Friday, 15 December 2017

How to Rebuild A Relationship After Cheating

Finding out that your partner has betrayed your trust is completely devastating. You begin to question the entire relationship, struggle with feelings that you’re not good enough and, above all, wonder whether or not the damage can be repaired.

One thing that can offer you at least a sliver of comfort?

If you’ve been cheated on, you’re not alone.

In fact, in 1/3 of marriages, one or both couples have committed some form of cheating during their relationship.

While there are countless articles encouraging you to dump your cheating partner, there are also resources to help you out in case you decide to give your relationship a second try.

After all, if Beyonce and Jay-Z were able to do it, then why can’t the two of you?

If you’ve decided to stay with your partner after being cheated on, then you need to know what it really takes to heal.

Read on to find out how to rebuild a relationship after cheating.

Take Some Time Apart

cheating time apart

Finding out that you’ve been cheated on can lead to some serious fights between you and your partner.

These fights quickly stop becoming productive. Once that happens, they will start to take cruel turns that can make it a lot harder for you to move on. If you’re still living together or spending time together in the same environment, consider moving out. It will be impossible to resist the temptation to cut your partner down or to beg for forgiveness.

Whether you’ve been cheated on or if you’re the one doing the cheating, you owe it to both yourself and your partner to spend a few days away from each other.

First, you’ll be able to clear your mind. Secondly, you’ll be able to seek the support and advice of your friends. It will also help you remove yourself from a toxic environment.

So, book that dream Airbnb or just spend a few nights crashing on your friend’s couch.

Consider Counseling

Improving communication with your partner after being cheated on is one of the most important things you can do in order to heal.

To ensure that both sides are heard and that the difficult questions are addressed honestly, it’s a good idea to have a therapist to play as a mediator and to offer objective advice.

To find local counseling therapists in your area, you can search online or ask your friends if they know someone who can help.

Remember, cheating is often caused by underlying issues in your relationship. It can even be a consequence of the emotional imbalance of your partner. It’s important to tackle these problems head-on if you want to rebuild trust.

Resist The Urge To Snoop

20% of men go through texts and pictures while in a relationship.

If you’ve been cheated on, the desire to spy on your partner can be incredibly strong. While it might feel satisfying or offer a sense of relief if you don’t find anything, it’s important to think bigger.

Remember that spying on your partner indicates a serious lack of trust. If you truly want to move on after infidelity, then you need to learn how to trust your partner again.

This starts by resisting the urge to check their messages on social media.

Remember, It’s A Process

relationship process

When things are good with your partner, it can be tempting to throw the past out of the window and return to your previous routines. It can also be challenging to stick around if the changes you want to see aren’t happening fast enough.

Give your partner a chance to improve and give yourself the time to heal. Remember that recovery after infidelity is a process. If you treat it like a race, you’ll both end up losing.

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Why Scientists Agree That Dancing Is the Best Way to Get Fit and Live Longer

“You only live once; but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~Mae West

The other day, I saw a bit of a clip from a video of the Stones’ last world tour. Mick Jagger was prancing round the stage like an eighteen year-old.

It was a bit depressing. Why can’t I do that still?

I used to be a demon dancer. Well, I thought I was at the time, like teenagers do.

I don’t feel like a demon dancer now. I really ought to get some more exercise.

Do you feel like that? That you ought to exercise, but you can’t really get up the steam to do it? That somehow, it’s all too much hassle, even though we all know how important it is?

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn

I’m always looking for some way of doing exercise that I enjoy and will stick with.

Are you like me? You’ve tried—not just tried; you’ve tried everything?

But it doesn’t work out.

I took up swimming before work.

You have to wear your work clothes and change in and out of them. Your hair gets wet and takes ages to dry. If you’re unlucky, you drop your suit jacket on the muddy changing room floor. So, you go to work with a jacket with a dirty stain on it. Plus, you smell of chlorine all day and get plantar warts.

When I was well into the corporate life, I went to a gym, but that wasn’t much fun. I was always tired, even before the extra journey to get there. There are all those incomprehensible machines to make you do unnatural things. It’s boring, nobody talks to anyone else, and the changing rooms smell horrible.

