Category Archives: Self-Degrading Thoughts

Choose Yourself First

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Sounds selfish, doesn’t it?

Choose yourself first. Reminds me of a kid in school when growing up, he would always run to be the first in line, or to grab the best seat or the favorite swing. Encompassed by his own amusement at beating everyone else, he was oblivious to our chagrin.IMG_3289

Choose yourself first.

That instruction makes sense in other areas of life.

Brian Tracy says If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.

Self-development. Don’t people gravitate away from such topics, or dare I say, nonsense?

But consider this. 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 bruises from beating themselves up over mistakes and setbacks. The happy and successful people I know hold a humble confidence in themselves. A determination. That’s self-development.

belief28They’ve spent time in their own backyard and faced any personal obstacles in their thought process that could block their goals. They’ve examined any feelings of inadequacy and shortcomings that would prevent their confidence. They learned their weaknesses and manage them rather than excuse them or blame someone else for their existence. That’s self-velopment. Taking care of business with yourself ahead of any pursuits.

Choose yourself first.

Could you prosper from self-development? Would you benefit from looking for any flaws in your attitude? Can you see areas where being stubborn is holding you back? Do you notice any control tendencies in yourself? Or are you experiencing negative self-talk–those conversations in your head where you degrade yourself? Are there areas in your thought process that could be changed so happiness and success can arrive?

It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that 218e76ad-5533-45f5-9a64-b28209648cef-mediumdetermines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.Anthony Robbins

Choose yourself first.

Where are you today in your self-development? Don’t allow regrets of yesterday to undermine the success you can obtain and the happiness you can have today. You deserve every joy in life. If you struggle to believe that, then the regrets and failures of yesterday are imprisoning you today in a confinement of self-contempt.

Choose today to banish from your mind any self-degrading thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Then your energy and attention are free to focus on a happy and successful destiny. Choose yourself first.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Stand-In’s For Self-Acceptance – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Are you using stand-in’s for self-acceptance? It’s not uncommon.

Many people use possessions as a stand-in for self-acceptance. They acquire stuff to show the world they have value and measure up.

It’s tragic to realize these individuals are merely adding more baggage to a self-confidence2muddled frame of mind. Self-acceptance doesn’t require icons to represent significance or success. There’s no need to prove that we’re significant when we’re thinking correctly about our self-worth. The more uncertainty we have about our worth, the more we need objects around us to represent what’s missing in ourselves.

When we lack self-acceptance, we’re unhappy campers. We’re unhappy because we believe, incorrectly, that we need something to hide behind. We believe we 10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nmust have something to simulate the outward appearance of self-confidence and success. There’s a belief that we’re not acceptable the way we are. We may have the tendency to criticize and condemn ourselves. This negative self-talk has been in our minds so long that we never questioned where it came from or why it started.

Come out from hiding. correct your negative self-talk. Correct those lies. There’s nothing amiss about you! Focus on your talents and skills. Use them to better yourself and the world. There will be no stand-in necessary for your self-confidence.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Fear of Disapproval Remedy – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the Introduction to A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson writes Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.1513222_879994992058784_1395873912393926812_n

I agree. This is a fear we are all acquainted with.

Fear is what we learned when well-meaning adults physically punished us for our childhood mistakes.

Fear is what we learned when our honesty was disapproved of by the showing of rejection.

Fear is what we learned when our trust was violated thanks to the betrayal of others.

Fear is what we learned when we made our well-being dependent on anyone but ourselves.

IMG_2957The more we need someone’s agreement in our lives, the more consumed by fear we become when we sense their disapproval or rejection. There’s enough scary aspects of life today that we have little control over. But we don’t have to be scared of someone’s opinion of us or fear someone’s disapproval.

The more anchored we are in the vast amount of love we’re born with, the less we care about what others think. The fear of someone’s disapproval doesn’t have to rock our boat when we are focused on our own self-respect and significance.

Try it. When you have a different opinion than someone else today, express it calmly and kindly. Then ask the other person why they hold the opinion they do. Seek to understand and allow the differences between you.

