Saturday, December 22, 2007

What are irrational beliefs?

What are irrational beliefs?
Irrational beliefs are:
  • Messages about life we send to ourselves that keep us from growing emotionally.
  • Scripts we have in our head about how we believe life "should'' be for us and for others.
  • Unfounded attitudes, opinions, and values we hold to that are out of synchrony with the way the world really is.
  • Negative sets of habitual responses we hold to when faced with stressful events or situations.
  • Stereotypic ways of problem solving we fall into in order to deal with life's pressures.
  • Ideas, feelings, beliefs, ways of thinking, attitudes, opinions, biases, prejudices, or values with which we were raised. We have become accustomed to using them when faced with problems in our current life, even when they are not productive in helping us reach a positive, growth-enhancing solution.
  • Self-defeating ways of acting. On the surface they may look appropriate for the occasion, but actually they result in a neutral or negative consequence for us.
  • Habitual ways of thinking, feeling, or acting that we think are effective; however, in the long run they are ineffectual.
  • Counterproductive ways of thinking, which give comfort and security in the short run, but either do not resolve or actually exacerbate the problem in the long run.
  • Negative or pessimistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk taking, rejection, or accepting change.
  • Overly optimistic or idealistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk taking, rejection, or accepting change.
  • Emotional arguments for taking or not taking action in the face of a challenge. When followed they result in no personal gain, but rather in greater personal hardship or loss.
  • Patterns of thinking that make us appear to others as stubborn, bullheaded, intemperate, argumentative, or aloof.
  • Ways of thinking about ourselves that are out of context with the real facts, resulting in our either under-valuing or over-valuing ourselves.
  • Means by which we become confused about the intentions of others when we are enmeshed in interpersonal problems with them.
  • Lifelong messages sent to us either formally or informally by: society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group, neighborhood, church, social networks, family, relatives, peer group, school, work, or parents. They are unproductive in solving our current problem or crisis, but we are either unwilling or unable to let go of them. These messages can be very clear to us or they can be hidden in our subconscious.
  • Conclusions about life that we have developed over time, living in an irrational environment not identified as being irrational (e.g., beliefs developed as a member of a high-stress family).
  • Standards by which we were reared and from which we learned how to act, what to believe, and how to express or experience feelings. When followed, however, these standards do not result in a satisfactory resolution of our current problems.
  • Unproductive, unrealistic expectations exacted on ourselves and/or others, guaranteed to be unattainable and to result in continuing negative self-concepts.
What are some examples of irrational beliefs?
Irrational beliefs (negative) about self:
  • I do not deserve positive attention from others.
  • I should never burden others with my problems or fears.
  • I am junk.
  • I am uncreative, nonproductive, ineffective, and untalented.
  • I am worthless.
  • I am the worst example on earth of a person.
  • I am powerless to solve my problems.
  • I have so many problems, I might as well give up right now.
  • I am so dumb about things, I can never solve anything as complex as this.
  • I am the ugliest, most unattractive, unappealing, fat slob in the world.
Irrational beliefs (negative) about others:
  • No one cares about anyone else.
  • All men (or women) are dishonest and are never to be trusted.
  • Successful relationships are a trick; you have no control over how they turn out.
  • People are out to get whatever they can from you; you always end up being used.
  • People are so opinionated; they are never willing to listen to other's points of view.
  • You are bound to get hurt in a relationship; it makes no difference how you try to change it.
  • There is a loser in every fight, so avoid fights at all costs.
  • All people are out for #1; you need to know you'll always be #2, no matter what.
  • It's not who you are but what you do that makes you attractive to another person.
  • What counts in life is others' opinions of you.
  • There is a need to be on guard in dealing with others to insure that you don't get hurt.
Irrational beliefs on other topics
  • There is only one way of doing things.
  • Work is the punishment man must endure for being human.
  • A family that plays (prays) together always stays together.
  • Always protecting against the forces of evil in life is the only way to live.
  • There are always two choices: right or wrong; black or white; win or lose; pass or fail; grow or stagnate.
  • Once you are married and have children, you join the normal human race.
  • A handicapped person is imperfect, to be pitied, and to be dropped along the path of life.
  • Admitting to a mistake or to failure is a sign of weakness.
  • The showing of any kind of emotion is wrong, a sign of weakness, and not allowable.
  • Asking for help from someone else is a way of admitting your weakness; it denies the reality that only you can solve your problems.
How can we recognize irrational beliefs?
Irrational beliefs can be present if we:
  • Find ourselves caught up in a vicious cycle in addressing our problems.
  • Find a continuing series of "catch 22's'' where every move we make to resolve a problem results in more or greater problems.
  • Have been suffering silently (or not so silently) with a problem for a long time, yet have not taken steps to get help to address the problem.
  • Have decided on a creative problem solving solution, yet find ourselves incapable of implementing the solution.
  • Have chosen a problem solving course of action to pursue and find that we are unhappy with this course of action; yet we choose to avoid looking for alternatives.
  • Are afraid of pursuing a certain course of action because of the guilt we will feel if we do it.
  • Find we are constantly obsessed with a problem yet take no steps to resolve it.
  • Find we are immobilized in the face of our problems.
  • Find that the only way to deal with problems is to avoid them, deny them, procrastinate about them, ignore them, run away from them, turn our back on them.
  • Find that we can argue both sides of our problem, becoming unable to make a decision.
  • What are the benefits of refuting our irrational beliefs?
  • By refuting our irrational beliefs we are able to:
  • Unblock our emotions and feelings about ourselves and our problems.
  • Become productive, realistic problem solvers.
  • Gain greater credibility with ourselves and others.
  • Gain clarity, purpose, and intention in addressing our current problems.
  • Reduce the fear of guilt or of hurting others in solving problems.
  • Identify the barriers and obstacles that must first be hurdled before our problems can be resolved.
  • Come to greater honesty about ourselves and our problems.
  • Put our problem into a realistic perspective as to its importance, magnitude, and probability of being solved.
  • Separate our feelings from the content of the problem.
  • Live richer, more authentic lives.
  • View our lives in a healthier perspective, with greater meaning and direction.
  • Gain our sense of humor in the presence of our problems and in their resolution.
  • Recognize our self-worth and self-goodness and separate it from the errors and mistakes we have made in our lives.
  • Forgive ourselves and others for mistakes made.
  • Give ourselves and others kindness, tenderness, and understanding during times of great stress.
  • Gain a sense of purpose and order in our lives as we solve problems.
  • Feel productive as we labor through the muck and mire of our problems.
  • Respect our rights and the rights of others as we solve problems.
  • Clarify our feelings about the behavior of others without the barrier of self-censorship or fear of rejection.
  • Gain a "win-win'' solution to problems, which involves ourselves with others. It opens us up to compromise.
Steps to take in refuting an irrational belief:
Step 1: Is your thinking and problem solving ability being blocked by an irrational belief? Consider a specific problem as you answer the following questions:

