Tag: relationships

Relationship is a source of worldly happiness

Relationship is a source of worldly happiness

Very often we work so hard to build a career that we forget to spend time to build relationships. Someone once told me that whatever it is in life that you want, you will find that it eventually has to come from someone else. Thus, your success and happiness in life – and I am referring to worldly happiness here – is dependent on someone else.

When we are able to see that, we can start to remove the non-essential things and focus more time and energy on what is truly important in our lives.

This short video clip below reminds us of what is truly important in our lives.

A Look at the Principle of Mutuality

A Look at the Principle of Mutuality

The Principle of Mutuality is a universal principle that says that every interaction we have with another is based on mutual agreement. By this, we mean that the interaction must be fair and beneficial to both parties. Only in this way can the interaction become truly meaningful and healthy.

The acceptance of this principle is implied in every relationship. Problems arise when this principle is violated. Violation can be at the conscious level or the unconscious level.

Taking What is not Given

At the conscious level, we violate this principle each time we consciously intent and act to take from others what is not given. This includes the taking of intangible as well as tangible things. Tangible things are things like properties, belongings, money and even this body. Intangibles are things like life, rights, space, time, self esteem, choices, values and trust. Avoiding taking tangible things from others without their explicit permissions is easier as it requires coarser awareness. Avoiding taking intangible things from others, on the other hand, requires more awareness and attention on our part.

We also often violates the principle of mutuality in an unconscious way. By this I mean that we are not fully aware of having violated this principle. Perhaps we did not have the conscious intention to take what is not given to us but due to our lack of self awareness, we nevertheless violated it. To prevent this unconscious violation requires a much higher level of self awareness from us. It requires courageous introspection and the examination of our habitual mental tendencies. Only then can we eliminate this unintentional violation of the principle of mutuality.

Giving Away our Power

Another source of problems with this principle is when we ourselves give away our power to the other party. Most often, we do this unconsciously and unintentionally. When we do not know how to be assertive with our rights, we dis-empower ourselves. When we do not even know our own rights, we do not know what we have given away. Thus, knowing our rights and being assertive are two essential elements to empowering ourselves. Knowledge is required for the former and courage for the latter.

Two to Tango?

The principle of mutuality is a spiritual principle that governs relationships. When adhered to, it can bring forth spiritually fulfilling encounters and outcomes for everyone in the relationships. This is the ideal spiritual relationship. It is a win-win and is conducive to growth and personal transformation.

Although every relationship involves two or more parties, it does not mean that if the other party chooses to violate this principle, you on your own cannot adhere to it. In fact, irregardless of whether the other party is aware of or adhere to this principle of mutuality or not, you can continue to live in accordance with it.

The Right Attitude

All it needs to succeed with this principle is to have the right attitude. What is the right attitude? When interacting with another, ask yourself “How can I make this interaction beneficial, meaningful and fulfilling to all concerned?”

I see this approach working out very well in my work as a general practitioner. As soon as a patient walked into my consultation room, I ask myself “How can I make this encounter a wonderful experience for him/her?” Most people are already quite apprehensive when they see a doctor, so simply by being warm and friendly, and making them feel at ease begins the process of healing for them.

I believe this approach is suitable for all types of interactions, including personal, social and business, and strongly encourage that you give it a try. You would be amazed at the results.

 

The Principle of Mutuality in Relationships

The Principle of Mutuality in Relationships

There is a universal rule or principle that, if properly practiced and adhered to in every layer of societies, will bring about peace, prosperity and justice for all. This principle is called the principle of mutuality. Elsewhere in the scriptures, it is also known as the Golden Rule or “do unto others as you would want others to do unto you”.

The principle of mutuality is based on the recognition that life is precious to all living beings and that every being has the equal right to life, liberty and self expression, provided that in expressing yourself you do not trample on another being’s similar rights. For this principle to work effectively, there is a need for openness, honesty and courage, and the realization that we are all subjected to the universal law of cause and effect. You reap what you sow.

