Let’s Talk

Relationship Busters

Q. What are some more relationship busters besides doormat living (your last column)?

A. Let’s Talk! Last post we talked about needing to say “no” when appropriate so you are not walked on, which is about maintaining too few boundaries. Another topic along this line is when one has TOO MANY boundaries. Let’s take a look at that now.

We talked last time about the underlying story of why one has too few boundaries (doormat living): often it’s about being a people pleaser.

When someone has too many boundaries, he or she exhibits an unspoken message to others to not come close. With this emotional distancing, the person appears too fragile, too busy, too angry, or as though they have put up another “wall” of some description. The reasons underneath that wall vary, of course, but usually there is a deep hurt or injury that has not been processed and healed.

Do you see a common denominator? Yes, people. There’s a cost when we injure others, and a cost when we let others injure us. Having too few boundaries or too many boundaries are not emotionally healthy places. If you find yourself in either category, I do encourage you to get professional help to unravel the places of injury to your heart and relationships.

Yes, you know the next thing I am going to say. God also longs to complete the healing needed for your boundary issues. Not as a mask or as a stick-on answer, but for the deeper healing needed.

For Deeper Reflection

Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [emphasis mine]

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 

A Smiling Heart?

IMG_1751 - Version 2I confess. I once crawled into a back-alley dumpster scavenging for treasure. A rusty steel garbage bin sitting in the shadows between a gas station and a tavern. I eased inside that trash-filled monstrosity—on a Sunday afternoon, no less. Call me a thief and a Sabbath breaker. (And I look so innocent in this photo with my niece!)

A bone-chilling, drenching rain complicated my escapade. Our escapades. My nearly eighty-year-old father (former town mayor and church treasurer) was a willing accomplice to ransacking the dumpster. Our odiferous adventure was really his fault. Our family had less than twelve hours earlier lost Mom and we were all trudging through the fogginess of grief.

That morning my sister-in-law Linda and I cleaned out some of Mom’s things and we asked Dad about a plastic mauve case holding a set of bottom dentures. Assuming these were Mom’s old pair, Dad advised that we could pitch the teeth. On the way to pick out Mom’s casket, we crammed about a half dozen garbage bags into the refuse bin behind Dad’s gas station.

Not until hours later did we realize Dad’s blunder. The dentures were his and not my mother’s.

Thus began our dumpster outing in a rainstorm. All the while I just knew my mom was up in heaven smiling at us. For years she had told Dad to wear his dentures and not leave them by the kitchen sink. The afternoon of dumpster-diving gave my father and me a distraction from our grief that we could literally sink our teeth into. Fortunately, that dreary March day God touched our family with his gentleness—a brush of levity when we needed it most.

A Congolese proverb asks, “The teeth are smiling, but is the heart?” How light is your heart these days? Need a little reviving? Ask your Creator to delight you with His gentleness (Galatians 5:23) . . . come rain or shine or dumpster diving.

Brave and Resilient Tip #118: A brush of levity keeps the heart smiling and not just the teeth.

Adapted from Two Days Longer, Beth J. Lueders, Simon & Schuster/Howard (2006).

Let’s Talk

Where Are You Camping?

 

Q. Would you share some ways for me to guard my heart? I understand that it is an important protection, but I am not sure how to do it.

A. Let’s Talk! Would it help to know that the mind and the heart are interchangeable terms? We change our hearts as we change our minds. Where is your mind camped? Wherever that is, your heart is there too!

Are you camped on worry? I learned a few days ago that “be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6) means be anxious for NOT ONE THING! Anxiety is probably one of our society’s biggest heart problems. How can we dial down the worry button and guard the heart? By what we are thinking.

It’s not avoidance or denial or minimizing to not camp in worrisome troubles. We are not stuffing them under our saddle. We are to look at issues squarely, eyes wide open. We even name or tag them so we can clearly get help for them. But, then there is a letting go as we give them to God.

Scripture is pretty clear on the path to take — almost like an outline. I’ve put it below in the Deeper Reflection section, ready for you to camp there. If you follow the path, peace will guard your heart and mind. Radical, isn’t it? By giving away our worries to God, peace is our prize. We have talked before about how counter-intuitive this is. The world says “get, strive, acquire” and God says “let go, let me have it, and get peace.”

Moreover, it matters where our minds/hearts continue to camp. The how to be consistent list is there as well. Is your mind on the truth or a lie? Honorable, right, and pure things? Lovely things of good reputation? Excellent things  worthy of praise? Or, not? It really, really matters.

The best news is that we can choose our campsite. Where is your tent pitched?

 

For Deeper Reflection

Philippians 4:6-9 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

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.