Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category
So far, we’ve covered how attachment styles affect babies and individuals, but what about attachment styles in relationships and marriages?
Have you ever heard the theory that we pick partners who are similar to our parents? I have wondered about this over the years. My life partner, Gal is similar to my dad in some ways and totally different in many other ways. He is also similar to my mom in some ways and totally different to her in many other ways. I find it hard to either confirm or deny the theory.
While it is hard to decide if this theory works based on personal attributes, attachment theory claims that in some strange way we relate and attach to our partners and in a way that matches the attachment style that was created between us and our caregivers in those first years of our lives.
If there is a trait I want my kids to have, it is kindness. Being kind to others brings more kindness to your world. I want my kids to feel that they are surrounded by kind people.
Unfortunately, they are not always surrounded by kind people. At least not as I would like. It is frustrating because I can’t choose who they hang out with. When they were 5 or 6 years old, I could monitor their surroundings (even then it was not 100% of the time) but the more I wanted them to experience the world, the more I had to let go of this desire to control whether they hang around kind people or not.
My youngest daughter is now 13 years old and she is experiencing lots of the not-so-kind things her friends say about each other. There is a constant struggle for popularity and power through gossip and talking about each other behind backs. We as parents think this is the opposite of kindness and we don’t want our daughter to be part of it.
Talking about other people who are not present is not always bad. Our family rule is to only say nice things about others and “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything”. The more brutal version is “when you have nothing good to say, shut up!”.
Socrates had a very logical way to tackle the same problem. He called it the Triple Filter Test. Here is a nice story that explains Socrates way of deciding whether to talk or not talk about others behind their back.
Everyone wants to have either a happy and healthy life or a healthy and happy life, in these orders. I think of happiness as a very inclusive concept: I want to be happy with my health, happy with my relationships, happy with my family, happy with my work, happy with money, happy with friends, happy with my art, happy with my friendships, happy with the direction I take in life and happy with an endless list of other things.
Here is one of my top tips for a happy and healthy life. Take the tips that resonate with you, feel free to change any of them to make them fit your style and your life, or add new ones if there are some that are not applicable to you.
If you have 100 tips and you follow one every day, your life will quickly become both happier and healthier.
Happiness is a journey and a choice. Happiness has been one of my biggest goals for many years. In the most recent years, I have been writing about happiness in this blog and in my books. The topics of my posts may be different but the focus is always on one thing – being happy.
To reach happiness, we need to focus on what we can do to make our life happy, rather than what we need to stop doing in order to avoid being miserable. Aiming forward, towards a better life, is a better journey than running away. Focusing on the good has been my motto for years. I teach my clients to avoid pink elephants, stop talking about the past, about what not to do, and move forward.
In recent years, I realized that there is a group of people that are not able to move forward because there is no space in their minds for good and happiness. They are so consumed by attitudes and behaviors they have formed as habits that they cannot even make that first step. For these people, the first step towards happiness is often stopping the things that make them unhappy. The things that keep them stuck, in the junction of life, miserable and sad, frustrated and angry, feeling like a failure. I want to go over all the things they must stop doing, before they can start moving forward.
Magda came to see me after 16 years of heartache and pain. She was referred by a client of mine. She had seen psychologists and psychiatrists before, but felt very criticized and had never gone for a second session with any of them.
When I finally got to meet her, I was a bit surprised. She was in her early fifties and looked amazing – almost like a doll. She was tiny and very well presented with beautiful skin.
Yet, during the first 10 minutes of introductions, she managed to say only bad things about herself. The gist of them was that she was not good enough, unworthy and helpless. She said 27 bad things about herself in those 10 minutes. I counted!
This made me very curious about her because at that point we had just met and I knew nothing about her.
Coaching is very much like solving a puzzle. I tried to gather information that would allow me to help Magda in a way that the other therapist could not. As it turns out, Magda was an only child, born to very old parents. Her dad died when she was very young and her mom never had another man in her life.
