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“Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he’s absolutely right.” –Dale Carnegie


How do you handle conflict in your relationships?

How do you confront someone when they have said or done something you don’t like, disagree with, or find hurtful? How does the other person react?

How do you react when someone tells you that you have said or done something that they don’t like, disagree with, or find hurtful?

As a child growing up, I don’t ever recall my parents arguing — not even behind closed doors. If my brother and I wanted to go somewhere, or do something, both parents had to be in agreement. My dear hubby came from a household where he saw/heard his father doing plenty of yelling. His mother was a quiet woman, but eventually she started yelling back. Now, imagine the impact these two different households had on our conflict resolution skills. It’s safe to say that we can both learn a thing or two in the area of conflict resolution. So, today I downloaded (onto my Kindle) the book, “The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage,” by Tim Downs and Joy Downs. Another book I’m considering purchasing is, “The Joy of Conflict Resolution: Transforming Victims, Villians and Heroes in the Workplace and At Home,” by Gary Harper. My hope is that hubby and I will learn some new things and improve our conflict resolution skills. The only tips I have for you today (in the area of conflict resolution) are in these videos:

Conflict Resolution


“None of us can be free of conflict and woe. Even the greatest men have had to accept disappointments as their daily bread. … The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.” –Bernard M. Baruch


Seven Keys to Resolving Family Conflict


“Marriage means expectations and expectations mean conflict.” –Paxton Blair



“Everyday ask yourself the question, “Do I want to experience Peace of Mind or do I want to experience Conflict?” –Gerald Jampolsky

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Have you ever stopped to think about the purpose of relationships? Do you think they are just for our own enjoyment? Do you believe in soul mates?

Years ago I heard a phrase from a book that caught my attention. The name of the book was “The One: Finding Soul Mate Love and Making It Last,” by Kathy Freston. The book went on to become a New York Times best-seller and was re-titled as “The One: Discovering the Secrets of Soul Mate Love.” Here’s the phrase:

“No matter what the question, this is the answer: we are here in each other’s lives to facilitate in one another a higher state of consciousness. We are here to open each other’s eyes to God. We don’t talk about that; it certainly isn’t the spoken goal of most partnerships. But that is what is at play.”


I don’t really know the purpose of relationships but do believe we are here to grow.

Being the curious person that I am, I just had to go buy the book. So, if you haven’t realized it yet, there is no problem-free relationship. People seem to think that if they just find their “soul mate” they will live happily ever after without any relationship problems. According to Kathy, that isn’t the definition of a soulmate. This is a little bit of what Kathy had to say about soul mates and relationships:

“A soul mate reflects back to us that which is unhealed while testifying to what is already perfect. Soul mates provide different things at different times: sometimes a safe haven from which we can branch out and explore, and sometimes challenges that bring us to our knees. In every case, they help us as we make our way along the path leading to the innermost sanctum where Spirit resides.”

We need the challenge relationships provide by calling us out on our prejudices, and we need people – partners, friends, casual acquaintances, and even strangers – who will walk with us as we make our way to our soul’s potential.”

We want things to go smoothly, but it seems we need the challenges relationships present in order for us to grow.


Here’s some more food for thought from Kathy Freston:

“I realized that somewhere along the way, we as a society had lost sight of the truth. Instead of finding peace within ourselves, we looked for happiness in the form of another person, situation, or thing. We would work hard to “get” someone, but then the relationship would “fail.” Either the magic seemed to wear off or we never took the chance to commit to a partner because there might be a better deal just around the corner. Or, saddest of all, we suffered quietly in an unfulfilling marriage, dreaming of what might possibly set us free.”

“The challenge of finding and keeping a soul mate is the perfect impetus for our metaphysical maturation. Our love relationships bring us face to face with our demons, and we are willing to confront them and learn how to better ourselves because we want so badly to fulfill love’s magical promise. It is by using the experiences that arise within the context of partnership – both joyful and painful ones – that we come to embrace the enormous spiritual capacity that lies within us, making us capable of magnificent things, not only in the area of relationships, but in every area of life.”

