomes accustomed to getting whatever he wants. The respect and admiration he receives for his position of power or material possessions constantly feed his ego, and he becomes arrogant and easily annoyed if someone does not treat him in the manner he is used to.

A more complex pattern is seen in children who lack self-esteem due to a number of reasons including physical or mental abuse, emotional trauma, or excessive control by their parents. The loss of self-confidence and a sense of autonomy result in a vulnerability to criticism from others and themselves. As they get older, the vulnerability turns into anger and paranoia with anything that could potentially reflect poorly on them. Their own negative self-image becomes magnified with the mere thought that someone else may think of them in a similar light. Although these thoughts are often self-generated and may not hold any truth at all, they will go to all costs to prevent themselves from being perceived in a negative manner. Rather than taking responsibility for their actions and thinking things through when a problem arises, they use anger as a defense mechanism to protect their fragile self-esteem. The anger is then directed at the problem itself or projected onto those around them. These people have a low threshold for becoming angry and appear to be perpetually stressed.

All actions have consequences including those that take place in the setting of anger A simple argument between two people may appear to be a benign display of anger, but it can aetua1ly have quite serious repercussions. Not too long ago, a college student and his friend were arguing in a dorm room and began throwing things at one other. The college student inadvertently threw a stone out the window and hit a boy who just happened to be passing by outside. The boy was rushed to the emergency room, but died shortly after his arrival After a police investigation, the college student was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He is now in prison for something that had started out so trivial but ended in the lass of human life

Tragedy is nothing new in the face of anger especially when it evolves into rage All sense of right and wrong is lost and the human being becomes capable of anything. One example is a true story that took place 20 years ago about a single mother of three small children living in the slums of New York City. Because of her social and financial situation, the young mother was easily irritable and frequently let her temper loose on the children. One day, she became irate with her two-year-old daughter and struck her down to the floor while the other children were locked in another room. The little girl was never seen again, but the other two children were so afraid of their mother's temper that they didn't dare to question her. The two children, a boy and a girl grew up in fear and when old enough moved out as quickly as they could. The man eventually married and had his own daughter. When she turned two, he began to think of his mother and brought his family back to New York to visit his childhood home. They were greeted by his mother at the door who suddenly became infuriated at seeing her small grandchild and started yelling at her.

The man took his child away for her protection but returned once again to find out what was going on with his mother. Neighbors said she had been become a recluse and talked only to herself, although she often complained to the landlord about a crying baby that constantly kept her up at all hours of the night. There, of course, was no such baby in the neighborhood. The man became suspicious and began to put two and two together regarding the mysterious disappearance of his baby sister so many years ago and his mother's odd behavior. A search warrant was obtained and when police broke into the house they found the corpse of a young girl stuffed in a suitcase in the mother's closet. She had been wrapped up in a plastic bag full of newspapers and mothballs. The mother finally confessed that she had knocked her daughter unconscious that day out of sheer rage when she had actually just meant to spank her. When she saw that the girl had stopped breathing, she panicked and hid her daughter's body away for the last twenty years. She, too, was carted off to prison where she will likely spend the rest of her days. As this example demonstrates, the dire consequences of anger are boundless.

A new type of anger that many of us have experienced at one time or another has been described in the media as "road rage". Surprisingly, the extent to which a person becomes angry is completely out of proportion to the degree of lapse in driving etiquette that provoked it. Imagine how quickly and intensely furious you become when someone suddenly cuts you off in the middle of the road. For most people, the feeling is transient and relevant only at that particular point in time. But in that split second when you are forced to brake or yield to some madman in front of you, your thoughts are, to put it lightly, less than pure. Although road rage is usually self-limited, it may prove to be more dangerous than the typical evolution into rage because of its everyday occurrence and social acceptance as part of the commuting experience. Less than a year ago, a cab driver was found not guilty after shooting a man in self-defense over a driving mishap. The man, who had been driving a minivan with his entire family in the car, was cut off by the cab driver in heavy traffic. Outraged, the man got out of his minivan in the middle of the standstill traffic and started to pound on the windshield of the cab, breaking some of the glass The cab driver felt his life was in danger, pulled out a gun and shot the man right there in front of his wife and children who could only watch in horror. Again, this is an extreme case but an important one nonetheless that illustrates, how destructive anger can be.

The less extreme cases of anger that we experience day-to-day still manage to take its toll on us both physically and emotionally. Headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, and generalized body tension commonly accompany such an emotional endeavor. And after you have experienced a bout of anger, you'll note that you become mentally exhausted and are unable to think clearly for a while. Certainly what we experience is less dramatic than the stories described above, but given the fact that those people were seemingly normal everyday citizens, consider what would happen if you should reach your breaking point. Anger eats at us little by little each time we give in to it. It deprives of us peace and calm. And though the fast heart rate, elevated blood pressure, clenched teeth, and hateful thoughts appear to be. limited in time and space, the emotional scar that remains is permanent.

It is one thing to intellectualize about the deleterious effects that anger may have on us, but it is another thing altogether to try and overcome it. Also important is learning how to deal with the anger of others, especially those who are close to you. But before you can help others you must first learn to help yourself. Begin by examining the nature of anger. Whenever something in our lives doesn't go as planned or is not to our liking, we recognize this as an adversity or a threat to our concept of the self. We then allow ourselves to become angry at its presence and proceed to express our displeasure in various ways. Now it is important to understand that the anger generated against the stimulus or event is not a fresh and spontaneous emotion that came out of nowhere. Rather, it is the accumulation of previous episodes of anger that has been stored away, only to be drawn out again with appropriate stimuli as a sort of pre-programmed response. It can be likened to a can of gasoline that you carry with you, just waiting for a spark to ignite it.

Once you start to understand the process of anger, you may learn how to control it at each step through meditation and mindfulness. The practice of meditation in which the mind becomes focused and calm decreases emotional tension. It brings peace and patience, which will raise your threshold for anger. Also, it can reduce the intensity of the auger after it is stimulated. Mindfulness cultivates vigilance of passing emotions, so that you may catch the sparks of anger before you get caught up in the fire of your overwhelming emotions. With full awareness of the mind, you will be able to retain self-control and hold back from that pre-programmed response you'd normally have. Mindfulness also brings wisdom, which is integral in truly understanding the nature of anger, why we react the way we do, and how to overcome it. With time, the anger will slowly fade from your heart and you will be at peace with all things.

Despite superficially understanding or acknowledging the visible effects of anger, some people continue to allow their anger get the best of them thinking it fulfills some emotional need. They feel that it is appropriate to show others how angry they can become so that others will change in response to their specific needs. These people lack a true understanding of what they are doing to others and themselves. This is where insight and wisdom play an important role. To refrain from anger and do away with it completely, you must have the insight and wisdom to understand fundamental concepts about life.

First, know and understand the concept of karma, the law of cause and effect. For every action in this universe, there is an equal and opposite reaction, which means that there is a reason for everything that happens to us. It is likely beyond our plane of understanding to try and figure out the how and why of every single event in our lives, as the concept of karma is extremely complicated and encompasses the actions of thousands of lifetimes. The point is that you shouldn't waste time and energy obsessing about why things happen to you and how unfair life is. Just accept the reality, do your best to resolve the issue, and move on.

Second, know and understand the concept of death. The Buddha once asked his student Ananda, "How many times a day do you think of death?" Ananda replied, " little more than ten times." The Buddha then told him, "You should think about death with every breath you take." Death is something that we take for granted; most of us feel we don't even need to think about death until we're old and ready to die. But the truth is we could die anytime or anyplace. It's a difficult thing to grasp and accept, especially when you are relatively young and in good health. However, there are some people who know this truth firsthand through a near-death experience or terminal disease. These people are able to accept their mortality and understand how precious life is. When they see that their time here is limited, they start living each day to its fullest potential. Anger for them as it should be for all of us is just a big waste of time and energy.

Finally, be compassionate and learn how to forgive. All wrongful actions are born out of ignorance and misunderstanding. This is true even of the most vile, evil, intentional act committed against another human being. If a person in their right mind truly knew and understood the consequences of their actions, they would not choose to do it again. Most crimes are committed by people out of fear, ignorance, or anger at their past or at the world. Although they may appear to get away with they did, they will in time receive their just punishment according to the law of karma. Again, the law of karma is quite complex and indirect; it is not for you to judge. Instead cultivate compassion towards a1l living beings and learn how to forgive others so that you can free your own heart from the chains of anger.

While you are trying to control your own anger, you also need to learn how to deal with the anger of others. The first thing you require is patience and a lot of it. For those who are close to you also give love and compassion. Most importantly, don't become angry with your loved ones when they are angry. If you feel you are not yet strong enough to handle their anger with love and compassion and patience, then the best thing for you to do is walk away. Otherwise, it is extremely difficulty to keep your own emotions in check while someone else's is out of control. If your mind is not strong enough, your attempts at pacification will fail and your patience will run thin. You will begin to be irritated or annoyed and may tell them to stop being angry. In their state of mind, they of course are unable to listen to reason and an argument will surely ensue. You in turn become defensive and now you are angry. At this point, it doesn't even matter who wins the argument, because both of you have lost control of your emotions; it's a lose-lose situation.

Again, you must learn to help yourself before you can help others through meditation and mindfulness. These are keys in helping you remain calm and patient when youe around someone who is visibly angry. They also provide you with the insight to handle the situation appropriately. It is difficult enough to deal with your own anger, but sometimes it is even harder to deal with someone else's emotions. The first thing you should do is to scope out the situation carefully. Get a feel for the emotional state of the other person before you say anything. Then choose your words wisely; be encouraging and nonjudgmental. Ask the person what his opinion is on the matter before offering your own advice, and try to make this as normal a conversation as possible. If the other person starts to become irritated or angrier, then just back off and wait before responding to him. If however, he starts to lighten up, then gently make some suggestions or introduce your own ideas. Also, try to make it look like it was his idea to begin with so that he feels he is making his own decision. Slowly, there should be a change in his demeanor and he should begin to calm down. The anger will subside and then resolve. Obviously, this takes an extraordinary amount of patience and kindness. If you're not quite there yet, then just watch your own thoughts and emotions throughout the ordeal and keep your mind in balance.

In summary, don't wait until it's too late to control your anger. Many of us regret our words and actions that took place during a heated argument or intense situation We wish later that we could take it all back, but the damage has been done We have already hurt someone, and usually it's someone we love. There are many things throughout our day that could certainly make us angry That is why it is so important to be mindful of your thoughts and emotions at all times. Also, don't try to change anyone but yourself You are the only one who is responsible for your own emotional health. And don't judge or criticize others No one is perfect, including you. Just focus on catching your own thoughts and reactions before they catch you. Look deep within and try to find out the true reason behind your anger. The practice of meditation and mindfulness are paramount to your success in finding true peace, true happiness. Let go of all the anger in your heart and you shall be free.

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 Love relationships

There are many different types of relationships that connect people, it can be business relations, friendly relations, relative relations, neighbour relations and etc. The love relationships are the most complicated, most troublesome and most pleasant ones.

Different people pass a longer or a shorter way from the beginning to the end of love. Every couple would like that they are the unique ones, and of cause the love relationships between different people are very different too but still couple has something in common. and people who have had a few lasting relationships would agree with that.

Everything starts when a man and a woman get interested in each other, they fall in love, start seeing each other. Every new romantic date brings something new and exciting, they learn more and more about each other, but still see mostly positive side and don't pay much attention to the flows of each other. With every single meeting they fall more and more one into another, call every hour just to say how are you. Their souls are filled with the strongest and brightest emotions, their eyes see the world in the pink colour, their mind is blacked out. By that first time love gives them the wings to fly, the strength to do very crazy things and the will to conquer the world and to lay at the feet of their lover.

This happy and charming period beginning of love relationships has been inspiring poets, painters and other artists to create their best works. By this time the most gloomy sceptics turn into dreamer and romantics.

Some people even get married in this period. And many of these marriages are rather happy because by this time lovers listen only to their hearts and intuition and yet don't let  mind with it's logic and blurred ideals, parents, friends and etc get in the way. The only thing lovers know than is that they want to fall asleep in the arms of each over and the first thing they want to in the morning is the faces of one another.

After a while the euphoria calms down, the feelings still stay deep but much more calm and stable. Lovers take off the pink ribbon from the eyes and start seeing each other as they are for real. And if the intuition and heart hasn't deceased them they still like what they see although the picture is a little bit different and not so flawless.

Lovers turn to be not only the best and the only one for another but they become the real friends trustful and understanding, the first they can turn to in any trouble, always ready to listen and to help. By the way not very many couples have that real friendship and more over that faithfulness. People having short and light love affairs usually understand them as some kind of entertainment and let their partner only into some small part of their lives. But when speaking of  love relationships in which the true deep feelings are involved the situation is quiet different.

The stable and happy relationships of this period can last for a few years. Most people get married or start living together by that time and if they do this love relationships can become than one true love of a life. If something gets in the way and it doesn't happen or people still continue only going out with each other – the relations slowly start to fade.

