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Month: January 2012

When You Love Yourself, You Let Others Off the Hook

Frequently, when I start to work with a new client, they believe that loving their self is selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. A more accurate definition of selfish is expecting others to give themselves up and do for you what you can and need to be doing for yourself. Letting Others Off The Hook How are others let off the hook when you love yourself? Let us count the ways! Others don’t need to read your mind when you are meeting many of your own needs, and asking outright when there is something you need help with. Others don’t need to hold back, be careful, or walk on eggshells when you are taking care of your own feelings. Others can receive great joy in giving to you when they don’t feel obligated. Others can speak their truth when they know that you are open to learning and wanting to grow. They can be honest when they know that you will deal with your own feelings rather than blame them. Others are free to take loving care of themselves when they know you are doing the same, and that you support them in their highest good as part of being loving to yourself. Others can be spontaneous with you, knowing that if they ‘make a mistake’ you will take responsibility for your own feelings about it. Others...

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What Will Love Give You?

Did you grow up believing that if only someone REALLY loved you in the way you needed to be loved, then you would feel happy, safe, lovable and worthy? Certainly being truly loved by parents goes a long way toward supporting children in feeling safe and lovable, but it is not the whole story. Even if your parents did love you the way you needed to be loved, if they didn’t role-model loving themselves, then it is likely you absorbed their forms of self-abandonment – judging themselves, turning to various addictions to manage their feelings, and making others responsible for their feelings and sense of worth. My parents did the best they could, but their best was far from what I needed to feel loved, safe and worthy. Additionally, they role-modeled many forms of self-abandonment which I incorporated into my survival mechanisms. I grew up believing that if only a man would really see me and deeply value what he saw – and if he was consistently warm, caring, open, honest, gentle, tender, compassionate and sensitive, I would finally feel safe and worthy. I believed that his love is what I needed to feel happy and lovable. The problem was that, even when he was being loving, I had learned to be so unloving to myself that his love barely made a dent in my sense of worth. I...

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What Does Having Sex Mean to You?

I’ve been counseling individuals and couples for many years. More than half the time, when couples are having problems or the relationship is dissolving, sex is one of the major issues. There are a number of common scenarios: After a long marriage with regular sex, he comes home to discover that his wife has left. He is devastated, and has no idea why. Upon exploration, it turns out that he has expected sex at least three times a week. While his wife complied, he knew that she felt emotionally disconnected from him and needed to grit her teeth to have sex with him. Looking back, he realizes that she tried to express this to him and he had refused to listen. Now she was gone. The partners are still together, but the sex is essentially gone from the relationship. This frequently occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. One partner may be more upset about this than the other. One partner has clearly stated that he or she is no longer available for sex. The partner states that he or she feels used, and is no longer willing to tolerate this. The other partner is angry and hurt by this. Sex is still a big part of the relationship, but one partner states that he or she is giving themselves up to have sex, and is very unhappy about...

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Persistence: Playing a Poor Hand Well

“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” – Josh Billings, 1818-1885 research indicates that holding good cards is actually of great benefit in life. People born into wealthy families, who are emotionally and financially supported to become all they can be, have a great advantage over people from poor and emotionally unsupportive families. People who have to overcome childhood abuse have a much harder time in life than those who were loved. While some challenges do make us stronger, huge challenges such as severe childhood abuse can take such an emotional, spiritual and physical toll that the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” doesn’t always hold true. Despite all that, each of us has the opportunity to play a poor hand well. Each of us has the opportunity to learn and grow from the big challenges in our lives. I look back on the poor hand I was dealt, and I’m so grateful for the little bit of role modeling I received regarding persistence. I think it’s this one quality – persistence – that has enabled me to turn the poor hand into a very fulfilling life. Since I was born into a very poor family, I learned early how to earn money and become self-sufficient. From an early age, I persisted in earning and saving money. Since I was...

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