It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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The Difference Between Gaslighting And Healthy Disagreements

sherryg10.20

It is common to have a disagreement with a partner in a relationship. In many cases, the source of the conflict or the disagreement is a difference in perception or a different memory or recollection of an event or conversation.

This is understandable as we see all experiences through the lens of past experiences. This means that two people can see, hear, or have the same event occur but walk away with a very different memory. Both people are absolutely convinced their experience is authentic, and for them, it really is authentic and accurate.

Gaslighting is a different situation. It involves the intentional manipulation of the other person to gain or maintain control of the situation. It is the creation of a false narrative to attempt to make one person look good, and the other person look bad. It is a technique used by narcissists to keep the other person uncertain, confused, and questioning their own perception and experiences. This is a form of emotional abuse, and it is both effective as well as highly destructive.

Understanding the difference between a healthy disagreement and gaslighting is not always easy, but it is possible. Often, working with a therapist or counselor is the first step in detecting an emotionally abusive or toxic relationship.

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What We Truly Need

marias10.19
"To lose patience is to lose the battle."
—Mahatma Gandhi


I've Been Thinking...

I'm a journalist and my beat is life. I’ve always been a curious person, because I want to discover how one can build a life of meaning, joy, purpose, and love. I’m curious how we are meant to survive all that life throws our way without losing hope, joy, and ourselves along the way. I'm curious how we can build lives that stand on solid ground and that are capable of responding to the moment, whatever that may be.

 

I think about this a lot. I think about building my own meaningful life, one that is spiritual, purpose-driven, connected, loving, and joyful. A life that makes me feel full, happy, and hopeful about myself, my loved ones, and my country. I apply those same values to this publication. Its focus is on helping guide you to a place where you feel safe, seen, and supported on your path. Its focus is on making sense of all that is going on around us with an eye to the future. It’s about now and about what’s to come.

 

Every week when I sit down to write, I think about that. I think about what is going on in our world and how to make sense of it in a way that makes sense. I think about you reading what I write and how I want it to bring value to you. I want it to make a difference.

 

Sometimes I don’t know what to write. I sit and nothing comes up for me, or too much comes up at once. Usually when I’m unsure what to write, I walk or I talk to someone. And then, for some reason known only to God, I find my theme.

 

This week’s theme comes from a conversation with my friend David.

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How To Bring More Compassion Into The World

deepak10.18

A quality much needed in a divided world but not often encountered is compassion. Compassion is a way of connecting the love and self-awareness within yourself to another person. Compassion is more than kindness, then. It’s a natural expression of kindness and understanding when you love yourself. Without a sense of love inside, compassion has no foundation in consciousness.

There is a path to loving compassion, as with any spiritual quality.  The path has a beginning, middle, and end. Let me describe them to give you an idea of how the path unfolds.

Beginning: You see yourself as wanting and needing love, usually more than you are receiving. You may feel insecure about being lovable, and so you love others according to how much they love you or appeal to your sense of romance, sexuality, and compatibility. Relationships involve a constant negotiation between what you want and what your partner wants. The words that apply to love at this stage include passion, attachment, dependency, romance, mutual need, liking, and compatibility. The seed of compassion remains a seed.

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Myths That Keep Us Feeling Sorry For Narcissists

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Narcissists are chameleons with the ability to appear to be just what you want and need, at least for the initial whirlwind part of the relationship. However, once they have established the relationship, the dynamics change rapidly, with the narcissist utilizing a variety of tactics and manipulations to keep you close. The relationship stops being about creating a partnership and becomes a focus on keeping them happy and their needs fulfilled.

The tactics that narcissists use in this process are easily recognized by those outside the relationship. They may also be evident to the partner, but the myths around narcissism can make it extremely difficult to leave.

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How Not to Die Alone!

arielle10.7

If you are single and dating online, How Not To Die Alone by Logan Ury is a MUST READ. (She is the Director of Relationship Science for Hinge.)

I consumed most of it in one sitting, riveted by all the research and science she included that explains why online dating can be a struggle because it offers “too many” choices.

And, if you understand this, how you can overcome it.

Hint: Most people do best when they have six or less options to choose from!

