Monthly Archives: January 2015

Can love exist without getting hurt?

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Songs in the country music arena are often tuneful soap opera’s. Or, perhaps it’s that these particular song writers touch on the heartbreak reality that millions of people endure each day. Maybe you’ve seen this list of actual song titles that represent the jilt of love:

How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away
Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth ‘Cause I’m Kissing You Goodbye
I Don’t Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling
If You Don’t Leave Me Alone I’ll Go And Find Someone Else Who Will
I Still Miss You Baby But My Aim’s Gettin’ Better
She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger
If I Shot You When I Wanted To I’d Be Out By Now
And my personal favorite: I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Like Having You Here

love2Funny, uh? Creative individuals make reflective writers, poets, and artists; and thanks to the dynamics of love relationships, our culture has been successful in producing sit-com’s, movies, music, plays, and books that portray the triumphs and tribulations of personal relationships. When it comes to a union between a woman and a man, along with a pledge of love, the promise of hurt is also guaranteed.

love3When someone is hurt or disappointed by the person he/she loves, there are various ways that wound is communicated: disbelief, anger, silence and sadness. When something is expected to happen, and it doesn’t, hurt and disappointment result. When something isn’t expected to happen, and it does, hurt and disappointment is experienced.

We’re hurt when an outcome isn’t what we anticipated. If we don’t care if something happens or not, then we don’t experience hurt. If we don’t have a preference, then we don’t have disappointment. The remedy then, to dodge heartache, seems to be clear—don’t expect.

But, is it realistic to think that relationships can exist without expectations? Is it possible to experience a love relationship that won’t disappoint?

Think about it! In caring, Sandy

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Got two minutes to change your life?

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In the late 1800s, beloved poet Robert Browning  wrote, “This could but have happened once, and we missed it, lost it forever.”

Can you recall the details of last Tuesday? We have become insensitive to the passing of time. We’re immune to the dawns of each thanks1tomorrow, taking them for granted, with hardly a thought of the privilege, the new beginning—the gift of life they hold. How rude of us. How presumptuous. How ungrateful of us to not consciously behold every new day that magically unfolds in grandeur for each and every one of us to use. This day, this moment right now can but only happen once and it will be lost forever; don’t miss it.

But who has time to be grateful? Anyone? Time speeds by like a locomotive with a destination of needed sleep after a demanding day. Who among us when running into a grocery store on the way home after late meetings or soccer practice actually seizes the moment and says “I’m grateful for this green pepper?” Seems the experience of gratitude has been added with the others on the postpone list—the pending list—along with doctor visits, dental appointments, eye exams, and getting the Living Will done.

We’ll feel grateful later, when there’s time. Later, we’ll buy a journal and every day note appreciation and meditate on gratitude. If that’s your outlook, I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to take one minute today. Okay, two minutes—two minutes when you’re taking a shower, waiting for the microwave popcorn to beep or during a commercial. Take two minutes in your hectic day to bring to mind your attention to what you’re thankful for that moment, or from that day. Make a Mindful Gratitude List.

IMG_0942Give gratitude attention for 2 minutes today. Then tomorrow do it again, and the next day. You will soon notice a difference in your attitude. You will begin to experience every day more fully and with more appreciation for everything in it and everyone in your life. Well, maybe almost everyone. So, what’s on your Mindful Gratitude List today?  As Oprah Winfrey once told us, “It’s not easy being grateful all the time. But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you.”

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Are you at war with yourself?

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In Becoming Human, Jean Vanier writes: “If we deny our weakness—if we want to be powerful and strong always, we deny a part of our being, we live an illusion. To be human is to accept who we are, this mixture of strength and weakness.”

The feeling of inner happiness is so much easier when you cease fire with yourself. When you can openly acknowledge your limitations and recognize your weaknesses instead of trying to bluff your way through life, a healthy self-worth appears.

IMG_0906 - Copy - Copy - CopyI have several limitations and weaknesses: I’m bad at math, lack mechanical know-how, and have restricted airspace in my brain sometimes. My cooking ability is basic as is my sewing stitch. I prefer to watch other people be athletic; I hate to exercise. I can’t wrap my brain around financial planning, computers, or what all those little lines in a ruler mean. There’s a lot I don’t know and more that I don’t know how to do. My downfalls don’t devastate me; however, because they’re balanced with positive traits.