I took up running. That was better, although mostly still nobody to talk to. At least it was outside in the fresh air. I even ran to work sometimes, although you have all the shower and change of clothes difficulties at work then.

I did a few fun runs and that was a bit of a laugh—but I got quite fit! Then I had a small accident and suddenly running wasn’t a good idea any more. Bad for the back, bad for the knees.

Since then I’ve been sure to keep on walking. Every day. But it’s rather boring, doing the same walks over and over again. In the town, there’s all that pollution to deal with too. And it isn’t any fun at all when it’s raining.

No wonder people don’t get enough exercise—it’s all too difficult in today’s world.

Here I am, still not that fit and getting a bit less fit as each year goes by. Making the same old New Year’s resolutions.

The Science of Exercise and a Bit of Motivation

I came across an article about how scientists had determined the best exercise for a long and active life. Yeah, I want to live a nice long time. Show me where to sign up!

Scientific research shows that the best exercise you can get to live longer and in better health is dancing. What—old fashioned, may I have the pleasure, ballroom type dancing? (Well, it is very popular now.) How can that be the latest, best new exercise hack?

Did you go dancing when you were young? I did. Friends and laughter, and the music was great! It beat hockey practice, or netball or football or whatever sports we were made to play at school.

And the scientists agree! Dancing does much more for your body, your muscles, and your brain. You have to be disciplined, coordinated, flexible. You need good posture and strong muscles. You have to control your breathing.

It keeps your brain active, because you have to integrate so many different things at once—moving your arms, legs, and head in the right way, keeping in time to the music. You have to be aware of others on the dance floor and gracefully avoid them. You have to memorize the steps.

All that work makes your brain develop more cells and a bigger hippocampus. It helps protect you against memory loss, against cognitive decline.

It’s great for preserving your sense of balance; dancers don’t fall over as they get older and so they stay out of hospital and live longer.

It’s sociable; mostly you dance with other people. And you can practice at home if you want.

It lifts your spirits and stops you getting depressed.

You live longer, you’re happier, you have more energy, and you make friends.

So, lots of scientific reasons to motivate you to get dancing.

“Exercise is a tribute to the heart.” ~Gene Tunney

What did the scientists miss, though? They missed that it is loads of fun to dance. They missed that this is something that you can really love doing.

They missed that there’s a huge variety of styles, that there’s always something new to learn. Tap, salsa, Zumba, ballet, ballroom, country, barn, folk, Morris, Russian, Hungarian, jazz, modern, line dancing—there’s too many types to list!

They missed out the connection to the music.

Viennese waltzes by Johann Strauss. Musicals from the thirties, and every decade since. Rock music from the Beatles. Jazz by the likes of Charlie Mingus and Take Five by Dave Brubeck. Folk from Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Pop from Abba. Latin American. Bollywood.

I love sixties music best. What can beat the Rolling Stones’ great hit, “Satisfaction” for a great dance number? Look, the Stones are still out there playing to the crowds. They are still dancing and show few signs of giving it up, for all their age. They look as though they love it.

The scientists missed talking about motivation too. As I was saying, it’s a big issue for exercise, finding the motivation to do it. It’s a big issue for me and loads of people just like me.

So, we need to do something that actually want to do. We need to find ways of making exercise such fun that we’d rather be doing that than anything else.

If the music makes your heart sing, then dancing might be the exercise for you. Even if it just makes your feet tap and gives you a bit of an itchy feeling, dancing could be the way for you to get fit again.

Of course, if you love dancing already, then what’s to stop you?

With winter coming up (in the northern hemisphere), my husband and I have decided to put on one track a day and dance as hard as we can. We want to have fun together, bask in the nostalgia of music from our younger years, and get fit again.

We can’t think of a better way to do it.

Using Your Heart for Motivation to Exercise 

Let’s follow our hearts and our hearts will look after us. We’ll be doing our brains a favor as well. Hearts and brains both love dancing.

