Monthly Archives: February 2015

Dealing With Disappointment

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There’s no doubt that today we live in a spoiled society. There’s little delayed gratification and a lot of stuff we feel entitled to have, or to experience—now. The more things we think are deserved or that we should possess, the more disappointed we are when it doesn’t occur.

IMG_0866 - CopyDr. David Brandt, author of Is That All There Is? wrote: Not all disappointments are equal. Some are devastating. Others scarcely seem to matter. It all depends upon the degree of emotional involvement in the expectation. The greater the investment, the more severe the disappointment. The greater the underlying wish for an event to occur, the stronger the pain when it doesn’t. 

French author and Nobel Prize winner, Andre Gide, was right when he said: Long only for what you have. However, no one really wants to hear that. Instead of recognizing on a daily basis what we already possess and then work towards what we want, we may recognize on a daily basis what we don’t have and ignore what we do. We may dwell on what’s lacking in our life, and harp on all the instances we failed to acquire what we wanted. This type of attitude towards disappointment can destroy self-esteem, gratitude, and motivation.

Individuals who often experience disappointments may not be able to identifyfailure1 what disappointments are intended to teach. There could be a pattern of expectations that are not rooted in reality. Dr. David Brandt puts it this way: Whether out of fear, disapproval, or anxiety, those who repeatedly experience disappointment have a psychological history that has produced expectations that are unrealistic, too absolute, too high or low. They need to readjust those expectations, but forces in their personality prevent them from doing so. 

If we don’t process disappointment, accept the outcome and adjust to the reality that is presented, we’ll continue to want what we can’t have while taking for granted the many blessings inside our front door. We may think that having something or someone is necessary in order to feel happy and okay. Thinking that we “have to have” anything places the source of our well being and happiness dependent on something outside ourselves.

Acceptance of “what is,” is a struggle only when we can’t let go of the attachment to what we wanted. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try again or plan something different in order to get what we want, it means that we accept that it wasn’t acquired this time. It’s important to accept and appreciate what we have, and to keep thinking of what we want and plan the next effort to get it.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are Little White Lies Okay?

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Like most other kids, you and I were taught in childhood not to lie. The lesson usually came early in life when by the age of six we knew the difference between right and wrong; and what was true and what wasn’t. The first time we made up a story to avoid wrath, we may have discovered that the penalty for our inventive tale was worse than if we had truthfully admitted our error.

IMG_0862Dishonesty, basically, is avoiding truth. It’s not surprising that people whose lives have been influenced by a damaging past really struggle with honesty—they’re afraid to be honest. It isn’t a type of dishonesty that is pathological and conniving. Rather its motive comes from a sincere desire to avoid conflict, disapproval, disappointment, and rejection; and to make others happy. They might see their dishonesty as being harmless or as merely “little white lies.”

Truth though, is a necessary choice in life, if we want self-respect, self-esteem and a reputation for possessing integrity. When asked, for example, if we like someone’s haircut, outfit, spinach casserole recipe, car color, or wallpaper, there’s always something truthful that can be said, instead of a little white lie. “Oh, that looks good on you,” “I can totally see you in that color,” and so on. We can be truthful without being mean spirited and without hurting someone’s feelings.

Psychologist, Dr. Chris Thurman writes: There is another important reason why IMG_1595we must seek the truth and live by it. There is a direct, inescapable connection between our self-esteem and whether or not we are dedicated to truth. If dedication to truth characterizes our way of living, we develop stable positive feelings of worth. The moment we wrap our lives around lies, genuine feelings of self-worth are virtually impossible. We’ve all had moments in our lives when we suddenly saw that something we believed to be true was false. Instantly, the truth cuts like a knife.  http://www.drchristhurman.com/

A pattern of telling little white lies can easily get out of control with a drive to appear adequate and flawless. We may find ourselves deceiving others about our opinions, actions and accomplishments. In a need to be loved and accepted, we justify fibbing.