Listen for the words you use every day. Are they self-degrading? Are they judgmental phrases? Sarcastic tones? Or encouraging expressions? Caring speech? Your words reflect your self-respect and character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself. How can you have self-confidence and self-degradation at the same time? Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself. Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Be sure they match the character you want to role model to others.

Make a list today of your limitations and weaknesses. Practice stating them to others. People will respect your admission, because they have limitations and weaknesses, too. Once you recognize your positive traits and abilities, you will be able to accept your limitations and weaknesses without feeling inferior; and the war within that bombs you with self-degrading comments ends.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Will you hurry the hell up?

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Impatient people are trying to have a life that can never be. They struggle to accept a world that is not perfect. Everyone has a different speed of performing patiencetasks. There will always be situations where delays exist in waiting rooms or waiting in line. Postponements and cancellations are part of life. So is road construction, dead batteries, noise, indigestion, rules, pet hair, potholes, and static cling. But a disturbance in the plans of an impatient individual often produces anger and intolerance. Psychologist and author, Joseph Bailey, says “When you get impatient, you become irritated and judgmental, and that creates distance between you and the other person.”

If you are burdened with impatience, you embark on a never-ending voyage of negativity and unhappiness. When your day is interrupted with delays and inconveniences you may act on faulty thinking and just give-up in a heap of frustration. You might conclude that if there’s going to be obstacles than just forget it—if there’s hassles, then you don’t need the aggravation. You may give up on your job, your education, your relationships, your family. That’s one way that impatience impacts thinking—you give up, quit.

Another outcome from impatience is reactive behavior. You might impulsively do something or say something without thinking—you wig out. When someone isn’t following your game plan, you’re off on a tirade. You explode with criticisms, you make degrading comments—you hurt other people.

As it was last year, last month, and last Friday, the same is true today: you’ll encounter many situations where your way, choice, expectation, or preference doesn’t occur. Around each bend there are cliffs of failure, walls of disappointment, and highways of the unexpected. Each day presents you with numerous moments that require patience—restraint of anger and frustration.

Some people would debate that it’s human nature to be disappointed with an unwanted outcome. That it’s natural to experience frustration when met with defeat. That it’s to be expected to feel a let down when expectations fail to patience1materialize. Yet, the reaction or response to disappointment, frustration, and mistakes that befall human beings varies. Some people display unhealthy tantrum-like opposition in rebellion. Some people, smiling or not, patiently endure waiting with little or no outward demonstration of upset. One thing for sure: you can’t have patience and lack self-control. When you’re impatient, you’re not self-controlled—you’re not in command of yourself. Patience is tolerance that allows and respects others’ preferences or methods without necessarily agreeing. Since an impatient person isn’t a happy person, you’ll not likely experience happiness without a high level of patience—patience with yourself and others.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What’s your worry?

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A man interviewing for a job found himself in the presence of a nervous, fidgety factory owner who looked anxious, gloomy, and grouchy. “The only vacancy here,” he told the applicant, “is a Vice President position; and the person who takes that job must shoulder all my cares.” “That’s a tough job,” said the applicant, “What’s the salary?” The factory owner replied, “I’ll pay you a million a year if you’ll take on all my worries.” “Done! I’ll take the job” the applicant said, “When will I get paid?” “That my boy,” answered the owner, “is your first worry.”

stress-441461_640With all the effort and energy needed to worry, it’s unfortunate that worry doesn’t work. I wish it did. For many of us worrying is like a second job. It would be nice to get some compensation for all those hours spent losing sleep. Regrettably, its benefits are zilch, nadda, zip. There are no benefits for worrying, but there are plenty of consequences to add to a worried soul: insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, tummy disorders, cardiac conditions, increased illness, and a shortened life-span. Worry seems to keep our adrenaline churning and that’s not a good thing.

In confronting problems, worry is a dysfunctional strategy; not to mention a complete waste of time. When we worry, we’re not thinking, we’re feeling. We’re feeling fear from “what if’s.”  When we worry, we usually don’t make sense because our feelings are irrational and reactive. We’re not problem-solving or coping, we’re obsessing, we’re ruminating. It’s like the mouse frantically running on and on, faster and faster on its tread wheel–all strung out, frazzled and going nowhere.

