Family Articles

The Relationship Building Power of Empathy: Seven Actions of Empathic Listeners, 3 of 3

Monday, March 31st, 2014

images-346Empathy empowers grace and harmony in our lives and relationships.

Without empathy, we’re not connected to the otherwise amazing inner resources available to help us restore or keep our connection to built-in capacities to think and feel, and, when necessary, to shift to optimal thoughts and feelings, imagine new possibilities, transform fears, make optimal choices, and ultimately grow wiser learning from our mistakes.

It is in empathic relationships that we learn to feel safe enough to compassionately connect with what is going on inside of us — rather than run away or react aggressively — when we feel triggered or stressed.

Part 1 outlined key intentions underlying empathy, and Part 2 listed three of seven actions that naturally flow from seeking to genuinely connect with another human being at deeper levels. Here are the remaining four:

4. Seek to understand (other) before being understood. 

This allows you to focus your attention on listening to understand the other’s heart with compassion (as you’d likely wish if you were them). In this place, you are present in mind and body, and are seeking what is in the highest interest of both, ultimately, to grow your compassion for your self and the other as human beings.


7 Rules to Protect Your Children from Marital Conflict

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

images-515Healthy parenting nurtures children. A parent’s nurturing presence provides the emotional connection that not only helps strengthen the parent-child relationship, but also teaches the child how to regulate his or her emotions. Since conflict between parents is inevitable, it’s important to note a few rules parents can use to protect their children from marital issues.

If you want your children to be confident, stand up for and respect themselves, they need to learn how to ask to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn to respect themselves, and to do so in the context of the family they grow up in formative years of their lives. Respect here does not mean obedience, it means mutual and unconditional respect for self and other as human beings. In other words, if your children had the cognitive and affective development of an adult (and they won’t until they’re about 25 years of age), and they wrote you a letter, they would say something like the following:


Three Obstacles to Intimate Communication Between You and Your Partner

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Loving KissCreative Commons License Pedro Ribeiro Simões via Compfight

Communication is the life tool with which we may create and strengthen our relationships, and relationships are all about emotional safety and meaningful connections.

Communication is a tool like no other. Whether verbal or nonverbal, it is to your emotional and mental health, and relationships, what food and water are to your body. You may be wondering, if talking is such a “loving” activity why do you experience so much pain in your communications with one of the most important persons in your life, your partner?


How to Argue to Live Authentically (and Strengthen Your Relationship) 1 of 3

Monday, January 20th, 2014

6135_1072891877077_522792_nEver find yourself in the same reactive discussion with your partner again and again?

Okay, the details may be different, but overall do you get into a scripted dialogue in which you can guess what your partner is going to say or do in reaction to something you say?

(Most likely, by the way, your partner likely feels the same way too.)

The stuck feelings seem all too familiar to couples in a relationship. Like others, both of you likely wonder, at times, whether there’s a chance of ever getting the love, understanding, acceptance, appreciation, romance, etc., you want. You know, the feelings you had at the start of your relationship. It seems you’ve tried everything. Is it too much to ask to feel valued, important — and connected — in your relationship?


Your Health, Your Brain & the Power of Gratitude — A Key to Happiness, 1 of 1

Friday, December 27th, 2013

001 GratitudeWhat makes gratitude so powerful?

Gratitude is an emotion we use to express appreciation and thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift. It’s much more, however.

A powerful agent, gratitude can propel us with unstoppable momentum to find ways to express, exclaim and proclaim it to the world, or another person, perhaps shouting from the rooftops!

Words may not suffice to express gratitude, but this cannot stop us from trying.


Five Nurturing “Be’s” for Parents to Add to Their To-Do List, 1 of 2

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

images-461It’s been said before. Relationships are like a baby mobile in that a slight touch on one side causes ripple effects felt throughout the system.

Our early relationships are particularly formative. It is in early years that our brains form structures that, absent a change causing event, subconsciously, serve as reference points for relating to self and others throughout life.

Parents are often provided what-to-do-or-not-do lists to promote healthy child development, less often is the focus on the quality of emotional presence parents can bring, at any given time, to interactions with their children. In this post, we discuss two of five states of being, or “BE’S,” that parents can use as guidelines to nurture healthy relating capacity in children.

Because our mind-body refers to these early structures automatically, how we parent makes a difference. When we were children, for example, our parents’ brains subconsciously set parameters in what emotions we “should’ or “shouldn’t” feel or express, according to their own taboos and belief systems.


10 Excuses for Not Saying “I’m Sorry” or Making Amends

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

images-308Among the most powerful words to say in healing our relationships are, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me. How can I make it up to you?

And yet, even when we know we’ve acted wrongly, something inside blocks us from saying so or taking action to make amends. More often, that something is a set of beliefs we hold that act as excuses.

Excuses are often assumptions that, whether conscious or subconscious, block us from taking action. Here are ten most frequent ones.

1.  I’ll be seen as a bad person and not appreciated for the good things I’ve done.

This excuse also distracts us from directly resolving an issue. It focuses our attention on our fears, in particular the fear of not fulfilling our yearnings to matter and to feel we contribute value in our relationships.  


Seven Habits to Bring Out the Best in Life and Relationships, 2 of 2

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

images-515This post is a continuation from Part 1 that listed four of seven mindful, conscious habits that bring out the best in life.  A conscious habit is a choice to practice, remain aware and take action in the direction of working wonders in your life and relationships.

Here are habits five through seven:

Habit #5.  Positive Thinking 

Take complete responsibility for the thoughts you think.  Your thoughts trigger emotional states that have tremendous power to energize or de-energize your momentum. One of the biggest mistakes most people make in their thinking is to focus on what they do not want, what they lack, what’s not going right, and so on.

This is a mistake because whatever we put our thoughts on is emotional energy that expands.

Think of emotions as energy in motion, which means they drive and shape our actions.  Always begin every morning, each activity or interaction with others with the end in mind, focusing on what you want to create. 


Celebrating Father’s Day – Father’s Role In Nurturing Children’s Emotional Safety

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to honor the qualities of fathers that foster children’s emotional sense of security, well being and resiliency, and share a few quotes and a favorite poem.

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born.
 Men grow into fathers -
 and fathering is 
a very important stage in their development.”

~ DAVID M. GOTTESMAN

Certain qualities that fathers represent and model are invaluable, such as standing up for and believing in ourselves and our dreams, to never giving up and mustering the strength to face our fears with courage. Healthy fathering nourishes children with a strong and healthy sense of self, agency, determination and momentum to make things happen.


How to Create a Timeline: The Power of Re-working Your Life’s Story, 1 of 2

Friday, April 27th, 2012

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If so then capturing your life on paper with a timeline exercise may be worth millions.

A timeline or lifeline exercise is a grid that allows you to have a bird’s eye view of your life, and to see the positive and negative shifts along the way on a single trajectory.

Even more, it can be a tool to make conscious self-directed changes that, literally, rewire your brain to heal itself. Known as plasticity, your brain has an innate capacity to make changes in positive, healing directions. Like other tools, you need to know it’s there to access, and how to use it.

Everyone has a unique timeline. It consists of a series of events, trends and turns that culminate in producing cycles of positive and negative shifts, highs and lows in the course of a lifetime from birth.

What are the benefits?

Putting your timeline on paper is an opportunity to record vital information about your life and past. There are several benefits to completing this exercise.


 

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