IMG_2761 (1)Yet, isn’t it true that if someone is dishonest with us, we get all bent out of shape? In a warped way of thinking, we can be merciless to other individuals that we’ve caught lying. We park in the denial of our own dishonesty and feel betrayed, used, made a fool of, or taken advantage of by others we catch being dishonest with us: How could they do that to me! We, however, tend to not see our own dishonesty when we do that to them.

Think about it.

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
IMG_2731Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to Handle Problem Relationships

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IMG_2070What do you believe is the purpose of a love relationship? To complete you? To make you whole and happy? Hollywood movies and romantic novels often portray the unrealistic idea of romantic love. A person can add to your happiness, but can never make you complete or happy—you’re the only one who can do that. Healthy, loving relationships result when you seek them to add to the happiness in life you’re already experiencing. The regard you receive from someone else can’t replace the regard you need to give yourself.

Commitment in love isn’t a feeling or a grin-and-bear-it obligation. It’s an act of IMG_1996your will. Commitment means riding out tough times of disagreement and struggle and discussing the middle ground of compromise. The success of any relationship depends on the ability to focus on the strengths of the other person—his or her positive traits, not on the flaws. Reflect on the reasons you like and respect the person. Dwell on his or her positive qualities and assets; and in grace tolerate those quirks that get you batty. After all, your own quirks need to be tolerated by others, too.

IMG_0363When a relationship is in trouble, it’s usually because there’s a tendency to blame the other person and to focus on his or her faults and wrong-doings. This not only doesn’t work—it makes things worse. The more effective choice is to focus on yourself—your own thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions in the relationship. Today, focus on what you need to be giving to the other person and what needs correcting in yourself; not on what you’re not getting from the other person and what he or she needs to correct. Take responsibility for your part in the relationship. Focus on self-responsibility and solutions, not blame and resentment.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you hang out with someone who degrades you?

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If you had a friend who, on a daily basis, called you degrading names and criticized your actions, would you continue to hang around with that person?

IMG_2337It seems odd to me that we tend to become upset, angry, and hurt when someone else mistreats us, but we think nothing of it when we mistreat ourselves. We would rarely seek the company of people who are critical and unkind towards us, but we can criticize ourselves with unkind words, and somehow that’s okay.

Self-depreciation is not a new problem in human existence. It’s not even a new issue in human history. Sir Thomas Browne, was a mid-16th century genius is the areas of science and medicine. He wrote, But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world; yet every man is his own greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner. 

This is not okay in the 21st century.

Our worse enemy is the unnoticed, subconscious inner critical voice that resides in each of us that’s ever diligent to create insecurities within us from our mistakes, condemnation for our flaws. and unworthiness from our limitations.

Whether its origin is the outcome of original sin, a fallen world, or the devil’s IMG_2344lies, it’s that inner critical voice that will not allow our success, security, or happiness until we become mindful of its presence and stop its destruction of the self-confidence and self-love we all were born with. Our fight and our opponent is the echo of self-degrading comments that sneak into our minds, under the radar, and then undermines any thoughts and feelings and actions for the good in life. It arrests any belief in our dreams, and any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people.

Stay aware of what you’re thinking about and what you’re saying to yourself. Your life depends on it.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are you struggling with relationships?

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Excerpt from Emotional Triggers: Stop Pushing My Buttons by Dr. Sandy Nelson…

A woman awoke excitedly on Valentine’s Day and called her boyfriend. “I just had a dream that you gave me a diamond ring for Valentine’s Day. What do you think it means?” With certainty in his voice, the man said, “You’ll know tonight, Honey!” That evening the man went to his beloved with a small package and handed it to her. With anxious anticipation the woman quickly opened the package to find a book entitled, The Meaning of Dreams.

IMG_2155When it comes to love, there are certain types of people that we’re subconsciously attracted to, in our dreams or not. It’s as if we have within us a beacon that sends an underlying signal to certain types of people. Likewise, we’re pulled to individuals who signal us. Entering a relationship that initially stems from a need or attraction doesn’t necessarily indicate doom. But, disaster may occur when you’re unaware of the Emotional Triggers that have brought you together.