In practical terms, what this means is that you have the same universal rights as everyone else. You do not have more rights than another. Neither do you have less rights than others. This is irregardless of whether you are rich or poor; a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Jew; a European, Asian, African or Aborigine; a male or female; or whether you are smarter or dumber than others. Likewise, in corporations and governments, you have these same rights to demand for equal justice, regardless of whether you are the governed or the governor.

In our relationships with others, this principle is particularly important in bringing about an equal and enriching partnership. When adhered to, it brings about respect for each other, fair play and sharing of roles and responsibilities. It encourages personal and mutual growth, as well as spiritual development. However, putting this principle into practice is not easy as it requires a high degree of self awareness, a non-judgmental attitude and especially the taming of the ego.

The ego has this attitude that “I am more important than you”. Thus we often see how it tries to manipulate every relationship to its own advantage at the expense of others. In a position of power, it will abuse its power. We see this in government and institutional leaders as well as in homes and families. We see this in teacher-student relationships as well. Even among friends, we need to be aware of this dynamics.

If I ask you to examine your own key relationships, such as husband-wife, parent-child, and employer-employee relationships, are you able to honestly say that these relationships are equal and fair for all concern, or are they heavily leaning to one side? One simple way to know whether our relationship is balanced is to see how happy the two persons in the relationship are. If it is well balanced, then both are equally happy. If either one is unhappy or both are, then an unequal dynamic exists. The more it diverts from the center, the more unhealthy the relationship is, and the more important it is for you to do something about it. Leaving such one-sided relationships in status quo only serves to perpetuate this inequality in your relationships as well as in society. In addition, inaction on your part breeds contempt for yourself and squashes your personal and spiritual growth.

Now is as good a time as any to re-examine all your relationships.

Achieving Optimum Health

Achieving Optimum Health

“Optimum health is not just the absence of disease but the presence of wellness in mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social areas. Some would also include financial health.”

Introduction

Optimum health is essential at all levels, from the individual to the society we live in to the environment around us. We have to start thinking of wealth not just in terms of possession of money and properties but also the possession of mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being.

Mental Health

The truth is mind is the forerunner of all states.

With a proper mindset, a poor man can still be happy. Conversely, if the mindset is not right, no matter how much material possessions you may have, you may still be a very unhappy person. Thus, Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not enough for even a single person’s greed.”

So a healthy mind is one that possesses a mindset that can lead to happiness and contentment with self and the world around us. It provides clarity of thoughts, good insight and the ability to see things through an unbiased mind.

To be able to see things through an unbiased mind is no small feat. It is extremely difficult to note or observe the unfolding of events and phenomena without judging. We habitually associate emotions or feelings to events, and allow such emotions to direct our actions. Our likes for certain things and dislikes for others are closely associated with our emotions.

Emotional Health

It is our emotions that lead us to act impulsively at times. Thus a high level of self-awareness in this area is extremely useful. In fact, it is essential to our well-being. After all, things and relationships that may take us years to build can be destroyed in a moment of anger.

There are positive and negative emotions. Positive emotions such as love, compassion and joy should be cultivated, while negative emotions such as fear, anger and hate need to be eradicated.

When asked about this, a wise sage of India once illustrated with a story:

An old man said to his grandson, “Boy, I have two tigers caged within me. One is love and compassion. The other is fear and anger.”

The young boy asked, “Which one will win, grandfather?”

The old man replied, “The one I feed.”

At times, it may seem that we have no control over our emotions. This is not true. The truth is how well we manage our emotions depends on how aware we are of our emotions, particularly on the arising of our emotions. The earlier we are able to note the arising of our emotions, we better we can manage them.

More and more researches are showing that our well-being is closely linked to our emotional and mental health. Our body’s immune system is generally enhanced by positive mental outlook and emotion. Conversely, it is depressed by negative mental and emotional states. Thus, stress, worry, anger and fear are some states that may lead to physical illnesses such as hypertension, cardiac diseases, peptic ulcers, depression and a host of other ailments.

