The Lost Art of “Being Thankful”

When is the last time you really were thankful someone came to your rescue? Maybe you were needing a ride and your neighbor offered to take you to the grocery store. Maybe you needed a baby sitter at the last minute and a good friend of yours called and offered to help you out. Thankfulness is a rare commodity these days. In fact I have seen it abandoned on several occasions.

 

Fotolia_13062510_XSI can remember driving out from Wisconsin to Western Nebraska when I was 19 years old to visit some friends. It was a cold December morning when I noticed that my check engine light was on. I pulled off to the shoulder of the road as traffic on I-80 passed me by. I wondered what I should do. I waited patently hoping a state patrol would stop by and offer me some assistance. It must have been 20 minutes or so when a 18 wheeler semi pulled up behind my car and stopped by to see if he could help me. He knew what to do and asked to check under the hood. He checked my dip stick and said that I was down at least 2 quarts of oil. I didn’t have any oil, so he walked back to the cab of his truck and returned with two quarts of oil. He put it into my engine and I offered to pay him and he said “no.” Promise me that you will help others who are stranded along side the road. I agreed, we shook hands and my guardian angel went on his way. I have kept my promise and have helped many who needed assistance along the roads of Colorado.

I have seen men open the doors for women they didn’t know in restaurants and not heard a thank you from those they were helping. A simple thank would have been nice. I have seen women hold open doors while men were carrying an arm load of packages into the UPS store and they say nothing. What has happened to the days where you appreciated people doing something nice for you.

I have been in a fast food restaurant and have seen the appreciation of our fire fighters who have been fighting wildfires…patrons have bought these men and women their lunches. I can remember waiting in line while a women in front of me with two small children said to the cashier at Wendy’s ” Here’s a $50 to pay for these men’s lunches.” The 3 guys had soot all over their faces and were exhausted. She turned towards them and said “thank you for helping us try to keep our homes.” She walked out and there was silence among all of us who were waiting in line and witnessed this act of kindness. This was her way of being thankful.

Being thankful takes little effort on our part. It’s just making sure that you tell someone that you appreciate the effort that they took on your behalf. It means so much to those who act on your needs. Doing acts of kindness for others is lacking these days and times. People just don’t get it. Many feel entitled and expect people doing things for them without a word of thank you.

I would like to challenge you this week to try to say “thank-you” at least 20 times a day (for one month) to those who help you in anyway shape or form. Let them know that you appreciate their help. It may be a family member, someone at work, someone at the grocery store. But make it a point to go out of your way and tell someone “thank-you.” We need to start bringing back some kindness into a world of hurt.

Dr. Michael Brooks is the founder of Applicable Life Coaching and Counseling Services. His services are affordable, accessible, anonymous and available by appointment from the privacy of your own home. To avoid travel time and the comfort of home, many clients prefer to meet with Dr. Mike over the phone or via Skype. The convenience of this type of coaching is the most effective means of Life Coaching and counseling for those who live out of the Denver-metro area. Give Dr. Mike a call! You’ll be glad you did!

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The Weeds In Our Lives

Living in the mountains has some incredible advantages. The views, nature in all it’s glory. I live on the side of a mountain that has plenty of wild flowers. My place has some of the finest wild flowers this side of heaven. The colors bust forth with florescent yellows, reds, purples, and blues. The wild rose bushes on our place produces some of the best fragrances known to man.

picking the weeds

I also keep the little grass that I have manicured and cut short. Mind you it’s no more then the size of a 20 x 20 square patch. It’s mowed with my push mower that I got as a gift one year. I want this little patch to look like a manicured golf course. I take pride in it. If the dogs leave a chewed up stick on the lawn I immediately pick it up. Before company comes I will go out and make one more grass cut to make it look nice.

The back meadow has some fine tall grass and the elk love it as well. It’s never mowed on a regular basis. I weed whack it once a year at best and near the Brooks BBQ time on Labor day. One morning in August I went out to check the live stock and off the back deck I saw the dreaded Canadian thistle with the purple flower growing in the tall grass. It was about 3 feet tall and slightly hidden behind the pine tree.