1. Am I going in circles in trying to solve this problem?
2. Is there something inside of me that is preventing or keeping me from taking the necessary actions in this matter?
3. Am I bothered by the thoughts of what I or others "should do, act like, think, or feel'' in this situation?
4. Do I find myself saying how this situation "should be," having a hard time facing it the way it really is?
5. Do I use fantasy or magical thinking in looking at this problem? Am I always hoping that by some miracle it will go away?
6. Am I burdened by the fear of what others think of me as I work on this problem?
7. Do I know what the solution is, but become paralyzed in its implementation?
8. Do I find myself using a lot of "yes but's'' in discussing this problem?
9. Do I find it easier to procrastinate, avoid, divert my attention, ignore, or run away from this problem?
10. Is this problem causing much distress and discomfort for me and/or others, and yet I remain stumped in trying to resolve it?

Step 2: If you have answered yes to any or all of the questions in Step 1, you are probably facing a problem or situation in which a blocking irrational belief is clouding your thinking. The next thing to do is to try to identify the blocking irrational belief.
Answer the following questions:

11. Is the blocking belief something I have believed in all my life?
12. Is the blocking belief coming from the teachings of my parents, church, family, peers, work, society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group, or social network?
13. Is the blocking belief something that always recurs when I am trying to solve problems similar to this one?
14. Is the blocking belief something that has helped me solve problems successfully in the past?
15. Is the blocking belief one that tends to make me dishonest with myself about this problem?
16. Is the blocking belief an immobilizing concept that sparks fear of guilt or fear of rejection in my mind as I face this problem?
17. Is the blocking belief something that can be stated in a sentence or two?
18. Is the blocking belief a consistent statement as I face this problem, or does it tend to change as variables of this problem become more clear to me?
19. Is the blocking belief a tangible statement of belief or is it simply a feeling or intuition?
20. Can I state the blocking belief? If so, write it in your journal: My blocking belief is:

Step 3: Once you have identified the blocking belief in Step 2, test its rationality. Answer the following questions about the belief, ''yes'' or ''no.''

1. Is there any basis in reality to support this belief as always being true?
2. Does this belief encourage personal growth, emotional maturity, independence of thinking and action, and stable mental health?
3. Is this belief one which, if ascribed to, will help you overcome this or future problems in your life?
4. Is this belief one which, if ascribed to, will result in behavior that is self defeating for you?
5. Does this belief protect you and your rights as a person?
6. Does this belief assist you in connecting honestly and openly with others so that healthy, growth engendering interpersonal relationships result?
7. Does this belief assist you in being a creative, rational problem solver who is able to identify a series of alternatives from which you can choose your own personal priority solutions?
8. Does this belief stifle your thinking and problem solving ability to the point of immobilization?
9. When you tell others of this belief do they support you because that is the way everyone in your family, peer group, work, church, or community thinks?
10. Is this belief an absolute? Is it a black or white, yes or no, win or lose, no options in the middle type of belief?

Healthy answers are:
1-no 2-yes 3-yes 4-no 5-yes 6-yes 7-yes 8-no 9-no 10-no

If you are unable to give healthy answers to one or more question in Step 2, then your blocking belief is most likely irrational.

Step 4: Once you have determined that the blocking belief is irrational, you are ready to refute this irrational belief. Respond to the following questions:

1. How do I consistently feel when I think of this belief?
2. Is there anything in reality to support this belief as being true?
3. What in reality supports the lack of absolute truth in this belief?
4. Does the truth of this belief exist only in the way I talk, act, or feel about this problem?
5. What is the worst thing that could happen to me if I do not hold on to this belief?
6. What positive things might happen to me if I do not hold on to this belief?
7. What would be an appropriate, realistic belief I could substitute for this irrational belief?
8. How would I feel if I substituted this new belief for my blocking belief?
9. How will I grow and how will my rights and the rights of others be protected by this substitute belief?
10. What is keeping me from accepting this alternate belief?
11. Once you have answered these questions, substitute a rational belief and act on it.

Wisdom discovered at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When does it become abuse?

When do behaviors become abusive? Oregon uses the term "battering." What is battering? Battering is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. Battering is a pattern of living in which one person (usually the man) uses violence or other abusive behavior to control and maintain power over a partner or other family members. Battering happens when one person believes that they are entitled to control another.