Therapists Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, the couple who discovered Imago Therapy say: When you’re unaware of the hidden agenda of romantic love, it is a disaster. You inevitably repeat your childhood scenarios with the same devastating consequences. But when you understand that you’ve chosen your partner to heal certain wounds, and that this healing is the key to the end of longing, you’ve taken the first step on the journey to real love.

There’s no torture in awaking to the reality that you’re in a not-so-good relationship. The torture arrives when you try to disconnect or change the relationship. You feel stuck, trapped. You may agonize over which is worse–ending it, tolerating it, or dealing with a possible upset and confrontation if you give your thoughts a voice.

This is the core of unhappy lives–the belief that you’re doomed to tolerate or IMG_1694accept draining and unhappy relationships. You may convince yourself that you would face worse anguish if you state your thoughts to your partner or end the relationship. This belief chips away at self-respect. It invites passive-aggressiveness into the relationship. It prompts you to fix the other person, and cues any control tendencies within you. It breeds resentment and depression. It causes misery.

IMG_0870 - CopyEmotional Triggers are emotionally charged buttons that reside within everyone. Each Emotional Trigger is wired to a memory of past unresolved matters and contains a wealth of knowledge about how you’ve been marked by past encounters. When present situations trigger a stored memory of prior experience, the outcome can be intensely emotional. And it’s not just love relationships in jeopardy. Emotional Triggers materialize with all relationships–including friends, family members, and co-workers!

You may believe that remaining quiet keeps the peace, but the truth is that most likely within you there exists anger, hurt, unmet needs, and resentment that violently whirls around cutting your emotional well-being into unrecognizable pieces. If you’re not actively voicing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a relationship, you’re not in the relationship–you’re tolerating the relationship. Perhaps, you don’t know what else to do. That’s about to change…

Read more… Emotional Triggers: Stop Pushing My Buttons

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What do you do when you’ve hurt someone?

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IMG_1564When you’ve hurt a person by something you’ve said, what do you do? Hurting someone’s feelings is usually unintentional and spoken in a moment of high emotional intensity when you’re not thinking straight. Whether it’s a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend, what can you do now?

1. Apologize face-to-face, not in a text, email, or by phone. To really make amends you need to be present. Your apology must be sincere–trust has been broken so strip away your pride and humble yourself.

2. Take responsibility. Own it. Make no excuses. That means do not attempt to IMG_0491 - Copyblame someone or something else for your screw-up. That means not trying to shift blame onto to the very person you just insulted. Whatever the circumstances, what was said that was hurtful came from you. No one forced you to say insensitive remarks, it’s no one else’s fault, so take responsibility. Own up.

3. Sometimes it’s fitting to explain. Providing a reason for what happened is different than trying to excuse what happened. “I know I shouldn’t have said those things, but I’m under so much pressure right now,” is an excuse. “I’m under a lot of pressure right now, but that doesn’t dismiss the hurtful words I said,” is an effort to explain, not excuse.

IMG_24194. Don’t just say “I’m sorry,” ask to be forgiven. Promise it will not happen again. Describe what you’re going to change so it doesn’t happen again. “I’m going to talk to someone about managing the stress I’m under.” This action is the best choice if you truly want to make amends. Otherwise, the hurt person only has your say-so that it won’t happen again. Since the trust element is shattered between you and the other person, an action plan on your part goes a long way to rebuild trust.

5. Give it some time if the person isn’t able to accept your apology at the moment. Allow the person a couple of days to think and sorts things out–free of harassment or stalking. Bugging or nagging the person won’t speed up the forgiveness process, and can make the situation worse.

6. Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up is pointless. And listening to someone lecturing you about what a jerk you are is also pointless. Making a mistake or screwing-up doesn’t make you a bad person. No one is perfect. Everyone make mistakes. We all do things we regret.  Meet tomorrow as a wiser person.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can self-worth and self-respect co-exist with hatred?

