Tag Archives: Adult

What It Really Means To Be In Love

How to get past your own defenses and learn to build a real relationship?

While many of us may have sensed it intuitively, there is now science behind the statement that “Love is all you need.” A 75-year longitudinal study by Harvard researchers suggests that love is indeed a key to a happy and fulfilling life.

While love seems to be a universally valued attribute, defining it in behavioral terms can be a challenge. As the Harvard study’s lead researcher, Dr. George Vaillant, wrote of his team’s findings, two essential ingredients are proven to correlate with a happy existence: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

While many of us believe we would like to be in love, we face many hurdles in taking the actions that allow love to flow freely throughout our lives and relationships. We have many ways of defending ourselves against love and can struggle to give and receive love with ease, openness, and vulnerability.

With love being so closely connected to meaning and fulfillment, it’s valuable for each of us to define love as an action or series of actions we can take to bring us closer to the people we value. In a romantic context, some essential characteristics that fit the description of a loving relationship include:

• Expressions of affection, both physical and emotional.
• A wish to offer pleasure and satisfaction to another.
• Tenderness, compassion, and sensitivity to the needs of the other.
• A desire for shared activities and pursuits.
• An appropriate level of sharing of possessions.
• An ongoing, honest exchange of personal feelings.
• The process of offering concern, comfort, and outward assistance for the loved one’s aspirations.

Love includes feeling for the other that goes beyond any selfishness or self-interest on the part of the loved one. As such, love nurtures and has a positive effect on each person’s self-esteem and sense of well-being. Love never involves deception, because misleading another person fractures his or her sense of reality.

So how well do we meet these standards for being loving? When we think about a relationship that is meaningful to us, we have to ask:

• Do we both behave in ways that nurture each other?
• Do we take actions to make the other person feel good?
• Do we consider what lights that person up, separate from our own interests?

Too often, we think of love as an almost passive state of being, as opposed to a conscious choice we make. When we regard love as something we simply fall into, we can easily slip into routines with the person we value or lose a sense of separateness and respect. Instead, we view that person as a part of us. We then run the risk of creating a fantasy bond, an illusion of fusion in which real feelings of fondness and attraction are replaced by the form of being in a relationship. In other words, we come to see ourselves and our partner as a single unit. We then fall into roles rather than appreciating each other as individuals and experiencing the exciting, loving feelings that result.

A fantasy bond offers a false sense of security—the illusion that we are no longer alone. However, when we connect to someone in this way, we lose our sense of vitality, and we give up significant aspects of our relationship. The behavioral operations of love are replaced with a fantasy of being in love, which does not nurture either partner.

Relationships tend to go south when we stop taking actions that our partner would perceive as loving and instead start looking to our partner solely to meet our own needs. It’s important to distinguish emotional hunger from real love. Have you ever witnessed a parent hugging a child and wondered whether the hug was intended to comfort the child, offering reassurance and care, or to soothe the parent, taking something from the child? When we reach out to our partner, it can be valuable to examine whether our behaviors are for them or for ourselves. Are we looking to them to fulfill us in some way that is unfair to them? Are we hoping they will make up for an emptiness or hurt from our past?

A couple I’ve worked with recently recognized an example of this dynamic. The wife would often compliment her husband, but he rarely felt acknowledged by her words. When she recounted some of the recent comments she made, she noticed that they were less of a reflection of him and more a reflection on her. Statements like: “Aren’t I married to such a handsome, well-put-together man?” Or: “Haven’t I picked a winner?” didn’t capture qualities that were important to him. They were traits she valued in a partner that reconfirmed her own self-esteem and sense of worth.

Love should never be an act of manipulation. It is not a mark of ownership over another person, but the exact opposite—a genuine appreciation of a person as a separate individual. When we see a person this way, we allow ourselves to fully value them for who they are and for the happiness they bring to our lives. We are driven to be generous toward the person, to show compassion and kindness in a way that both they and the outside world would view as loving.

Of course, there are many barriers we put in place that not only keep us from finding this type of relationship but from achieving it with the person we love. One reason we wind up in less-than-loving relationships is the ways we were treated in our past. We may have become familiar with family dynamics in which we were rejected or intruded on, in which case we tend to seek out or recreate these same dynamics in our adult relationships. To become more loving thus means recognizing ways we self-sabotage: How are we recreating past hurts in our current relationships?