Exercise won’t be such a struggle, and we’ll reap the benefits down the years.

Doing exercise right means that we’ll be living our lives right too and the one life we have will be a long, happy, and active one.

Go dance your heart out like the Stones and I’ll see you on the dance floor. I’ll be the one dancing down those long extra years I’ll gain from sticking with the exercise.

About Rosemary Bointon

Having lived in twelve different countries and sailed the Atlantic in her own boat, Rosemary Bointon's passion is thinking up new adventures and challenges for older people to do NOW, to help them have loads of fun in longer, more fulfilled and active lives. You can find her on medium.com/@RosemaryB and on Twitter at @Agingchallenges.

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5 Signs Your Romantic Relationship Is Worth Fighting For

Is your relationship worth fighting for? Is the stress of the struggle worth it?

If you are currently in a romantic relationship or marriage and you’re having doubts about whether to fight for it or not, there are a few ways to tell.

Here are 5 signs that you can put away the white flag and salvage your relationship.

You Mean It When You Say, “It’s Not You, It’s Me”

relationship

Yes, this phrase is one of the most cliché break-up excuses. Cliché or not, looking at your own, personal intimacy issues can provide great insight into your current relationship.

Maybe your issues have nothing to do with the love and companionship your partner offers. Maybe it has something to do with your own emotional baggage.

Are you seeing a pattern in your relationship turmoil? Are the same issues that ended your last relationship haunting this one?

What’s the common denominator?

Yep, you guessed it right – it’s you.

Though I’m painting a pretty dismal picture, all hope is not lost.

If the only problems plaguing your current relationship are deeply rooted in your own insecurities, the first step is to acknowledge them. Take a step back and examine how these personality traits are affecting your relationship. You’d be surprised to see how a few slight changes to your state of mind, communication tactics or displays of affection can change things for the better.

You’re Willing to Put in the Work

Do thoughts of attending a couples retreat or counseling turn your stomach? Do your palms get sweaty and blood pressure rise when you and your loved one are left in a room together?

If working to save your relationship sounds like too much work, then it’s probably time to move on.

But if you can clearly see salvageable pieces of your broken puzzle or if you can still easily name at least five admirable qualities about your partner, there may be hope.

So, make a list and include pros and cons of you two as a couple and your partner individually. You might be surprised to discover that one awesome ‘pro’ can actually outweigh a long list of ‘cons’ or the other way around.

If you’re willing to work things out, then the relationship is definitely worth fighting for.

See Also: When to Say Fuck It and STAY in Relationship

The Thought of Ending Things Makes You Sick

Maybe it’s jealousy. Maybe it’s possessiveness.

Whatever it is, if the thought of your partner moving on or moving out turns your stomach, then you’re probably not ready to end things.

Ending a toxic relationship usually leaves you with a feeling of freedom, release, and peace of mind. All these feelings are a good indication that you made the right decision.

Sleepless nights and conflicted emotions, on the other hand, mean the opposite. If your heart and mind are torn over whether to end things, you should probably give it another shot.

There’s no worse feeling in this world than regret. Avoid the “what if” by giving things another try.

You Only Threaten to Break Up When You’re Mad

romantic relationship

We all say things when we’re mad and sometimes, it can get ugly. You blurt out things you later wish you could take back.

Often times, people use idle threats and make empty promises in the heat of an argument.

Have you ever threatened to leave only to go around the corner for a beer and return home after cooling off? Or promised to never name call again only to forget your promise during the very next fight?

If the only time you can think of leaving your partner or ending the relationship is when you’re angry or high on adrenaline, then it’s likely an irrational and superficial emotion. This means you should pause for further consideration.

You Can Imagine a Future Together

People say things like “I can’t live without you”, but do they really mean it?

If you can’t imagine your life without your partner, then you have a great foundation to work with.

When you have a solid relationship, talking about the future is important.

Some people depend their life plans on their partners. They will plan their life, career choices, and thoughts about kids based on their significant others.

For you, do your long-term goals all include your partner? Can you not imagine purchasing a home or growing old with anyone else? Even when times are tough and the two of you can’t seem to get on the same page, do you still foresee a future together?

