A Fair Fight

Conflict doesn't mean that your relationship is in trouble - it means that you are two living, thinking beings with individual opinions. Both happy and unhappy couples disagree - how can any two people share a house, jobs, in-laws, pets or kids without an occasional spat? Everyone disagrees at some point - but when do you know that things are out of hand? There's a world of difference between constructive criticism and dirty fighting. With the right tools and mind set, conflict can actually become a path to deeper intimacy - the chance to be seen as you truly are, to accept your partner's vulnerable and unique self, and to build a strong partnership.

Partnerships and couples need to have discussions, they need to solve problems, and sometimes they need to disagree, but they don't need to squabble, argue, bicker, or fight. Fights are dramatic, which is not helpful to a discussion. If you have enough energy to create drama, you have more than enough to tone it down into a discussion. Here are a set of guidelines you may find helpful in arguing.

  • Remember the point of the fight is to reach a solution, not to win, be right, or make your partner wrong.
  • Don't try to mind read. Ask instead what he or she is thinking.
  • Don't bring up all the prior problems that relate to this one. Leave the past in the past; keep this about one recent problem. Solve one thing at a time.
  • Keep the process simple. State the problem, suggest some alternatives, and choose a solution together.
  • Practice equality. If something is important enough to one of you, it will inevitably be important to both of you, so honor your partner's need to solve a problem.
  • Ask and Answer questions directly. Again, keep it as simple as possible. Let your partner know you hear him or her.
  • State your problem as a request, not a demand. To make it a positive request, use "I messages" and "please".

Next time you have an argument, practice some of these guidelines and you will be amazed at how the interaction will change.

The Price of Forgiveness

The Price of Forgiveness

No one gets through life without being hurt by another person. We all have experienced the pain of a thoughtless remark, gossip, or lie. If you have experienced an unhappy marriage, the devastation of infidelity, or suffered physical or emotional abuse, you know what it feels like to be hurt. It is tempting to hold on to these feelings and build a wall of safety around yourself, but the best way to heal is to forgive the person who hurt you.

But what is forgiveness, really? When you forgive another person, you no longer allow their behavior to cause you anger, pain, bitterness, or resentment. When you choose not to forgive, you make the choice to hold on to your feelings of resentment, anger, and pain.

Think of forgiveness as a gift that you give to yourself. It is not something you do for the person who hurt you. It is a gift to yourself because it enables you to stop feeling painful feelings and pushing others away. Forgiveness frees you from anger and allows you to restore your ability to have close and satisfying relationships with others.

Anger is a poisonous emotion that comes from being hurt. When you are consumed with anger and bitterness, it hurts you at least as much as it hurts the person who has harmed you. It is as if you are filled with poison. If these feelings are not resolved, they can begin to eat you up inside. You have two choices: to stay connected to the person who hurt you by keeping these poisonous feelings alive, or to let the feelings go and forgive the person who harmed you. When you withhold forgiveness, think about who is actually being hurt. It is more than likely that the person who is filled with anger and anxiety is you, not the other person.

Forgiving another does not mean you will never again feel the pain or remember the thing that hurt you. The hurtful experience will be in your memory forever. By forgiving, you are not pretending the hurtful behavior never happened. It did happen. The important thing is to learn from it while letting go of the painful feelings.

Forgiveness is not about right or wrong. It doesn't mean that the person's behavior was okay. You are not excusing their behavior or giving permission for the behavior to be repeated or continued.

 

Forgiveness can only take place because we have the ability to make choices. This ability is a gift that we can use it whenever we wish. We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive. No other person can force us to do either.

How To Have The Best Holidays Ever! 

Top 10 Ways To Have The Best Holidays Ever! 

The Christmas holiday season will soon be upon us. And with it will come the hope that this one will be truly magical. However, many of us quickly get bogged down in busyness, stress and old patterns. Here are 10 ways to turn that dynamic around and get that holiday magic back again.

  1. Give yourself a break. Perfection-even perfect happiness-just isn't possible. Let your best be good enough. Make a budget for both your time and your money-andstick to it. It really is the thought that counts.
  1. Make conscious decisions. Get clear about what you really want to do over the holidays before compromising with others. If you don't have a clear plan and clear intentions, it's easy to get swept along by others' desires. Even if you do compromise later, get yourself clear first.
  1. Shorten your to-do list. What do the holidays really mean to you? For many, it's about family and friends and spirituality. If an action or to-do item doesn't add to your holiday spirit, scratch it off.
  1. Say no when you want to. It's very liberating- I promise! Try it and see- it sounds simple, but too often obligation trumps desire. When faced with options, choose the one that would make you happier.
  1. Limit obligatory activities. If you can't avoid certain events, limit the time you're there.
  1. Take good care of yourself. The old standards help keep stress at bay: eat healthfully, exercise, drink lots of water, and breathe deeply. Schedule time for relaxation and fun.
  1. Start early. To avoid a last-minute frenzy that can bust your budget, start shopping or making presents now.
  1. Ask for help. Reject any notion of martyrdom. The burden of preparations should not fall upon one person. The more specific you are in your request, the more successful you'll be.
  1. Establish new traditions. If you have experienced a major life-changing event, such as a death or divorce, consider doing something you've never done before over the holidays, such as travel to another country or take a cruise.
  1. Get support. If a glorious holiday season feels completely out of reach, you may experience the holiday blues. Many people do.Don't beat yourself up for feeling that way.

Reach out for the support you need.