For purposes of OAR 137-087-0000 through 137-087-0100, the following terms have the meanings set forth below.
(1)"Batterer" means:
(a) An adult male 18 years of age or older who engages in "battering" against women; or
(b) A male minor criminally convicted as an adult of conduct against women that constitutes "battering" in whole or in part.
(2)"Battering" includes but is not limited to physical violence, sexual violence, threats, isolation, emotional and psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking, economic abuse, or other controlling behaviors against women in, but not limited to, the following relationships:
(a) A current or former spouse of the batterer;
(b) An unmarried parent of a child fathered by the batterer;
(c) A woman who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the batterer;
(d) A woman who has been involved in a sexually intimate relationship with the batterer within the past two years;
(e) A woman who has a dating relationship with the batterer;
(f) An adult woman related by blood, marriage or adoption to the batterer; or
(g) A woman who relies on the batterer for ongoing personal care assistance.
"Battering" may or may not violate criminal law and in most instances is patterned behavior.
(10) "Victim" means a female, including a past or present partner, subjected to battering. A victim may be under the age of 18. In no event shall the batterer be considered a victim for purposes of these rules.

Victims of abuse may experience punched walls, control of finances, lying, using children to manipulate a parent's emotions, intimidation, isolation from family and friends, fear, shame, criticism, crying and afraid children, broken bones, confusion, forced sexual contact, manipulation, sexist comments, yelling, rages, craziness, harassment, neglect, shoving, screaming, jealousy and possessiveness, loss of self esteem, coercion, slammed doors, abandonment, silent treatment, rape, destruction of personal property, unwanted touching, name calling, strangling, slapping, biting, kicking, bruises, punching, stalking, scrapes, depression, sabotaging attendance at job or school, brainwashing, violence to pets, pinching, deprivation of physical and economic resources, public humiliation, broken promises, prevention of seeking medical and dental care, ridicule, restraining, self-medication, forced tickling, threats to harm family and friends, threats to take away the children, threats of being kicked out, threats of weapons, threats of being killed (

Below are more specifics about the many forms of "Battering":

Physical Abuse:
Shoving, slapping, kicking, punching, tripping, choking, raping, burning, shooting, stabbing, hair-pulling, arm-twisting, physical restraint, physical confinement.

That first category is primarily what people think of when they hear the word "abusive" or "battering. " But the below categories are also battering, and in many ways, more devastating than the overt physical abuse.

Spiritual Abuse:
Selectively using scripture to change or enforce behavior. Intentionally misusing scripture to force compliance. Ridiculing another’s beliefs. Spiritually putting one’s self above another. Using religious beliefs as the authority behind threats and punishment.

Emotional Abuse:
Criticizing her, shouting at her, swearing at her, putting down her opinions, blaming or shaming her, making her think she's crazy, making her feel stupid, treating her like a servant, accusing her unjustly, embarrassing her, withholding encouragement or affection, bringing up past mistakes, flirting openly, not discussing events that damage the relationship.

Economic Abuse:
Trying to keep her from getting or keeping a job, keep her from furthering her education, making her ask for money, taking any money she earns, withholding child support, not letting her know about or have access to family income, not including her in the financial decision for the family.

Creating fear by using threatening looks or gestures, bullying her by using a loud voice, scaring her by breaking glass, breaking the dishes, kicking a door, destroying her possessions (property abuse-which sends the message “it could have been you”), displaying a weapon, angrily rushing toward her during an argument. Stalking.

Controlling what she does, whom she sees, whom she talks to, what she reads or where she goes; refusing to let her see family or friends; monitoring her phone calls, mileage, clothing or make-up; hiding the car keys so she cannot leave.

Sexual Abuse:
Making her perform sexual acts against her will, attacking the sexual parts of her body, treating her as if she were an object only for sex, forcing her to view pornography, withholding sex to express anger, demanding sex after violence or abuse, harassing her for sexual acts that she objects to performing.

Using the Children:
Harming or threatening to harm the children, using visitation or custody to harass her, threatening to take the children away, putting the children in the middle.

Making Threats:
Threatening to hurt her, threatening to destroy her belongings if she leaves, threatening to commit suicide, threatening to report her to police, welfare, etc.

All of these are tools used by the batterer to achieve and maintain power and control over others. The only way for the a person to change their abusive patters if to become accountable and self-responsible, realizing and internalizing that they cannot control another-they can only control themselves.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

But giving up would cost me everything

Invaluable reminders in this lyric of how important it is to hang on and hope even when we want to give up...

"How long will my prayers seem unanswered?

Is there still faith in me to reach the end?
I'm feeling doubt I'm losing faith
But giving up would cost me everything
So I'll stand in the pain and silence
And I'll speak to the dark night.

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe

Though I can't see my stories ending
That doesn't mean the dark night has no end
It's only here that I find faith
And learn to trust the one who writes my days
So I'll stand in the pain and silence
And I'll speak to the dark night.

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe.
No dark can consume Light
No death greater than this life
We are not forgotten
Hope is found when we say,
Even when He is silent,

I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent
And I, I believe. "

The above lyrics "I Believe in Love" by BarlowGirl, are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Relationship red flags

I found this excellent article written by Cynthia McKenna at

When we want a relationship to work, it is normal to try to overlook faults and habits that annoy us, because after all, we all have flaws.

I have met many people, women and men, who are in a lot of emotional pain because they have "tried to overlook" a problem in the name of trying to get along. So how are you supposed to know what is okay and what is not?

Here are 5 tips to help you identify true red flags:

1. If the issue or problem violates who you are or your core values - do not overlook this.

2. If the problem puts you in emotional or physical danger, do not ignore it.

3. If the issue puts your children at risk, you have to take action. I am not just talking about the risk of abuse or neglect - both terribly important issues and hopefully the need for action is clear. I am also talking about risk of your children losing their self-esteem. Sometimes, adults can act in ways that damage children's spirits - their souls. Even if your child says he or she is "okay" and has "forgiven" the transgression, it is a parent's job to protect their children. People do make mistakes, but if your son or daughter is consistently picked-on by adults or siblings, it is your responsibility to notice and help resolve the situation.