If your answer is yes, then the two of you should be willing to work through whatever issues you are having.

See Also: 7 Best Secrets To Building Lasting Relationships

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know that your romantic relationship is worth saving, you can take the necessary steps.

Keep the lines of communication and your mind open. Try not to go on the defensive when your partner expresses concern or worry about your relationship status. Don’t jump the gun and call things off at the first sign of trouble.

Yes, relationships take work but if it’s a relationship worth saving, it will feel less like work and more like an investment in your future.

 

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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

How to Keep Your Marriage or Relationship Strong and Beat the Statistics

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown

You can`t take it anymore. Life’s getting boring, you fight over everything, your relationship has lost its spark, and you can’t look each other in the eye without feeling regret. Many marriages and relationships get to this place eventually.

According to recent surveys, one of every two American couples gets a divorce. This means you only have a 50 percent chance at making your relationship work, no matter how well it began. The only way you can turn things around is by making some changes in how you interact.

According to experts, these are the top eight tips that, if followed, will give your relationship a fresh breath of air. I’m not married, but I’ve applied these tips in my romantic relationship, and it’s gotten a lot stronger as a result.

1. Understand that there are usually issues behind every fight.

Most of my past arguments with my girlfriend weren’t about money, but they usually happened when I was struggling financially because I was feeling bad about myself.

In the past, any time my girlfriend I talked about finances, I would use aggression and humor to protect my ego and deflect the conversation elsewhere because I felt inferior.

It wasn`t about her, but I made her think it was. So yes, at many times, it`s not about you. It’s your partner being angry—even at themselves—that is causing problems.

What to do then? Ask them questions to help them get to the root of what’s really bothering them. If they have the self-awareness to identify what’s going on and they choose to share that with you, let them know you understand their feelings and agree to talk through this issue when they`re ready.

It can be hard to be understanding and to not take things personally when someone gets upset or accusatory, but this is the most helpful thing you can do. And they will likely remember this later when the same thing happens to you.

2. Avoid the “The Four Horsemen.”

According to John Gottman, a marriage coach and bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, there are four signs to whether a couple will separate or stay together. Gottman calls them The Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Avoid these horsemen and your relationship will be a lot more connected and peaceful.

  • Criticism: Attacking the other person, not their behavior.
  • Contempt: Too much sarcasm and cynicism with a sense of superiority over your partner. It’s a disguised form of disrespect and disgust.
  • Defensiveness: Not accepting responsibility and blaming it all on the other person. According to Gottman, defensiveness escalates conflicts, which is why it’s so deadly.
  • Stonewalling: This means disengaging and avoiding conflicts by all means. Leaving the room or not responding to your yelling partner not only withdraws you from the fight, but from the relationship as well.

3. Cope most of the time, change some of the time.

One thing that bothers my girlfriend is that I don’t talk when I have a problem—I mean zero talk, desert-like silence. It sometimes annoys me that my girlfriend is usually late to work and always leaves a mess behind her. But we no longer fight about both of these things. We know it’s energy consuming and that no one changes because of nagging, so we’ve learned to cope.

She gives me my space when I’m not ready to open up about my issues, and I don`t mind spending an extra ten minutes each morning cleaning after her.

After forty years of coaching thousands of couples, Gottman reached the conclusion that you can never change a partner, no matter how hard you try. According to him, most couple disagreements are caused by deeply rooted personality traits and values that rarely change.

The solution here is to cope with your differences, avoid situations that worsen them, and develop strategies to maneuver them.

4. Emotional Intelligence 101: Name that emotion.

Studies show that emotionally intelligent people have happy relationships because they’re able to defuse conflicts with minimal or no damage.

Researchers found that the best way to both increase emotional intelligence and settle a fight is by being able to name out loud the emotion your partner is feeling at the moment.

You’re not a psychic, I understand, but most of the time you’ll be able to tell what they’re feeling or why they’re angry with you. Translating this understanding into phrases like: “I know you’re angry,” “It feels sad, I know,” or “I bet you’re worried,” will lessen that emotion intensity and potentially prevent fights.

