Reblog: What’s My Attachment Style and Why Does It Matter?

by Sharon Martin, LCSW

If you’re in an unhappy relationship, feel stuck in a pattern of failed relationships, or can’t seem to find Mr. (or Ms.) Right, your attachment style may be the reason.

We all learn about human relationships from our first relationships – those with our parents or primary caregivers. Understanding your attachment style can help you get to the root of your relationship troubles.

Ideally, parents provide security and safety and children learn to trust that their parents will meet their needs. Parents provide comfort and help calm their children when they’re upset or afraid. As a result, children form a bond with their parents that builds a secure emotional foundation. Children can then confidently explore the world knowing their parents will keep them safe.

We know that humans are meant to connect to and depend on each other. Our survival hinges on it! Depending on others is healthy even in adult relationships. We are more successful and happy when we can form healthy, trusting attachments to other humans.

“We don’t have to do it all alone. We were never meant to.” – Brene Brown

There are three primary attachment styles: secure, avoidant, and anxious. I have described each attachment style below.

Secure Attachment

  • You had your needs met as a child. Your caregivers were attentive and responsive to your needs helping you to feel safe and cared for.
  • You feel comfortable being close and emotionally intimate.
  • You seek and maintain close, stable relationships.
  • You feel comfortable expressing your feelings and needs.

Avoidant Attachment

  • Your caregivers were probably distant, cold, or unresponsive. As a result, you became more independent and self-reliant, not wanting to depend on inconsistent people.
  • Close relationships tend to feel smothering and like they’re impeding your independence.
  • You pull away from intimacy when it feels too intense.
  • You need a lot of time to yourself.
  • You may resist commitment.

Anxious Attachment

  • Your caregivers were inconsistent in attending to your needs. As a result, you hold on tight in order to try to get your needs met.
  • You crave intimacy and can never get enough closeness.
  • You question whether you’re partner really loves you or whether you’re lovable and seek frequent reassurance.
  • An anxious attachment can be described as “needy” or “clingy.”
  • You desperately seek security and attention from your partner, but this can push him/her away.

Why does my attachment style matter?

Attachment theory originated with work of John Bowlby, who studied mothers and infants, but we now recognize that our attachment style is still at play in our adult romantic relationships. The parent-child attachment sets the stage for our ability to trust that our adult partners will meet our emotional needs.

Our attachment style becomes a blueprint for the rest of our intimate relationships. Our attachment style impacts our choice of romantic partners and how we relate to them. We replay these attachment patterns over and over with new people as a way to find evidence for our beliefs about ourselves. This is why people often feel stuck in the same kinds of relationship patterns. For example, many anxiously attached people date or marry avoidants who can never seem to give them enough closeness and reassurance. This confirms the anxiously attached person’s fears of abandonment and belief that s/he is flawed or unlovable.

Understanding your attachment style is useful not only because it gives you insights into your relationship with your parents and how you felt as a child, but it can also help you understand difficulties you have in your adult relationships. Ultimately, understanding your attachment style can help you figure out how you can change in order to have more fulfilling relationships. In other words, having a healthy relationship is about choosing the “right” partner and about developing a healthy, secure attachment.

How can I become more securely attached?

Although attachment patterns are well established, you can shift toward a more secure attachment style by learning new skills and practicing a lot.

A few ways to start changing your attachment style are:

  • Notice your relationship patterns. Becoming more aware of your anxious or avoidant behaviors is the first step in change.
  • Pay attention to what you need and how you feel.
  • Share your feelings with your partner.
  • Recognize cognitive distortions and challenge them.
  • Communicate your relationship needs and expectations clearly to your partner.
  • Take good care of yourself.
  • Do things that make you feel good about yourself; acknowledge your strengths and successes.
  • Work with a therapist (shifting your attachment style is hard work).
  • Spend time with people who model healthy relationships.

I hope this post has shed a bit of light on understanding your attachment style and how it influences your adult relationships. For additional information, I recommend the book Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. As always, be patient and gentle with yourself as you challenge yourself to change.

Find the original post here.

Reblog: Dr. Laura: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Too Far Into a Relationship

  1. How well do I know them? Meeting the parents seems to be the last thing people do when dating. However, it should be one of the first. Observing someone in their “natural habitat” gives you a big impression of how your future with them might look. What is their family like? What kind of upbringing did they have?

  2. Can I trust them? If they share your private conversations with anybody, walk away. Don’t have an argument about it or give them a second chance. If they aren’t going to protect your innermost thoughts, drop them.

