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4 posts from February 2008

February 27, 2008

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRACE AND FORGIVENESS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Grace: a generosity of spirit; a capacity to tolerate, accommodate, or forgive people.

The other day my husband casually commented that our anniversary was on Wednesday and wondered what we wanted to do.  Being the good relationship coach that I am, I was shocked and said, “Ooooh, my gosh! Is it really?!” My husband paused and looked at me, silently allowing my very relational comment to sink in.  I quickly try to recover and say that I knew our anniversary (our 15th by the way) was on the 27th, I just didn’t realize the 27th was Wednesday! 

(As I’m sure you can imagine this wasn’t all that helpful).

Fortunately, our friends were over and out of pity I’m sure, one of them offered to watch the kids while we go out for dinner.  I thank her very much and say that would be a great idea.  I then go to look at my schedule.  Well, to make matters worse...I open my book and I just burst out laughing (okay also not very relational, I know).  Everyone’s staring at me and my husband, with a smirk on his face, says “Yes Lisa?” 

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February 20, 2008

CHANGING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH A ONE-TWO PUNCH

In order to get the relationship you want, you must be willing to work for it.  The best way I know to do this is to apply the relationship one-two punch:

  1. Ask for nothing more than you’re willing to give in relationships.
  2. Accept nothing less.

Often in couples there’s one person who is more of the taker and one who is more of the giver.  The taker may provide an income to the family; however, beyond that s/he tends to be fairly selfish.  The taker wants things done his/her way, does what s/he wants to do when s/he wants to do it, may provide little emotional support or comfort to family members, and adds little beyond money to the family system.  The giver basically accepts what the taker gives (with occasional outbursts and pleas, but with no real sustenance).

There are many reasons why this dynamic gets set up, and let me be clear that often both parties contribute to this dynamic:  takers learn to take advantage of their partners because their partners allow it; givers continue to do everything because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t do it all.  Both partners create an endless dance of give and take, and neither are very skilled at partnering.   

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February 13, 2008

GOSSIP AND RELATIONSHIPS…AN UNHEALTHY MIX

One of my relational cornerstones is: Don’t speak ill of others--it reflects poorly on you (not to mention it doesn’t feel so great to the person being talked about either). This cornerstone is about gossiping.  Gossiping, throughout the ages, has been used maliciously, as a means of connecting to others, as a way of making you look/feel better than someone else, as a deflection, and absentmindedly. 

The problem is: when we gossip--we hurt others and ourselves.  We hurt ourselves by being out of integrity and by teaching people we can’t be trusted.  We hurt others by speaking about them in a negative light.  It may feel fine when you’re on the speaking end of the information, but I guarantee you it’s not so fine when you’re the one being spoken about.

I remember being in a group of women who would talk about other people without a second thought it seemed.  Inevitably, I would walk away wondering what they were going to say about me once I got out of earshot.  It was a very uncomfortable feeling.  At that moment I realized that if we talk about acquaintances, there’s no reason to think we won’t talk about our friends too.

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February 06, 2008

PERSONAL GROWTH AND LEAVING FRIENDS BEHIND: Making old relationships new

When I’m working with clients on relationship issues our work almost always begins with strengthening the self.  It’s pivotal that the person has a healthy core in order to sustain a healthy relationship.  Not surprisingly, as the person begins to become healthier s/he becomes more aware of what’s unhealthy.  This can definitely shake up relationships and friendships.

I often hear from people who’ve made a lot of personal changes that they don’t enjoy being around their friends as much as they did before.  They begin to see their friends as unhealthy and they don’t want to be around that energy anymore; at the same time, they don’t want to lose all their friends.  What’s going on?

First off, let me just say this is normal. As people get healthier, they have a much lower tolerance for unhealthy.  As you get better boundaries, you notice the poor boundaries of others…and you want nothing to do with it.  What used to be fun gossip, now doesn’t sit right in the pit of your stomach.  Telling your girlfriend her husband’s a jerk for what he did to her no longer seems like the most helpful response to make.  Talking about superficial things just isn’t nourishing you anymore--especially when your life has been falling apart and you’ve had to do some work to get to center. 

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