IMG_0932 - Copy - Copy - CopyWorry starts to brew when efforts to maintain control of our lives are met with resistance, unexpected circumstances, or the on-going stress of employment. A need to stay in control creates a variety of worry because we fear our problems can’t be solved, and then what? Add to that any rigid thinking, unrealistic expectations, and impatience, and it’s no wonder we’re worry warts. Rather than respond to situations, worriers react with feelings that assume the worse case scenario.

The good news about worry is that it can be tamed. The first step is a willingness to let go of all that negative turmoil in your head. If you’re ready, this practice will remove worry from your life.

First, get a notebook–size 8×10″. Using the notebook forces you to look at your notepad-538870_640worries with a much more objective eye than you’re used to. It makes you an observer of your own life and you’re able to distance yourself from intrusive thoughts. On the first page write Worry #1 and give it a date. Now write down the worry. Example: I’m worried my car will not survive much longer. 

After writing Worry #1, in your notebook provide the answers to these questions: When do you worry about this situation? What scares you? Why does it make you nervous? Why is it a problem? What is out of your control about it? What are you afraid will happen? What will it mean if it did happen? It doesn’t matter whether your answer to each question fills several pages or half a line. What’s important is that you write it down.

brainstorming-413156_640Your next entry is Possibilities and Options, and represents what you think is possible action to resolve the problem and thus end the worry about the situation. Here is where you problem-solve, brainstorm, and get things in perspective. Here is where you THINK, not feel. Be objective. Be reasonable. Write down the facts.

The last entry is People To Consult and Outcome. Here you write down supportive individuals that you can contact to assist in sorting out your options. These people are not on the list to rescue you or fix the problem for you. Their assistance ought to be geared to keep you focused on the facts. Remember that something based on a “maybe” or a “might be” is a myth, not fact. Something based on an assumption is also a myth, not a fact. Problem-solving is seeking solutions based on the facts. Write down possible solutions or steps necessary to obtain more facts before making a decision. Sometimes the end result will be out of your control and will require you to “let it go.”

Every time you’re worried about something or mind-boggled about “what if’s” IMG_0186enter it in your Worry Book and complete the four entries. This will help you avoid the emotional worried state of “worst case scenario” where many worriers go first, and stay. If you really want to remove worry from your life, you’ll commit to using your Worry Book. It works! Sleep at last!

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

 




					

Do you know what having insight requires?

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Malcolm S. Forbes once said: The best vision is insight. 
belief15It would seem, today, a lot of people are lacking insight. Their attention is outside of themselves—harping on other people and mostly on what other people are doing wrong. We will not better the world by telling others how to be better while ignoring the responsibility to better ourselves. Obtaining insight requires us to look within ourselves for those traits that hamper relationships, fuel resentments, prolong conflicts, and assist in our misery.
We will have better relationships with other people when we have altered the parts of ourselves that pump doom into those connections. We will have better self-respect when we have a self to respect. We will have a better planet when we take responsibility to correct the mind-set in our own private world.
In Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, American philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us. Imagine a planet where blame-shifting was missing. Picture a world absent of faultfinders and their scapegoats.
IMG_0376Now, let’s all do our part in creating that vision. Let’s stop guilt tripping. Let’s stop finger pointing. Let’s stop highlighting mistakes. The more we stop blaming, the more of us there are focusing on solutions, answers, and remedies. Blame keeps us glued to the problem instead of adhered to seeking ways out. Explanations keep us attached to the problem instead of fastened to cures. If we think we hold a superior position on this earth, then it would be better served discovering tonics for peace and tolerance instead of judgment and condemnation.
Think about it In caring, Sandy 
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Need a brilliant idea? Hold a grudge.

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Hold a grudge. Now there’s a brilliant idea!

Yeah, cling to memories of betrayal and hurt. Ruminate over unfairness and CAPUPVE5CARS043CCAOF72XDCA75Z6V9CADGWZF6CAOBVH8ICANMHFYZCATKRO9PCA9XJ8MACAUZ5MIOCA45A0SUCA0R2TBZCAN0OEEQCAZF83JVCAI62Q52CAQ6I7R1CAP6RTDMCAF1ZI92injustice. Hold that bitterness close to your heart so that your entire attitude in life sucks and be sure everyone knows it. Feel entitled to take your anger out on other people—be mean, be blaming, be a bully. Yeah, hold a grudge and think that by doing so you’re somehow getting even. Don’t let the person off the hook–be sure to constantly remember the wrong-doing. Really mess up your head.