4. If there are addictions that are not being treated or addressed through counseling or 12-step programs, trouble is ahead. Addictions develop because there is deep pain. The person with the pain tries to cover it up with drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, etc. Sometimes, this covering-up is a conscious decision, sometimes it is not. However, all addictive behavior should be a red flag.

5. If your intuition tells you that something is wrong or even if you get the sense that things, "aren't right," you should listen to your internal wisdom. Intuition is truly a gift, an internal way of knowing what is good and what is not - we do ourselves a huge favor by listening to our own inner-knowing.

and a bonus tip :)

6. If you are waiting and hoping that the person will change, you might have a long wait. No one likes to change, and change frequently requires great effort and focus. It is reasonable to ask yourself, "What if this behavior does NOT change, am I willing to live with it for the next 20 years?"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Without A Net

Without a Net: Living Life With Trust (

"As we create the life of our dreams, we often reach a crossroads where the choices seem to involve the risk of facing the unknown versus the safety and comfort of all that we have come to trust. We may feel like a tightrope walker, carefully teetering along the narrow path to our goals, sometimes feeling that we are doing so without a net. Knowing we have some backup may help us work up the courage to take those first steps, until we are secure in knowing that we have the skills to work without one. But when we live our lives from a place of balance and trust in the universe, we may not see our source of support, but we can know that it is there.

If we refuse to act only if we can see the safety net, we may be allowing the net to become a trap as it creates a barrier between us and the freedom to pursue our goals. Change is inherent in life, so even what we have learned to trust can surprise us at any moment. Remove fear from the equation and then, without even wondering what is going on below, we can devote our full attention to the dream that awaits us.

We attract support into our lives when we are willing to make those first tentative steps, trusting that the universe will provide exactly what we need. In that process we can decide that whatever comes from our actions is only for our highest and best experience of growth. It may come in the form of a soft landing, an unexpected rescue or an eye-opening experience gleaned only from the process of falling. So rather than allowing our lives to be dictated by fear of the unknown, or trying to avoid falling, we can appreciate that sometimes we experience life fully when we are willing to trust and fall. And in doing so, we may just find that we have the wings to fly.

When we believe that there is a reason for everything, we are stepping out with the safety net of the universe, and we know we will make the best from whatever comes our way."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Negative thoughts and self sabotage

Negative thoughts are not reserved for just a few people or situations. Everyone is plagued by negative thoughts at one time or another. However, once you begin thinking about what you’re “thinking about” you’ve already taken the first step to controlling negative thoughts.

Are you carrying around some junk? You know, those hurtful and disastrous things that you may have been told by someone during the course of your life. It was supposed to be taken with a grain of salt or simply ignored but most of the times we take that criticism and wear it like a hat of shame! Negative thinking can make all sorts of things incredibly difficult. It is like a leak in your confidence bucket--constantly drip-drip-dripping away your confidence and self esteem.

Negative thinking can be useful to help assess the possible pitfalls in a potential plan of action, but you need to be able to turn it on and off at will. Otherwise, negative thoughts will sabotage your self belief, your confidence and your achievements. Here are some effects of negative thinking:

Sleeping problems
It can become very difficult to get to sleep, because you feel worse at night. There are a number of reasons why. While you’re trying to drop off to sleep, there’s nothing to distract you from the worries that may have been lurking in the background during the day.

Sapping your self-confidence
The more problems you think you have, the less able you may feel to cope with them, and this can increase your sense of helplessness. This reduces your confidence, making you more vulnerable to your fears.

Unhelpful strategies
Under this kind of pressure, it may become very difficult for you to concentrate and carry on with everyday life, so that your problems tend to build up. It’s emotionally draining to feel anxious all the time. It may feel as though your whole life is being taken over by it.

Negative thoughts are not reserved for just a few people or situations. Everyone is plagued by negative thoughts at one time or another. However, once you begin thinking about what you’re “thinking about” you’ve already taken the first step to controlling negative thoughts.

Research shows that people who receive positive distractions for just eight minutes show a remarkable change in their moods and in breaking the cycle of repetitive thought. So, next time you catch yourself repeating the same negative thoughts over and over in your mind, use the STOP acronym:

1. S - Say the word STOP!

Interrupt your internal destructive thoughts. Tell yourself firmly to “STOP” over thinking. Be strict, and don’t let them intrude on your thoughts. It also might be helpful to visualize a box to place all your negative thoughts in, which you may open at a later date or time.

2. T - TAKE a break!

Take a deep breath. Then, take a break. Go for a walk or a hike, read a great book, listen to your favorite music. Do something to take your attention away from over thinking, and if possible, change the environment.

Also try some relaxation exercises, they often focus on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This could involve imagining yourself in a new setting, such as a beach, a designer home or a garden. You could visualize your worries as physical objects that can be discarded, such as stones or rocks you could heave into the distance.

Sometimes, doing a relaxation exercise makes people feel quite uncomfortable. You might feel that it’s not working, or that you’re doing it wrong. It’s best to take the attitude that you’re just giving it a go, and that these negative thoughts are normal. Surprisingly, learning to relax takes practice.

3. O - Focus on the OUTCOME!

Focus on the OUTCOME of your goals. Affirm why you are committed to your goals. The way we feel and what we experience in our body comes from what we focus our attention upon during a given moment. And at any moment, we are “deleting” most of what is going on around us. That is, to feel bad, we have to delete (not focus on, not think about) everything that’s great in our life. And vice versa. For us to feel good, we have to delete the things we could feel bad about.

