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Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

A dear friend mentioned that self esteem comes from our parents. This was not news to me as I thought it was about our sense of value and that it most likely came from our parents…they/we are always the culprits. More importantly and specifically it is from being consciously listened to with eye contact. This sounds simple right? Not so simple these days. The busier we are the more things we are doing at the same time fracturing our attention from others. Not on purpose as if we don’t care, we just feel the pressure of time bearing down on us and are not present in the moment.

How about when you are chatting on the phone with a friend, are you doing the dishes or feeding the dog? I have noted that there have been times when I have been doing several things simultaneously and stopped to wonder what I was doing. Writing is one thing that I do not or maybe cannot do at the same time as anything else. Working with clients is another time I can stay focused on just the other person, but as that is mostly over the telephone eye contact is rarely a part of it. Listening with intention becomes primary and equally effective when the voice is all you have. Meditation is another but almost all else it is a real effort to stay focused on just one thing, or person.

Okay, go back. Go way back (for some of us it may feel like an eternity) to when you were a child. What kind of attention did your mom give you? Was your mom attentive to you when you were a wee one toddling around? For some, you may answer “of course she was!” But for many you either hope she was, don’t know or are sure she was not.

Mom may have been overwhelmed with many children and depended on older siblings to help take care of your needs or maybe even off at work before you were even one year old. Things have changed and moms get to stay home longer than say thirty years ago. Is it possible she was at home baking cookies when you got home from school? Or was she frantically trying to get everything in the house done like laundry and supper then baths and snacks with no real time to even read a book and tuck you in with a big hug.

Was there real time for listening? Can you envision in your mind’s eye her looking into yours with loving care and attention? Some of you can and some of you are getting a little uncomfortable now and maybe even a bit resentful. This is not my goal here. It’s about how we all can make a difference for others while we go along in our day. How can we affect our children’s, parents, friends and associates lives? One person at a time we can raise their self-esteem, their sense of personal value by giving them a small moment of your time.

If you don’t think that listening has value, just go back and think about someone who did – maybe your dad, grandparent, neighbor, relative, teacher or friend. When they took the time to really give you that care and attentive listening – how did you feel? I know that I felt special. I felt worthwhile. I felt wanted. I felt cared about. I felt loved! I no longer felt invisible in the world, even if just for a moment. Somebody thought that what I had to say was important. It felt GREAT!

Even just eye contact with a stranger walking by can more often than not elicit a smile of knowing. Knowing that they really are alive and seen by at least one other person can lift their spirit. We can go along our days unconsciously hardly seeing another person or we can make a decision that we matter enough, others matter enough to give them the time and care to stop, look and listen.

If you want to lift the SPIRIT through the self esteem of our world one person at a time, please forward this post on.

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  1. Let it go …you really can’t control your beloved, only your own behaviours. Not to be confused with giving up or giving in. Acceptance is the key to harmony. Let go, and love.
  2. Trust your beloved – they are in this relationship, too. We all get up wanting to do our best, sometimes we just miss our own mark and end up…just doing our best.
  3. Really talk ‘with’ not ‘at’ your beloved –let yourself be vulnerable. Get to really know each other. We falsely believe we know our partners well only to find out something new we didn’t know by talking and being open ourselves.
  4. Know and act like you’re in it together, not islands but not actually attached either. It is easier; believe me to do something together, because two heads are better than one. Would you have loved them the same if they were EXACTLY like you? This does not mean that you need finish each others sentences either…I personally like to finish my own. Also, have something in your life that is not connected to your beloved. You tend to appreciate each other more and it gives you something interesting to bring to the relationship.
  5. Neither of you are perfect – REALLY! This is self-explanatory, isn’t it? Yes we are ALL wrong sometimes!
  6. Laugh at your imperfections – together preferably. Look, it can be great fun to laugh at the world occasionally (providing they don’t know or get hurt by it) but to notice ones faults and still be able to laugh at yourself and not get miffed when your beloved joins in, that’s togetherness.
  7. Know that you have not always been perfect to each other… read the above for more info – if necessary.
  8. Apologize easily whenever you are wrong, and probably often. Refer to #5 if needed. But remember, continually apologizing for the same mistake gets tiresome for both parties. Isn’t it better to actually deal with the issue? It will not magically vanish into thin air without some effort.
  9. Work on your relationships daily.  The relationship is a gift that can keep on giving, if you keep on giving to it.
  10. Show and tell your beloved daily that you love them. Tell them you love them and why. Do something special for the heck of it. When was the last time you did something your partner hates just because it would remove it from their to-do list? How about flowers or dinner and a movie? If you are not the verbal kind of guy, how about a love note? It doesn’t have to be poetry, just from your heart. Do something nice without pointing it out to get credit for it. This can be a toughie for some. Don’t wait until you FEEL like it, do it NOW!
  11. Pray to have lots of days, months and years together. Even the bad moments remind us of how good the great moments are. Time is a gift. We need to treat today like it may be our last with our beloved and pray that they will be around longer than you.
  12. Get up tomorrow and do it all again, lovingly. Nobody is perfect, but as long as we can get up again, there is hope.  Start the day anew. You have it in you to forgive all past sins if you really want to live without resentments.  Besides, don’t you want all YOUR past sins forgiven?        The answer to every question is LOVE!

