14 posts categorized "CORNERSTONES"

March 13, 2009

STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME: THE POWER OF WORDS IN RELATIONSHIPS

 

I often hear people proudly say that they’ve never hit their child or loved ones in an effort to defend how they speak to them (I.e.: “I may call my son a wimp, but at least I don’t hit him”).  I’ve never heard so clearly however, the absurdity of justifying ones words by the lack of physical beatings as I heard today when Sarah shared a little saying of her grandmother’s.  The loving saying (I say this in jest mind you) went like this:  “I never laid a hand on my children, but I could peel the skin off their back with my tongue”.

 

Yikes…I could not have expressed the toxicity of cutting words more perfectly myself, no matter how hard I tried.  You have to love these little quips for providing us with wonderful life lessons on what NOT to do. 

 

The reality is that words can be just as painful, scarring, and brutal as fists and belts.  Being proud of never striking your partner or child is wonderful… if you’re also being loving and respectful.  If you believe however, that as long as you don’t hit your loved ones you’re okay--think again.  Abuse is the maltreatment of a person and it is harmful regardless of whether the weapon of choice is your hand or mouth.

 

Continue reading "STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME: THE POWER OF WORDS IN RELATIONSHIPS" »

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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November 29, 2007

RELATIONSHIP POWER PACK: ADDING A LITTLE TENDERNESS TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

I’m very excited to announce the arrival of my new Couples Power Pack and my new Parents Power Pack! These three-in-one card deck packs consist of Tender Sprinkles, Tender Coupons, and Relationship Cornerstone cards.  These are great tools for adding a little spark to your romantic relationships and a little connection and fun to your relationships with children. You can use them for yourself or give them away as gifts to your family and friends.

Below are brief descriptions of each card set followed by one suggestion on how to use the cards in your
relationships. Feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions, or feedback at

l.merlobooth@charter.net.

Until then, buy a pack today and add a little tenderness to your relationships!

Continue reading "RELATIONSHIP POWER PACK: ADDING A LITTLE TENDERNESS TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS" »

September 05, 2006

CORNERSTONE 10: Deal with issues directly and in a timely fashion. Allowing issues to fester destroys relationships.

If you cannot let go of an issue without resentment, then speak directly about it. Each unspoken grudge piggy-backs on previous ones, until they build up to a point where few relationships can survive without a lot of work and/or outside help.

Couples often let too many things go unspoken. Either one or both partners wants to avoid conflict and instead of dealing with issues directly he/she holds it in, lets it role off his/her back or just ignores an issue altogether…only to be haunted by it later.

When we don’t speak to the things that upset us, that doesn’t mean the issues are gone. It just means we chose not to speak to it. As a result the issues go underground. After enough issues build up underground, a toxic root takes shape that threatens the very relationship we hoped to save by not speaking. This toxic root is filled with resentment, anger, and despair. The more “avoided conflicts”, the more toxic the root. Not surprisingly, the more toxic the root, the more damaging it is to the relationship.

Continue reading "CORNERSTONE 10: Deal with issues directly and in a timely fashion. Allowing issues to fester destroys relationships." »

August 06, 2006

DO NOT SPEAK ILL OF OTHERS--IT REFLECTS POORLY ON YOU (CORNERSTONE 9)

If you have a problem with someone, go to the source. If you have nothing else to talk about, make it a point to read up on current events or talk about your own life.

Gossiping is a way of keeping distance. If we are talking about someone else, we’re not sharing about ourselves. In many ways gossiping is a great way to stay safe while also feeling like we’re “in”. We can talk about someone else, laugh, joke, be liked and all the while never be vulnerable…what a great trick!

In particular I’m talking about negative gossip. Negative gossip is spreading hurtful news about someone, talking badly about someone behind his/her back, speaking with contempt about others, ridiculing or laughing at someone, and/or saying something behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t dare say to his/her face.

I believe that people often struggle with gossiping when they are not in a comfortable situation or they are so angry at a person that instead of going to that person to talk about what happened, they "vent" to others. For example, when I’m talking to someone I’m just getting to know or if I’m in a group of people who know each other better than I do, I struggle more to be in integrity in this area. Similarly, if I’m talking to someone who’s going off on a person, I may struggle to set limits because I don’t want the person to feel bad if I don’t participate in the gossiping or if I stopped the conversation.

Continue reading "DO NOT SPEAK ILL OF OTHERS--IT REFLECTS POORLY ON YOU (CORNERSTONE 9)" »

May 17, 2006

NEVER USE YOUR BODY IN ANGER AGAINST YOURSELF OR OTHERS. (CORNERSTONE 8)

Safety is a prerequisite for all healthy relationships. If you are using physical violence against someone in anger, that person is not safe. Intense anger acted out physically will break a connection instantly.

Being angry is a human emotion that all of us feel at various times; it’s not good or bad, it just is. How we handle our anger however, is a different story. Speaking firmly and respectfully, telling your loved ones that you are angry and setting limits are healthy ways of expressing your anger. Yelling, swearing, throwing things, hitting, pushing or hurting someone in any way in anger is not okay.

The only time it is okay to put your hands on someone in anger is if you are in danger and you are using self-defense. Other than that, it is never okay. Physically harming your loved one no matter how angry you are makes healthy intimacy impossible. If you “can’t” control your anger, then live by yourself until you “choose” to control it. Get help, take medication, join an anger management group--work to change it. Make a decision to not be violent and don’t be.