4. P - PRAISE yourself!

PRAISE and acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making. Remember, you’re looking for progress, not perfection! Give yourself a reward every time you’re successful with overcoming negative thoughts. And remember small changes make a big difference.

By recognizing that you do have negative thoughts you’ve taken the first step. Now, start playing “Devil’s Advocate” and challenge yourself to find the positive. Turn your thoughts around and your moods will follow suit.

(This helpful content found at

And remember--our thoughts create our reality!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Loyalty to one's "promise" or loyalty to one's "self"

Loyalty to your "promise" or loyalty to your "self"... or is there something beyond loyalty and love? These questions/conflicts/issues come up a lot in counseling practice... each person chooses differently, and for different reasons.
Is it more important to be loyal to the person you made a vow for better or worse, or to oneself?
When does it become less about the relationship between two people and more about the individual person?
We all make sacrifices for the relationships we get involved in, but eventually as time passes...and one day you realize your only purpose in life is to fulfill others needs, is it all right to think about oneself?
To be loyal to your mate forever...or to find loyalty for yourself...?

What is the proper choice in life?
  1. A vow is a vow, and unless infidelity is involved, one needs to stay committed to their mate for better or worse. Period.
  2. After years of "going through the motions," one day you realize that being in love doesn’t mean what it used to. You forget "how" to love or even be loved. Then you come to face the "reality" that the person you once were in love with is simply the person you are merely sharing a bed with. So you find love elsewhere when you don’t expect you "go for it"?
If your mate confesses to love you but in turn, you are not "feeling" the love, are the "words" enough to hold onto a life together?

Loyalty to one's vows or loyalty to oneself? (end quote).
Romantic love, when it is primarily defined by the current emotional state of the lover, is always ultimately about the self, the lover, and rights he earns by the intensity of his feelings. The lover does not care for the beloved so much as he draws inspiration from her; one might almost say he consumes the beloved, although always to the highest purpose, or at least the highest purpose that the self, trapped in itself, can ever know.

Loyalty is what makes the difference between taking one's beloved as the standard of value and the crown of the world, and taking her as a means to the end of one's own gratification (or, at best, one's own improvement). In promising ourselves (to another), we wish to assuage our beloveds' fears; we are stating that we do not desire to consume them, and we will not abandon them once they have outlived their usefulness {ouch, what a concept to enter love from!}. Further, a mutual promise moves part of the way toward the "ecstatic union" toward which eros impels us. It hooks two lovers together. Eros pushes us to create the closest bonds possible, which do not dissolve or disguise the "otherness" of the beloved; thus not only physical unions but also the uniting of two individuals' futures in vows of loyalty are part of the demands of eros. This is one of the ways in which eros is more extreme in its demands than friendship; another is its emphasis on submission rather than equality. The model of the dual promise--the couple saying "I do"--is a model of mutual submission.
What, if some day or night a "demon" were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it,... *

Here, recurrence* is a thought-experiment: What would we do, if this happened? How would we respond? And, of course, what can we learn about our "values" from that response? The issue at hand is affirmation of oneself, of one's own actions, and of life. One must relive every moment and, therefore, take every action again; thus we are challenged to find out what would make reliving our actions unbearable. What would make an action so terrible that extinction is preferable to reenacting it? One answer is, that the action damaged something we value more highly than we value our own lives. It was written how eros leads inescapably to regret; the lover values the beloved more than he values his own life, and he fails her.

The man who reacts to the "recurrence"* with despair or terror may have many different motivations. He may be an ascetic, in horror of himself and in love with the void. He may be an adherent of some code of morality against which he has offended, and which he values more than his own life. Or he may be in love. The man who responds to the thought of "recurrence"* with joy is beyond good and evil, for he has cleansed himself of any regret; by the same act, he has gone beyond love. (end quote).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dual purpose for Life's Journey

Each of our life journeys has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. The outer purpose is to arrive at our goal, or destination. I believe that I have been primarily focused throughout the years on the outer purpose. But a book I am reading is offering new insight to the dual purpose of life's journey (The book is: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle). The author brings to light that if the destination takes up so much of our attention that it becomes more important than each individual daily step, then we are missing the journey's inner purpose "which has nothing to with where you are going or what you are doing but everything to do with how." So in essence, the journey is not about getting to some "future" point, but the quality of each individual, intentional moment along the path. The author makes a clear distinction between the outer and inner purposes of the journey. The outer portion "may contain a million steps, your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now."
Fascinating. This changes certainly the way I have been looking at my journey... I always knew it was not just about the destination, but this goes beyond that... I need to give this whole thing some more thought!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Song of the Week: Crazy Beautiful

Crazy Beautiful

"Everybody's been there everyone's the same
but mostly we don't care isn't that a shame
We bring us down face after face
the inside is beautiful but the outside we want to change.
We want to change.
Whoa you’re oh so beautiful, you don't need anyone's approval
You've got to believe in your self you know you are
You're crazy beautiful
Well every new year you say your gonna change
There's no need to change
We're different but the same
In the eyes of the King
We're beautifully made
In his image we're made
Whoa you're oh so beautiful, you don't need anyone's approval
You've got to believe in your self, you know you are
You're crazy beautiful
Take a look it’s all around you
See the world from different views
The way you shine from the inside
I know with out a doubt
It’s more than what you'll be
In the world's eyes.
Whoa you’re oh so beautiful, you don’t need anyone's a approval
You've got to believe in your self you know you are

You're crazy beautiful."

The above lyrics "Crazy Beautiful" by Chasen, are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.

Monday, October 1, 2007

1 different thought opens the door

How does change begin? Some say simply with desire to change. But desire is often not enough to move us forward into the drive energy it takes to change.

How does change begin? Quite simply, by thinking one thought different. Just like that.