“We can’t possibly know or dictate what will bring us our awakenings; no two people are exactly the same, and one soul certainly requires different lessons than the next. We simply have to rise to greet the occasions as they present themselves to us. The perfect set of conditions for bringing about your soul’s unfolding is always at hand, but you probably won’t recognize this while you’re going through it.”

Our spiritual task is to calm our overactive ego, to catch it when it starts climbing into the driver’s seat and tell it when to get back where it belongs. In terms of love relationships, we need to become more focused on treating our partners – or potential partners – with respect, honoring the fact that they have their own higher mind to follow and we have no right to push our personal agenda on their lives. We need to stop insisting on getting our own way and allow them to be who they are. We can make suggestions and we can express our opinions, but it gets us nowhere to insist on having things our own way. We can’t change anyone else; we can only work on changing ourselves.”

“Power struggles are a major problem in love relationships, and I have found that whenever a power struggle develops between partners, at least one of the following aspects of ego is at work: 1. The need to be right; 2. The need to be in control; 3. The need to be distracted; or 4. The need to feel superior or inferior.

1) The need to be right pits us against each other. When we are attached to being right, we feel compelled to defend ourselves at all costs. We don’t want to see the other person’s side of the story, because if we did, it might threaten the case we’ve built. So we dig in our heels, hoping to wear the other person down. We do this because deep down inside we feel small and afraid. The ego believes only one of us can win, so it’s fighting for its life.

If we were to take a more spiritual approach and recognize that the Spirit in me is the same Spirit in you, we would no longer need to be right. Rather than fearfully clinging to our smaller, more selfish agenda, we could shift our goal to finding common ground.

2) The need to be in control is the ego’s way of urging us to hold tightly to the reins if we want to be safe. We’d better put things in their place, including our partners, says the fearful voice inside us. When I get into control mode, it’s usually because I am scared that things won’t work out as I think they should, and that, at the end of the day, I won’t be okay.

3) The need to be distracted is the ego’s way of coping with the anxiety of going it alone. There is a tremendous amount of fear and pressure that goes with the belief that you have to figure everything out for yourself. When the responsibility becomes too much, the ego looks for distraction; it is a way of surviving. And in our society, there is no shortage of distraction from the deeper issues of our humanity. Sensational news, demanding work schedules, lifestyle pressures, sports events, e-mail, computer games: these are just a few of the stimuli that compete for our attention. And trumping all of these is the drama we can create in our relationships; nothing beats a good knock-down drag-out fight to get our mind off the gnawing fear that we can’t keep it all together. When we sweat the small stuff, we successfully distract ourselves from the larger anxiety that the ego maintains of being separate and alone in a big, scary world.

In other words, you may make a big deal about your husband coming home an hour later than he said he would, or lay into your wife for not running the household as well as you think she should, but really, deep down inside, you are just trying to distract yourself from the absolute terror of not being able to keep all the pieces of your life together. But you see, we are not meant to hold it all together; we are not the glue of life. Spirit is. We are at our best when we accept our role as co-creators with Spirit.

4) The need to be superior or inferior is the ego’s way of keeping us apart from each other by focusing on flaws. It plagues us with attacks of self-pity or delusions of grandeur that keep us from the fundamental truth that we are all created equally and from the same source. Because the ego has no awareness of our inherent Oneness, it sets us adrift on our narcissistic wanderings. Our sense of worth should never depend upon how much better or worse we are doing than someone else. Rather, it should be rooted in the knowledge that we are all created perfectly by God.

These four ego-driven needs present obstacles to our awareness of deep and unconditional love because they keep us focused on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. They drive us apart rather than bring us together. Each time you see one of these needs arise in your thoughts or actions, recognize it as a warning to relegate the ego to the backseat.

