Yes, we humans are complicated. That's why creating good relationships can sometimes be tricky to achieve, or hard, or in some extreme situations, seemingly almost impossible. Yet often, techniques are available that can resolve many difficulties. Discover more.
How is your need for things to be “perfect” or “just so” impacting your marriage, or otherwise important relationships? Those of us who suffer with the need to be perfect, or have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or obsessive compulsive tendencies, often need things in our lives to be “perfect” or “just so” or “completely organized”. We need things to be a certain way to feel comfortable and anxiety-free or else we suffer. When I say we suffer, I really mean suffer. The suffering is from the anxiety that ensues if this isn’t just so, or if things are in disarray, or not the way we need them to be. Unfortunately, our need for perfection often inadvertently spreads to those closest to us and can negatively affect our relationships.
More often, our partner, spouse, children, friends, or boss, are not going to necessarily see things exactly how we do, or do things the way we want them to do. Thus, we walk through our lives feeling as if we are in a perpetual state of anxiety, agitation, anger, resentment, and perhaps even depression.
Our country has never been so divided in so many areas in modern times. This division has expanded even beyond what we have experienced pre and post election. It is no longer just about which political party is right or wrong for us. There is also infighting within each party itself. These, and other issues, have also arisen beyond the political arena, which have further divided us. This division has gone beyond the media and the office and has now entered our homes. During the holidays there naturally tends to be more stress than other times of the year, thus adding political tension has a real impact on family gatherings and the enjoyment of the holidays.
Sexual harassment is not just about sex. It is really more about power and control. Although sexual harassment and sexual assault does also happen to men, more often it happens to women. Reportedly 1 out of 3 women experience sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace and seventy-five percent of those women who file a complaint of sexual harassment experience some type of retaliation.
It is no wonder then, that sexual harassment and sexual assaut are sorely underreported and all pervasive. If it wasn’t awful enough to experience the fear, violation and trauma from the sexual harassment itself, then to be retaliated against by the perpetrator and others is just unfathomable.
Are you someone who expects certain things from your partner, children, friends, family members, coworkers or employer/employees? Do you notice that when what you expect doesn’t happen that you feel resentful, disappointed, hurt, frustrated, or angry?
Having expectations of others is a set-up for us. If what we are expecting does not occur, then we feel unease or uncomfortable to some degree. I am not suggesting that it is not okay to want and need certain things, or behaviors, from those in our personal and professional lives. I am saying, however, that there is a difference between expecting something versus needing, wanting, and hoping for it.
Lately it seems that many of us are trying to classify ourselves, and others, as an introvert or an extrovert when in reality it’s not always distinctly one, or the other. Yet, all too often introversion comes with a negative connotation. Frequently we judge, criticize, or label ourselves, or others, as snobbish, pretentious, unfriendly, antisocial, or just downright disconnected for being quiet, or not talking and interacting enough. When the reality may be that we, or others, are either introverted, or simply too scared and anxious to interact. There isn’t always a simple explanation for someone who is quiet. The reason behind the silence may actually be complex. Introversion is certainly misunderstood, and often, criticized.
Help! How do I stop this lifelong pattern of putting everyone’s feelings and needs before my own? It feels like it’s killing me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Yet, I don’t know how to stop. Is it even possible? Is it just too selfish to even consider it? I’m exhausted. Depressed. Anxious. Downright disgusted. I am consistently praised by those I love and society for being so selfless and caring. Yet, I am stressed out and sometimes I feel like I’m dying inside. I feel like I’m drowning. If this sounds like you, then you may be a people pleaser.
Often there may be a distortion, be it big or small, regarding how we see ourselves, others, or our lives in general. This distortion, or as I call it, the story we tell ourselves, frequently leads to emotional pain, increased anxiety, and potentially depression. That is because feelings aren’t facts.
The phrase, feelings aren’t facts, is commonly used in 12-step programs, yet it is profoundly true for all of us. This phrase uses the term, feelings, in such a way that it is not about emotions such as sadness, grief or anger. Instead it refers to our beliefs, perceptions, interpretations and thoughts. It speaks to the ways in which we experience ourselves, or others, in a subjective way.
When I say, I love to cry, I do not mean that I love to feel sad, hurt, grief, or disappointment. What I mean is that I love that I have a vehicle (tears) to move my sadness, hurt, grief and disappointment out of my body. I am grateful that I have become comfortable enough with crying that tears just naturally come when they need to.
In a recent article, I spoke about how much I love to laugh. Here I will be talking about how much I love to cry, and how cleansing, and important, it is to do so. Tears are our bodies way of releasing sadness, emotional pain, grief, frustration, anger, and yes, joy.
Many of us trust too easily only to discover that we were betrayed. Others of us don’t trust at all. Trusting too quickly, or not trusting at all, usually says more about us than about the other person. Trust is not something that we want to automatically do when we meet someone. We also don’t want to automatically mistrust someone either. Some of us experience an involuntary response to trust, or not to trust, and neither one of these extremes serve us well.
Trust is something that takes time. It’s a process.
How often have we heard, “Just forgive her.” Like it’s just something we can do automatically, like turning on a light switch. If it were truly so easy, we would probably just do it. However, it’s not. Forgiveness is a process.
Many religions decree that it is necessary to forgive to be considered a good person. Insisting that we can reduce our anger, or resentment, by forgiving others. Some religions, and even perhaps some people we know, may use forgiveness as a weapon to guilt us into forgiveness. Maintaining that withholding forgiveness makes us a bad person, or that we might never emotionally heal. The reality is that in order to forgive we must work through our feelings first. And whether we are able to forgive or not, does not determine the kind of person we are.