Once you think just one thought differently then that opens the door, paves the way for thinking a second thought differently.

I am a firm believer that in order to change our behavior, we must first change our mind. All lasting change comes from within. It starts with positive thoughts, and then turn thoughts into actions.

The power of positive thinking and personal empowerment is a huge factor. A life filled with gratitude, rather than remorse. A life looking forward, rather than back.

One of the easiest cognitive therapy approaches to understand is that of Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) as developed by Albert Ellis.

Rational Emotive Therapy tells us about the ABC’s of emotional life. It is practical and easy to apply.

"A" stands for "Actual Event" and represents what happens to you in life.
"B" stands for a "Belief" about what happened.
"C" stand for the "Consequence" of the event on mood and behavior.

In life it appears to us that events happen and that the events cause our moods and behavior. It appears that A (an event) causes C (a consequence). So, if a friend breaks your trust you may be hurt and depressed. You may later tell someone that your friend has ruined your life and has made you miserable.

However, in order to be hurt and depressed you have to have a belief about what happened. You must be thinking in a certain way. It is your belief or thinking that is creating your reaction. You might be thinking, "It is horrible. It is terrible. I have been betrayed. I’ll never trust again."

It is your belief that is creating the consequence. Change the belief and the result will change. What else could you be telling yourself? What might be a more realistic assessment of the event?

You could be thinking, "This is tough and I don’t like it but I am glad that I found out now rather than later. I made a mistake, but I can learn from it. I can get through it." You reaction might be one of hurt and disappointment, which is a more realistic response. You would not fall into a state of depression and misery.

Changing your belief changes the result.

some information gathered from

Friday, September 21, 2007

Song of the Week: Headlights

"A summer drive away from dying,
a broken heart nothing to lose.
I know it hurts so bad just trying to please the ones you hate to love.
And I wrote this note about someone I used to know,
so I'd remember how life can be so short when your left alone to wonder,
how it is someone opens and shuts the door.

I know your cold but come home.
It's a shame how short we all have come.

You set your mind on cruise control,
knuckles grip the wheel in fear to let it go.
Love is empty, love is cruel, love it blindly breaks the rules.
How could you have been a fool?
It's something all of us go through.
You choke back tears and swallow lies but those wiper blades won't fix you eyes,
count on having clouded vision for at least a little while.

And I know you're cold but come home: it's a shame how short we all have come.
And I know you're cold but come home.

Please don't face the headlights of the oncoming cars alone.
We won't forget the past. (And I know you're cold)
Say all the answers and I will let you go,
I won't look back
and I won't look back.

Say all the answers
and I will let you go.
I will let you go.
I will let you go

Say all the answers and I will let you go,
I won't look back. [x3]

Please don't face the headlights of the oncoming cars alone
and I will let you go."

The above lyrics "Headlights" by The Classic Crime, are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A heartfelt look at the 5 stages of grieving the loss of a relationship

"Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the time comes when we realize that the relationship is over. Sometimes this is a mutual decision and others the choice of only one. Rest assured though, if you have been in this relationship for any length of time, both people are experiencing a form of loss to varying degrees. Typically, we view this time as an ending. The chapter has concluded and now it is time to turn the page.

Turning the page on a particularly deep relationship, especially if you were not ready for it to end, is often hard. We, the one left behind, ask ourselves many questions laden with self-doubt. Our ego has taken quite a hit and now we are left with a swirl of questions, and often, few immediate answers. Friends or family will tell us the old, worn-out saying, “There are plenty of fish in the sea”, but at this point in our lives we don’t want “other fish”. We want “the fish” that we may well have believed was the “big catch” we had been fishing for and finally caught. Though our friends mean well, they are pushing us to move too quickly past what can be a time of healing and self-discovery.

Modern psychology tells us the second most intense life stress (after death) is divorce or loss of a love relationship. The feelings of excruciating pain, loss, and depression are real emotions not to be ignored, buried, or minimized. We must allow our emotions to run their course if we are ever going to regain our ability to get on with our lives.

Though you may not realize it, you are grieving and that grief is perfectly healthy and normal.

Everyone deals with grief differently. Some people cry. Some people bond with their anger and scream until their throat is sore. Some of us crawl into bed and try to sleep the pain away. Some withdraw from social settings and others over eat. What we are all clearly in search of is to experience some form of comfort during a time when it seems like nothing will ever makes us feel safe and secure again. A great love has left us and we don’t expect to get over it; ever.

David Kessler and Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in their book, On Death and Dying, provided the modern psychological world with a widely accepted model of the five stages of grief. Below is my personal adaptation of these stages as it pertains to the loss of a relationship:

1. Denial
The body’s natural defense system works to protect us from threatening situations during the initial stages. You may find yourself operating on “cruise control”. You are going through the normal, everyday activities of your life, but you are only vaguely aware of what is happening. You are, in all actuality, only “going through the motions”. It is common to expect him or her to call or show up at any time and this whole situation will be explained as a simple misunderstanding.

2. Anger
This is the beginning of the heartache. You will allow your anger to rage. You might rehash details of the relationship over and over again questioning everything that was said or done. You might beat yourself up over ever allowing yourself to get involved with “any one like that” in the first place.

3. Bargaining
It is common in this stage to rehash the past, but not in the way you did before. Now you are reliving the good times and often with rose-colored glasses. You remember the good times and you begin to view the bad times as not that bad after all. Here you may find yourself plotting ways to get your lover back, but often by sacrificing your needs. You might think, “If I could just get him to take me back, I will never be jealous about his affairs again.”

4. Depression
Your anger and scheming has finally subsided and now you have hit bottom. This is, with out a doubt, the most painful stage. Here you will question if you can ever be happy again. The finality of the situation has set in to your mind. It is over and now you know it. Often, this stage is where the feelings of loss and hopelessness are strongest.

