Let’s Talk

Relationship Builders

Q. What are some relationship builders for those of us with boundary issues?

A. Let’s Talk! Good and healthy conversations—spoken or written—are the vehicles for stronger and clearer boundaries, whether you have been too enmeshed or too distant. I’ll share some examples below.

If you have been too soft, wishy-washy, double-messaged, or enmeshed in your boundaries with others, here’s a good conversation starter for healthier relationships:

“I have recently seen that I fail to say no when I want to at times. Because I care about relationships and enjoy serving others, I am prone to be a doormat. This is a perversion of being a servant actually. I am trying to learn when I am to say no and when I am to say yes and be true to my soul and spirit. [Jesus said no many times!] So, when I say no to you, please hear me, especially since it is new for me and hard for me to say.”

If you have issues concerning too many boundaries, mostly no-s, here is a conversation starter for you:

“I have recently seen that I fail to say yes when I should. The pattern of my cautious life has been to say no, because then I feel more in control and more protected. But, I see that my over-protection is over-control and is not a relationship builder. I would like to begin saying yes when it is appropriate.”

Let me know if this helps!

Deeper Reflection

Matthew 5:37: But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Feel Angry?

Q. What are feelings of anger about?

A. Let’s Talk! Anger is everywhere! Just drive anywhere for five minutes and you’ll see all levels of road rage. Go to the grocery store and you will see families out of control. You’ve seen anger many places in your day, haven’t you? Anger even seems to be on the increase. A working definition of anger is: Anger is the result of things not going the way we had hoped. It’s a loss of hope and feeling that things are just not right.

Our world today is so full of loss of control, things not going the way they “should,” and despair that our new normal will ever feel really normal. At times, so much feels different!

Sounds like I’m a glass-half-empty melancholic, doesn’t it? But, I’m a sanguine! I too have been reflecting on the anger I see each day large and small. I see both friends’ and strangers’ anger because “things are just not like they are supposed to be.”

Is this why we are drawn to entertainment and countless diversions? Is this why we like connecting in texts and social media? Are we driven to find a so-called happy place?

What do we do? For starters, God knew the damage we’d carry if we held on to anger too long. He says not to let the sun go down on anger. It’s normal to get angry and experience disappointment that things are not as they should be. We are just not to hold onto anger a long time. A day is as long as we need to be angry before this emotion needs to go. When things don’t go as you expected, can you think through your expectation(s) of what went south and let this unmet expectation go? Can you “die” to the expectation of how things SHOULD have gone?

Now, would you ask God to renew your mind? Ask Him to hit the Refresh button for you and cast your hope on Him instead of how things should be. Are you willing to switch your thinking around? Will you try it this week?

For Deeper Reflection

[google Bible verses on anger and you will find some treasure!]

Ephesians 4:27 “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let‘s Talk

Your Waiting Room

Q. Why is it so hard to wait on people. . . ?

A. Let’s Talk! A Waiting Room at a doctor’s office or a business office is quite a feast if you are a people watcher, but most people are miserable, waiting. Perhaps waiting on people to act, or change, or move forward is one of the hardest kinds of waiting because it is completely out of our control.

We don’t even like yellow traffic lights, much less red ones. It’s an exposure of our true nature. Two-year-olds show us we don’t like to wait! As we age we learn to cover up our impatience more, but our annoyance with waiting is there. Especially waiting on people.

The remedy? There are a number of truths we can choose to embrace as we wait that do help ease the anxiousness. One is a line I have heard a bunch from author and speaker John Eldredge, “You may be in a bad chapter of your life, but it’s not the whole story.” We need perspective, just like last week’s tapestry story.

An important truth as we wait on people is to use that time to “die” to a desire to control others in our lives. The discomfort of waiting on someone reflects our not having control, but the truth is: It is so unhealthy to try to change or control others. Can you let it go? In past posts we have talked about how control issues kill relationships.

Another truth is that we resist being still (waiting), but that calm is the perfect place to reset, to hear from God, to get clarity, and truth. Dogs wait at the feet of their master, but we resist waiting with every fiber of our being. Could this time of waiting on others to make healthy choices and positive changes even be a gift?

For Deeper Reflection

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God . . .” (KJV).

Psalm 46:10 “Cease striving and know that I am God . . .” (NASB).

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

Let’s Talk

Harmony vs. Discord

Q. How can we get along better in our families and close friendships regardless of differences? I long for harmony, but discord is more prevalent because of our differences.

 

 A. Let’s Talk! Our hearts were built to love harmony, but we do live among others with great diversity of thought and life choices. Let’s explore how we can navigate that kind of music playing in our immediate surroundings!

Of course, we want people to think like we think. It’s undeniably more comfortable, but it is not realistic. What if differences among family members and friends help prepare us to love those outside our circle? If we can live well with those we know well—we can handle bigger differences at work, school, in our neighborhoods, etc.

So, how can we be okay with differences in our family or close circle? First, let’s go back a few columns. Remember we talked about how we can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. If we try to change others, it is called control. Ugh. It’s an awful feeling to be either the controller or the controlled one. You can only control your side of a difference of opinion. With that out of the way, you are then in a neutral place to ask for clarification, just so you know for sure the other person’s stand on issues. Then you can ask if you can share your views, not to change your loved one’s views, but just so your position is heard and understood.

Next you are in the classic place where you can ask if you can “agree to disagree.” It is even helpful to say, “I am sharing my beliefs so you will know where I stand, but my purpose is not to persuade you to share my position.” That eases the control tension. “Healthy” families should be able to disagree and be okay. If we can’t disagree openly, then we are stuffing and that is unhealthy. Many families even have family meetings deciding on language to use to respectfully disagree.

Unconditional love is choosing to love someone REGARDLESS of differences or blemishes others may have. Jesus is about the only example of this in its truest form, but He compels us to choose it as a way to live among imperfect humans. Isn’t it totally refreshing when we know that someone cares for us whether we mess up or not? It is a great gift one can give to one’s children, spouse, friends, or world.

I can hear you asking, “But what if I am ‘right?’” My answer is: So, you believe that being right is bigger or more important than the relationship? Is that the message you believe and are sending to your family or, is the relationship more important? Can we love them anyway, even if we believe they are “wrong?” Are you miserable because of these people in your life? A peaceful heart has everything to do with choosing harmony in spite of differences. Does it mean we have given up our principles? No, it means we are choosing to be gracious. Do you hear a new harmony possibly? I sure welcome your thoughts on this discord vs. harmony topic.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

 

For Deeper Reflection

 Proverbs 15: 16-17 “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and turmoil with it. Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”

Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife.”

Proverbs 25:24 “It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.