Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Relationships Under Construction

Relationships Under Construction

For many of us, few things are as irritating as having a road you frequently travel come under construction. You often have to deal with dust, delays, bumps and detours for many months. The upside to having to endure the challenges of construction is that if the job is well done it will make your future travel much easier and enjoyable – the same is true for relationships under construction.

Like roadwork, successful relationships, whether at home or work, require a process of assessment, planning, and construction. Whether you are building a new relationship or attempting to improve an existing one, if you fail to adequately prepare and build you will not be able to effectively meet the demands that come your way.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Workplace Relationships: Key to Job Satisfaction

Workplace Relationships

Finding the perfect position is only the beginning of job satisfaction. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’d like my job if it weren’t for the people I work with”? One of the greatest challenges in the workplace is getting along with other people. It hardly matters if someone is the best and brightest at what he does if he creates dissension in the office.

Regardless of whether someone is hired to lead or be part of the team, it is the ability to establish functional and healthy workplace relationships that can make or break their success and job satisfaction.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

10 Keys to Healthy Relationships

Healthy RelationshipsAs a psychologist, I work with people every day who want to improve their relationships with friends, co-workers and family members. Here are ten things I recommend to everyone desiring healthy, more satisfying relationships:

1. LOVE WHO YOU ARE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Remember Stuart Smalley of SNL fame? Stuart was famous for his sappy daily affirmation, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” You may not want to fall into that shallow facade of self-worth, but the truth is that many of the things people do to sabotage or undermine their relationships are fueled by low self-esteem and insecurity.

When you can honestly identify and genuinely appreciate your gifts, talents and abilities as well as acknowledge and work on your weaknesses you will be less inclined to compensate for your insecurities by finding fault in others, being self-absorbed and/or overly guarded and defensive. When you love and accept yourself it’s a lot easier to love, like, accept and relate well with others – flaws and all.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Platinum Rule

We have all heard the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, think about how you would like to be treated and extend that same treatment to others. No one can argue with the effectiveness of that rule, but I’d like to encourage you to become familiar with and apply what is referred to as the Platinum Rule.

The Platinum RuleHere’s the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as you know they would have you do unto them. The difference between the two rules is subtle, but it could help you build stronger relationships because it customizes the way we treat others to their preferences, not ours.

Let’s look at an example. If you want others to treat you with respect, then it is only right and appropriate for you to be respectful to others. But what does that look like? To you, respect might be giving someone time and space after a heated argument to cool off and be left alone to process their thoughts and emotions before trying again to resolve the issue. Since you value that, the Golden Rule leads you to extend that same courtesy to others. You try to hold off on discussing the emotionally charged topic thinking you are being respectful. But what if your spouse has a very different temperament from yours? What if s/he feels most respected when you are willing to engage the issue head on and talk things out until the conflict is resolved? The Platinum Rule would then suggest you do your best to not postpone addressing an emotionally charged topic, but rather stay appropriately engaged until the issue is resolved or until there is mutual agreement that a “time out” is needed. In other words, to apply the Platinum Rules means

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Sure Way to Increase Marital Satisfaction

Pick up almost any book on marriage, and you will find a good portion of it dedicated to helping couples improve their marital satisfaction. The reason so many authors address that topic is because so many couples express some level of disappointment or dissatisfaction in their marriages. Many of the suggestions and ideas are helpful, but I’d like to talk about one thing that really works and doesn’t require any special preparation, counseling or training.

Marital Satisfaction

The simple fact is this: Couples who spend time together are likely to be more satisfied in their marriage. Think back to when you were dating. If you were like most couples, you couldn’t wait to be together and to spend as much time as possible doing fun things and growing closer together. But once you returned from your honeymoon and finished all your thank-you notes, the realities of married life may have crept in. Most couples are separated a significant portion of the day by work, and then much of the time they have together is spent paying the bills, caring for the children or doing chores around the house. As responsibility pushes in, it’s hard to remember how much you enjoyed one another while you were dating, and intimacy becomes a distant memory.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Sabotage your relationships

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Finding the Courage to Trust Again

TrustWhen it comes to relationships, let’s be clear – the last thing you want to do is trust someone who is not trustworthy.  In fact, it’s foolish to trust a person whose behavior is characterized by lies and broken promises.

But one of the biggest challenges in many relationships is the difficulty some people have with being able or willing to trust someone who is truly trustworthy.  These are often men or women who have been hurt or taken advantage of by important people in their lives, resulting in a conditioned response of suspicion and fear.  Sadly, this virtually guarantees that intimacy will suffer significantly.  The absence of both trust and intimacy can often give way to a vicious cycle of conflict, abuse and isolation.

If your capacity to trust others is limited because of the insecurity and vulnerability created by abuse, keep in mind that there is hope.  The trauma of abuse frequently triggers the development of irrational beliefs about yourself, your future and the world you live in.  Some of the more common irrational beliefs are related to the false notion that you are not strong enough to avoid being harmed or hurt again, that you lack the ability to discern who is trustworthy or that the world is a dangerous place and no one is to be trusted under any circumstances.

In an effort to help you begin the process of healing and trusting again I want to encourage you to focus on four key statements that represent the truth about you.  Meditate on these thoughts every day whether you can fully agree with them or not.  In time, they will begin to take hold and help to give you the courage to trust.

1.    “I choose to trust again because I want to experience real intimacy