Relate Well! Blog

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

Getting Along with Critical People

We all have to deal with critical people at times. You know the type - the person who can spot a flaw from across the room, gives unsolicited advice, frequently complains and passes judgment, is negative and seems impossible to please.

We can all be critical. Every day, we literally critique everything that goes on around us consciously and unconsciously. Unfortunately, some people tend to verbalize the thoughts many of us have learned to keep to ourselves. When things don't go our way or we're in a bad mood it is easy to become critical. It's true, miserable people prefer miserable company. Critical people actually feel better around others who share the same negative attitudes. Before we spend time learning how to cope with other people's critical traits let's make sure we have our own well under control.

It can be quite challenging to get along with a critic, especially when we live, work or attend church with them. Here are 10 tips to help you get along better with critical...

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The Role of a Father

As we approach Father’s Day, I would like to take a moment to recognize the powerful role fathers play in the lives of their children. I believe the role of a father is too often undervalued in our society. The truth of the matter is that fathers have a significant impact in the their children's social, emotional, academic, spiritual and relational development. 

As I reflect on my life growing up, I can’t help but feel truly blessed to have had such an amazing father in my life. He was a constant provider for our family and an extremely hard worker. Though my mother was more present in our day to day lives, I have fond memories of the role my father played. He taught me the power of a strong work ethic, how to be true to myself, the power of consistency and action, and how to ride a bike. My dad took me on vacations, called me while he was on trips for work, and either showed up to my sports games to cheer me on or asked me how they went afterwards. I never knew how...

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Do You Know the Enemies of Your Marriage?

If you woke up in the middle of the night and found someone trying to break into your home, would you ignore it and go back to sleep? Of course not! However, every day, couples allow enemies into their home that rival the destructive nature of an intruder.

Tackling the normal challenges of marriage is difficult enough without having to also contend with the enemies we allow to undermine our relationships every day. As we live day to day during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, many problems seem to be magnified, so addressing them is even more important than ever. If you want to have a vital and satisfying marriage it is critically important that you and your spouse take the time to identify and name the specific activities, behaviors, attitudes and people that can compromise your intimacy and trust. 

In my practice I find couples who are very frustrated and unhappy in their relationships, yet they passively sit back and allow habits, activities, attitudes and even people to...

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Seeing the Good in the Bad

It never ceases to amaze me how important our attitudes are when it comes to rising above life’s circumstances. Every week I meet with people from all walks of life that are dealing with heartache and pain and all they can see in front of them is the bad.

When my children were young we would go fishing every summer. I recall one particular fishing trip that I will never forget. Thirty minutes after arriving at the lake, my son, Scott, wanted to leave. He complained that it was too windy and the fish were never going to bite. I tried to encourage him by telling him to try and enjoy the beautiful scenery, the cool breeze and watching the guy next to us catch one fish after another. His response was, “Dad, I hate it when you always see the good in the bad.” Although he was frustrated, I took Scott’s comment as a compliment.

Most of us have been impacted by the Covid-19 virus in some way – from minor nuisance to life-changing tragedy. Even if the illness...

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A Different Kind of Mother's Day

Mother’s Day might be very different this year. It is usually the busiest day of the year at restaurants, but this year most of us will have to find another way to celebrate the moms in our lives. 

This year, you may not be out shopping for cards and gifts, so what can you do to make Mom feel special and appreciated? 

Moms who are at home, still raising their families, will appreciate the gift of thoughtfulness. This could be a little “time off” when the family brings her breakfast in bed or gives her time to take an uninterrupted nap. It could be hand-drawn cards that express what each child loves and appreciates about their mom. How about a paper crown, elaborately decorated with available craft supplies to make her feel like a queen? You can have fun brainstorming ideas, and Mom is going to love that you took the time to think about her! 

If your mom is living alone, either independently or in a senior community, you may not be able to physically...

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Tips for Parents Navigating Covid-19 with Kids

For weeks now, life has looked different for families across the country. More time is being spent at home, routines are changing, and children have made the transition to learning from home with distance learning. 

I have been working with parents and students who have shared their thoughts, frustrations, and fears with all of the changes taking place. They want to know how to manage this new way of living. 

The new structure at home can feel overwhelming and challenging as you try to create new routines and take on new roles. As you navigate this time, here are 5 tips to help you and your kids feel successful and make the most out of this unusual time. 

  1. When it comes to distance learning, set up a designated space and time for schoolwork.

Kids thrive when provided structure and routine. If you are having a difficult time getting your child to sit down and get to work, know that you are not alone! Making this transition to learning from home can be...

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Dealing with Covid-19 While Stuck at Home

I recently had the opportunity to do a Facebook Live event with Dr. Randy Carlson for the Intentional Living radio program. We were discussing some of the issues families, in particular, are dealing with as they are staying at home due to the Covid-19 protocols. Here are some of the tips and insights that might help you and your family as you navigate your own situation.

One of the disturbing factors of the virus and the measures being mandated to prevent its spread is the uncertainty that accompanies loss of control in our own lives. One of the strategies we can employ is to reasonably control what we can. I have talked to many people who are anxiously watching news reports for developments and finding it only adds to their stress. My suggestion is to drastically reduce the amount of news they consume. In reality, from hour to hour, there will not be any drastic changes, so a brief, daily check-in is probably enough to keep you informed but not overwhelmed.

It can also be...

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Do You Worry or Have Healthy Concern?

We are currently living in an unprecedented and unusually stressful time, with the Covid-19 virus affecting nearly all of us in one way or another. It is highly likely that within the last few hours you have given in to the urge to worry about some aspect of how it may impact your life or the life of someone you love, both short term and long term.

So, let’s take a look at what worry really is in order to help us manage our feelings and behaviors more effectively.

Even under normal circumstances worry comes naturally to most of us, so it is important to consider the importance of learning how to minimize the destructive nature of worry while still effectively navigating the unavoidable, and sometimes very scary, challenges and uncertainties of life. 

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of people who struggle with acute and chronic worry, and it can be very emotionally, psychologically, and physically debilitating. 

Generally speaking, worry is more often...

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This Could Be Your Lucky Day!

When Irish immigrants came to America, some became wealthy as gold miners, so the phrase “luck of the Irish” became a phrase that some people used rather literally, meaning that it was very lucky that some struck gold and became rich. However, it was also a time when Irish immigrants experienced a lot of prejudice in America, so some people used the phrase to suggest that they weren’t smart enough to get rich by their own brainpower, so they must have been “lucky”.

Another view of Irish luck is that it’s bad luck. After all, the Irish have endured a lot of hardship from invasion, persecution and natural disasters affecting their agriculture. But the optimistic view is, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”

A lot of people have pondered the concept of luck, and here are some notable quotes to add to what we know about it:

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have...

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4 Keys to a Strong Marriage

I am always encouraged when a couple seeks counseling to work on a problem in their marriage. It seems so easy today to throw in the towel as soon as one or both people feel unhappy, misunderstood or disrespected. But in most cases there are a few simple (not necessarily easy) things that can produce life-changing results. 

In my work with couples, I have discovered four key elements that must be consistently present in order to have a strong and fulfilling marriage.

Put each other first.

As simple as this sounds, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do. Our inner instinct is naturally “Me first.” “What do I want?” “What makes ME feel good – or bad?” “How is my spouse failing to meet MY needs?” Putting someone else above ME is an act of the will and takes practice. But all couples can experience intimacy and satisfaction when both partners are willing to cultivate an attitude of humility and giving. It may seem awkward...

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