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How to Be a Badass

asslesschaps

“Despite everything, no one can dictate who your are to other people.”

-Prince, 1958-2016, Singer/Songwriter

This photo says it all, doesn’t it?  Prince, in his glorious badassery, strutting the stage in 1991 on MTV, performing his salacious hit, “Gett Off” for MTV. Some say this performance is the sexiest thing ever aired on TV.  I think people would lose their minds if something even close aired today.  What can we learn from Prince?  I believe his purple reign taught us how to be a badass.

Here are just a few lessons.

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Offend or Unnerve

Prince made the decision to have his yellow lace “swiss cheese” outfit custom-made only a few days before that MTV performance.  His designers and stylists scrambled to pull together and execute his vision in time for the show.  Only Prince knows how long he deliberated about wearing this outfit.  But one thing that WE know is that once he made the decision, he committed and executed, unafraid of the fallout.  Did he offend and unnerve?  Absolutely.  Was it one of the most notable performances of his career?  Unequivocally, yes.  It has been said that if you aren’t offending or unnerving someone, then you aren’t edgy enough.  Are you playing it safe in your career, in your relationship and in your life?  Badasses know that haters gonna’ hate, and they are okay with that.  Something tells me that after the performance and into the next day, Prince did not have an ounce of regret over his wardrobe choice.

2.  23 Positions in a One-Night Stand

When we get into a routine of living, variety goes out the window.  Our brains are a magnificent computer, but our brains also LOVE routine, ordinariness, and predictability.  As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, the hardest thing about change is not thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things as you did the day before.  What new experiences can you have, right now, to mix it up a little?  Take that salsa class, cook that new dish, go a different way to work.  Turn off the TV and watch a TED Talk on how to spice up your relationship (Monogamish: The New Rules of Marriage).  Having new experiences creates new memories and new ways of looking at the world.  Badass people strive to have the new experiences and love innovation.  Prince’s Gett Off performance was never repeated.  And here’s the thing — he created that experience for himself.  He created the reality he wanted to have.  Badasses create the future they want to have instead of living based on memories of the past.  You can too.  Break out of your rut and pierce the veil between an ordinary and extraordinary life.

3.  Let Me Show You Baby I’m a Talented Boy (Girl)

Prince was a little guy, 5-foot-nothing.   Media photos show him wearing 3-4″ heeled boots, and nearly all his outfits had extra-thick shoulder pads.  Today, Prince is still described as a musical genius, a powerhouse; a giant.  Now, I’m not saying that Prince never suffered from Imposter Syndrome.    In fact, I am sure he did.  Statistically, high achievers DO suffer from Imposter Syndrome at some point in their careers.  IS will stop you in your tracks, rendering you an apologetic self-conscious mess.  The easiest way to combat IS from taking over is to actually step into your genius.  Own your success.  You’ve worked hard, dammit, you SHOULD be good.  Everything you have done up to now is preparing you for this moment.  No one has the life experience you have, and no one can deliver their truth like you.  Own it.  Prince never apologized for who he was, or chalked it up to luck.  His on-air interviews were always frustrating for fans, because we just wanted to hear him talk more, to hear his genius.  In his defense, his music did that for him.  For the rest of us Badasses-in-Training, our lesson here is to step into our truth and speak it.  It matters, and people want to hear.

In the end, Pince shuffled off this mortal coil much too soon.  He was spectacularly flawed just like the rest of us.  But no one can deny his authenticity, his ingenuity, and his dedication to his craft.  He was a badass in every sense of the word.

Show up, show out, and shine, people.

Life is too short to do anything less.

Be awesome,

N

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Pep Talk. (Warning, It’s About to Get Real)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEverything you do is based on the choices you make…it’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. 

You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, American Philosopher and Self-Help Author, (1940-2015)

I like Dr. Dyer’s no-nonsense way of shellacking my ego. Reading this quote makes me feel “put into my place.” It effectively ends my pity party.

It is July. 2018 is half-over.

What have you accomplished so far this year?

What hasn’t changed? What would Wayne say?

Let’s discuss how you can do things differently, going forward. You’ve got 6 months to make 2018 one for the record books.