5. Acceptance
Time can heal all wounds, but time alone will not be enough. During this stage, we come to grips with the raging tide of emotions. We have ended the internal struggle and have completed the healing process of grief.

If you have recently ended an intensely emotional relationship, you should see yourself within one of these five stages right now. It is important to remember that the emotions you are feeling are natural. You are emotionally healing. Embrace this time and allow yourself to move steadily through each stage.

You should be aware that continuing to struggle with your grief may cause you to remain within one stage for an extended period of time and even cause you to fall back into an earlier stage. As is always the case with human beings, everyone is different. You may progress quickly or you may linger in each stage far longer than you would like. Whatever the case, it is important not to put a time limit on yourself. Your mind and body will know when it is time to move on and forcing yourself to move on before they are ready can lead to further complications.

Facing the end of a love relationship is difficult to say the least. But, it is my sincere hope that you will find comfort in knowing that the overwhelming range of emotions you are experiencing are completely normal, healthy and most importantly temporary.

And so the chapter has finished. It’s ok to pause and collect your thoughts. It is not the end of the book. Ahead of you lie many more pages of joy, fulfillment, and adventure. When you are ready, you will turn the page and whole new chapter will begin."

About Author
Intuitive Relationship Advisor Brandon Windsor offers one-on-one love, dating, and relationship advice.
Article Source

Alumni page on Facebook for LaSalle University in Mandeville, LA.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Infidelity Sucks!

In my line of work, I hear so many stories. And in the songs I listen to I hear so many stories. This song below may not exactly be "telling" the story" that I can "hear" in it... but the song comes at a time when I have heard from so many broken people, broken relationships, lost trust and hope that it seems to "fit." It can be difficult to convey to people that sometimes "the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing." A less poetic way to say it all might be: "infidelity sucks!" What would it take for any of us "all at once" to have the epiphany we needed to make sure that we chose the "right thing"? The question is the easy part... the answer is the hard part!

"There are certain people you just keep coming back to
She is right in front of you
You begin to wonder could you find a better one
Compared to her now she's in question

And all at once the crowd begins to sing
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same

Maybe you want her maybe you need her
Maybe you started to compare to someone not there

Looking for the right one you line up the world to find
Where no questions cross your mind
But she won't keep on waiting for you without a doubt
Much longer for you to sort it out

And all at once the crowd begins to sing
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same

Maybe you want her maybe you need her
Maybe you started to compare to someone not there
Maybe you want it maybe you need it,
Maybe it's all you're running from,
Perfection will not come...

And all at once the crowd begins to sing
We'd never know what's wrong without the pain
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same

Maybe you want her maybe you need her
Maybe you've started to compare to someone not there
Maybe you want it maybe you need it
Maybe it's all you're running from
Perfection will not come

Maybe you want her maybe you need her
Maybe you had her maybe you lost her to another
To another."

The above lyrics "All At Once" by the Fray, are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Breaking Free! Getting UN-stuck...

Why do we stay "stuck" where we are in certain areas of our lives? Why is it that we talk about change, but but just can't seem to put drive behind our desire? This article contains five ideas to help the "shift" (from desire to action) happen, plus much more excellent information. Read on, click below!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Is "clean and sober" enough?

Is "clean and sober" enough? ...I had previously thought so!
There are countless areas of our lives that we can "clean up"-sometimes for extended periods of time.
Someone recently said to me that almost any "addict" can become "sober" (or pull off "abstinence" for a period of time), but it is NOT the same thing as "recovery."
The concept of "abstinence" and "recovery" do NOT apply only to addiction to alcohol-but also sexual addiction, addiction to drugs, food, smoking... you name it.

If we discover that something has control over us, and we can only maintain periods of control over "IT"... then it is a possibility that we have become good at "abstinence" (cleaning up) and yet not have ever truly started the life long, lifestyle changing process of "recovery."

I found a little bit of information on the distinction between "abstinence" and "recovery" below (I am sure there is a lot more on the web about this topic). This information is specific to alcohol- however, any addiction could well be substituted.
NOTE how many differences there are between the outlook of an individual who is toughing out "abstinence" and the person who is walking through "recovery."
{Leave your anonymous vote in the "what's your poison" poll in sidebar to the right...}

"Abstinence from alcohol & drug use on the one hand and recovery from alcoholism & addiction on the other represent two very different states. Sometimes the boundaries between the two become blurred, but they're definitely there. Read on...

Some alcoholics and addicts become ABSTINENT but do _not_ enter recovery.
Abstinent, but not recovering, alcoholics (and addicts) show the following attitudes and behaviors:
  • They maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs because to drink and/or use again would most likely cause more problems.
  • They don't enjoy being sober and clean, miss getting high, and feel disappointed in or angry about being abstinent.
  • They maintain abstinence through will-power and believe that strong will-power is adequate for continued abstinence.
  • They would like to drink and/or use again and would do so if reasonably sure that prior problems would not recur.
Some alcoholics and addicts are not only abstinent but also in RECOVERY.
Recovering alcoholics and addicts show the following attitudes and behaviors:
  • They maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs because to drink and/or use again would compromise the quality of life found in sobriety.
  • They enjoy being sober and clean and feel grateful for sobriety.
  • They utilize resources instead of or in addition to will-power to maintain sobriety and to learn healthier ways to think, feel, and act.
  • They have no desire to drink or use again and would not do so even if reasonably sure that problems would not recur.
The bottom line is this:

Make no bones about it; moving out of alcoholism & addiction, through abstinence, and into recovery does not happen by accident or by magic. It requires time, patience, and above all - action."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Song of the Week: The Last Night

"The Last Night" by SKILLET on "Comatose"

"You come to me with scars on your wrist
You tell me this will be the last night feeling like this
I just came to say goodbye
I didn't want you to see me cry, I'm fine
But I know it's a lie.

