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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Love and sex addict

Candles in love, photo by Nevit Dilmen, Istanbul, Tukey,  loving relationshipsIf you need to ask “am I a love and sex addict?” then you are, because if you are not then you know it clearly. A love addict, like anyone afflicted with any other addiction, is searching for the “high” from a relationship with another. They are obsessed with the thought of how good they feel in their company and having sex, to the extent that when they are apart they cannot think of anything else. This usually leads to clingy and jealous behaviour quite often accompanied by feelings of rejection. Then their feelings swing back up to unhealthy heights and not always together. A functional loving relationship has ups and downs but not extremes.

Veronica seemed contented as she told me
about her marriage of 4 years
as a person with unpleasant past relationships
she had been terribly hurt and because of
her love addiction had previously attracted
such painful relationships
so as we ticked off the positives about
her marriage and 3 children
she couldn’t believe she had found happiness
and was always expecting something to go wrong
then she realised that this was the same
when she first gave up drinking
with doubts about her sobriety, if it would last?
this helped her to realise it was the
cunning process of addiction which
plays tricks on your mind to tempt
you back to the old ways
so she went off to enjoy her success
which she had earned

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Being desired

Forelove  backlight, photo by Ertl Balázs, Dunaujvaros, Hungary, intimacy and loveModesty often prevents us from expressing our need to be desired by the people we love. Yet, being desired is integral to our wellbeing and healthy self esteem, no matter how confident we normally are. When we are desired by someone we love, we see ourselves through their eyes and this lifts our spirits. That desire is usually expressed in the form of a cheeky flirt or a romantic gesture and this is guaranteed to make a relationship more intimate. Intimacy is the solid foundation of a successful relationship.

their relationship was once the envy of all
they held hands and loved being together
dancing, embracing, joking and having fun
that was their calling card and everyone
loved to be around them
then they went through a bumpy time
and the arguments started but
fortunately they came to counselling
and one of their problem solving strategies
was to start flirting with each other again
with no commitment to do anything more!
when they did, it put them in touch with
how serious they had become and how
great it was to feel desired again

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Leisure time for good health

Exercise by the sea, photo by Adam Kurzok, trinec, Czech Republic, wellbeing We can get swept up by work commitments, which results in emotional and physical burnout. We are not aware of this happening because usually the process is enjoyable. Having purpose and direction is very potent for us human beings, whether paid or voluntary activities. However, without leisure time for good health, we can become sick. This can creep up on us, manifesting as common illnesses, depression, addiction and/or moodiness. Being vigilant about these symptoms? can be an early remedy. Better still is prevention, so we need to have a balance between our work and leisure time – no excuses.

I was chosen to run a new program and
we had great success with it which was
most beneficial for the clients involved
I was on call 24 hours a day
for their safety and that of the workers
and after 2 years at this pace
my weight increased and I got
chronic bronchitis and diabetes
my moodiness was not apparent to me
then I developed depression
which took 6 months to recover
I realised how run down I had become, so
I quit the job and found more relaxing work
to this day I am amazed at how intoxicating
that project was that I did not notice
how hard I was working and how
my leisure time had become minimal

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What is a Life Coach?

I’ve been asked “what is a life coach?” and so here is my definition as I function in that role and as the facilitator of the Affie Adagio Life Strategies Workshops.
Talking strategy, photo by Julie Elliot, Whichita, United States, action plan Life coach: a person qualified and experienced in the areas of relationships, personal and professional development. People can develop life strategies to accomplish the lifestyle they dream of, through the services of a life coach. This means achieving goals that have been previously unattainable due to obstacles that seem insurmountable or when resolved keep reappearing. Everyone possesses the skills to improve their lifestyle and often a guide is required to remind them of how it is done. That is the role of a reputable, competent life coach.

a successful businessman comes to see me
as he needed a professional to regularly
use as a sounding board
he provides a person-to-person service
for many of his clients and realised
that over time he was neglecting himself
too busy for self evaluation meant that
he abandoned his own needs for those of others
“that can only have dire consequences” he told me
and he was right, because we get into denial about
where we are at and where we are going, so then
we cannot role model effective behaviour for others!
a monthly visit with me meant he could become real
about his own plan of action and any obstacles
that may have arisen unexpectedly
even though his insights came easily
a gentle prod from me, now and then, was
all he needed because he had done considerable
personal and professional development previously
no wonder he was so successful and
useful for others in their achievements

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Anxiety and addiction

Robin Eggs, photo by Jason Collins, Tillsonburg, Canada, chicken or the eggWhich comes first the chicken or the egg, they ask? Does anxiety create addiction or does addiction create anxiety? As I see it both apply. We become anxious over something and we reach out to self medicate with a substance or process (alcohol, smoking, pills, food, love, gambling, arguing) which we know will give us some relief, even though temporary and unhealthy. Then when the feelgood wears off we are faced with a double barrel situation – the unresolved anxiety from the first instance and the one created by the withdrawal from the feelgood. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, they say. Better to resolve the problem creating the anxiety in the first place. Then the feelgood is kept manageable, for those who can.

