Are You Stuck In “Colder Weather” (Zac Brown wants to know)Do you know what “colder weather” means?

January 14th, 2019

Perhaps you have heard of the song “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown. This song, one of Zac’s biggest hits”, has some interesting lyrics with varying interpretations. I would like to share some of the lyrics of the song and how it relates to developing and sustaining a quality romantic relationship.

“He said I want to see you again, but I’m stuck in colder weather. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Can I call you then. She said you’re a ramblin’ man. You ain’t gonna change. You gotta a lot of gypsy soul to blame. And you were born for leavin’.”

The song was written by Wyatt Durrette, in collaboration with Zac . It is based on Durrette’s difficulty in hooking up with his girlfriend. The “colder weather” was getting in the way. So what is “colder weather”. I see it all the time in my practice. I believe it stands for anything that gets in the way of developing and executing a plan to put the relationship as a top priority. In this case it appeared to be a combination of  loving his career, a busy travel schedule, “cold feet”, and weather that made hooking up all the more difficult.

To make a relationship work you must see it as a top priority. Other factors cannot be as important. When you are in “colder weather”, other things can slow down, stifle, and destroy a potential relationship. Sometimes it is a career path that makes a relationship difficult to sustain. Sometimes it is an intimacy issues – you don’t want to let anyone close to your heart. Sometimes it is a fear of commitment – not really ready to commit to one person. Sometimes it is finances, geography, or family, or … . These types, usually men, send mixed messages to a partner that can be confusing and lead the partner to stay in the relationship when the wise thing would be to get away from this “player”. His message, “It’s a shame about the weather. I know we’ll be together. And I can’t wait til then. I can’t wait til then.”, is meant to keep the woman in the game.  Talk is cheap!

The emphasis of this writing is to ask you, Respected Reader, whether you are “stuck in colder weather” relative to moving a relationship forward.  What is your “colder weather”? Have you identified it or do you need some assistance with that from a qualified relationship professional? Are your “colder weather” issues real or an excuse for not moving forward in a relationship that has potential?

P.S. If you are in a relationship with a person suffering from “colder weather”, you might want to assess how long you want to settle-suffer-survive in such a relationship.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Love “Masqueraders” Use These Techniques To Capture Your Heart: Foil them!

January 2nd, 2019

Do you know of anybody who does not want a love companion, one worthy of trust and respect? Sometimes a person wants to find that lover so badly that s/he ignores certain signs that a masquerading suitor presents that are duplicitous in intent. Here are some behaviors to look for that may not be what they portend to be. These behaviors can appear to be desirable upon first impression. But, they will capture and hurt a naïve lover-in-need.

In my practice I often see a “naïve lover-in-need. Often it is my responsibility to help the client to see that s/he has been a victim of an adept “masquerader”. This counseling interaction initially leaves the client sorrowful, and somewhat disillusioned. The good news here is that the “masquerader’s” manipulation has been discovered. Hopefully, the victim of such deception gets out of this unhealthy relationship. Going forward s/he is more aware to recognize these behaviors should another “masquerader” make an attempt at this out of balance type of relationship.

The following are five behaviors of the “masquerader”L

1: The “Protector”: This person seemingly “has your back”. S/he is very present, seemingly “there” for you. However, the “masquerader” uses this starting posture to gain your confidence so that you let your guard down. This enables the “masquerader” to get in and be possessive. You become a possession which cripples you in a myriad of ways. Bottom line: you are not free to be yourself in a number of critical areas.

2. The “Comforter”: This person also purports to “be there” for you, especially in times where emotional comforting is desired. When you are in need of emotional comforting, you are vulnerable. The “masquerader” sees this as an opening to your heart. Reassured that you are in need of comforting, and having edged into your love starved psyche, the comforter turns out to be a controller. S/he will take over your life in ways that you do not want. You will be controlled.

3. The Asserter: This person comes across as direct, self reliant, self confident, and protective. These qualities are appealing at first glance. They invite trust. However, the “masquerader” only uses these qualities in the beginning of a relationship. These qualities morph into that person becoming aggressive. The aggressive person is hurtful.

4. Passionate: To be with someone who is passionate about life and love is attractive, especially to someone who tends to not be that way. However, for the “masquerader” that lively passion has an underbelly of violence, emotional behavior out of control – and scary for you!

5. Confident: Confident people tend to breed trust.  They appear to have it all together. However, many seemingly confident individuals really are full of themselves. As masqueraders wiggle themselves into your vulnerability, they often add an undesirable quality. They become condescending. This behavior leads to a shrinking in your self confidence because the condescending person seems so secure in his/her beliefs and style. With this lowered self confidence you are more susceptible to being manipulated.

Respected Reader, if you or someone you love, tends to be naïve and/or needy in search of a quality lover, keep your heart and eyes open to a “masquerader” using any  of these five styles to touch your heart. Protect yourself. Foil them!

“If something seems too good to be true – it probably is!”

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Christmas Memories Leave a Significant Imprint: Your Experience?

