Communication is an important part, if not the most important part, of any relationship. The way you communicate has a major impact on your ability to get along with the various people in your life – spouses, children, coworkers, friends, and neighbors. When communication breaks down, relationships suffer. According to recent research, poor communication is the number one reason why couples (and friendships) break up.
Any relationship worth having experiences conflict at some point. The conflict isn’t the problem (conflict is a natural part of intimacy), how the situation is handled is the determining factor in whether the relationship will deepen or be torn apart.
I’m a control freak. There … I said it. I like everything to be in perfect order. I have a difficult time when there is a mess in my surroundings or in my life. Being a person who is addicted to certainty is manageable when everything goes as planned, but what happens when life throws a curve ball? That’s when things get interesting!
As a driven, type A personality, I made sure it was all in order. College … marriage … two kids … a house with a fence … money in the bank. I left nothing to chance. There was always a master plan.
Then, one day, without warning, it all began to unravel. At first it wasn’t anything major, a few issues here and there, but before long, piece by piece, my life fell apart. And when it did, I didn’t know how to cope. I was a person who was addicted to certainty and everything was out of my control. Fear of the unknown consumed me.
This morning I had a conversation with a colleague about the topic of loss and grief and in it we shared intimate details about traumatic experiences that we each have survived. During the discussion, she made an interesting statement. She told me that there was a time when she knew she had to leave the “waiting room”. I have never heard the phrase “waiting room” used in relationship to grief so I asked her to explain. She told me that “waiting room” describes the space between the horrific pain of an experience, and the life of possibilities that can be lived. She added that many people spend their entire lives in the waiting room.
She got me to thinking about all of the time I spent hanging out in the waiting room. Simply existing. Staying in my comfort zone longing for what will never be. Not truly living or thriving!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mel Robbins, the creator of the Five Second Rule and author of The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage. According to Mel, we live our lives inside a gap between what’s happening to us and our reaction to it and that gap is about five seconds long. She believes that by implementing her five second rule, which is simply counting back from five to one and then taking action, we can transform every aspect of our life. The premise is that by counting through the five seconds, in which we usually begin to think and allow excuses to come in, we can close the gap, be in control, and override bad patterns in our mind. She says this enables us to take action and to create positive new habits.
How we feel about ourselves dictates the way we live life. It impacts the way we approach just about everything we do. Yet, sadly, many people struggle to believe in their worth and abilities.
Throughout my life, my levels of self-confidence have ebbed and flowed. Growing up I was an overweight adolescent, which had a significant effect on how I viewed myself. When you’re young, external validation is so important and when that is compromised, it can stay with you forever. When I became a teenager, I lost weight, but, to be honest, my self-image didn’t change. The programming was written, and, as I later learned, only I could modify it.
For the past few weeks, friends and family has had to listen to me ramble on about the pool I just added to my backyard. Hearing me one would think I had the most beautifully designed masterpiece installed. In reality, it’s an average oval-shaped, above ground pool. Nothing spectacular or particularly enchanting, and yet, the excitement is pouring out of every inch of me.
Today, I have a long list of things to do. There are work projects that must be completed, meetings to attend, a haircut appointment, and household chores. Today is like any other Monday, except it would have been my 30th wedding anniversary.
Thirty years ago today I said “I do” to the promise of sharing my life with another.
It was a beautiful day filled with happiness, love, laughter, and a world of possibilities.
Growing up, like most other young girls, I dreamed of the day I would find love. I had my entire life planned out. And for two decades, for the most part, I lived that life. But, as I soon learned, it takes two people to make a marriage work and ours wasn’t meant to be.
Are you someone that dwells on what is missing or went wrong in your life? Do you whine and complain about your problems? Do you believe that you’ve been dealt a bad hand? Or, are you someone who sees the beauty in every situation, counts your blessings, and has decided that you will live your life in gratitude?
Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. To be grateful is a mindset, a conscious decision that we make.
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with an extraordinary woman, Colleen Alexander, who exemplifies the power of the human spirit and the ability to find the good in any circumstance.
In 2011 while bicycling home from work, Colleen was run over and dragged by a freight truck. The accident left her body ripped apart and shattered into pieces as she clung to life. Her survival would be a miracle; she flat lined multiple times as EMTs, doctors, surgeons, and nurses worked ferociously to save her.
February is the month of the heart, the time when we celebrate love. We buy chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and greeting cards to profess our undying love to that special someone. But, in all the hoopla of the season, perhaps we forget to honor the affection provided by the people that sustain us and enable us to thrive – our friends.
We hear so much about marriages, committed relationships, and romantic breakups, but I believe we neglect to truly understand the dynamics of what may be the most important relationships in our life – friendships.
As another new year begins, I have spent hours pondering what I want my first message to be, as it sets the tone for the year ahead. As I reflected on 2017, and all the wonderful things that have happened to me, I realized that the message is simple: Even in the darkest moments of your life, there is strength within you (that you don’t even know exists) and, if you don’t give up and succumb to the negative feelings, you will realize that there is hope and that better times lie ahead.
For someone who is going through an extremely traumatic period in life, you may not believe what I am preaching because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or because you believe that your life is over.
While the life that you knew may be over, or to be more correct, changed, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me … I know.