In her book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, psychologist Lisa Feldman writes:

“If you could distinguish finer meanings within ‘Awesome’ (happy, content, thrilled, relaxed, joyful, hopeful, inspired, prideful, adoring, grateful, blissful), and fifty shades of “Crappy” (angry, aggravated, alarmed, spiteful, grumpy, remorseful, gloomy, mortified, uneasy, dread-ridden, resentful, afraid, envious, woeful, melancholy…), your brain would have many more options for predicting, categorizing, and perceiving emotion, providing you with the tools for more flexible and functional responses.”

The next time you want someone to feel less tense, show that you understand their experience by naming what you think they’re feeling, be it anger, frustration, fear, or something else. You may not identify exactly what’s in their heart, but you’ll likely disarm them by showing you’re trying to understand and empathize with their feelings.

5. Take responsibility for your part.

Blaming is the quickest way to turn a small conflict into a fight. According to Gottman, couples who stay together longer don’t blame, but rather share equal responsibility over conflicts.

They use phrases like, “This isn’t completely your fault; I know that part of this is me” in order to soften things between them. Thus they’re more likely to end conflicts peacefully.

When I was struggling financially after quitting my job, I didn’t want anyone else to know, especially my family, since I’d already rejected a prosperous career in engineering to do marketing.

I felt bad when I knew my girlfriend had told my parents on the phone, and I was tempted to get angry. But then I realized I shared part of the responsibility because I hadn’t made it clear that she shouldn’t tell anybody, and she realized she should’ve asked me before sharing this information with others.

6. Help when you can, even when it’s not your turn.

When you count favors, you turn your relationship into a game, and in games there’s only one winner. If you can help with something, do it, even if it’s not yours to do. In other words: Help when you can, not when it’s your turn.

See some dirty mugs while waiting for coffee to brew? Wash them. Going out? Take the trash with you. She’s sleeping like a zombie and the baby is crying? Change his diaper; don`t wake her up.

These little things matter, and many partners appreciate them and will repay the favor by doing the same for you. Of course, there are times when relationships get unbalanced and you may realize you’re being taken for granted. But so long as there’s equal give and take overall in your relationship, it serves you both to stop keeping score and to help whenever you can.

7. End the day on a positive note.

Among fifty activities couples should do to build intimacy, Gottman puts reuniting as his most important choice. He recommends that couples reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went. This will settle lingering conflicts and help them end the day on a positive note.

8. One good thing per day.

Darren Hardy, founder of Success Magazine, does this every day and swears by it. He simply writes one thing he appreciates about his wife that day, be it how she looked, what she said, or how she made him feel. Hardy recalls the nicely wrapped notebook, with one year worth of notes, he gave to his wife as her most-favored birthday gift.

Taking notes works because it`s another form of gratitude which, according to studies, makes you happy and attract positive things in life. This will also help you see your partner is a more positive light instead of focusing on their negative side.

Finally, it takes determination.

Like any good thing in life, you have to invest big time to make a promising relationship work. You will have to let go of your ego and learn when to admit you`re wrong, when to be flexible, and when to stand up for yourself. It may be take a lot of effort to turn things around, but it’s well worth it.

Couple sketch here

About Marwan Jamal

MJ is a fitness and health blogger at healthline.com and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym, and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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The Best Tips For Handling A Breakup Like A Man

Whether you were expecting it, initiating it or it just came out of the blue, handling a break-up like a man can be really difficult. It doesn’t matter if it’s the best thing for you or if you cared about her at all, there is going to be pain when things are over.

So, is coping really different for men than for women?

Well, the answer to that is yes and no.

Emotions are emotions and recognizing how you are feeling is important. If you try to ignore your feelings, then they are likely to surface somewhere else and become destructive.

To help you cope with a breakup, below are some tips to get you through the hard times.

Do not try drowning your sorrows

You hear stories all the time of men crying and drinking alcohol just to forget. Skip this technique. Alcohol is a depressant and is far from lifting your spirits. It is more likely to make you feel worse both physically and emotionally.