The sparkles of the initial feeling between them become more and more rare, they don't work on the relationships anymore, thinking this comfortable state will last forever. Lovers don't find it necessary to show and prove their feelings over and over again staying sure that everything possible is already said and done. They become more and more lazy in their love, another interests and even people start playing the main role in their lives. It all takes time, this situation develops little by little. And them one day you one partner finds out that he/she's too tired to go out on a date this evening. Love isn't gone yet but no one expects anything surprises or wonder from it so one more evening without the partner won't change anything. And once of  the lovers will raise the head and suddenly see that there's nothing left to call love.

This is what can be said in general about the way the love relationships go (mind that it all doesn't refer to the relationships based on sexual attraction, obsession or any self-interest; it's all about the way love goes). Every couple has something special about them but still there are some problems, questions and choices that neither of them can avoid.
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Bruce Derman, Ph.D.

Your relationship has hit a wall. Both of you want it to work, but you're caught up in a seemingly never ending roller coaster of blame and counterattacks. You only have eyes for the other's faults, and if you can't alter this view you are going to end up as another divorce statistic.

This scenario results when couples unconsciously play the "difference" game. The game is played anytime the partners are using their differences to prove one of them is better or less than the other. This pursuit is the one common link for all intimate relationships that are in trouble, chaotic, or stuck.

Some of the scenarios that couples attempt to prove are: "I am more emotionally developed." This is accomplished by one partner pointing out that the other is on a constant emotional seesaw, while they pose as the stable one.

"I am more open." They explain that their partner won't share anything about his or her life, so that they feel shut out or ignored.

"I am the problem." This results when the partner ties one's lack of sexual interest to the presence of a deep seated problem.

Other favorite phrases include:

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I am more committed
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I am more misunderstood
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I am hurt more

The purpose of playing the Difference Game is to protect each partner from moving beyond their safe comfort zone and risking some unknown and unacceptable feeling, thought, or image. The answer to the ranking of the difference game and its distancing effects is learning to develop a mutual attitude toward yourself and your partner. This perception allows you to see the equality that is at the core of your relationship. It is the real bond that exists between the two of you. An intimate connection can only occur between equals, where there is a deep recognition that we are:

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equally hurt
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equally frightened
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equally powerful and powerless

To support this attitude, the mutual process shows you how to:

yellow arrow see beneath the differences
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yellow arrow realize that your capacity for love and intimacy is equal

The task of sustaining this attitude with your partners is not an easy one. It is essential that you no longer get seduced into believing hierarchical statements, such as: "he's a controlling person," "she's manipulative," "he's a selfish person," or, "she plays games." On the level playing field of mutuality there is a recognition that we all are controlling, manipulative, selfish, and play games. The only difference is in the style in which we choose to do it.

The core of the mutual attitude is permission and acceptance. The permission to express and accept the integrity, without exception, of all one's thoughts, feelings, and images is central to this approach.

This includes permission to feel:

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The more of your human nature that you can accept, the more you can be that much less frightened, defensive, or hidden. You then have a greater capacity to experience your fullest passion.

However, you need to remember that for all of us who are used to playing within the safe confines of the difference game, mutuality is an experience we are not accustomed to. The mutual path, although risky, does offer its sense of acceptance, respect, and integrity of the loving connection we all long for.

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PT's Relationship Rules

Provided by Psychology Today

Human beings crave intimacy, need to love and be loved. Yet people have much trouble doing so.

It's clear from the many letters I get that lots of folks have no idea what a healthy relationship even looks like. So I'm using this space as an attempt to remedy the problem.

From many sources and many experts, I have culled some basic rules of relationships. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it's a start. Print them out and pin them up on your refrigerator door.

Choose a partner wisely and well. We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. They remind us of someone from our past. They shower us with gifts and make us feel important. Evaluate a potential partner as you would a friend; look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, their relationships with others.

Know your partner's beliefs about relationships. Different people have different and often conflicting beliefs about relationships. You don't want to fall in love with someone who expects lots of dishonesty in relationships; they'll create it where it doesn't exist.

Don't confuse sex with love. Especially in the beginning of a relationship, attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love.

Know your needs and speak up for them clearly. A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people, men as well as women, fear stating their needs and, as a result, camouflage them. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unstated) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader.

View yourselves as a team, which means you are two unique individuals bringing different perspectives and strengths. That, according to relationship expert Diane Sollee, M.S.W., director of SmartMarriages, an international effort to teach relationship skills to couples, is the value of a team-your differences.

Know how to respect and manage differences; it's the key to success in a relationship. Disagreements don't sink relationships. Name-calling does. Learn how to handle the negative feelings that are the unavoidable byproduct of the differences between two people. Stonewalling or avoiding conflicts is NOT managing them.

If you don't understand or like something your partner is doing, ask about it and why he or she is doing it. Talk and explore, don't assume.

Solve problems as they arise. Don't let resentments simmer. Most of what goes wrong in relationships can be traced to hurt feelings, leading partners to erect defenses against one another and to become strangers. Or enemies.

Learn to negotiate. Modern relationships no longer rely on roles cast by the culture. Couples create their own roles, so that virtually every act requires negotiation. It works best when good will prevails. Because people's needs are fluid and change over time, and life's demands change too, good relationships are negotiated and renegotiated all the time.

Listen, truly listen, to your partner's concerns and complaints without judgment. Much of the time, just having someone listen is all we need. It opens the door to confiding. And empathy is crucial. Look at things from your partner's perspective as well as your own.

Work hard at maintaining closeness. Closeness doesn't happen by itself. In its absence, people drift apart and are susceptible to affairs. A good relationship isn't an end goal; it's a lifelong process maintained through regular attention.

Take a long-range view. A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you're both on the same path. Update your dreams regularly.

Never underestimate the power of good grooming.

Sex is good. Pillow talk is better. Sex is easy, intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, confiding concerns, fears, sadnesses as well as hopes and dreams.

Never go to sleep angry. Try a little tenderness.

Apologize, apologize, apologize. Anyone can make a mistake. Repair attempts are crucial-highly predictive of marital happiness. They can be clumsy or funny, even sarcastic-but willingness to make up after an argument is central to every happy marriage.

Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one's needs is an invitation to unhappiness for both partners. We're all dependent to a degree-on friends, mentors, spouses-and men have just as many dependency needs as women.

Maintain self-respect and self-esteem. It's easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work-paid or volunteer-has long been one of the most important ways to exercise and fortify a sense of self.

Enrich your relationship by bringing into it new interests from outside the relationship. The more passions in life that you have and share, the richer your relationship will be. It is unrealistic to expect one person to meet all of your needs in life.

Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate. Share responsibilities. Relationships work ONLY when they are two-way streets, with much give and take.

Stay open to spontaneity.

Maintain your energy. Stay healthy.

Recognize that all relationships have their ups and downs and do not ride at a continuous high all the time. No relationship is perfect all the time. Working together through the hard times will make the relationship stronger.

Make good sense of a bad relationship by examining it as a reflection of your beliefs about yourself. Don't just run away from a bad relationship; you'll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what part of you is creating this relationship. Change yourself before you change your relationship.

Understand that love is not an absolute, not a limited commodity that you're in of or out of. Says Sollee: It's a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. If you learn new ways to interact, the feelings can come flowing back, often stronger than before.

By: Hara Marano
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Conflict Resolution Skills

by Kristin Feenstra

Oops. The other day I had a bit of a falling out with my good friend Alissa. I told a guy she liked about a conversation we shared, not knowing she would be so offended by it.

After my disagreement with Alissa, I realized that I had some decisions to make as to how I was going to deal with this conflict.

Yes, I had over-stepped my boundaries. No, I didn't want to lose my three-year friendship with Alissa over a comment I made to the guy she liked.

So now what? In my mind, the options were to let her go in hopes the problem would go away or to try to talk it out with her. I decided to attempt the confrontation.

Conflict. It's a fact of life. It's a fact in friendships. You develop a friendship with someone, and conflict is sure to occur.

Many superficial friendships end up being shelved after an argument because there isn't enough depth to warrant all the trouble it takes to smooth over the disagreement. Unfortunately, even when the friendship reaches a deeper level, conflict continues to happen and can break apart a relationship.

Here are some some ideas I have found effective in dealing with conflicts in friendships:

  • First and foremost, talk the situation over soon after it occurs. And do it soon!

    From my experience, people begin to talk about what happened even sooner afterwards.

    Good, step in the right direction, right? Well, not always… particularly when the talking isn't with the person involved, but with other friends or acquaintances. People begin to pick sides. The gossip circulates and all of a sudden, friends become enemies. Suddenly everyone is mad at everyone else.

    So, be sure to talk with the person with whom you are upset without the interference of people who aren't really involved.
  • Resolve it the day it happens. One rule my parents follow in their marriage is that they don't go to bed angry with each other. They always attempt to resolve things the day it happens so that in the morning, it's a fresh start with no past grudges.

    I've found I need a short cool down period of a couple of minutes so that I don't act in anger, so I can act with a more rational mind instead. For some, counting to one hundred before saying anything, may be an option.

    Whatever you do, don't let things ride for too long.
  • Even when you don't see eye to eye, agree to disagree. Tell them that while you may not agree with what they're saying, you still value their friendship.

    Try to see the other person's perspective. Sometimes if you sit down and talk things over, you begin to see where the other person is coming from. Realize that everyone has been created differently with various talents, abilities and personality traits. For example, you might be a leader while your friend is more of a follower. You may be frustrated with him or her for not being very decisive. Yet it is important to understand that no matter what your quirks, each person is still unique and needs to be appreciated.
  • Here's a tough one - initiate resolution. Be the first person in a fight to say sorry for your part.

    Even when you think the other person is wrong, it's not a bad thing to say "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I'm sorry if I offended you in that way."

    If you're honest, genuine, and gentle in delivering your words, there's a good chance your friend will reciprocate positively. Use feeling words as no one can argue with your feelings. For example, "When you do this, you make me feel silly."

  • Focus on the bigger picture. Successfully facing and working through the discomfort of conflict in a friendship has a worthwhile reward: a deeper relationship.

  • Don't accuse by using the word, "you."

  • Be sensitive. Try to offer solutions when appropriate, but know when to listen. Don't underestimate the importance of a listening ear.
  • Most important, be loving in what you do. Don't go out to "get" the other person, but try to focus on peacefully resolving the disagreement.

Resolving conflict in any friendship is not the most pleasant task, but it is worth the hassle for the result on the other end is a deeper friendship.

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 Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or destruction. Maturity is patience, the willingness to pass up immediate pleasure in favor of the long-term gain. Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of opposition and discouraging setbacks. Maturity is unselfishness - responding to the needs of others, often at the expense on one's own desires and wishes. Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse. Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say "I was wrong." And, when right, the mature person need not say, "I told you so." Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities, then doing nothing. Maturity means dependability, keeping one's word, coming through in the crisis. The immature are masters of the alibi - confused and disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions which never materialize. Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change.
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1.  Always be willing to think for yourself.

2.  Never live your life based on the uninformed or
negative opinions of others.

3.  Always be open to new ideas.

4.  Associate with other people who think for themselves and are successful in life.

5.  If you find yourself "going along with the crowd,"
always ask yourself where the crowd is going.

6.  Make the decision to believe in yourself, no matter what.

7.  Frequently ask yourself the question, "Am I thinking inside the box, or outside the box?

8.  Be willing to take responsibility for your own choices and your own actions.

9.  Set goals and stick to them.  Don't let other people
deter you or hold you back.

10. Don't be afraid to be different.  Most of life's
greatest accomplishments are achieved by people who break the mold.

11. Never be negative yourself.  There is a lot of good in yourself and in the world around you.  Practice seeing the good.

12. Enjoy your choices and enjoy what you do.  Never let a day go by without being thankful for the fact that you get to be here in the first place.

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Personal Growth
by Tigress Luv

Personal Growth? Is it achievable?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

But unfortunately we, and we alone, often stand in our way of personal growth. We deny, avoid, blame, hide, and postpone our way to happiness.

Stop denying!

Quit denying that you have a problem. Don't hide your problem in alcohol or drugs, or fake a smile. Don't think that your mild depression is simply because the weather is gloomy, or your car needs tires.

The funny thing about denial is when it sees itself, it denies it. By denying that you have a real problem - or issues that need to be corrected and dealt with - you are essentially being self-protective, taking a defensive action to avoid admitting that you are not perfect.

It is in this stage that we often feel 'anger' towards another person. If we can successfully abolish our own shortcomings and blame it all on somebody else then we have denied having a problem, and we can deny that we are the ones that need fixing and that our issues are the ones that need solving.

