Is there a destructive person in your group of friends who no one is willing to call out? Watch:
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Why is it that when you suggest something to your spouse you get shot down, but when someone else comes up with the exact same idea, your spouse thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread? I’ve got an idea why… Watch:
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Most people search for that great love. Some people search for that fulfilling career. But what if you’ve searched and searched, but cannot attract the things you want? Watch:
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Old habits die hard. Be it smoking, gossiping, raising your temper, pointing out others’ flaws, avoiding responsibility, or getting defensive, when something becomes familiar and comfortable, pathways get set up in the brain and it becomes a knee-jerk behavior.
Here are a few tips on how to change a bad habit and be a better spouse, family member, or friend:
1. Become aware of the problem. When I was training to be a marriage and family therapist at USC, one of the things we would do is film sessions with families. Then we would sit down with the families and let them watch the tapes. It was amazing how many people would look at the videos and say, “I can’t believe I do that! I can’t believe I say that! I can’t believe I make those faces!” It had been tough for them to see before because their behavior was so habitual and normal. Therefore, when you discover or are confronted with something you do that hurts somebody else, don’t ignore it.
2. Be honest with yourself. Whether you have figured it out by yourself or it was pointed out to you, you have to acknowledge that you have hurt someone else. You need to take a good look at yourself and admit you have a problem. That’s the only way you’ll change your actions.
3. Apologize. Apologizing doesn’t just mean saying, “I’m sorry.” It needs to be followed by, “What can I do to make up for it?” The answer you get in response will help you find a way to make things right. Furthermore, you can’t apologize and then do the same thing again. Repeating the hurtful behavior makes your apologies meaningless.
4. Think before you speak. Before words come out of your mouth, ask yourself, “What do I really want to convey? How will he or she interpret what I say?” Anticipate people’s sensitivities. Take time to figure out what you’re going to say in a tactful manner, otherwise, button your lip. Not everything that is true needs to be spoken.
5. Show empathy. Instead of saying, “I don’t really understand why they’re getting so upset,” put yourself in your loved one’s shoes and feel what he or she is feeling. One thing I used to do in private practice and still do with couples on the air is have one person defend the other’s point of view. For example, if a husband comes home and isn’t very cuddly and friendly, his wife has to adopt his perspective. She might say, “I had a long day at work and, on top of that, there was horrible traffic coming home.” And then I do the reverse. If a husband is complaining about why things aren’t neat when he comes home, he has to take on his wife’s point of view: “I had x number of things to do in addition to taking care of the kids, so I couldn’t make everything perfect.” It’s amazing what a difference showing some understanding can make. Just the look on the other person’s face when you defend why they do what they do is priceless. (Just for fun, try playing this game tonight with your spouse!)
6. Control your temper. When you’re about to fly off the handle, remember the old “count to 10″ trick.
7. Practice, practice, practice. It takes about 30 or so repetitions to create a new habit, so stay with it. As you probably know, one of my hobbies is shooting pool. What’s fascinating to me is how if I miss a shot and try to do it again thinking I’m doing something different, I’ll hit it the exact same way. I have to set up the shot seven or eight times until my brain sees it differently. We’re like that with everything – it takes repetition for your brain to set down a new pattern and become comfortable with it.
8. Listen when others speak. Instead of getting defensive and assuming everything is a criticism, allow other people to help you recognize certain ways you could improve. Unless the person is downright mean and nasty, listen to them. You may think they’re putting you down when they’re really trying to lift you up.
9. Remember that relationships have to be a win-win. If one of you loses in a relationship, you both do. Always trying to “win” an argument is only going to cause more hurt. For example, when a woman’s husband doesn’t want her to stay at home with their kids, I tell her to say how much more relaxed, loving, and available she’s going to be, and that she’s impressed with him as a man even though it’s going to be a little scary without the extra income. That way it’s a win-win: he feels elevated and so does she. If you can’t fix it so both of you feel like you’ve won something, then put the issue away and come back to it another day.