As we reflect on these behaviors, we learn a lot, not only about how we interfere with our naturally loving feelings for others but about the negative ways we feel about ourselves. It’s difficult to express love outwardly when we don’t feel our own sense of self-worth. One of the biggest reasons we shut out love is because we feel unworthy or self-denying. Therefore, to have a loving relationship, we must challenge our negative self-concept or critical inner voice. When we do this and take the loving actions that contradict our critical self-image, we enhance our own sense of worth and are able to get closer to the people we love.




Five Steps For Fighting Stress

Everybody gets stressed from time to time. Different people feel stress in different ways. Some ways of dealing with stress — like screaming, hitting someone, or punching a wall — don’t solve much. But other ways, like talking to someone you trust, can start you on the road to solving your problem or at least feeling better.

Try taking these five steps the next time you are stressed:

1. Get support. 
When you need help, reach out to the people who care about you. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, other relative, a school counselor, or a coach. And don’t forget about your friends. They might be worried about the same test or have had similar problems, such as dealing with a divorce or the death of a beloved pet.

2. Don’t freak out! 
It’s easy to let your feelings go wild when you’re upset. Notice your feelings, and name them — for example, “I am so angry!” And say or think about why you feel that way. Then, find a way to calm down and get past the upset feelings and find a way to express them. Do breathing exercises, listen to music, write in a journal, play with a pet, go for a walk or a bike ride, or do whatever helps you shift to a better mood.

3. Don’t take it out on yourself. 
Sometimes when kids are stressed and upset they take it out on themselves. Oh, dear, that’s not a good idea. Remember that there are always people to help you. Don’t take it out on yourself. Be kind to yourself and ask for the helping hand or pat on the back that you need — and deserve — to get you through the tough situation you’re facing.

4. Try to solve the problem. 
After you’re calm and you have support from adults and friends, it’s time to get down to business. You need to figure out what the problem is. Even if you can’t solve all of it, maybe you can begin by solving a piece of it.

5. Be positive — most stress is temporary. 
It may not seem like it when you’re in the middle a stressful situation, but stress does go away, often when you figure out the problem and start working on solving it.

These five steps aren’t magic — and you might have to do some steps more than once, but they do work. And if you can stay positive as you make your way through a tough time, you’ll help yourself feel better even faster. Ah . . . it feels so good when the stress is gone!


How To Get A Boy To Stop Teasing You?

1. Know that when a boy teases you, he may like you.

A lot of guys don’t know what to do with their feelings, and simply tease you so you don’t think they like you. You should also realize that if he doesn’t smile after he teases you, he may not like you.

2. Walk away.

When he starts talking to you, just roll your eyes and walk away as if he wasn’t there. This will leave him confused, and he’ll think twice before teasing you again.

3. Don’t talk to him.

If he starts a conversation by teasing you, just ignore him and talk to someone else. It’s okay to talk to him if he starts the conversation in a nice way.

4. Don’t let him embarrass you.

Playful teasing can sometimes lead to embarrassment. Don’t let a simple guy ruin your reputation, just ignore him.

5. Leave him alone.

You don’t need to ask him why he’s doing it. He’ll just ignore that and tease you again. Be aware that as soon as you start tolerating him teasing you, he’ll think it’s okay.

6. Tell him to stop.

Look at him in his face, and tell him firmly to stop teasing you. If he doesn’t stop after you tell him, feel free to tell an adult.

7. You think for a second… Are you being mean to him?

If you are, just leave him alone. He won’t tease you anymore. Although if he asks you for a pen, that means he may like you.

8. Tell him to think what would be his condition if he would have been at your place.


– If you don’t talk to him or just ignore whatever he’s doing, he might notice that you aren’t affected by it and will leave you alone.

– After some time, the boy will start leaving you alone.


Seven Reasons To Seek Marriage Counseling

Marriage rates supposedly are on the decline. While it’s an oft-repeated statistic that 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, that number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years. Divorce rates also vary with the partners’ level of education, religious beliefs, and many other factors.

But when divorce does happen, it results in difficulties for adults as well as children. For adults, divorce can be one of life’s most stressful life events. The decision to divorce often is met with ambivalence and uncertainty about the future. If children are involved, they may experience negative effects such as denial, feelings of abandonment, anger, blame, guilt, preoccupation with reconciliation, and acting out.

While divorce may be necessary and the healthiest choice for some, others may wish to try to salvage whatever is left of the union. When couples encounter problems or issues, they may wonder when it is appropriate to seek marriage counseling. Here are seven good reasons.