I had some university work to attend to
and as it was not that of my choice
the procrastination set in fuelled by my anxiety
or vice versa, who cares?!
so I cleaned out the cupboards and took care
of other chores I had been putting off which
were less unpleasant than the uni work
then I turned to my drug of choice – food
a little of this and a little of that increased
my guilt and anxiety and then I tackled
the original culprit but as I finished the task
I wondered why I hadn’t spared myself the angst
the universal question!

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Maintain vigilance

Owl eyes, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, nothing missedOne human weakness is the need to stop doing what works when things are going well. Usually people who have found their sanity by taking the relevant medication will, against medical advice, stop taking the medication when they feel well, with horrendous consequences. Others will find solutions to their problems through counselling and once the situation improves they stop doing what was necessary to achieve the results, again with horrendous consequences. We need to keep vigilant about unacceptable changes in our wellbeing and once we find solutions then also maintain vigilance to ensure that improvements are not lost.

the last time I saw them they had after a few sessions
resolved their difficulties and made a checklist of what
they had done to sort things out so that they could
continue what worked and maintain the improvement
intelligent, successful, people meant commitment to
the system for success, or so you’d think
why should they be any different to the rest of us
a human frailty is becoming overconfident
and stopping what works
it can happen to me too if I don’t maintain
the vigilance and even then I am prone!
a year later they were back almost ready to divorce and
full of resentment, anger, defensiveness and vengeance
they had time to each tell their version of the problem
having expressed themselves we looked at their checklist
maybe one or two items had been maintained
but the rest had been grossly neglected
although it seemed hopeless we began again
and bit by bit things got turned around
after a few sessions they were back on track
back to basics always works yet we have
a tendency to complicate things

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Seeing the light

Candles in Soft Light, photo by Debbie Miller, Munro, United States, self awarenessHaving experiences that are naturally blissful has been a favoured topic for me lately. Another such bliss is when we get an Ahaa at seeing the light about something. Good communication is one of life’s main assets. Getting it right when we wish to communicate our needs and wants means that our relationships are healthier, our work is more successful, and we have a more enjoyable life. Don’t settle for something that is not clear for fear of annoying another should you probe for more information. The reward of understanding something is priceless. Otherwise you suffer the stress brought on by confusion and misunderstanding.

she was crying her heart out when
I asked what was wrong and
she refused to explain
I paused, giving her time to cry a little more
as I waited she noticed that I was not
going to try and stop her and
she began explaining her predicament
of how her bills were greater than
the money coming in
I suggested that when she was
able to talk we might be able to
look at what options there were
then she became more settled and peaceful
so we considered what she could do
she made a list of those she could contact
and make a payment arrangement with
also what expenses she could do without
like a serious plan to give up smoking
things looked promising as can happen
when seeing the light occurs
that makes all the difference
at the worst of times

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Power of Music

Pure Music 1, photo by sanja gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/517854, mood managementThe power of music can be easily overlooked. Notice which songs or tunes grab your heartstrings – varies with your mood doesn’t it? When we are in a good mood, happy songs complement our mood. When we feel unhappy, songs that are sad and almost like crying make us feel supported in that mood. When we are happy, hearing sad songs can be annoying. Residents of institutions, recovering from mental illness, can become more settled in their mood if classical music is playing. Research showed that monks listening to baroque music became more productive, similarly monks who chanted had the same productive outcome. Sometimes when I’m listening to sad music I can feel myself crying inside and at other times I feel impatient and need to change the music to something unemotional or perhaps classical. Music also helps me to be more aware of ‘where I’m at’.

when I ran halfway houses for people
recovering from addictions or
residential homes for wards of the state
it was apparent that
the music playing in the house
affected their moods
so I recommended that they avoid
as much as possible
heavy metal or loud thumping music
and this not only made a huge difference
to their inner peace and wellbeing
but also helped them feel more empowered
choosing to listen to such music in
shorter spurts and at
more appropriate times
for them and everybody else

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Sorrow

expressions of mads 3, photo by T. Rolf, Kolding, Denmark, soulful feelingsSorrow has its place in our repertoire of emotions. It helps us to appreciate happiness and all other feelgoods. Sorrow also lets us express tension and other pressures because it is a safety valve for stress. Nevertheless, it is an emotion that can be a nuisance, because sometimes it appears when we do not wish to show sorrow, quite out of the blue. It does, however, cause us to stop and observe what is happening inside us. This makes us more self-aware and thereby more healthy.

I received good news about a matter
which had caused me great concern
all day I felt light hearted and happy
then out of the blue I was overcome
with sorrow, such sadness!
as I wondered where this came from
I remembered that sometimes for me
after I am relieved of serious stress
I experience happiness followed by
momentary sorrow and sadness
more like a delayed shock that
I need to acknowledge and process
something I had not allowed myself to
truly feel when I was stressed

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