Tag Archives: relationship tips

Working On Internal Peace to Experience External Peace.

AYP1224744In this entry I will not be telling anything you don’t already know.  Think of this entry not as something novel but as a reminder of the obviousness that is all around us. We can witness evidence of the following commentary in our every experience.


It is your direct experience that you must listen to, not the writing. Wait for the message to ring true for you. If it does not resonate with you, move away without judging the encounter.



I do not respond to anything directly, but rather to my interpretation of the event. Many people tend to understand this statement on a general surface level but where most stop is the application of it.  We tend to forget the meaning of this statement when we encounter something that triggers an emotional charge for us. When we are experiencing the event, it appears that what is causing us trouble is outside of us.  In truth, it is our own filter that effects how we see something.


We then use our interpretation of the event to justify our response to the event. When one truly understands that they do not respond to anything directly but to their interpretation of it, they will understand that what is causing them trouble is not outside of them.  This can be liberating for many people because at this point they stop trying to control other people to find peace.



The interpretation of an event is always coming from me, therefore the grievance I perceive is coming from me.


The next step involves looking at where I am hoping to influence change. Most of us get caught up in the old pattern of trying to change another’s behavior so that you feel better.


Listen to me more so I feel different.

Desire me so I feel different.

Stand up for me more so I feel different.

Start helping with the housework more so I feel different.

Dress sexier so I feel different.

Don’t yell at me so I feel different.


There is a pattern here. The only reason we ever want people to be different is so that we feel different. There is a problem in this thinking. 1) I have no control over another person. 2) Refer back to the statement “I do not respond to anything directly but to my interpretation of it”. The problem is not in the other person it is in your perception of that other person.


For some this way of thinking is very frustrating. “Are you telling me that my partner does not have to listen to me or show me respect?!?!?”,  is a comment some will retaliate with. When I hear this retort I know that they have not yet comprehended what I am attempting to communicate.


We often will not interpret a situation correctly because we are looking through an old filter. Instead of seeing what is in front of us we look for evidence that supports a belief we already have.


If I have a belief that I am unlovable I will be seeing the world through this filter and look for evidence to support this belief. A lot of time we will be completely unaware of our internal beliefs. If someone were to say to you, “You have the belief that you are unlovable”, you’d might say, “You’re nuts”.


We have a difficult time seeing what beliefs are influencing us because they are so engrained. It’s like noticing the air, or a fish noticing water.


We see our unconscious belief by the way we interpret our external world. You can always tell how a person feels about themselves by how they talk/feel about others. 


We color our world by our internal beliefs. Everything in this world that happens is a fact, it does turn good, bad, happy, sad until it goes through my own filter of interpretation. Here is an example of what I mean:


Fact: You tell your husband about an event that is important to you. Your husband does not look up from his newspaper or respond to what you just said.


Event seen through one filter: He never listens. He is rude for not listening to something that is important to me.  I don’t understand why I bother to share important things with him.


Same event seen through a different filter:  He does not appear to be listening to me.  He might need this time to decompress. Him not listening to me is not a personal attack.


The way we interpret an event has everything to do with what is going on in our internal world. I am not saying that it isn’t great to have a partner who listens, is supportive, and helps. What I am saying is that we often will base our emotional stability on something that we have no control over, another’s behavior. Additionally, what I am saying is that your happiness is not dependent on the other person being different.



Cleaning off our emotional filters is key. We begin to do this when we begin to see what is happening and how we are pulling into our old belief system time and time again.


You can begin to clean out old emotional baggage when you start to see that you are not responding to the event, but your interpretation of the event. Then, when you forgive the person for what they are not actually doing. What I mean by this is, what is causing you difficulty is not their behavior but your own filter.


They might tell you they just cheated on you with your best friend, but even in this situation what is giving you trouble is your interpretation of the event. This does not necessarily mean that you stay in any situation. What it does mean is that your emotional wellbeing can stay intact regardless of what appears to be going on outside of you.



When you see the innocence in another you are reminded of your own innocence.  When you are reminded of your own innocence you will remind yourself of your true nature, which is whole, complete and infinitely lovable. When you remember your true nature you will not fear what you perceive going on outside of you.


How to Stop People From Taking Advantage of You: How to find love in your relationship.

