Do unto others

Shaking hands, photo by Ales Cerin, Ljubljana, Slovenia,  friendly behaviourA very well known biblical saying with lots of meaning is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Such a practical life strategy because it gives us a reminder to take 100% responsibility for our actions so that the consequences will be a reward. The only difficulty is that denial is a human shortcoming which fools us into thinking that our behaviour is appropriate when sometimes it is not. Then we are surprised at the reactions we get from people and can feel victimised when that happens because we think we didn’t deserve what was dished out to us.

my adult children are my pride and joy
so at times when their behaviour is
what I consider somewhat dysfunctional
I mention my observations as carefully as possible
as I expect of them in return, should it be necessary
and then I reflect about what I had ever done
which role modelled such behaviour because
it is easy to think I hadn’t
maybe I did and maybe I didn’t
nevertheless as a parent I am reminded of
do unto others as you would
have them do unto you
and the consequences come back to
either bite or reward us

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Love and trust

Holding hands, photo by Herman Hooyschuur, Amsterdam, Netherlands,  loving relationshipThis comment was made by Vickie Turley and it supported my post on ‘Trust is vital’

Without trust we cannot be authentic with one another. And trust is built over time – which is why relationships take time to grow. Too many times we want to rush the relationship but the trust isn’t there yet. We must be patient and let it come.

What Vickie says is believed by many and it works for them.

I believe in another school of thought which is that trust is not earned, it already exists to begin with, just as love does. The ability to trust is abundant and in setting such an expectation the people we love live up to that expectation. However, if we slip and make a mistake then we need to make amends and build that trust up as we would a plant that has been damaged, gently. This notion feels easier to achieve than one that takes time and we need to work hard at to achieve. When the trust is not there in the beginning of a relationship I would ask “what is going on?” – does one or both of the partners have intimacy issues or have experienced damaged trust in the past and are bringing it into the relationship as baggage? In which case they would do well to process that baggage or see a therapist to assist in that process.

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Fear of rejection

Midnight BooWe pretend to be strong and yet fear of rejection can keep us apart. So many people recoil when they face a criticism. This can be because as a child their parents and or teachers impacted on them in a negative way, whether real or perceived the damage was done. As an adult they are left with scars from those experiences which affect their relationships badly. Others behave in the opposite way – they enjoy the challenge when they are rejected and keeping coming back. Both reactions can be perceived as attractive or unattractive depending on how your needs are met. Nevertheless, we can choose to deal with rejection in a way that makes our lives fulfilled or doomed, it’s all a choice.

Alison had been screaming at her daughter Suzie
for at least half an hour and it felt no better
Suzie quietly got up and said to her mother
that as she was middle aged she chose not to
feel this distress anymore, so she was leaving
Alison screamed out “stay and fight you coward”
and Suzie replied “yes I am a coward and am going”
leaving her mother with her own dysfunctional state
which meant that Alison had to take responsibility
for the insane behaviour she had shown because
there was no one there to blame anything on

(So Sorry after 7yrs and although he had been thanked then, I had to remove the great photo now because the owner asked it be removed so my adorable fear ridden 14 yr Bombay cat Midnight is the replacement photo…Affie 25/9/14)

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Trust is vital

Lovers, photo by Ovlachi György, Budapest, Hungary, intimacy, loveFor a relationship to grow, trust is vital. Whether the relationship is one between you and your lover, parents, children, colleagues, and/or your friends, without trust you have major problems. Trust creates closeness, otherwise known as intimacy and this fuels a relationship. So when you have relationship difficulties, look at what has happened to the trust between you and rescue the relationship by building the trust once more. Sometimes you need the assistance of a therapist for this.

he kept telling her that she needed
to lift her game for him to trust her again!
and then he was surprised that she
didn’t want to have sex or that
she wanted to leave him
we spoke about the impact his
criticisms had on her self esteem
and that she couldn’t trust him now
because his remarks had hurt her so much
in time as they spent more quality time
their friendship strengthened and
they were able to express their needs
much more appropriately than
attacking each other or expecting
that the trust be earned before
love could be rekindled between them
now they are enjoying their relationship
as the trust grows stronger

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Madness of addiction

Almost mad ii, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, Greece, insanity Addiction plays tricks with the mind, a form of insanity. People who are in denial about their addiction resent the notion that they are suffering the insanity that goes with the condition. How else can you describe the madness of addiction other than insanity, when you make yourself promises you don’t keep, when you find yourself lying, when your life becomes unmanageable and still you do the same? Is that not a form of insanity? Those of us who make it to the serenity of recovery, reach a stage when we are not ashamed of admitting that to be addicted,and remain that way, is insanity.

as I enjoy my serenity from
nicotine and food addiction
I value my freedom from being
compelled and yet not having enough
which is what the insanity of addiction
meant for me – not enough and yet
not being able to stop
so I attended 12 Step meetings
spoke about my innermost feelings
especially the ones I buried deep because
I didn’t like them for being unaccceptable
had regular visits with my therapist
and explored the madness of addiction
I remembered from the 12 Step program that
I am not responsible for my addiction but
I am responsible for my recovery
so today I carry that message as part of
my personal and professional life

