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Those of you who are baby boomers will remember Neil Sedaka's hit song, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do." It takes a very serious situation in the lives of two people and the lyrics of the song may be viewed as trivializing it. Ending a relationship is very hard to do, but sometimes/often times quite necessary to do. Extreme emotional distress, domestic abuse, serial infidelity or one partner is continuing an outside sexual/emotional relationship with someone else, are just a few on a very long list.
That doesn't mean in most cases you shouldn't engage a couples counselor to assist in 'sorting-out' things between you. When the marriage or relationship is no longer a priority; when there is lack of attention and energy given to the relationship; when sex is viewed as drudgery or a chore, it is certainly time to seek the assistance of a qualified couples therapist. Know why you want to end the relationship. Know that there just wasn't any other solution. Know the factors involved. Know that there just isn't any hope for it.
But, if you must break up, do it with dignity and kindness. There's no need to say painful words. Be respectful. Be mature.
Ideally, you will want to provide support to your partners so that (s)he doesn't feel dumped-on. Go to a coffee shop or a community park picnic table so that voices will be kept at a respectable level. Try to understand where your partner is coming from, instead of feeling personally attacked. Explain why you no longer have the feelings you once had. Allow your partner to speak, and, listen carefully.
If you can't do this on your own, see someone who will help you through the process. It can be the same person who you saw for counseling. Most of all, KNOW that a relationship is not a prison sentence. If it's not joyful, fun, harmonious, respectful; then, think about the very best you can do for both of you.
Trust is the bedrock of all relationships. Whether it is with your spouse/partner, an employer/employee relationship, even a business relationship. We depend on others to be honest and forthright, and when that trust breaks down, what we can expect from that individual goes into the black hole of mistrust.
It is said that actions speak louder than words. Is the opposite true...i.e., that words speak louder than actions? Your friend requests a loan of $100. to be paid back in a month. The month comes and goes and no repayment. You, ask your friend for repayment, but (s)he states that (s)he doesn't have it. Your trust in that person is broken - - temporarily or forever. That depends on what further statements are made to the agreement of the lender.
The "action" is that repayment was NOT made. The words then become key. Words that would convey and request understanding, a honest explanation as to the circumstances, a different payback date, an installment plan, etc. If the lender (the one doing the lending) hears that the person doing the "borrowing" is sincere, apologetic, contrite, there is an opportunity for trust to be re-established.
Whether you are in an established relationship, or dating, trust plays a HUGE role of determining whether this is a person worthy of your time and commitment. This is extremely important. You would want to know whether the individual you are dealing with share similar values as you do. I'm saying that if you lend a boyfriend or girlfriend $100.00 and he/she doesn't repay when stated, to me, that's a red flag, and it should be for you too. One red flag. Are there others?
What builds trust is having a very good feeling about that person. Something I, myself, state to others, when necessary, is, "My word is my bond." I don't have to sign on the dotted line. I am saying, "you can trust me." Whatever, I agree to will absolutely occur. Look for people in your lives that you can absolutely trust. It will become quite apparent whether that person, or any person, is just that--- someone you can trust.
Take a listen to Dionne Warwick's, "Promises, Promises" on You Tube. An oldie, but goodie.
Here's the situation. We do not know how much longer this virus will be active, i.e., without a vaccine. It is stressful not to know what the future brings. Many people are worried about their finances, their jobs, their families, themselves, coping is important if we are to get past this.
Of course, I hear about stress, depression, anxiety probably more than most people, and I hate to write this, but considering our current situation, this is to be expected.
If you find that you're on social media, your tablet or laptop, the cellphone, and texting more than before Covid, you're not alone. If you're going to be on these devices, do me a favor, and on a daily basis, write down three (3) items that went well for you on any particular day. It could be a recipe. Or, a movie you watched on Netflix. Let's face it, we dedicate 2-3 hours watching movies; that's a considerable investment of your time. If you enjoyed it, list it on that page. Even if you took a satisfying nap during the day, list that as well on your list.
What are you doing to take care of yourself?
Are you seeing your friends face to face? It's important to do so. Wear your mask, keep the social distance, but by all means, take advantage of the Season and spend time outdoors...on porches or decks.
And, if you're feeling stressed, depressed or anxious, slow your breathing by concentrating on how you breathing. For a good 10 minutes, slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, and at the same rate, breathe out through your mouth. Be aware that you are now relaxing. You have the power to take charge of your emotional state. And with that, the ability to utilize this aid whenever need be.
Chicken Little said, "The sky is falling; the sky is falling." How much can we endure? How much can YOU endure?
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, recognize that it's a sign to take notice of what is happening, and what do you need to do to become wiser because of it.
Are you positive about the future? Will a vaccine become available sooner than later? Will the economy rebound?
If you believe there will be a vaccine and that the economy will revive, your life now and in the future will be better for it. Whatever is going to happen...whenever, it's going to happen. When you're in control of yourself. When your attitude is a positive one, you're the one in charge, not the other way around.
TWO MONTHS IN
While we are hunkering-down, there are activities that we are currently unable to do: movies, dining-out, attending sporting events or, for that matter, being in a congested environment.
How can we be happy in this situation? Is there anything 'positive' that we can make from this?