1. Reward yourself (and others) for progress thus far

Are you your own worst critic? Lighten up on yourself and recognize your successes, no matter how small. See the positive– that’s what the rest of us see in you! How tragic that we often see the good in others before we see the good in ourselves. I have a friend who noticed that sales and profits in her business are up — way up — so far this year. Instead of waiting for the Christmas party to show her appreciation to her employees, she is rewarding her staff mid-year with personalized, special gifts as a way to show her gratitude. She is thrilled to do this, and her staff is even further motivated to perform well for the remainder of the year. Remember, most people leave their jobs because they don’t feel valued or appreciated, not because of lack of pay.

2. Everyone has 24 hours.

“I don’t have time” is the grown-up version of “the dog ate my homework.” Sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it. We all have time and we fill that time with whatever we value and prioritize. So if you don’t have time to work out, you don’t have time to eat healthily, you don’t have time to talk, you don’t have time to keep yourself mentally or physically balanced, then that tells me you don’t value ANY of those things for yourself.

And that is your choice.

Keep it up and see how quickly you alienate people from your life.

3. Stop hiding.

Maybe your job, your living situation, or your relationship is complicated right now. Perhaps it is exhausting you, or at least, that’s what it feels like. This sort of mindset will exude from you like Pigpen’s cloud. Remember, you are choosing this life, this reality. Life is not something that happens TO you. You create it, and it is what YOU say it is. If you see your existence as tedious, then it damn well will be, each and every day. Try re-framing it. View your job, living situation, or relationship as a work in progress, with circumstances that are only temporary, or “gradually improving,” and feel your mindset and outlook improve. Language it accordingly, and stop saying how tired you are. Hiding behind your circumstances is not an excuse to be a shitty husband, wife, parent, son, daughter, employer or employee.

It’s July, 2018. Pull it together.

If pulling it together seems like a daunting task, I’m here to help. Together, we can map out your goals and put a strategy in place that serves you. I can help you “get out of your own way” when it comes to personal and professional success, in a way that is caring, supportive, and realistic. Message me for a free 30-minute session where we get clearly focused on your goals and identify the challenges that may be sabotaging personal growth and success.

Together, we can end 2018 on a high note.

Be Awesome – N

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The Best Foreplay

Moray

“The little things?  The little moments? -They aren’t little.”     -Unknown

I watch people.

In lines, in crowds, in restaurants, and at work, I am fascinated by human behavior and relationships.    And it’s not the obvious behavioral gestures that intrigue me, but the subtle nuances of eye contact, voice tone, and seemingly “below the radar” acts that make me take notice.

Lately, it’s couples’ interactions that have caught my attention.  And believe me, you wear the state of your union like a sandwich board.  Your misery is evident, but so is your happiness.

Yesterday I was at my son’s soccer game, sitting with the same set of parents I’d sat with most of the season.  But one couple stood out yesterday.  I’d had separate conversations and interactions with both husband and wife throughout the season, but I had never seen them interacting much together.

I write this article hoping there was great sex last night for this couple.  There should have been, because the foreplay started right there, on the sidelines at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, and it was perfect.

Here is what happened:

  1.   He anticipated her needs and tried to make her comfortable

Following a mid-day deluge, the sun came out and proceeded to broil parents and players as the soccer game began.  None of us had dressed appropriately for the unpredictable NC weather.  The humidity skyrocketed as we peeled off our windbreakers, exposing lily-white winter skin to the sun’s harsh rays.

She sat contentedly, explaining to me that she had received a fancy “rocking” sideline chair for Mother’s Day.  She loved to rock, she explained, and smiled as she did so.  Then, he brought her a fresh bottle of water, and gave it to her.  He said, “I noticed yours was getting warm.”

Sweet, right?  But here’s the thing.  Neither one of them made a big deal about it.  Neither of them gushed about how considerate or deserving the other was.  She did not post on Social Media that “I have the best husband ever, #fancyrockingchair.”  He did not audibly say, “Yes dear, of course I’ll get you some water,” or somehow make a mockery out of his own behavior.  It was natural, normal, and civil.