I don’t like weeds at all. They’re a nuisance and hard to remove. When I saw the one Canadian thistle I looked around and saw many more all over the back meadow. I was horrified. They were outta control. I went and got my shovel and commenced to digging them up. I knew if I didn’t get these weeds they would consume my entire back meadow.

As I was digging them up the weed pile got bigger and bigger. How could I not notice all the grown weeds over the past few months? There were 100′s of them. When I thought that I had them all removed I would see more up on the upper part of our meadow. After spending several hours of ridding the place of Canadian thistles I was tired and took a break and drank my refreshing glass of iced tea.

As I glanced over the entire area of the lower meadow and back yard and felt a sigh of relief. Then I thought what about the weeds we allow in our personal lives. The people who are consuming of our time and resources. Those who do not listen to good common sense and continue to live in a world of turmoil. The people who are takers and give noting in return. The ones who continually take advantage of others including yourself. Is it time we get those kind of weeds out of our lives? Like your yard, for most of us we get rid of the weeds that will take over our beautiful yard. I think for the sanity for yourself and family it’s time to make some personal changes with the people or situations you are involved in.

Pulling weeds is a no brainer they can destroy your grass and the appearance of your lawn. The people weeds as I call them can destroy your reputation and peace of mind. Are there people that you need to simply remove from your life?If there is and you need help in doing so contact Dr. Mike he can help you. Do you need some advice on eliminating unhealthy people out of your life. Are you ready to take the next step and clean out the messy situations you are facing? Don’t live in a life that you can’t stand anymore..there is hope.

Dr. Michael Brooks is the founder of Applicable Life Coaching and Counseling Services. His services are affordable, accessible, anonymous and available by appointment from the privacy of your own home. To avoid travel time and the comfort of home, many clients prefer to meet with Dr. Mike over the phone or via Skype. The convenience of this type of coaching is the most effective means of Life Coaching and counseling for those who live out of the Denver-metro area. Give Dr. Mike a call! You’ll be glad you did!

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Damage Control When You Say Stupid Things (2)

Last week we covered basic excuses people make when saying something stupid. This week we will go over repairing the relationship and damage control.

When you’re trying to repair a broken relationship from something you have you have spoken I suggest sitting down with the offended is the best action you can do to make things right between you both. Husbands and wives generally have to process what was said before they can have that uncomfortable face to face talk. But when your friend is hurt and you don’t see them that often then the process of fixing or repairing the relationship will take time.

Letting go can open all kinds of doors of healing

If you have said something out of line, go to that person and talk about it!

Sometimes a friend will react immediately when you say something off the wall, and other times it takes time to get a reaction from them. Remember everyone is different, they respond differently. Don’t expect your friends to just “Let it slide” as quickly as you think they should have if the situation were reversed. We are all different in how we react. People who are quiet may need a few days just to think about what’s happened to them before they really know how they feel or will react.

If you’re the offender you might instantly realize you said something foolish and apologize on the spot, only to have your friend nod in agreement and say nothing. At that point in time you may think it’s over, but maybe it really isn’t. Give your friend some time to process your apology and see if any discussion is necessary.

But don’t let too much time pass! If your friend starts to pull away from you, make every effort to make things right with your friend…that’s key!

In a perfect world It’d be nice if we could always mend our broken friendships. But there are some things that once spoken can never be taken back that do irreparable harm to close relationship. If this is what has happened to you then your friend may decide to move on with the friendship, or avoid the closeness that you once shared.

Your friend may need to build up trust with you again and that will take time. They probably will be distant for a while and that’s ok, while they learn to trust you again. Healing a relationship takes time and if you value that friendship you will give as much time that is needed for the healing to work.

