Compromise

20 Minute Challenge
Comprise is an important part of life. By definition, to compromise is an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions or to accept standards that are lower than is desirable. No successful relationship can have either party giving less than 50%. My grandmother used to say “make sure in every relationship that you are in that ach party gives 100% that way you know they are not b-sing you because you are not b-sing them”. I have found this gem of wisdom to be so true. No relationship can thrive without compromise at some point. What I have noticed though is that compromise has become synonymous with conceding. Compromise is no longer a labor of love but a sign of disrespect. No one wants to compromise for fear of being played.

The truth is that love is an exercise of faith that we sometimes get played in. To fully love and or trust someone takes an act of selflessness and full disclosure. One cannot fully love someone without ever catering to their needs. Likewise, one cannot fully cater to someone else’s needs without compromising their own at some point. As I watch TV, Lifetime and Hallmark Channel mostly, and the main issue that couples have are communication and lack of compromise. When someone’s needs are not being met they are going to be unhappy and sometimes unhappy people do not so appropriate things to pacify themselves and obtain the missing happiness (i.e. cheating). Compromise is an essential tool in maintaining a healthy relationship. One must be careful not to lose him or herself in the art of compromise. It is very easy to lose oneself in pleasing others. In order for the compromise to be effective it has to be a sacrifice and not a chore.

Grief and Loss: What To Say

Grief and Loss

 

Watching and supporting a family member or beloved friend experience grief and loss can be difficult.  I know firsthand.  Two people I adore and love are experiencing painful losses, and there have been many times that I wanted to do something to help them, but all I can offer is a listening ear.

There are times we want to help but we don’t want to intrude.  We are at a loss of what to say and unsure of what to do.  Sometimes we do nothing at all because we don’t want to make things worse.   Although we will not be able to take the pain away, we can still listen.  It’s okay to ask them, “do you want to talk?”  If they don’t want to talk, they will let you know.  When you get into those conversations, be sure to avoid responding with these comments:

Instead of “I know” or “I understand” try asking, “how has this been for you?”

The reality is grief and loss is different for every person so you don’t know or understand their unique experience.

Instead of “You must feel _______” try asking, “how do you feel?” or “most people have strong feelings, how has this been for you?”

It’s never helpful to tell people how they feel in any life experiences; this holds true for those experiencing the pain of loss.  Grief is personal and belongs to them.  They may feel a lot of different emotions at one time.  Allow them to name their own feelings.

Instead of “He’s no longer in pain, he’s in a better place”, or “it’s part of God’s plan” try asking, “what memories do you have about___?”  or “what have you been thinking?”

If you try to help them to focus on the good things, it doesn’t allow them to stand in their truth – they are hurting!  Allow them to express their true feelings whatever they may be

Instead of “You should or must get on with your life” try asking, “Have you thought about….?”

First, there are no must’s and should’s in grief.  Second, it’s not your job to solve it.  In fact, you aren’t going to be able to fix it.  Grief is a process and takes time.  If you are concerned for their emotional and mental health, you may try starting with, “have you thought about or considered…?”  In this way, you aren’t telling them what to do; you are only exploring options.

Women’s Expectations of Themselves

 

Women’s Expectations of Themselves

Women are being sold a bill of goods and most of it buy it without questioning if its good for our mental and emotional well-being.  It’s the bill of goods that mass and social media is selling us. I have often found in my counseling work and in my social life that women’s expectations of themselves are totally unrealistic and yet this is normal and some of us believe it’s healthy!   Women struggle with not feeling good enough and falling short of “perfect” constantly.   Let me point out the obvious “PERFECT IS NOT REAL, THERE’S NO SUCH THING LADIES!”   We have expectations placed on us that men do not.   Now days many of us are expected to be educated and hold a career while also having most of the duty of organizing, cleaning and running a home.  Once a woman becomes a mother she f(or most families) is in charge of child rearing.  She is probably also in charge of making sure the family’s schedule runs smoothly.   Most women try balancing work, family and (the big one) looking a certain way and most of us struggle to keep up the balancing act.  I know some women that can juggle well for a little while, but when a crisis strikes a ball will eventually be dropped in order to attend to the crisis.   Society place expectations on women that we must not age and we must stay a size 2 all the while juggling several roles and numerous responsibilities.   Our society defines attractiveness for men by power, wealth and status largely leaving out the issues of physical attractiveness or not emphasized as much as it is for women. 

I have women clients that struggle with depression and self-hatred largely because they have fallen hook, line and sinker for society’s notions without examining them for themselves.   The have assumed “well if everyone says this is who I should be, should act like, should look like then I should try and be that person.”  Then when they fall short (and they will) then they feel like horrible disappointments.