What are you doing during this time? Accomplishing? Achieving
Joy is something we can experience in the ups and downs of life. It may not be pleasurable, enjoyable, or, satisfying.
However, we feel the happiest when we feel we are growing in our relationships , or, when we see life, as a challenge instead of a threat.
Happiness isn't just simple pleasures. It's the joy we feel when we strive towards our potential.
Let's not dwell on unhappiness b/c we can't do the things we used to be able to do. Happiness can be redefined. Talk to your family, friends, co-workers anyone who will talk to you about what happiness is for them, and perhaps you can find more ways to find happiness for yourself.
This is, indeed, a difficult and challenging time, and we must all do what we can do to bring this to conclusion.
Of course, I mean social distancing, reinforcing that we must stay home/ Clean anything that comes into your house/apt. (mail, food packaging, etc.) and most of all the 20 second hand-washing advisement.
It is now a mystery that it is a time of stress. We are doing battle with an invisible enemy. We have seen on TV how our soldiers overseas, have to deal with non-visible bombs, weapons, mines and other devices designed to kill, undetected. COVID isn't all that different. We are under attack, and I can't think of anything more stressful.
The virus, itself, will take many lives. In addition, to those who are physically already compromised, the stress of all of this will have a major impact, as well, in my opinion.
This is certainly a new and different chapter in our lives. Staying "at home" 24/7 isn't what most of us are accustomed to doing. Yet, here we are, working from home, filing for unemployment, if applicable, dealing with our children 'round-the-clock' and family members. Even with our loved ones, this kind of contact with each other can take its toll.
What's important is what I stress constantly with the couples that I see. That is, to have gratitude, individually, and as a family. As long as you are well, your spouse/partner is well, your children are well - - that is the gift; the appreciation; the gratitude which must be emphasized. Do things together, which you didn't find the time to do. Work on puzzles. Paint a room. Clear our cluttered closets. Being aware of what has value to you, what is important to you will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
We will get through this ...TOGETHER. Keep safe and healthy.
The previous commentary discussed what to say to others when there's a loss. But how do YOU accept the light when you're dealing with the death of a loved one? What does it mean...to accept the light? Where does that phrase come from? To accept the light! What is the light? A mysterious glow radiating from where?
More importantly, where do you seek out comfort, compassion, support from others? Does helping others help yourself? Can you turn anger into gratitude? Gratitude for the relationship. Gratitude for the connection.
Make a list of all the things you are thankful for related to that special person in your life. Happy memories of experiences. What did you learn from that person? What did you most enjoy?
I know that I'm leaving you with a lot of questions, but it's important to think about the answers to those questions. Cherishing those you have lost. Recalling the love you received. Have faith that the future will be kind and bright to you. Embrace the light and leave the darkness behind.
How can you be a really good friend or family member, in times of crisis? How to help? Are you concerned that you won't know what to say or do? People get sick - - seriously or terminally ill, they lose family members (parents, children)* and are bereft with grief, pregnancies go awry, relationships end abruptly, even the aging process, and more. So, what do you do?
These are a few responses, NOT TO SAY...
"You'll get over this."
"I've been there."
"It's for the best."
"You can always adopt."
"You are lucky that you had your mom for as long as you did. I didn't have my mother for as long as you had yours."
Keep in the back of your mind that your friend or family member needs understanding, comfort, solace, "a soft place to land." They know that what happened can't be changed. It is..what it is. And, that it is so sad and painful. Let them know that you're there for them. To listen and to acknowledge. Some better responses:
I am so sorry that this happened.
I was so sad to hear the news.
How are you dealing with this?
May I call you (choose a daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly schedule of communication)?
The moral to this is not to communicate that you know what they're going through, or, that you have the solution. The best is to BE THERE..LISTEN..OFFER HELP (cooking, cleaning, helping with their small children, helping with property clean-out). I know of someone who kept paying the property taxes and minor utilities emptying their father's empty house for years! Was this extended grief? What could you have offered?
*Family members can, and often, includes, pets
Everything I have ever heard was that it is good for you to be with friends. Your stress hormones lower. Your blood pressure is lowered. You're engaged and connected.
But the key to this is that they need to be people whose company you enjoy and appreciate. And, activities you enjoy that utilize the alternate side of your brain that you do not customarily use daily at work, for example. For me, my friends were very eager and excited about a performance we saw at the Bucks County Playhouse which had to do with mental illness. To be transparent, my clients are not mentally ill. They, mostly, seek a sounding board, someone to assist with life issues, decisions, stress, etc. However, the play was not relaxing for me. I didn't enjoy myself, and it even affected me afterwards at our group dinner.
What works for me is when I get to use the right side of my brain, the creative/imaginative side, and that's when I truly relax. Movies, light plays, concerts, the orchestra, Broadway and the wonderful playhouses we have in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley.
For you, decide what works best: Do you enjoy going to the "Club?" for fitness. Riding a bike, Playing tennis or some other competitive sport, reading a book, listening to comedy, taking up a new language or making pottery. The list can go on and on.
The main point is do what you enjoy. Don't force yourself to do anything that doesn't bring you joy. That is my missive for the end of 2019. Enjoy, have fun and be safe. Have a happy and healthy New Year!