It can be extremely painful when you’re sorry for something you said or did and your friend still will not forgive you. It hurts even more when you know that the pain you have caused someone seems to always be at the tip of their tongue or just a thought away when you spend time with them….it’s just there and it causes an uneasiness between you. Let time heal your friendship, and be open and honest and allow your friendship to heal over time.

Do you need help in healing a broken relationship? Is there someone that you want to reconnect with and want help in making that happen. Are you grieving over a broken relationship and need help in moving on? If you answered yes to any of these questions give Dr. Mike a call he can help you.

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Damage Control When You Say Stupid Things (1)

Don’t you love it when you see a classic comedy and you hear people say things that make you cringe yet you’re laughing out loud. The movie Dumb and Dumber was that movie for me. I laughed pretty much during the whole movie..one of my favorite lines was “Harry: “What’s her last name? I can look it up.” Lloyd: “Swim, Swammi, Slippy, Slappy, Swenson?… Swanson?” Harry: “Maybe it’s on the briefcase.” Lloyd: “Oh yeah! It’s right here. Samsonite! Man I was way off. I knew it started with S though.”

Dumb and Dumber

Dumb and Dumber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have two guys who are trying to win the heart of a beautiful woman and yet say the dumbest things to each other. They attack each other in the silliest ways. In real life I have heard people say the dumbest things while in my office and I cringed while hearing them. We all have said something we regret and wish we could take the words back. But once the words leave your lips and the hearer has just processed what you said is when the repair work begins.

I have said plenty of dumb or stupid things during my life. I remember when I was in my early 20′s when I asked a woman when she was expecting. Well my friends, she wasn’t expecting and I got an ear full and learned a life lesson…when in doubt “don’t say anything.”

I have some friendly advice for you that will keep you out of trouble. First size up the situation and think before you speak. And make sure that the person you’re talking to or insulting doesn’t have body guards or family around. Seriously, if you have any doubts about what your about to say and it may offend someone, then don’t.

But for those of you who don’t pay heed to my advice then the next step is to figure out how have you wounded the person you either insulted, humiliated, embarrassed or shamed by your remark. Look at the facial expression, body language, or how they respond verbally to you. If you know that what you said was inappropriate then damage control is in order.

I was in a committee meeting a while back and was taking notes when one of the board members said something to another member. I thought I heard something outta line but I was more into taking notes. How I knew it was bad was when the insulted board member said “How dare you!!!” I looked up to see this woman get up and walk around the table and confront her would be “foot in the mouth” red faced and embarrassed man. I sat back in my chair and wondered how this was going to play out. The man repeatedly said I’m sorry over and over again. I’m sorry is only a start but didn’t help his situation. She walked out of the meeting and yelled “I quit the board.”

When you say something stupid you better apologize and be sincere about it johnny on the spot. If you know you have hurt someone with your words you can’t pretend you didn’t say and go on with life like nothing happened. Looking back, you probably had an idea what you were about to say would hurt someone. A genuine apology can help you and the insulted person come to terms and you both can sit down and talk about the problems you may have. This is very healing if the offended one can get over the initial shock of what you said. Remember we all have said stupid things during our lifetime. The sooner you apologize the better. The reason for this is it looks and feels like it’s from the heart. Waiting to apologize later will cause hard feelings between you both.

When this woman left the board room the guy started making excuses of why he said what he did. He looked pretty foolish to the group. Excuses have no part of being sincere with a stupid remark. You said it and it belongs to you. Admit you were wrong accept full responsibility for your actions. How hard is that? Apparently pretty hard for some people.

I had a friend say something out of line to me, I have pretty thick skin and wasn’t bothered by what he said. I think he realized after he said it, he was wrong as some of my friends confronted him on the spot. He took responsibility for what he said and apologized. Then he started making excuses for what he said thus voiding his apology. So when you say something stupid apologize and leave it at that. Don’t have a come back with:

  • Why are you so sensitive about what I said.
  • Really, you’re upset about what I said, get over it.
  • You have said those things to me.
  • it’s the truth isn’t it?
  • What does it matter.
  • I was angry and it just kinda came out.
  • Kinda thinned skin aren’t ya!
  • That would never bother me.