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In Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, UK educator A. S. Neill wrote All hate is self-hate. Neill felt that teenagers turned to self-hate and internal hostility when they were denied an outlet for their expression in the adult systems of emotional regulation.

Soon after the Columbine High School shootings, I watched a program that focused on possible explanations that could account for 13 murders by two teenage boys on April 20, 1999. There was discussion about what could have prevented Eric and Dylan from shooting 12 students and one teacher. Gun-control, banishing bullying, and teaching tolerance were all valuable conclusions.

IMG_2044However, I see those explanations as useless without imprinting kids with the significance of self-worth. You see, only a person who hates himself can hate another person. Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-worth and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. The horror of additional shooting events since 1999 that involve schools, children and young adults have stunned our minds with shock of disbelief. How does this keep happening?

It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not intended to hate. Everybody is born with an inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others. When this inborn flame of self-love becomes diminished during childhood, it has a devastating impact on the person as an adolescent and as an adult.

If we don’t see ourselves as a uniquely special, God-created individuals with many talents, abilities, and gifts, then a lack of self-worth can easily exist in theIMG_1747 mind along with a constant state of uncertainty and fear. In uncertainty there’s no rest, no peace—we must stay alert for possible prejudice, rejection and disapproval from others. We want to believe that we have something to offer the world, but we focus on a few people that say we’re pond scum—and we believe it! This incorrect feeling of being flawed adds fuel to the resentment and loathing we feel towards those who persistently criticize and bully us. We don’t fit in. We’re kept outside the circle of popularity. We’re judged and condemned. This opens the door to a budding mental illness where moral standards of right and wrong can become blurred.

A zero self-worth is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we as a society stop the hate, end the prejudice, and embrace all human beings of all ages with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, maybe violence will end. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-worth are not extinguished.

Think about it. In caring, Dr. Sandy

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Has your inner voice become a nagging critical bullhorn?

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Long time writer for The New Yorker, S. N. Behrman¹ said on reaching the age of 75, I have had just about all I can take of myself. 

Has your inner voice become a nagging critical bullhorn? If your inner monitor has you feeling like a louse because of some wrong doing, then it’s time to investigate if those feelings of guilt are true or false.

IMG_2286True guilt is that icky gnawing feeling of remorse and regret when you have failed your moral standard. But after amends are made and you forgive yourself, you’re free to do better next time; and those icky internal feelings dissipate. False guilt is that same icky gnawing feeling that flogs you day after day when you decline to make amends and refuse to forgive yourself. Instead, you feel compelled to punish yourself and rolling in guilt is the most popular choice.

Believing the truth about who you are is necessary for a happy and successfulIMG_1720 life. If you’re dragging around the weight of guilt, regrets, and self-condemnation, it’s impossible to be happy and successful. Guilt won’t allow the belief that you deserve happiness and financial gain. Regrets won’t allow self-confidence and self-esteem. Your opinion of yourself is powerful fuel for life. The words you say to yourself, about yourself, have an enormous impact in the body, and in your mind.

As long as you hold yourself hostage for past mistakes, you’re chained to the pain of yesterday. You hold the key to those chains today, right now. Pardon yourself. Make amends if you’re able. Realize that staying in bondage to the past won’t allow you to make a difference in your life today, and that’s just another mistake.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

¹http://snbehrman.com/biography.htm
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday?

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Margaret Bonnano¹, famous author of seven Star Trek novels, wrote: It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.

Do you live day-to-day? There’s much attention placed on the catch phrase “One day at a time,” but do we really live that way? Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday? Our brains feel like a swarm of bees bringing back and forth to the hive worries about yesterday’s fiasco, and tomorrow’s anxiety about money. All this buzzing going on while we try to face today’s demands while sustaining sanity.

