Relate Well! Blog

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

Are You Putting on an Act?

Lights! Camera! Action! When the spotlight of life is focused on you, what do people see? Are you an actor just playing a role or are you the “real thing?” Are you willing to let people see who you really are? Hollywood actors are paid big bucks to portray a make-believe character on the screen, but there are many people outside of “Tinsel Town” who put on a very convincing act every day without ever being paid a dime. In fact, many of them pay a high price. 

You don’t have to be a Hollywood star or public figure to be concerned with the way others perceive you. All of us are involved in personal image management to some degree, and in most cases, this is perfectly normal. In fact, thinking about who you will be with and what you will be doing is a reasonable way to determine what “image” to put on by dressing and behaving appropriately in a given situation. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with putting your best foot forward in...

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Overcoming the Effects of Verbal Abuse - Part II

Just as the healing process for physical illness takes time, so does the healing associated with the harmful effects of verbal abuse. Victims may experience sadness or hurt when they recall being told, “You are not good enough,” or “You are a failure.” It is possible that you are struggling today with feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and insecurity. You may be overly critical toward yourself or have expectations for others that are unrealistic. You may even find yourself hurting others with your words the way you were once hurt.

Verbal abuse attacks a person at the very core of their being. It can make us question our worth, value, competency and even our significance as a human being. When we develop distorted beliefs about ourselves in these areas it automatically impacts our behavior and ultimately our emotions. For instance, if someone believes they are unlovable they will likely behave in a way that supports their...

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Overcoming the Effects of Verbal Abuse - Part I

What is Verbal Abuse?

What you say:  Verbal abuse is often defined as a pattern of verbal behavior characterized by harsh, demeaning, belittling and critical words or statements. Examples are, “You are worthless.”, “I wish you were never born.”, or “Can’t you ever do anything right?”

What you don’t say:  Verbal abuse is also defined as the absence of positive, encouraging and supportive words or statements, such as “you are special.”, “I knew you could do it.” or “I love you.”

The Effects of Verbal Abuse

In my practice I have had many adults tell me that the verbal abuse they suffered as a child did not impact them because they knew that their parents really loved them. Unfortunately, there can be damage to the child’s self-concept even if the parent doesn’t intend to do harm. Even the best parent can make hurtful comments when feeling overwhelmed or angry, and...

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Job Stress – What Can You Do? Part 2 of 2

Last week we looked at the damaging effects that work-related stress can have on your health and life. Today, we will talk about some of the ways you can better manage the stress you feel.

If you are an employer or if you’re in charge of a team or staff working under your supervision, be sure to consider the tips about how you can make the working environment less stressful, too!

Big improvements in stress management take place in small increments and daily habits. Here are some Recommended Daily Habits to get you started:

  • Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself
  • Do something nice for someone
  • Share a laugh or a word of encouragement with someone you like
  • Make a list of things you are most grateful for
  • Take a leisurely bath or hot shower
  • Rest your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes without interruption
  • Relax outdoors, enjoying nature
  • Revisit your accomplishments - even the smallest ones
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Get up 15 minutes early to avoid having to rush
  • Watch a funny...
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Job Stress – What Can You Do? Part 1 of 2

Today’s workforce faces a multitude of pressures: deadlines, office politics, nonproductive meetings, conflict, job ambiguity, miscommunication, increased workload, inadequate resources, customer complaints and long hours. . . not to mention adjusting to working from home, complying with government requirements or feeling nervous about going back to the office! On-the-job stress can be quite costly, too, because it often results in increased absenteeism, reduced efficiency, low morale, reduced effectiveness, and high staff turnover.

Even before the pandemic, researchers discovered that since 1965 the overall stress levels in the U.S. increased nearly 50%, and that 75-90% of all office visits to health care professionals were for stress-related symptoms and disorders – so we can only imagine how the numbers have been impacted more recently!