2.  She accepted his efforts and acknowledged him

She looked him in the eye, thanked him for the water, and expressed her gratitude.  It was genuine but not overblown.  He didn’t save her life.  He just got her some water.  But it was effort, and she gave him credit.

Often in my practice I hear from men that “there is no pleasing her.”  Men complain to me that they try, but just can’t do “enough” to please their partner, they just can’t “get it right.”  Often, the relationship has taken on a scorekeeping mentality, where each is now ticking off the good deeds of the other partner.  Husbands seem to live in a constant state of deficit, with wives shaking their heads as to why he can’t do more.   The only way to win this game is not to play.

I once knew a woman who attached sexual favors to household chores.  Her home wasn’t spotless, but she never had to worry about the dishwasher being unloaded or dirty dishes in the sink.  And he was crystal clear on the payoff for his efforts.  This worked for them, and brought some fun into the mundanity of cohabitation.   Could this work for you?

3.   They approached an otherwise dismal day with a sense of humor and “we’re in this together!”

As the temperature soared commensurate to the oppressive humidity, the boys on the soccer field faltered.  The other team out-hustled, out-shot, and out-scored us.  It was disheartening, and each boys’ head hung in embarrassment and despair.

The couple exchanged knowing looks.  It had been a rough season, and this game was no exception.  But they continued to encourage the team, and encourage their son.  They made the best of it.  Together.  As other parents paced the sidelines and silently cursed the ref, this couple hung together and sat in support of their son and the team.

I am sure that, questioned separately, both husband and wife would have a laundry list of complaints about their marriage.  Stresses, strains, and imperfections.  As would most of us.  But it would appear that on some level, each knows that perfection doesn’t exist, and they make the best of it.

And it’s the little things that count.

 

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Sadness: Let’s Deal With It, Part II

sadpuppyIn 2016, I wrote about the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Fast forward to Wednesday’s tragedy at Douglas High School in Florida, and again we grapple with an emotional cocktail of fear, incredulity, and anger that surrounds this event. Blame is passed around like a proverbial hot potato, and the politicizing for more gun control is once again the topic of the day. Lives have been shattered, and the re-building must begin.

Cruz’ purchase of an AR-15 rifle was the result of a long-standing mental illness that went un-watched, un-checked, and unacknowledged, perhaps for years. Is there any more of a cry for help than publishing your cutting behavior on Snapchat? I mean, he publicly disclosed his own mental illness on SOCIAL MEDIA. And this behavior was happening BEFORE his mother died of pneumonia in November. His Mother! Realistically, how many people were in this young man’s social circle, in addition to his Mother? So many co-morbid signs and symptoms of mental illness abound in this young man, yet, we missed it.

Yes, WE missed it.

It’s time the American public took more of an interest in the mental health of its citizens. This includes a basic understanding of topics like the ACE study, which is a study about Adverse Childhood Experiences that lead to risky behaviors, substance abuse, and statistically, early death. Think of it as the adult mental health equivalent of an APGAR score in newborn babies. How about a basic understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which says that people who are in a “survivor” state — just able to get basic needs met — are mentally unable to self-actualize, to live in a “purposeful” way. This is the impetus behind free lunch programs in schools — hungry kids can’t learn. The ACE study and Maslow’s Needs are easy to understand, and part and parcel for any Psych 101 college course. Imagine the far-reaching benefits of teaching these concepts in grades K-12.

We live in a time where statistically, more people are seeking out psychics and Tarot card readers than are seeking mental health services. The stigma to the mental health field persists, laced with a chemical cocktail of psychotropic drugs with questionable efficacy. I’m the first to admit, the immediate gratification of a palm reading is much more appealing than taking mind-altering drugs and being in therapy for the next 6 months. That’s a no-brainer. Which is more sexy, fortune telling or mental health counseling? Duh.

Mental health counseling has a marketing problem. It’s seen as too involved, too expensive, and too time-consuming. Overworked Social Services agencies are in positions of deciding on the “best least worst” outcomes. However, just because an individual has access to services doesn’t mean s/he uses the services. I cannot tell you how many missed appointments I have had due to lack of transportation. When given the choice of using your money to buy bus fare, a “teenth,” or baby formula, that’s a head-scratcher for those with “access to services.” We’ve marketed mental health services as a safety net, not a trampoline.