Sometimes we do admit we have a problem, but either place the blame for the problem on somebody else, "I wouldn't be so controlling if they weren't so distancing," or we pretend helplessness to fixing our problems and bettering ourselves. We tell ourselves things like, "I can't change my neediness because I am just not intelligent enough to be self-sufficient", "I tried to take better care of myself once but my lifestyle is just too hectic and I need to smoke/drink to relax", or "I really want to find happiness but how can I be happy when he/she refuses to change their ways?" We have mistakenly blamed others for our unhappiness, or taken a defeatist and helpless attitude towards improving or changing ourselves. We become self-righteous, pointing the blame at circumstances, outside influences, or helplessly being without options. When people are stuck in this self-righteous stage they are at the most unhappiest point in their life. As long as they are blaming circumstances, or others, for their unhappiness then their unhappiness will continue and they will never learn that it is up to them to change - not up to the world to change.

Another problem is when we encounter both acceptance and responsibility, but postpone doing anything about it. "Yes, I know I am insecure, but until I lose weight I can't feel good about myself and I just am too busy now to start a diet. I'll wait until after the holidays." Although postponing some of our problems to be dealt with at a later date can stop us from becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, it is not good to get stuck in the procrastination stage. We just keep postponing and postponing personal happiness.

By breaking up our goals for personal growth and self-improvement into smaller steps they are more easily accomplished. Instead of saying I have to lose forty pounds, which can seem overwhelming, say to yourself. "My goal is to lose 5 pounds this month." Or, instead of saying I have to quit this nowhere job and get a better one, say to yourself, "I think I'll take a few night courses in business management. That should be fun and enlightening." Small changes, baby steps, and reachable goals are much more easily attained and administered than overwhelming, consuming jobs. When we catastrophize our problems they seem consuming and unapproachable.

Resolving to let go of our issues is a huge step in improving our overall health and happiness. To let go of an issue means to stop denying and acknowledge that it does exist; to stop blaming others for it; to stop postponing facing it; to stop catastrophizing; and to accept it, justify it, and then let it go. "Yes, I do have insecurities but that is because as a child I was abandoned/rejected by my father/mother. Of course that would make one grow up to feel inferior! But right now I am going to let my insecurities go because I am a worthy human being. I give my parent's rejection back to him/her and totally accept myself. I forgive myself for my shortcomings and I forgive those who I believe have caused me pain. After all, we are just humans and human's make mistakes."

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anger, acceptance, and forgiveness....
my thoughts by Tigress Luv

Hi everyone. Someone recently wrote me an email inquiring about the difference between anger, acceptance, and forgiveness. I am sorry I didn't get back to them, but recently had some personal problems that prevented me from answering my emails. So I apologize for my lapse in response time.

I believe it is so possible to find forgiveness, BOTH (key word) for yourself and for your ex. You are both human, and humans make mistakes. Right? You messed up, your ex messed up. So what! Are we not all far from perfect entities? Yes, you can find forgiveness, but forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean that what you are saying is that it was 'okay' that they hurt you/cheated on you/beat you - or whatever. It is just saying that you forgive them for 'whatever' because they are only human and humans make mistakes. What most distinguishes us from other animals are - unfortunately - greed, lust, pride, and the uncanny ability to reason and rationalize everything we do to satisfy our wants (often mistaken as needs)...hence, we are only human and human's make mistakes. So, yes, it is very possible to find forgiveness to someone who has wronged you, and for yourself, too...without saying that what they did (or you did) is 'okay'.

Secondly, it is very hard to find forgiveness without first finding acceptance. Acceptance is in realizing that you and others have the 'right' to be who they are, and to want what they want. Even if it goes against your wishes, wants, and desires - they still have the right to pursue their own course in their own life. Peace comes when you accept that they have the right to do just that.

But, now anger - anger has a way of growing in you like a demon and undermining all your well-meaning efforts to forgive and accept - and move on. Anger is usually the first emotional expression of grief. It simply means you are grieving a situation's or person's control over you. If you experience a loss through death you may get angry at God for stealing control over your desire to keep the loved one with you. If you experienced a divorce because of infidelity you may get angry for your lack of control over the situation. Anger is a perfectly normal, acceptable, and welcomed part of the grieving process. It would be absolutely ridiculous to believe you shouldn't be angry about a failed relationship. You worked hard at your relationship, gave it so much time, accepted it into your life as a very special part of it.

Sometimes, when we feel consumed by anger that seems to be centered at someone else, it really is misdirected anger at ourselves. Such as the woman who is angry at her abusive husband. Could it be misdirected anger at herself for not finding the strength, willpower, and courage to cut free of him? Could she be angry at herself for allowing him to steal her dignity and self-esteem? These are angry emotions that can be misdirected to another source. They don't benefit you at all. They don't incite you into action, or release injustices. They just burn hate into your very heart and soul, consuming your inner peace and joy.

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Do You Act Or React?

I walked with my friend, a Quaker, to the news stand the other night, and he bought a paper, thanking the newsie politely. The newsie didn't even acknowledge it.

"A sullen fellow, isn't he?", I asked.

"Oh, he's that way every night", shrugged my friend.

"Then why do you continue to be so polite to him?", I asked.

"Why not?", inquired my friend. "Why should I let him decide how I'm going to act?"

As I thought about this incident later, it occurred to me that the important word was "act". My friend acts towards people; most of us react toward them.

He has a sense of inner balance which is lacking in most of us - he knows who he is, what he stands for, how he should behave. He refuses to return incivility, because then he would no longer be in command of his own conduct.

When we are enjoined in the Bible to return good for evil, we look upon this as a moral injunction -- which it is. But it is also a psychological prescription for our emotional health.

Nobody is unhappier than the perpetual reactor. His center of emotional gravity is not rooted within himself, where it belongs, but in the world outside him.

His spiritual temperature is always being raised or lowered by the social climate around him, and he is a mere creature at the mercy of these elements.

Praises give him a feeling of euphoria, which is fasle, because it does not last and it does not come from self-approval. Criticism depresses him more than it should, because it confirms his own secretly shaky opinion of himself. Snubs hurt him, and the merest suspicion of unpopularity in any quarter rouses him to bitterness.

A serenity of spirit cannot be achieved until we become the masters of our own action and attitudes. To let another determine whether we shall be rude or gracious, elated or depressed, is to relinquish control over our own personalities, which is ultimately all we possess. The only true possession is self-possession.

Author Unknown

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Why Do I Keep Having the Same Relationship Problems?

Many people are baffled when they find themselves experiencing the same type of relationship problems, over and over again, with different partners or the same partner. They often conclude that it's the partner that is the problem, and feel victimized by the ubiquity of this issue. We, however, have a different stance on this, one that emphasizes personal responsibility. And one that is best exemplified by the the 1993 Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. While many see this movie as another mindless, goofy Bill Murray movie, there is a deep, profound message here, for relationships in particular and life in general. On the surface, Murray plays a jaded weatherman who is forced to relive the same Groundhog Day over and over and over again until he learns how to truly love. Each morning he awakens to the horror that his life has not changed at all, that he is forced to repeat the same day over yet again, with the same small-town people he despises saying the same things and doing the same things they always do. No matter what he tries to do, even killing himself, every morning he is back in the exact same situation. There is no escape from his daily living nightmare. Without anyone to talk to who understands what he is going through, Murray engages in a very slow process of trial and error. He has all eternity to practice in, so he tries just about everything in an effort to get to another day.
Without realizing it, many people find themselves in Murray's situation, as they find themselves always waking up to the same type of intimate relationship, over and over again, year after year, regardless of who they are with. For some unknown reason, every partner they have ever been with doesn't quite have what it takes to give them the love they truly desire. Every relationship ultimately ends up in the same stale place, missing something essential, or repeating a unhealthy pattern of distance, unavailability, neglect or even abuse.
The lesson of Groundhog Day is that nothing will change in our lives until we change from the inside out. Our lives are a perpetual treadmill of opportunities for learning, constantly coming our way, again and again, until we heed the call and shift our attitudes, perceptions, feelings and/or behavior. As long as Murray used, manipulated and lied to people, to gratify his own ego and for his own selfish, condescending amusement, he kept getting the same results. It was only when he began to cultivate and act with genuine compassion, empathy and love for others that he got a different result. When he stopped blaming and feeling victimized by his situation and took responsibility for the fact that this was partially his own creation, it finally shifted.
So if you feel stuck on an endless treadmill of unfulfilling relationships, or no relationships at all, look inside for the answers. Who and what are you attracting into your life? What gratification do you get from reliving these behaviors and feelings over and over again? What needs to shift inside of you before you start getting a different result? What lesson have you not learned yet? What keeps coming up again and again in every relationship, or every attempt at trying to start a relationship? What is the universe trying so hard to tell you, that you just don't understand?
Like Murray, we have all of eternity to learn our lessons. We can bring our dysfunctional patterns from day to day, from relationship to relationship, or even from life to life, if we need to. But for many of us, there comes a point when the pain, frustration, loneliness or dissatisfaction cracks through our denial and defenses, and we realize that we are the ones who must change.
Many of us cannot see our own blind spots in relationships, and need the guidance of others to help us through the darkness. Fortunately, when we are ready to learn, to listen, and to discover the truth about ourselves and our relationships, we have many more options than Bill Murray's eternal trial and error. We can start right now with humility, remembering the wisdom of Suzuki Roshi, who said, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's there are few." Admit that you are an "expert" at some dysfunctional relationship pattern that you may not even realize you are creating, so certain are you that it comes from someone else. By invoking your beginner's mind, with a genuine curiosity and wonder about yourself and your relationship patterns, you open up the possibility of new ideas, new learnings, new responsibilities, new attitudes and new behaviors entering into your consciousness, your relationships and your life. And like Bill Murray, there will come a day when you awaken to a different song on the radio and a different song in your heart. Only then can you experience a higher level of fulfillment, and begin to understand the next opportunity for learning which is patiently waiting for you, whenever you are ready to receive the call. 
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** How many masks do you wear?  PDPJ

Fears and Relationships

In our work with singles and couples, we often hear people express great excitement at the prospect of creating a healthy, alive, loving intimate relationship. With tremendous enthusiasm and sincerity they proclaim, ''I am willing to do ANYTHING it takes to have a great relationship!'' They speak fondly of their visions of close, happy, loving moments with that one special partner, sharing all aspects of themselves and their lives with their true soul mate. And then they embark on that most intimate of journeys, the journey of love, which always starts within ourselves.

When we seek genuine intimate connection with another, sooner or later we come face-to-face with who we really are. We can hide from ourselves, our friends, our families and even our therapists and spiritual teachers, but ultimately we cannot hide from the One that we share intimate space with. This is a great blessing (which often feels like a curse!) because it helps us to grow in ways we would never choose to do on our own. All of us have parts that would rather stay in their cocoons and hide. So when the magic of love penetrates the soft underbelly beneath our defenses, we may feel incredibly alive, but also vulnerable and exposed in ways we have not let ourselves feel for a very long time. This can feel exhilarating, yet also terrifying.

These experiences of feeling scared or even terrified are not what our egos had in mind when we set out to experience a great loving relationship. These are the moments when we remember that phrase we read in some book or heard at that workshop: all of life comes down to a choice between fear and love. Yet we may feel lost and confused. When I'm scared like this, what IS the choice for love? Self-protection can seem like a pretty loving choice at these times.

If we have not learned how to create a safe, sacred space to express and work through these feelings, fear wins out, and we automatically don our masks of fear. Instead of dealing directly with our fears, we act them out indirectly. We shut down like a turtle pulling in its head. We put on several layers of new armor. If we're single, suddenly we are too busy to date; if we're in a relationship, we're too busy for our partner. After months of flexible schedules, we now have to work overtime four days a week. Or we find ourselves getting angry, annoyed, frustrated with the slightest inconvenience. Or we erupt in a rage, surprised at the strength of our feelings. Or we find ourselves turning to old ways of numbing, be it food, chemicals, a new lover, computers, work or any other way which keeps us out of touch with what is really going on in our hearts and guts. The masks of fear become so transparent that we can also quickly slip into blame. I did say I would do ANYTHING to make this work but that certainly didn't mean hanging out in fear, insecurity, sadness, anger or despair. That wasn't part of the deal at all. My life is about bliss, love, expansive consciousness and pure light pouring out of my heart. YOU must be bringing this energy into my life!

And when our masks of fear appear when we are in relationship, our partner is often angry or confused. Don't you love me anymore? What about our dreams? What about last week? Why can't I reach you anymore? And then out of self-protection, THEIR masks of fear will emerge, creating a distant relationship where true connection is impossible.

These are the moments that make or break a relationship. If we are unable or unwilling to take off our masks and tell ourselves and our partners what is really going on, our relationship will stagnate or end. We can blame it all on our partners' shortcoming and perhaps even feel sorry for them and all of their problems. We can smugly walk away and remind ourselves that there really aren't many people as together as we are, and perhaps loneliness is the price we must pay for being so exceptional.

If, however, we choose love instead of fear, responsibility over victimhood, and humility and truth over ego and distortion, a wonderful opportunity for healing ourselves as well as our relationship can occur. When we truly feel safe enough to allow our most vulnerable feelings to be shared, miracles can happen. Walls can come tumbling down and years of pain can be released.

What masks of fear are you wearing today, that are keeping you more distant and less connected to those in your life? Are you choosing fear or love with yourself and with your partner? By creating and attracting into your life enough resources to help you feel safe, you can start to take those masks off. Learn to ask for what you need, and how you need it. Trust your own intuition and connection to your Higher Power to decide if a person or situation or group is capable of providing the safety you need.

