LOVE does not Hurt!

LOVE doesn’t hurt you. A person who doesn’t know how to love or who is in pain may hurt you. Be a person who loves anyway.

I love this quote (author unknown) about love and pain because it is so true. Love does not hurt. Period.

love hurts

Loving energy only produces loving feelings. Just like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states:  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Anything else… does not originate from loving energy. It comes from pain and fear. It comes from not knowing love. Someone who has rarely experienced kindness may not know how to be kind. Likewise, if they don’t have a history of being supported – how do they know that supporting others is an expression of love?

When we don’t experience consistent and pure loving energy as we grow, we are likely not to extend it as adults. This is evident over and over again in people who claim to love yet they engage in behavior that is very unloving. Think about it…

A parent says “I love you” and then they are demanding and critical. A child makes a connection between the two.

A parent says “I love you” and then doesn’t listen or isn’t attentive. A child believes they are related.

In this way, a child grows up to understand that love is demanding, critical, and inattentive. They don’t think twice about engaging in that behavior and expressing love at the same time. For that adult, true loving energy was scarce and consequently, remains unlearned. They will continue the pattern with the next generation unless they are able to experience true love.

True love is peaceful. It is joyful. And it is always a better choice. We are born in a natural state of knowing love and then learn otherwise. Getting back there may take a bit of work as we unplug all of the correlations that were made as we learned. One by one, it’s important to disconnect the idea that love is something other than patience, compassion, understanding, and kindness and practice how to extend loving energy under all conditions.

If it’s ‘true’ love – it will always feel good.

TTAHYou can listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

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#1 Practice Mutuality

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#1

Practice Mutuality

Mutuality is defined as…

The sharing of a feeling, action, or relationship between two or more parties.”

It’s a reciprocal exchange of intent, energy, and commitment in friendship, familial relationships, and marriage. The pinnacle of mutuality is when your interest is in the love, respect, support, and trust of another individual. We do this easily in friendship. We encourage, support, trust, love, and respect the autonomy and independence of our friends.

Love Relationships

In order to practice mutuality in romantic relationships, you get up every day with the goal of helping your loved one have their best day ever. Your focus is on supporting them to achieve their highest goals, to be their best selves and you do this no. matter. what. It can be hard in those love relationships that endure day to day stressors and get more complicated over time as we combine finances, raise children, and try to balance home and work. 

Reciprocal

Mutuality is the based on the concept of reciprocation. You have my back… I have yours. Do onto me what you would have me do onto you. Etcetera. When I feel supported, I am willing to support. When I feel loved, I am offering love back. When I am respected, I respect. When I am appreciated, I will be appreciative. It works beautifully under those conditions and it fosters great respect. Without reciprocation, mutuality takes on a whole new look.

Self-respect

In the best example of mutuality, both people in the relationship are focused on one another, respecting the space, independence, goals, and autonomy of the other. If you are in a relationship where it is not reciprocated, then the key is to kick self-respect into high gear and practice mutuality personally.

In this case, it may look like this…  “I respect you but if you can’t be as respectful of me, I must practice self-respect”. “I am encouraging you to reach your goals but if you can’t encourage me than I must encourage myself”. “ I am supporting you to be your best and will continue to support myself to grow and learn”. Sometimes, the mutuality you engage in is with yourself by setting boundaries that demonstrate a respect for self.

Relationships

The self-respect examples I list are more often for those relationships that  you don’t necessarily choose; family, boss, neighbor, etc… In a romantic relationship, the practice of mutuality is one of the only ways to foster a happy and healthy bond. It creates an environment where both of your needs for love, respect, support, and autonomy are being encouraged and developed. You are building one another up – not with hot air, but with energy that binds. It will ‘feel’ good.

For best results in every relationship, it’s important to …

Practice Mutuality.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#16 Create a “Make Me Happy” List

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#16

Create a “Make Me Happy” List

When my children were young, I made a list of things that “made mama happy” so that if they wanted to ask me for something such as running them to the basketball game after I’d gotten home and put on my jammies, they could look at the list and do something nice for me in return. And, while I don’t generally promote a ‘tit for tat’ attitude in most relationships, it’s no surprise that humans are more apt to concede when their needs are also met.

What is it that makes your mama, your partner, or your roommate happy? [know that the word “makes” is being used in the context of ‘generates’ – what ‘generates happiness for your partner, etc.,]

Love Language

There’s an old fable that goes like this:

A man and a woman show up in a counselor’s office after 40 years of marriage stating that they were on the verge of calling it quits. The counselor asks “why after all this time are you opting to end the relationship?” The gentleman replied with a frustrated and loud voice “Every time she walks by me, she pats my God Damn head. I’ve asked her a thousand times to stop and she won’t. I’m done!”. The counselor looks at the woman who is sitting demurely and asks “and you? What’s your position in this?” to which the woman replies sadly and softly… “he never pats my head.”

