Starting Forever (Discipline)

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To excel at what you desire it takes training and practice. And, relationships are no different.  In fact it takes more than just training and practice to have a “Starting Forever” relationship.   I meet many people on a weekly basis going through a rough time in their marriage or relationship; either with a friend, family member, or a significant other.  There appears to be an on going theme that comes up time and time again. This theme is people are difficult and messy, and you will get hurt and disappointed.  However, the question is what are you doing everyday to work on the relationship?  Most people ask, “What do you mean what am I doing to work on the relationship?  It’s not me, they did this to me.”  The old saying is true it takes two to tango. It’s much more than that though.  It does take two to make a relationship work, but what part are you doing to make it a healthy one?

Today I’d like to talk about discipline.  I made a decision a few years ago I was going to take care of my physical health.  I set a goal I was going to complete a ½ marathon.  At that time I could hardly walk 1 mile let alone cross the finish line after walking/running 13.1 miles.  It took discipline to get up every morning at 5am.  I started walking 2 miles and then every week after that increase the mileage until I was able to complete 10 miles, and eventually on race day I completed the 13.1 miles.  Wow, what an accomplishment.   It was difficult at first my body was not used to the rigorous training.  There were days I was sore and even hurt to where I could not even walk across the room!  However, I set a goal and I wasn’t giving up.  Relationships are just like running a marathon.  It starts out slow and builds over time.  You may be able to finish the 13.1 miles without training but after you will not be able to walk and you won’t want to do it again. In relationships it’s one step one mile at a time.  You need to set a pace that is comfortable for you and your partner to get to know each other.  The more you work at it everyday the stronger the relationship will be.  Relationships are an everyday process and love is not instant.  The faster you go without stretching and growing in your love the faster you are headed for a crash and burn.  You will get hurt.

Do you give up because you are hurt?  Do you tell yourself this isn’t worth it?  In my marathon training there were times I wanted to stay in bed because I couldn’t move.  But what surprised me was once I continued to get out there and move as I approached each mile the pain was less and I felt so much better.  My health improved and my energy level went up. I was committed to working at this everyday!  I also noticed in relationships and marriage it’s the same thing.  Your body heals itself and if you are hurt from a relationship it can heal, but it takes work and discipline.  We are to eager to give up when we are hurt.  We want to throw away the shoes and we think new ones will be better.

How do we become disciplined in our relationship?    When you are hurt, acknowledge it to the person.  Talk it out.  You’d be surprised they maybe going through the same thing you are.   To be disciplined it takes courage to admit when you are wrong about something and focus on what you need to improve, instead of what the other person needs to improve.  It’s so easy to tell someone about his or her faults instead of allowing yourself to be honest about yours.  This is most important.  It’s so easy for us to point out the wrongs others do.  Be disciplined in making changes in yourself.  At first it will be painful, but the more you do it the less the pain will be, and the stronger your relationships will be.  Discipline is how we strive for “Starting Forever.”  Remember its one mile at a time.

Starting Forever (Friendships Forever)

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Starting forever isn’t just about a marriage that will last forever.  All relationships are significant and yes I know people come and go in life, but they don’t have to.  How can we establish long term relationships?  It seems like in today’s culture or society it’s ok to throw people away if they don’t meet our needs.  The key phrase is “they don’t meet our needs”.  This is a selfish way of thinking.  In order to have a fulfilling life all people matter not just the one’s that are suiting our needs.  You never know later on down the road the people you will cherish as a treasured gift.  In today’s topic I will talk with you about friends. There are three areas I would like to talk about:

  • Who really is your friend?
  • What happens when the relationship goes sour, and
  • How to keep friends for life

Who is really your friend?

I believe we have lost sight of friendship.  I have heard many people in the business world say, “Hi, my friend, “ or “My friend so and so does this.”  Are they really your friend or are they out to get something from you?   We live in a fantasy world when it comes to friends and everyone can be your friend with facebook, twitter, linkedin, integral and other membership type websites.  But do you really connect and get to know the person on your page?  Most of the time the answer is “no.”

I happen to be very picky about who I chose as friends.  I am looking for quality not quantity.  I have never won a popularity contest and I never will.  I know some of you are rolling your eyes saying what you say becomes true.  Yep, it does.  I have no interest in winning a popularity contest.  I do have interest in being in a real and honest relationship with another person. A true friend is a confidante I can tell anything to and it’s safe.  Today there are many people that are overwhelmed by having too many friends.   I value people and will not get involved if I know the relationship is one sided.  I have been in many one sided relationships and those are the ones that go sour real fast.  

What happens when the relationship goes sour?