In consciously choosing love over our personal masks of fear, we truly honor the deepest meaning of our intimate connections and fulfill their highest potential. By willingly traversing the murky, shadowy aspects of our personal unfinished business, we invite our partner to do the same and ultimately allow a greater vision of love, intimacy and harmony to manifest in our lives and in the world.
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Why Are You Treated The Way You Are?

by Tony Schirtzinger; ACSW, CICSW


Ninety-Five Percent Of The Time, We Get Treated The Way We INVITE People To Treat Us.


Everything we do, especially our non-verbal behavior, is an invitation to those around us. A smile is an invitation. So is a frown. So is a sad face, an angry face, or a serious face. Body posture is also an invitation.


The next time you are in a large office or a social gathering, just be an observer. Look around and ask yourself: "How is this person inviting people to treat them?" Then ask yourself another question: "Does this person actually get treated the way they are inviting us to treat them?" About 95% of the time the answer will be "Yes."


Once you've observed others and learned their invitations, you can look at yourself. Unfortunately, simply "observing" your own behavior won't work well. (This is because most of our invitations are out of our awareness.)

How To Learn About Yourself:
To learn about yourself, answer this question: "How do most people treat me most of the time?" Come up with three or four adjectives which describe how you are usually treated. This is what you INVITE from other people!


Take responsibility for your own invitations. Ask yourself: "How would I treat someone like me?" Then admit that you invite what you get, and that you can learn and change.


Be proud of how well you take care of yourself socially. And be confident that you will always be this way!


Look at the negative adjectives on your list. Decide to start inviting the opposites of these negative adjectives. Then learn by trial and error. Start by setting clear goals such as: "Today I'll get Sam to be more respectful of my ideas." Or, "By the end of the month I'll get Georgia to say that I seem different." Notice what works and what doesn't work. An automatic "snowball effect" will take over. After a few weeks or months, things will be improved and your new invitations will become as automatic as the old ones were.

While you are experimenting be proud of yourself for taking responsibility, for being willing to learn, and for being gutsy enough to experiment.


The more important the situation is, the harder it will be for you to change. (It's harder to change your invitations in a marriage than it is at an office party.) Don't let this stop you. If you know that eventually you want to improve your invitations with your lover (or your parents or your kids) but this seems too difficult right now, make changes in easier situations first! This gives you the practice and the feedback you'll need to succeed.


Any changes we make in our invitations must be genuine or they won't work. Changing our beliefs, about ourselves and about other people, may also be needed.

If you believe you must be "sweet" or "nice" you invite being used. If you believe you are in a scary situation, you invite distrust and fearfulness. If you believe you are incompetent, you invite others to be critical of you. If you believe you are superior, you invite others to "knock you down a peg or two." If you believe in having fun, you invite playfulness. If you believe you and others are competent, you invite productivity.


It's easier to blame others for how we are treated than it is to take responsibility for our invitations and make changes. But blaming doesn't work, and changing our invitations does.

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Personal Boundaries


by Tony Schirtzinger; ACSW, CICSW


The concept of "boundaries" relates to our sense of self.

At birth and for a long while after, a baby has no real sense of who they are.

When we see a baby in their mother's arms, we see two people - the child and the mother. But the baby notices no difference, no division, no boundary between themselves and their mother.

A newborn is "one" with their mother.
As life goes on, the child notices where their skin ends and their mother's skin begins. This is our first "boundary," and the beginning of our "sense of self."

When our boundaries are crossed we are naturally furious at the invasion because we know we could lose our sense of who we are.


Obviously, if a mother doesn't hold her child enough and is unable to bond with them, boundary problems and problems related to sense of self will abound.

But things can go wrong in later childhood and in adult life too.

When they do, it is usually either because someone treats us like they OWN us or, paradoxically, like they DISOWN us.


The worst example of being owned is physical or sexual abuse. People who treat us in these ways are insisting that they own our very bodies.

We can also lose our sense of self in less severe but more constant ways. Some people never hear anything from their parents or partners except orders and complaints. "Do this!" "Do that!" "You didn't do that well enough!"

Constant exposure to such treatment can shatter boundaries and the sense of self.


Paradoxically, being treated like we are not there can also cause boundary and self problems.

Beware of anyone who is so preoccupied with their own ego and their own life that you sometimes wonder if they even know you are there. This can kill your sense of self too.


The saddest thing about boundary problems is that the people who have them can feel "too close" (afraid they'll lose themselves), and "too far" (very lonely), but they can seldom feel safely in between or "connected" with others.


People whose boundaries are weak also tend to violate the boundaries of others.

If you don't know that you have boundaries that must be respected, then you also don't know that other people have boundaries you must respect.


First of all, people with these problems should get therapy. This is too difficult for you to do completely on your own.


1. Learn to identify even the most subtle ways you violate the boundaries of others. Become excellent at noticing when people "back away," emotionally and physically. When they do, you can be pretty sure you have just crossed their boundaries.

2. Once you become accustomed to noticing the boundaries of others, begin to notice that you have many of the same boundaries yourself!

3. Learn how to object whenever any of your boundaries are crossed, even in the smallest ways and even by people with the kindest intentions.

4. Test various ways to of telling people when they cross your boundaries. Allow yourself to make mistakes while you learn (by sounding either too angry or too nice). Experiment. Notice what works and what doesn't. With close friends who might understand, you might even tell them that you are learning about protecting yourself (so they can understand why you are acting differently toward them).

5. Keep reminding yourself: "People need my permission before they cross my boundaries!"

6. Remind yourself also: "Nobody should ever help me unless I ask them to!"

If people have constantly crossed your boundaries, it may seem unfair to say that you have to stop crossing their boundaries first. It IS unfair!

But if you've been taking such treatment for many years the sad truth is you may not even know what boundaries you are entitled to have! And the best way to learn this is to focus on the boundaries of the people around you.

As you catch yourself violating the boundaries of others, don't pick on yourself. Remember, you are just now beginning to learn about all of this.

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Are you in love? honest with yourself.....

Usually if you ask yourself 'am I in love?' it means you're not, because when you've fallen in love you already have no questions, this feeling is to obvious to leave any doubts. So it's more reasonable to count the consequences of it than to look for the signs.

You can't stop thinking of your object, he/she stays on your mind when you're working, spending time with friends, jogging in the morning or relaxing in evening. The vision of your object is haunting your mind like a ghost and it never works when you tell yourself not to think of him or her. You remember all the time spent together, every single word, gesture and look.

Lovesickness can be compered with feather: you're either flying high, all filled with enthusiasm and energy, that when people around start to wonder if you're in love or you're deeply depressed, indifferent, nervous, don't see in life any bright sides. No third variant is possible. You sleep as a baby or suffer from insomnia. You shine and think you're the best or feel miserable and unattractive. You are afraid to leave phone for a moment because you sure that'll be the moment he or she will be calling.

Nothing makes a person happier when he/she realises that the feeling is mutual. People in love look better, feel better and attract more attention from the people of the other sex than they are in their normal state. When you are in love single look of your object, anything that gives you the slightest hope  and you' already somewhere above sky.

Falling in love without reciprocity seems to be a tragedy and the end of the world. Of course it's not and it will pass but try to tell the one who is so unfortunately in love! Gloomy face, giving up all the everyday duties or on the opposite trying to get rid of the feeling in energetic activity - these are the signs of person in love either. Some people just can't deal with the intense of emotions. People with unbalanced psychics can even have some suicidal ideas. But this cases are rare.

Falling in love makes you a dreamer. You see you both on the first date, long before it takes place, imagine the time you will spend together, some women start dreaming of a house and kids.

You are ready to work on yourself because your object is worth only the best. You may start a diet or go to a fitness club. Women buy tons of cosmetics, fill the wardrobe with new clothes. But when you're sure that your object won't be there you may start being rather negligent to your appearance because you're simply not interested in anyone else's attention.

You may start to annoy your friends with endless talks about what he or she's done or said. And you may notice that people around are looking at you with some mix of envy and compassion. A person in love always looks a little bit crazy and different to the others and we usually think that he/she's totally mindless 'but look at him/he & he/she's so very happy. When you're in love your own problems don't matter a thing, you don't even notice them, but the one sad sigh of the object and the word starts ruining for you.

Falling in love is based on some chemical processes (not only on them of course), but they are the reason for the euphoria, trembling knees, heartbeating, temperature rises, loosing breath and mind at one time. These processes even change the smell of your body. In general they work like come psycho stimulators and you're willing to see and to hear your object in search of a new portion of that sharp feeling. By the way each time we keep busy doing something we like (hobby or favourite occupation) the similar processes start in motion.

So if you find yourself in love enjoy that feeling because pleasure not only makes us happy but gives us that happy look that attracts people and luck.
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 The Signs of a Troubled Relationship

by Roger Gould, M.D.

The pattern is all too common. One moment your relationship is riding a wave of warmth, love and intimacy. But the next moment coldness, anger and blame creep in.

What is happening? Is it something that signals a serious underlying problem, or is it just the natural ebb and flow that accompanies the cycles of love?

Often we are too close to really understand what we're going through. But we recognize that we need help. But then, just as we decide to move in that direction, we decide to put it off. This yo-yo pattern repeats itself and we are once again at a loss to explain what is going on.

How do you know when your love life is on a crash course? For starters, there are common signs that can be clues. Once you identify them, you're on the road to better understanding.

The common signs of a troubled relationship are:

1. Decrease in sexual passion
2. Bickering
3. Avoidance
4. Jealousy
5. Depression
6. Less time spent together
7. Anxiety
8. Dependency
9. Manipulation of family members

1. Decrease Sexual Passion

There is a natural waxing and waning of passion that occurs in every relationship, but what we're talking about here is something else. While stress, fatigue and other pressures can creep between the sheets, there is no place for anger. When you find yourself shut down to your partner's advances, it's time to pay attention.

2. Bickering

In order for your love to stay fresh and healthy, you must be able to talk about both simple and complex feelings. When bickering replaces conversation, nothing gets addressed and nothing gets resolved. Instead, tension builds and a power battle takes over. Anger and blame follow.

3. Avoidance

Like it or not, straight talk is healthy. Without it, you will lose your boundaries and values. We all have to stand up for something even when it is not received the way we had hoped. Real differences in a partnership don't have to cause problems, especially when they are explored with respect. When you remain silent and stoic, and keep everything below the surface, repressed feelings become part of a toxic brew. Eventually they take on a life of their own.

4. Jealousy

You have to be careful about this warning sign. It's confusing. Jealousy is a complicated emotion. It can mean many different things. The type of jealousy I'm referring to is unfounded jealousy, not jealousy that comes from watching a flirtatious partner about to make a conquest. Unfounded jealousy is something that appears without warning and disturbs the equilibrium of a relationship. This type of jealousy appears out of nowhere and can have little to do with infidelity. It is often a reflection of the loss of self- esteem and a deep sense of insecurity on the part of either you or your partner.

5. Depression

I have seen many people come into my office with depression. For the most part, they can't figure out why they are feeling like this. They say they have a good life, and a solid relationship. But as they talk, they realize that many things are missing in their love life, things they don't want to look at. Why? Because they fear that if they face the truth, that ultimately, they might wind up alone. They think they are better off not knowing. But in order to break the cycle of depression, one must be honest. As one patient told me, "Truth is my friend, it will guide me in a good direction."

6. Less Time Spent Together

When is enough time together enough? Well, that depends a lot on your needs. Finding the balance between love, responsibility and other demands creates a continuous juggling act. We all experience that. But an abrupt shift in shared time patterns could be a warning sign that something is out of whack. Too much separation and not enough shared activities can create a void, making intimacy difficult to experience.

7. Anxiety

I think of anxiety as a warning sign in much the same way that I think of depression. A sudden increase in anxiety or a change in sleep patterns can indicate that there is an unresolved issue lurking in your unconscious that needs to be exposed. Since relationships are so important in life, there's a big chance that anxiety is a red flag indicating that some aspect of your partnership needs to be examined.

8. Dependency

When you're too dependent, the fundamental partnership is out of balance. If there's too much dependency, a natural resentment brews. One person is likely to feel burdened, the other frightened by their neediness. It's a "no win" situation. Equality is tossed out the window. The one in power often feels unappreciated and undervalued. The needy one frequently feels disappointment. Resentment grows and both partners feel judged.

9. Manipulation of Family Members

When you begin to manipulate and clutch at your children or others, your partner can easily be marginalized. A wedge can occur. Low-level family warfare can result. This can happen not only with children but with other family members, friends and even business colleagues. The result is that you and your partner are at odds.

I recognize the problem, now what can I do about it?

Relationships are enormously complex. There are no easy answers. Sometimes it may feel that it is too late, but in my practice, I've watched relationships flourish on very parched soil. Most issues can be resolved by honest dialogue and open conversations -- conversations that require you to leave all your "ammunition" behind.

