Archive for February, 2016

Are You Bored? Are You Boring? Take The Test?

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Are you bored?  Are you boring? The first question is pretty easy to answer, isn’t it?  You pretty much know whether you are bored or not.  The answer comes from within.  The second question is tougher to answer because it comes from outside – others.

Let’s address the first question.  Do you ever ask yourself, “Self, are you bored?”  Probably not very often – even if, in fact, that you are. Boredom, or ennui, that sense of weariness or dissatisfaction is the beginning of a slow death of your spirit.  There is limited excitement, passion, or overriding interests.  Prepare the headstone, you are on your way there!

The second question is obviously related to the first. If you are bored, you are boring. Ugh.  It could be no other way. Perhaps your self awareness is not very high so that, in your own mind, you are not boring. In fact you think you are quite fascinating. That does not mean that others see you that way. Perhaps you are boring to others.   Dare you ask?

In couples therapy I often hear this comment from one of them, “My wife/husband is boring.” Recently, one man said, “All you can talk about is the kids. I want you to be more interesting; know what is going on in the world. Challenge me.”   Not too long ago a woman said this about her husband, “You are a boring couch potato. I want some fun. When we go out to eat, we sit there in silence, you add nothing.”

The emphasis of this article is to challenge you to be all that you can be and to bring that oomph to the people that are important in your life. Slackers need not apply!  I was thinking of starting a group for boring people.  I’ll supply the No Doze!

Are you a candidate!?

The opposite of boredom is ALIVENESS – within yourself and activated with others.  I would venture to say that it is incumbent on each of us to maximize our aliveness – enthusiasm for life – and bring it forth. If you feel that you have run out of gas, are unmotivated, or feel incapable of becoming alive – do something about it.  No matter what your situation in life is, there is a spark of fire that can enflame a bright light. (“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”)

In summary: If you are bored, get excited about something (healthy) and get into it.

If you might be boring, find and share your enthusiasm .Inquire about another’s interest. Do your part to make conversation, initiate activities, be current with news, play a game/sport, get artsy, volunteer, etc… .  Appreciate being alive and share your life and adventures with others.

 

P.S. If you want to bring some objectivity to your boredom awareness, google the “Boredom Proneness Scale” and take the test and see what your score is. I did, definitely not bored! Boring? You tell me after you read this article.

 

The “Answer” To Enhance Good Couple Communication! (You’ll Never Guess What It Is)

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to have a quality relationship is communication. In counseling sessions with spouses or between family members the lack of good communication is always a center piece of the issues discussed. For some couples I have asked them to get a simple audio recorder to record their conversations when the topic is controversial and/or subject to creating a hostile exchange. Below are three instances where the recorder can help keep the discussion civil and respectful.

  1. Stifle Escalation. Oftentimes there are topics to be discussed that generate strong feelings for one or both individuals. If the recorder is on a person is less likely to rage, curse, or put down the other person. Who wants to be embarrassed at playback time!?
  2. Revisionist History. I think I can safely say that every time a couple is discussing something that happened in the past there are two different recountings of that event. The he says, she says, accounts differ substantially. If there was a recorder present the exact verbiage would be available for clarification.
  3. Tone and innuendo. Oftentimes a person’s tone or innuendo can be very negative and insulting during a discussion/argument. The use of such a style can alter the feelings and direction of the communication.

I have asked individuals with a history of poor communication to turn on a recording device. Few actually do it, to my dismay, and, thus, ugly discussion is still enabled. Sometimes I wonder if people really want to communicate well or do they find a certain perverse delight in arguing with each other. You might say “why in the world would they want that?”

Intimacy is scary to many people. They want it but fear that vulnerable closeness will result in getting hurt. Thus, they find a way to keep a certain emotional distance from their partner. Mis-communication is a way to do that.

Also, communication is a power exchange. Each person wants/needs to be right. If some objectivity was brought into the communication exchange, via the recorder, an individual might find that his or her take on something was erroneous. Wrong never feels good!