The only good holding a grudge has ever produced is the good hold it has on you going down. The wiser you are, the more you refuse to dwell in the toxicity IMG_0717of anger, bitterness, grudges, and resentment—the malignancy of emotions. Animosity eats away as you cling to injustices against you until you’re consumed with rogue anger and bitterness. Marriage to grudges and resentment has put many people in an early grave. The enormous energy connected to the emotion of hate changes the blood chemistry in a person to one that is favorable to disease. You lose power. You lose respect. You lose character. It’s not pretty. You won’t look cool. You won’t even recognize yourself.

Hate is a painful state of self-destruction because the mind is not intended to hate. It goes against the pure core of every human being. We were each born with an incredible expression of our inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others.

If you’re holding a grudge, the release of that bitterness and resentment needs to be the priority for your own good health–physical and mental. Any period of time spent resenting man-439916_150someone else is time that you have chosen to feel miserable. The more occupied you are in disliking another person, the less occupied you are with pursuing your own happiness and success. You can’t resent or hate someone and feel any happiness or enthusiasm for life. Resentment, bitterness, anger, and grudges are all very expensive and costly to YOU, not to the person who caused it. These negative feelings don’t damage the other person, they damage you. So now you’ve doubled your pain.

The cure is forgiveness. Let it go. Move on. Get back to living. Regain your power and self-respect and loving nature. You can apply the healing balm of absolution and bask in the state of being emotionally malignant free. Only the foolish hang on to bitterness like a trophy. One can only hope that a day will arrive with the insight that the trophy is not an award, but actually a gravestone.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What do you need so happiness and success can arrive?

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“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” These words written by the extraordinary Dale Carnegie gives us all a reminder about the significance of our own inner character versus the opinions of us that others may hold.

Would it make our lives easier if we could control how other people think of us? If we could have the favorable opinion of everyone in our lives we would be IMG_0275rid of conflicts, disapproval, and rejection. But we don’t hold a remote control to change the channeled thoughts and feelings of other people to ones of our liking. People are going to think what they themselves decide to believe. This fact is precisely why having your own approval on your life is so crucial to well-being. Staying true to your own character and liking yourself will enable you to remain unruffled by the gossip of others. To realize the importance of knowing yourself and liking what you know, is a necessary step for self-respect.

I don’t know any happy and successful people with a self-contempt attitude toward themselves. I don’t know any happy and successful people with bruisesIMG_0843 - Copy from beating themselves up over mistakes and unwanted outcomes. The happy and successful people I know hold a humble confidence in themselves. They’ve spent time dealing with past issues that would block their goals. They’ve corrected the lies they have believed about their inadequacy and shortcomings that would prevent their confidence. They know their weaknesses and manage them rather than excuse them or blame someone else for their existence.

Motivational speaker and self-development guru, Brian Tracy, states “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” Where are you today in your self-development? What do you need to correct so happiness and success can arrive?

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

Who are you now?

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“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.”¹

sign2Are you defining your life today past on mistakes made a month ago, a year ago? If all the past errors in judgment were erased and all expectations from others were invalid, who would you be today, right now? Your future will be filled with negativity from the past only if you allow it to be poured into your current thoughts about yourself. Instead, take the wisdom—the positive—available from every mistake and from every heartbreak, and mold that into who you are at this moment forward.

“One of the best ways to educate our hearts is to look at our interaction with IMG_0108.JPG (2)other people, because our relationships with others are fundamentally a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.”²  It’s impossible to have a dysfunctional relationship with others unless you have a dysfunctional relationship with yourself. If you struggle with fears of disapproval, that fear will play out in all of your relationships with others—not just some relationships—all. Everything you do or say will be filtered through a fear of their rejection of you. That fear prompts you to be dishonest with others, to withhold your true opinions and needs, and to become whatever others want you to be. Look at how any unhealthy fears contribute to the status of your relationships, to the status of your life.