And with impaired judgment, you’ll be at a higher risk of getting involved in destructive behaviors. Drunken one-night-stands or emotionally driven bar brawls will not get you through a breakup.

Consider getting back to the gym

go to the gym

Or if you are already there, consider taking on a new challenge. Training for a half-marathon or setting a new goal for bench press can provide a healthy physical outlet for your anxiety and emotional stress. Being physically active is also a great way to clear your head. So, drag your sad self into the gym.

Don’t start booty calling through your contact list

Really, this is a pathway to trouble on many levels. In most cases, women are looking for more than an hour of your time and after a breakup, you are not likely to be in the condition for that.

And there’s a long list of negative consequences when it comes to jumping in and out of bed with people. The last thing you want is to need an antibiotic or to be researching the latest in crib features.

Spend time with friends

have fun with friends

Guy friends, couple friends or a female friend – anyone who cares about you and that you enjoy being with is a good bet during this time. You may feel like you would rather be alone but override that desire and spend time with people. You don’t have to get too involved in discussing your feelings with them.

Let yourself have a good cry

It goes against all masculinity rules but crying is a natural response to sadness and can be very cathartic. You don’t need to do this in front of other people.

Don’t give in to the desire to text and call repeatedly

That nagging inclination to call or text your ex will always be there.

Maybe the break-up was a mistake, right? If you could just talk it out, maybe things will be fine again.

No.

You broke up for a reason and whether it was the right reason or the wrong one, you both need some time to gain perspective. Repeatedly calling will not make things better. In fact, it can make things worse.

Take care of yourself

Many people experience physical symptoms associated with intense emotions. Some people can’t eat, feel physically ill or can’t sleep. Others overeat, abuse alcohol or other substances or sleep all the time. None of these are healthy options.

Try to ensure you have the right nutrition and make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.

See Also: What To Do After A Break Up: A Handbook For Every Newly Single Guy

Conclusion

Very few of us get through life without a heartbreak. If you have ever loved someone, then you have taken the risk of getting your heart broken through a breakup. Try and remember that everything will be alright in time. While that time is passing, you need to do what you can to ensure you are ready when your next opportunity for love comes around.

 

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Why You Should Never Tell Your Kids To Say Thank You

Polite kids are a joy, aren’t they?

Welcomed anywhere. Praised and held up as role models for their less polite peers. “Please” and “thank you” rolling off their well-behaved tongues.

Like learning the alphabet and counting, saying thank you and please are embedded in most children’s vocabulary very early on.

What a shame!

Now, hear me out…

The Politest Little Girl in the World

My parents were sticklers for good manners. I was taught to ask politely for everything and to thank everyone every time.

And I have to admit, being courteous got me to a lot of places.

But I missed out on something fabulous until I was way beyond thirty. I lost years of profound joy, contentment, and peace of mind. I innocently overlooked most of my blessings.

Because being thankful stopped at saying ‘thank you’.

After those words have been said, my thoughts moved on. My heart and emotions never got involved.

Childhood birthdays and Christmas were amazing. I got a lot of lovely gifts from relatives and friends of the family. I ended up getting almost everything I’ve been ogling in shops for months and months.

And I’d dutifully write my thank you letters, always including how much I loved playing with, wearing or reading their gift. After getting my letters in the post box, my job was done and so was my joy.

All my good fortune, all the love and thought poured into making those celebrations so special escaped me.

You see, like so many children, I was taught to say ‘thank you’. By the time I became an adult, it had just become another phrase to trot out.

And I missed out on the true meaning of gratitude.

What It Means To Be Truly Thankful

Now, I finally understand the magnitude of gratitude, its far-reaching effects, and benefits to all of us. And oh boy, am I grateful I found it.

Rather than teaching me to say ‘thank you’, I wish my parents had explained to me what being grateful and thankful truly meant. Now I understand what it really means:

Appreciating

appreciating

All the great people and good things in my life- what an immense difference they make every day. By running over how lucky I am that they’re a part of my world, I feel safe, loved, and comforted.