Ego may present us with many pitfalls, but it also has its benefits. It assists us in recognizing and celebrating our differences. We are unique, after all, and this uniqueness works in concert with our core spirituality. As we learn to coexist and enjoy the different qualities we all have, Spirit is renewed and expanded. Life becomes more textured and lovely.

The question is not whether ego is good or bad, but rather to what degree we allow it to rule our lives and relationships. Ego is an aspect of the mind that serves a purpose; we just can’t let it get out of hand. If we keep choosing to stay alert and awake to all the forces at work within us, we can create a well-balanced and soulful partnership.”


Here’s two good reads about the Ego:

Ego – The False Center

Edging God Out


About Kathy:

Kathy Freston is a health and wellness expert and a New York Times best-selling author. Her books include Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness, The One: Discovering the Secrets of Soul Mate Love and Expect a Miracle: 7 Spiritual Steps to Finding the Right Relationship. Her newest book is THE QUANTUM WELLNESS CLEANSE: The 21 Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Body, Mind, and Spirit, (Weinstein Books). Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Dean Ornish penned the introductions for her two latest books and her work has garnered accolades from such respected names as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Neal Barnard, Marianne Williamson and Dr. Deepak Chopra. http://www.kathyfreston.com/

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According to a new book, there are 237 reasons why women have sex. And most of them have little to do with romance or pleasure.

Last week I happened to catch the Jay Leno show the night Dr. Phil was his guest. Dr. Phil happened to mention that there is a recent study out on the “237 Reasons Women Have Sex.” Wow! I certainly don’t think I can come up with that many reasons. Actually, it’s not something I’ve really given any thought. However, since this piqued my curiosity I decided to see what I could find out about it on the web. So here’s my findings:

Why Women Have Sex

There’s a book called “Why Women Have Sex.” It is by Cindy Meston, a clinical psychologist, and David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist. Meston and Buss have interviewed 1,006 women from all over the world about their sexual motivation, and in doing so they have identified 237 different reasons why women have sex. From the reams of confessions, it emerges that women have sex for physical, emotional and material reasons; to boost their self-esteem, to keep their lovers, or because they are raped or coerced. Love? That’s just a song. We are among the bad apes now. Read more here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/sep/28/sex-women-relationships-tanya-gold

“Why Women Have Sex” book excerpt at amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Women-Have-Sex-Understanding/dp/0805088342/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256680602&sr=1-1


CNN took to the streets to ask real women why they have sex.

Top 50 Reasons Men and Women Have Sex
http://www.livescience.com/health/070731_top_fifty.html


Why We Have Sex

Researchers asked more than 400 men and women, ranging from 17 to 52 years old, to identify the various reasons why people have sex. Then, more than 1,500 undergraduate students were asked about their sexual experiences and attitudes.

The combined results revealed 237 sexual motivations, which the psychologists, David Buss and Cindy Meston of the University of Texas at Austin, sorted into four major factors and 13 sub-factors:

Physical reasons—reduce stress (“It seemed like good exercise”); feel pleasure (“It’s exciting”); improve or expand experiences (“I was curious about sex”); and the physical desirability of a partner (“The person was a good dancer”).

Goal-based reasons—practical considerations (“I wanted to have a baby”); social status (“I wanted to be popular”); and revenge (“I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease”).

Emotional reasons—love and commitment (“I wanted to feel connected”); expression (“I wanted to say ‘thank you’”).

Insecurity-based reasons—self-esteem (“I wanted the attention”); a feeling of duty or pressure (“My partner kept insisting”); to hold onto a mate (“I wanted to keep my partner from straying”).

They also found significant gender differences. For instance, men were more likely than women to endorse being motivated by experience seeking, mere opportunity and physical appearance. Examples included: “The person was available,” “I wanted to increase the number of partners I had experienced” and “The person had an attractive face.”