Drawing from years of research, author/behavioral scientist turned dating coach Ury reveals in her book:

  • What’s holding you back in dating (and how to break the pattern)
  • What really matters in a long-term partner (and what really doesn’t)
  • How to overcome the perils of online dating (and make the apps work for you)
  • How to meet more people in real life (while doing activities you love)
  • How to make dates fun again (so they stop feeling like job interviews)
  • Why “the spark” is a myth (but you’ll find love anyway)

> Get it Here <

Many people suffer from patterns of behavior that hold them back from finding love.

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Why Some People Attract Dysfunctional Relationships

SherryG10.6

Most of us tend to pick partners who reflect the vision we have of ourselves and our world. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Compatibility and a sense of ease in a relationship come from having similar preferences, ideas, and values about things like money, religion, monogamy, parenting, and even what makes for good sex. The Legacy Project at Cornell University even did a study on this. They interviewed hundreds of people who had been married 40 or 50 years, and even longer. Most agreed that shared values are at the core of a healthy, long-lasting marriage.

But we don’t pick the people we’re with based on values alone.

We also choose people who have similar ideas about what relationships look like and how they should play out. This sounds good but it can also backfire.

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The Myth of Explaining and Defending

MargaretP10.6
Do you believe that explaining and defending will convince the other person to see things your way? Has this ever worked?

"What's the matter with you?"
"How could you do that?"
"Explain yourself, young lady/young man."
"Why are you dressed like that?"
"Why are you late again?"
"What did you do to your hair!"

How often did you hear some variation of this when you were growing up? I heard it all the time. And what I learned to do was to desperately defend and explain in fruitless attempts to get my mom or dad to stop judging me and SEE me. Or I would apologize and become the "good girl," so they would approve of me.

Of course, defending and explaining didn't work. But that didn't stop me from trying because I just didn't know what else to do - other than completely give myself up, which is what I eventually learned to do.

When I got married, I continued in the same pattern - first trying to explain and defend and then giving myself up. The result was, of course, no better than it was with my parents. Again, I had no idea what else to do.
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179 Hits

How to Interrupt the Pattern of Fighting

guy10.4

Have you ever been drawn into a fight with a loved one where – by the time you got knee-deep into who's “right” and who's “wrong” – maybe over the most trivial of matters – it felt as if, somehow, your very life depended on the outcome of that fight?

We’ve all had moments like this, perhaps too many times; which is why it seems strange that we’ve yet to see the following: there's no such thing as a “winning” side in any fight between two people who love one another, any more than one seat proved itself better than another on the deck of the Titanic.

Our demands never prove we’re right, any more than our negativity proves our partner is wrong. The only thing this kind of stress and strain between us proves is that we're missing at least one piece of the puzzle in that struggle with our partner.

What’s the missing piece? We can call it “love.” But if the word – or even the ideal – had the power to hold us together when everything feels like it’s trying to pull us apart – especially in the throes of a fight – then all we would have to do is call up that word, and our world would suddenly be right.

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250 Hits

Seven Ways to Protect You and Your Loved One’s From Negative or Dark Energy

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Negative Energy is only as as we allow it to be.



Have you ever wondered if there is bad, or negative energy floating around like a cloud just waiting for you to bump into it? Or maybe you have wondered if you have been cursed? I am going to help you release these concerns and share with you how to protect yourself from negative or dark energy.

This week I had several people reach out to me regarding negative or dark energy. One person felt a presence that she wasn’t sure was good or bad. I applaud her for tuning in and asking herself what the energy felt like. I reminded her that she is in control. Whatever is wanting to get her attention, she has the power to turn it away. I will share more on these invincible protection techniques later on.

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183 Hits

Learning To Trust After A Toxic Relationship

SherryG9.30

A toxic relationship is an unhealthy relationship. These relationships typically include feelings of being unloved, unwanted, misunderstood, unsupported, belittled, or even attacked. While most people consider a toxic relationship emotional and psychological abuse, there can also be issues with physical abuse and domestic violence.