Respect and honor YOUR views and your self-respect will increase. Seek to understand and respect the opinions of other people and they will admire you. Soon your fear of disapproval will fade and you’ll be less dependent on the approval of other people.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Do Men Owe Women? Part 2

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What women have learned about intimate relationships does not come from a recorded history of loving partnerships with a no-fail list of do’s and do not’s. ext (1)There are few chronicled examples of conflict resolution, problem solving, compromise, or the other behaviors required to sustain an intimate relationship. Today women get confusing messages about love from society, Hollywood, books, and even The Holy Bible. They are spectators of quite a paradox. Women witness romantic interludes and passionate exchanges on the TV or movie screen with the devoted couple living happily-ever-after; and it leaves within them a hodgepodge of exciting expectations about the meaning of love.

Then they sink into despair when their Knight in Shining Armor fails to act like the leading man on the screen. Alas, there are no rose petals leading to a candlelight dinner he prepared as a surprise. Women read a romance novel that leaves them enchanted with the charming and thoughtful male character they have decided looks like Brad Pitt. Then, their fantasy is interrupted by the belch heard two rooms away from their not-so-thoughtful male counterpart in the kitchen.

The Bible is another basis for confusion. Religion, past and present, does not IMG_2234seem to replicate the same attitude towards women as Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated throughout His life. Jesus displayed high respect for women, unlike and despite, the people and the law of the times. Women were valued and esteemed by Jesus—all women. He approached women, listened to women, hung out with women, blessed women, thanked women, healed women, loved women, and treated them identical to men.

Yet, most of the authors of the New Testament failed to imitate and practice this example in their writings. In fact, any women who pursued the mission of Christ after the crucifixion would have been excluded by the authors of Scripture, not by God’s bidding, rather from man’s unyielding prejudices when writing it. The Apostle Paul, who is credited for writing a significant part of the New Testament, especially disliked women. Paul believed that man came from God, but woman came from man (1 Cor. 11:2-9). This leaves women with the suggestion that only man was created in God’s image, and that meant women were sub-standard.

Professor Joseph Francis Alward, at the University of the Pacific in California, states:

No teaching in the Bible is clearer, more consistent, than the one which teaches that women are inferior to men. If it’s true that the Bible is God-breathed, and therefore an all-powerful, all knowing God of the Bible exists, then women are not as righteous as men; are not clever enough to enter into contracts; are to keep silent and seek answers in private from their husbands, and are to treat their husbands as if they were God. (http://www.thegloryofman.com/) also (http://www.usurpingwomen.com/)

There are many theologians today pounding the pulpit condemning women’s interest in equality with men. However, there are just as many religious leaders (thank God) that uphold a woman’s sameness with men. In Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Bishop John Shelby Spong writes:

For Paul, women were clearly inferior. Yet, he could say in Galatians that
in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28), and these words
occur in his powerful argument to demonstrate the inclusiveness of all
people, especially the gentiles, in the Christian movement. He also, in this
same passage, said that “in Christ there is neither slave nor free.” The fact remains that Paul accepted uncritically the patriarch attitude of his day
toward women, and the cultural reality of the institution of slavery. …
He viewed women with something less than enthusiasm. …He exhorted women to keep silent in the churches …women were not permitted to
speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. …The God who is
love cannot be approached except through the experiences of living out
that unconditional quality of love. That is why the church must be broken
open and freed of its noninclusive prejudices. That is why slavery,
segregation, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia tear at the very soul
of the church.

1800-1920History leaves a mortified trail, twenty centuries old, of men born with the primary purpose to receive unquestioned civil liberties and privileges from women that had nothing to do with love, and women legally helpless to prevent such mistreatment. Just 167 years ago, a small group of New York women got together and took on the toil and resistance from society, the government, and men to make changes for woman’s equality that would not begin to materialize until 72 years later. A woman’s right to vote (her first right) just occurred 95 years ago.

The far and few between love relationships throughout history that were based on mutual respect and regard have not been enough to leave us footprints to follow on the healthy relationship path. There are too little cases of love’s ideal union. Instead there is an abundant history of relationship conflict, disappointment, criticism, blame, rejection, resentment, betrayal, murder, and historical lines of broken hearts.

When women study the relationship patterns of their ancestors, they can see charles-landseer-94058_150it is filled with female dependency and woman inferiority. Are women still living under the unjust roof of inequality if only in their minds? Are there traces from history, so deep-rooted, that still want women to believe they are not worthy, they are inferior, and they do need a man? Beliefs well-remembered that refuse to be forgotten provide a steady rhythm that contradicts female self-respect and self-confidence. It is no surprise then, when women look at the disillusioned relationships in unions today, that they can be found confused and angry.

