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Archive for January, 2013

The following story is Zen. Of all stories, this one has helped me keep troubles and disappointments in my life in perspective. I hope the story will serve you as well.

A very wealthy man visited a prophet and commissioned him to write something special about riches and prosperity for his family. What the man was looking for was words of wisdom or insight that he could pass down from generation to generation.

After taking the man’s money the prophet pulled out a large piece of paper and wrote:

Father dies

Son dies

Grandson dies

He then handed the paper to the man.

“What is this?” asked the rich man. “Is this some sort of a joke? I asked you to write me something regarding prosperity and riches for my family to treasure and you write me this?”

The prophet then explained.

“If your son dies before you, you will be sad for the rest of your days.”

“If your grandson should die before you, you and your son will be heartbroken.”

“If your family dies, generation after generation, in the order I have written, your family is truly prosperous.”

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Danger… Your relationship may be in trouble if:

The two of you bicker all the time.

When couples bicker, they exchange lots of negative strokes. Over the years they remember these barbs and store them inside until they build a wall between themselves. This is called the Wall of Trivia. Once this wall is in place, couples stop feeling close and stop talking intimately.

You do not take time out to play just the two of you.

Many couples know the importance of play time with the children. They’re off to the pumpkin patch and the Zoo and soccer games. What they don’t do is take time for each other to go for a ride, to go out for breakfast.

You no longer have an active sex life.

It’s easy to get out of the habit of having sex. As one man said, “We have to pay our bills and have clean underwear. And there’s only so much time.” What sex does is renew the commitment – the two of you are a couple.

You are not sharing household chores.

Some individuals like to cook and clean. And some enjoy doing windows. But rare is the individual who wants to do it all, or who has time to do it all. Couples need to do an inventory of who does what and work toward sharing household chores.

You don’t agree on how to parent the children.

If you tell your son he may not have the car Friday night, and your mate comes along and tells him he can have it, your mate is sending the loud message that what you say isn’t important. You don’t count. He also sets up a good guy/bad guy relationship between you.

You do not have equal access to the finances.

Most often, one partner makes more money than the other. Unfortunately the one who brings in the bacon, or most of it, sometimes feels that he should be the one to spend more. This thinking causes a one-up one-down relationship, which translates into all kinds of bad behaviors.

You don’t respect or value your mate.

If you don’t value your mate, you’re not going to want to spend time with her or listen to her opinions and ideas. Once someone is of little value, that person becomes a throw-away.

One of you drinks too much.

When a mate drinks too much, he’s not intellectually or emotionally available, so he’s hardly a companion. Too much drinking also leads to the drinking spouse justifying rude and inappropriate behaviors.

One of you has a bad temper.

It’s OK to get angry. But if you’re always spouting off about what you don’t like, and always trying to control your mate with your angry feelings, aren’t you really saying that you matter more?

Neither of you can apologize.

Apologies say, “I stepped on your feelings and I won’t do that again.” If you can’t apologize, you’re pretending you’re perfect. It’s a drag living with someone who thinks she never makes a mistake.

You never have a disagreement.

No two people are alike. When two people agree on everything, someone is not being true to himself or herself. When two people see the world from slightly different perspectives, this brings energy and even disagreement sometimes. This is healthy.

You don’t have common goals for the future.

Where do you want to be in five years? In 10 years? Do you have a financial plan for the children’s education, your retirement? What are your goals as a couple? When couples are in trouble, they don’t think about the future.

One of you is unfaithful.

Affairs always hurt a marriage. Most marriages, however, can survive an affair, particularly if both mates do the repair work after it ends. But if one mate continues to be unfaithful it’s a marriage in name only.

You’re sarcastic and put each other down.

Every time you are sarcastic or critical, you drive a wedge in the marriage. If you’re sarcastic or critical five times a week, in 10 years you’ve chalked up 2,600 hits against your mate. Would you stay with a friend that hurt you 2,600 times?

The two of you don’t exchange compliments and thank yous.

It’s easy to forget to say, “Thanks for picking up my shirts from the cleaners,” “Thanks for taking care of that wedding gift,” “Thanks for putting in a new furnace filter.” Not recognizing what your mate does translates into taking advantage of your mate’s good will.

Most couples start out intending to stay married. If you hope to continue your married life, heed the warning signs.

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These six steps may sound too easy to be true, but each tenant is rooted in science and neuro-linguistic programming. Read the list. Copy it. Post it. E-mail it to a friend.

1) Flood your brain hundreds of times each day with the positive affirmation, “I choose to eat carefully and exercise with vigor.”

2) Buy a pedometer and learn how many steps you actually take. Ideally you will be taking between 8,000 and 10,000 steps each day.

3) Give yourself a special goal each and every day. This is called your today goal. For example:
Today I’ll pass up all snacks and desserts.
Today I’ll work out with my hand weights for 5 minutes.

4) Pick a weight loss plan that has worked for you in the past. For example: counting calories or Weight Watcher points.

5) E-mail a friend each day and tell them how you’re doing. Tell them if you’re saying your affirmation, the number of steps you’ve taken, your calories or points, and any weight loss tip that you would like to share. If you screw up and eat an entire cake, let them know.

6) If you slip, start at the top of the list and do it all over again. All research shows that if you keep at it, you will develop a new lifestyle and you will lose weight.

P.S. If you follow these six steps, you’ll change the neuro-landscape of your brain. You’ll think differently, feel differently, and behave differently, and you’ll reach your weight loss goal. Make the choice. Embrace these six scientifically proven weight loss tenants. Become the weight and the person you are meant to be.

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Many arguments between parents and children could be avoided if parents were more conscious of the way they communicated with their children.

Here’s a communication tip you can start using today.

The Broken Record Routine
If Bobby asks you to drop him at the mall and you don’t want him to go, tell him, “No, I don’t want you at the mall.”

If he responds, “But Mom, all my friends are going,” don’t say, “If everybody jumps off a cliff, are you going to jump off too?”

Instead, go for solution and simply state, “I don’t want you at the mall.”

If Bobby tells you you’re the meanest person in the world, don’t respond. He’s simply venting his frustration. If he keeps nagging, keep your voice even and repeat, “I don’t want you at the mall.” Then walk away if possible.

At some point, Bobby will get the message and you’ll save yourself and family needless arguing.

Observations only
If your 12-year daughter has left her dirty dishes sitting in the den, simply make an observation: “Your dirty dishes are in the den.”

If her room is a mess, make an observation: “You have a lot of things lying around in your room.”
If you think she’s been on the phone too long, you might say, “You’ve been on the telephone for quite awhile now.”

Simply making an observation keeps you from being critical and invites your child to develop her own conscious.

Will stating the obvious get you the results you want? Not always, but sometimes.

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When you give yourself a purpose, you have a goal.

The reason we make resolutions is because it gives us purpose. When you focus on losing weight, controlling your drinking, quitting smoking, having more patience, becoming a better person (all of these fall in the top ten of New Year’s resolutions) you’ve given yourself a purpose, you have a goal. When we work toward a goal, we feel less helter-skelter, more in control, and our self-worth increases.

The reason New Years resolutions fail is people don’t make concrete plans of action.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, best think through what weight loss plan you’re going to follow, who will give you support, what excuses you’re likely to use for going off your diet, and the incentives you’ll use to spur you on.

Happy New Year and lots of luck keeping that resolution.

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