Well, Respected Reader, what do you think? Might you want to have a recording device handy to use when a communication topic is of importance and/or may lead to strong negative feelings? What does your gut say? Probably not, you say. Well if you choose not to actually use one, how about this. Before you begin communication on such a potentially touchy subject, the two of you can say these words, “The recorder is on. Let’s respect each other as we strive to communicate on this subject.”  Sounds corny, doesn’t it. But it may help!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

16 Ways To Ruin Your Relationship

Monday, February 15th, 2016

If you have moved beyond the headline of this writing you must have some interest in developing, maintaining, and, hopefully, thriving in your primary love relationship. It is my intent to offer you both the positive things that you might do to enhance your relationship as well as to present behaviors that ruin your relationship. Psychotherapist Amy Morin has put together fifteen factors. I list them and add my commentary. Plus, I have added another that I feel most people need as a reminder.

  1. NAGGING TOO MUCH: Many studies have indicated that this is very high on the list of grievances that men have with women. Hopefully your communication and negotiation of what needs to be done by whom at what time can be easily agreed upon and carried out accordingly. Men don’t need “Mamas” to nag on them nor do they need to act like a petulant or procrastinating teenage boy when certain things need to be done.
  2. NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF: I hear this one a lot in relationship counseling. In good relationships each partner makes a big effort to bring his or her best to the other – in every form and fashion. Your partner deserves your best!
  3. TAKING YOUR PARTNER FOR GRANTED: Think of the time when you were very consumed with your partner when you were dating. You did little, and big, things to make that person feel special. Time should not erode those continued behaviors. Ramp it up a bit.
  4. HALF-LISTENING: Nodding your head with an occasional “ah hah” doesn’t get it. Focus in more and maybe mention a point heard and ask him/her to elaborate.
  5. AVOIDING DISCUSSIONS ABOUT PROBLEMS: It is amazing for me in counseling to hear how many problems are “shoved under the rug”, not brought up and attended to. The more problems are avoided the more serious they usually become.
  6. NOT BEING ASSERTIVE: Too often individuals passively assent and do not speak up as to what they are thinking and feeling about a particular issue. It’s hard to respect someone who is not assertive with regard to issues of importance.
  7. TESTING YOUR PARTNER’S LOYALTY: Trust is not to be tampered with. Consistent confidence in your partner is important. Earn and maintain it.
  8. COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR PARTNER: This is one of my biggest pet peeves. If you have an issue with your partner talk with him or her about it. By bringing the issue to someone else you damage trust and may damage your partner’s reputation in ways that cannot be redeemed.
  9. NOT BALANCING FRIEND AND FAMILY TIME: Your calendar tells you how you divvy up your time. Hopefully spouse and kids are your highest priority.
  10. USING THE SILENT TREATMENT: Question for you. Who does this more, men or women? You or your spouse? There is a place for short term silence as in cooling your temper down. However, communication is necessary for direction, problem resolution, and re-connection when needed.
  11. TAKING TEASING TOO FAR: Once you are past your teen years teasing should be kept to a minimum or not done at all. Teasing rarely makes the other person feel good and usually tends to move the person away emotionally. Most people are more sensitive, especially in certain areas, than you may believe they are.
  12. TELLING “WHITE LIES”: Any lie whittles away at trust. Better to say nothing than to cop out and offer a “white lie”. That is not to say that everything that you think and feel needs to come out of your mouth!
  13. FOCUSING ON YOUR HAPPINESS ONLY: You may think you are important, and you are. However, so is your significant other. Being all about you is narcissistic and off putting. Do your best to make your partner happy in various ways. If you are in a good relationship, this will help and assure that you will get plenty back to make you happy.
  14. KEEPING SCORE: I despise this one. Score keeping ruins relationships. Do your best to fully participate in the relationship and have confidence that your partner is doing the best s/he is capable as well.
  15. MAKING A SCENE IN PUBLIC: This is a classy one! You embarrass yourself and your partner doing this and probably assure yourself that you will not be welcomed back to that place again. Watch your drinking, your temper, and your mouth, especially when you are in public.
  16. CRITICISM: It doesn’t work. Give it up. A better way is to make a positive statement of what you would like or need. Invite your partner to do something rather than criticize what was not done. I know this is tricky but language can be learned that avoids criticism and optimizes the possibility of getting done what you want.