I have some friends who have to process what was said before a reaction comes forth. Some will immediately react and deal with it right away, while others will take their time and decide how they should react. When you start putting a time frame when you think someone should get over your foot in mouth statement then there is going to be a problem.

Do you need help in healing a broken relationship? Is there someone that you want to reconnect with and want help in making that happen. Are you grieving over a broken relationship and need help in moving on? If you answered yes to any of these questions give Dr. Mike a call he can help you 303.456.0555.

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The Story Of Excuses

 

Earlier this week, a friend of mine stopped by my office.He was making excuses as to why he failed in certain areas in his life. As he continued to focus on his failures he began to blame others.I stopped him and asked him if he thought he had any culpability for some of his failures.He was shocked and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. He stared at me for a few seconds and said that I was the first person in his life to question his lack of ownership for his mistakes.

Boundaries in dating relationships

Boundaries in dating relationships

If we’re honest with ourselves, we knew we all fail at one time or another. I have had my share of failures and continue to have them. I am human as are you. Do you have friends or family members who make excuses for their failures? I sure do. I have several friends who make up excuses for personal failures.

Athletes use excuses all the time for athletic failures. I heard many of them while I coached football at the high school and college levels. I have heard them from corporate executives and from clergy. I have heard excuses from teenagers and grandparents and from married couples to people going through divorce.

Excuses are just another way to blame someone or something else for a mistake and not owning up to it.

Yes, some things that happen that are not your fault or responsibility.If you find yourself blaming others for your mishaps or mistakes, then there is a problem.

I have had clients who have accepted full responsibility for their failures. They just don’t let it lie, they do something about it.If you made a mistake, admit it and then get busy fixing the problem. Many people today don’t take any responsibilities for their actions.

They simply blame others for their actions or behaviors.

Blaming others is an easy way out but it is unacceptable. Growing up in an alcoholic home wasn’t easy. I had to take care of myself and my sister. My older brothers had no idea of what was going on as they lived several states away and were busy with their own families. When I was being punished and sent to my room, I didn’t sit and pout. I read books and lots of them. I kept busy by writing and listening to music. I never once blamed my parents for the way my life turned out. I give credit to God for bringing me out of a bad situation. My sister’s life followed my parent’s example of excessive drinking, smoking and no direction.

What did I learn about making excuses? I wasn’t going to buy into that way of thinking. It’s never too late to repair years of damage due to the excuses you have made to others. Own up to them and stop using others for the excuses in your life.

Following is a list of excuses I have heard over the past few months:

·I don’t have time

·I don’t have the education

·Find someone else to blame

·I’m afraid to fail

·I don’t have what it takes

·I need money to make it happen

·My ideas never work

These are just a few excuses that I hear in my office. I’m sure you have heard many of them as well.

Do you want to take responsibility for your actions and stop with the excuses? Then decide right here and now that you will no longer blame others for your mistakes. This is simple advice and easy to manage if you mean serious business in stopping the blame game. So how does one stop with making excuses?

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When it’s Ok to say “No”

I remember growing up in a military family.  As kids we would ask to go grocery shopping with our parents at the commissary on Saturday morning hoping to get dibs on cookies, candies anything else that would delight our appetites. I was hoping that my pleas would be heard by my parents. “Please can I have these Oreo cookies?” Then my sister would give it a try and she would get the same “No” from our parents.  Our efforts were pointless.   We were going to hear “No” every time we asked for treats.

frustrated couple

As I grew older I would try different approaches on my dad. My mother would just say, “Ask your father.” It was always the same answer “No”.  Looking back I could see why they would answer with “No”.  Most of the things I asked for were either food or money related. I’m glad that my dad said no.  It taught me a work ethic even as a kid mowing grass and doing odd jobs. I came to appreciate earning my own money and buying my own things. A lot of today’s kids get things handed to them just to quiet them up.