This is the last night you'll spend alone
Look me in the eyes so I know you know
I'm everywhere you want me to be.
The last night you'll spend alone,
I'll wrap you in my arms and I won't let go,
I'm everything you need me to be.

Your parents say everything is your fault
But they don't know you like I know you they don't know you at all
I'm so sick of when they say
It's just a phase, you'll be o.k. you're fine
But I know it's a lie.


The last night away from me

The night is so long when everything's wrong
If you give me your hand I will help you hold on


I won't let you say goodbye,
I'll be your reason why.

The last night away from me,
Away from me."

The above lyrics are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mental Health Tip of the Week: Are you "burnt out" on giving?

  • Do you spend most your time and energy taking care of other people?
  • Do you find you have little or no energy left to take care of yourself?
  • Do you sacrifice your needs in order to meet others' needs?
  • Do you feel it is your duty to always put others first?
  • Do you feel guilty when, at times, you resent your role as a caretaker?
How to Care for Yourself While Caring for Others:

It's easy to forget about your own needs when you are a caregiver. But doing that takes a toll on your health.

Here are some caregiver support tips to help you stay healthy and reduce your stress while you’re caring for someone else.
  • Accept your own limits. As a caregiver, you don’t have to do it all, and you shouldn’t try. Admit when you feel overwhelmed, and ask for help.
  • Create a caregiver support team. Before you can ask for help, you need to know who you can ask. Plan ahead for times when you'll need help by making a list of people who are willing to help you with caregiver support. Family members, friends and professionals may give you a break or help out when you can't be there.
  • Schedule time for yourself. Don't forget to schedule time for activities you enjoy. There are more important things than doing the laundry, and caregiver support is one of them.
Remember, this is about staying healthy in mind and body, so you need to make time to have fun now and then.

Make your own health your first priority. This may sound selfish, but it’s not. Being a caregiver is a big job, and the only way you can provide the caregiving your loved one needs is to make sure you stay healthy.

The kind of stress you’re trying to manage every day can easily lead to depression; staying fit and healthy can help you cope, reduce stress, and make it easier to get through tough days when they come.

Caregiver Burnout:

This is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude -- from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don't get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able -- either physically or financially. Caregivers who are "burned out" may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on the ones they aim to help.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout:

The signs of burnout can present themselves in many ways, such as :
  • Changes in Sleep Pattern. Sleeping too often, too little, or interrupted sleep can often signal caregiver stress or burnout.
  • Changes in Appetite. Take notice of any change of appetite, like eating more or less. This can result in weight loss and weight gain. Eating healthy can provide the much-needed energy to provide quality care.
  • Exhaustion. Feeling fatigued is often one of first burnout symptoms people experience. If exhaustion prevents you from completing basic daily activities or is persistent, see your doctor.
  • Withdrawing from Friends and Family. Caregivers suffering from burnout often withdraw from friends, family, and social activities.
  • Feeling Overly Emotional. Crying at the drop of that hat or feeling angry for no reason are important signs of burnout. Displaced anger can often occur during burnout.
When a person develops a mental illness, family members and others have the power to influence the recovery process favorably or otherwise.

While getting enough exercise, sleep and nourishing food is a good idea if you want to maintain health, there's more to self-care when a loved one is sick.

"Most people feel selfish meeting their own needs," Heinssen (clinical psychologist) said, "so, they keep doing and doing, neglecting their own needs, until eventually they burn out. No one benefits, especially not the patient. But 'selfishness' and 'healthy self-interest' are not the same."

Dealing with illness and its different stages brings on challenges and pulls on many different emotions, both for the individual and for the family members who are dedicated to caring for them; it's important to know how best to regulate these feelings.

"Significant others can either bolster a person's ability to tolerate the stress of an illness or can contribute to the worsening of symptoms," Heinssen said. "When we don't take care of our own needs, we're more likely to become irritable, short-tempered, judgmental, resentful--which can have a negative impact on the person who's struggling to get better."

Studies show that supportive, flexible and enduring relationships can "facilitate a person's stability and recovery." Therefore it is of the utmost importance to the well-being of those we care for that we first and foremost take care of ourselves.

Adapted from various sources:
National Institute of Mental Health

Monday, August 6, 2007

How to Let Go of Guilt and Learn to Forgive

"We have all done things that we are not proud of. ...These sorts of past actions can leave us feeling ashamed & guilty, & we can end up carrying our guilt for years. Guilt is probably one of the most debilitating & negative emotions there is ... But if we want to live happy lives, we need to deal with... and not allow..." (Story copywrited by Theun Mares) Brief excerpt, full story by following the "read more" link.

read more | digg story

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Song of the Week: Maybe...

"I'm trying to work things out
I'm trying to comprehend
Am I the chance result
Of some great accident.
I hear a rhythm call me
The echo of a grand design,
I spend each night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars in the sky.

I have another meeting today
With my new counselor
My mom will cry and say
'I don't know what to do with her.
She's so unresponsive
I just cannot break through
She spends all night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars and the moon.'

They have a chart and a graph
Of my despondency
They want to chart a path
For self-recovery.
And want to know what I'm thinking
What motivates my mood
To spend all night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars and the moon.

Maybe this was made for me
For lying on my back in the middle of a field,
Maybe that's a selfish thought
Or maybe there's a loving God.

Maybe I was made this way
To think and to reason and to question and to pray...
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God.

And that may be a foolish thought
Or maybe there is a God...
And I have never prayed a lot...
But maybe there's a loving God."

Song by Sara Groves, from the CD "All Right Here." The above lyrics are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.