I don’t know any woman that is doing all the following perfectly: holding down a 40 hour work week or full college class load, running and maintaining a home, cooking all the meals, cleaning the home, doing  and putting away laundry in a timely manner, taking care of her children, managing their school and/or lessons/sports schedule, grocery and supply shopping for the family, keeping her children well clothed, keeping in touch with friends, taking care of her hair, nails and skin, exercising daily, maintaining a flawless figure even after childbirth, paying the bills, advancing in her career, has deep friendship with at least 3 women and spends time with them regularly, has a good marriage and is constantly working with her husband to improve their relationship, is parenting well and helping their children not only succeed academically but helping them develop their emotional IQ and social skills, has good relationships with all her family members and in-laws, attends to spiritual needs daily (spending time with God or her higher power), attends a church or a some social meeting that benefits herself and community, volunteers her time to help the less fortunate, is trying to better herself with learning new things daily, keeping up with current events and staying active on social media.  Attending timely to unexpected things that come up like, someone in the family gets sick, damage to the home, the washing machine is broken or a car repair needs repair without dropping the ball on all the previous items I listed. This is not an exhaustive list; I just can’t think of anything else at the moment. 

How many women do you know that can do all of these well, all of the time without having any difficulty?   Now I know that some women rely (as they should) on help from their spouse to help them take care of the above list as they should but many women try to do it all without help from anyone.   That’s just not realistic!!!  Ladies look at your expectations and where they came from and start to question them!  Start with trying to put these expectations into words in order to uncover if they are realistic expectations.  Ask yourself where did these expectations come from? How and when did you begin to internalize these expectations?  Whose approval are you seeking by trying to meet all these expectations?   Perhaps once you have really examined these expectations you will begin to change or discard some of them all together.

 

Mindfulness and Meditation: The Hot Trend

Mindfulness and Meditation: The Hot Trend

In 2015 the mindfulness and meditation became the latest hot trend.  The mindfulness and meditation industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld in 2015!  Why all the sudden has the meditation and mindfulness industry exploded?

First lets look at what we’re talking about:  Meditation is not a new practice it’s been around for a long time, some scholars say it dates back to 20 BC.

According to Wikipedia

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.  Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way.  Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness is not the same as Meditation.

According to Psychology Today

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.  When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.  Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Research shows there are numerous health benefits including effective pain management have been attributed to mindfulness practice.

So back to my initial question why is mediation or the new version “mindfulness” so popular?   I believe it’s because the human race on the whole had become so technologically advanced and we think “oh now I have more time to do more” instead of relaxing more.   Most people feel they must achieve to feel worthy and worthwhile which is resulting in increased daily stress and anxiety.

For many years many people believed the answer could be found in prescription medications for anxiety and depression and the pharmaceutical companies prospered.   Now I believe people are starting to realize that perhaps the drug’s sides effects at not worth it and attempting a more holistic route seems logical.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying anything against mindfulness and meditation.   In fact, I have found great personal benefit to it and have recently incorporated formal practice of mindfulness into my weekly routine.  Prayer has already been in my daily routine for sometime and I consider prayer a type of meditation.   What I find interesting is how people are paying a lot of money to attending mindful and meditation workshops when these are not difficult practices to learn on your own.   I think buying a inexpensive mindfulness cd by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a better option for incorporating natural ways to de-stress.    I just wanted to point out although you may be helping the industry of meditation prosper more when you buy a cd on meditation or mindfulness or any of the new apps out there, there are also inexpensive ways for you to learn a very beneficial practice.  Try the less expensive methods first so that your bank account doesn’t suffer.   After all most of us know how stressful financial problems can be!

Working Towards Your Best!

WorkingTowardsYourBest

 

“I still fall on my face sometimes

And I can’t color inside the lines

Cause I’m perfectly incomplete

I’m still working on my masterpiece

And I, I wanna hang with the greats

Got a way to go, but it’s worth the wait

No, you haven’t seen the best of me

I’m still working on my Masterpiece”

Excerpt from Masterpiece by Jessie J

Just a reminder to celebrate exactly where you are right now at this time!  You may not be where you want to be, but you are working towards it. Celebrate the wins, and forgive yourself when you fall. Never give up, keep painting!

Going Green!!!

Saint Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching and I thought what better time (week) to incorporate some extra going green initiatives.  Every March 17th we wear our green clothing…….mostly because no one wants to be pinched (they always seem to hurt a tad bit more on this day!), but do you know why you are wearing green clothing? Saint Patrick’s Day is a day to honor a foremost patron of Ireland Saint Patrick. Now history reports that Saint Patrick was not born Irish but circumstances beyond his control brought him to Ireland…….a.k.a. slavery.  As the story goes he was captured as a child and sold into slavery and was a slave for many years in Ireland.  After giving his life to God he began to work to help the Irish community.  In honor of his efforts we celebrate the Irish culture on March 17th. Now this does not simply mean wearing green attire……there are many parades, festivals, dancing and we cannot forget the food…….(I am not of fan of corned beef or bangers but I can indulge in shepherd’s pie and Irish cream cake….yum). So my idea for this week is to incorporate additional going green efforts…….since we will be wearing green, eating and drinking green………why not boost our saving the world efforts while we enjoy the festivities? If you are not already recycling this might be a bigger stretch for you.  Instead of throwing the plastic container with food rem-lets……simply clean it out and place it in a recycle bin. Or you could gather up your old magazines…..you know the ones from 5 years ago that are sitting around collecting dust. You do not have to limit your recycling efforts….the sky’s the limit. Figure out a way to make a change and do it.  There are many small things we can do to make a big difference. Enjoy the holiday, eat, drink and be merry but lets also makes sure that the next generation will have the same opportunities!!!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day