I have been in the grocery store and have watched parents give their kids whatever they wanted just to stop their whining. I hear parents in my office talk about giving their kids electronics for school and then complain when their kids play endless games with them, ignoring their school work.

When my daughter was growing up she had the same thought process that I did. “When dad goes to the store I will hit him up for candy, donuts, etc.”  I’m not a total “No” dad and here were times that she did a great job on her homework, or did her chores on time or she might have gone out of her way to do something nice for our neighbor in need.  I would find ways to reward her for her efforts.

The one thing I did differently from my parents, was to take time to explain to my daughter why I was saying no and what she could do to earn money so she could buy the things she wanted. Some of the parents that I work with feel that having their children do chores is cruel and unreasonable punishment.

Being a responsible parent teaches our children to act responsibly with their money they can earn from doing chores, birthday money, whatever the reason to save and spend wisely. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad parent when your child or grandchild comes to you asking for money. If they haven’t earned it don’t be an enabler and hand it over to them because they keep asking.

Saying no means being self-disciplined and being a parent who cares enough to sit down and explain why they are saying no. This usually stops the badgering from the child. I have to say that when my dad told me no, he did me a big favor. As a 14 year old teenager I had my own lawn mowing service and did pretty well thanks to my dad. He provided the mower and trash bags to get me started. He taught me how to run my own small business.  I have carried those lessons with me throughout my adult life and have served me well.

In closing, if you are having a difficult time in saying no, don’t be intimidated by your children, family, or friends. Do you need help learning to say no? Are you afraid that saying no will distance you from those you love? Standing strong will help you take back control of your life and not allow you to be taken advantage of. If you answered yes to any on these questions give Dr. Mike a call and set up an appointment with him today.

 

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The Walter Mitty In All of Us

I remember watching Danny Kaye in the original “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” movie back when I was a kid. It had been out 30 years already, but it was a great movie. It was funny and in a way and described the life of many of my friends while growing up. We all like to day dream about being a sports super hero or someone famous but some of the people we know take it to extremes. Do you day dream? Do you pretend to save the world while watching an action movie? I think we all do a little of that from time to time. We just don’t admit to it. Here’s a little history on the Walter Mitty we have seen in movies.

Walter Mitty is a fictional character in James Thurber’s story “The secret life of Walter Mitty.” Mitty is a meek mild man with all kinds of vivid fantasies that carry him through life. Let’s face it, I think we all can identify with this fictional character in one way or another. For most of us when we were children we fantasized about being an astronaut, cowboy, fireman, dancer, actresses, professional ball players.

Happy Nerdy 60s Game Show Host Giving 2 Thumbs Up

Heck, I can remember in junior high pretending to be Audie Murphy saving the lives of my company fighting the Germans. I saw a movie about him and how he earned the Medal of Honor for his heroics in world war two. I played army in our back yard. The layout was perfect, downed trees, high grass, plenty of room to run and hide. I would race from tree to tree dodging the make believe bullets coming my way. Even as adults we are kids in our thinking at times.

I have sat in my office and heard the horrible stories of people struggling with all kinds of cancers. We all have people we know and love pass from this disease. My parents, sister and many friends have died from cancer. There has been times at the end of my day when I sit back in my office chair and day dream about seeing people cured of cancer. What if I could be the one who found that cure? How many lives would be changed for the better? It’s a humble thought, is it realistic of course not. I’m not a bio chemist, scientist, nor do I have the patience to work long hours in a lab. We all have seen the advances in cancer research. It’s amazing what has been accomplished. I wonder how many Walter Mitty’s as children, dreamed about being a scientist and have helped discover some of the cures for cancer we see today!

There are adult Walter Mitty’s we know of who have become dreamers and inventers. You have Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Madam Curie, all dreamers who didn’t stop at dreaming as adults but put into action and made their dreams come true. There are those men and women who really believe they can make a difference in others lives. Can you admit that you have had these aspirations in making the world a better place while dreaming about them?

