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It’s OK

Hello everyone…

There is so much to say. As I reflect on hearing people discuss their hardships and successes with 2019, I am also aware that there has been a lot of reflection on the past ten years. There have been ups and downs, which as we know are part of life. I also realize that a lot has happened in our community and our nation as we take this time to reflect and, for some, find things to celebrate. 

The thing that I guess is really important for me to say is that we are all having so many big experiences. Some of these experiences are so grand and lovely while others are full of conflicting emotions or feelings of being overwhelmed. Whatever you are experiencing… whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate. It’s okay. 

There is too much pressure this time of the year to feel or experience “this” thing or “that” thing. It’s okay to have a different experience. Please also be mindful of your neighbors in life. If possible, could you allow someone else’s experience to be “okay” even if it is different from yours? I’m not sure that we are always able to allow this kind of acceptance. But I think that working on it would be an amazing gift that we could all give each other. 

I hope that you all find peace and safety during this holiday season.

Guidelines to Making it Work

We recommend that you reach out to a therapist, either individually, or as a couple, when going through hard times. They can help you find alternative ways of thinking, see other points of view, and be a more effective communicator. The following information is a great guideline to assist in most situations. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, or would like to get some help. We are here for you. There is hope.

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If you both want to give your relationship another go, these guidelines are recommended to be followed as closely and as often as possible. Remember that no one is perfect, and change doesn’t happen overnight. You didn’t get to this point in a week, and you shouldn’t expect the other person or yourself to be improved in such a short time either. Habits are hard to break, but there is hope.

First and foremost, the past is the past. Bringing it up again doesn’t help the present, and definitely won’t help the future. If the past is brought up, make it the good things, the happy times. Forgive each other for past indiscretions, imperfections, and problems. Remember that each day is a new day, and a chance to make yourself, the relationship, each other, and your life better.

Don’t name call. It belittles the other person and puts them on the defensive. It also continues to belittle the other person in your own mind.

If an argument begins, only bring up the facts. Don’t speculate, don’t presume, don’t assume. The only way to build trust back up is to begin trusting the other person and yourself again.
Build up your self-confidence, and help the other person build theirs up too. It makes for a more fulfilling relationship if you believe in yourself, your abilities, and each other.
Be honest and realistic about your expectations. Tell the other person what your expectations are of yourself, of the relationship, and of each other.

Remember why you fell in love in the first place. Bring up those happy memories and happy times. If you can’t think of any right now, it’ll come to you if you give yourself some time.

Let go of your anger toward the other person. It only hurts yourself by carrying it around and letting it bog you down. It’s like trying to poison the other person by tainting your own drink.

Keep your relationship between yourselves. If you bring in other people by complaining to them about your partner, then others will have a negative view of them, the relationship, and even of you. If you do need someone to vent to about your partner or their behavior, find someone that won’t influence the relationship. When you do talk about your partner to others, try to be positive.

Your inner voice directs a lot of your thoughts and behaviors. When you think about the other person, think about the good qualities, positive events, and hopes for the future. You’ll find that you’re generally a happier person if you do.

Don’t play the blame game. If there’s a problem that you can’t get past, then try to discuss it evenly. Use facts and “I feel” statements instead of “you” statements. For example, instead of “you always blame me for…”, say “it feels like I’m constantly being blamed for…”. There’s not a whole lot of difference in what was said, but a huge difference in the meaning behind it.

Try not to use the absolutes “always” and “never”. “I never get to…” “you always do…”. Instead, be realistic about the statements, “I haven’t been able to do…in a long time” “when I ask you to…it seems like a while before it gets done”. Again, it’s the meaning behind it.

I know this is a lot to take in, but if you both really want to make it work, or give it an honest to goodness try one last time, try to follow these guidelines. That way, if it does work out, you can feel really good about it. If it doesn’t end up working out, then you can honestly say that you tried your best.

One last suggestion is to be as neutral as possible to the child(ren), as far as the problems you are having. It’s not their fault that their parent(s) have gotten to this point, so it’s not fair to them to be involved or used as a weapon or tool. Every child needs their parental figures, and often take on a lot of personal blame when things aren’t going smoothly between them. Just remember how you felt when things weren’t going well for the parental figures in your own life. Minimize those negative feelings that they might be experiencing. If you both aren’t able to get along together, then be as civil toward each other as you can while around the child(ren). Don’t bad mouth the other person in their presence, and if someone else is, politely ask them to hold their tongue until the child(ren) isn’t around (or just plain not talk about the other person to you or the child(ren)).

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night Take these broken wings and learn to fly.”  — Paul McCartney & John Lennon 

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