  3. Do I see how they are changing me? No matter who you’re dating, you’re going to be influenced by that person to some degree. Are they trying to get you to start or stop doing something?

  4. How do we communicate? Do you feel intimidated to talk or be open? Do you give them all the power because it’s easier than arguing?

  5. Am I attracted to their character or just their body? It’s easy to be attracted to someone who is a babe, but are you attracted to their heart, values, beliefs, and worldview? When you add up all the time you spend in a relationship, sex is only a tiny percentage. You have to be able to connect in other ways.

  6. Are they accepting of who I am? The most mature and loving people love you for who you are. If, while dating, they are already trying to change how you dress, talk, or eat, they are not ready for a relationship. And if you go along with it, you aren’t ready for a relationship either.

  7. How do they treat other people? Pay particular attention to how they treat people they say they care about.

  8. Do they make an effort to put my needs first? Relationships are give and take. If someone never gives, throws temper tantrums, displays outbursts of rage, or tries to control you, you need to watch out.

  9. Are their hopes and dreams for the future compatible with mine? This one is self-explanatory.

Find the original post here.

Reblog: 7 Signs of a Doomed Relationship

by Henry Cloud

If you have read Dr. Henry Cloud’s book Never Go Back, I will assume that you started with the first chapter. That chapter may or may not have been loosely based on an amalgamation of my failed relationships. I would see the 7 signs of a doomed relationship, sometimes more than 7, and instead of running away, I would run full speed into their closed arms.

Through all of my doomed relationships, I slowly started to figure out some of the signs that let me know that this was not my person. These signs are listed below in no particular order.

1. First and foremost, more than anything…you should feel safe. Safe expressing who you truly are, your mistakes and your triumphs. Every little thing that you have experienced has made you the person you are today and while some of this may not always be pretty to discuss, it made you, and the person you’re with will embrace your ups and not shame you for your downs.

2. It should never feel like a game. When someone is truly into you, and wants to pursue you and make you a part of their life….they don’t play games. They greet you with intention. They truly won’t wait an entire day/days to return a text message. When people are serious about you, you will feel like a priority. Whether you have been dating 7 days, 7 months or 7 years… relationships take effort and work, and when someone is genuinely interested in you, they will make it a point to make sure you know.

3. This ties into feeling safe, but the person you are with should not try and change you. I truly feel that you should feel accepted for who you are…but the caveat here, is that the person you’re with should help you grow. We all have areas that we can improve upon in life and relationship and I think there is a difference between changing for someone and growing with someone, I think it’s important to be aware of which one is happening in your relationship.

4. You try and make up for things that are missing. This was a mistake that I repeatedly made. I dated many people that looked so good on paper, and that I theoretically should like, or tried to like because all my friends and family loved this person. So, you try and convince yourself that it’s right. If something feels like it’s missing in your relationship, that feeling will never dissipate, it will just continue to grow. Don’t ignore it.

5. If you are starting to look outside your relationship to fulfill things that you feel are missing, it’s definitely time to reevaluate.

6. Relationships should progress. They are ever evolving and moving forward. Whether this is meeting friends and family, or planning trips together or future plans together. While relationships are very much about the present and what you are experiencing in the moment, they are also about the kind of future you see together, and not just talking about it but actively working towards something and bringing it to fruition.

7. Last but not least, and probably what I have personally used for a barometer more than anything, does this person make me feel crazy or are they a calming presence. We all have moments where we feel like we are losing our minds. Especially in relationship, because love can make us all crazy. Find someone who quiets your crazy not adds fuel to it.

Find the original article here.

Reblog: 12 characteristics of a healthy relationship:

