For many years, one of my areas of specialty has been anxiety disorders. I have spent over two decades educating clients and students alike on the ins and outs of the signals and triggers of anxiety. I've found that through education and practical explanation, many of the common daily symptoms of generalized anxiety subside by demystifying the mischievous miscreant of the mind.
I explain that anxiety is merely a signal of conflict lurking beneath the surface, insistently tapping on the door of our psyche, demanding to be acknowledged. The more we turn him away, the louder his knocks and the more frequent and intrusive his visits...
Be warned that eventually he'll pound the door down with a heart-racing panic and likely over stay his welcome!
I have always reminded my clients that the key to a crisis-free life is prevention. (After all, there's a reason we clear fire roads before fire season). That means paying attention to the signals and cautionary...
With the disheartening statistics of divorce in mind, I took it upon myself to find out what men and women really look for as essential qualities for true lasting connection... The results are as old fashioned as apple pie!
For the purpose of exploring real desires of men and women, I gathered the responses of 75 women and 60 men from two different questions: (I changed the question for the men since they tend to focus on physical qualities rather than on deeper needs)
Their responses covered over 20 different qualities with the 2 most popular qualities being INTEGRITY and FUNNY.
Yes, ladies, it seems that if a bloke has a good enough sense of humor and makes you laugh, (while not taking himself too seriously) you'll forgive him, even if he's acting like a stubborn selfish jerk! If he happens to have kind eyes and opens the door for you, that might well be grounds...
What do I want? Where can I find it?
It's one of the more common presenting issues that many of my clients face today. Him... or Her.
Even if you're in a blissful relationship. There's still that nagging question of "What really makes me (us) happy?"
What I've found for many of us is that we're just too busy to slow down and connect.
Over the decades, my idea of friendship has chopped and changed… A friend is someone who tells you the truth; a man who treats you like a man; a woman who reflects your feminine side; a mother who nurtures your ‘inner child'; a child who brings out your vulnerability; someone who’s always ‘got your back'; a friend in need and, of course, ‘friends with benefits!’ (That never ends well!)
For me, friend-ship is a vessel on which we can sail the high seas and safely journey to land’s end.
The "battle of the sexes" would appear to be alive and thriving in our homes, businesses and communities. I use the term battle loosely as I believe there to be a big misconception about the function and purpose of conflict between men and women.
How Dare You...
Many of the men I coach express frustration at the endless testing they receive from their wives or girlfriends and even become insulted that the tests do not stop. Well, it's no wonder they are further aggravated to learn from me that the tests are not supposed to stop! Hmmm.
It's an important re-frame and perspective shift I give men and I feel it would be helpful to clue the ladies in on exactly why we welcome your tests.
Picture a wintry scene with the first snow fall covering the ground and a small pond frozen over at the end of the garden. Your small children excitedly run to try their best figure of eights, but you grab them by the scruff of the neck and urgently yell "Hold on there kids - not so fast!!"
As their ...
We are too busy trying to control the things we have no business controlling and relinquishing control where we have absolute domination.
As an admitted control freak myself, I feel fully qualified to expound on the trials and tribulations of life's greatest paradox...
The more controlling we are, the less we trust and feel at peace!
Come to think of it, I don't believe I know anyone who isn't somewhat controlling. Consider the agitated freeway driver who adamantly refuses to let you in to his lane from the on-ramp, or the nervous blind date companion who repeatedly calls the maître d' to confirm his reservation in the back patio, by the twinkly lights, but not too close to the noisy street!
How about your movie buddy who always orders the tickets ahead to save from selling out, only for you to realize that you never manage to get to see the movies you like! (Ok, that one was me)
Then there's the landlord who only accepts cashier's checks to his PO Box, the neighbor who...
Ever feel like a damsel in distress lying in wait for your knight only for him to be too busy shining his armor? Have I got some tips for all of you choosing unavailable men...
It must be the most consistent trait I see in virtually every woman I have counseled; choosing Sir Lacks-a-lot!
(As you'll soon see, this phenomenon equally applies to many of my gay friends)
It's as if there's some kind of medieval dormant gene in your psyche that summons forth the Barren Knight to awaken. Of course, you don't see this most elusive hidden quality in yourselves, let alone your suitors, but you'll agree that it's a self-defeating pattern that always ends in tears.
Let's understand this nasty ancient curse.
An honest fair maiden eagerly awaits her soul mate to sweep her off her feet and over the threshold, only to discover that her knight is merely passing through, en route to his next joust. So many gauntlets... but few hands that fit. You would have thought that his iron-clad armor was enough...
Were you one of those kids who had to ask to be excused at the dinner table? I bet you're still looking for permission to be happy, make more money, please your boss and speak your truth. Do yourself a favor... excuse yourself!
It's tough living in our heads. Self-validation feels so corny and unsatisfying compared to full fledged approval from our friends, family and cohorts. I see so many people seeking approval from those they barely respect or admire and I wonder what on earth motivates them?
If you don't care for the poor soul you are seeking attention from then at least allow them the right to scowl at you, dislike your fashion sense, hairstyle, recent blog post or updates on Facebook. What's the worst that could happen? They think you have lousy taste? They wouldn't choose that halter top from BCBG, let alone put it together with the skirt from DKNY?
We seem to have an acceptable double standard when it comes to taste and style. We reserve the right to reject advances from...
Our yearning to belong stems from a deep longing to be...
Am I alone in craving to feel more connected? probably not. Am I off track to be constantly looking for more personal interactions with friends and family? I doubt it. Is anyone out there blogging about it? Who knows?
Here I go...
I had an intimately powerful experience this weekend. Indeed, I had no idea that intimacy could have power. I always associated intimacy with vulnerability and softness. Not so.
If you've ever had the gift of "immersing" yourself in the care of trusted friends, there's a strength in surrendering to their collective wisdom. We don't see ourselves as we are. We barely see ourselves as we'd like to be. We see only our limited idea of who we are. That's the gift of friendship. Assuming you have friends you can trust.
How would you know?
Over the decades, my idea of friendship has chopped and changed... A friend is someone who tells you the truth; a man who treats you like a man; a woman who reflects...
Personal development is like being under construction; make sure to warn your friends and loved ones that debris will be falling!
I remember seeing those apartment buildings in the San Fernando Valley surrounded by wire fences following the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, thinking it was such a powerful metaphor for the process we tend to undergo in therapy and coaching.
The shaken tenants had to endure the discomfort and inconvenience of being relocated during retrofitting and reconstruction, in much the same way as we go through the difficulty of being inspected by our coaches, shrinks and sponsors, on admitting our need for help.
Just as the plaster and ornate facades are stripped off the cracked walls and ceilings revealing the brick and dry wall posts beneath, so goes the way of our ego, grandiosity and character flaws into the dumpster!
As many of you know, it’s not pretty...There’s rubble, dirt and muddy puddles everywhere we...