Have you ever had a friendship go sour?  When relationships go sour one or both of the parties need maturing.  It takes a very mature person to have a valuable true friendship.  I’d like to share with you a story of a relationship that went sour and they never spoke again.  If they were mature in what a deep friendship was they might have been able to save the friendship and it would have lasted forever.  These two young women met at a charity event they worked at.  They connected right away, and from that day forward they were inseparable.  They spoke on the phone everyday and went out on the weekends together.  They told each other their deepest secrets.  They were so close they decided to become roommates.  After living together for a few months they began having fights over one of the girl’s boyfriend.  She told her friend this guy was not a good guy.  She displayed anger at her friend and at one time got into a screaming match over this guy.  The other friend thought she was jealous because she couldn’t find her own boyfriend.  One fight after the other they decided to part ways.  The girl without the boyfriend moved out and began to talk to other people about her friend and word got back and after 7 years of being pals and confidantes the relationship hit rock bottom and it was over.  The girl with the boyfriend eventually left the guy but she was broken about her friend that she lost.  The other girl refused to ever speak to her again!  This could have been avoided if they would have sat down and discussed what the real issues were.  These acts were just plain immaturity!  And it happens all the time in relationships.  We think it’s ok to just toss people aside when they don’t agree with us.  Well it doesn’t work that way.  So how do you keep friends for life?

How to Keep Friends for Life

Friends for life are and not just one of a kind.  It’s how we treat people and the people we call friends.  Why call someone a friend one day and then they aren’t the next.  Remember the days on the playground when one day you had a friend and the next you weren’t and then eventually you made up and became friends again.  One would think adults would be long past the playground.  How you keep friends for life is just by being there for them.  Doesn’t mean we won’t have disagreements because we will and some will be harsh, but it’s how we handle the disagreements together is what makes a friend.  The trust we build in knowing they are there for us no matter what and we are there for them no matter what as well.  Making friends is easy, keeping them is the hard part.  So what are you going to do to keep your friends?  How mature are you in relationships?  It’s all up to you.  You matter and so does your friend.

 

 

 

Starting Forever (Introduction)

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There is a heartwarming song by Cory Crowder, “Starting Forever.”  The song is about how a guy drives many miles to meet a girl he may never see again, but ends feeling connected to her.  Three years pass he finally gets the courage to ask her to marry him. Once they marry they go through obstacles but his strengths cover her weaknesses and in my opinion visa versa.  Later in life they look back 30 years on their life, and realize they are in love if not more than when they met.  This is a beautiful song about  “Starting forever”

Are you finally deciding forever with the person that makes your day, the one you want to come home to every night? The one who has swept you off your feet?  Whew forever! Are there marriages that last forever anymore?  Statistics say over 50% of all first time marriages and over 60% for second or more marriages will end in divorce.  When you are starting forever divorce isn’t even on the radar.  So what happens?  In the many conversations with people on marriage the attitude in the beginning is always an everlasting attitude.  When I return several years later and talk with them on how their marriage is treating them it’s a whole new ballgame.  They have difficulty dealing with the quirks and changes their spouse goes through.  Let’s face it other’s habits can grate on our nerves.  But does this mean you must give up and find someone less grating to you

Marriage is a journey with a long, long road to forever.   When the relationship begins and the connection grows, you never think about anything but how great forever will be. Forever is decades of love, laugher, joy, anger, disagreements, and sometimes misery. Yes, even disagreements and misery are in your forever marriage.  When the hard times hit that’s when the growth starts.  It’s part of the relationship. It doesn’t mean you throw in the towel.  You learn to adapt and embrace weaknesses of your spouse.  The relationship is evolving into something grander than what you could of even thought possible.  It’s a positive. Let’s face it; we all have different traits and oddities that get under each other’s skin.  Face them head on and enjoy the unique part of your spouse.  It’s important to pay attention to the hard times and understand they are a part of you as a couple.

Starting Forever begins with preparation.  Couples must prepare for their life together.  Once we individually leave our family of origin for another relationship there will be differences in your living style.  How adaptive are you?  How will you bring the best of both worlds to your marriage and make it yours?  These are questions that will be answered in later posts. For now sit and thoroughly think about each of these important steps you are about to embark on in “Starting Forever.”

Follow my series Starting Forever, and make the effort to keep your relationships forever strong.

 

 

3 Steps to managing anxiety

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Anxiety is an experience we all have had at some point in our lives.  The issue is when anxiety begins to take over your life.  The body goes into overdrive.  Some individuals feel like they are dying, out of control, or going crazy. There is such a sense of overwhelm.  Life is going a million miles a minute and you can’t stop it.  You feel you need help and have no idea how to explain what is happening to you.  You are embarrassed by these thoughts and feelings.  So what do you do?

Anxiety is a signal that our body is stressed to the limit.  It simply cannot continue at the high rate of speed anymore.   The body must slow down in order to relieve the symptoms.  Anxiety is treatable. However, anxiety is a part of life and it will never completely go away, but you can learn to mange it.  It’s learning to put good habits in your life.  There are several steps to help people with over active anxiety.

