Relate Well! Blog

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

Is It Too Late to Mend a Broken Relationship?

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with friends and family to experience the joy of laughter, reminiscing, and renewing connections.  However, it’s also a time when many people face the painful reality of not being with someone they love because of a broken relationship. 

During the holidays, I often meet with clients who are grieving due to being estranged from a parent, sibling, or other close relative or friend. 

Recently I had a woman ask me if it was too late to try and mend a relationship with a brother she had a falling out with three years ago.  I have summarized my response to her below. 

As long as the person you had a falling out with is still alive and is mentally competent it is never too late to make an attempt to restore the relationship you once had with them. 

You can not control the type of response you will receive, or whether or not you will even get a response, but you can control what you attempt to communicate...

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Do You Worry About What People Think?

It has been said that more people are held captive in the prison of their own minds then in all the jail cells in the world… and worry is their Warden.  There are countless things we can worry about, but I have worked with many people who significantly struggle with the worry of what people think about them. 

Many of the decisions you make on a daily basis, e.g., the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, what you say in a conversation, or who you associate with, are governed, in large part, by a goal-directed conscious or unconscious process that attempts to influence what people think about you.  We call this process impression management. 

As humans, we all have needs for belonging, affection, and acceptance.  To not think about how others perceive you to some extent is to deny these needs.  Unfortunately, many people are trapped by a powerful impulse to over engage in impression management.  In other words, they are overly focused on...

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Are You Poisoning Your Relationships?

Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop, chatting with friends. One of your friends reaches into their pocket and brings out a vial of poison and begins sprinkling it into each person’s cup. Wouldn’t that be shocking? You can imagine that you would be very unlikely to invite that person to coffee again!

You will not likely ever have that exact experience, but did you know it’s possible to poison yourself and your relationships without even being aware of it? Nearly every day I talk to men and women who are either engaged in, or hurt by, behaviors that are a form of relational poisoning. The damaging toxin is gossip.

You would be hard pressed to spend a day in any workplace, social media site or other gathering and not be exposed to some form of gossip. Gossip involves the spreading of rumors or information about others. Although there can be sociological benefits associated with some forms of gossip, today I want to address the epidemic...

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You Are Right!

There was a cute meme circulating on social media at the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdowns, while most of us were spending a lot more time at home. It said, “I always thought the reason I didn’t clean the house was because I didn’t have time. Now, I know that’s not the reason.”

Believe it or not, there is a lot to ponder in that simple meme! Long before social media existed, Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your brain believes whatever your mind tells it to. You see, our brains are hard wired to find evidence among all the stored memories and experiences we’ve had in the past to evaluate and support anything that we think today. So, if you think, “I can’t do it,” your brain will find evidence of any time that you have struggled, failed or given up. So, if you tell yourself that you don’t have time, resources, or ability to succeed you will most likely...

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How to Tell if Work has Taken Over Your Life

You may be thinking that your life needs more balance, more time spent doing things you enjoy and less time working. Perhaps you’ve even mentioned this to your spouse, girlfriend, best buddy, doctor or co-workers. 

If you have, it is likely that at least one of these people raised an eyebrow and explained the facts of life to you. That is, that nearly everyone is overworked these days and you should get used to it. Besides, there’s that one friend who says, unsympathetically, “I work a lot more hours than you do, so you have no reason to complain”. 

Some jobs have natural cycles of busyness and down time (tax professionals between January and April, summer tourism, retail stores at Christmas, etc.) Peaks and valleys may just be normal, but when it never seems to let up you begin to feel that nagging doubt. That feeling that you shouldn’t always be so stressed, so tired, so short on time, coupled with the knowledge that you...

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Are You Dog Tired?

A legend about Alfred the Great, King of the Saxons from 871-899 AD, purports that he used to send his sons out hunting with many dogs who would come back panting and worn from the hard work. Hence, the phrase we still use today: “Dog-tired.” It’s that particular kind of tired that happens when you have exerted and used up your energy.

You may be saying, “Yes, that’s my life every single day!” You work all day on the job and come home and work some more as you raise children, prepare meals, keep up with household chores and attend to volunteer commitments. Or, during these days when many are working from home, you’re swamped with all of it happening at the same time…all day…24/7!

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....

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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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