The point here being that she patted her husband’s head as a way of telling him she loved him… and because it irritated him so – he never considered that she may actually like it. We each have a different way of understanding and feeling loved. It’s the premise behind Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and a common problem in many relationships. We are inclined to treat our partners and family members the way we want to be treated instead of stopping to recognize how they want to be treated.

Speak Up

One simple way to have your needs met is to blatantly tell those who matter – what is is that generates happiness for you. Are flowers important to you or would you rather have the house cleaned? Do you value a romantic dinner or a couples massage? Does it bring you peace when the kids pick up their shoes and put away their backpacks? Or when they empty the dishwasher? (assuming you need to choose).

Write It Down

I am suggesting that you make a list and tape it all over the house… on the mirrors in the bathrooms. On the back of the bedroom doors. In front of the Playstation or to the top of the laptop. Wherever it is most likely to be seen most.

You don’t use the list just at those times when you want a favor however… if that’s the only effort – it is manipulative. You use the list when your partner has had a bad day, feels sick, or has gone above and beyond. When a child feels appreciated, they will often step up without being asked so know what is important to them as well.

Appreciation

Finally – be sure to be appreciative! We only have so much to give without a consideration of appreciation before we adopt a sour attitude. Even though appreciation isn’t the motivation – once again, we’re human and unless you are a strongly evolved individual – you probably have limits on how much you are willing to give without any acknowledgement of the effort.

A simple and effective method of having your needs met and meeting the actual vs. perceived needs of others to to have everyone in the household…

Create a ‘make me happy’ list.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#98 Disengage a Toxic Relationship

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#98

Disengage a toxic relationship

Yesterday’s post recommended distancing yourself from negativity and sometimes, that can mean disengaging from a relationship – any relationship – that becomes detrimental to your overall health. Negativity is not the only way in which a relationship can be toxic however.

Toxic refers to any behavior that results in harm – either physical or emotional. We may think it goes without saying that physically abusive behavior is toxic and cannot be tolerated yet there are thousands of people in relationships – still – which, can be identified as physically abusive.  And so, I’ll say it too… if your relationship is – IN ANY WAY PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE – disengage, get out, leave… NOW. Your very life may be in jeopardy.

Emotional Abuse

Perhaps worse, because there are no apparent bruises, is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse also comes in a variety of forms and MUST NOT be tolerated. No one deserves to be the target of emotional abuse. Any form of communication (speech, text messages, email, letters) that is controlling, punishing, manipulative, degrading, or derogatory – is abuse. When people use the silent treatment to coerce, withhold love and support for specific outcomes, and use money to bribe or entice – that is abuse.

Subliminal Abuse

Other people use less apparent tactics to ‘abuse’. Gaslighting is one of the most common – providing false information so frequently and with so much conviction that you begin to doubt the truth; to distrust your own knowledge or instincts.

Isolating and ignoring someone can also be considered abusive – especially if it is a parent/child relationship. It doesn’t ‘look’ inappropriate yet when someone is dependent on our attention and care – to withhold it intentionally is and abuse of power.

Relationships

Relationships are toxic when we no longer can trust, feel safe with, or feel appreciative of – the person with whom we are relating. It can be a romantic relationship, a friendship, a sibling or other family member, a parent… When we continually feel powerless, humiliated, defensive, criticized, belittled, unloved, unappreciated, etc., and our efforts at communicating and resolving those feelings go cold – it is time to GET OUT.

Recognize Normal

Healthy relationships are reciprocal. They are not self-focused. They employ communication – even imperfect – to resolve differences. They are mostly light and easy (every relationship has some level of challenge). They are supportive and compassionate. There is a mutual respect and encouragement.

Disengaging

Disengaging means creating distance. The amount of distance may be determined by circumstances and/or the relationship. At the very least – learning how to set boundaries and demonstrate self-respect is imperative. No one – absolutely no one – deserves or causes abusive behavior. The ‘abuser’ has many, many options when it comes to choosing behavior – many of which are healthy. If they fail to make a healthy choice when they relate to you – make sure you demonstrate self-respect and make the healthy choice to…

Disengage from a toxic relationship.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#117 Practice Appreciation

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#117

Practice appreciation

After a few years in private practice working with couples in crisis, I noticed that they all had a blaring commonality; an absence of expressed appreciation. Early in relationships, whether they are employment, romantic, or just personal – we tend to be observant of the ‘niceties’ that are exchanged and comment on them in appreciative ways. In many cases, that energy quickly wanes.