December 20th, 2018

The Christmas season is in full bloom. Decorations are up, colorful lights sparkle in neighborhoods and Christmas songs fill the airways.  Jesus and Santa vie for attention.

Christmas holidays past and present are impactful.   Holiday memories are some of the most basic and powerful of your existence.  Holidays are about FAMILY- the starting point and most important influencers of who you are as a person.

Family experiences, and their consequent memories, are extremely impactful on your emotional life.  They

dramatically affect how you experience the holidays year after year.  Also, holiday emotions are the “tip of the

iceberg” for related emotions affecting your life even when you do not know it.  Emotions are the primary energy of interpersonal relationships.

Ask yourself, what is your gut feeling about the holidays?  Are they feelings of joy and excitement or of melancholy and depression.  Do you want to celebrate or isolate? Perhaps they are a period of blocked feelings. If you are a person who looks forward to and welcomes the holidays, you probably had a happy childhood within your family.  There probably was a lot of love, caring, fun, and thoughtful gifts present in your household.  You probably are continuing valued family traditions.

You may, however, be one of those persons who did not have a positive experience growing up, but have decided

to make deliberate conscious choices to do things very differently in your family.  You want to erase those painful

memories with new and positive experiences and have them  become encoded in your brain.

If you are a person who dislikes the holidays, feels blue, and wants them to quickly be over, then search for

your negative childhood experiences.  Now may be the time to feel, grieve, and heal such pain.  The holidays can be

the occasion to break through your unconscious defense mechanisms and change the way you experience the

holidays

The holidays are an opportunity.  They can be the occasion for enhanced love and sharing within yourself and

with loved ones.  They can be the stimulus for getting in touch with buried emotional pain that needs to emerge into

wholeness and happiness. Self awareness and sharing these feelings can add a whole new dimension to this year’s holiday for you and those with whom you most intimately share your life.

May you create some new and special memories this year – Merry Christmas!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

 

“Boxed In: Trouble Moving On To Your Next Step?

December 7th, 2018

The rhythms of our lives tend to have a variety of pace as we make decisions to move forward to our “next step” in a particular area of our life. I have been fascinated by developmental stages of human existence and what the momentum causes are for going backward, being stuck, or edging forward.

I often reflect on my life (the nature of my vocation) and look at significant choices I made at certain times of my life. Usually a movement forward was based on a sense that I was stuck, not particularly pleased at the current state. I felt “boxed in”, cornered, not many good options going forward. Some of these areas included my living quarters, vocation, finances, romance, and health.

I have analyzed each of these areas and now see that I am extremely sensitive to being “boxed in”, no matter the category. I want always to feel that I am free to make any decision that has put me in that state, whether it be physical or psychological.

Socratic oriented as I am, Respected Reader, I’m trying to get into your head questioning to what extent the sense of being “boxed in” has been in your life, past and present. What areas were/are you “boxed in”? Why did it happen? How long were you stuck? What/who helped you move forward?

Life is too short to stay stuck, “boxed in”, by various forces that stifle you from making some conscientious choices that move you forward. It may well be a catalyst to greater sadness and depression.  Thus, try to recognize any areas where you may feel “boxed in”. Once recognized, move forward. You can!

For you “Oldies” out there, “Don’t fence me in”. Remember who sang it?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Where Do Core Beliefs About Yourself, And Others, Come From?

November 25th, 2018

“I’m so stupid.” “I’ll never achieve that.” “I’m not good enough.” “I’m unlovable.” “I’m a failure.” These are a few statements that people often say based on some core beliefs that have become part of their self understanding. Have you ever said any of the above phrases about yourself? If so, why would you do this?

Core beliefs are learned through early experiences in life. What were the messages received from significant others during these vulnerable years? What were the messages from parents, other family members, teachers, coaches, peers, etc… ? Think back about various people that were impactful in your life. What was their impact on your self esteem, your core beliefs about yourself?

If you were brought up in a safe, nurturing, supportive environment, you probably have limited negative core beliefs about yourself. If you received messages from significant others that most people are good and can be trusted you will probably have a positive view of people in general. However, if you were often criticized, rarely praised, you will have subconsciously endorsed the belief that you just aren’t good enough. If you were continually warned about how bad people are you will not trust and you will be an anxiety riddled person.

Your brain, which runs the show, is a big sponge, especially in the early years when the right brain, emotional area, is predominant. Thus, some irrational core beliefs can develop that have no rational basis.

The good news is that negative core beliefs can be changed. Neuroplasticity of the brain allows this transformation to take place. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a potent therapeutic modality that can help in this transformation of core beliefs.

Having a positive, and objective, belief system about yourself and the world in general leads to a more productive life. “You can’t give what you don’t have”. Thus, it is desirable to re-frame some of those negative core thoughts and change them into a more positive belief about yourself and the world you live in.

As part of this transformative process, I ask clients to write down all of the good things about his or her self. Usually, upon digging deep, the client is able to bring up positive aspects of his or her self that have not been a part of their consciousness. This is a good start. May I suggest, Respected Reader, that you do this for yourself. If you need a little help, ask someone who loves you to assist!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates