Archives for Forgiveness

Communication

6 Tips for Breaking the Blame Barrier

Hardly a day ever goes by when I don't hear someone blaming someone for something. It is one of the most common--and one of the most frustrating patterns that confront couples and families. Blame can destroy a good marriage, wreak havoc on our friendships, and put innocent kids in the middle of their parents' arguments.

Not only are families besieged by this destructive pattern, the whole culture is mired in it. We blame the...
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Anxiety

We Are Only As Sick as Our Secrets

"Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also--if you love them enough."  -George Washington Carver

I've been a psychotherapist for over thirty years. I have long ago lost count of...
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Empathy

Are Your Feelings Getting the Best of You?

"If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far." -Daniel Goleman

As a psychotherapist, I am constantly struck by how little the average person knows about emotions-- both why we have them in the first place and what...
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Communication

The Myth of Happily Ever After

We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness." -Ellen Goodman

In spite of the headlines revealing the breakdowns and sordid secrets inside the marriages of the rich and famous, most Americans who tie the knot seem to have bought the prevailing myth of romantic love. None...
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Conflict

Are You a Good Loser?

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."  -Vince Lombardi

A week from tomorrow, on Election Day in America, there will winners and losers galore. Many people will be happy but just as many will be disappointed and upset. The same thing happens over and over (although certainly not...
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Empathy

Loving Families Practice Compassion: Here’s How…

"Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  -Rumi

Everyone makes mistakes. Lots of them, big and small. Even the people you love and look up to. In healthy, loving families, parents teach kids to learn from  mistakes and keep moving forward. Unfortunately, many of us were punished or ridiculed for mistakes. We came to believe...
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Communication

Etch A Sketching Our Way Past Grudges

Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.                                                                                    -Eric Fehrnstrom, Aide to Mitt Romney

Fehrnstrom’s comment this week about the Etch A Sketch game inspired a lot of political commentary and boosted both sales and fond memories of the hugely popular toy. A client of mine posed a timely question near the end of his session. "My family really sucks at letting go of grudges. So what's the shake it all away, ya know...Etch a Sketch tool for that?"

His question got me thinking about how helpful it would be if people were more like an Etch A Sketch, as least when it comes to negative feelings. Faced with upsets with our loved ones we could just turn ourselves upside down, shake a bit, and the emotional slate would be clean!

Unfortunately, life's problems aren’t always so easy to resolve, but there are some ways of communicating about and handling feelings that can help us to shake off what's bugging us and start with a fresh slate.

Given that all humans make mistakes, it is essential that we know how to recover and repair. Research shows that letting go of upsets in constructive ways is fundamental to maintaining happy, loving, long-term relationships. It's really difficult to be positive with those around us when we hold grudges. And since we know that emotions are contagious, they are hard to hide.
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