The American Public can only benefit from more basic mental health information to educate its populace. When we know better, we do better, and we cannot expect to transform ourselves if we do not inform ourselves. Instead of reacting to tragedy, let’s take action by educating ourselves so that we can prevent future events.

Be awesome,

N

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Can You…

smallertalktomeA couple of years ago when I was in a place of re-evaluating nearly every adult decision I ever made, I canceled network television.  Today I am getting the stink-eye from my 13-year-old son because it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and we may as well be sitting in a cave.  My desktop computer display will be our big-screen for the game tonight.  I’m good with that.  From what I can tell, he’s not all that butt-hurt about our viewing situation.  It’s a struggle to get him to watch anything without simultaneously checking Snapchat.  After all, it’s his social circle that really matters right now.

I don’t miss the “news-tainment,” the scandal, the feigned outrage, and the “issue du jour” that I’m supposed to be fired up about.  I read more, listen to podcasts, and collect music tracks for playlists.  I fire up my Latin playlist, open a Corona, and dance Bachata with an imaginary partner in my kitchen.  Thanks to Spotify, I have playlists for Latin music, dance music, workout music, meditation music, and “Other” which is code for sexy-time.  If you aren’t dancing to your playlists in the shower, you are missing out.  Try it and see how your morning improves!

So, being the nerd that I am, I have noticed that several songs on my playlist run a common theme:  Talk to Me.  These are my favorites right now, generating my Talk to Me playlist:

Yo Te Lo Dije (English Translation:  I Told You) by J Balvin

Lay It All On Me by Rudimental, Ed Sheeran

Piensas (Dile la Verdad) (English Translation:  You think…tell the truth) by Pitbull et al

Dile al Amor (English Transaltion:  Tell Love This)  by Aventura

Rivers in Your Mouth by Ben Howard

Talk to Me by Craig David (he had a new album drop last week, SO GOOD)

You don’t have segmented playlists, you say?  Well, you are but a Spotify, Pandora, or I-Tunes session away.   As you put your lists together, pull back and notice the themes that run through.  Can you identify themes of sadness, anger, or a longing to connect?  Sometimes this can help us to recognize what’s happening beneath the surface of our day-to-day mindset.  Dive deep.  Get in touch.  Be introspective.  You might be surprised.

And if you need to talk to me, my door is open.

Be awesome,

N

 

 

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Think You Are SAD?

It’s mid-January, and you are still paying off December’s holiday overspending.  Outside, it’s 50 shades of gray and not in a good way ;).   The lettuce in the grocery store turns to slime in 3 days — I know I need to eat healthily but damn this broccoli though.  Everything just seems … meh.

If you feel like the Winter Blues have descended upon you, I am right there with you.  But there is lots we can do about it, and the broccoli is optional!  I am shamelessly re-posting this article with EXCELLENT information about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  If you don’t already follow Anthony William on Facebook, where have you been?  Enjoy!!

What’s really behind Seasonal Affective Disorder…

Medical Medium
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Have you or a loved one ever been given a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) diagnosis? Although this label has grown in popularity, there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding SAD which is preventing people from getting the correct answers to their health issues. If you’ve been diagnosed with SAD, consider it a red flag that something else is going on in your body that needs to be addressed. Many well-meaning doctors and practitioners give a patient a SAD diagnosis but they don’t actually know the true cause. The individual suffering must dig deeper to figure out the actual root causes of their health issues. That’s what I am here to share with you.

SAD-Related Symptoms

People who are given the SAD label may experience symptoms such as listlessness, low energy, fatigue, aches and pains, arthritis, sadness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, nervousness, and a feeling of disconnect. These symptoms can vary in intensity. For example, someone may experience mild depression, while another person may feel suicidal depression.