Enough.

IMG_0502(2) - CopyWomen in our time say they want a relationship in which they can experience respect and equality in a partnership. However, how many women today respect themselves, and believe in their independent right to have opinions, needs, happiness, and success? What women say they want, and more importantly deserve, is slow to be taken seriously even among themselves. How can women obtain a cultural shift in attitudes towards the female capabilities if they doubt themselves to achieve it? Women need to believe in what they deserve. That belief is one that only women can accept.

Do men owe women?

Think about it.

 

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

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

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

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

What are you doing to have happiness?

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What are you doing to have happiness? Notice the question is not: Are you waiting for someone to stop doing or start doing something so you’ll be happy? Or: What situation do you need in place before your happiness can arrive? The question also isn’t: Who are you depending on to make you happy?

IMG_0830Some people are easily soared into joyful spirits. What’s their secret? Some people always seem to be in happy or good moods. But exactly what is happiness? Is this disposition genetic or dependent on specific neurotransmitters in the brain? Is there an unhappiness gene distributed to a select population? Scientists are searching for answers to these questions which means they still do not know what specifically causes depression, or for that matter—happiness.

Previously called Melancholia, depression has been recognized as a common condition for more than three thousand years with documentation noted from the 2nd century. Some experts think that depression is the result of learned experiences. Others say it’s all about brain chemistry. And then there are those who believe it’s all in the genes. I think a state of clinical depression can be a combination of these factors.

Similar to other disorders, there’s evidence to support that depression can run in families like diabetes or heart disease. So if a parent or grandparent experienced episodes of clinical depression that increases the likelihood at some point you will experience clinical depression. A depressed state of mind can also be a learned behavior acquired during childhood, just like negativity or anxiety.

IMG_0080 - CopyA tendency to be down in the dumps may have described some of the adults surrounding you in childhood. If as a child, you watched adults react to life mostly with sadness and despair; then today you may be more likely to display those same behaviors when things go awry. The body experiences many sorts of problems when its needed nutrients are in deficient supply. And Clinical Depression can be the result when the levels of serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine are at a shortage in the brain or off balance.

Everyone knows what depression feels like because all of us at one time have experienced its character traits of hopelessness, tearful hours, helplessness, sleep disturbances, eating changes, heartache, consuming sadness, and an inability to function. For most of us these episodes are not chronic, last a day or two; and usually result from life events. Most of us are able to adjust to the changes in life that are usually uninvited and demanding. We pout for a time, rebel at reality, express our frustration, but then accept “what is” and move on to tomorrow. But for those individuals who have learned to be depressed, experience a neurotransmitter deficiency in the brain, or are genetically predisposed to depression, snapping out of it is like trying to awake from a coma. For these persons a state of depression sags their enthusiasm, interrupts their ability to function, keeps them tearful, and often not wanting to wake up.

sun28 - CopyThe full extent of depressed individuals in our neighborhood, in our churches, in our offices, in our friends and family is unknown because the menacing stigma towards mental health remains strong in our culture. Ignorant people judge mental conditions as being the equivalent of being crazy, so many people do not seek treatment for depression. They suffer quietly because of the fear of rejection they would otherwise experience if more folks knew their struggles. The stigma can trigger attempts to self-medicate. Alcohol abuse or other substance abuse could be efforts to block the chronic emotional pain. Other actions could also mask a deep on-going sadness: obsessive shopping, compulsive gambling, or sex addiction.

This accounts for the strong isolation depressed individuals experience. Our culture still believes on some level that we shouldn’t need help or support for the problems or events that pre-empt our plans and land us in despair. There’s still the idea that it’s a weakness to seek counsel or take medication for mental conditions. On the contrary, it takes strength and wisdom to seek help, and I respect those individuals who do so.

IMG_0682Just like the common cold, the symptoms of depression are generally the same for everyone, but the same can’t be said about happiness. Scientists know more about the state of depression than they do about the state of joy. Taking into consideration that happiness is the most important goal in the lives of people, experts can’t even agree on an explanation for it. What is happiness? Is it being in a good mood? Is it having fun? Is it securing the approval of other people? Lots of money? No worries? What is happiness for you? Americans might say that happiness is a consistent state of well-being, void of stress, worry, frustration, and disappointment. This definition, of course, is not realistic, or is it?

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

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©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