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5 Tips to Increase Your Emotional IQ

Photo by Phil King
You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass. ~Timber Hawkeye

Have you ever felt so angry you lashed out and said words you regret? Felt so hurt, you couldn’t talk past the lump in your throat?

So frustrated, you weren’t able to form a coherent sentence? Or tried to communicate something important, and it landed like a dead fish?

I’ve been there. In my teens, I was a tempestuous young woman. Hormones had me flipping from rage to despair in a heartbeat. I sprayed emotions around me like a machine gun sprays bullets.

I couldn’t even talk to my then-boyfriend about anything important without losing control. I frustrated even myself.

So I learned to keep emotions under lock and key. I rarely expressed how I felt, and aimed to just keep the peace and ensure everyone was happy.

Except me.

How to Find Your True Love

Photo by Kris Kesiak
But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Dating was never easy for me. In fact, I didn’t have my first date until my senior year of high school and that was because my brother wanted me to meet the person he had found to take me to prom.

Sad beginnings, I know.

And it really didn’t get much better for me until a long time after that “first date.” My attraction blunders were many.

I’ve sent candy and roses to men I’ve been interested in, begged a elementary school crush to consider me as a third girlfriend (yes, he actually had two others), and even chased away would be interested men because I was so happy to be asked out. I took the reins and tried to speed up the process, which ultimately just halted it all together.

I was completely clueless at what it actually took to attract the man of my dreams.

5 Tips for Facing Problems

Photo by iulia Pironea
The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave. Imagine you’re lying in your coffin … Now look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn’t it? ~Anthony de Mello

After weeks of plans falling through and unexpected circumstances arising at every turn, we came back together with a wall already formed. Some of the unrest was voiced, some of it was simply felt by the palpable anger we had allowed to grow between us.

We skirted around the issues by avoiding each other, making sure to plan our schedules so that we could sit alone in the frustration we both felt for very different reasons.

After a lengthy relationship, this wasn’t the first time we had encountered problems — problems of miscommunication, unmet expectations, etc., etc., etc. — but this bump in the road was starting to make me feel as if our relationship had an expiration date.

And that I couldn’t deal with.

3 Tips for Building Wealth

Photo by Michael Sissons
The importance of money flows from it being a link between the present and the future. ~John Maynard Keynes

A while back, my husband and I took a vacation into the southwest deserts of the United States. We were driving through a particularly affluent area when my husband made a sarcastic remark about how much money everything cost.

I was quick to join in, but then I realized that one of our goals was to create wealth like that for ourselves. I asked him, “How can we ridicule something we desire? How will we ever attain something like that when we shun it now?”

It was a big question that stunned us both into silence. Since then, we’ve been working hard to understand our money stories and how we relate to wealth. It’s brought us into some emotional places, but throughout it all, we’ve felt our relationship with our money improve.

How to Find Compassion

Photo by Vladimir Fedotov
Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves. ~Mason Cooley

I was on my way home after purchasing a lavender-scented candle to help kick start a relaxing atmosphere I desperately needed to wind down from a terrible and emotionally draining week at work. I was rummaging for my keys in my purse for what seemed like forever.

Oh no! Are you kidding me? I didn’t have my keys!

I could see my keys right now in my mind’s eye. There they were, resting on the table by the side of the door. That morning my boyfriend locked the door as we headed off to work, while I unknowingly left my keys at home.

The thing was that he just got on a bus to meet up with a friend on the other side of town.

I couldn’t help but laugh miserably at myself. What a fitting ending to a horrible week.

6 Ways to Let Go of Anger

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Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. ~Indira Gandhi

I hate to admit it, but I am not good at letting things go. A few days ago I stared getting worked up about a disagreement a good friend and I had. It replayed in my head; the hurt in my heart flared up again.

The worst part? It happened more than a year ago, and it’s been resolved. If she knew I still harbored these feelings, she’d probably be upset. After all, weren’t we past that?

It used to be that I would forgive and forget immediately, but I realized that I wasn’t truly forgiving people; I was simply using the technique of denial.

So instead, I swung to the other end of the pendulum, where I couldn’t seem to let go, even if I’d said I’d forgiven.

The benefits of letting go of a grudge aren’t all just in your head. Forgiveness leads to healthier relationships, less anxiety, lower blood pressure, fewer depression symptoms and less risk of substance abuse.

With all of this in mind, I set out to make an effort to forgive in a healthy way and quit walking around with the weight of all those grudges.

3 Lessons on Creating Trust

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish. ~Barbara Smith

My husband and I have been considering buying a house but knew we had some hurdles that might make it unlikely. We contacted a loan officer who worked with us and gave us a positive opinion. We were absolutely thrilled and started looking at homes.

It turned out, however, that he’d processed some incorrect information and we might not be able to get a loan this year after all.

To say we were bummed out would be an understatement. Both of us tried to see the positive side but couldn’t seem to shake our disappointment.

Neither of us wanted to talk about it, but finally I brought it up.

5 Life Lessons from World Travel

Photo by HANNES CASPAR
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. ~St. Augustine

I’ve spent the last year wandering around the globe and exploring this wondrous thing called life. Through 26 flights, I’ve managed to circle the globe twice and touch five of the seven continents.

The journey led me to scuba diving for a month straight with whale sharks on islands in Thailand to hitchhiking my way through an African country to being paid to make sand castles on the beautiful Australian beaches to almost having a foot amputated in Asia.

It’s been a hell of an experience. I’ve learned more about the world and myself than any book, teacher or person could tell me.

I’m not claiming that this has made me a superior human being. Maybe a bit wiser, but I’m just as much human as you are. I still have trouble putting my own insights into practice.

How to Date Authentically: 4 Lessons

Photo by The 10 cent designer
I will have a loving, committed, and fulfilling romantic relationship.

I created this affirmation several months ago to remind myself that the type of relationship I want is possible.

But, to be honest, sometimes I wonder if I will ever find someone. I wonder if maybe I have too many issues or if my standards are too high. At times, I even question whether I am capable of having a healthy relationship.

Whenever I’m feeling particularly hopeless, I look back over the experiences I’ve had and remind myself that I have grown tremendously and have learned so much about myself through my dating experiences.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year, it’s that ultimately, dating is about me: my behaviors, attitudes and beliefs about love. As I’ve learned more and more about myself, I have started to attract others who mirror the qualities I value most.

Why Space Matters in Relationships

Photo by HANNES CASPAR
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. ~Kahlil Gibran

If my life had been perfect, I probably never would have learned anything. Or at least not anything important.

I used to have a naïve view of relationships. I believed wholeheartedly that if two nice people got together and made a real effort to treat each other well, then everything would work out fine.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

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