Women were more motivated than men by certain emotional factors, such as “I wanted to express my love for the person.” Read more here: Why We Have Sex: 237 Reasons Revealed http://www.livescience.com/health/070731_survey_sex.html


If you want to see the 237 Reasons to Have Sex, click on the link below:

237 Reasons to Have Sex (What men and women told sex researchers in a new study)

Men’s Health has listed all 237 Reasons to Have Sex. Click the link to see the reasons:
http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=sex.relationships&category=better.sex&conitem=fc1a0ac9bc0d3110VgnVCM10000013281eac____&page=1


Have you ever stopped to think about the reasons you have/had sex?

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Is 85 the New 65?
How to stay young in heart and mind
to maximize your life!

by Al Weatherhead

  

AJW_swimming

I’ll begin by stating an absolute truth: age is a state of mind.

You may dismiss my declaration as a cliché, but I’m here to tell you that it’s an invaluable secret.

What’s more, if you embrace the wisdom at its core by practicing my approach to dealing with life’s trials and tribulations, you’ll discover a personal fountain of youth that will provide you with the physical, spiritual and emotional energy to experience the world with a child’s wonder and delight.

It may sound like a lot to promise… Especially if you’re currently in the grip of a serious and chronic illness… but as readers of my book, THE POWER OF ADVERSITY: Tough Times Can Make Your Stronger, Wiser, and Better, know, I too have struggled to conquer serious illness and regain my youthful vigor.

I’ve endured – and surmounted – terrible arthritis, serious heart disease and major depression. What’s more I’m a recovering alcoholic. Today, at age 84, I’m healthy, and happily married to the woman of my dreams; a proud father and grandfather; CEO of a multi-million dollar company; and a thoughtful philanthropist.

I assure you that the rules I share with you today on how to stay young at heart and in mind by harnessing the power of adversity have stood the test of time. In fact they’ve helped me beat Father Time and stay young… and they can do the same for you!

Rule #1 Attitude and the Mind – The power of positive imagery

The number one factor to maintaining your youth is to develop a youthful perspective – by keeping a positive mindset.

The mind, overwhelmed by fear, can be like a drop of mercury on a table, slithering and breaking into wildly evasive squirts and pieces. On the other hand, the mind when positively rooted in a deep passion for life, is more certain and powerful than the forces which rotate the earth.

You will go a long way toward overcoming your adversities that do so much to age you when you avail yourself of the power of positive thinking. I know this to be true because it is that same power that enabled me to control my alcoholism, beat arthritis and accomplish what was once considered impossible: total reversal of heart disease.

Start now to put positive imagery to work for you. One powerful technique to help you do so that I elaborate upon in my book is to not think when facing a life-challenge:  “I have to do it.” Instead, think: “I have it to do.” This will help you take control of your adversity – and your life.

You see, staying young is all about choice. So choose to be young – or restore your youth – by thinking positively with the right imagery. Decide now to regain the healing optimism we all once had as infants learning to walk, when we took our first albeit wobbly but determined steps into our bright futures!

Rule #2 Meditation – The art of letting go

Practicing meditation is the way to create and sustain your positive mindset. Most of the time, our heads are filled with an endless loop of the same thoughts formed over our lives. They drive us to distraction and often plunge us into anxiety. This mental stress and strain becomes physical stress, which greatly contributes to our aging.

Meditation helps alleviate mental stress, short-circuiting the aging process. Far from being a mystical art, meditation is as down to earth and results-oriented as physical exercise. There’s lot of information available on different ways to meditate. Do a bit of web surfing or browse the shelves of your local bookstore to find a method that feels right for you. I meditate in the pool, by concentrating on my breathing while swimming laps.

Rule #3 Communication — Articulating the speech of the heart

The poet W.B. Yeats described prayer as the “inarticulate speech of the heart.” Our youthful goal is to articulate the heart’s thoughts and feelings, to help us revitalize our spirits, reconnect with others, and replenish our youth.

It was my rheumatoid arthritis that shoved me stumbling along the first few steps of the communication path. Before that bout of suffering, I had barricaded myself from the world. As I struggled with the relentless pain, depression and a lack of certainty about the future, I was granted the gift of a lifetime: the opportunity to relearn how to trust others. I also relearned that trying to get through life alone wears away one’s youth, both inside and out. Reaching out to others and accepting their reaching out to you will go a long way to help you stay young.