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Ten Compelling, Bottom-Line Questions to Answer Before You Launch Your Search for the Love of Your Life

by Jennifer Wright

 Looking for a partner or love of our life, can be exciting, challenging and extremely frustrating. If you are truly serious, time spent on yourself, answering the following questions, can lower the risk of frustration and raise the chances of success. 

1. Who are you? Does question excite you, scare you? Most people have never really taken the time to answer this fully. The best way to answer this is your own self-reflection and input from those who know you best. Ask you close friends to help. The importance, of course, is communicating who you are, separate from what you do, to your potential partners.

2. What are your values? This question may seem quite simple, but do not let it go undiscovered. Values come strongly from our families but are refined/changed based on our life experiences. Know your top 5.

3. What do you want from a relationship? Many singles are busy people and have established themselves as independent and self-sufficient. Being clear on what you want allows you to make better decisions. In otherwords, what could be better in your life if you had a partner.

4. What are the barriers you have encountered in the past? Most singles, with some prompting, can discover and name what obstacles that arose in the past? For example intimacy too fast, lack of time for relationship, lack of trust. Knowing these issues can help you plan ahead and avoid "being blind" to situations.

5. Are you living in ways that support you desire? Interestingly, many singles say they want a relationship, yet their actions don't support that. One way is looking at your habits. How many day to day activities bring you in contact with potential partners? What can you do to change your routines? Are you friendly, outgoing when you meet new people?

6. Do you have time allocated for doing this to support the value? Again, most singles are busy people. What time are you going to allot to support your search, meet and get to know new people? Remember 24 hours/day is all we have single or married!

7. What are your non-negotiables for yourself and for a potential partner? What are habits, life style, situations that you could not live with? What are things in your life that you are not willing to give up? Most relationships break up in the first year due to the ignoring of this factor.

8. What are your negotiables for yourself and for a potential partner? This is similar question as above but is more about your own life now. What are you willing to give up to make room for a new relationship.

9. What type of relationship will best serve you at this time? Today, more than any other time in history, we have no real norms. As with negotiables, take the time to think about what you are looking for. Companionship and weekend relationship, marriage, step-parenting or more children.

10. Do you have your dinner/lunch interview ready? This might sound bit corny. However, having met a potential partner, the next step of a more serious conversation is imminent. Being prepared with the knowledge you have gathered from the last 9, as well as communication skills to listen to your "prospect", valuable time can be saved if this dinner conversation is well planned.

This list was created after my own single journey and finding the love of my life as well as coaching many single people to successfully meeting their love of their life!  

About the author: Jennifer Wright is an Occupational Therapist and Personal Single's Coach.

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Widen And Deepen Your Relationships...

Get to the Good Stuff

by Beth A. Tabak

"Get off the surface and deepen your relationships. Go after the buried treasures and reap the rewards." Beth Tabak

Get past the "how are you doing? how's the wife and kids?" with the response being "good, not so good, or fine" to the story behind each person. This is when you develop connection, and people grow from connection. People seek value and want to contribute. Whether you want to increase business, develop your career, gain support, eliminate barriers, create opportunities, or merely relate and be loved; the benefits of widening your inner circle and going deeper are astronomical.

How easy it is to get comfortable with where we are and who we are with. We sometimes close the door to getting to know others around us who could add great value to our lives. Growth is a tremendous part of human life. We grow physically. We grow in knowledge and wisdom. Many of us strive to grow spiritually. We grow in and out of relationships. It seems that when we are growing the more fulfilled we become. When we are not growing we become disconnected, bored, and frustrated. While you may have many good relationships, is it possible that you are missing out on other remarkable experiences because you have relaxed into your comfort zone? Keep in mind that the more connections we have the more opportunities come our way, and the deeper those connections the more stimulating the relationship. So what is the first step?

The first step is to create the best relationship with the only person you are guaranteed to be with for your entire life. Yes, you! You attract relationships which are a reflection of yourself. So if you do not like who you are attracting, then take the time to develop the relationship with yourself. Take pride in all that you are. When you surrender and let go of all the things you think you should be, you begin the fascinating journey of being who you are meant to be. When you except yourself for all that you are...strengths and can except others in the same way. You expend less energy when you are authentic, yet you are more likely to have a profound impact on others. When you take full responsibility for your own happiness you remove the burden from others of fulfilling those expectations. This lightens the relationship enabling it to blossom.

What do I mean by widening? As people come and go in and out of our lives they teach us valuable lessons. The more good relationships you have in your circle, the more you set yourself up to have an abundance of support. We could all use that...huh? You open the door for more opportunities to come your way. Behind every opportunity is a human being. I have no doubt that my divorce became easier because of the reserves of friendship I have. I can only imagine how hard it would have been if I felt alone.

Recently a few of my friends informed me of their intentions to move. While saddened by the news, I realized that I have become so comfortable with my inner circle that I have not been taking that extra step to open the doors to new friendships. When we first moved in I made it a priority to get to know everyone in the neighborhood, and have been blessed by those relationships for over 6 years. Thus came the idea for this article. I realized that I am missing out because I have become so comfortable. I am quite certain that I am not alone. Yet in my business where I am focused on spreading my wings I continue to be blessed with support and new opportunities...hmmm. So consider widening your circle. Reach out and add a new relationship. Notice how you grow from the connection.

Allow me make a request that you can accept or reject. Try taking your relationships to a deeper level, and see what happens. This is not about digging up your deep, dark secrets so don't get nervous. Many of us don't pry because we were raised with the saying "don't be nosy". However, it is natural to be curious. One way to gain access to wisdom is by asking "what" questions. "What" questions are a great way to open up an interesting conversation. What was your most incredible experience? What is the most interesting tidbit about your family? What was the best advice you ever received? Another phrase to use is "tell me about...". Tell me about your home town. Tell me about how you chose your profession. We often bobble on the surface like a beach ball because it is just easier, and never realize the treasures that lie below the surface.

Seek the story behind each person and grow from the connection. Get to the good stuff... Starting Now! 

About the author: Beth Tabak is a Business & Life Coach, columnist, & owner of Starting Now. She is 100% committed to coaching small business owners and professionals to grow beyond limits, and create the business and life they keep thinking about.

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 Emotional Self-Hostage: How to set yourself Free

by Alina Ruigrok

The bad habit of emotionally holding ourselves hostage is unfortunately quite common. Why do people trap themselves into feeling certain feelings and continue to do things they know are bad for them and make them feel low about themselves? It varies for everyone. In order to set yourself free, you first need to understand and learn why you are holding yourself hostage.

Begin by paying attention to the emotions you feel when you are living the moments of your self-dictation, along with acknowledging what subjects play the role in attracting you into preventing yourself from being free and moving forward. Do you like feeling sorry for yourself? Do you feel the need to put yourself in situations that will make you feel badly afterwards? What about doing anything, harmful things both physically and mentally, just to be accepted in society? If this rings a bell to you, then you are suffering from Victimization Addiction, which means exactly the way it sounds- you are addicted to victimizing yourself. This addiction is not really the true issue however. The real problem is what lead you to this addiction and the way it has made you feel about yourself.

When you are experiencing a time when you hold yourself hostage, make a real effort to stop at that very point. When you do so, examine yourself emotionally and ask yourself why you are doing this to yourself. What event in your life influenced this behavior and attitude towards yourself? Keep in mind that the reason could trace all the way to an incident that happened during your childhood years, so be prepared to take a little journey back in time. A good example for explaining this method would be a person who constantly places themselves in relationships they know are bad for them- Relationships in which their lovers will take advantage of them, abuse them both emotionally and physically, and someone who will value them in no way. Why would someone purposely put himself or herself through this pain? Well, there are various answers to that question, but let us say that is this person had a childhood where he or she was a regular witness to the fights and abuse their parents inflicted on each other. Perhaps their father hit their mother when he was angry and their mother would deal with it by having affairs. This child then grew up believing that this behavior is normal and acceptable and should be tolerable. This would be the root of the problem and reason to why he or she victimizes himself/herself today.

This is what you need to do, find the root and true reason of why you are holding yourself hostage from being the person you are really meant to be, as well as live the life you are capable of living. Setting yourself free is definitely challenging and there will be times you will want to give up and just live a world of victimization. You might feel guilty about a mistake you have made and cannot forgive yourself for it, believing you deserve to feel horrible all the time, regardless of how much forgiveness you may received from another person. When this is the case, you need to learn to fight the mind tricks that are played on you. Gain your power of control back by telling yourself that the experience you feel badly about did happen, but is now over. You feel regret for it, but have also learned an important lesson from it, making you a better person. These are the things you must give your time to, to the positive things. Give yourself the credit you deserve and fight the temptation in going back to that painful memory that will force you to keep reliving it.

If the root comes from an event that occurred in your childhood, then you are in no way at fault for what happened- especially if it involves your parents. Your only responsibility as a child was to be carefree, enjoy yourself and leave the responsibility and the proper upbringing methods to your parents. Use whatever experience it was as a way to improve the adult life you are living now. Remind yourself on a regular basis of how no one on this earth is perfect and we all make mistakes and life can throw experiences at us that we feel helpless or painful over, but this does not make you any less of a good person. All it means is that life will send obstacles down our paths, and all of these obstacles hold a purpose and are intended to teach you how to be the best human being you can be, and discover the true meaning of your life.

Sometimes going through this process can be too hard to accomplish on your own, and that is perfectly normal and understandable- and does make you a failure. What is does, is make you aware of the fact that you are not alone in this world and therefore should not have to go through difficult periods by yourself. Find support and motivation that works for you. Some suggestions are family & friends, church, support groups, books, and counseling. Take a tour outside and search for what works best for you and what you feel will help you get through this. You can set yourself free...if you really want to. It is all about willpower -so start regaining that strength and use it on the maximum level until you are free and can move forward, moving on to the new and exciting stages that have been waiting for you.

About the Author:

Alina Ruigrok is an independent relationship expert

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When relationships fail, you've got mail

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As Charles Dean scrolled through the inbox on his office computer, he eagerly clicked on the e-mail from his girlfriend of two months.

There was no cheery hello to kick off his day or an invitation for lunch. Instead, he stared at a modern "Dear John" letter.

The relationship was over.

The 42-year-old Duluth man was not only stunned by the break-up, but how the news was delivered. There wasn't even a piece of paper to hold that regretful tear or last whiff of perfume.

"It hit me like a slap on the face on a cold winter day and really hurt," said Dean. "That kind of thing really needs to be done in person."

Welcome to love and heartbreak in a computer age. We buy books online. We make love connections online. And we sometimes end them the same way, like deleting unwanted Spam.

But the trend is no fad; all indications point to more people (both men and women) saying goodbye to their relationship in an e-mail. A recent survey by members found more than half of the 4,000 respondents have experienced at least one end of an e-mail break-up. The phenomenon even made the online dating site's 2003 top 10 list of "influential moments in dating and romance."

Relationship experts say online heartbreakers are a byproduct of our fast-paced life style and our penchant for cost-cutting measures. Millions of people meet on online dating sites and use e-mail to communicate and develop the relationship. Friends use e-mails to stay in touch. Married couples send each other reminders about plans and groceries.

"We live in a throw-away society. Buy that disposable camera from Kodak. Use it once and throw it away," said Salvatore Didato, a psychologist in Scarsdale, New York and author of "The Big Book of Personality Tests." "Now, if you are not happy with a guy, send a three-line memo, push a button and that's the end of him. . . That does not say much about our respect for human beings."

It's particularly disrespectful if the relationship has lived beyond a few casual dates, experts say.

"I don't know what the Seinfieldonian rule would be on the number of dates, beyond which you can't break up by e-mail," said Atlanta psychologist Richard Schultz. "But if you feel emotionally connected to the person and want to preserve a friendship, bite the bullet and do it face-to-face."

Thirty-seven-year-old Scott Sergent of Vinings received the "Let's just be friends" speech in an e-mail in March from a woman he dated briefly. The short e-mail popped up on his screen just days after Sergent had made the woman a home-cooked meal of steak, potatoes and chocolate mousse.

"I would like someone to sit across from me at a table, to look me in the eye, and say whatever," Sergent said.

A few circumstances, however, might justify dumping someone through e-mail: a long distance romance; a relationship started and developed online; a fear of violence during a face-to-face break up; or the inability to follow through with a break-up if it's in person.

If you do decide to ditch electronically, relationship experts say a careful and sensitive approach can ease some of the sting.

Dr. Elizabeth Saenger, a New York psychologist and former owner of a matchmaking company said the message needs to be blunt enough to get the message across but also sensitive enough to show consideration. She said the writer should focus of some of the other person's positive attributes and express hope for their future and finding someone else.

To minimize the pain, Schultz also recommends the person sending the e-mail focus on their own struggles in the relationship.

"Say, 'I don't feel a connection" versus "you aren't capable of giving me what I need'," he said.

Didato reminds writers to check spelling, grammar and punctuation.

"You don't want to add hurt by letting the person think you rattled this off in 30 seconds," he said.