by Sharon Martin LCSW

  1. Nurturing and loving. The most basic characteristic of a good relationship is that it’s loving. There is a feeling of being cared for deeply in words and actions. Your partner says kind things. S/he intentionally does things to comfort you, show appreciation and affection.
  2. Honest. In healthy relationships people tell the truth. They don’t keep secrets or lie by omission. The goal is transparency, rather than deception.
  3. Accepts you as you are. I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s a bad idea to get into a relationship with the expectation that you will change someone. Whether it’s a big issue like drug use or a small issue like dirty dishes in the sink, you will be frustrated (or worse) if you’re expecting your partner to change his/her ways. Yes, people can and do change. But they have to want to change. You can’t make your partner change no matter how much you love him/her.
  4. Respectful. Mutual respect means you consider someone else’s feelings and treat them as they want to be treated. When there is respect, you don’t feel pressured or manipulated. You are accepted and treated with kindness. Your partner listens and values your point of view.
  5. A team effort. You should feel like you and your partner are working together. You have shared goals. You don’t undermine, compete or try to “win”. You support each other as a unit and as individuals.
  6. Safe physically and emotionally. You can relax around your partner. You know s/he’s “got your back”. You aren’t afraid of being hit, forced to do something you don’t want to do, manipulated, yelled at, belittled or shamed.
  7. Vulnerable. Safety allows vulnerability and vulnerability allows deep connection. You feel safe to share your dreams and confessions without fear of judgment.
  8. Supportive of your individuality. Healthy attachment allows partners to go safely and confidently into the world to set and achieve individual goals. You can have time to yourself. Your partner will encourage you, be proud of you and show interest in your personal goals and hobbies.
  9. Shared expectations. Time and again I find that differing expectations end up with one person being disappointed. I’m a big believer in having realistic expectations and for couples to have similar expectations. Expectations can include everything from how often you have sex, how you celebrate holidays, how much time you spend together, or how household chores are divided. If you’re on different pages, you need to negotiate and compromise until you reached shared expectations.
  10. Forgiving. Hurt and misunderstanding are also a part of being in relationship with someone. You should be able to forgive (not forget) when there is genuine remorse and behavior change. Without forgiveness, toxic resentment and pain will grow and eventually suffocate a relationship.
  11. Addresses conflict and hurt. Communication is really important. Talking is easy when things are good, but it’s even more important to be able to address conflicts and hurts. In a healthy relationship there is a mechanism to air grievances, talk about hurt, and disagree in a respectful way. Conflicts are resolved not simply avoided.
  12. Fun and playful. Yes, relationships take work, but they should also be fun. Why be in a relationship if you don’t enjoy each other’s company, laugh together, and have a good time?

Find the original post here.

Reblog:Homophobia Has No Place in the Church

Article by Nick Roen

“Young man, I appreciate your message, but you need to realize that most gay people are dangerous predators.”

I had just finished sharing about my experience with same-sex attraction (SSA) at a church in the heart of Wisconsin, and an elderly man tracked me down after the service. These were the first words out of his mouth.

I was taken aback and asked him to clarify. It turns out that a gay man made a pass at him many years ago when he was in the military — and it had caused him to view all gay people as sexually aggressive and dangerous. His view of the homosexual community was defined almost exclusively by a single experience — and fear.

I have a fear as well, but my fear is that homophobia is all too common, not just in society, but even within the church. Some may object to my use of the word homophobia. It can sometimes be used as a politically loaded term wielded to silence any and all opposition to same-sex sexual activity. However, this is not the root definition of the term.

Simply put, homophobia means a fear of homosexuality and, more specifically, homosexual people. And while it is not the same as loving, biblical opposition to certain behaviors or beliefs, this fear-based attitude often leads to unhelpful stereotypes, prejudice, and even cruel mistreatment.

So, let’s call a spade a spade. Homophobia exists, and it has no place in the church.

Search Your Heart

No doubt some who feel convicted will push back. “Well, I don’t think that all gay people are dangerous predators, so I’m not homophobic.” However, homophobia can often take subtler, equally sinister forms. For example, homophobia can subtly infiltrate not only our beliefs, but also our reasons for these beliefs. These principles themselves might be correct and godly, but they can be believed for all the wrong reasons.

Honestly consider your own heart in the following examples:

  • Is your belief that same-sex sexual activity is sin based finally on solid biblical exegesis? Or is it really based on the fact that you don’t understand how someone could be attracted to the same sex, and this unknown seems to you just plain creepy?
  • Is your opposition to so-called same-sex marriage based on a principled biblical definition of marriage? Or is it more influenced by a fear that same-sex couples might signal the unraveling of comfortable cultural norms and usher in the end of a once-pristine “Judeo-Christian society”? Or maybe your fear is more that one such couple might move in next door, and you might actually be pressured to befriend them?
  • Does your opposition to homosexual practice include the ability to lovingly welcome LGBT people into a Sunday service or other gathering with other Christians? Or does opposition for you mean that you wish they would just stay away so you aren’t made uncomfortable by their very presence?
  • In standing for Christian sexual ethics, do you encourage and support those SSA believers within the church who are striving to remain faithful to biblical teaching by welcoming them into full participation in church life? Or does standing for biblical sexuality mean that they can come to church, but they can’t grow in influence or serve the body through teaching, and they should probably stay away from the youth group?