10. Believe in yourself. You have to believe that you actually can change. Trying is no good – you have to do it!
11. Remind yourself that you want this. You either want to be a better person or you don’t. It’s that simple.
Being a kid can be tough, especially when it comes to school. Here is a list of 10 things most of us wish someone had told us while we were students:
1. The most popular and highest achieving kids in school are NOT always the most successful in the real world. Success in the academic bubble does not necessarily translate to success in work and real life. While you’re in school, take heart and stay focused because slow and steady wins the race.
2. Just because you’re not part of the “cool crowd” doesn’t mean you’re not cool or unique. I remember one time just before Christmas break, I was walking out of a chemistry exam and a guy in my class who rarely spoke to me came up and said, “It must be wonderful to be like you and not get nervous about big tests like this.” I looked at him and laughed. I said, “What the heck are you talking about? I’m a wreck just like everyone else.” It just goes to show you that not only is perception in the eye of the beholder, but it’s also not always on target. The reason I seemed composed going into exams was that I developed a “leapfrog focus” (i.e. “When the exam is over, I’m going to see a movie/have hot chocolate/etc.), but that didn’t mean I wasn’t a nervous wreck. I’m amused at how we can all look at each other and think something is true when it isn’t. Everyone has feelings, insecurities, ambitions, and dreams that aren’t apparent on the surface.
3. The smartest, most interesting, and most creative people usually aren’t the most socially comfortable or interested. It’s the least popular, most focused kids who become the most influential and successful. They’re the ones thinking day in and day out about the big things they’re going to do with their lives. So if you’re one of them, don’t worry. And if you’re not, don’t be mean to them. You never know who’s going to be signing your paycheck or be in a position to help you down the line. As they say, nerds rule.
4. Being different is actually good. In the adolescent and post-adolescent years, there’s a lot of pressure to conform to the group, agree to their rules, and dress, talk, and behave a certain way. It’s a matter of belonging. However, even though there’s a lot of pressure to fit in and be like everyone else, you can get to the point where you lose sight of who you are at a time when you’re supposed to be discovering yourself. Therefore, being like everyone else is in direct conflict with what you really need.
5. Pursue what you love regardless of what people say. You have to remember that people in school are painfully limited in their perspective on the world. Whatever it is that you’re really into, that you want to stay up late reading about, or you’re thinking about when you should be focusing on a lecture or studying may be the key to what you build your life and career around. Don’t ignore your passion. It doesn’t matter if anybody else thinks it’s stupid – it’s your passion.
6. Extracurricular activities and internships are sometimes more important than academics. Interacting with the outside world gives you invaluable experiences. The more you interact with adults, businesses, community groups and execs, the more comfortable you’ll be networking with them when you need a loan, a job, advice on your career, admission to grad school, etc. Get outside the bubble of school and build a network.
7. Courses and majors in school do not necessarily correlate to opportunities in the real world. I laugh at some of the majors colleges have, such as “Women’s Studies” or “Communication Studies.” What the heck are you going to do with those?! Some of these degrees simply aren’t pragmatic in the real world.
8. Teachers and professors are not the enemy. Consider them as mentors and friends. Talk to them often for advice and counsel. Ask them for extra help, perspective, or just to go over something again. When I was a professor, I really appreciated the students who came around and wanted to learn more.
9. Your parents and family usually have your best interests at heart. They may not always understand why you do some of the things you do, but give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t make life harder on your folks. The better your relationship is with your parents, the easier life is going to be. Period. You need family.
10. Life is complicated – get used to it. Consider all the frustrations you’re going through now as training for the really big stuff later. Learn to deal with conflict, confusion, challenges, and tackling things you don’t like or understand in school because adulthood is a much more dangerous atmosphere. Develop the coping skills you’ll need for the rest of your life. The biggest war is not with your teachers or your parents, but the one you have with yourself over who and what you’re going to be and what you’ll stand for.
You and your ex-boyfriend are flirting with the idea of getting back together. However, there’s just one problem: before you broke up, you cheated on him and he still doesn’t know. Should you tell him? Watch:
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Friends usually help each other out in different ways. But what if you agreed to help out your friend and now feel you are being taken advantage of? Watch:
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Not every kid fits neatly into a group or clique at school. If your child is having a hard time making friends, I have a perspective you may not have considered. Watch:
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