It is possible to find yourself in a toxic relationship and not really understanding how things got to that point. Often the toxic person is very good at hiding their abusive behavior at the beginning of the relationship. If the person is a narcissist, it can be difficult to understand the constant swings from overwhelming and grandiose acts of passion and love to absolute disdain and anger. The result is that you are constantly kept guessing what will happen next and doing everything you can to avoid the hostility and toxicity.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship

A few of the signs you are in a toxic relationship include:

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Self Love is NOT a Pre-Requisite to Soulmate Love

arielle9.23

Self-love seems to be the hot topic in the personal growth movement these days and when it comes to finding soulmate love, there are a lot of myths that until you fully love yourself first, you won’t be able to get anyone else to love you. Is this really true?

My experience has been that most women (at least in the Northern hemisphere) live with a negative, critical voice in their heads that is often filled with ugly, shaming thoughts, self- doubt, and brings with it feelings of never being “good enough.”

And, I began to wonder, do you really have to eliminate that persistent voice in order to find true love?

Do we really need to be 100% in love with ourselves to experience Big Love?

No.

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246 Hits

Remember Your Self Worth

juliem9.16
As an adult, it’s easy to slip into a few bad habits – especially as we get older. Routinely eliminating “me” time is one of them, as is not making regular trips to the dentist or putting your health on the back-burner. But there’s one thing that we all do that puts quite a strain on our lives: compare ourselves to others.

You’ve been there. Your friend’s husband gets a big promotion, and their entire life is “upgraded” as a result. Maybe your sister moves into a bigger home in a nicer neighborhood. Or your neighbor joins a gym and loses 20 pounds. All of these are great things for the people in your life. So why do you feel so…discouraged? That one’s easy.

When you compare yourself to others, you are creating an environment rife for resentment and sadness. You are no longer grateful for what’s happening in your life and can only focus on where you are lacking. Eventually, those feelings graduate from the material shortcomings you start out with; eventually, you start to belittle who you are as a person.

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Practice Love Amnesty (How and Why)

arielle9.16

I believe we are all perfectly imperfect beings doing the best we can, most of the time.

And yet, we are now living in an era where cancel culture has become de rigueur, second chances are few and far between, and the art of forgiveness appears to have vanished.

We all have said and done stupid, regrettable things and I believe that if we own what we’ve done, and give a proper apology, and make amends, shouldn’t we be forgiven?

I see this as an issue in our personal relationships as well as in our culture.

Your significant other may be the greatest person on the planet but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to make you crazy from time to time.

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Setting The Trap: Dating Strategies Used By Narcissists

SherryG9.15

There are many myths and misunderstandings around being in relationships with narcissists. One of the most common myths is that somehow people should be able to recognize a narcissist by simply checking off a few boxes on a handy dating checklist.

In reality, the behavior of a narcissist during the initial stages of a dating relationship is a carefully crafted façade. He or she does not use abusive language or ghost you on the first, second, or even the twentieth date. They do not try to manipulate in overt ways, but they do use subtle and often seemingly innocent behaviors to test the waters to determine the flexibility or the presence of boundaries.

Unfortunately, potential dating partners who have a history of emotional or physical abuse, abandonment, or dysfunctional families often lack boundaries. They fall into the trap of allowing the narcissist to begin to get his way, even over small things, which eventually lead to highly toxic behaviors that will become more significant as the relationship unfolds.

To help understand the trap the narcissist sets during the initial dating phase, let’s take a closer look at the strategies the narcissist employs. Based on your response, you may see more than one strategy in play, or the strategies may change over time.

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Don't Be Your Partner's Therapist!

mpaul9.15
One of the important things I learned in my own marriage and in my work with clients is that a committed relationship is NOT supposed to be a therapeutic relationship. We can help each other to learn, grow and heal, but this is very different than a therapeutic relationship. In a marriage, or close committed relationship or friendship, we can help each other, but in a therapeutic relationship, one person is helping the other. This doesn't work well in a partnership.

Caretakers often enter relationships to 'fix' their partner.

Caretakers often see themselves as healthier or more evolved than their partner, and they go about trying to change their partner – 'for their own good.' This puts the caretaker in a one-up position, which may make the other person feel one-down. I often hear from a client whose partner is trying to fix them, or who sees themselves as the ‘healthy one’, "My partner is much healthier and more evolved than I am."