For many people, the symptoms grow more severe over time, and someone who once felt a slight tiredness throughout winter may struggle to lift up their arms or move their legs due to the emergence of severe fatigue just a few winters later. Another person may encounter low energy and a feeling of disconnection every winter for ten years before enduring an exceptionally bad winter filled with a variety of symptoms including severe fatigue and depression, aches and pains, and tingles and numbness. At this point, a practitioner would most likely look past the SAD tag and try to find out what’s really going on. If the practitioner had explored the patient’s more mild symptoms initially and put the patient on a healing protocol sooner, the patient could have potentially avoided suffering to such a degree. If you or a loved one notice symptoms, regardless of what season they occur in, a thorough search for the true, underlying causes should take place. Do not let a label be thrown on your symptom just because it arises in the middle of winter. There is another reason why you are experiencing a so-called SAD-related symptom.

Identifying the Underlying Causes

If your practitioner blames your depression or aches and pains on SAD, they do not understand what’s truly going on in your body to trigger these issues. Perhaps these issues are too subtle to be detected through tests and instead of saying “I don’t know,” the doctor tells you it’s SAD. If you are struggling with depression, you may have toxic heavy metals in your brain that need to be detoxed. You most likely have a sluggish liver that needs cleansing as well. If you are experiencing severe aches and pains then it’s most likely a viral issue that needs to be addressed. Do you have shingles or cytomegalovirus? Could it be Epstein-Barr virus-related? As the information I share becomes more well-known, these are just a few of the questions doctors and practitioners should begin to ask their patients to discover what’s really behind the mystery symptoms their patients are suffering with.

It may be surprising to learn that many of the SAD-related symptoms are actually neurological. Depression, melancholy, loneliness, hopelessness, feeling lost or disconnected— all of these symptoms are neurological. Other neurological symptoms include anxiety, nervousness, focus and concentration issues, and aches and pains. Even if your depression is set off by the loss of a loved one, it is still neurological because your nervous system is affected by that loss. Betrayal, a disastrous communication breakdown, and other emotional hurts impact our brain and nervous system as well. Other symptoms, like weight gain, can stem from a stagnant liver that’s grown more congested due to a period of poor food choices, exposure to toxins, a low-grade viral issue, or the buildup of toxins in the organ throughout one’s life. Symptoms can also stem from many other possible issues. You can read about The Unforgiving Four behind almost all illnesses today in my book Life-Changing Foods.

How The Seasons Can Affect Underlying Health Issues

It’s possible that certain aspects of each season can highlight underlying health issues that you or a loved are already dealing with, especially if they are very sensitive. Lack of sunlight, freezing temperatures, the contrast between cool, damp outside air and very dry, warm inside environments, and constant wind or snow do not support your health as much as mild temperatures and sunshine. But it’s not the seasons themselves that are the cause of symptoms. For example, someone who has terrible sinus issues during the winter may experience worse symptoms when their house is filled with dry heat. Although the actual sinus issues were already present, the dry heat exacerbated the issue. The real cause maybe streptococcus or scar tissue in their sinus from a sinus infection thirty years prior. Regardless of what the reason may be, the season’s only call attention to already present health issues.

Often during the springtime, our livers will detox and start to push out viral byproduct, heavy metals, pesticides, plastics, and other toxins clogging up this vital organ. When these toxins enter the bloodstream, they can trigger depression, anxiety and other symptoms throughout the spring and summer months, which people typically associate with SAD. If someone were to diagnose you with SAD because of these symptoms, they would be missing the true cause— your liver detoxing. In the fall, the spleen tends to detox for most people and some people will experience additional liver detox as well.

The immense air pollution during humid summer heat waves can also aggravate any underlying issues people are experiencing. The air contains less oxygen and possesses an immense amount of toxins, such as radiation and heavy metals. If you’re dealing with with symptoms such as fatigue or edema, your issues could easily be more pronounced during this period.

People may also experience SAD-labeled symptoms in the fall and winter months because people’s diet and exercise choices tend to shift. Even health-minded people don’t always make ideal food choices around Thanksgiving and holiday parties, and people who are active during the warmer months, may not get out to exercise as often once the weather changes. Because of these different choices, the liver may grow a little more clogged, the blood may get a little thicker, less oxygen may travel to the brain, and existing health issues can be triggered. When these problems emerge, instead of looking at potential viral issues, toxic heavy metals in the system, or other possible causes, doctors may incorrectly blame the time of year and give someone a SAD label.