Biblical exegesis is a wonderful underpinning for belief, and love is a worthy motive for action. Fear is a horrible reason for both.

It would do us well to humbly examine our hearts to reveal the motives and fears behind our attitudes toward people who identify as “gay.” Happily upholding Christian sexual ethics is not the same as harboring animosity toward an entire group of people simply because you find them yucky.

Love, Not Fear

Instead, Christians — of all people on the planet — must operate not out of fear, but love. We recognize that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and are therefore sacred and worthy of love.

Furthermore, we are called to love with the very love of our Father (Matthew 5:45), which calls us to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44–48). Such love casts out fear because it no longer fears God’s judgment and therefore is freed to love with lavishness (1 John 4:18).

Therefore, our comfort, our convenience, our safety, or our perception of our country’s values are no longer valid reasons to operate in any way that is opposed to genuine biblical love. And we love this way because this is exactly how Jesus first loved us (1 John 4:19). He wasn’t threatened or repelled by us; he wasn’t afraid to enter a relationship with us, sinners that we were (and still are), and to even graciously speak the truth about our sin. Instead, he loved us so lavishly that he died for us to present us clean and whole before his Father (Romans 5:6–8).

When we love in this manner, we expose homophobia for what it really is: pride. It is an attitude that puts beneath us others whose sins and temptations we deem “more depraved” than our own, as we wickedly proclaim with the Pharisee, “Well, at least I don’t struggle with that” (Luke 18:11).

The truth is that sin is sin, temptation is temptation, and “men who have sex with men” is listed right alongside greed, drunkenness, deception, and slander as worthy of exclusion from the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9–10). All equally damnable. Who among us is innocent?

So, let us examine our hearts, identify attitudes of fear and the roots of pride, wherever they exist, and put to death ungodly prejudices that ultimately hinder the truth. In our quest for biblical fidelity, we must not only uphold the truth, but do so in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Biblical love requires that we speak the truth. And when we speak out of homophobia, rather than in love, it is we who are in the wrong.

Read the original article here.

Reblog: How to Overcome Feeling Insecure and Needy in Your Relationships

by Sharon Martin

Many people feel insecure at least some of the time. Some people feel insecure most of the time about most things. Other people may occasionally feel insecure or only in certain situations or with certain people.

Explore why you’re feeling insecure

Sometimes insecurity is the result of trauma. If you’ve experienced a betrayal or hurt, such as cheating or lying or abuse in your current or past relationship, it’s normal to want to protect yourself from further hurt. You put up your guard and feel anxious, on edge, or worried. Your nervous system goes into overdrive searching for evidence of danger. You might also notice that these feelings of insecurity remind you of childhood wounds. Children tend to internalize harm caused by others and believe it’s their fault – because they’re bad, flawed, unworthy, unlovable. This sets the stage for feeling insecure in adult relationships.

Other times it’s not so easy to spot where insecurity began. You may have a pervasive feeling that you’re not “good enough.” You worry about what people think. You don’t want to disappoint or displease others. You try to live up to someone else’s expectations or standards. Comparison leads to insecurity. It makes you feel “less than” compared to others that seem prettier, thinner, smarter, stronger, or funnier.

Love and acceptance from others does not solve insecurity

Most people think the solution to insecurity is having others love and accept them. It isn’t. I remember a painful experience I had in middle school. I had a great group of friends, felt accepted, cared for and wanted…until they rejected me. Friends and lovers will come and go. Sometimes they drift away. Sometimes they storm off after an intense fight. Sometimes they die. If you’re counting on others to make you feel secure, you will eventually be disappointed.

When people feel insecure in a relationship, they often turn to their partners seeking reassurance and validation. A partner can never provide the sense of security you’re seeking. Relationships are always uncertain. There are no guarantees that your partner will be dependable or faithful or with you for the rest of your life. The only way to feel secure in your relationship is to seek security and confidence within yourself.

Security comes from loving yourself and knowing you’re resilient

Feeling safe and secure means that you know you can cope with whatever life throws your way. You can’t control what your partner does or if this relationship ends, but you can control your response and your feelings. It’s empowering to know that you can cope with the unexpected and messy parts of life. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be hurt or angry or heart broken. It just means that you have confidence in your ability to get through really tough situations and feelings.