As important as it is that you not be violent with anyone, it is equally important that you not allow anyone to be violent with you. You have the right to be treated with respect at all times by all people; if someone is not honoring that, leave the situation.

Challenge: Make a decision to take physical violence (any violence for that matter) out of your life. If you need help for your anger—get it. Don’t contaminate others with it.

May 03, 2006

HAVE INTEGRITY IN YOUR ACTIONS (CORNERSTONE 7)

Integrity requires that you live your values moment to moment; not just speak them. If you can’t act upon your words, then don’t say them.

I believe acting with integrity means acting with honor and authenticity. Acting with honor requires that we do the right thing even when it is the most difficult move we can make. Acting with authenticity is respectfully speaking your truth even when it may be hard for someone to hear or for you to say.

Judging what the “right” thing is requires putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes and making a decision from that place; what would you want someone to do if you were in that same situation? I’ve witnessed, read, and heard about many hurtful incidents over the years and what often bothers me the most is the inaction of bystanders…on top of the brutality. I was at a concert many years ago and I remember a guy hitting his girlfriend in front of a crowd of people. I was furious. I looked around to see no one was doing anything and I walked right towards him in a huff. Miraculously he stopped hitting and yelling at his girlfriend, stared at me and yelled “What?” I was a bit startled (since I was running on adrenalin, I hadn’t thought about what I was actually going to do when I got there), so I said something like, “Nothing!” I just slowly walked away, eyeing them the whole time.

Continue reading "HAVE INTEGRITY IN YOUR ACTIONS (CORNERSTONE 7)" »

March 29, 2006

BE AUTHENTIC (Cornerstone #6)

Speaking your truth is a wonderful gift. Be truthful in a compassionate, honoring way. Don’t hide it, sugar-coat it, or deny it. Just tell it. This cornerstone alone will transform your relationships.

I’m amazed at how often people don’t speak their truth in relationships. They will lie, pretend, try to be nice, ignore…do everything you can imagine, except tell their truth. While I understand why this happens, I continue to be surprised by the depth of this phenomenon.

Partners lie to each other about sex (of course it was great), money (my work paid for that computer), emotional intimacy (no I don’t feel distant at all - - I think we’re doing good) and much more. The irony is the very partner’s who are lying, are often the ones complaining that they don’t feel close to their partner. I’m not surprised since it’s hard to feel close to someone you’re not honest with.

Continue reading "BE AUTHENTIC (Cornerstone #6)" »

March 03, 2006

ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN YOU GIVE (Cornerstone #5)

Do not allow others to treat you poorly for any reason. Each time you passively remain in the presence of someone who is treating you in hurtful ways, you send a clear message that this behavior is okay. This is not an acceptable message. It does not serve you or others to be hurt or humiliated.

If you are treating others in your life well (respectful, honest and authentic), then you should accept nothing less from them. If you are not respectful to others, then clean up your act and then demand they clean up theirs. The first move starts with you.

I believe that people will rise or fall to the level of our expectations more often than not. If I don’t expect others to treat me well, then chances are they won’t. The same is true for you. If you have people in your life who treat you poorly, then what message are you giving them about their behavior? Do you complain but take it, or do you tip toe around the person in the hopes that you don’t set him or her off? Do you know that you have the right to be treated well? If so, do your actions convey this?

We often have many choices when in the presence of someone who is being hurtful yet sometimes we get paralyzed and freeze. During those times remember to take a deep breath, hold it for 4 seconds and slowly release it through your mouth. After you have slowed down, decide if this type of behavior is something you want or need to be around. If it is not, take care of yourself and set a limit, walk away or get help. Be confident in the knowledge that no one deserves to be treated poorly; you have the right to be treated with integrity by everyone in your life at all times. Anything less is not okay.

Challenge: Make a list titled “Rules of Engagement” and on that list write the rules you want to set for how people need to act when in your presence (i.e. must be respectful, may not hit, swear, call me names, must be honest etc.). Pick two rules from your list and decide how you are going to intervene if someone violates your rule. Finally, if someone violates them, follow through with your limit.

February 16, 2006

ASK FOR NOTHING MORE THAN YOU ARE WILLING TO GIVE (Cornerstone #4)

Lead by example. If you want to be respected, listened to, and treated well, then you must respect, listen to, and treat others well. If you can’t give it, don’t ask for it.

When I was little my mother would constantly say, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” As a child this didn’t sit well with me. I believed that every once in a while I had the right to do unto others as they have done unto me. I believed that if I was mean to someone in response to him/her being mean to me, then that person would get what it feels like… and naturally s/he wouldn’t do it again. Now, many years later (well, not sooo many years later), I realize how wrong I was.

I don’t have the right to ask more of people than I ask of myself, and nor do you. This is true whether we’re talking about children, spouses, friends or co-workers. If we can’t control our anger, then how can we expect our children to control theirs? If we swear at our spouses, then who are we to get indignant if they swear at us? We have the right to hold others accountable to the same rules we hold ourselves -- nothing more, nothing less. It is therefore in our best interest to insure the example we are setting is the behavior we want to receive. If it’s not, we better change our example.

Challenge: Pay attention to the example you are setting in your life. If your loved ones acted like you, would that be good or not? If not, choose a key area to work on and set a new example. If so, move on to cornerstone #5 (and pat yourself on the back for doing good work).

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