Relationship Tip of the Week

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Relationship Tip of the Week
Does your partner make you feel guilty?  Do you feel like you can’t ever please him or her? If so, you may be in a relationship where your partner is insecure and lacks self-esteem. Of course, if you don’t spend time relationship building, then maybe you are the one who is at fault. But if you honestly do think you give more than sufficient time to your partner and he or she is still unhappy, it may be because they are unhappy with themselves and are looking to you to fill the hole in their life. When we have healthy self-esteem, we realize that our partner does not “owe” us whatever we didn’t get in childhood. We do not hold our partners responsible for making or keeping us happy. That is our job. When we are emotionally healthy, we realize when we legitimately have a beef with our spouse and when we want them to fill in our emotional emptiness for us. Whether it is you or your partner, if either of you seems intent on making the other person feel guilty for not giving enough, it is time to reassess the relationship and perhaps see a therapist. Remember, you do not have to be miserable together.

Relationship Tip of the Week

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Relationship Tip of the Week

As a therapist, one of the biggest complaints I get has to do with “unspoken” messages.

“She said she was okay with me going, but then she did that sigh thing.” And she replies, “I said it was okay for you to go, didn’t I?”

Or, “I hate it when he makes that face.” Then he says, “What face?”

Words are only 7 percent of your conversation. The rest is your voice tonality (38 %) and your body language (55 %). Rolling your eyes, sighing, frowning or using terse words convey 93% of your message and can completely negate what your words state. Often deep self-esteem issues arise out of these situations because people feel rejected, marginalized or dismissed.

If you get a double message from someone you have a choice: You can decide what they are really saying and proceed from there (if you go, are you going to be punished?), you can talk about it, “You’re words are saying yes but everything else is saying ‘No.’ It sounds like we really need to talk about this more” or you can pout (silent treatment).

If you are the one doing it, then step back and think about why you choose to communicate this way instead of being up front. Your feelings may or may not be legitimate but it is obviously something you need to sort out and certainly worth talking about.

We use this passive-aggressive way of communicating out of habit or because we’re angry we can’t do anything about the situation. Knee-jerk anger in response doesn’t help. Talking—sometimes two or three times about the issue will eventually end up in a better place as long as you are both willing to hear what is bothering the other person. You don’t have to agree with the other person’s point of view—you just have to acknowledge his or her feelings.  It is not about winning—it is about your relationship in the long run.


Those $400 Jeans… Self Esteem?

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My husband takes The New York Times just so he can do the crossword. I was looking through their fashion magazine last night and found myself feeling incredibly sad. I used to feel out of it when I realized I wasn’t even close to being in fashion but last night I felt sorry for all those people dressed in the “latest.” They looked ridiculous!  If I, or anyone else I know, wore any of the clothes featured, we’d have kids and dogs following us down the street laughing and sniffing. It feels good to know what I like, what looks good and not have to pitch clothes because they’re “out” this year. I can’t imagine spending money on $400 jeans or a $2500 purse. I don’t need those things to be loved or liked. Fashion is fine but it can’t make you something you’re not. Dressing well helps us feel good but dressing to impress takes us down that treacherous and destructive path of comparing ourselves to others. Being who you are is the secret to loving yourself and loving your life.


Are you stuck in a rut?

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If you are stuck or in a rut, a good way to get unstuck is to change a routine. Find an accountibility friend and tell them everyday what you WILL accomplish that day. Write a note and mail it instead of emailing, read instead of watching TV, watch a funny TV show instead of listening to sad or heavy music, cut your hair, grow your hair, fix a new recipe, throw out stuff with additives, get up earlier, clean out a closet, bake, go to a new store you’ve never been to, walk the dog a different way. We are deeply influenced by what we do and while some routines are comforting, others lull us into feeling powerless over our lives. We are responsible for our own happiness and the way we feel about ourselves. We can change what we don’t like.


How Important Is Our Personhood?

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It doesn’t happen to me very often, but this week I had an encounter with an pretty nasty person. In fact, this person was so nasty that it has caused me to think hard about people who go out of their way to cause others difficulties.

We live in a city on the East coast and like many other cities, have had a lot of snow. Most of us have to park on the street and we have learned to squeeze three cars in spaces most people would only try to park two. We know that if we are careful, everyone usually gets a place to park. The snow has taken our parking places down by about 1/3 and those of us who get home late have to park blocks and blocks away. Not fun on a cold night, especially if you are toting groceries.

This person I mentioned took up two parking places for five days (no one knew whose car it was) even though someone had left a note on the car. (more…)


The holidays are a dangerous time for self-esteem

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Christmas lights

Image via Wikipedia

The holidays are a very dangerous time for self-esteem.  The last thing we need to do is measure self-worth based on gifts. There are hundreds of opportunities now to turn away from activities that involve comparing ourselves to others. You only need to look within yourself to know if you are doing the right things. Don’t allow someone else to set your priorities for you. If you hate to do outside lights, get a spotlight and devote yourself to visiting the animal shelter if that’s what you want. It’s better to have a happy house than a tension-filled one that wears 10,000 lights. This season, more than all the others, should encourage you to value yourself because you are already valued…there is already a reason you’re here.

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