Many people are in relationship where they are either worried they will be taken advantage of or feel as if their partner is already taking  advantage of their good nature. It would be difficult to find someone out there who honestly never felt taken advantage on in their relationship.


No one likes feeling as if they are giving too much in their relationship or giving more than they are getting back in return. Luckily, there is actually a secret that can help people to avoid being taken advantage of or “over giving” in their relationships.


Before you are about to give anything to someone else, whether it be your time, a compliment, money, sex, a gift, kind gesture, or even a “yes” to an inquiry, ask yourself it you would be ok with any one of the possible responses they could offer you after you gave your gift.


Keep in mind that any response could mean a number of things. Any response would include a great number of things.


Say you are planning on giving someone a stunning bouquet of daisies. Before you offer this gesture to someone try to think of every possible response that could come from the other person.


They could be delight with the flowers and thank you or they could be upset because they detest daisies. Maybe they will throw them away in front of you. They could have no obvious response to the flowers and appear to ignore them.  They might take your lovely flowers and give them to someone else they fancy.


You can’t control what the person does after you give them something but we oftentimes forget this. We can easily get into a pattern of giving something to get something in return. We get into a bartering pattern.


I’ll do this for you but I need you to do something for me.  I’ll give you space so you can play golf with your friend but I need you to return the favor and show me attention or tell me how great I am.


When we give with an agenda or give to get something in return we often end up saying ‘yes’ to things we want to say “no” to.  We then feel shortchanged or taken advantage of.


We start keeping track of all the “nice things” we have done for our partner and become angry when they don’t give us what we want. But can we really call them nice things when we are really giving so we can get something in return?



Why do we give when we don’t want to give?


We have briefly discussed how we can easily get into the habit of giving so that we can get something in return.  But why do we do this?  Why do we try to manipulate people into giving us the type of response we desire?


The manipulation that people use to get a desired response after giving something is not as malicious as it sounds. We use manipulation to get a reflected sense of self. In other words we try to manipulate others so we can feel good about ourself. We manipulate others so we can feel lovable. We want to experience love.


When you have an agenda in giving you can be sure that there is fear somewhere in the mix. The fear may be subtle but it’s there.


The fear we experience may be the fear that I will lose this person if I don’t say “yes”. It may be the fear that you will lose approval of another person. It may be anxiety that you most do something to earn another’s love. It may be that unless you make this sacrifice you worry that you will not be a “good partner”, desirable or, lovable.


It is safe to say that we try to manipulate so that we can experience love. This desired love may take on many different forms but at the root its all the same.  We all want to feel love but we oftentimes don’t understand what we can do to experience it.


How does one feel love?


When we feel love we oftentimes mistake it as coming from another person. What we don’t understand, in this case, is that the love we feel is not coming from that other person it’s coming from you. The love you feel is coming from you and reflecting off the other person.


The same way the sun reflects off tree leaves, cars and homes is that same way we experience love. When we are open and stop blocking our love we experience it shining on other people. We don’t have to do anything to be lovable, its our nature.


To experience our true nature we just have to stop blocking it. We block this love when we have expectations and agendas for how people and situations should be. We block this love by holding grudges.


The surest way to experience love is to forgive. True forgiveness brings you back to your natural Self. This Self is love. 

Should You Accept Your Partner’s Bad Habit?: How accepting your partner benefits you

Many people are afraid that if they fully accept their partner, bad habits and all,  that the act of acceptance will leave them open to being taking advantage of or becoming a doormat. They are worried that if they accept a person the way they are that it will mean giving up a part of themselves. Or they may worried that if they turn the other cheek, so to speak, that they will become vulnerable to being used. relationship counseling


For numerous people accepting someone exactly the way they are is frightening.  Many are afraid of really look at acceptance because of what they think it means.  Without taking a closer look at acceptance and what it means the whole idea will remain a touchy subject.


Why accept my partner the way they are, warts and all?

On the surface acceptance of our partner looks as if it is to benefit them and while the other person may experience some a positive effect from our non-judgment of them there is an additional bonus for us.


When we accept something just as it is, without judgment, with out manipulating it to be something else or without a label, we experience peace. Think for a moment about a time you found yourself enjoying nature. You may have been hiking in the woods, or looking at a river or the ocean.

Nature can help us experience peace because we don’t have expectations for how it should be. We don’t look at a babbling brook and think it should be flowing the other way. No, we just see it for what it is.

