I Need to Make a Decision!

FFC image for I Need to Make a Decision

When God created us, He gave us the ability to choose.  He could have designed us to act, react and interact according to how He wanted us to. However, he thought it might be best to give us options and choices.  Remember Adam and Eve? God placed them in this world and gave them access to every good thing that a man or woman could ever want.  They had it all!  There was only one condition. God told them they are not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).  Most of us know the rest of the story. Adam and Eve made a decision to do exactly what they were told not to do.  That is how we are today.  Have you ever been told not to do something and ended up doing that very thing you were told not to do?  Why do we as human beings behave in such a manner?  We can knowingly have the best things in life and still make the decision to want more or want something else.  For example; we know that we have the most handsome, gentle, and loving husband or the most sexy, beautiful and exciting wife;  but yet some of us still choose to either trade him or her in or choose to have another lover on the side. Why do we make these decisions? Psychology Today states that our decisions are influenced by our emotional states and our social world.  Sometimes these influences are so powerful that we become prey to it pressures and give in to a bad decision. On the other hand, we sometimes just make bad decisions due to our temptations and lustful desires.  How can we get a grip on our decision-making process? Here are some tips from Psychology Today:

·      Don’t make knee-jerk decisions: Give yourself time to reflect on your decisions before you commit to them.

·      Don’t let your emotions make your decisions: The more distance you can create between your emotions and your decisions, the easier it will be for your pre-frontal cortex to “get in the game.”

·       Look at your decisions from many perspectives: The more information you have, the more you will engage your pre-frontal cortex and the more reasoned your decisions will be.

·       Talk to other people about your decisions: People, who know you well can identify your biases, offer helpful viewpoints, and reality test your decisions.

Realize that yes; you will always make some bad decisions in life. However, if we think before we do… most of our decisions will be beneficial to not only us but those around us. Think it out and make the right decision!

Are You Aware of the Happiness Secret? (Part 2)

secretofhappiness3If you read last week’s blog article regarding the Happiness Secret, Steven K. Scott, author of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness, pointed out five barriers that prevent us from being truly happy. This week, we will look at four ways to overcome these barriers and achieve personal happiness! Steven K. Scott has summarized Solomon’s advice from the book of Proverbs into these simple advises:

Develop a grateful heart. What are you grateful for? By simply writing down each day what you are grateful for can increase happiness. Such examples can be: I am grateful to have family and friends available to talk… I am grateful for this cool weather… I am grateful to be financially independent.

Eliminate your sense of entitlement. Steven K. Scott says it best with this: “A false sense of entitlement in ANY area of your life is an enemy that will keep you bound to unhappiness.” Let go of the unrealistic expectations of others (family, friends, coworkers, school, government, etc.) and thus you will free yourself. Not only do you increase your happiness by doing so, you also will gain an increased ability to love and respect others unconditionally.

Root out the weeds of envy. Do not envy others. There are three important facts to remember:

1. You can not walk in another person’s shoes, so do not judge. 

2. Upon exiting the world, all materialistic items stay behind.

3. Death can happen to anyone, at anytime.

When you feel envious of another individual’s belongings, realign your focus on people and things that you are grateful for in the present moment.

Start living wisely. Wisdom involves action. As Steven K. Scott states, “wisdom is the effective application of truth to your daily behavior.” Share your wisdom with others that seek it. Wisdom does not always come with age, but instead with life experiences.

To further develop upon your happiness secret, create a grateful list of all the things you are grateful for. Add to the list throughout the days, months and even years. Review the list periodically as a reminder of what makes you happy. What would be first on your grateful list? Do you find it easy or hard to come up with a list of gratitude?

In the words of Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty: “Happy, happy, happy”

A No Regrets Life Principle 4: Leave Boldly

No regrets quote

No regrets quote

So this is my final week in my journey to a no regrets life. While reading the book One Month to Live I have revisited the importance of living with passion, loving others, and learning from my experiences. This week my final principle to a no regrets life is “leave boldly”.

In reading this final section of the book the authors pose the question, “What type of legacy do you want to leave behind?” I am done rushing through life. Too often we are focused on working to live, striking it rich, or building a name for ourselves. But I ask myself, what good is any of this if it doesn’t benefit anyone? I want to leave a lasting legacy that centers on doing God’s will and blessing others.