1. Communication has become negative. 

Once communication has deteriorated, often it is hard to get it going back in the right direction. Negative communication can include anything that leaves one partner feeling depressed, insecure, disregarded, or wanting to withdraw from the conversation. This can also include the tone of the conversation. It is important to remember that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Negative communication can also include any communication that not only leads to hurt feelings, but emotional or physical abuse, as well as nonverbal communication.

2. When one or both partners consider having an affair, or one partner has had an affair. 

Recovering from an affair is not impossible, but it takes a lot of work. It takes commitment and a willingness to forgive and move forward. There is no magic formula for recovering from an affair. But if both individuals are committed to the therapy process and are being honest, the marriage may be salvaged. At the very least, it may be determined that it is healthier for both individuals to move on.

3. When the couple seems to be “just occupying the same space.” 

When couples become more like roommates than a married couple, this may indicate a need for counseling. This does not mean if the couple isn’t doing everything together they are in trouble. If there is a lack of communication, conversation and intimacy or any other elements the couple feels are important and they feel they just “co-exist,” this may be an indication that a skilled clinician can help sort out what is missing and how to get it back.

4. When the partners do not know how to resolve their differences. 

When a couple begins to experience discord and they are aware of the discord, knowing is only half the battle. Many times I have heard couples say, “We know what’s wrong, but we just don’t know how to fix it.” This is a perfect time to get a third party involved. If a couple is stuck, a skilled clinician may be able to get them moving in the right direction.

5. When one partner begins to act out on negative feelings. 

I believe what we feel on the inside shows on the outside. Even if we are able to mask these feelings for a while, they are bound to surface. Negative feelings such as resentment or disappointment can turn into hurtful, sometimes harmful behaviors. I can recall a couple where the wife was very hurt by her husband’s indiscretions. Although she agreed to stay in the relationship and work things out, she became very spiteful. The wife would purposefully do things to make her husband think she was being unfaithful even though she wasn’t. She wanted her husband to feel the same pain she felt, which was counterproductive. A skilled clinician can help the couple sort out negative feelings and find better ways to express them.

6. When the only resolution appears to be separation

When a couple disagrees or argues, a break often is very helpful. However, when a timeout turns into an overnight stay away from home or eventually leads to a temporary separation, this may indicate a need for counseling. Spending time away from home does not usually resolve the situation. Instead, it reinforces the thought that time away is helpful, often leading to more absences. When the absent partner returns, the problem is still there, but often avoided because time has passed.

7. When a couple is staying together for the sake of the children. 

If a couple feels it is wise to stay together for the sake of the children, it may help to involve an objective third party. Often couples believe that they are doing the right thing when staying together actually is detrimental to the children. On the contrary, if the couple is able to resolve issue and move toward a positive, healthy relationship, this may be the best decision for all involved.

In my opinion, children should never be the deciding factor when couples are determining whether to stay together. I recall working with an adolescent who was having trouble in school. She was acting out and her grades were declining. After a few sessions she stated, “I know my parents really don’t like each other.” When I asked her why, she replied, “They are nice to each other, but they never smile or laugh like my friends’ parents.”

Children are generally very intuitive and intelligent. No matter how couples may think they are able to fake their happiness, most children are able to tell.

All marriages are not salvageable. In the process of marriage counseling, some couples may discover it is healthier for them to be apart. However, for those relationships that can be salvaged, and for those couples willing to commit to the process, marriage counseling may be able to remind them why they fell in love and keep them that way.


How To Ignore Fake Rumours?

Fake rumours happen to us all, and you need to know how to ignore them.

  • Try to put on a brave face. Never get mad or upset in public, this could just further the gossip and may start more rumours.
  • Be civil towards the rumour starters, sinking down to their level and hurling insults may make you look bad, thus damaging your reputation further.
  • If people question you about the alleged rumour, simply say it’s not true, and you don’t know why it was started.
  • Don’t try to deny what’s being said about you too much, as it can look like your trying too hard to defend yourself, and it causes people to believe it could be true.
  • If you feel threatened or bullied by the rumours, tell someone. Rumours are one thing; bullying is something else, and gossip can soon turn nasty.
  • One comeback to use if you must use one is “that’s so funny, I heard the same exact thing about you”. This is not a comeback, but if someone asks you about the rumour, and they say so-and-so said this, you can try this comeback.