You know, at my age the world would probably expect me to dodder about reminiscing about my “better days.” But for me, that could never be.

I still revel in going to my office each day at Weatherchem, the best plastics closure company in America, to chat with my employees and feel the surge of human connection. I also look forward to…

Opening a letter from one of the many philanthropic causes I support, experiencing the sweetness of knowing I am making a positive difference in the world and longing to do more…

Swimming laps in the pool, scudding through the water like a cloud through the blue sky as I meditate on the miracle and mantra of my breathing…

And ending each day talking to my beloved wife, Celia, exchanging words and touches, sharing all that has passed between us and anticipating all that is yet to come…

You, too, can recharge and replenish your body, mind and spirit. Take the first steps to maximize your life right now by following these powerful and liberating rules to stay forever young!

Al Weatherhead is the author of The Power Of Adversity and chairman and CEO of Weatherchem, a private manufacturer of plastic closures for food, spice, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

 

Thank you Mr. Weatherhead for writing this article and being my first guest post on this blog.

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Have you ever stopped to think about what your needs are in a relationship? Did you ever think they might be different from your mate?

Needs — what an interesting word. I used to be one of those people who didn’t even know that word when it came to a relationship. I knew I had “wants.” Well along comes this book “His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage,” by Willard F. Harley, Jr. to school me all about “needs” in a marriage. Finally, I felt validated. I wasn’t being selfish or unrealistic. The first time I saw the lists I thought I also wanted to add some of the things from the man’s list. What can I say…I’m a woman, and you know we want it all!

Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. is a psychologist and marriage counselor with more than 30 years of experience. This is what he had to say about his needs/her needs:

Excerpt from His Needs, Her Needs

“In my counseling experience, I have identified five basic needs men expect their wives to fulfill and five needs women expect their husbands to meet. Time and again these ten needs have surfaced as I have helped literally thousands of couples improve their troubled marriages. Although each individual may perceive his or her needs differently, the consistency with which these two sets of five categories have surfaced to explain marital problems impresses me.

The man’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:

1. Sexual fulfillment

2. Recreational companionship

3. An attractive spouse

4. Domestic support

5. Admiration

The woman’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:

1. Affection

2. Conversation

3. Honesty and openness

4. Financial support

5. Family commitment

These categories may not apply equally to everyone. Some men and women will look at their respective lists and say, quite honestly, “I don’t share this or that need.” Sometimes people will see things on the list of the opposite sex that will strike them as more applicable to themselves. Long experience has taught me, however, that the vast majority of each sex do agree that the needs I have listed are their deepest ones when it comes to the marriage relationship.”

“In marriages that fail to meet those needs, I have seen, strikingly and alarmingly, how consistently married people choose the same pattern to satisfy their unmet needs: the extramarital affair. People wander into affairs with astonishing regularity, in spite of whatever strong moral or religious convictions they may hold. Why? Once a spouse lacks fulfillment of any of the five needs, it creates a thirst that must be quenched. If changes do not take place within the marriage to care for that need, the individual will face the powerful temptation to fill it outside of marriage.”

Don’t shoot me if you don’t agree. I’m just the messenger. I do think this is something to think about. Yes, it’s easy for us to say that people cheat because “they want to.” However, I don’t think most people go into marriage with the idea of being unfaithful to their spouse. We may not like it, but maybe there is something to what Dr. Harley is saying.