Didato always favors a hand-written letter over e-mail. He said the extra time involved in crafting a letter on paper is a sign of "kindness and consideration."

But's Trish McDermott believes an e-mail makes more sense in today's world.

"It's just what busy, technology savvy people do these days," said McDermott, VP of Romance for

And after the initial shock, there can be an upside to technology.

Sergent was initially hurt over the e-mail that said "There's just no chemistry." But he later saw a bright side.

"At least there was none of that awkwardness when you are next to the person," Sergent said, "and you have to say goodbye."


If you must break-up by e-mail, a few points to consider:

• Sleep on it before hitting send (we are more likely to behave impulsively when emotionally aroused, increasing the possibility of a negative outcome).

• If you hope to turn failed romance into friendship, face-to-face is more likely to get you there.

• These e-mails get passed around. Make sure your communiqué passes the AJC test! (If you're not prepared to see it on the front page, don't send it).

• Have a sound rationale for e-mailing rather than saying it face-to-face. (Don't do it simply out of convenience).

• Make "I" statements to minimize their pain ("I don't feel a connection" versus "you aren't capable of giving me what I need"). Do not use this as an opportunity to practice psychoanalysis.

• If you are open to hearing their reactions to your message, invite them to respond (dialogues tend to hurt less than one way communications).

• To compensate for the absence of facial expressions and other key non-verbals, go out of your way to say how writing this makes you feel ("I feel sad as I write this, but am also thankful for the time we shared").

• (If you are feeling the need to apologize for communicating this via e-mail, then perhaps you shouldn't be)

Source: Dr. Richard Schultz, Atlanta licensed psychologist.

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** NOTE:Which one are you?
    Disregard the religious references if you find them troublesome. It's the content that is important, not her religious opinons or sources.
     The better part of these articles starts here ~ Emotionalism This is one of those times where you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater :)   PDPJ
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How Not To Be Led By Your Feelings

by Joyce Meyer

 In this book
» How Not To Be Led By Your Feelings
» Emotional People
» Emotionalism
» Emotionless
» Feelings or Decision?
» Emotions and Fatigue
» The Price for Catering To Emotions
» Emotional Discernment

An emotional person is someone who is easily affected with or stirred by emotions. It is good to know ourselves and our personalities. Some people are more emotionally led than others, and knowing this can prevent lots of heartache and pain in life.

Even if we do not fall into the category of an "emotional" person, we each have emotions and are in danger of being led by them. We may get up one morning feeling depressed and follow that feeling throughout the day.

The next day, we may wake up angry - feeling like telling somebody off - and that's what we end up doing. Other times, we may wake up feeling sorry for ourselves and sit in a corner crying all day long.

If we allow them to do so, feelings will stir up problems that will cause us to move out of the will of God and into the will of the deceiver, Satan.

I spent many years of my life following how I felt. If I awoke feeling depressed, I was depressed all day. I didn't know at the time that I could resist these emotions. Now I realize I can put on the garment of praise as the Bible teaches in Isaiah 61:3.1 can sing or play good Christian music - and in doing so - fight against the negative feeling that desires to control me all day.

We must learn to be aware of our emotions and know how to manage them correctly. One way to do that is by recognizing different personality types and knowing how they react differently to similar situations.

Four Basic Personality Types

Just as it is often said that some personality types are more emotional than others, women are thought to have a stronger tendency toward emotionalism than men. According to a teaching that goes far back into history, there are four basic personality types, each of which has an identifying name.

The first type is called choleric, which happens to be the category into which I fall. Cholerics are born leaders. Their strong personalities want to be in control. One of the strengths of those who have a choleric personality is that they usually get a lot accomplished. One of their weaknesses is that they have a tendency to be bossy.

Cholerics are normally strongly goal-oriented and motivated by new ideas and challenges. When the Lord gives me a project, I get all stirred up about it and rush to my husband, who has completely different personality from mine.

Dave is part of the group called phlegmatic. Phlegmatics usually show little or no emotion at all. What is interesting is that a choleric often marries a phlegmatic.

In our marriage, our personality differences used to drive us crazy until we saw Cod's plan in it. Dave is strong in areas where I am weak, and I am strong in areas in which he is weak. I now believe that God brings opposite types together to complement one another, but it took Dave and me a while to learn to accept and operate compatibly with our differences.

To illustrate, I would go to Dave all enthusiastic about something, and his response would be, "We'll see." At times like that, I just wanted to hit him, until I learned to understand him. I was being emotional, and he was being logical. I was looking at the excitement side, and he was looking at the responsibility side of the issue. I used to yell at him, "Can't you ever get excited about anything?"

We would go into dynamic Charismatic churches, and I would emerge from the service saying, "Wow! Did you feel the presence of God in that place?"

Dave would say, "No, I didn't feel a thing." He knew God was present, but he was not basing God's presence on his feelings. For a long time, I thought the man was emotionally dead.

Both of us have changed after years of God's working with us, and we are more balanced now. I am not so emotionally driven, and he shows more excitement when I am genuinely excited about something.

One thing that is good for the people with phlegmatic personalities to remember is that they need to exercise their faith and make an effort to show some emotion. It can be very dull living with an individual who is bland about everything.

If you are a low-key person, you need to stretch yourself on purpose for the sake of others with whom you are in relationship. We are operating in love when we sacrifice ourselves and do what others need us to do.

On the other hand, if you are more like me and tend to get aggressively excited about new things you are involved in, you may need to learn to tone down your emotions and become more of a balanced person. Remember, it is difficult for a more serious and sober person to relate to you because he truly does not feel what you feel. The answer, of course, is balance, as we will discuss later on.

The third personality type is called sanguine. This is the most emotional type of all. The sanguine personality is bubbly and seems to bounce through life. It is easy to tell when a sanguine comes into the room. His voice can be heard above everyone else's: "Oh, I'm so excited to be here!"

The sanguine has a tendency to get on the nerves of a choleric - especially mine! I am the serious, goal-oriented type who always has a plan and am moving toward it. When a sanguine comes bouncing in, it often disturbs me. But the sanguine may not even notice. Because he is so full of fun and energy, he is usually oblivious to anything other than having a good time.

Sanguines often marry the fourth type, called melancholy. As you can guess, melancholies are those who have the most trouble with depression. They are the deep people - the thinkers - the organizers. They are the ones who are so organized they alphabetize their spice racks. They tie their shoelaces and put them inside their shoes before carefully placing them in the closet. They believe there is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place.

Sanguines are frequently not very disciplined, and this is, of course, very difficult for the melancholy types to handle. Melancholies are really neat people. They always have a plan, but they usually end up married to sanguines who couldn't care less whether there is a plan or not. Even if they did have a plan, sanguines wouldn't remember it for more than five minutes. They are the ones who park their car in a parking lot or garage, and then can't remember where they left it!

Do you think a sanguine would worry about that? Not the lady I knew who did it. She thought it was funny! Now she has a new story to tell at the parties she bubbles into.

As you can see, how you and I react to emotions depends to an extent upon which of these four types best describes our individual personality: choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine, or melancholy Most of us are a blend of two or more of the personality types.

It really helps to know yourself. There are some good Christian books available on the subject: Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye and Your Personality Tree by Florence Littauer.

Always remember that we can learn to control our weaknesses through the power of the Holy Spirit and in doing so become well-balanced individuals who cannot be controlled by Satan.

Next: Emotionalism
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Anger & Relationships - What You Need to Know

by Allen Thompson

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear,
  but around in awareness. - James Thurber

People get angry when they feel they have been treated UNFAIRLY.

If a person feels he has been treated unfairly he will get angry. If he feels he has been treated fairly, he won't. It's as simple as that.

The important thing here is not what happens to the person, but his "feeling" or "perception" that he has been treated a certain way. Whether he has, in fact, been treated unfairly or not is irrelevant. As long as he thinks he has been treated unfairly he'll get angry... regardless of the situation, the outcome, or what happens to him.

For example, imagine that you had just won $3 million dollars in the lottery. How do you think you'd feel? You're probably thinking euphoric, ecstatic, excited, and very very happy.

But now imagine that the jackpot was actually $300 million dollars - the largest in history. You show up to collect your $300 million and instead receive a check for $3 million. It turns out that the lottery owners "accidentally" lost $297 million last weekend in Las Vegas. How would you feel?

Would you be euphoric, ecstatic, excited, and very very happy? No, you'd be ANGRY! VERY ANGRY! You'd want the $300 million dollars you were promised. You'd feel that you had been treated unfairly.

The outcome is the same in both examples - you get $3 million dollars. The only difference is your perception of how FAIRLY you were treated.

Likewise, I can make fun of your shirt, sleep with your girlfriend, drink all your beer, and kick your dog... but if you think you've been treated fairly, that you somehow deserve all this, then you won't get angry. You'll remain calm and stoic. You may not like it very much, but you won't get angry.

So why am I bringing up the subject of anger?

Because anger, and the management of that anger, plays a very important part in any male-female relationship.

If two people spend any significant amount of time together, eventually there's going to be some anger. A little bit every now and then. It's inevitable. How those two people deal with that anger will determine the course of the relationship.

Will they break up? Will they stay together? Will they repress their feelings and wind up resenting one another? Or will they deal effectively with the anger... and perhaps become even closer as a result?

Let's take a look at a few real-world examples of anger in action... and how to manage our thoughts and behaviors in order to convey that SoSuave, Donjuanish image that we so desire.

Say, for example, your girlfriend is angry with you. Very angry. She's banging pots, slamming cabinets, and giving you the evil eye. If you were like most guys you'd be nervous, irritated, confused, and maybe a little upset yourself. And you'd, very likely, be completely clueless as to what could have set her off. ("Oh, she's upset again. She seems to get upset all the time lately, and for no reason. Must be that time of the month again.")

And, an important point, her anger would most likely fuel your own anger toward her. As you don't understand why she's so mad, you yourself come to feel that YOU are being treated unfairly.

But, of course, YOU are not like most guys - you're a freakin Don Juan. You understand that her anger is caused by her perception that she was somehow treated unfairly (by you, or maybe by someone else). You now know exactly how to resolve the situation.

You can then work to figure out exactly why she feels she's been treated unfairly (if you're really really perceptive) or, more likely, you can simply sit her down (maybe later after she's put down all the pots) and attempt to get to the bottom of the situation.

Now I'm not a big fan of giving conventional advice, and I very rarely suggest using logic with women -- not male logic anyhow. (Remember that women are emotional creatures.) And you should very rarely discuss the "relationship process" with women. For example, never talk about the psychological processes that underlie attraction - such as confidence, independence, mystery, body language, ambition, strength, etc.

But in this instance the old sit-down-and-discuss-the-situation is often your best solution.

However, you're not just going to talk about "feelings" and other girly stuff like that; you're going to educate her as to the psychological constructs which underlie the emotion of anger. You're going to explain the "perception of being treated unfairly" and how this produces anger. And you're going to assure her that treating her unfairly, and thus making her angry, was never your intent.

(INTENT is an important mediator of anger. It's very difficult to maintain anger at someone if treating you unfairly was not their intent.)

Likewise, when YOU are angry... either with her, or even someone else, your understanding of the cause of your anger can help you to more effectively deal with the situation. (Remember, a Don Juan only gets upset or angry when he WANTS to... and he only wants to when it serves a useful purpose.)

For example, if you feel that your lady has somehow treated you unfairly, you can calmly explain the cause of your anger to her. Explain exactly what it is that makes you feel you've been treated unfairly. She, at this point, will most likely apologize, claiming that was not her intent.

She may not even realize that she's doing things that make you angry. But once you point this out, it's her obligation to not do those things anymore (assuming you're not being unreasonable).

Now this may sound like pretty simple stuff, but very often we don't really understand the cause of our own anger.

All we know is that we're angry about what she did, and we're gonna let her know about it. But if you're able to get to the root of why you're angry, what exactly is making you feel like you're being treated unfairly, you can very often RATIONALLY AND CALMLY deal with the situation... rather than making things worse by yelling and screaming.

Now, as a side note, don't make the mistake of confusing REAL ANGER (this article) with FALSE ANGER. False anger does not follow the same rules and does not stem from the same underlying causes.

For example, your lady might get angry and throw a little hissyfit in order to TEST you -- to see how you respond. She wants to find out if you'll be a man and stand up for yourself, or if you'll be a little weenie boy and beg her for forgiveness? (Hint: you don't want to be the weenie boy.)

Or she might become angry simply to add a little drama and excitement to a relationship which has become boring and mundane. As a Don Juan, it's your job to maintain the relationship, to keep the excitement levels high. So if she's resorting to false anger and other drama-inducing behaviors, then you're most likely not doing your job very well. (Or, on the other hand, she could just be a nut!)

Again though, this is not real anger, and the experienced Don can usually identify these situations for what they really are, and respond appropriately.

Anyhow, back to the topic of real anger.

You might be pleasantly surprised at how an understanding of anger can positively impact your life by helping you to better understand your feelings in a variety of situations.

For example, I always get a good chuckle from many of the newbies who visit and, especially, the Don Juan Discussion Forum.