Chances are you’ve already gotten through some pretty challenging things in your life. When I reflect on my experiences, I’m in awe of some of the things I’ve overcome. I didn’t always do it with grace, but I did get through more pain than I imagined I could. I suspect the same is true for you.

Life experience shows us that we can endure a lot of adversity and uncertainty. You can not only survive, but thrive when you choose not to let life’s curve balls keep you down or feeling like a victim. This is where confidence comes from. It doesn’t come from reassuring words or promises from your partner or anyone else.

Instead of seeking validation from others, reassure yourself

Look inside yourself for the validation you’re seeking. Honestly, no one can give you want you can’t give to yourself. Your partner might say the words you crave: “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine my life without you.” The problem is, if you don’t believe this to be true deep in your soul, you’re not going to believe it when anyone else says it to you.  If you want others to make you feel worthy, you’ll always be chasing this approval. Instead:

  • Tune into your own feelings. Spend some quality time with yourself.
  • Identify your feelings. A list of feeling words can be helpful (try this one).
  • Validate your feelings. “It’s normal to feel angry when my roommate drinks all the coffee and doesn’t buy any to replace it.” Or, “I understand why I feel anxious when Mary comes home from work late.”
  • Identify your strengths. Everyone has good qualities. Remind yourself every single day of your positive traits and skills. I promise you won’t become conceited.
  • When you catch yourself worrying about what might happen, gently bring yourself back to the present. You can ask yourself: How likely is this to happen? Is there anything I can do about it?
  • Remind yourself that you can cope with whatever happens.
  • Soothe yourself. Recognize when you need comfort and give it to yourself. You can calm yourself by listening to music, taking a hot bath, engaging in repetitive motion such as walking, massaging your temples, sipping a cup of herbal tea, or using essential oils.

Read the original post here.

Reblog: Relationship Expectations Everyone Should Have

by Dr. Laura

In every relationship, there are basic needs and expectations that everyone has a right to expect. If you’re not getting them, then the relationship is not a match. Here are eight relationship expectations every person should have:

  1. Affection. You hold hands, kiss, hug, and give each other back or foot rubs. Physical affection is very important.

  2. Compassion. Whether you have a stomach ache or a heartache, it needs to matter to the other person when you’re not feeling OK.

  3. Respect. You can disagree with each other, but there shouldn’t be any name-calling or ridiculing. If somebody is constantly ridiculing you and then following it up with, “I’m only kidding,” they’re a jerk – get rid of them.

  4. Consideration. A considerate person thinks about how they impact you. They don’t have to give you everything you ask for or do everything you want, but they have to consider what you need, what you’d like, and what you have to say.

  5. Time. Some people like a lot of time, a medium amount of time, and no time. A “no time” person is not going to get along with a “medium time” or “a lot of time” person. You have to be more matched in how much time you’re willing and able to give each other. For example, I always wanted dinner at 6.  That’s an important time for me because it’s the end of the day when you’re breaking bread and talking about everything. That’s the life I knew I wanted, and I wasn’t going to be with anybody for whom dinner at 6 was not a desire.

  6. Interests. It’s reasonable to expect that your partner not only show interest in you but also the things you’re interested in, even if they may not be interested in those things themselves.

  7. Intimacy. Intimacy isn’t sex – it’s being known. Over the weekend, I asked a couple who has been married a long time what makes them glad they’re married to each other. The woman said, “He lets me be me. Nobody else let me be me or accepted me for who I am.” I then asked the guy, who said, “She is sweet to me.” That is probably the number one thing married men want from their wives. Many women think it’s sex, however, what men really want is a woman who is nice to them. Men are very uncomplicated.

  8. Generosity. Gifts are nice, but generosity really means that your partner is generous of themselves and their time. He or she goes out of their way to help, soothe, and take care of you.

If you are not having these basic needs met in your relationship, you need to sit down and talk about what expectations you each have, and discuss those expectations without fighting. Just simply say, “This is what I need.”

Find Dr. Laura’s blog post here.

Reblog: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

by Dr. Travis Bradberry

We all reach critical points in our lives where our mental strength is tested. It might be a toxic friend or colleague, a dead-end job, or a struggling relationship. Whatever the challenge, you have to see things through a new lens, and take decisive action if you want to move through it successfully.

It sounds easy, but it isn’t.

It’s fascinating how mentally strong people set themselves apart from the crowd. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to overcome.