About the Book – His Needs, Her Needs
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi6020_needs.html

Read Chapter 1 of His Needs, Her Needs
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi6020_needs-ch1.html

Emotional Needs Descriptions and Emotional Needs Questionnaire
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3300_needs.html

Info on Dr. Harley
http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi2000_meet.html

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What are the agreements you are living by? One of my favorite books is a little book named “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book talks about the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. This little book (only 138 pages) offers a powerful code of conduct that can transform our lives. It is not a religion. As with anything you read, you may not agree in total, but if nothing else, it is definitely great food for thought! Agreements #2 (Don’t Take Anything Personally) and #3 (Don’t Make Assumptions) were really eye-opening. They talk about about other people, ourselves, and our relationships with others. The following is an excerpt from the book.

In his book, “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz says…

“There are thousands of agreements you have made with yourself, with other people, with your dream life, with God, with society, with your parents, with your spouse, with your children. But the most important agreements are the ones you made with yourself. In these agreements you tell yourself who you are, what you feel, what you believe, and how to behave. The result is what you call your personality. In these agreements you say, “This is what I am. This is what I believe. I can do certain things, and some things I cannot do. This is reality, that is fantasy; this is possible, that is possible.”

One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that make us suffer, that make us fail in life. If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim your personal power. The agreements that come from fear require us to expend a lot of energy, but the agreements that come from love help us to conserve energy and even gain extra energy.

Each of us is born with a certain amount of personal power that we rebuild every day after we rest. Unfortunately, we spend all our personal power first to create all these agreements and then to keep these agreements. Our personal power is dissipated by all the agreements we have created, and the result is that we feel powerless. We have just enough power to survive each day, because most of it is used to keep the agreements that trap us in the dream of the planet. How can we change the entire dream of our life when we have no power to change even the smallest agreement?

If we can see it is our agreements which rule over our life, and we don’t like the dream of our life, we need to change our agreements. When we are finally ready to change our agreements, there are four very powerful agreements that will help us break those agreements that come from fear and deplete our energy.

Each time you break an agreement, all the power you used to create it returns to you. If you adopt these four new agreements, they will create enough personal power for you to change the entire system of your old agreements.

You need a very strong will in order to adopt the Four Agreements — but if you can begin to live your life with these agreements, the transformation in your life will be amazing. You will see the drama of hell disappear right before your very eyes. Instead of living in a dream of hell, you will be creating a new dream — your personal dream of heaven.

The Four Agreements:

1 – Be Impeccable With Your Word – this is the most important agreement and also the most difficult to one to honor. It is so important that with just this first agreement you will be able to transcend to the level of existence I call heaven on earth.

This agreement sounds very simple, but is very, very powerful. Your word is the power that you have to create. Your word is the gift that comes directly from God. Through the word you express your creative power. It is through the word that you manifest everything. Regardless of what language you speak, your intent manifests through the word. What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.

The word is not just a sound or a written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you. One edge is the misuse of the word, which creates a living hell. The other edge is the impeccability of the word, which will only create beauty, love, and heaven on earth. Depending on how it is used, the word can set you free, or it can enslave you even more than you know.

2 – Don’t Take Anything Personally – Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. If I see you on the street and say, “Hey, you are so stupid,” without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me. If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid. Maybe you think to yourself, “How does he know? Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?”

You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell. What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.” During the period of our education, or our domestication, we learn to take everything personally. We think we are responsible for everything. Me, me, me, always me!

Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. Their point of view comes from all the programming they received during domestication.

When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. You make something big out of something so little, because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong. You also try hard to be right by giving them your own opinions. In the same way, whatever you feel and do is just a projection of your own personal dream, a reflection of your own agreements. What you say, what you do, and the opinions you have are according to the agreements you have made — and these opinions have nothing to do with me.

Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them.

You may even tell me, “Miguel, what you are saying is hurting me.” But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way I can take this personally. Not because I don’t believe in you or don’t trust you, but because I know that you see the world with different eyes, with your eyes. You create an entire picture or movie in your mind, and in that picture you are the director, you are the producer, you are the main actor or actress. Everyone else is a secondary actor or actress. It is your movie.

The way you see that movie is according to the agreements you have made with life. Your point of view is something personal to you. It is no one’s truth but yours. Then, if you get mad at me, I know you are dealing with yourself. I am the excuse for you to get mad. And you get mad because you are afraid, because you are dealing with fear. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will get mad at me. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will hate me. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will be jealous or sad.