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My beloved comes home from getting a haircut and hands me a bag or roasted chickpeas. I am pleasantly surprised and welcome a treat so I reach in, grab a few and pop them into my mouth. They tasted awful! So awful after a few timid chews I spat out the remains. I immediately said they were horrible and he agreed. I asked if he wanted to throw them away and he said he would feed them to the birds. Sounded reasonable even though I was surprised he did not agree to the discard idea. He LOVES to throw things away. I am the one who can usually find a second use for almost everything.

The next day, I asked if he wanted to feed the chickpeas to the birds now, while he was busy with the yard. He looked at me and said “No the squirrels would eat them all so throw them away.” Now I heard a tone and different words. I heard “Are you nuts! What a dumb idea! The birds won’t have a chance because of the squirrels so why would you want to do that? Throw them away, of course.”

Instantly all I wanted to do was throw them at him! “I was going to throw them away yesterday. Why didn’t you let me pitch them then?” He looked slightly miffed and said “Why do you have to talk to me like that?” (Like what? Okay maybe there was a tone in there. I had wanted to be right after all.) “To be sure that you knew” I said “it wasn’t MY idea to feed these to the birds it was YOURS, just in case you did not remember!” Off I stomped into the house and promptly threw them away.

What was the point in all of this drama? I can’t believe it but I felt the need to defend myself. By this point in my life with all the work I have done on personal development, I can get here when I am not paying attention or taking care of myself. I spent a long time defending myself to the world and the knee jerk just showed its horribleness, yet again. I have been feeling a bit off as of late and I guess this feeling left me feeling not completely whole…more like I had a hole.  That’s another story.

A do-over would be terrific right now! It took me hours to apologize for my shortness and totally needless blow up including rant. Not because I hadn’t cooled off or didn’t know I needed to…maybe somehow I hoped it would just go away. Frankly, I was embarrassed. Then I just wanted to be snotty for awhile then calm down. Except that I wasn’t – and it just went away – I simply forgot. I can always be sure that the memory of an error will come right up in front of me again and I will step up. We were cleaning up after supper and I just said “Sorry I was a bit snotty earlier today.” He said “That’s okay.”  It was done. It really was over with.

The cool thing about taking responsibility for my actions and the dreaded reactions to stuff, they are gone. I am more aware of myself and my defenses but they are not carried forward into another day to be planted, fertilized and fed, shone light upon and built into a mighty oak tree with roots near to China!

Relationships need tending to by feeding it love and understanding, forgiveness and compassion, weeding and maybe even tying it up to something else more sturdy until it grows strong. Ours is over 20 years strong and we have gone through many seasons, through the rain and snow as well as the newness of spring and the coolness of fall. I just know on the next cloudy day, the sun is around the next corner. There are less and less cloudy days in our relationship and we don’t take the rain or the sun for granted. We definitely enjoy the sun!