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that mental strength comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, mental strength is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ).

 

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

 

Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it very difficult to know how much you have and what you can do to improve it if you lack it. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book.

 

Unfortunately, quality (scientifically valid) EQ tests aren’t free, so I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of high emotional intelligence. This data shows that what you don’t do is just as important as what you do when it comes to EQ.

 

The beauty of EQ is that it’s a flexible skill that you can easily improve with effort. Absolutely anyone can enhance their EQ by emulating the habits of emotionally intelligent people. If you’re up for it, start with these critical things that emotionally intelligent people are careful to avoid. They consciously avoid these behaviors because they are tempting and easy to fall into if one isn’t careful.

 

1. They don’t stay in their comfort zone. Self-awareness is the foundation of EQ, and increasing your self-awareness isn’t comfortable. You can’t increase your EQ without pushing yourself to discover what you need to work on and what you should be doing differently. This is hard because when you take a really good look at yourself, you aren’t going to like everything you see. It’s more comfortable to keep the blinders on, but they make certain that you’ll never have a high EQ.

2. They don’t give in to fear.
They say that bravery is being scared to death to do something and doing it anyway. Many times, that’s true, even when it comes to your career. The fear doesn’t have to come from something as extreme as rushing into a burning building; it can be a fear of public speaking or going out on a limb to try for a promotion. If you use fear as an excuse not to do something, you’ve already lost. It’s not that emotionally intelligent people aren’t afraid—they simply pick themselves up and fight on regardless of the fear.

 

3. They don’t stop believing in themselves. Emotionally intelligent people persevere. They don’t give up in the face of failure, and they don’t give up because they’re tired or uncomfortable. They’re focused on their goals, not on momentary feelings, and that keeps them going even when things are hard. They don’t take failing to mean that they’re a failure. Likewise, they don’t let the opinions of others keep them from chasing their dreams. When someone says, “You’ll never be able to do that,” they regard it as one person’s opinion, which is all it is.

 

4. They don’t beg for attention. People who are always begging for attention are needy. They rely on that attention from other people to form their self-identity. Emotionally intelligent people couldn’t care less about attention. They do what they want to do and what needs to be done, regardless of whether anyone is stroking their ego.

5. They don’t act like jerks.
People who act like jerks are unhappy and insecure. They act like jerks because they don’t have the emotional strength to be nice when they don’t feel like it. Emotionally intelligent people place high value on their relationships, which means they treat everyone with respect, regardless of the kind of mood they’re in.

6. They don’t hold grudges.
The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. Researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs.

7. They don’t hang around negative people.
Negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to negative people because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear to someone and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. Emotionally intelligent people avoid getting drawn in by setting limits and distancing themselves from negative people when necessary. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.

 

8. They don’t feel sorry for themselves. Here’s the worst thing about feeling sorry for yourself, other than it being annoying, of course: it shifts your locus of control outside yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself is, in essence, declaring that you’re a helpless victim of circumstance. Emotionally intelligent people never feel sorry for themselves because that would mean giving up their power.

 

9. They don’t feel entitled. Emotionally intelligent people believe that the world is a meritocracy and that the only things that they deserve are those that they earn. People who lack EQ often feel entitled. They think that the world owes them something. Again, it’s about locus of control. Emotionally intelligent people know that they alone are responsible for their successes or failures.

 

10. They don’t close their minds. When people close their minds to new information or opinions, it’s typically because they find them threatening. They think that admitting that someone else is right means that they’re wrong, and that’s very uncomfortable for people lacking EQ. Emotionally intelligent people aren’t threatened by new things; they’re open to new information and new ideas, even if it means admitting that they are wrong.

 

11. They don’t let anyone limit their joy. When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself with others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done, they don’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself with others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

12. They don’t get eaten up by jealousy and envy.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that the happiness and success of others doesn’t take away from their own, so jealousy and envy aren’t an issue for them. They see success as being in unlimited supply, so they can celebrate others’ successes.

 

13. They don’t live in the past. Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve things that aren’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this if they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require your taking some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens—your past becomes your present and prevents you from moving forward.

Bringing It All Together

Improving your emotional intelligence is the single most important thing you can do to improve your life. The good news is that you can make it happen with a little determination, effort, and a good model to follow.

 

find the original post here.

Reblog: The Provocative People of Proverbs

by Tim Challies

I feel sorry for those people who spend all day on social media snarking at others. Do they just sit there hour after hour, following people they despise, then throwing barbs their way? That must be an awful way to live. Some people seem to shrivel where there is peace and thrive where there is contention. The book of Proverbs warns us about people like that, people who love to incite conflict and hate to resolve it. Lou Priolo highlights a number of them in his excellent book Resolving Conflict. These are the provocative people of Proverbs.

The hot-tempered person. “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” (15:18). The hot-tempered man is passionate about all kinds of things and allows that passion to well up into anger. He’s your classic hothead who so easily blows his top. His passion and anger incites him to stir up strife, to cause problems that could otherwise be avoided or resolved.

The perverse person. “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (16:28). Just like a computer hacker writes a virus and releases it to spread across the internet, this perverse person creates strife—bitter disagreement—and seeds it into his relationships. He may do this through slander, through gossip, and through backbiting, always with the design of turning other people against his victim. His perversity is aimed at harming others.

The lover of transgression. “He who loves transgression loves strife; he who raises his door seeks destruction” (17:19). Instead of loving and pursuing all that is good and lovely in the world, this person loves sin, he loves strife, he loves what is evil and ugly. “Who else would love strife besides a person who also loves sin? He enjoys a good fight, whether he is in the ring himself or is coaching from the corner. By raising his door (opening his mouth in pride) he finds what he is looking for—someone getting annihilated.”

read the rest here.

Reblog: Why Single Is Not the Same as Lonely

by theGospelCoalition

It was the kind of e-mail that breaks your heart.

A friend of mine, who lives too far away, contacted me to say he was struggling to understand how the cost of singleness as a Christian could possibly be worth it. As far as he could see, an illicit relationship would be “the only possible way for me to enjoy the relational intimacy I’ve dreamt of my entire life.” He concluded, “I cannot imagine the shell of a life I would live without somebody standing by my side.” In the light of this deficit of intimacy, could singleness ever be worth it?

My friend isn’t alone. In my own church family, one of the biggest causes of people drifting away from Christ has been entering into illicit relationships, especially single Christian women with unbelieving men. For many of them, the assumption was that life as a single just wasn’t viable. They needed intimacy.

It has become an unquestioned assumption today: Singleness (at least godly singleness) and intimacy are alternatives. A choice to be celibate is a choice to be alone. No wonder for so many this seems too much to bear. Can we really expect someone to live without romantic hope? It sounds so unfair.

Marriage and Celibacy

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The Bible is clear that we choose between marriage and celibacy. In Matthew 19, Jesus upholds and expounds God’s blueprint for marriage found in Genesis 1 and 2: Marriage is between a man and a woman, and is designed to be for life. The disciples balk a little at this: “If such is the case between a man and his wife, it is better not to marry” (v. 10). But Jesus responds by talking to them about the life of the eunuch. The implication is plain: The only godly alternative to marriage is celibacy.

Read the rest here.

 

TED Talk: Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. (Filmed at TEDxRainier.)

Reblog: The Silent Marriage-Killer

desiringGod
Article by Heather Davis Nelson

Most Christian couples would not list shame as one of the top struggles in their marriage. However, in almost a decade of counseling, I’ve seen very few marriages that aren’t hampered by shame on some level. It’s just not often the first thing that’s identified, but it underlies so many other common struggles, especially communication and sex.

How can you know if this silent marriage-killer is present in your relationship? Consider the following self-evaluative questions:

  1. Are there topics that have become off-limits because you or your spouse get too prickly, defensive, or embarrassed?
  2. Can you share embarrassing stories or painful struggles with your spouse and expect empathy, or would you be more likely to receive further ridicule or condemnation?
  3. Do you talk openly about your failures, past and present?
  4. Is your spouse the first person you turn to for support, comfort, or celebration? And does your spouse do the same to you?
  5. When you confront sin in your spouse, do you do so with gentleness and humility as a fellow struggler, or with the posture of one who would never sin in that way?
  6. How comfortable are you in your sexual relationship?
  7. Do you share your emotions with your spouse and vice versa?
  8. When conflicts arise between you, are you able to resolve them, or do you seem to stall out frequently when one of you withdraws indefinitely?
  9. Do you regularly share with each other what God is teaching you through his word, church, and your personal devotional life?
  10. Do you pray together?
  11. Do you confess your sins to one another as needed, as often as sin arises?
  12. Would you prefer not to talk about sin at all, because it’s just too uncomfortable for both of you?

None of us have a perfect marriage, or should expect it, but what holds us back too often is the presence of shame — the fear that I will be rejected if I am vulnerable with you. The way to fight shame, and be part of shame’s healing for one another, is to risk openness in these areas where we want to hide from one another.

Help Your Spouse Heal

We may have been hiding like Adam and Eve since the garden of Eden, but the hope is that God covers our shame and enables us to help cover one another’s shame. If redeemed marital intimacy is to be naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25), the way to move towards this goal is to become part of healing shame for each other.

We have the opportunity to do this in a more powerful way for our spouse than anyone else. We have the unique chance to see them at their most vulnerable, and to bestow grace and compassion instead of judgment and rejection. And the only way we can do this for one another is as we experience this grace from God to us in Jesus Christ.

In Christ, we realize that on our own we stand unclothed before God — that our best attempts at righteousness, with the help of his Spirit, are like filthy rags — but that he has clothed us with the perfect righteousness of his own Son, the God-man, so that there is no condemnation nor any threat of separation from God’s love (Romans 8:1, 38–39).

Read the rest here.

Reblog: The Family Idols

From: FEEDING ON CHRIST

One of the more important aspects of the book of Genesis is the way in which the Holy Spirit lays bare the inner motives and desires that drive the actions of the members of the patriarchal family. The cameos of the men and women of the covenant family set out, in stark contrast, the antithesis between living life in the flesh and living life in the Spirit, by human effort or by divine promise–by works or by faith. In short, we find, in the patriarchal narratives, the seemingly insatiable quest for safety and satisfaction–interestingly, the very things that God graciously pledged to give Abraham by faith in the coming Christ (Gen. 15:1).

In the patriarchal family we see the father of the faithful handing his wife off to a powerful king (twice!) in order to gain security (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:2). We find him taking his wife’s handmaiden to himself in order to attempt to gain, by human effort, the satisfaction promised by the Covenant God (Gen. 16). We find this same principle at work in the life of his son, Isaac, when he also lied about his wife to protect himself (Gen. 26:7); and again when he chose to show partiality to Esau–the son of Isaac’s flesh who seemed to embody what he wished were true of himself (Gen. 25:28). Additionally, we see it in Jacob seeking to gain the birthright by con-artistry and deception (Gen. 25:29-34; 27:1-29)–another attempt to work for the blessing of God.

While all of these acts are meant to draw our attention to the fact that the promises of God can only be received by faith in the Redeemer, they also warn us about the heart-idolatry that manifested itself in the lives of the patriarchs…even as it often does in our own lives. The essence of this idolatry was seen in the members of the covenant family seeking to find protection and fulfillment in themselves or in their closest of relations rather than in the living God of promise.

This family idolatry is preeminently seen in Leah seeking to win the love of her husband by having children for him and in her sister, Rachel, putting herself in competition with her in order to find satisfaction and fulfillment in bearing children (Gen. 30:1).

In his excellent book on the lives of Isaac and Jacob, Living in the Grip of Relentless Grace, Iain Duguid draws out of the Rachel-Leah saga the fact that idolatry lay at the heart of both women’s race to have children. He writes:

“This is the essence of idolatry: someone or something other than the living God is occupying the God-shaped space at the core of our being. We were created as worshiping beings, people whose meaning and purpose cannot be derived from ourselves but must come from outside us. There is always someone or something other than ourselves on which we have hung our whole identity or self-worth. If we turn our backs on the true God, we inevitably attempt to fill that void with something else. Whatever we must have instead of, or as well as, the God of the Bible, if life is to have meaning for us—that is our idol. For you, it may be health, comfort, wealth, control, the affection of a particular individual, or any of a thousand and one things. Whatever it is, it is an idol. Idols, however, ultimately never satisfy. In reality, a deep relationship with God and God alone is all we need to possess life in all its fullness (see Ps. 27:4–5).”1

This serves as a warning for those of us in the church today. We, no different than they, have hearts that are conditioned and bent toward giving our time, energy and affection to created things and persons–even to those who are our closest of relatives in the home–rather than to the living and true God. The perniciousness of this idolatry is seen in the fact that we can even make idols of our spouse or children in the name of being a good husband or wife, father or mother–all the while justifying our idolatry as if we are doing it as unto the Lord. Throughout the Genesis narrative, the men and women of the patriarchal home are constantly appealing to the name of the God of the covenant while acting with sinful and idolatrous motives (Gen. 27:20; 30:6; 30:13).

Read the rest here.