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Alone – revisited

Self portrait, photo by Marcelo Terraza, Brasilia, Brazil, me myselfI was contacted by a reporter, from Melbourne Age, who found posts on my site about living alone and I was interviewed. The interview covered my personal experience of living alone, those of clients I have seen who live alone, and what I would say as a Life Coach about this lifestyle. The most important points are that it is a rewarding lifestyle when it is by choice, it provides a unique feeling of freedom to do whatever I want when I want (within reason) and as I have been in the wife and mother role before, now my priorities are different. That doesn’t mean I will stay alone, as someone may come along who fits in with my current lifestyle and then I will be willing to share it. However, for now I am enjoying my aloneness.

Kenneth White from Palm Springs California made a comment on one of my posts on living alone and I thought it would be beneficial to show it here.

Bravo!!
Great site.
Very open and informative. Especially on
living alone and relationship checklist!
Congratulations.

Thanks, Kenneth.

Self portrait, photo by Marcelo Terraza, Brasilia, Brazil, me myself

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Escapism

Sunset  over New York City 4, photo by Dee Fontenot, New York, United Sates, romantic cityLife can be so stressful that at times it does us good to see some movies that classify as codependent drivel. For women otherwise known as romantic comedies where ‘boy meets girl, they fight, then they end up together and live happily ever after’ and we leave the theatre smiling. This is often called a ‘chick flick’. For men the unbelievable action story where they dodge bullets and explosions and still live through, only to have sex with the perfect female star. As long as we remain aware that these movies are purely a form of escapism, then it is harmless codependent drivel.

my friend, Elizabeth, and I went to the movies
and as we considered which film to see
we spoke of our emotional state
I said I felt like watching something light
perhaps some codependent drivel
and we chuckled thinking about it
to this day I don’t remember what we saw
but I do remember us laughing
and leaving with uplifted spirits

sunset over New York city 4, photo by Dee Fontenot, New York, USA, romantic city

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Sleeping to the sound of music

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping musicA relaxing activity is to play instrumental peaceful music as you fall asleep. It is vital, though, that the music be gentle and not have words that can instil a contrary message in your subconscious mind. Some songs, although beautiful, have messages of ‘poor abandoned me’ or psych you up with ‘I’m a winner’ and this is not relaxing as you sleep. Also important is that you play music that will finish and not be repeated all night because this may only keep you in a light sleep and not give you the rest you need. The same applies to sleeping with the TV on which can keep your mind busy all night. Then you wonder why you are tired and crotchety during the next day?

as we talked about the tension in their relationship
and what took place on a daily basis
it became apparent that every night they
watched TV in their bedroom
for relaxation of course!
they fell asleep while it was on
as their therapist I suggested that they
try turning the TV off when it was time to sleep
and they could play soft relaxing music instead
they did and the difference in their daytime
behaviour and interaction was noticeably calmer

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping music

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Same sex relationships

Ballroom, photo by Lioness65, Frankfurt, Germany, gay couplesWhen I write about relationships it is important to understand that the same applies to same sex relationships except for marriage, which is not legally permitted in this country, yet. A gay couple who wishes to make a relationship commitment can do this in a ceremony which is similar to a marriage. Any civil celebrant can perform such a celebration and I have not come across one who would not be happy to do so. One day in this country, we will progress to the point when we can have legal marriages between same sex couples, and I as a celebrant look forward to that day.

They came to me to be married and
I explained that in this country
same sex marriages were not permitted
I felt so sorry that I was the messenger of
such an antiquated way of thinking
nevertheless, we planned a beautiful ceremony
which involved everything that a
heterosexual couple would experience
the only difference was that there were
no State documents signed
yet the moment was captured in
a sentimental ceremony which will
provide an exceptional memory
to all those who were at the ceremony

Ballroom, photo by Lioness65, Frankfurt, Germany, gay couples

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Romantic trade-off

You&Me, photo by Valentina Jori, Roma, Italy, intimacy How many times have you been frustrated with your partner because you feel that you give and cannot get the same in return? Whether it has to do with the type of movie you want to see or what hobbies to share. This can affect your sex life too because the partner who feels less powerful in the relationship can lose their sex drive and can appear to be with-holding that pleasure. Of course, communicating your innermost concerns is a tricky task for some. An effective way to right this imbalance is to use a romantic trade-off. The couple can sit and work out what each one feels is missing in their relationship and then agree to trade-off one requirement for another. In that way there is a fairness to the process which results in greater intimacy. Sometimes this is done with the help of a therapist.

Susie was a sexy, sensual woman when
they first got together
that’s one of the characteristics that
attracted Bob to her
then after awhile that changed drastically
Bob had wondered what had caused that
was she no longer attracted to him?
when they came to see me we looked at
what worked and what didn’t and
some of their needs and wants were negotiated
for a romantic trade-off which satisfied both
not all requirements were resolved but at least
they agreed to disagree, for now

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