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reflection

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Am I worth reflecting?

I read a blog post called “Clouds in a Cup” that sent me off on a reflection about reflecting.

I love it when I see the reflection of something beautiful in a window, mirror or any shiny surface worthy of it. It doubles the pleasure! Sometimes it is just like the blogger on “Love out Loud” that noticed the reflection first then took the time to enjoy it when she noticed the simple pleasure of the reflection of the clouds in her tea cup on a lovely spring day.

There are other kinds of reflections as well. I have been known to do some reflecting on the past. Past events, past reactions or responses, even past issues that seem to have re-surfaced…yet again, seem to be right there to see even if I don’t want to. These can be opportunities to see repetitive behaviours that may need amending lest they torture us for the rest of our born days.

I do love to reflect back on some of the most joyous events of my life as well. The birth of each of my sons, my weddings (Yes there were 2- the second relationship with my beloved has stuck for over 21 years!) holidays with friends and family, even time on my own that was impactful can come rushing to me in those moments.

I sometimes look at my relationships and reflect on how much I am truly involved in each of them. Am I doing my part to nurture them? Am I taking them for granted? Are they relationships that are good for both parties, or have they changed as we all do over time? Is it time to let them go on their way or do I want to step up? There is a lot to reflect on here, really!

I wonder if I am reflecting well in others. Am I seeing my mood reflected in others and is it something I am pleased about? I realize that when I am in conflict with another I may have either picked up their reflection or vice versa. This most often happens with the one who is closest, my beloved. I would love to say that if it is unpleasant, it’s his dark cloud reflection that is responsible. But it is not always true, it may have been mine. (Sssh, don’t tell him I said that!) It also may have been that I chose to engage and be that shiny reflection for him. Why couldn’t I choose to reflect back love and care, empathy and understanding instead of judgment and perhaps criticism and ridicule?

Awareness of this will allow me to notice earlier when this choice on reflecting could just happen. I can have that cuppa tea and look deep into it to see if it’s my grey cloud. I have been known to laugh at the drama and change my beloved’s spirit to something fun then he wasn’t so serious about “the stuff”. It never matters what the stuff is, just that I have a REAL choice that only takes a moment to decide what kind of reflection it will be.

If I choose to live in love, peace and harmony, I too can look into that cuppa tea and see a warm reflection of myself. I can laugh at my imperfections and be grateful for yet another moment in love with life. I can look for a smile in there and enjoy that moment too, can you?

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7 THINGS TO GIVE YOUR BELOVED

1-      LOVE ~ Love him/her from where you are today. Not where you wish you were or were yesterday. This way you can enjoy the moment for what it is not expecting it to be different. Yesterday I was annoyed so that would be a lousy place to love him from. I may already be projecting a difficult situation I have to deal with tomorrow and be overwhelmed by it while my beloved has no clue how I feel.

2-      ACCEPTANCE ~ All my beloved wants is for me to take him as he is…not TRY to change him. This took some time to get to, but what a gift it is to spend time with someone with no agendas on either part. Controlling comes in many forms…just ask me!

3-      UNDERSTANDING ~ When they need to talk- they only want you to listen, unless they ask for an opinion- DON”T OFFER ONE! When they want your opinion, DON”T TRY TO FIX IT! When they need your expertise, unless they ask you to do it for them- DON”T TAKE OVER!

4-      LAUGHTER ~ Lighten up! Watch funny stuff like comedies, kid’s movies and cartoons together that will make you laugh. Laugh at your beloved’s jokes no matter how often you have heard them. There aren’t enough reasons to laugh, so make some up as you go along. Nobody gets me like my beloved and vice-versa, so we have tons of private jokes. Call during the day just to share in intimate chuckle, it will make your day. Life is way too short to spend it seriously.

5-      SPACE ~ This can mean both physical and mental space. I need to do things by myself – for myself and so does my beloved. We check with each other to be sure it does not inflict badly on each other, but we take time for ourselves. The mental space took me forever to sort out. It’s the space you need to think and come to your own thoughts and decisions about a thing. That means I don’t try to control the direction of my beloved’s thoughts or hurry the process along to an answer, just give the space needed for it to arise. It surprisingly doesn’t take that much time. REALLY!

