Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Change Your Attitude, Change Your Relationships

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...

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Fresh Starts and New Habits

personal growth Mar 20, 2018

Happy first day of Spring!

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...

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The Happiness Formula

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...

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Daily Grind or Wise Investment?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? How do you keep going when it seems like an endless cycle?

Some days you go through the motions of your daily routine, wondering why you bother going to the same old job doing the same old things. Or you can’t remember why it’s important to prepare meals and wash dishes and laundry day after day.

So what’s the answer to why you do it? The answer is investment. Every good thing you do for your family, friends, career, church is an investment in the lives of others – even the daily routine tasks.

Investing in the people you influence as you persevere through the long days at work. Investing in maintaining your home and ensuring the well-being of your spouse and children helps to grow a healthy family. You and the people you affect each day will make a difference –...

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Dealing with The Critic

Every time Steve turned in a project, his boss consistently found something to criticize about it. Despite Steve’s many attempts at trying to please his boss, he couldn’t find a way to make it happen. After several months, Steve became so discouraged he gave up and quit his job.

Laura could never seem to please her mother. She studied late into the night and made straight A’s in school. She was Student Body President and showing great promise with her leadership skills. Yet her mom would say, “I am so proud of you, but why can’t you use some of your talent to clean your room?”

One of the most challenging people in life is the Critic – the person with the “gift” of spotting a flaw a mile away. Whether it’s your spouse, your boss or your parent, here are some tips for getting along with the critical person in your life.

1. Work at not taking the criticism personally. Remember that the Critic’s remark reveals more about...

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Can You Guess What The Foundation of a Happy Marriage Is?

With Valentine’s Day upon us, our minds turn to love and romantic relationships. What do you think is the foundation of a happy marriage? Many people would guess that it is good communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, mutual respect, or martial commitment. Although these things are very important recent research shows that the best predictor of marital happiness is friendship.

Think about it. If you are friends with someone, you make the effort to maintain good communication, spend time together when possible and laugh at each other’s jokes even if you have heard them before. If you are really close friends, you should have enough confidence in the relationship to tell them when you see something in their life that concerns you, or to accept negative feedback from them. You share a connection that grows from appreciation of how much that person is like you, or how interesting they are because they are different from you – or a combination of the two.

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Job Stress Can Interfere with Being a Father

According to a Pennsylvania State University study, when you combine a highly demanding job together with marital problems the result is a father who is out of the loop related to his school-age child’s daily life. There is no question that both mothers and fathers can face extremely challenging circumstances as they balance work life and home life, but today we will focus on the fathers.

Many men are deeply work-oriented – instinctively trying to conquer the two-headed beast of achievement and competition. In a job market that creates higher demands on each employee many dads are working longer hours and even bringing more work home, making them less available to their wives and children. This creates a great deal of strain on marriages. I hear in counseling from women who feel their husbands are “missing in action” and not tending to their emotional needs and leaving them to shoulder all of the physical and emotional responsibility for the children, and it...

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You Can Learn to Trust Again

When it comes to relationships, let’s be clear – the last thing you want to do is trust someone who is not trustworthy.  In fact, it’s foolish to trust a person whose behavior is characterized by lies and broken promises.

But one of the biggest challenges in many relationships is the difficulty some people have with being able or willing to trust someone who is truly trustworthy.  These are often men or women who have been hurt or taken advantage of by important people in their lives, resulting in a conditioned response of suspicion and fear.  Sadly, this virtually guarantees that intimacy will suffer significantly.  The absence of both trust and intimacy can often give way to a vicious cycle of conflict, abuse and isolation.

If your capacity to trust others is limited because of the insecurity and vulnerability created by abuse, keep in mind that there is hope.  The trauma of abuse frequently triggers the development of...

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Authentic Self-Disclosure Makes You a People Magnet

Everyone wants to be liked and accepted, although you wouldn’t always know it. Some people give the impression that they couldn’t care less about what people think about them, but that is rarely true. Their cool, standoffish style is more often a wall they have built to protect themselves from possible criticism and rejection. This wall may succeed at deflecting emotional pain, but it also prevents you from experiencing the meaningful, satisfying connections that close relationships provide.

People erect emotional walls in order to defend insecurities, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. After all, there is no need to defend areas of strength. For example, if you have a strong sense of confidence, there is no need to hide behind the wall because you are comfortable and open to interaction with others. The irony associated with wall building is that you think it will ensure that you stay in your comfort zone and protect you from negative judgments and rejection; however, in...

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Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination - Part 3

This is the third installment of a 3-part series on overcoming procrastination.  I admit to feeling the pressure of finishing on time, considering the topic!  So, here are the final three Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Get it done early 

You’ve probably heard, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”  We see this played out every April 15th as cars line up at the post office so taxpayers can get their returns posted by midnight and in jam-packed retailers on December 24th. If you put things off to the last minute, you not only increase the stress associated with the looming deadline, but you add the stress of knowing that there is no margin for error.  Think of how much more calmly you would be able to approach a project if you gave yourself an earlier “soft” deadline, worked consistently to meet it, and had confidence in one of two likely outcomes – either the satisfaction...

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