Many of these guys are angry. They're angry at women. They often feel that women are illogical, stupid, or just plain mean.

They don't understand women... AT ALL.

A newbie often tells a tale of how he did "everything right" with this woman -- complimented her tirelessly, brought her flowers on every date, called her 3 times a day, did anything and everything she wanted, told her he loved her, wrote her poetry, and was, in general, just so so nice to her...

...and then she dumped him for some loser, unemployed jerk who uses and abuses her.

Yes, the newbies are ANGRY!

They feel they've been treated unfairly. That they've done pretty much exactly what women have been saying that they've wanted for decades... and they've been given the shaft as a result.

Of course, when you do everything right with a woman, you expect to be treated very well by her in return. You expect her to like you, to be attracted to you, to want to be around you. And when that doesn't happen, you get angry... because you feel you're being treated unfairly.

But once the newbie has done a little reading -- a few dozen articles, a few hundred tips -- the anger begins to subside. He begins to understand women. He begins to understand the game, the rules, the principles.

He realizes that, NO, he was not doing everything right with the girl who just dumped him. In fact, he was doing most everything wrong... and that's why she lost interest... not because she's stupid, illogical, or an evil, conniving bitch.

And he begins to feel not angry with women, not anymore, but a little stupid, ashamed, and embarrassed about his past behaviors. And he can then, at that point, begins the process of becoming the Don Juan he always wanted to be.

Now let me point out here that anger is not always destructive. In fact, sometimes it can actually serve useful purposes.

Have you ever wondered why some women stay in relationships with abusive men... while other women leave, file charges, or cut peckers off and toss them out car windows? It has a lot to do with anger and the woman's perception that she is either being treated fairly or unfairly.

(Note: we're talking abusive relationships here, not just guys who are jerks.)

The women who stay in these relationships tend to have very low self-esteem. And thus, they don't see the abusive behavior as being unfair treatment. They, for some reason, feel as though they deserve the mental and/or physical abuse. And without that critical perception of unfairness, and without the anger that results, they don't have the necessary motivation to make a change.

On the other hand, women with high self-esteem will get angry when they are treated in an abusive fashion. They don't feel as though the behavior is warranted or fair. And they will take steps to change the situation.

One of the keys to getting a woman out of an abusive relationship is to make her angry, to make her feel as though she's being treated unfairly, and that she deserves better. Once she gets ANGRY, she will then be primed to take the appropriate steps to change her situation.

Now I'd be remiss if I didn't mention to you one other anger tidbit. Let me point out that in some rare instances a display of anger on your part can actually increase a woman's attraction toward you. It can make you look energetic, emotional, confident, forceful, and strong. It can make you look like a man who demands respect and who expects others to treat him well.

But the key here is having complete control over your anger response so as not to say or do something stupid that you'll wind up regretting later.

Don't let anger control you or interfere in your relationships. Take charge. Be a man.

No man who understands the game will ever get dumped for being calm and rational, but plenty will get the boot, or give the boot, when they let anger or other emotional outbursts control their minds and actions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As a Man Thinketh
By James Allen

This little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that -

"They themselves are makers of themselves"

by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.

- James Allen

I. Thought and Character

The aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called "spontaneous" and "unpremeditated" as to those which are deliberately executed.

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.

Thought in the mind hath made us. What we are By thought we wrought and built. If a man's mind Hath evil thoughts, pain comes on him as comes
The wheel the ox behind...If one endure in purity
of thought joy follows him as his own shadow - sure.

Man is a growth by law, and not a creation by artifice, and cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things. A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of favor or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harboring of groveling thoughts.

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master.

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this - that man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.
As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.

Man is always the master, even in his weakest and most abandoned state; but in his weakness and degradation he is the foolish master who misgoverns his "household." When he begins to reflect upon his condition, and to search diligently for the Law upon which his being is established, he then becomes the wise master, directing his energies with intelligence, and fashioning his thoughts to fruitful issues. Such is the conscious master, and man can only thus become by discovering within himself the laws of thought; which discovery is totally a matter of application, self-analysis, and experience.

Only by much searching and mining are gold an diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul. And that he is the maker of his character, the molder of his life, and the builder of his destiny, he may unerringly prove: if he will watch, control, and alter his thoughts, tracing their effects upon himself, upon others, and upon his life and circumstances; if he will link cause and effect by patient practice and investigation, utilizing his every experience, even to the most trivial, as a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself. In this direction, as in no other, is the law absolute that "He that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened"; for only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.

II. Effect of Thought on Circumstances

A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.

Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts, By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.

Thought and character are one, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of a person's life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state. This does not mean that a man's circumstances at any given time are an indication of his entire character, but that those circumstances are so intimately connected with some vital thought element within himself that, for the time being, they are indispensable to his development.

Every man is where he is by the law of his being. The thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err. This is just as true of those who feel "out of harmony" with their surroundings as of those who are contented with them.

As the progressive and evolving being, man is where he is that he may learn that he may grow; and as he learns the spiritual lesson which any circumstance contains for him, it passes away and gives place to other circumstances.

Man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions. But when he realizes that he may command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then becomes the rightful master of himself.

That circumstances grow out of thought every man knows who has for any length of time practiced self-control and self-purification, for he will have noticed that the alteration in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition. So true is this that when a man earnestly applies himself to remedy the defects in his character, and makes swift and marked progress, he passes rapidly through a succession of vicissitudes.

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it loves, and also that which it fears. It reaches the height of its cherished aspirations. It falls to the level of its unchastened desires - and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives its own.

Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.

The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.

A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate of circumstance, but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by stress of any mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power.

Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself. No such conditions can exist as descending into vice and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclinations, or ascending into virtue and its pure happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations. And man, therefore, as the Lord and master of thought, is the maker of himself, the shaper and author of environment. Even at birth the soul comes to its own, and through every step of its earthly pilgrimage it attracts those combinations of conditions which reveal itself, which are the reflections of its own purity and impurity, its strength and weakness.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Their whims, fancies, and ambitions are thwarted at every step, but their inmost thoughts and desires are fed with their own food, be it foul or clean. The "divinity that shapes our ends" is in ourselves; it is our very self. Man is manacled only by himself. Thought and action are the jailers of Fate - they imprison, being base. They are also the angels of Freedom - they liberate, being noble. Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.

In the light of this truth, what, then, is the meaning of "fighting against circumstances"? It means that a man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing and preserving its cause in his heart. That cause may take the form of a conscious vice or an unconscious weakness; but whatever it is, it stubbornly retards the efforts of its possessor, and thus calls aloud for remedy.

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of heavenly things. Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well-poised life?
Here is a man who is wretchedly poor. He is extremely anxious that his surroundings and home comforts should be improved. Yet all the time he shirks his work, and considers he is justified in trying to deceive his employer on the ground of the insufficiency of his wages. Such a man does not understand the simplest rudiments of those principles which are the basis of true prosperity. He is not only totally unfitted to rise out of his wretchedness, but is actually attracting to himself a still deeper wretchedness by dwelling in, and acting out, indolent, deceptive, and unmanly thoughts.

Here is a rich man who is the victim of a painful and persistent disease as the result of gluttony. He is willing to give large sums of money to get rid of it, but he will not sacrifice his gluttonous desires. He wants to gratify his taste for rich and unnatural foods and have his health as well. Such a man is totally unfit to have health, because he has not yet learned the first principles of a healthy life.

Here is an employer of labor who adopts crooked measures to avoid paying the regulation wage, and, in the hope of making larger profits, reduces the wages of his workpeople. Such a man is altogether unfitted for prosperity. And when he finds himself bankrupt, both as regards reputation and riches, he blames circumstances, not knowing that he is the sole author of his condition.

I have introduced these three cases merely as illustrative of the truth that man is the cause (though nearly always unconsciously) of his circumstances. That, while aiming at the good end, he is continually frustrating its accomplishment by encouraging thoughts and desires which cannot possibly harmonize with that end. Such cases could be multiplied and varied almost indefinitely, but this is not necessary. The reader can, if he so resolves, trace the action of the laws of thought in his own mind and life, and until this is done, mere external facts cannot serve as a ground of reasoning.

Circumstances, however, are so complicated, thought is so deeply rooted, and the conditions of happiness vary so vastly with individuals, that a man's entire soul condition (although it may be known to himself) cannot be judged by another from the external aspect of his life alone.

A man may be honest in certain directions, yet suffer privations. A man may be dishonest in certain directions, yet acquire wealth. But the conclusion usually formed that the one man fails because of his particular honesty, and that the other prospers because of his particular dishonesty, is the result of a superficial judgment, which assumes that the dishonest man is almost totally corrupt, and honest man almost entirely virtuous. In the light of a deeper knowledge and wider experience, such judgment is found to be erroneous. The dishonest man may have some admirable virtues which the other does not possess; and the honest man obnoxious vices which are absent in the other. The honest man reaps the good results of his honest thoughts and acts; he also brings upon himself the sufferings which his vices produce. The dishonest man likewise garners his own suffering and happiness.

It is pleasing to human vanity to believe that one suffers because of one's virtue. But not until a man has extirpated every sickly, bitter, and impure thought from his mind, and washed every sinful stain from his soul, can he be in a position to know and declare that his sufferings are the result of his good, and not of his bad qualities. And on the way to that supreme perfection, he will have found working in his mind and life, the Great Law which is absolutely just, and which cannot give good for evil, evil for good. Possessed of such knowledge, he will then know, looking back upon his past ignorance and blindness, that his life is, and always was, justly ordered, and that all his past experiences, good and bad, were the equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self.

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results. Bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it. But few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.

Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be not object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer.

The circumstances which a man encounters with suffering are the result of his own mental inharmony. The circumstances which a man encounters with blessedness, not material possessions, is the measure of right thought. Wretchedness, not lack of material possessions, is the measure of wrong thought. A man may be cursed and rich; he may be blessed and poor. blessedness and riches are only joined together when the riches are rightly and wisely used. And the poor man only descends into wretchedness when he regards his lot as a burden unjustly imposed.

Indigence and indulgence are the two extremes of wretchedness. They are both equally unnatural and the result of mental disorder. A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being. And happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer, of the man with his surroundings.

A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts. He ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.

Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe. Justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life. And righteousness, not corruption, is the molding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world. This being so, man has but to right himself to find that the universe is right; and during the process of putting himself right, he will find that as he alters his thoughts toward things and other people, things and other people will alter toward him.

The proof of this truth is in every person, and it therefore admits of easy investigation by systematic introspection and self-analysis. Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life.

men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot. It rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into habits of drunkenness and sensuality, which solidify into circumstances of destitution and disease. Impure thoughts of every kind crystallize into enervating and confusing habits, which solidify into distracting and adverse circumstances. Thoughts of fear, doubt, and indecision crystallize into weak, unmanly, and irresolute habits, which solidify into circumstances of failure, indigence, and slavish dependence.

Lazy thoughts crystallize into habits of uncleanliness and dishonesty, which solidify into circumstances of foulness and beggary. Hateful and condemnatory thoughts crystallize into habits of accusation and violence, which solidify into circumstances of injury and persecution. Selfish thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of self-seeking, which solidify into circumstances more of less distressing.

On the other hand, beautiful thoughts of all crystallize into habits of grace and kindliness, which solidify into genial and sunny circumstances. Pure thoughts crystallize into habits of temperance and self-control, which solidify into circumstances of repose and peace. Thoughts of courage, self-reliance, and decision crystallize into manly habits, which solidify into circumstances of success, plenty, and freedom.

Energetic thoughts crystallize into habits of cleanliness and industry, which solidify into circumstances of pleasantness. Gentle and forgiving thoughts crystallize into habits of gentleness, which solidify into protective and preservative circumstances. Loving and unselfish thoughts crystallize into habits of self-forgetfulness for others, which solidify into circumstances of sure and abiding prosperity and true riches.

A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.

Nature helps every man to the gratification of the thoughts which he most encourages, and opportunities are presented which will most speedily bring to the surface both the good and evil thoughts.

Let a man cease from his sinful thoughts, and all the world will soften toward him, and be ready to help him. Let him put away his weakly and sickly thoughts, and lo! opportunities will spring up on every hand to aid his strong resolves. Let him encourage good thoughts, and no hard fate shall bind him down to wretchedness and shame. The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your evermoving thoughts.

You will be what you will to be; Let failure find its false content In that poor word, "environment," But spirit scorns it, and is free.

It masters time, it conquers space; It cows that boastful trickster, Chance, And bids the tyrant Circumstance Uncrown, and fill a servant's place.

The human Will, that force unseen, The offspring of a deathless Soul, Can hew a way to any goal, Though walls of granite intervene.

Be not impatient in delay, But wait as one who understands; When spirit rises and commands, The gods are ready to obey.

III. Effect of Thought on Health and the Body

The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.

Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express themselves through a sickly body. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as surely though less rapidly. The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body, and lays it open to the entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will soon shatter the nervous system.

Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace. The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it.