6-      TIME ~ Don’t be so caught up in your own space and time that you neglect the relationship. It needs to be nurtured by both parties. You can only affect your part so step up. Start out small so as not to smother or become controlling about it. If come to gently, your beloved will come along willingly. Find a few things that you can do together where you may interact and create more opportunities to laugh and grow your intimacy. Cartoons are one thing but a walk in the park holding hands has a completely different feel about it.

7-      PUPPIES ~ This seems like a funny thing but it kind of goes along with the space thingy. My beloved always wanted a puppy. I said no after having kids, dogs (both from a previous marriage-only the kids came as a package into this one) and cats up to that point, I knew how much work was in it for me (who is in the home WAY more then my beloved). Finally after about 17 years together, kids grown and flown the coop, I surrendered to this cute puppy (from hell, actually), he was thrilled. It brought out the playful child in him. He (we) gets more exercise and spends time  in nature and outdoors playing and walking the dog. Who knew the affect an animal could have. We always had cats but a dog is truly a different relationship. Do what you will but if he REALLY wants a puppy, and you have some time on your hands, like 2 years for training, GO FOR IT! You (eventually) won’t be sorry.

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Julie has often wondered what IS her business, have you?

Actually she really didn’t think about it as it never occurred to her there what things weren’t.

(Is there a bit of Julie in you? There is in me!)

Why do discussions always end in an argument?

How the arguments always start…

Julie travel along in her day doing and chatting and being. Then she starts up a conversation with say, her beloved. She actually has many in her day, but not all of them stick in her mind. It’s the one that he seems to be in his own world and Julie asks a question. This is not always an intelligent thing to do when her beloved is busy, but what the heck, she had time.

The conversation starts something like “What do you think about___?” It rarely matters what it is that Julie was asking, it’s her response to his answers that get her all twisted up. Julie used to be quite controlling, but as she has been working on letting this go, the right thing would be to just listen to his answer and move on.

But, NO! This is not what Julie does as she would much rather have discussions on the how and the why of his answer. Now remember she is the one with the time and the interest, not him. She decided that there was something wrong with his answer and made it HER business to convince him “HE. IS. WRONG!”

This of course starts a debate that leads to an argument and someone stomps off unhappily.

Why do we often feel what anyone thinks of this or that or me for that matter is our business?

Ultimately, the question I ask Julie is just that.

How does what he thinks affect you?

I am interested in what he thinks.

So why do you want it to be the same as yours?

I guess I want us to be on the same side of things.

How important is it that you agree?

Somewhat, I think.

Who will you be if you do not agree?

Okay, I suppose I will still be me no matter what he thinks.

Is it his business what you think about______?

Is it important that you agree with him on everything?

NO, that will never happen! Our differences are what drew me to him in the first place.

Then ultimately is it any of your business what he thinks?

Not really, actually.

Can you still love him if he does not agree with you?

Of course!

Can you ask a question that does not lead to trying to convince him the light of your way?

This could be a challenge, but as I am not interested in him convincing me of some of his stuff, it seems a smart move on my part.

So when you think of this dialogue can you think of times when you tried to convince (control others) someone that your way or thought was the right and only one?  Was it any of your business what they thought? Can you respect another enough to let this go? It may be necessary to walk away some of the time before the debate starts as you know where that can lead!

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ON LOVE
~ By Thomas Kempis ~


Love is a mighty power,
a great and complete good.
Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders
all bitterness sweet and acceptable.

Nothing is sweeter than love,
Nothing stronger,
Nothing higher,
Nothing wider,
Nothing more pleasant,
Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth;

For love is born of God.

Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.
It is free and unrestrained.
Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil
attempts things beyond its strength.

Love sees nothing as impossible,
for it feels able to achieve all things.
It is strange and effective,
while those who lack love faint and fail.

Love is not fickle and sentimental,
nor is it intent on vanities.
Like a living flame and a burning torch,
it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.



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