On the more serious side there are those who really live in a dream world and live a fantasy life filled with disappointment and sadness . We see them believing in some of the unrealistic feats they have shared with us. These events may be humorous to us but there is a darker side to this way of thinking. In the movies you have seen Walter Mitty never triumphs, several of his fantasies are always being interrupted before he sees a favorable outcome. Do we have people who live in this kind of world? Yes we do. These folks do have brief checks of reality and then slide back into their world of make believe events. The people are deemed or referred to as ineffectual dreamers.

Which one are you? Do you have Walter Mitty dreams as an adult that are a temporary release for you? Or do you have Walter Mitty dreams and never accomplish goals and tasks because you keep living in the pretend world that you create? I see nothing wrong with day dreaming, we all do it. I think we all can relate to dreaming about winning the lotto. How would that feel? Paying off all your bills, your mortgage, your car. I think when we hear about powerball hitting 500 million dollars it brings some excitement to most of those who buy powerball tickets.

In closing, I had a friend of mine who really believed that he would marry his favorite actress. He wrote her, sent flowers, had her pictures all over his office walls. He spoke of her as if he was actually dating her. He was smitten with her in a big way. Most of his friends thought he was off the deep end. They started avoiding him after the business lunches were all about her. He was so consumed that he lost his job, his home and most of his friends. He got help and years of counseling for his obsession. Today he is a regular guy who is married and has a family. He just didn’t realize how bad he had the Walter Mitty syndrome.

Do you have trouble in reaching your goals? Do you day dream about your future and need help in making realistic goals. Does your future scare you? If you answered yes to any of these problems contact Dr. Mike at 303.456.0555 he can help you.

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The Power and Poison of the Tongue (2)

How many of you have said something that you regret? I will be the first to raise my hand to let you know that I have and kicked myself for it. Many of us say poisonous things out of anger to our spouses, children, family members and co-workers. Words have destroyed friendships and even marital relationships. I’m sure we all have seen lifetime relationships end because of something that was said. I know of several broken friendships that have ended over unkind words. I often see offended people in my office with tears streaming down their face, asking for advice on how to repair a fractured relationship. Sometimes it’s too late and the damage is done; however, more often than not, these fractured relationships can be restored with a little hard work and determination.

Fotolia_1426372_XS[1]

We will continue on with this week’s article on “The Power and Poison of the Tongue” – Part 2.

Disrespectful words. This is another area where people get hurt. For example, I have heard many comments about someone’s weight. I have a client who is very critical about the women he dates and their weight issues and has caused them great pain. Another example is parents who tell me about their children weeping over remarks said by fellow students about their appearance. Be extremely careful what you say about someone’s physical appearance. In some cases, these people have no control over their height or body build. Say nothing disrespectful or unflattering and you will keep yourself out of trouble. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it!”

Using comparisons. Growing up, my sister used to hear my mother say, “Why can’t you be more like your brother? He gets good grades and studies.” I have to say, my sister was one who didn’t care about grades or going to college. I know it hurt her as she told me when we were adults that she didn’t like our mother comparing us. Even my teachers compared my sister to me. They could not believe we were siblings because we were so different from each other. Sometimes a husband will compare his wife to his friend’s wives who do things he wishes his wife would do for him. “Jim’s wife has a dessert after each evening meal, why don’t you?” Or, “Dave’s wife works out every day at the gym, brings home a six-figure income and keeps a sparkling clean house. Why can’t you?” This can cause discourse in a marriage by comparing spouses. So don’t go there. Sit down and talk to your spouse about the needs that you may have and don’t compare someone else’s spouse to get your way. Be up front and honest.

Of these, which do you feel you struggle the most with? If you struggle with unkind words you need to stop and consider the damage these words can do. Think about this, how many of these poisonous words have been spoken in your marriage, friendships or work relationships? If they have, there needs to be some relationship repairs.

Go to the people you have offended and apologize for the things you have said. This will go a long way in making things right. If you both have said poisonous words to each other then ask forgiveness from each other. This helps repair the damage that has been done in your marriage, family relationships and friendships.