Since we come together at our common level of health or woundedness, I know that this statement isn't true - that it's indicative of an imbalance in the relationship and is what is causing some of the problems.

Sometimes one person expects the other person to listen the way a therapist would. A client in this position asked me,

"What should I do when he vents on me and expects me to listen to him like a therapist might listen to a client?"

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Are You a Liar?

arielle9.8a

Are you a liar?

I believe most of us are. (Hey, we are all human, no judgement here.)

And the biggest lies we tell are to ourselves.

We lie to ourselves in small ways and big.

For instance, perhaps you do some or all of these:

You want to be healthy and yet you consistently blow off exercising and eat things you know are not good for you.

You want to nourish your mind with loving thoughts and yet you make up stories about how you are not good enough, loveable enough, or whatever and you let those stories keep you stuck.

You are in a relationship with a narcissist or someone who clearly exhibits bad behavior and you stick around hoping they will change. (They won’t)

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Commitment to Hope

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“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without words
And never stops—at all”
—Emily Dickinson

A key component in any transformative life experience, personal or planetary, is hope. Not half-hearted or faint hope, but hope that is steadfast, sturdy, resilient, like that in Emily Dickinson’s poem. Hope within the human soul cannot be extinguished, no matter the hardship or loss. Despite the challenges of life, we humans endure because of that intangible something within us that holds us to life. Yet, there are times when hope seems shaky—as tenuous as a single candle flame wavering in a strong wind. Times such as now, when political discord, a deadly global pandemic, or personal crises erode our belief in a positive outcome. This is when hope is needed most.

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Is Your Heart Closed off to Love?

bradleynelsen9.4 8 Questions to Help Determine If You Have a Heart-Wall

Do you or someone you know have trouble giving or receiving love, trusting others, or forming deep and satisfying relationships? These are signs of a widely prevalent but little understood condition known as a Heart-Wall®.

When you experience a traumatic childhood, a bad breakup, a divorce, the death of a partner, abuse, severe injury, or any dreadful event, the emotional pain of the experience can cause you to feel defensive and to wall off your heart. A Heart-Wall may prevent you from giving and receiving love, block you from trusting others and forming new relationships, and leave you feeling perpetually lonely and isolated.

Heart-Walls are made up of the energy of Trapped Emotions from difficult experiences. Most people have multiple unresolved and unprocessed emotions that lay trapped one over another, all covering their heart creating a Heart-Wall. Trapped Emotions such as these are commonly referred to as emotional baggage.

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The Law Of Attraction And Relationship Issues

sherryg9.1

Being addicted to love is not the same as being a sex addict, a drug addict or an alcoholic. Love addicts are drawn to people that initially cause them to feel part of a whole rather than as an isolated individual.

For a love addict being single and alone is a crisis. These are people that rely on others for their sense of identity, where the relationship becomes the focus of their lives. Needless to say, love addicts smother the partner, which only causes the partner to pull away while the love addict clings on and compounds the problem.

The other type of partner that is drawn to a love addict is a person who is completely self-centered. They may have narcissistic tendencies or have another type of personality disorder. These are often the “bad boys” of the world, seeming to do nothing but take in a relationship. Finding a partner that wants nothing to do but to give creates the perfect destructive relationship for both.

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Speaking Your Truth Without Blame or Judgment

margaretp8.30

How often have you become irritated or angry, or given yourself up, or started to argue or debate, teach or explain, or withdrew when someone was treating you badly - ordering you around, judging you, blaming you, or dumping their complaints or negativity on you? How often have you behaved in any of these protective, controlling ways when someone is unknowingly interrupting you when you are trying to focus on something or get something done? How do you end up feeling when you behave in any of these ways?

The chances are you end up feeling angry, hurt, anxious, depressed, or numbed out. It is easy to believe that these feelings are coming from the other person's behavior toward you, but this is not the case. Your unhappy feelings are coming from not taking loving care of yourself.


For example...

Madison consulted with me because she was feeling depressed. She and Andrew had been married for 12 years. She loved Andrew and felt that they had a deep soul connection. Yet she was often unhappy around him.

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154 Hits