Recognizing

All the good fortune I have that others aren’t lucky enough to have. What a very different and difficult story my life could have been without those blessings. Recognizing that makes me feel optimistic and compassionate in equal measure.

Acknowledging

All the kindness, advice, and experience I encounter make a huge impact on the way my life pans out. What a difficult time I would be having if I was left on my own. Acknowledging that makes me feel secure and watched over.

Valuing

All the freedom and opportunities that I have make my life unconditional and interesting. How oppressive and fraught with frustration my days could have turned out otherwise. Valuing that makes me feel carefree and confident that I’ll choose the correct path, even if I have to back up every once in a while.

Respecting

All the positive abilities, achievements, and qualities of others that bump into my life make it so much easier. What a narrow line I’d be walking without them. Respecting that makes me feel at ease that we’re all in this great life together.

Sharing

All the great ideas, generosity, and positivity others share with me make my world a better place to live in. Sharing that with others makes me feel I’m playing a valuable part in this great, global community.

Enjoying

happiness

All the pleasurable and fun things that bounce into my life make my days light and more enjoyable. What an endless trudge it could be otherwise. Knowing that all of those things are on offer makes me feel happy, satisfied, and recharged enough to keep on going.

My days were very thin before I discovered gratitude. Looking back, it seems like I was simply skating on the surface of what my life could have been. All these amazing, positive feelings that I now treasure would have been missed.

Saying thank you is not the same as feeling it.

Being truly thankful is an amazing experience. It adds a whole extra dimension to every day. It makes the ordinary extraordinary.

What will you share with your children?

None of us need a bunch of rude little monsters roaming through our days. No thanks!

Rather than telling your kids to be thankful, explain to them why they should be thankful.

And instead of telling them to be grateful, explain why.

Better still, show them.

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Why Anger Isn’t “Bad” and What Actually Hurts Us

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” ~Maya Angelou

I’ve always had a complex relationship with anger.

When I was young, I used to think I was somehow above anger. I would brag to people that I never got mad. Sure, I’d admit, I hated some people, but at least I wasn’t angry.

When I began therapy in my mid-twenties to deal with persistent depression and panic attacks, I started to see the feebleness of that particular story. I did get angry, it turned out, quite frequently, and I found that things went much better when I allowed myself to feel it.

I began to learn that my anger often contained useful information about me and what I wanted.

It alerted me to the fact that one of my boundaries had been crossed, or that there was something I wanted to speak up about. It let me know when I felt hurt. I saw how my closest relationships could allow for anger without falling apart, and I began to accept it as a normal part of the human condition, perhaps even a helpful one.

Still, as I perused self-help books and blogs and learned from spiritual teachers, I read about the dangers of anger over and over again.

It’s the enemy of nonviolence, Gandhi said. The Dalai Lama once asserted that it’s the main destroyer of a peaceful mind. Even the Buddha is quoted as saying that holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

So I asked myself: Was it better to try to quell anger, or embrace it?

A Life-Changing Distinction

I muddled through as best I could, hedging my bets and working to accept anger without amplifying its flames, until I began going to a local meditation class where the emphasis was on moving energy.

The meditation is based on a blend of Buddhist and Taoist practices. In addition to developing mindfulness, we’re encouraged to notice the energy within us—whether emotional or spiritual—and let it move through us. We do this by noticing the physical sensations of the energy and then following their lead, either by making noise, moving our bodies, or simply observing with nonjudgmental awareness and presence.

One day a fellow participant asked the teacher how to handle the large amount of angry energy she was feeling.

“Move the energy of the anger,” my teacher said. “It’s not good or bad; it’s just what wants to happen. When you make space for the energy and allow it to move through you, it transforms you. Just don’t get caught up in its story.”

I’d never heard anybody separate the story of anger from its energy before, but the distinction helped me a lot.

I realized that when I feel the first flush of anger, I often come up with a story: Things shouldn’t be this way. He shouldn’t have done that. It’s her fault I’m feeling bad.

