General

Differentiating the Pursuit of Excellence from Perfectionism

We want to excel in our lives -- striving for excellence in all that we do. But can we differentiate our noble pursuit of excellence from a dysfunctional desire to be perfect?

A job well done can be enormously fulfilling. It can be meaningful and pleasurable to complete a home project, excel at work, or know that we’re a person who is punctual and conscientious.

But when does our striving for excellence degenerate into the life-draining burden of perfectionism?

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Anger

The Art of Apologizing

Apologizing is hard. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a halfhearted apology, you know how demoralizing that feels. In stark contrast, a good apology is elixir for relationship wounds.

Mara and Jack had been living together for a year. While dusting, Mara accidentally knocked over a glass figurine and it shattered against the tile floor. Unfortunately, it was the cherished award Jack received as an honor for his fine work in advertising.

Mara’s first impulse was to hide the evidence. She was panicked about how Jack would react. She entertained fantasies of running away to avoid his anger and upset.
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Anger

3 Ways Couples Get Stuck and How to Move Through It

Every couple gets stuck. After all, relationships take work, and conflict is inevitable. Sometimes, we might be on different pages. Sometimes, we might unwittingly do things that keep us and our partners spinning our wheels.

Below, Ashley Thorn, a licensed marriage and family therapist, shared three ways couples commonly get stuck and how you can move forward when it happens to you. Because that’s the great thing: You aren’t stuck forever. You can use certain techniques to help you reconnect to your partner and enhance your relationship.
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Anorexia

Psychology Around the Net: April 9, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

As you read this, I'm probably looking out my window wondering where spring went. (Snow? Really?) Or, if the weather forecast is wrong -- *fingers crossed* -- I'm outside romping around with my dog.

Regardless of your weather situation and how it affects your Saturday plans, you must check out the latest in mental health news this week first. Want to know about the possible negative impact of smartphone apps designed to help mental health management? We have it. How about signs that you're experiencing "sympathy pains" from your partner's depression? We have that, too.

Oh, and on a more upbeat scale, we've thrown in an inspiring call-to-action from the award-winning violinist and YouTube superstar, Lindsey Stirling.

Enjoy!

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Celebrities

Whom Do You Respect?

Take a minute and consider the question, whom do you respect? Should this be a long list or a very short one? The problem with a long list is the candidates probably can’t be well vetted. A short list may make us out to be too cynical.

Let’s define the size of the list. You can only put five names on this esteemed list. This won’t restrict you, just possibly be a cause for adjustment of the definition.

Maybe you’ve gotten this far and can’t figure out why you should bother to make such a list. It’s because this list is a reflection of who you have become, failed to become, or still desire to become.
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Anger

4 Steps to Surviving Infidelity

Of all the things someone can do to ruin a relationship, cheating is usually considered to be the most unforgivable. But if statistics are true, then nearly half of us will encounter infidelity at some point in our lives -- either our partner’s or our own.

Reactions to infidelity depend on many factors. Evidence suggests that, in the context of heterosexual relationships, men find it more difficult to forgive a sexual affair while women take emotional infidelity much harder. It is also much easier to move beyond an affair that’s voluntarily disclosed by the cheating partner than one that’s unexpectedly discovered.

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Bullying

The Trope of the Closeted Homophobe: Is It True?

In one of the latest episodes of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a character named Mac finally reveals that he is gay after 11 seasons of being in the closet. A running joke throughout the show was that Mac has always been secretly gay, despite being outwardly homophobic. Because of his strict Catholic upbringing, Mac has shown plenty of hostility toward gays and lesbians in many different ways, such as fighting gay marriage or giving a five-hour sermon on the evils of homosexuality. When he finally reveals that he’s gay, the rest of the gang simply exclaims that they already knew.

The trope of the homophobic character who is secretly gay isn’t exactly new. It’s been used several times before in television shows such as "Glee" and films such as "American Beauty." In all these situations, a character is outwardly homophobic and may even bully gay characters. Later it is revealed that this character is secretly gay and his or her homophobia was likely a means of dealing with repressed feelings.
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General

5 Ways to Make Love Thrive

You may have discovered that despite your best intentions, you can’t control the course of love. While the experience of love is replete with awe and wonder, how to create conditions for it is not a great mystery. Rather than exhaust ourselves trying to control people, we’d be wiser to make skillful efforts to create these five conditions, culled over 35 years of being a marriage and family therapist.
Mindfulness

John Gottman, a psychologist an author of
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General

7 Simple Ways to Find Happiness at Work

The dreaded Monday blues, hump day, and ”Thank God it’s Friday.” These are all sayings we use to describe our work week. Everyone wants less work week and more weekend. Heck, I’m sure all of us would enjoy a weekend that lasted forever. However, most of us aren't retiring anytime soon. Until then, we have to find ways to make our jobs more enjoyable.

Work can be challenging and stressful. When you are stressed out, chances are that you will not be very happy while you're working.

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General

These 3 Lists Can Help Singles Find a Great Mate

Accomplishing any goal is usually a step by step process, starting with gaining clarity about just
what we want. Yet too many people do not give the first step sufficient care. If your goal is a good marriage, it can be helpful to first identify qualities you need in a marriage partner.     

Gaining Clarity   

I ask participants in my “Marry with Confidence” workshops for women to make three lists:
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Anger

Don’t Let Defensiveness Stand in the Way of Personal Growth

I can remember watching the popular girls in my elementary school bully another student, I'll call her Megan, because they thought she was “weird.” They would say rude things to her all day, making fun of her hair, her drawings, the way she spoke. And Megan would just sit there silently through it all, not even looking at them. She'd keep doing her homework, drawing, playing. Sadly, the other kids and I didn’t make any effort to help her, lest the mean girls turned their sights on us.

Megan was turning the other cheek, but I just didn’t get -- not then. I figured they were teasing her because she didn’t fight back. I promised myself I’d always fight back. Of course that only got me into a whole new kind of trouble -- Defensiveness.
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