Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development
For some people, family is the greatest source of joy in life. For others, it may be the greatest source of pain. For most, it’s often a combination of the two. In my practice as a psychologist and in my own arenas of life I have known people who were struggling with a family member – child, sibling, parent, etc. – who was out of control. Many of the situations these people face involve a loved one who is struggling with addiction, spending money unwisely, refusing to control their anger or selfishness, or who is living with a mental illness.
The almost universal question is, “What can I do?” Situations and resources vary from family to family, but here are some general principles that may help you when you have to make a decision about what to do.
1. Don’t do harm by becoming part of the problem. Harm can take the form of enabling unhealthy behaviors by lying to employers about absences, paying debts, or making excuses. It may also take the...
Marriage isn’t easy. If you’re married, that is not news to you. While being committed and bonded to someone can be the most satisfying human relationship, sometimes it takes grit and determination to get past the challenges brought on by stressors like money, sex, conflict, parenting, illness, exhaustion and even an opposite-sex friendship.
Sometimes the challenges are beyond your control or happen in spite of your best effort to maintain your marital satisfaction. But at other times, they are avoidable. One issue that troubles a lot of marriages is one partner having a close friend of the opposite sex. While many such friendships are positive, I have created a list of 20 questions you should ask yourself to make sure you haven’t crossed a line.
|1. Is your spouse unaware of your opposite-sex friendship?||Y||N|
|2. Would you ever behave differently around your friend if your spouse were present?||Y||N|
In my professional practice I encounter men and women every day who are bound up in the proverbial chains of negative emotions. They are dragging their feet through life, weighed down by feelings of fear, jealousy, self-pity, anger, sadness, anxiety and rejection.
These chronic painful emotions are what often stand in the way of a person’s personal and professional success in life. Negative emotions can deplete you of energy and motivation, take away your joy and enthusiasm and keep you from pursuing positive goals for your life. It is very difficult to do well professionally or relationally if you don’t have a positive and realistic attitude and healthy emotions.
In order to begin breaking free from negative emotions, it is imperative that you possess an understanding of their underlying root causes. I would encourage you to be brave enough to take an honest look at what thoughts and behaviors might be creating and perpetuating the negative emotions that are bringing...
Last week I shared the first 5 tips for how to be a person of influence, so here are the 5 remaining tips. I encourage and challenge you to review all 10 tips frequently so that you will become a person of influence who makes a positive difference in the lives of those around you.
6. Accept people for who they are, where they are. All people long to be accepted and to experience a sense of belonging. Accepting and respecting people regardless of their position or station in life is a gift for them and for you. You don’t have to accept someone’s negative behavior, but recognizing their value as a human being will help you find ways to be a positive influence. We know that it is easy to love those who love us, but we are challenged to love the unlovable. Unconditional love is often a catalyst for positive change in someone’s life.
7. Take a stand for what is right. Have a back bone! Don’t assume someone else is going to do it. One of our great...
When I look around our society, entertainment and political arenas today, I wish there were more people who reflect the kind of positive influence that inspires, motivates and encourages others to live a successful life. In order to cultivate great marriages, families, businesses or communities we need to look for people who are willing to effectively and positively influence those around them.
If you can’t find one, BE one! If you want to be a person of positive influence, consider integrating the tips outlined below into your daily life.
1. Close the gap between your walk and your talk. One interesting question to ask yourself is, “If I were accused of living my life according to a strong set of values and integrity, would there be enough evidence to convict? Or would they find proof that I say one thing and do another?”
We’ve all heard it said that talk is cheap. That’s because positive action can require hard work and sacrifice and, frankly,...
Many American parents are angry because of their belief that our public educational system is in shambles. In federal and state political arenas, education is a hot topic and emotions run high as parents, teachers, administrators and politicians wrestle with the issues, and sometimes it’s the children who get caught in the crossfire in the battle over education.
Many parents complain that political correctness, waning values, liberal philosophies and a lack of appropriate discipline has permeated our public schools, rendering them ineffective and even harmful to children and families. The news outlets publish attention-grabbing headlines about students who are severely punished for minor or unintended infractions and others that blame the failing schools for kids who inflict violence on their fellow students. There’s no doubt that our educational system has deteriorated and that it needs an overhaul. However, before we give in to despair about the effects that the...
It was a little odd having Easter and April Fool’s Day fall on the same day this year. Those dates haven’t lined up since 1945, so it’s a rare occurrence! I wonder how many people added a few tricks to their egg hunts? I heard one person’s idea was to cover raw eggs with chocolate so their friends would take a bite. Not exactly my idea of tasteful joke!
But regardless of what strange things are happening, this time of year is a special reminder that life offers new beginnings. Every day brings an opportunity to experience life in a new way, and you have the power to make some healthy changes to put yourself on the road to being your best self.
Today you can:
Get rid of bad influences and habits. Every day we encounter things in our lives that would hold us back from being our best selves. Bad habits like smoking, criticizing, complaining and too much screen time are obvious roadblocks to good health, happiness and success. Toxic relationships or...
Conventional wisdom holds that as we age our beliefs and attitudes become more rigid. However, new research indicates that our conventional wisdom may be all wet.
A study conducted by researchers at Princeton and Ohio State Universities found that middle-aged adults were in fact more resistant to attitude change than older adults. They point out that “…openness to attitude change is a good thing and in fact is necessary for minimizing social conflict.”
I meet people everyday who hold on to attitudes and beliefs due to stubbornness fueled by pride. It is our pride that often causes division, hurt feelings and ongoing conflict in our relationships. The Book of Proverbs reminds us that, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Regardless of your age, one of the keys to maintaining healthy relationships is being willing to consider the views and opinions of others and allowing your beliefs and attitudes to change. I know this...
Spring is a time of year we tend to focus on fresh starts, so I want to encourage you to think about the importance of getting rid of the old routines and habits that hold you back and living your life on purpose with discipline and wisdom.
All of us have probably heard an older friend or relative make the comment, “If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!” Since hindsight is twenty-twenty, what would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
Some people might save more money for retirement, others may exercise and eat a healthy diet and many would desire to have better relationships. It is important to know what our priorities in life are, but just knowing what to do doesn’t get the job done. We must exercise self-discipline and wisdom in order to consistently carry out these priorities. You can’t go back and do life over again, but you can go forward, starting today.
Too often we...
I talk to men and women nearly every day who possess a lack of happiness in their lives. As I listen to them talk about what they believe is the source of their unhappiness I often discover that they lack understanding about both the cause of their unhappiness as well as the solution associated with overcoming it.
Many people believe that happiness is determined by their circumstances. “If only I weren’t sick,” “If only I had more money,” “If only I was married – or single,” “If only I was thinner,” and the list of “if onlys” goes on and on.
Since the late 1990’s, psychologists have been taking a closer look at the topic of happiness and why it seems so elusive to many people. In their book The How of Happiness: A new Approach to Getting the Life You Want, psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ken Sheldon, David Schkade and Martin Seligman, outline what they believe is the formula for...