It’s not only what we do in life that matters but why. It is important to examine the motivation behind your actions. Selfish motives will not build a legacy that lasts because it will not leave a meaningful impact on anyone. In studying these chapters I have remembered what is truly important to me- spending time with God, reading His word, enjoying my family and friends, doing things that build the kingdom of God….this is what matters.

So as I finish reading the book One Month to Live I recognize that the journey of living this has only just begun. On my wall I have hung up a sign to remind me of the principles of living a No Regrets Life daily. If you are feeling purposeless or just need to be reinvigorated with a passion for life I encourage you to pick up the book One Month to Live and begin your journey today.

To Label or Not to Label, That is The Question !!!

 

 

 

For years there has been an ongoing debate over the pros and cons in regards to the effects of labeling individuals with mental health disorders/disabilities.  From a therapist stand point, labeling is essential. It helps in defining the condition/ disorder which aids in ensuring proper treatment measures are taken. It provides insight for the individual as well; once you know what existing condition you have, you can develop a treatment plan to help reduce and/or alleviate symptoms. Once you have a diagnosis additional services (free) may be available to you. Labeling/diagnosis also aids in communicating with other mental health care professionals. Labeling is also necessary for insurance payment purposes.  Some cons of labeling are: it can hold a lifelong stigma. Once a diagnosis has been made, some individuals may feel that they are being treated differently; especially within the school system. Some individuals may feel that they are entitled to additional services/assistance due to a diagnosis that may be unwarranted. Some individuals may decide that due to their diagnosis there are limits to what they can do before they ever try.  I personally feel that labeling accents what and not the who of a person. You maybe suffering from bipolar disorder but having this disorder should not be the only thing that defines who you are as a person. We are all human and have some commonalities.

So what do you think, to label or not to label?

Gottman’s Sound Relationship House, Part 3

gottman 3

This is the third part in a series on John Gottman’s Sound Relationship house. The first part was about “Building Love Maps” (found *here*) and the second was about “Sharing Fondness and Admiration” (found *here*). The third level of the house is called “Turn Towards Instead of Away.”

“Turning towards” means showing interest in the mundane details of your partner’s life. It means that when she says she hates her boss, he asks why (and probably does not try to offer a solution). When he says he’s been eyeing the new Corvette, she says, “yeah, it’s beautiful,” not, “you know we can’f afford that!” Simply put, when one spouse makes a bid for emotional connection, the other responds in a positive way. This, according to Gottman, is the basis of romance.

Unfortunately, many times when a spouse makes a bid for connection, the other ignores or even attacks. This happens all too commonly, but it erodes a relationship. Each time you respond positively to your spouse’s bid (“Honey did you see this commercial?”… “Oh my gosh, yes, it’s hilarious!), you are making a deposit in your relationship’s “bank account.” Each time you turn away from a bid (“Honey, did you see this commercial?”… “Leave me alone! Can’t you see I’m busy?!”), you make a withdrawal.

Strong relationships have approximately an 80% positive response rate with only 20% rejections. Ailing relationships have 50% or more rejections. A strong relationship has built up a big cushion of deposits, so that when conflict does arise, they have plenty of positives to work with.

Most people do not reject their partner’s bids for connection maliciously. They are simply not being sensitive or mindful of their spouse. Gottman says that, “for many couples, just realizing they shouldn’t take their everyday interactions for granted makes an enormous difference. Remind yourself that being helpful to each other will do more for the strength and passion of your marriage than a two-week Bahamas getaway.”

Read more about Gottman’s Sound Relationship house in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman.

Am I Being Abused?

teen dating violence

teen dating violence

The first step to getting help is recognizing that there is a problem.  Often people in abusive relationships do not see that the relationship is unhealthy.  There are honeymoon periods where things seem great and they enjoy spending time with the person they’re dating.  However there are moments filled with violence, verbal aggression, intimidation, and control. What you need to know is that abusers are manipulative and these honeymoon periods are designed to keep you in that unhealthy cycle of abuse.  Check out this power and control wheel to see if you recognize signs of abuse in your own relationship.

Power & Control Wheel

 

If you’re still not sure take this relationship quiz to determine if your relationship may be unhealthy.

If you or someone you love needs help please reach out to a professional.  Here at Family First Counseling our counselors are trained to help you deal with the feelings and emotions that you may be going through as a result of abuse.  If you need shelter or advice on getting out of an abusive relationship, try contacting the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with an advocate online at www.thehotline.org