We know that a certain level of stress can be good. It actually improves performance by sharpening concentration, focusing...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 2 of 2)

In our previous blog we began talking about some ways to start out on the right foot if you re-marry and bring two families together. Those initial tips were: Make Your Marriage a Priority, Be Sensitive to Your Child’s Feelings, Develop Realistic Expectations and Be Supportive of Your Child’s Other Biological Parent. Those tips focus on ways to deal with the adjustment you and your children will go through with the life-changing step of blending them into a new family structure. Today we will share some ways to help your new family grow stronger and become closer.

Develop strong listening and communication skills

Effective communication and listening skills are vital to the success of any relationship. The true test of your skills comes when you are emotionally charged. It’s easy to say the right things when you feel happy, but throw in a little anger, a dash of jealousy and a pinch of disappointment and you have the ingredients for communication breakdown –...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 1 of 2)

One of my first introductions to a blended family was The Brady Bunch. Every Friday night, we tuned in to watch Mike Brady and his three sons and his new wife, Carol, and her three daughters skillfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls of their blended family -- and all in less than thirty-minutes.

Some say the Bradys didn’t have it as rough as most blended families, but, hey, what about the time the entire clan had to help Jan cope with the trauma of wearing glasses? Or when Greg was faced with the gut-wrenching decision of voting for someone other than his stepsister to be captain of the cheerleading squad? Boy, those were tough times! If not for the Solomon-like wisdom of Alice, the housekeeper, the Bradys could have easily ended up as just another divorce statistic.

If only step-parenting could be as easy as The Brady Bunch made it look! In reality, blending families together without mixing them up can be enormously difficult and challenging.

Studies show that half of...

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Helping Your Child Process the Illness or Death of a Loved One

In this life, there is no escaping the reality that your family will be impacted by serious illness and death at some time. This is painful and hard for adults, but we must be mindful of the children who are affected as well. 

When someone we love is seriously ill it can evoke within us a sense of helplessness and powerlessness and children feel it, too. Allowing the child to assist in an age-appropriate fashion can help teach them important lessons about caregiving and compassion, help them be distracted from the inevitability of death and give them a sense of purpose and a special connection to the one they love. This may be as simple as drawing a picture for their sick loved one, bringing a drink of water, helping a caregiver adult prepare a meal, or visiting with them as tolerated. 

When a child experiences the death of a family member due to illness or accident it is important for the parent or adult caretaker to speak openly about it. Children can’t be fooled...

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What Buying a Car Can Teach You About Who to Marry

When my daughter was preparing to go to college, we had to shop for a reliable car to transport her around her temporary new community. She had been looking for just the right car for a long time and she could tell us exactly what she wanted and why. She had done an impressive amount of research!

Knowing what she wanted ahead of time really made the decision-making process more efficient and effective and much less stressful. We didn’t have to visit every dealership in town and subject ourselves to high-pressure sales pitches. In fact, the probability of high satisfaction was greatly increased because she had a clear picture of what she was looking for.

If people put this amount of time and effort into knowing what they really want in a spouse, I believe the divorce rate would fall way below 50 percent and they would be a lot more satisfied with their choices. Oh, I know, you can give a lot of thought to who you want as a mate and still end up with a lemon – there are...

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Help Your Kids Quit Procrastinating

When I was growing up I would often hear my mother say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As a child, I hated that statement. It often meant missing a television program or playing with my friends in order to finish my chores or schoolwork.

As an adult, I can now appreciate the importance my mother placed on getting a job done. Unfortunately, many parents encourage their children to procrastinate by allowing them to postpone such things as homework, music lessons or chores. When a child develops the “I’ll do-it-later” syndrome it is very difficult to grow out of it as an adult.

According to a research study conducted by Rhodes College, Psychologists found that parents can program their children to become procrastinators by being late to activities, putting off the signing of permission slips or canceling appointments. The key to remember is this moms and dads, if you want your children to get things done on time you must begin by...

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