Tips :

  • Act nice and act like you don’t care.
  • If they are physically hurting you, and it continues, tell an adult immediately.


Shrink Yourself To Free Yourself From Overreacting.

Overeating, binge eating, stress eating, and emotional eating are powerful coping mechanisms because they help people escape whatever uncomfortable feelings are in front of them.

I define emotional eating as using food to deal with your experience of powerlessness over the struggles and stresses of life. Something always triggers you to overeat, perhaps some friction with someone or an emotionally relevant event in your life.

It’s not the person or the event that sets you off but how those things made you feel. At first you may not even know how you feel. As you work on being your own psychotherapist, you’ll observe the places you’re at or the people you’re around when you tend to overeat. Then you’ll pay close attention to what feelings come up for you around those people or situations.

Simply identifying the times you overeat is a huge first step. It’s a huge step because as things start to come in to focus you’ll be able to put a spotlight on them and that will allow you to analyze them. Inevitably, you’ll have to confront the bad feelings that, up until now, you’ve been trying to get rid of by eating.

Let’s face it; there isn’t anyone who welcomes bad feelings. We look to do something with them, like wish them away. We try to forget them. We take a nap, go for a jog, talk to a friend, distract ourselves with television or a book, have a drink, smoke a cigarette, have sex, or eat a snack.

Ideally, you can get to a point where bad feelings are like bad weather — you know they’ll pass. Just like when you know it’s going to rain and you bring your umbrella, you’ll know how to predict your feelings and what you’ll need to get through them. If you haven’t yet arrived at this place of acceptance, where even bad feelings are a part of you to include rather than to banish, then food will remain your preferred method of medicating yourself.

Why has food become the thing that you consistently turn to when feelings triggered by people or events feel unbearable?

Food serves two very effective purposes. First, it helps you avoid feelings. I call the desire to avoid emotions the “feeling phobia.” Also, food gives you a way to replace bad feelings with the pleasurable experience of eating. I call the pleasurable experience that food provides the “food trance.” In short, eating protects you from the feelings that you don’t want to feel.

If your feelings open the door to your interior world, then eating slams the door shut. It keeps you functioning on a surface level. Although you’re feeling powerless to control what and how much you eat, at least you don’t have to focus on the deeper things that really make you feel powerless (failed relationships, unsatisfying careers, difficult children, etc.).

Many people report to me that as they’re approaching their goal weight they often sabotage themselves and all of their efforts. They wonder why that is. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. You may be able to relate to that experience.

The answer, time and again, proves to be simple: if you didn’t have your weight to think about you might have to think about what’s really bothering you and that’s very frightening. It’s frightening because you feel powerless to change the things that really bother you. You’ve made what I call the “unexamined powerlessness conclusion.” It’s the conclusion that you’re powerless over your feelings and the circumstances in your life that the feelings point towards, so why not just eat instead.

Eating takes you to an earlier place in your development, predominantly because, as infants and children, food is often associated with comfort and love. However, childhood is also associated with powerlessness. As a child, you were, in fact, powerless. You might have been mistreated. Maybe you couldn’t control your impulses. Perhaps you were subject to abandonment or dependent on others to protect and nurture you.

Even if food provides you with some of the comfort of infancy by taking you back to that state of mind, when you use food in this way you’re reverting back to a childish way of dealing with the world. And that reminds you of the powerless feeling of being a child.

You’re an adult now and you have choices. You can be the powerful agent of your own life by facing your feelings and hearing what they have to say to you. Or you can continue eating to cope with emotions, knowing that it actually keeps you stuck in childhood, a place where you were powerless.

Facing your feelings brings you to adulthood, the only place where you have the possibility to finally be powerful.

Emotional eaters can’t see the forest through the trees. In the moment when feelings have been triggered and an unexamined powerlessness conclusion has been reached, eating feels like a life or death decision.

When you distract yourself with food it’s not an apple or a simple cookie. It tends to be large quantities of food, typically unhealthy foods, and the foods are eaten in a voracious aggressive way –- more like stuffing than eating. By the time the eating frenzy has ended the bad feelings have vanished; but they aren’t really gone. They’re just buried under food almost like lost files on a hard drive. They exist somewhere but are temporarily irretrievable. You’re addicted to the escape that the food provides more than the food itself.

You can stop using food as an escape. By finding the upsetting feeling or situation and addressing it directly you can avoid overeating and recover your power at the same time.