This year, Gal and I are celebrating our 34th Valentine’s Day and we are very proud and happy to be together. We are also sad to look around and see that fewer and fewer couples are able to find happiness and love on this day. Over the last five years, more of my clients experienced relationship breakdowns than ever before. Divorce and separation are very sad and challenging for the couple and for their families.
This week, I received a request from a radio show to share 5 Valentine’s Day tips with their listening couples. This made me think that I have many more tips and the fill list from my relationship tool kit is below.
I highly recommend having such a list for yourself. If you could give other couples advice on how to have a happy relationship, what would you say? Write down your ideas and read them every once in a while (even I have to read my own advice from time to time, especially in tough times).
Recently, I wrote a post about parents who justify their bad parenting style by claiming they are better than their own parents. Parenting like this creates a cycle: bad parenting, leads to difficult children, who become bad parents, who raise difficult children, etc. Over the last 28 years, I have dedicated my work to breaking this cycle. To helping kids through helping their parents.
Last week, this topic came up again when I met a 16-year-old girl who came for teen coaching. I sat in front of her for almost 2 hours and was shocked at how mature and aware she was. She was sitting in the same balcony in which I have seen many grownups who did not understand half of the things she did. Last year, I started writing a fictional story about a girl with parent problems and anorexia. In front of me was this most beautiful, good looking girl with a similar story. It amazed me to discover that the story is so much worse when you see it in real life.
She was a 16 year old, living with abusive parents, who believed they were better than their own parents, because unlike them, they did not use physical violence. It surprised me that they sent her for life coaching though. It seemed very contradictory to what a controlling and abusive parent would do. Never-the-less, I asked about her grandparents to get a better picture. Things became crystal clear: they had been abusive parents, who raised abusive kids, who become abusive parents. This cycle would go on and on unless this troubled, 16 year old teen could stop the cycle with her awareness (if she survived the emotional abuse).
Finding your own parenting style is not easy. Most of us adopt our parents’ parenting style, without regard really thinking about it. We don’t choose our parenting style, but let the style choose us.
We also like to think that we are better at parenting than our own parents. We often don’t notice how we use the exact same parenting styles we hated in them. To our credit, we sometimes manage to make small changes and this makes us think that we are better than them. We can do something they couldn’t. We think that the harder it was to make the changes, the better we are. This is not always true. In fact, the damage from our choices can be as bad for our own children as it was for us (or even worse).
This is a very hard concept for parents to understand. Kids see things completely differently. If your dad beat you with a belt or hot iron and you only use your hands to beat your own children, it is not very effective to tell your kids that you had it worse and that you are better than your own dad. When you hurt your kids, they can’t really be all “Pollyanna” about it (Pollyanna was a girl who always found the positive side of everything).
The end of the year is fast approaching. It has been another full year and it looks like it is going to end with some great changes for us. My family and I are going on a fantastic holiday just before Eden, my eldest, moves in with her fiancé and begins preparations for their wedding in 2015.
As at the end of every year, I am writing a summary of our adventures for the year. Here is my summary for 2014.
2014 has been a very full and active year for the Be Happy in LIFE family. Our children have enjoyed a great year and we had lots of opportunities for “pride therapy”.
In previous chapters of the “Save your Marriage” series I explained the two communication patterns that can destroy every marriage: The king/queen and the nitpicker. As I said before, no one becomes a “king” or a “nitpicker” because they enjoy it. Most of the time, they do it on a subconscious level, because they grew up in a house where one or both parents were kings or nitpickers and made them feel small and helpless.
In the last chapters, I explained how parents who abuse or bully, like the “king/queen” or the “nitpicker”, can raise kids who are constantly on guard. In this chapter, I will explain how some parenting styles can “breed” kids who clam up and withdraw into their shells. This communication style can be very devastating for them in their future relationships and marriage.