We don’t find a rotting tree in the forest and think this should not be. No, we see the dying tree as it is. We don’t judge it as bad because it is in a particular part of its life cycle.

We don’t stand on the edge of the ocean and complain that it is too big, too salty or not quiet enough. When we find ourselves at peace it is because we are accepting the situation as it is without judgment.

We can have the same peace in our relationship when we learn to accept our partner’s behavior without judgment or without trying to change them in some way. Letting go of our expectations of how we think they should be sets us free and we experience peace.



Do I have a hidden expectation?


Often times I encourage people to look at the expectations they have for a situation or relationship. And, often times I will hear the person say, “I didn’t have an expectation. I just wanted them to_________” (fill in the blank with your choice phrase- we all have one).

It can be very difficult to see our expectations when we are so close to the situation. They can sneak in without us recognizing it.  A few tell tail signs that we actually had an expectation leak in is if we are disappointed, angry, feel rejected, fearful or even annoyed.  If you feel any of these emotions (or something similar to one of them) it might help to ask yourself one question-“How is he/she supposed to be?”.

When we ask ourselves, “How is he/she supposed to be?”, we can quickly identify what our expectations actually are.  There are a number of ways people usually answer this question and they often times try to justify their response.

-She should not be so selfish.

-He should take out that trash when I have had such a hard day.

-She should wash the baby.   After all, my mother just died.

-The price of gas should not be going up.

-They should not cheat on me.

-It should be warm for my vacation.

-They should not be drinking so much.

Does accepting my partner the way they are mean I have to put up with their behavior?

Just because we accept a person as they are does not mean that there won’t be times when we have to move away from unconscious behavior.  You can accept the fact that the forest is on fire but it does not mean you have to stay in the forest and become consumed by the flames.

The same is true in a relationship. Your partner may be acting unconsciously and it may be putting you and your family in danger of being hurt physically or it may be causing some other form of damage. You can accept the person fully and what they are going through while still moving away from harmful behavior.

A strong message in many religions teaches us the message of loving the sinner and hating the sin. Love the person, see through their unconscious behavior to their true nature, which is innocent.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if we need to move away from a situation or just take a different perspective on it.


Acceptance can help facilitate change.

Have you ever felt like someone was trying to make you do something or forcing you into something you weren’t ready to do? Spend more time with them, have more sex with them, be cleaner, stop drinking are just a few that come up in therapy.


When we feel like someone is forcing us into something, we often times force our heels into the ground and refuse to budge.  Or maybe we grudgingly give in just to shut the other person up, but it is not a long-term change.


What happens when we feel like the pressure is off of us and someone is not trying to get us to change?  Acceptance creates a space around another person. In this space healing or change is easier for that person. We feel it is much safer to change when we are accepted as a whole and not because we act in a particular way.


In truth, you can’t change your partner. 

There is nothing you can do to change your partner. If there was a way to make them do something most people would have figured it out by now. After all, most of us spend enough time trying to get them to change.

It is craziness trying to get someone to do something. You can’t change them. The only power you have lies in your acceptance of them.


We are all doing the best we can. 

The idea that our partners are doing the best they can do is difficult for many people to grasp. But the truth is we are all doing the best we can do at anytime.

Our life experiences up until this point affect how well we handle stress and what we do to when faced with fear. Swami Dayananda Saraswati says:

“Accommodation (of others) is an understanding that the other person behaves as he or she does because the person cannot act contrary to his or her background. You have no right to expect something different from someone just because it suits your needs. If you think you have the right to ask someone to change, then that person equally has the right to ask you to let him or her live as he or she does.  In fact, only by accommodating others, allowing them to be what they are, do you gain relative freedom in your day-to-day life”.

Our life experiences and temperament predict how well equipped we are to handle certain stressors that present themselves. Some people drink to handle the difficult situation, while other people lose themselves in work or children or their role as a helper.

People use all kinds of things to help them when they experience fear. For many people it is terrifying to give up that buffer. Things naturally fall away when we don’t need them anymore. Just as you outgrew the toys you played with as a child, people outgrow their vices when they no longer need them.

Don’t ever give up anything before you feel ready to give it up. It may still be serving a purpose.  If you give up something before you are ready you will find something else to substitute in its place.