IMG_0702Most of our blunders from yesterday, last month, or last year are rubbish–we forget them. We make mistakes, we learn, we grow. The End. But sometimes, the memory of a past fault creeps into our minds and tortures again with its pain and regret. It makes us feel shame, depressed and unworthy. Don’t let that memory of the past have its reign over you again. It’s true that we face the future with our past. But a huge part of who we are today, what we stand for, and what we believe about ourselves and life comes from the lessons we acquired from screwing-up, yes, even those major debacles. Those of us who show up everyday in life expecting the best, doing our best, and giving our best have not been discouraged by yesterday’s failure, or reduced in value by its hurt.

IMG_1614Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan² once said: Life is one day at a time. And thank God! I couldn’t take much more. Doesn’t that describe most of us? There’s enough to sort through, solve, organize and work-out in one day, imagine if we were expected to handle the toil of two days in 24 hours? There’s enough to be concerned about today so adding worry about tomorrow and regret from yesterday isn’t a good use of time and energy.

Monitor your thoughts and notice how much time you’re spending dwelling on yesterday and how much you’re thinking about tomorrow. Deal with what’s happening now and what needs attention now so that when you awake tomorrow morning you’ll have energy to do it again.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

 

¹http://www.margaretwanderbonanno.com/
²http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Patrick_Moynihan
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

The 8 traits of a type of Loser you want to dodge!

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IMG_2035The term “Loser” dates back to the middle 14th century. So the ways of life of this social outcast has been around the block a few times. There are many definitions of a loser, but for this post its meaning represents a social abnormality, a personality trait that causes havoc in relationships. These losers can possess a magical charm that is enticing and tempting. Their words, often seductive, are used to manipulate other people and enlist sympathy for their plight in life.

Here are the traits of Losers you want to avoid:

1. They have no job. They describe their jobless predicament like details of a war story where they are the victims of unemployment fate. A continual lapse or consistent delayed action in pursuing employment is a sign of a very bad character flaw.

2. They borrow money, your money. They may, in a honey-coated voice, claim IMG_2115you are the only person they can ask for the money they need. The reality is they have probably asked every person they passed for money on their way to your door. The reasons they need the money is likely not legit. They may say it’s for the bus ride to a job interview, when it’s really for the bus ride to a billards bar or a strip joint.

3. They live with their parents. There are genuine reasons why an adult may be living under a parental dome. Perhaps they’re helping an aging parent. But generally speaking, a walking and talking adult over the age of 35 should not be living with his/her parents.

4. They do drugs/do alcohol. This is a no-brainer. Doing ANY drug is an instant qualification for the title Loser. God forbid that you’re with the Loser when the cops arrive and find the drugs. Or, that the Loser plants them on you. If you’re with anyone or dating anyone who does drugs, that person is a Loser. Your prompt exit is paramount. Alcohol abuse or dependence is another addiction that creates Losers.

5. They have no home. There may be another elaborate story why they’re homeless similar to the story of why they have no job. This also highlight’s the Loser’s lack of friends or potential roommates because the Loser has burned those bridges with his/her way of life.

IMG_15576. They have no phone. It was stolen, they may say, or lost. It’s pretty easy to have a cell phone these days at a nominal cost. If they have no phone, that speaks to their level of irresponsible thinking. They can’t be reached in the event of a family emergency, and they won’t be getting calls from potential employers, if they don’t have a phone.

7. They have zero motivation or ambition. They don’t help with anything–it’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll look for work. Tomorrow I’ll run that errand. There’s always an excuse. This is evident by their prone position all day watching TV, eating your food, using your phone, taking your money and borrowing your car; not to look for work, but to look for parties.

8. They have mood swings. The mentality of this type of Loser is very close to that of sociopaths. They can become insulting, violent, jealous, possessive, and paranoid. Between their sugar-coated words they are often a ticking bomb. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you can be the one to emotionally help this Loser.

The stronger your self-respect and self-worth, the easier it will be to have boundaries set for when, and if a Loser crosses your path.

Think about it. In caring, Dr. Sandy

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com