As I mentioned last week, taste the words you speak before you say them. This will keep you out of hot water. Think about what you will say and the reason you are saying it. If it’s out of anger then be very slow to speak and look at the effect your words will have. Choose your words carefully.

If you have a problem with saying words that are poison then get some help in planning on how to stop causing people heartache. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself and the loved ones in your life. If you can’t fix your broken relationship get help if you need it. Make a promise to yourself that you will stop this destructive behavior.

“I had killed our careful relationship by driving my tongue through its heart and pushing it off a cliff.” Jeff Lindsay

A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever. –Jessamyn West (1902 – 1984) US author

A man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words. –Phillips Brooks

Speak softly. It is far better to rule by love than fear./ Speak softly. Let no harsh words mar the good we may do here. –Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748) English minister

Talking much is a sign of vanity, for the one who is lavish with words is cheap in deeds. –Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618) English navigator, historian, courtier

In closing, I see many couples in my office who have beaten each other up from poison in the words that can never be taken back and leaving lifelong scars of sadness, despair and brokenness. If you need help in managing this problem, contact Dr. Mike at 303.456.0555

Do you regret the words that you have spoken and want help restoring a broken relationship? Do you need to apologize to co-workers or loved ones and need help in offering a sincere apology? Would you like to get help for the hurts you have caused others and to stop your destructive behavior? If you said yes to any of these questions give Dr. Mike a call and set up an appointment today.

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The Power and Poison of the Tongue – Part 1

I was standing in line waiting for a bus to pick me up from the airport to take me to my parked car. While in line, there were two young women talking about one of their friends who was just a few feet in front of them. Everyone within earshot heard them complain about how lazy she was, didn’t wear the right kind of clothes and how she was always late for work. They had no idea how negative they sounded.

Human tongue

As we boarded the bus, they sat in the back row and continued on with their gossiping and running down of this person. I have to say, several of us were just trying to mind our own business, looking up at the ceiling or down at the floor of the bus, but it didn’t seem to work. They got louder as the bus sped up on the highway. The attack and lack of concern about those of us listening in on their conversation was amazing! I wanted to say something to them but felt out of place doing so.

Have you been hurt by someone who said something about you behind your back? Or maybe they said it to your face. Was it a comment that was directed to you by a friend or family member? Perhaps a stranger who was having a bad day took it out on you? I think many people have no idea what their words sound like before they say them. I advise my clients to “taste” their words before they say them. If they don’t “taste” good, then don’t say it! Have you ever said something and just as you said it you think, “Oh my goodness, did I just say that?!” You can’t take back the words once they have been spoken. Unfortunately, the negative reaction is about to take place. Good, bad or indifferent, you know you said something without thinking. Why do we do this to the ones we care about and love?

Let’s look at the areas where we get ourselves into trouble. How about those of you who use sarcasm? “Hey, if you don’t know how to spell a word go look it up, I’m not your dictionary.” Or, “I washed the dishes last night. Who do you think I am, your housekeeper? Do them yourself.” “Pick up your clothes! They won’t wash themselves, you know.” This type of sarcasm is the result of underlining issues that need to be addressed. They can be relationship killers if not put in check.

It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If one cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete. –Norman Cousins

It takes so little to make people happy. Just a touch, If we know how to give it, just a word fitly spoken, a slight readjustment of some bolt or pin or bearing in the delicate machinery of a soul. –Frank Crane

Kind words will unlock an iron door. –Kurdish Proverb

Do you regret the words that you have spoken and want help restoring a broken relationship? Do you need to apologize to co-workers or loved ones and need help in offering a sincere apology? Would you like to get help for the hurts you have caused others and to stop your destructive behavior? If you said yes to any of these questions, give Dr. Mike a call and set up an appointment today.