Stories are about assigning blame, making people right or wrong, and moving into better than/worse than. They’re not so helpful. I realized that it’s anger’s story, not its energy, that “burns” us.

Anger’s energy is neutral. It doesn’t seek to blame or make anybody right or wrong. When I feel anger in my body, I feel a burning sensation, a warmth, and a flow of intense energy. That’s it. It actually reconnects me to the strength in my core and reminds me that I’m powerful, capable, and alive.

Hearing a Hidden Message

It was while moving the energy of anger that I first heard its hidden message.

Someone—a Very Important Person in my life—accused me of treating him poorly and having less-than-stellar intentions. I don’t remember his exact words, but I do recall that they implied I had been deliberately inconsiderate, selfish, and hurtful.

I was outraged and began to tell a story. Why couldn’t he see my good intentions? It wasn’t fair; I was doing my best. He was being unreasonable, hurtful, and cruel.

Fortunately, I knew enough to leave the conversation as soon as I realized I was triggered and go somewhere where I could move the energy. As I was feeling the burning heat of the anger, I realized that I was making the same movement over and over with my arms; pushing them out and away from my chest, I looked like I was trying to shove something away from myself.

Suddenly it occurred to me: What I was trying to push away were the judgments, accusations, and negative opinions of my Very Important Person. It was almost like I was trying to set a physical boundary so that they wouldn’t penetrate my own being or take root in how I viewed myself.

That’s when I realized that the energy of anger was trying to prevent me from internalizing my loved one’s criticism.

An Inexhaustible Well of Strength

As I kept pushing the negative opinions away from myself mentally and physically, I began to feel a sense of strength. I realized that I had a choice: I don’t have to take on anybody else’s judgments. I can choose to hold my own truth, one that sees the goodness in myself and everyone else, and I can act based on what feels right to me.

Along with the sense of strength came a sense of immensity. It was like all the criticism and accusations had felt so huge and crushing just moments earlier because I had forgotten how big I was. Once I stood up to my full height, they seemed more like mosquitoes biting at my ankles.

Feeling my own power and size again, I realized that I was free to say what I needed to say, no matter how difficult, without fear of how he responded. His thoughts and feelings couldn’t hurt me, after all. For someone like me with codependent tendencies who often cares too much about the opinions and expectations of others, this was pretty revolutionary.

And then the most amazing thing happened. The anger burned itself right out.

I believe this is because when I’m connected with my own power, I can advocate for and take care of myself. When I see clearly who I really am, nothing can threaten my sense of myself as a good person. Others have no real power over me.

As a result, there’s no need for the anger, no need to either defend or attack, and no need to make my loved one wrong. After all, he’s really only trying to take care of himself in the best way he knows how, and no matter what he does, I have options in terms of how I choose to respond.

All of this allowed me to go back to my Very Important Person, apologize for where I had been unskillful, express compassion for his suffering without taking responsibility for it, and let him know how the way he had communicated affected me. I was able to make a request about how he communicates with me when he’s upset.

Afterward, we both understood each other better, and though it didn’t resolve the issue then and there, it did lay a foundation for finding resolution in the future.

The Great Gift of Anger

Anger is a perfect example of something that’s both/and, not either/or. It can be incredibly destructive if we pay too much attention to its story, and it’s also a healing and transformative force.

It arises from a misunderstanding—that what I want and need is at the mercy of others—and it also contains within it the key to breaking free from that misconception.

Anger arises when I forget that I already have everything I need within me (and by now I’m aware enough to recognize that this happens on a daily basis). I now see it as a fiercely loving force. It wants me to reconnect to my strength and size. It wants me to transform. It wants me to take back the power that is mine to treat myself with love and respect.

It does its job by persisting until I am reminded of who I really am. I do mine by letting go of my small story long enough to hear its higher message.

About Meredith Walters

Meredith Walters loves to help people who are still unsure what they’re meant to do in the world find their calling, forge their own path, and discover the hero within. Click here to get a free guide with 50 practical ideas, resources, and exercises to help you find your calling without losing your mind (or your shirt).

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