Needless to say these are not the only ways to ruin a relationship. There are many more! These are some of the more subtle or common ones that well meaning individuals do to erode their relationship. May these serve as reminders even to the best of you!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Valentine Time: What Is Your Romantic Personality Type?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Valentine’s Day is approaching – eagerly anticipated by some, dreaded by others.  And a few would use the Rhett to Scarlet approach: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Are you one of those who will continue to honor the Catholic priest who allegedly was killed for defying Emperor Claudius II around 270 A.D. by continuing to marry young couples? The emperor felt that single men were better soldiers, so he banned young men from marrying. For his disobedience to this edict Valentine was jailed and allegedly fell in love with the jailor’s daughter.  Valentine before his death supposedly slipped a love note to his girlfriend saying “from your Valentine.”  And the rest is history!

Do you have a love partner? Want one?  Does romance have a place in your life?  How do you romance?  How would you like to be romanced? If you are still with me, respected reader, and haven’t turned to the Obituaries, I will continue to assist you in finding your unique romantic personality.  Are you Don Juan or Don Knotts?  Sophia Loren or Sophie Tucker? Or, do you even know who these dated persons are?

Five romantic personality types are presented by The Third Age web site.  Which one best describes you?

  1. THE REALIST ROMANTIC: You find sensible and practical things romantic. What touches your heart is to have your partner buy you those drill bits you’ve been wanting, or that blender that you need.
  2. THE THOUGHTFUL ROMANTIC: You possess a great deal of emotional intelligence. The times that you feel most romantic include deep personal discussions. You are very aware of and in touch with your partner’s thoughts and feelings, and you are touched when s/he responds to you in the same way.
  3. THE REBEL ROMANTIC: You like to call the shots and create your own particular brand of romance. You enjoy the creativity and differences of your romantic persona. You commit random romantic gestures.
  4. THE SENSUAL ROMANTIC: Your idea of the romantic is wild, intense, and physical. A candlelight bath followed by an erotic massage and an evening of lovemaking is your desire. You like your partner to feel the same way about romance.

5. THE TRUE ROMANTIC:  You are a romantic purist – flowers, candlelit dinner, and poetry.  You have an idealized notion of the role romance plays in your life.

Did you find your type? Are you a blend of a few types? Perhaps your love partner, or ex lover, could help you know yourself.  Or are some questions really not worth asking?!

At any rate, Valentine’s Day is near.  Celebrate or endure it, whatever is your desire. May your heart speak.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

 

Valentine’s Day And Personality Types. Yours?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Valentine’s Day is approaching – eagerly anticipated by some, dreaded by others.  And a few would use the Rhett to Scarlet approach: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Are you one of those who will continue to honor the Catholic priest who allegedly was killed for defying Emperor Claudius II around 270 A.D. by continuing to marry young couples? The emperor felt that single men were better soldiers, so he banned young men from marrying. For his disobedience to this edict Valentine was jailed and allegedly fell in love with the jailor’s daughter.  Valentine before his death supposedly slipped a love note to his girlfriend saying “from your Valentine.”  And the rest is history!

Do you have a love partner? Want one?  Does romance have a place in your life?  How do you romance?  How would you like to be romanced? If you are still with me, respected reader, and haven’t turned to the Obituaries, I will continue to assist you in finding your unique romantic personality.  Are you Don Juan or Don Knotts?  Sophia Loren or Sophie Tucker? Or, do you even know who these dated persons are?

Five romantic personality types are presented by The Third Age web site.  Which one best describes you?

  1. THE REALIST ROMANTIC: You find sensible and practical things romantic. What touches your heart is to have your partner buy you those drill bits you’ve been wanting, or that blender that you need.
  2. THE THOUGHTFUL ROMANTIC: You possess a great deal of emotional intelligence. The times that you feel most romantic include deep personal discussions. You are very aware of and in touch with your partner’s thoughts and feelings, and you are touched when s/he responds to you in the same way.
  3. THE REBEL ROMANTIC: You like to call the shots and create your own particular brand of romance. You enjoy the creativity and differences of your romantic persona. You commit random romantic gestures.
  4. THE SENSUAL ROMANTIC: Your idea of the romantic is wild, intense, and physical. A candlelight bath followed by an erotic massage and an evening of lovemaking is your desire. You like your partner to feel the same way about romance.

5. THE TRUE ROMANTIC:  You are a romantic purist – flowers, candlelit dinner, and poetry.  You have an idealized notion of the role romance plays in your life.

Did you find your type? Are you a blend of a few types? Perhaps your love partner, or ex lover, could help you know yourself.  Or are some questions really not worth asking?!

At any rate, Valentine’s Day is near.  Celebrate or endure it, whatever is your desire. May your heart speak.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!