If you live without fear, if you love, there is no place for any of those emotions. If you don’t feel any of those emotions, it is logical that you will feel good. When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything around you, because you are loving yourself. Because you like the way you are. Because you are content with you. Because you are happy with your life. You are happy with the movie that you are producing, happy with your agreements with your life. You are at peace, and you are happy.

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for awhile, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.

3 – Don’t Make Assumptions – We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real. We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking — we take it personally — then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. That is why whenever we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing. It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering.

We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us, and blame us as we do ourselves. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. That is the way the human mind works. We also make assumptions about ourselves, and this creates a lot of inner conflict.

4 – Always Do Your Best – Under any circumstances, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good. When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you are tired at night. Your best will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick, or sober as opposed to drunk. Your best will depend on whether you are feeling wonderful and happy, or upset, angry, or jealous.

In your everyday moods your best can change from one moment to another, from one hour to the next, from one day to another. Your best will also change over time. As you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be.

Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything. But it is the action that is going to make you feel intensely happy. When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite. They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.

If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation. If you do your best in the search for personal freedom, in the search for self-love, you will discover that’s its just a matter of time before you find what you are looking for.”

Article – Four Agreements http://www.sairegion24.org/fileupload/ditto/14/FourAgreements.pdf

Book Review – The Four Agreements http://www.nderf.org/4AgreementsReview.htm

Book Summary – The Four Agreements http://www.bizsum.com/thefouragreements.htm

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Think about this — When communicating with others about a problem do you Seek First to Understand, or must you Make Your Point First?

Many years ago I read the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. The book has since gone on to be a bestseller. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are:

1 – Be Proactive – taking initiative; responsibility for your own life; behavior based on conscious choice, based on values (rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling)

2 – Begin with the End in Mind – start with a clear understanding of your destination, know where you’re going

3 – Put First Things First – putting things that matter most first

4 – Think Win/Win – seek mutual benefit in all human interactions

5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – emphatic communication

6 – Synergize – cooperation with others

7 – Sharpen the Saw – balanced self-renewal

A couple of the habits really stuck with me, like: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood, Begin with the End in Mind, and Sharpen the Saw. Since reading the book, and as I get older, I find I’ve become more understanding of people/situations. I try to understand why people do what they do. I make a conscious effort to try to see things from the other person’s perspective. I haven’t perfected this skill, but I’m still working at it. That doesn’t mean that I agree with them, or would do things the way they do. It’s just that I sometimes imagine being the other person. For instance, I might say, “If I was fearful, insecure, or whatever, I might behave the same way if I was the other person.” Remember the saying that goes something like, “Don’t judge another man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” It’s taking what you know about that person, trying to get inside their head. Sometimes you just have to believe that “it’s not about you.” We all have people in our lives that are close to us and need our understanding. And we need understanding from others as well. This means you will not immediately jump to conclusions. You will control yourself and not immediately fly off the handle in anger, or pout because your feelings are hurt. Try to really listen to what the other person has to say. Hear them out before you respond. Then state your side, or your point of view. This is especially helpful when dealing with your significant other. Why? Your significant other is the one person who really knows how to push your buttons. This will make for better communication and can help you remain calmer. This is not to say that you will never be angry or upset again — just that maybe you won’t react in a way that you’ll later regret. You’ll think before you speak. You won’t be so reactionary. You won’t be so quick to say or do things you wish you could take back. And you won’t waste your valuable time in some long, drawn out emotional funk. Call it relationship damage control. Take a few moments and think about your communication style. Do you seek first to understand, or to be understood first? Below are some links to videos and other info that talks more in-depth about the seven habits.

Empathic Listening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak4LZlw99ao

Intro to Seven Habits

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLXsiIXdLR0

For a more in-depth description of the book/seven habits:

https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php

http://www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/

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