Stop at that crossroads. Today, make that powerful decision—who have you decided you really are? Share who you truly are with the people who matter and stay true to your real self.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

¹Anthony Robbins

²Dr. Stephen Covey

Divorce is a death, ready?

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Divorce is a death. It’s the death of a marriage and the death of a family union that impacts many relationships within the family core. Emotional pain, sadness, and uncertainties vibrate through every family member with rippling effects extending to the children.
divorce3Divorce is a crippling experience for adults, and a very, very long nightmare for children. Children do not possess the coping skills and problem-solving skills that even we, as adults, struggle to locate within us. Take the worry, fear, and hurt that an estranged husband or wife experience, and multiply that times 50–that”s the impact on children in a divorce situation. Even when children say they’re fine with it, they’re not fine. Children will think in some way they’re the reason mom and dad are divorcing–that’s it’s their fault.
The following info is a set of rules I’ve written for divorcing or separating parents to assist in healthy adult behavior and reduce the nightmare for their children.

THE DIVORCE BILL OF RIGHTS AND WRONGS

Do not tell the other what to do, or how to parent

Neither of you are in a position to expect or request the other to parent in a specific manner. Each of you have control over the parent you are only. You may not approve of the parenting style of the other, but unless the parenting method presents a physical or emotional harm to your children that can be substantiated in a court of law, you have no right to attempt to control the other’s method of parenting, or control the other’s life.

Do not fight in front of the children

Your children do not belong in your divorce. Upset feelings must be addressed divorceprivately with each other, alone. Never insult or bad mouth the mother or father of your children in their presence. It deeply hurts your children; it shames them. You will be tempted to do tell your children that their mother or father is a loser, or worse. DON’T DO IT. Your children love and need both their parent’s regardless of your opinion.

Do not place your children in a surrogate adult position

Adult responsibilities belong to adults. Don’t request your children to fill the role of your ex-spouse. Boys should never be expected or encouraged to be the man of the house. Girls should never be expected or encouraged to be the lady of the house. If your children are assuming adult responsibilities that your ex performed, stop them. It’s your job. You’re the adult.

Do not punish the children for the situation

If you think you’re worried, devastated, and upset, your children are 50 times more worried, devastated, and upset. Refrain from taking out your frustration on them. They need your reassurance and encouragement. Remember, they are living in a situation that resulted from their parent’s choices and decisions. They had no say or control over whether their parent’s would divorce or remain married.

Do not place your children in a position of having to choose one parent over the other

divorce2Children are not weapons or tools to use to get back at your ex; nor are they pawns for manipulating or punishing your ex. If you need your children to love you more than their other parent, that’s an unhealthy issue that your’s, not theirs. Your children love and need both of their parent’s. Encourage that and never interfere with the relationship with their other parent. Never ask or demand that your children side with or against a parent.

Do not lose self-control

If you feel compelled to yell, scream, rant and rave at your ex, do so where your children can’t hear or see you. Your children are learning from you, and you want them to learn self-control and healthy, correct ways to handle anger, right?

Do not dodge responsibility

Your thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and behavior are your responsibility; and belong to no one else. Stop blaming. Stop complaining. The situation may be unfair and not of your choosing, but it’s here. How you deal with it is your responsibility now. You own your life and your choices. Seek adult support. Wise people seek help. It takes about two years to recover from a broken relationship.

Do not get lost

Whether you want to be or not, you’re a role model and mentor to your children. They are watching you. Your children are learning from our words, divorce1moods, attitude, body language, behavior and priorities. They are learning whether a family has value, how to treat each other, how to resolve conflict, and how to handle disappointment, hurt, and frustration. They are learning how to, or how not to, endure and survive. They are learning what’s really important in life, about honor, and what self-respect is. They’re learning all this from watching you and listening to what you say. Keep your head up, remain in self-control, and display integrity.

Do not refuse to keep new rules

Follow any and all rulings of the court. New and appropriate boundaries need to be implemented and respected. There are privileges your ex no longer has and privileges you no longer have. You have no right to know or ask anything about the other unless its about your children. Honor new boundaries and treat your ex with courtesy regardless of how you are treated.
Feel free to contact me for any support and guidance you may need.
Think about it. In caring, Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net