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Why focus on emotions? (DW#450)

emotions feelings opinon Sep 14, 2018

How are you feeling today? If you are feeling good, happy, confident it is likely that you feel ready to take on the world. You feel like nothing can get in your way. You are productive and energetic. 

If on the other hand, you are having a bad day, feeling sad, anxious or upset for any reason, you may be lacking this confidence and energy. 

If you are angry, and you end up losing control, your emotions can get the best of you and cause you to act in ways that you later regret. 

So let’s be honest: how we are feeling on a day to day basis impacts how much we enjoy life and how productive we are. 

But emotions do much more than that. 

Here are some reasons, we need to become smarter about our own emotional state: 

1)   Emotions motivate us to act. The word emotion itself comes from a word which means to move – in other words emotions cause us to take action
2)   Because they motivate us to act, they predict...

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The function of emotions (DW#449)

emotions opinon Sep 13, 2018

Given that sometimes emotions get the better of us, or even make us miserable, have you ever wondered why are we created with emotions? I mean, if we are to suppress and control them (more on that in the coming days), what’s the purpose anyway?

So here are only a few reasons why human beings need emotions:

1)   Emotions help us learn from our memories 
When we go experiences in life, these experiences become part of our memory bank. However, when our brain stores experiences, it does just not collect facts. Our brain is designed to also record the feelings that go with these experiences and these feelings help us to learn from our experiences. 
Let’s take a really simple example: if we touch a hot stove, we will experience intense pain. The thought of touching another hot stove in the future will carry with it the memory of that searing pain. Thus our emotional memories from this experience will keep us from getting hurt again. 

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I'm sorry (DW#445)

No matter what we know and how much we practice we are likely to mess up with our loved ones. Quite often. And this is why today’s phrase is so important. 

Apologizing for causing hurt and pain to our loved ones is an essential skill in relationships. 

There are so many wrong ways to apologize, as we have talked about before. 

Here is what a good apology contains:

1.   An expression of regret

2.   An acknowledgement of responsibility

3.   A declaration of repentance

4.   An offer of repair

5.   A request for forgiveness


Here is an example:
I am so very sorry that I forgot that there was a family gathering at your cousin’s place. I should have put it on the calendar when you first told me about it. I will make sure to put the other family events on there so that this does not happen again. Would you like me to call him and explain what happened? And maybe we can drop in on them this...

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I disagree (DW#440)

This one may seem counter-intuitive but families that have regular disagreements or arguments may be happier and healthier than those that never disagree because the families that express themselves are not keeping their feelings bottled up and brewing resentment inside. 

Keeping the peace by avoiding conflict and not expressing needs and opinions may be an okay short term strategy but it is an awful long term strategy. Unless you are a truly enlightened being, you have things that bother you and things that you need to express that may upset others in the short term but that will be beneficial for your relationship in the long run. Going long periods of time not addressing issues that bother you or others in the family will cause emotional distance, resentment and hurt.

So an important relationship skill is to speak up (respectfully and without blame) when you do disagree with another person.  When people have the emotional safety to speak up and be heard, everyone in the...

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I feel... (DW#435)

Many of us have been trained to deny, suppress or hide feelings from others, and sometimes even from ourselves. Suppressing and hiding feelings is almost guaranteed to result in personal distress, and in emotional distance and detachment in relationships as opposed to connection. 

And so it is a good idea to practice emotional literacy – that is to get in touch with what we are feeling – and then to share those feelings with our loved ones to build connection and intimacy. 

The first step to sharing feelings is, of course, to recognize and label the feeling itself. 

Once we recognize how we are feeling, sharing those feelings is quite simple, really. It begins with two short words: "I feel….". 

I feel happy.
I feel neglected.
I feel respected.
I feel grateful.
I feel distraught.

Notice that there is no "I feel that  . . .". The word "that" usually indicates that what will follow is going to be a thought, not a feeling. 

For...

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Can you grow comfortably? (DW#390)

When we are talking about making changes, we need to confront the reality that it will be uncomfortable. Our habits and routines may feel familiar and comfortable even if they do not work for usor lead us where we want to go. If we want to make positive changes in our lives however, we need to let go of the familiar and get comfortable with not being comfortable for the moment. 

When I want to retreat towards safety rather than moving forward towards growth, I remind myself that ships are safe in harbour but that is not what ships are built for

So let us leave our safe harbours and venture out to the scary but exciting open sea. Let us be brave enough to bear the discomfort of stretching ourselves to discover the limits of our own potential. 

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What’s your excuse? (DW#389)

Can you think of at least one area in your life where there is room for growth and where you know you need to make changes but you haven’t made any progress yet?

In The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth John Maxwell outlines some gaps and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy ways and stop us from reaching our full potential.

Here are the 7 "gaps" that he identifies:

The Assumption Gap—I assume that I will automatically grow. 
The Knowledge Gap—I don’t know how to grow.
The Timing Gap—It’s not the right time to begin.
The Mistake Gap—I’m afraid of making mistakes. 
The Perfection Gap—I have to find the best way before I start. 
The Inspiration Gap—I don’t feel like doing it.
The Comparison Gap—Others are better than I am.
The Expectation Gap—I thought it would be easier than this. 

You know the domains and growth areas that we identified a couple of days ago? Just go...

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What is your belief around failure? [DW#376]

We have been talking about Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and the value of reflecting on our own mindsets. 

Dweck explains that "When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or...

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Spring is springing. Are you? (DW#372)

I love spring. 

Something changes in the air – at the beginning of spring the change is very subtle, especially in Canada, where the start of spring is often marked by winter resisting the change in season and stubbornly refusing to leave. Yet the days are getting longer, there is hope in the air and there is the promise of warmer days to come. 

The earth is ripe with potential in the spring, even if the ground appears to be covered with snow at the moment. Soon it will begin to whisper and tiny hints of green will begin to appear amid the bareness of winter. Once the first shoots come out, the growth will be rapid. Each morning presenting a new display of the glory of nature and the lessons we can learn from it. 

Spring is the perfect time for personal growth and renewal as well. As nature wakes up, lets wake up ourselves up as well and reflect on what potential is lying dormant within us, waiting for the tiniest bit of encouragement to begin to unfold and grow as...

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The myths around infidelity (DW#367)

For some of us, this discussion about infidelity in marriage has been a difficult subject to explore. And others may feel that it is irrelevant because it is not something that they will likely deal with. 

Given the temptations that we have been discussing, and the ease with which friends can cross boundaries into becoming "Not Just Friends", it is wise to be aware of the risk and be proactive and intentional in protecting our families. 

Just before we wrap up the discussion, let's consider some myths about affairs that Shirley Glass shatters in her book Not "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity 

·       Myth: Affairs happen in unhappy or unloving marriages.
 
Fact: Affairs can happen in good marriages. Affairs are less about love and more about sliding across boundaries.

 

·       Myth: Affairs occur mostly because of sexual attraction.

Fact: The...
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