Men will continue to have impure and poisoned blood so long as they propagate unclean thoughts. Out of a clean heart comes a clean life and a clean body. Out of a defiled mind proceeds a defiled life and corrupt body. Thought is the fountain of action, life and manifestation; make the fountain pure, and all will be pure.

Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts. When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food.

If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are drawn by folly, passion, pride.

I know a woman of ninety-six who has the bright, innocent face of a girl. I know a man well under middle age whose face is drawn into inharmonious contours. The one is the result of a sweet and sunny disposition; the other is the outcome of passion and discontent.

As you cannot have a sweet and wholesome abode unless you admit the air and sunshine freely into your rooms, so a strong body and a bright, happy, or serene countenance can only result from the free admittance into the mind of thoughts of joy and good will and serenity.

On the faces of the aged there are wrinkles made by sympathy, others by strong and pure thought, others are carved by passion. Who cannot distinguish them? With those who have lived righteously, age is calm, peaceful, and softly mellowed, like the setting sun. I have recently seen a philosopher on his deathbed. He was not old except in years. He died as sweetly and peacefully as he had lived.

There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with good will for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow. To live continually in thoughts of ill will, cynicism, suspicion, and envy, is to be confined in a self-made prison hole. But to think well of all, to be cheerful with all, to patiently learn to find the good in all - such unselfish thoughts are the very portals of heaven; and to dwell day to day in thoughts of peace toward every creature will bring abounding peace to their possessor.

IV. Thought and Purpose

Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. With the majority the bark of thought is allowed to "drift" upon the ocean of life. Aimlessness is a vice, and such drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of catastrophe and destruction.

They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to worries, fears, troubles, and self-pityings, all of which are indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness, and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power-evolving universe.

A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being. But whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought forces upon the object which he has set before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph.

Those who are not prepared for the apprehension of a great purpose, should fix the thoughts upon the faultless performance of their duty, no matter how insignificant their task may appear. Only in this way can the thoughts be gathered and focused, and resolution and energy be developed, which being done, there is nothing which may not be accomplished.

The weakest soul, knowing its own weakness, and believing this truth - that strength can only be developed by effort and practice, will at once begin to exert itself, and adding effort to effort, patience to patience, and strength to strength, will never cease to develop, and will at last grow divinely strong.

As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.

To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully.

Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a straight pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right nor to the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded; they are disintegrating elements which break up the straight line of effort, rendering it crooked, ineffectual, useless. Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplish anything, and never can. They always lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in.

The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.

He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His every thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. His purposes are seasonably planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit which does not fall prematurely to the ground.

Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force. He who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations. He who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers.

IV. The Thought-Factor in Achievement

All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts. In a justly ordered universe, where loss of equipoise would mean total destruction, individual responsibility must be absolute. A man's weakness and strength, purity and impurity, are his own, and not another man's. They are brought about by himself, and not by another; and they can only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also his own, and not another man's. His suffering and his happiness are evolved from within. As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.

A strong man cannot help a weaker unless the weaker is willing to be helped, and even then the weak man must become strong of himself. He must, by his own efforts, develop the strength which he admires in another. None but himself can alter his condition.

It has been usual for men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor." Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves." The truth is that oppressor and slave are cooperators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves. A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor. A perfect Love, seeing the suffering which both states entail, condemns neither. A perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed.

He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed. He is free.

A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting up his thoughts. He can only remain weak, and abject, and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.

Before a man can achieve anything, even in worldly things, he must lift his thoughts above slavish animal indulgence. He may not, in order to succeed, give up all animality and selfishness, by any means; but a portion of it must, at least, be sacrificed. A man whose first thought is bestial indulgence could neither think clearly nor plan methodically. He could not find and develop his latent resources, and would fail in any undertaking. Not having commenced manfully to control his thoughts, he is not in a position to control affairs and to adopt serious responsibilities. He is not fit to act independently and stand alone, but he is limited only by the thoughts which he chooses.

There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice. A man's worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self reliance. And the higher he lifts his thoughts, the more manly, upright, and righteous he becomes, the greater will be his success, the more blessed an enduring will be his achievements.

The universe does not favor the greedy, the dishonest, the vicious, although on the mere surface it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the magnanimous, the virtuous. All the great Teachers of the ages have declared this in varying forms, and to prove and know it a man has but to persist in making himself more and more virtuous by lifting up his thoughts.
Intellectual achievements are the result of thought consecrated to the search for knowledge, or for the beautiful and true in life and nature. Such achievements may be sometimes connected with vanity and ambition but they are not the outcome of those characteristics. They are the natural outgrowth of long an arduous effort, and of pure and unselfish thoughts.

Spiritual achievements are the consummation of holy aspirations. He who lives constantly in the conception of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and unselfish, will, as surely as the sun reaches its zenith and the moon its full, become wise and noble in character, and rise into a position of influence and blessedness.

Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. By the aid of self-control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and well-directed thought a man ascends. By the aid of animality, indolence, impurity, corruption, and confusion of thought a man descends.

A man may rise to high success in the world, and even to lofty altitudes in the spiritual realm, and again descend into weakness and wretchedness by allowing arrogant, selfish, and corrupt thoughts to take possession of him.

Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by watchfulness. Many give way when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure.

All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought, are governed by the same law and are of the same method; the only difference lies in the object of attainment.

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little. He who would achieve much must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.

VI. Visions and Ideals

The dreamers are the saviors of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers. It cannot let their ideals fade and die. It lives in them. It knows them in the realities which it shall one day see and know.

Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the afterworld, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, laboring humanity would perish.

He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it. Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it. Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered into it.

Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.

To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve. Shall man's basest desires receive the fullest measure of gratification, and his purest aspirations starve for lack of sustenance? Such is not the Law. Such a condition of things can never obtain - "Ask and receive."

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without. Here is a youth hard pressed by poverty and labor; confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop; unschooled, and lacking all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of better things. He thinks of intelligence, of refinement, of grace and beauty. He conceives of, mentally builds up, an ideal condition of life. The vision of the wider liberty and a larger scope takes possession of him; unrest urges him to action, and he utilizes all his spare time and means, small though they are, to the development of his latent powers and resources.

Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mentality that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside, and with the growth of opportunities which fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it forever.

Years later we see this youth as a full-grown man. We find him a master of certain forces of the mind which he wields with world-wide influence and almost unequaled power. In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsibilities. He speaks, and lo! lives are changed. Men and women hang upon his words and remold their characters, and, sunlike, he becomes the fixed and luminous center around which innumerable destinies revolve. He has realized the Vision of his youth. He has become one with his Ideal.

And you, too, youthful reader, will realize the Vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you secretly most love. Into your hands will be placed the exact results of your own thoughts; you will receive that which you earn, no more, no less. Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.

In the beautiful words of Stanton Kirkham Dave, "You may be keeping accounts, and presently you shall walk out of the door that for so long has seemed to you the barrier of your ideals, and shall find yourself before an audience - the pen still behind your ear, the ink stains on your fingers - and then and there shall pour out the torrent of your inspiration. You may be driving sheep, and you shall wander to the city - bucolic and open mouthed; shall wander under the intrepid guidance of the spirit into the studio of the master, and after a time he shall say, 'I have nothing more to teach you.' And now you have become the master, who did so recently dream of great things while driving sheep. You shall lay down the saw and the plane to take upon yourself the regeneration of the world."

The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. See a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, "How highly favored he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, the remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!"

They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience. They have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the Vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and joy, and call it "luck"; do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune"; do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and call it "chance."
In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. "Gifts," powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort. They are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.

The vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart - this you will build your life by, this you will become.

VII. Serenity

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought. As he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.

The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanor is strongly equable.

The strong calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character which we call serenity is the last lesson culture; it is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold - yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money-seeking looks in comparison with a serene life - a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!

"How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control. How few people we meet in life who are well-balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!"

Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt. Only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him.

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this - in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep; wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power.

Say unto your heart, "Peace, be still!"

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  Tired of Relationship Break-ups?
Then Marry YourSELF First

Times( printed an interesting article about relationship break-ups in this past Sunday’s (11/27) edition. The author, Raya Kuzyk, was quite proud of how she assertively handled a break-up earlier this year. To do this, Raya spent much time in introspection, thoughtfully wrote out her reasons and the justifications thereof and even created graphs and used pictures all to apparently prove her point.

A job well done, Raya…Sorta.

Raya could have saved herself much time, energy and, especially, grief and heartache had she made some guidelines for herself before the relationship got started. Of course she would also need to commit and follow-through with these guidelines and used a support system if she was having trouble following the guidelines. Raya even writes, “A breakup of a higher standard than the one to which I would have been held had I ended our relationship when I first realized we had no future…Technically that would have been from the get-go: Nick was engaged to another woman.”

How did Raya miss that one? Why did she go forward anyway? What was she thinking? What did her friends tell her?

This is, however, the day and age of the “microwave” relationship. Meet the person, fall in love quickly, move in together, THEN get to really know each other. Of course the inevitable then usually happens: The painful break-up.

Could Raya and others have prevented these types of break-ups?

Yes, and by taking some very simple proactive steps. You can first figure out a bit about who you are and why you are here. This is commonly referred to as your “Life Purpose”. Along with that you could also define your values, meaning what it is that is most important to you.

I know that these are not small or even easy processes, but you might notice that one of the best-selling books today (A Purpose Driven Life) is all about finding one’s purpose. There is more of a conversation about this today than there has been in a long time. With the coming of life and relationship coaches such as Dr. Phil and TV talk-show heroes and heroines like Oprah, we are beginning to have these “deeper” conversations more often.

But let’s get back to Raya. The other and perhaps most important step Raya could have taken was to make herself a “relationship template.” This is would be a list of desirable qualities and traits that she would seek in a romantic partner. In addition, it would include the absolute “deal-makers” and “deal-breakers”. These are the “absolutely got to have with no compromise or negotiation” (deal-makers) and the “absolutely will not accept or tolerate under any circumstances, ever” (deal-breakers) traits, qualities and deficiencies. When you have such a list it is quite easy to check in with yourself to at least see if the deal-makers or deal-breakers are present.

But let’s not fault Raya too much, after all she, like most of us, didn’t have relationship skills 101 in junior high, high school or college. When you don’t know how to go about something, then you experiment, right?? Hopefully Raya learned from this experiment and will take action to prevent similar situations from arising in the future. However, if Raya does not figure out her purpose, values and relationship boundaries, there is a very high likelihood that she will not get the relationship she truly desires. As with many people, she is likely to settle and then at some point discover what doesn’t work, then get divorced. It’s easy to see why we have a divorce rate that hovers around 50%.

So perhaps you can learn something very valuable from Raya. Get to know you first: Where you are going in your life, what is truly important to you, and then, what are the relationship parameters you have to have. Yes, you could marry yourself first! Novel concept, huh??!!

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Differentiation of Self

Self-Differentiation is a progressive, internal interplay between autonomy (separation) and connection (togetherness) while progressing toward developing and known goals.

Being an authentic adult is hard work and a never completed task. The pathway is paved with difficulty and challenge.

To become an adult, every person faces the task of the differentiation of self .

Not to differentiate is to fuse (the failure to become a separate person) with others and to place responsibility on others (or on situations, predicaments, and hurdles) for the way in which our lives develop. To differentiate is to provide a platform for maximum growth and personal development for everyone in your circle of influence.

Differentiation is described in many ways in the following points:

1. Growing in the ability to see where and how I fit into my family, the position I hold and the power that is and is not given to that position.
2. Growing in the ability to be fully responsible for my own life while being committed to growing closer to those I love.
3. Intentionally developing, at the same time, autonomy and intimacy. In developing autonomy I set myself towards achieving my dreams and ambitions. In developing intimacy, I allow those close to me to see and know me as I really am.
4. Being willing to say clearly who I am and who I want to be while others are trying to tell me who I am and who I should be.
5. Staying in touch with others while, and even though, there is tension and disagreement.
6. Being able to declare clearly what I need and requesting help from others without imposing my needs upon them.
7. Being able to understand what needs I can and cannot meet in my own life and in the lives of others.
8. Understanding that I am called to be distinct (separate) from others, without being distant from others.
9. Understanding that I am responsible to others but not responsible for others .
10. Growing in the ability to live from the sane, thinking and creative person I am, who can perceive possibilities and chase dreams and ambitions without hurting people in the process.
11. Growing in the ability to detect where controlling emotions and highly reactive behavior have directed my life, then, opting for better and more purposeful growth born of creative thinking.
12. Deciding never to use another person for my own ends and to be honest with myself about this when I see myself falling into such patterns.
13. Seeing my life as a whole, a complete unit, and not as compartmentalized, unrelated segments.
14. Making no heroes, taking no vicitims.
15. Giving up the search for the arrival of a Knight in Shining Armour who will save me from the beautiful struggles and possibilities presented in everday living.
16. Paying the price for building and living withing community.
17. Moving beyond “instant” to process when it comes to love, miracles, the future, healing and all the important and beautiful things in life.
18. Enjoying the water (rather than praying for it to be wine), learning to swim (rather than trying to walk on water).

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