Gratitude

In the age of the Gratitude movement, it is often apparent that people are using the term gratitude when they mean appreciation and believing that because they appreciate something, they are automatically grateful for it but they are different. They are not one-in-the-same.

Difference from Gratitude

The Oxford English Dictionary explains that Gratitude is the “readiness to show appreciation” and then goes on to define appreciation as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”.  Key into the phrase ‘recognition of the good qualities of someone’ – seeing the good – as that is commonly the area to dissolve first.

I love the way that Esther Hicks explains appreciation – “seeing something through the eyes of the source (creator)”. It is to ‘notice’ and once we do… we can be – and often are – thankful for what we are appreciating (gratitude).

The Practice

In order to actually practice appreciation, we must direct our attention away from ourselves and engage in the present moment. As you recognize the good – comment on it.

“I appreciate that you got up with me this morning.”

“I appreciate that there is always cream in the fridge.”

“Thanks for being willing to work everyday. We appreciate the way you care for us.”

“Thanks for coming home tonight.”

“I’m happy that you’re sitting here with me, thank you.”

And the list is endless. Hearing appreciation for our ‘being’ and for what we do, helps us to feel recognized, loved, and valued.

Tip

The next time you feel salty with your partner or they are being cranky with you – stop and make an assessment of three things that you appreciate about them and share. Even in that no-so-perfect moment,  you can find something to appreciate and expressing it will pump some loving energy into the negative space between you.

It is always helpful and potentially relationship saving when you…

Practice appreciation.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#128 Be Vulnerable

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#128

Be Vulnerable

As a mental health counselor, I spend a significant amount of time encouraging people to ‘be vulnerable’. By definition, being vulnerable means that you “expose yourself to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” It means that we must be willing to lose love, admiration, safety, respect, attention, etc… It is not possible to love without vulnerability.

Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown has spent much of her career researching and talking about being vulnerable. In fact, it is at the core of her famous TED Talk. She has several books documenting her stance on how life is best lived through the state of vulnerability. Indeed – one of the most popular quotes is “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experience.”

The Value

While it can be scary and uncomfortable, the experience of being vulnerable is healthy for us in many ways. When we are vulnerable, we are our most authentic selves. In that state of mind, we are able to experience intimacy in our relationships more fully. Our sense of self worth increases and we become more accountable for our actions. We are apt to experience more compassion, be more motivated, and share our ideas more freely. Maybe most importantly, when we accept the feeling of vulnerability, we tend to let go of our need to be in control… opening doors in most areas of our life.

Letting Go

For most of us, the key to vulnerability is in learning to let go. Letting go means that we have to trust in the process most of the time, trust in the people we’ve surrounded ourselves with, and trust in our own abilities to manage life and relationships. We have to be willing to be a little afraid and accept a bit of discomfort as life unfolds in unknowing ways.

In general, life is better all the way around when we allow ourselves to …

Be vulnerable.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#133 Practice Loving Kindness

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#133

Practice Loving Kindness

The practice of loving kindness stems from the Buddhist practice of the Metta prayer. It’s a specific method of meditating that promotes compassion for others and for the self. It’s easy, and it makes a difference.

Love

The essence of a loving kindness meditation is to conjure up a sensation of deep love, of significant loving energy and then metaphorically – send that love out into the universe toward humanity as a whole or to specific people. There are a number of amazing websites (linked below) and YouTube videos that can walk you through in a guided meditation as you get started.

Imagery

As in many other mental health wellness practices, loving kindness utilizes imagery. It is suggested that as you begin your meditation, you imagine people who love you, surrounding you and sending vibrational hugs toward you until you can essentially feel the loving energy coming from them. You may imagine the swell of love that you felt as you held each of your children or married your spouse. Each of the meditations begins from this place – deep in the experience of sensing love.

Well Wishes

Each phrase found in most scripts begins with “may you…/may I”. The concept is that while in an envelope of loving energy, you send some of it out or reflect it back you yourself in phrases that represent wishes.

“May you feel loved, may you be happy, may you be healthy’

“May you find acceptance, may you feel joy, may you live with ease”

In each phrase, the “you” can be replaced with “I” for the experience of self-compassion.

The objective is to build upon the empathy and compassion that is an innate element of your spirit. The more you practice, the more it grows.