Healing Supplements & Teas

If you’ve been diagnosed with SAD, your doctor or practitioner may have urged you to begin taking a vitamin D supplement. While vitamin D3 can be beneficial, there are many other supplements that offer even greater support for people looking to support SAD-related symptoms.

Zinc helps strengthen the immune system and is a critical supplement for anyone who’s been given a SAD label. Liquid zinc sulfate is an incredible option and a recommended brand for this zinc and the other supplements below can be found on the Medical Medium preferred supplements page. If you’d prefer to take zinc picolinate, that’s another option as well. It is best to avoid zinc supplements that are filled with preservatives such as citric acid.

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B-12 supplement that contains both adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin is another essential addition to consider. Many symptoms connected with the SAD label such as depression, anxiety, feeling disconnected, aches and pains, and focus and concentration are neurological, and B-12 is a highly supportive supplement for the central nervous system. Weight gain, another SAD-labeled symptom, is often times linked to a sluggish liver which could benefit from B-12 supplementation.

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Hawaiian spirulina contains an array of powerful nutrients and will provide amazing support for anyone dealing with fatigue, a viral load, or heavy metals. If you’re concerned about deficiencies, bringing spirulina into your life can be helpful.

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Lemon balm is a fantastic nerve tonic. If your SAD-labeled symptoms are actually low-grade Epstein-Barr, chronic fatigue, shingles, streptococcus, or another unwanted bug, lemon balm is an antiviral and antibacterial powerhouse. It can also relax and strengthen the central nervous system.

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Depending on the type of symptoms you are experiencing, you may want to try out goldenseal on and off and see whether it’s antiviral and antibacterial qualities are beneficial for your unique health issues.

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Eyebright is another antiviral and antibacterial herb that can offer support by acting as a blood cleanser.

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Bringing red clover into your protocol is another way to help clean the blood. You can try drinking a daily mug of red clover blossom tea throughout the winter to help clean the blood and support the liver.

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Nettle leaf can calm nerves, bring down inflammation and potentially reduce aches and pains.

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Turmeric can provide support as well. A simple glass of turmeric tea with a squeeze of lemon or some ginger if desired can be another of the many secret weapons used to combat SAD-labeled symptoms.

Healing Foods

Make sure your bring life-filled foods into your diet. In the winter months it is especially easy to forget about the fresh fruits you may have enjoyed during the summertime or early fall such as strawberries, blackberries, and apples. These foods that we may have enjoyed earlier in the year protect our nervous system and our overall health.

Keeping fruit in your diet year around is essential. During the blustery winter months remember that the fruit you are consuming still harbors the sunlight required for it to ripen, even if it was grown and shipped from a different country. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables you may remember eating during the summertime, such as red leaf lettuce or green leaf lettuce. Other wonderful foods to consume include fresh spinach, celery, celery juice, cucumbers, avocados, oranges, walnuts, and hemp seeds.

Often times depression, anxiety, mood swings, and focus and concentration issues are related to toxic heavy metals, so beginning the heavy metal detox outlined in Medical Medium and on the blog can be incredibly beneficial. The five essential pieces of the heavy metal detox include wild blueberries, Hawaiian spirulinabarley grass juice extract powder, cilantro, and dulse.

Moving Forward

If you’ve been given a SAD label, know that the practitioner who gave it to you most likely did not understand the true cause of your symptoms. The changes in seasons only serve to reveal the issues already present in your body, and it is important that you begin to address the real underlying issues. By incorporating some of the healing supplements and foods mentioned above and working with the protocols outlined in my books Medical MediumLife-Changing Foods, and Thyroid Healing or with a practitioner who is open to searching for the actual causes of your symptoms, you will begin to make progress towards genuine healing. If your symptoms are mild, jumping into a healing protocol quickly can help save you from experiencing more severe symptoms in the future. Let go of labels that have held you back and move forward with confidence and the knowledge that true healing is possible!

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Are You Sabotaging Your Relationship?

Here’s how to tell if, subconsciously, you are devising an exit strategy.