Don’t try to force someone to give up something before they are ready. You can’t make them give it up until they are ready. This may mean that you need to work on acceptance and at times move away from unconscious behavior.




Getting Your Needs Met in Your Marriage: How to have a happy (and mature) relationship.

Becoming an Adult in Your Relationship- The Secret May Be Going Back to This Child-like Behavior.


Growing up is hard to do. Often times its difficult for us to see where we really need to grow up in our relationships. For many people the areas that most need to mature are the very areas that are kept guarded or where great effort is given to maintain their existence in their lives.

relationships growing up and becoming an adult in your relationship

The first place to look for areas of growth are the areas that we often refer to as our “needs”.  Many books have been written on the “needs” that one has in a relationship. You don’t have to look very hard at Barnes and Noble to find a book that will spell out for you what your needs are or how you experience love or feel “loved” from another person.


These books are not bad by any means. For many people, literature like this helps shed light on parts of their relationship and helps them understand their partner. These books can be used to better understand why your partner has no interest in the gifts you give but will melt when you spend time with them.


Like anything these self-help books can be used to improve our relationships or keep us stuck in old, insecure patterns.


Most people don’t stop and ask the questions that get to the heart of why they have these perceived needs and why they feel a great unjust has been done to them when these needs are no longer being met.

In his book, “Happiness, The Zen Way to True Contentment”, Ezra Bayda supports the idea that having our needs met in our relationships actually act as a pseudo band-aide to cover old emotional wounds we have acquired. We believe that by getting our expectations met by our partner that we will be happy and potentially not have to face what lies under the expectation.


The reason we want others to be a specific way is because we want to feel a certain way. We may want to feel heard, or safe, competent, comfortable, or loved.


When our expectations are not met we experience difficulty. This difficulty comes in the form of fear, resentment, anger or sometimes disappointment.  Our expectation of how we believe something should be is actually hindering us from experiencing happiness and joy.


Often times, we want our partners to make us feel a certain way because we are concerned that we will not be able to get to that place without their assistance.  We forget that love and joy come through us and reflect in the external.


When we are open and in a state of acceptance the “light of joy” can shine. We see it when it reflects in another person but we often mistake it as coming from that person.


Here’s a different analogy that might help– Imagine for a moment that you are the sun shining on everything you see. Since you are the sun you are the source of the light you see reflecting off of Earth, Mars, all the moons and planets. It would be easy to assume that the light you observe is coming from the objects that reflect your light but of course it is not.


Your own light, so to speak, reflects in your relationships with others if you allow it. This is why one is not dependent on others to make them happy or give them the joy they so hungrily desire. Let your light shine on everyone and everything.


Just like some objects reflect light more than others, say a newly wax car compared to a dirty patch of grass, some people will reflect your light back to you more than others. But if you let your “light” shine you can’t help but see it in everything regardless of how reflective it is.


Babies can be the best example of shining their light on everything.  Very few babies seem to know that their joy comes from within and the source is not outside of them. But it doesn’t take very long for us to forget this innate wisdom.


As children we start off playing for the sake of play and find great enjoyment in that act itself. We twirl, skip, rattle and jiggle without regard to anyone else. We do it because it’s natural. We experience our own joy shine back in everything we do.


It’s doesn’t take very long for this to change. We might be playing along one day doing our twirls and flips and notice that someone is applauding our play. We become distracted from our play and are amused by this outside attention.


At this moment we shift our attention from twirling without regard to twirling to get attention from others. We now are focused on the attention we are getting and not the act itself. We are now dependent on a response in order to let our light shine.


When we were children we learned very quickly how we could receive attention and approval from our parents and later on get this similar approval from peers.  Some people learn that if they are well behaved and help their mother they will receive admiration. Other children learn if they are smart or funny or pretty or clean they will not be invisible to their parents. Others take more, seemingly, extreme measures for love and attention and decide to get attention from being mischievous.


The joy we receive from the attention is not coming from that person or the specific act. When we perceive that we are getting the attention that we expect or desire we allow ourselves to open up a little bit and our joy can shine through yet again. The same is true when we are doing an activity that we enjoy. We open and see our light shining in that hobby or game.


It’s important to remember that it is not coming from the person or the activity but is coming from you and reflecting back.  Let your light shine in everything and every being.