Category Archives: Past

When it comes to love relationships, how many of us want to modify a few things about the other person?

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As a kid, I didn’t have good role models to learn what was healthy in a love relationship. I didn’t observe any affection or compromise in a marriage. I did witness daily arguments, a lot of bantering about who was right, and daily IMG_0908 - Copy - Copy - Copyrescue-control tactics to conform who was wrong. So by the time I reached dating age, I was ready to start my own search and rescue operation with men. 
As Robin Norwood says so spot on, “How can we explain that it isn’t the person he is that we find so attractive, but the person we’re convinced we can help him become? How can we admit to ourselves or others that we’re in love with someone who doesn’t yet exist, and enchanted with our power to make him appear?”¹
The truth about love is we don’t love instinctively. We learn to love. What has IMG_0200.JPG (2)become instinctual for men and women isn’t to love and respect each other. The far and few between male/female relationships throughout history that were based on love and mutual respect have not been enough to leave us footprints to follow on the relationship path. There are too little cases of love’s ideal union. There is an abundant history, including Adam and Eve, of conflicts, disappointment, criticism, blaming, rejection, resentment, betrayal, death sentences, and historical lines of broken hearts.
The past tells us that’s it’s not an initial impulse to demonstrate acceptance of one another, and that’s what we’ve learned, and learned well. It’s more intuitive for us to debate and fight in relationships, than to demonstrate love. When men disappoint us, our first urge isn’t to look at the situation through the eyes of love, understanding, and forgiveness. We don’t make compromise our first task. No, our first impulse is anger–to argue. We’re more comfortable clinging to self-righteous anger than we are around hugging or paying tribute to our partner. Either way, or even both ways, isn’t this screwed up?
What have been your dating experiences? C’mon say something!
Thanks for your time and replies. -In caring, Dr. Sandy

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

¹Daily Meditations for Women Who Love Too Much, Robin Norwood

Do you curse yourself for screwing-up?

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The highly successful Brian Tracy wrote, “Always choose the future over the past. What do we do now?” That’s good advise, I think, when it comes to solving problems. But it does little to release those of us tortured by past regrets and mistakes.
Some of my bad choices from many years ago caused painful and damaging IMG_0578(2)consequences for other people. Those are the regrets that can haunt me the most. Those memories sting and I placed myself in an emotional jail where I inflicted suffering upon myself as punishment for hurting people I care about. My thoughts would persistently remind me that I was unworthy, marred, screwed-up, or whatever the word of the day was.
It took time for me to heal with soul-searching therapy. I understand how other people live fully in the past and why they speak about regrets and degrade themselves for mistakes from years ago. I get why their current happiness isn’t possible because of this or that occurred last month or last year.
I’m here to tell you, from experience, that as long as you cling to the mistakes of yesterday, you make another mistake today. When you’re busy mentally IMG_0885torturing yourself, you’re unable to focus to learn from, and understand the mistake so you can become wiser, so you can grow, so you can help others through their pain. Making a mistake is not a crime. Passing judgment on yourself along with a sentence to an emotional punishing prison for penance, doesn’t work. There’s nothing you can do to alter your actions of yesterday, but you can choose differently right now. No amount of self-punishment will alter what happened. But you can make amends where possible. You can remember that you’re not perfect. Mistakes happen.
“People screw up. People screw up a lot. We allow our own selfishness to overpower us at times. It happens. But you can’t allow that to tear you down. You can’t keep dwelling on your past choices, and your past actions, or else you’ll never learn from them.”¹
Give your past regrets meaning today, not punishment, by seeing them as turning points in your life, not condemning moments.
Thanks for your time and comments. –Dr. Sandy
¹Nicole Sobon, Deprogrammed

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

Where do most people who want to change their life get stuck?

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Where do most people who want to change their life tend to get stuck in the process? Choose the answer you believe is correct:
A. They get stuck because they don’t know how to change others so their own lives get better.
B. A snow-bank.
C. They get stuck because they don’t know another way to handle things or people.
D. They get stuck because some people in their life just don’t get it.

Correct answer is C.

Author E. E. Cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Many people desire to make positive changes in their lives but get stuck because they don’t know how to handle things differently. It’s scary to think of life any other way IMG_0211than how we’ve been living it, even though it’s been far from a picnic. It’s scary to examine what we learned in childhood surroundings that may be incorrect. It’s scary to take a look at what we assumed to be normal. It’s scary to face what’s wrong and not working for us.                                                                                                                           But when we blame other people for our unhappiness, keep doing things we firmly promised not to, fail to do what we decided to do, then we begin to understand that we don’t know how to fix the mess our lives are in. We realize that we’re no longer able to soothe our fears and hurts. There remains nothing left to pull out of our hats. And we’re left stuck because we know no other way to think, feel, and act.

We know we’re unhappy, but we don’t know what to do differently. With all we’ve done with our attempts to be in control, we can no longer control our own sadness, which has no doubt reached a miserable level. We focused on solving problems that couldn’t possibly be solved with the ways we were trying to solve them. And when we failed to fix these problems, feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and even anger multiplied. All our inadequacies and all our hurts joined our self-doubts which we spent an enormous amount of time hiding because we needed to appear competent and in control. Marriage and Family Therapist Robin Norwood writes, “Most of the insanity and despair you experience comes directly from trying to manage and control what you can’t.”

So what would you do? Please share your suggestions on improving situations and making positive changes. –Dr. Sandy

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

What are you expecting today?

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Some individuals hold others responsible for the disappointment and unwanted outcomes they experience. This furnishes them with a blaming, self-defeating state of mind. After being injured, disappointed, hurt, and violated enough times we may forfeit the anticipation of good outcomes in life. We remain snared in the unfairness of life where incorrect thinking and pessimistic feelings reign. We invent an imaginary scale by which events are weighed. Of course, the scale never measures above bad luck. No matter how many blessings exist or good IMG_0294things happen, it’s not seen, or it’s not enough, or something is flawed with it or we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“You have a style, a way of being. You hear people describe others by noting their persona: He’s a real hard charger, or she’s a cool customer. Some approach life as a combat: they’re hostile, even explosive. Others are milquetoast who expect to get trampled, and do. Your attitude of approach dictates what you get back. You may complain about the way people react to
you, but believe me, you create it, just as everyone else creates the reactions they get from the world. Honestly evaluate your style of engagement, and you will begin to understand why the world responds to you as it does.”¹

Unless we tackle the thinking that results in this self-defeating negativity, we’ll become more complaining, more resentful, and continue to experience more unfairness because that’s what we’re expecting. What are you expecting today? Dr. Sandy

¹Dr. Phil McGraw in Life Strategies

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

What are your thoughts creating for you?

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It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it didn’t happen over several nights. But the more I became aware of what I was saying to myself throughout the day, and in what attitude I was thinking, the more I was able to stop and change the thoughts that were harming me; and thus damaging how I was living. Harping on my critical thoughts and sarcastic attitude was impacting my conversations with my family, friends, co-workers, well, everyone in my path!

IMG_0203The attention we pay to the nature of our thinking, therefore, is the most powerful attention we can pay.¹ Holding a healthy mind-set is the most valued possession you and I own. It’s absence of guilt, self-pity, resentment, and a mess of other unhealthy toxins enables us to live with some enthusiasm and hopefulness. If our thoughts contain anger, blame, depression, or insecurity, we will produce doom and gloom experiences every day–who wants that? If our thoughts are filled with appreciation, love, and generosity, we will create situations in our day where those attributes return to us.

You experience, every single day, what your thoughts dwell on. What are your thoughts creating for you? Dr. Sandy

¹From Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson

What did the adults in your childhood tell you about yourself?

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Fred Rogers tells us, “The roots of a child’s ability to cope and thrive, regardless of circumstance, lie in that child’s having had at least a small, safe place (an apartment? a room? a lap?) in which, in the companionship of a loving person, that child could discover that he or she was lovable and capable of loving in return.”¹ 

What did the adults in your childhood tell you about yourself?

IMG_0418We were born with an enormous amount of self-love and love for others. Our enthusiasm and joy for life was clearly apparent as we began to explore the world.  Whether those attributes were able to grow within us, and thus enable us to believe in ourselves, depended a great deal on how the adults in our lives handled our individual needs and how they dealt with our mistakes.

If we were encouraged to be great and if we were not shamed when we were not, then it is easier for us to believe in our abilities. If the adults in our childhood believed in us and trusted us, then we are more likely to believe in ourselves and possess self-confidence

It is never too late to have a happy childhood. Today, provide to yourself the love and acceptance which may have been missing in your childhood. -Dr. Sandy

¹From Mister Rogers Talks With Parents by Fred Rogers

Where do you stand with the real enemy today?

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Our real enemy is neither war nor poverty. Our greatest opposition isn’t the economy or people with differing opinions. Our worse enemy is the inner critical voice that resides in each of us. It’s that voice that will not allow our success, security, or peace.

IMG_0916In the 16th century, Sir Thomas Browne became aware of this inner woe. He was an English polymath and author of varied works which revealed his wide learning in diverse fields including science and medicine, religion and the esoteric. He wrote, “But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, this is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner.”

Our opponent is not the stock market or threat matrix; it’s the echo of self-degrading comments that arrests any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people. We must break free. What are your thoughts, your comments, about where do you stand with your real enemy today? -Dr. Sandy

Do you long for past experiences?

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In our head, the past seems to always look worse or better than it really was. You don’t have a past to live. You have a present to live. Mulling over regrets and losses from yesterday will not allow happiness and enthusiasm to radiate from you today. Jane Eyre said, “Remorse is the poison of life.”

IMG_0505 - CopyYet, it is important to experience a stage of self-solace after regrets and losses otherwise incorrect conclusions and unprocessed thoughts and feelings will prompt depression, emptiness, and loneliness in the present.

Do not allow today to be a day you will regret tomorrow. -sn