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Whether short-term romance or long-term relationship, we’ve all had
that nagging feeling that maybe it’s time to cut and run. Is it possible
your relationship is death spiraling and you don’t want to admit it? Or,
are you just hanging on, doggedly investing in the sunk costs of your
relationship history?

1. You are trashing your partner instead of cherishing him/her.
What used to amuse you about your partner suddenly gets on your last
nerve. Time spent in the bathroom, on video games, out with
friends…it’s now annoying as all hell. And this leads to…

2. Building resentment rather than gratitude
Her night out with the girls is now full license for a boy’s weekend with
the option of strip clubs, “because you go out!” Score keeping abounds,
from picking up the kids to taking out the trash. You scream at him
because of the sound of his chewing, he gives you the stink-eye for
letting the gas in the car get to “fumes” stage. Neither of you can even
fart right to please the other person. And then you decide to give a…

3. Lower investment in the relationship
Withholding sex by being too stressed, sick, or tired is the perfect power
play to hold back your investment in the relationship. Scapegoating that
“work is too hectic right now,” or “the kids exhausted me today” is a hall
pass into the relationship void. Cue more resentment. Keep it up and
you’ll move to…

4. Less dependency on your partner for getting your needs met
More nights with the girls, mornings at the gym, late meetings, out-of-town
trips, hyper-focusing on the kids. Shift your dependency and your
partner becomes more obsolete. He masturbates more, you drink more
wine than you should. Your sensitive and vulnerable sides become
locked away; score-keeping abounds. Then you may begin to…

5. Stop sacrificing for the relationship
“But I’m putting in 65 hours a week at the office FOR MY FAMILY!”
Yes, you are. Realize that your absence has an altogether different
pricetag which cannot be quantified in your lucrative paycheck. Catch a
clue and tune in to a work/life balance that serves you, your health, and
your family. If you won the lottery tomorrow and told your workplace to
suck it, your company would fill your position in a heartbeat. You mean
more to your husband/wife and family than you could ever know. Show
up, be present, and get off your phone. Or not, and see yourself…

6. Escalating conflict so that it becomes completely absorbing
Roughly 69% of marital issues have no real solution, according to
researchers John and Julie Gottman. All couples have their catalog of
problems that are periodically discussed or argued over and over, to no
resolution. How are you able to get past them? Or, is this going to be the
fight that ends it all?

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If you have caught yourself doing any of these, above, with increasing
frequency, you may be thinking, “I can do better.” The thought process
goes like this: “I don’t need this. I don’t need his workaholic, pissed off
attitude day in/day out. I don’t need her emotional roller coaster routine.”

I CAN DO BETTER!

And this, dear reader, is the Comparison Level for Alternatives — the “I
can do better” mantra that precipitates relationship shut-down. When the
costs seem to outweigh the benefits, we look to the door.

Is there a way back, you ask? Of course. Self-awareness is key. But
relationships and self-improvement do not happen in a vacuum, and just
because one of you decides to fight for the relationship does not mean
the other is automatically on board. Thus is the tango of leaning in and
doing the work, not only individually but for the relationship and (if
applicable) children.

If you are reading this after a big blowout fight…or you couldn’t
sleep…or you wake up worried, sad, or distressed that there is no help
for your relationship:

• Read the Gottman research. Any couples’ counselor worth her salt
will use this research in her practice, and if she doesn’t, leave skid
marks in the parking lot and don’t look back. There are quizzes,
online classes, videos and articles that will shed some light on your
complicated situation. With information comes transformation.
The Gottman research is an excellent starting place.

• Watch Esther Perel’s video on infidelity. Esther Perel is one of the
newest on the scene for marital and sex therapy.  She will make
you see your relationship in a whole new light.

• Understand that you can’t change your partner. S/He has to decide
to change. But you can change yourself. My E-Book, Hopscotch
to Happiness, has 25 quick changes you can make to reduce stress
and unlock the magic in your life.  Be the change you want to see,
right?  Sometimes the smallest change in yourself can be the catalyst for change in your partner.  All you had to do was work on yourself.  Go figure!!

Is your relationship in a flat spin? Not sure how to get out of it? Roll the
dice and let’s get to work.

Color.Adjusted
Nicole N. Kaufman, MA, LPC-A