Peace

Those who cultivate a practice of loving kindness speak about the sense of inner peace that develops over time. It is attributed to a deeper sense of happiness. It works to evaporate anger, resentment, and past pains. It becomes a coping mechanism for those times when our humanity loses perspective and emotions become overwhelming.

There is much benefit for you personally, for those people you love, and for the collective consciousness that comprises our universe when you commit to …

Practice loving kindness

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Mindful

The EI Institute

CMind

#143 Plant Your Mother’s Favorite Flower

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#143

Plant your mother’s favorite flower

I cannot see a yellow rose without thinking of my mother – it was her favorite flower. I would buy a birthday card months in advance if I saw one with a yellow rose so that I was acknowledging her with perhaps a little more intent. There is a yellow rose bush planted in the corner of my flower garden in her memory and each time a bud pops up, I am reminded of the comfort she provided in my lifetime.

Cop a Glance

It’s nice to glance out my window and capture a quick glance at those roses. In that split second my mind automatically moves to thoughts of my mom, even if for a nano-second. It’s similar to what happens when I brush past a person and catch the aroma of Old Spice… a flash of my father’s arms embracing me in support is instantaneous.

It’s often tradition to plant a tree in memory of someone we’ve lost which, is a wonderful tribute and long lasting for sure. There were two amazing Willow trees in the rear of the yard at a home I lived in when my step-dad passed. He directed the planting of those trees and frankly, it was the one thing that I regretted leaving when I left that house. If the idea of leaving the plant behind is uncomfortable, it may be better to use a large container. Certainly, that may be the only option if you don’t have a yard in which to plant.

Someone you Love

If your mom isn’t available to ask about her favorite flower, think of one that reminds you of her. Fall is a good time to plant bulbs so that they will bloom next year. Certainly, you can plant something and start it indoors, transferring it outside when the weather is warmer. If, you don’t necessarily want to be thinking of your mother on a regular basis (acknowledging that some people have distant or no relationships there), think of someone who inspires you or reminds you of love (grandmom, a friend’s mother, an aunt, or mentor).

Happy Feelings

Flowers are generally beautiful. Sometimes they smell good. As such, they ignite endorphins in our brain that connect to happiness and overall feelings of good. They do this even if we have allergies as long as we’re admiring them at a distance. When we couple those good feelings with thoughts of someone that reminds us of love – it’s a double happy.

Today is a good day to do something that has the potential to bring a smile to your face. Why not…

Plant your mother’s favorite flower.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#145 Hide a Love Note

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#145

Hide a Love Note

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about surprising someone you love. While finding a love note you’ve tucked away may be a surprise to the person who finds it, I thought it detailed enough to be its own tip to promote your (and another’s) happiness.

This suggestion is almost always found in lists of ‘things to do’ in order to perk up your relationship or build trust and intimacy between you and a partner. It’s another one of those things we are apt to do in the early stages of romance before our attention and energy get pulled into the day-to-day distractions of real life. Yet, it’s another – rather easy – free effort that reaps big payoffs in the long run.

Variations

I’ll describe a number of the variations for this suggestion as well because it isn’t as black and white as it may seem.

  • Love note: This can be a one liner; a lengthy tribute; or anything in between. It is specifically directed to someone you love and the note points to those emotions; includes any ‘loving’ relationship.
  • Thinking of you note: Generally a one liner but may include a romantic suggestion or a good will wish.
  • Appreciation note: A note specifically pointing out the attributes of the individual that you especially appreciate; more meaningful if you speak to ‘who’ the person is versus ‘what’ the person does.

The Medium

The notes can be from a sticky pad, beautiful stationery, printer paper, or the back of an old envelope. It doesn’t matter what the note is written on – what matters is the time and sentiment that it takes to write and then ‘hide’ the message. Likewise, your penmanship, spelling, ‘writing ability’, and writing instrument makes no difference. The sentence: “I luv u with my hole hart” scribbled in crayon is just as sentimental as one that is typed on parchment paper and spelled correctly.

Hiding Spot

Hiding them is perhaps, the trickiest part. It’s nice when they aren’t blatantly obvious although if your only option is to lay it on the kitchen table before you leave for work – it’s better than not doing it. However, the little surprises of finding a note hidden in a towel as you grab your shower, or inside a shoe you only wear on weekends, or at the bottom of a cereal box… those are the moments when you least expect to be presented with something significant or sweet. The goal here is for the note to be discovered in the most least expected way.

Think about the person you are writing to… where would they least expect to find a note of love, appreciation, or a kind thought? Grab something quick, while you’re thinking about it, jot something down and then…

Hide a love note.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below