I see many couples in my office who have beaten each other up from the poison in the words that they have used on each other. Words that can never be taken back and leave lifelong scars of sadness, despair and brokenness. If you need help in managing this problem that many face contact Dr. Mike at 303.456.0555

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Averting Divorce During The Holidays

Averting Divorce During the Holidays

Down for the holidays

Down for the holidays

Believe it or not this is the season where divorce runs high. During the holidays and up to Valentine’s Day, more people ask for a divorce than any other time during the year. Why is that, you may ask? There are many reasons why.

During the course of the year, many couples work outside the home and are busy living their own lives. Outside of their work and careers, they stay preoccupied with hobbies, friends, sports and electronics. Busy schedules keep couples from interacting with each other and building a strong marriage.

Many develop new friendships at their place of work and during the process, use the new friendships to fill in the gap for what is lacking from their marriage. Though most do not engage in sexual relations outside of marriage, many supplant their spouse with friends who fulfill the need for communication and social interaction.

A typical scenario can be one where both spouses return home from a long day at work and are too busy or too tired to have one-on-one conversations.  Sometimes, while at dinner or while watching television they may find themselves talking about co-workers, events at the office or how busy it’s have been with the kids. After a time, it becomes uncomfortable talking about one another’s needs and that leads to stress in the relationship.

For some couples, either the wife or husband may see their spouse in a different light if they have not connected with each other over the past several months and will distance themselves from the other more and more each day. Then, a new and bigger problem has been created.  The neglected spouse notices their partner has changed in some way, but they’re just not sure what it is. They start to look for their partner’s faults and begin to focus on them. The things they once adored and appreciated have become detestable and irritations. The long talks they enjoyed are now short one-word responses. Somewhere along the way, both have lost that loving feeling.

At this point, one or the other may decide these are reasons to separate or divorce.  Some will seek out friends for advice about getting a divorce. The spouse who wants to leave the marriage will process their friend’s advice and may justify their reasons to leave the marriage and move on with their life. If you suspect that your marriage is in trouble don’t wait!  Now is the time to save your marriage. It’s time to be proactive!

Unfortunately, this is a busy time of year for me. My phone rings off the hook from those who want to save their marriage but have no idea what they should do or where to start. Don’t panic! You need to look at realistic ideas that can save your marriage.  Following are a few suggestions to help you put some zest back into your marriage and possibly save it from destruction:

•    Avoid arguments during the holidays.
•    Don’t be a nit-pick, i.e. nag, whine, or force your agenda.
•    Encourage each other with complements and avoid sarcasm.
•    Plan something fun. Go to dinner, the movies, museums, etc. and have fun.
•    Have a date night with just you and your spouse without the kids.
•    Have a time where of you both sit down and talk without interruptions.  Turn off cell phones, the TV, etc.  and focus on each other.
•    Cook a meal together and share responsibilities in preparing and clean up.
•    Put the kids to bed and slow dance to a candle-lit room and sweet talk while dancing.
•    Surprise your spouse with a small gift from the grocery store (nothing expensive but something they will appreciate).

All these are easy to do so if you feel you’re starting to feel distance, then try these tips. Taking action and growing a healthy relationship is a matter of just doing it. Someone has to take the first step and it might as well as be you!

In building a healthy relationship both parties must contribute to the process to make it happen. Both need to be creative and enjoy your time together. Make it a point to have a date night and communicate what you want and need from each other in your relationship. I can tell you that the clients I see in my office, tell me that silence can certainly contribute to a failing marriage.

In my opinion, lack of communication is the number one reason for divorce worldwide. When you don’t talk to one another, no one knows what the other is thinking. Someone may start making assumptions about the other partner and it’s downhill from there. Communication is one of the easiest fixes in a marriage and can be enjoyable as you both learn better communication skills.

In closing if you need help in building a better marriage or want to prevent a divorce, now is the time to do it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. There is no perfect time. The sooner you work on it the better.

If you marriage is in serious trouble and you’re ready to do what it takes to save it, then call for a free complementary 20 minute consultation with Dr. Mike at 303.456.0555.

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