Meditate

Learning to mediate will help you bring your body back to a comfortable state.  Meditation is a tool you will need to learn. It’s like riding a bike.  You start with the training wheels and go slow and before you know it the training wheels are off and you are relaxed and not thinking about how to do it.

You can begin with just sitting in a quiet room for about 5-10 minutes anytime of the day that works best for you, early to mid-morning works best for me.  When you start the goal is to just sit there for the 5-10 minutes.  This will help you feel comfortable about meditating.  At first it may feel weird, but once you begin a routine it will feel more comfortable.  Then begin to sit still and breath in and out through your nose and mouth very slowly.  Concentrate on each breath you take.  If you like playing soft music helps stimulate and relax your brain.    The goal is to slow down the brain and body.  All it takes is just a few minutes every other day or so.  Do not get anxious if you feel you aren’t doing it right or beat yourself up if you missed a day.  It’s like anything new it takes practice.

Therapy 

The therapeutic process is a supportive, confidential, and empowering space to overcome the fears of anxiety.  In therapy you will understand how anxiety is affecting you and how to conquer it.  Each plan is individualized. Not one thing works for everyone, so that is why it’s important to talk it out with a professional.  A professional therapist will help guide you to what will work for you.  You must be open and honest for the process to work.

Working with a therapist you will begin to feel comfortable and confident.  You no longer have to suffer alone.  Anxiety can be very debilitating for some and it’s ok.  In therapy you will also learn how to change some behavioral patterns that keep you stuck in your head.  Please keep in mind therapy is a process and should never be rushed.  Remember by rushing results will only increase your anxiety not lower it.  Please be patient and loving of yourself.  If you trust the process it will work!

Exercise 

Exercise can be the best anti-anxiety agent and anti-depressant on the market.  When you exercise you get the natural endorphins moving through your brain that helps lower anxiety and depression.  I noticed a huge difference when I began walking/running long distances.  I have completed 3 half marathons in the past couple of years.  The reason I completed them was through the riggers of training.  It meant I needed to get up every morning and get moving!  I was amazed at how I felt.  I was more relaxed, focused, and overall happy.  You don’t need to begin training for a marathon to get positive health benefits, but just by brisk walking for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week lowers anxiety and increases mood.

Consistency is the key as like any positive habit.  But before you run out and buy those running shoes, be sure to check with your doctor and make sure there is no health risk in beginning an exercise regimen.  The hard part is beginning and once you begin you will feel like a million dollars!

Anxiety is normal, but once it reaches the point of it interfering with your life you must make some adjustments to slow down.  You can learn to use anxiety to your benefit and learn some techniques that can help you improve your overall life.  Learning to mediate, working through the process of therapy, and implementing an exercise program will work wonders in living a full and joyful life.

 

The Gap from your ears to your mouth

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak_ courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen

Communication is simple right?  We just say what is on our mind and people will understand everything said. Or, we ask questions and our spouse or significant other knows exactly what we mean.   This is the number one mistake made in relationships.  The gap from our ears to our mouth or our mouth to our ears can cause major problems in relationships.  We have a tendency to just think others understand without any clarification what we mean.

Yesterday I experienced this with my spouse.  I “assumed” I was asking a very simple question about changing color on the buttons on my website so when people log on it will be easy for them to see and navigate. I felt the buttons did not stand out and were hard to find.  I asked if there was a way to bold and color the buttons.  Now, mind you I asked the question three times and thought it was a simple yes or no question.  There was obviously a gap from my mouth to his ears because at first he was busy and didn’t answer me.  The second time I asked he said, “I don’t know.” And the third time I asked the exact same question he said, “Yes, I believe I can make the buttons a different color.”

What I thought was a simple request to find out more information ended up in a not so nice conversation when I logged on to my website and saw the “mess” it had become.  I of course immediately said, “You didn’t listen to a word I said.”  And those words turned into a 10 minute argument and rationalization from him now saying, “I spent 2 hours working on this and it can not be done with this specific style.” I then again said, “I don’t think you heard what I was asking you to do.”  Again the defenses raised and the conversation continued to be bitter until we clarified what it really was I was asking.

This type of scenario happens quite often because we both assume we spoke clearly and heard one another.  We must be mindful just because we are speaking to our significant others or people we feel we know really well don’t assume they know exactly what you are talking about.  Communication is complex and difficult.  Here are 3 things you can do to help fill in the gap:

1)  Don’t assume the full message is being received.

2)  Clarify they understood

3) Listen, listen, listen (Once you spoke be quiet and listen to their message)

Effective communication takes practice.  Learning how to effectively get your message received will help improve your relationships and fill the gap from the ears to the mouth, and the mouth to the ears.