Physical Health

To maintain an optimum physical well-being, therefore, requires us to focus not only on our body but also our mind and emotions.

On a physical level, our body can be kept healthy through adequate sleep and rest, proper nutrition, regular exercises and a healthy environment that is free from pollution.

Spiritual Health

Throughout the ages, wise men have consistently informed and taught us that we are essentially spiritual beings.

Although medical science has not been able to reveal to us our spiritual nature, there are many indirect evidence that we would be foolish to ignore. Stories from people who had gone through a near death experience (NDE), or dying people with heightened nearing death awareness, or simply a cure from an ‘incurable’ disease all suggest that there is more to life than just the physical state.

Major religions of the world all based their teachings on the belief that we are essentially spiritual beings. According to these teachings, our physical existence is secondary.

While it may be true that we should focus our life more on our spiritual nature than our physical nature, it would be difficult for the majority of people to do so, at least not immediately. Things cannot change overnight. Mindset, however, can, and that is perhaps the best place to start.

Financial Health

However, on a more mundane level, most people are still stuck on how to survive from day to day, where to get the next cheque to pay for the house installment, so on and so forth.

Practically, therefore, we need to look into ways to achieve a financial state that would theoretically free us from the constrain of ‘forced’ work. This is where the concept of financial freedom is so attractive. According to this concept, one should strive for a state where we have one or more than one source of income that can be generated passively, that is, even when we don’t work.

This is what Robert Kiyosaki termed as ‘passive income’.

According to him, passive income can only be achieved by becoming an investor or a business owner, not a sole proprietor or an employee. To become an investor or a business owner, you must spend the time and money to acquire financial intelligence. Unlike IQ or EQ, you can acquire financial intelligence through self education.

To get a financial health check-up, consult an accountant, a banker or a financial planner you can trust.

Healthy Relationship

“No man is an island, entire by itself.”

As a medical doctor, I am in a unique position to confront and comfort dying patients. One of the most important thing that I have observed is that dying people do not ask about their money or possessions. Instead, they focus their remaining energy and strength on trying to heal wounded relationships. It is as though there is an inherent need to get a proper closure to a relationship.

Thus, forming and cultivating a healthy relationship is important for our well-being. Unfortunately, this is something we often ignored until it is too late. If there is any forgiving to be done, or the need to be forgiven, leaving things to the last minutes may end up with an unfulfilled desire for a closure.

Knowing this now, shouldn’t we spend more time and effort in improving our relationship with our loved ones, especially with our parents, spouse, children and siblings?

Author:

Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor with keen interest in self improvement, mind science and spirituality. He is the author of several personal transformation books. He also contributed an article in David Riklan’s “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – Volume 3” with other authors like Mark Victor Hansen, Ken Blanchard, Byron Katie and Les Brown. You can get more inspiring and mind transforming articles at his website at TransformationWork.com.

 

The Science of Happiness explained

The Science of Happiness explained

WHAT IS HAPPINESS?

One of the major problems with doing scientific research on happiness is finding an appropriate definition for happiness. Happiness is generally defined as the state of being happy. That is to say, happiness is a state of mind. However, this definition is too broad and non-specific.

For worldly people, happiness is getting what you want and not getting what you don’t want. Happiness is seen as the fulfillment of our desires (wants).

What about our needs? According to Abraham Maslow, there is a hierarchy of human needs:

  1. Physiological needs – food, clothing, shelter, medicine
  2. Need for safety – not just physical but also emotional, mental and financial security
  3. Social need – to connect with others and to contribute meaningfully to society
  4. Self esteem – the need for a more mature and higher self regard
  5. Self actualization – the need to be the best that we can be as a human being

Surely to be happy, we not only want our desires fulfilled but also our basic needs satisfied. Thus, it would appear that happiness for worldly people means having our needs and wants fulfilled.

Scientists broadly agree that happiness is a combination of how satisfied we are with life and how good we feel on a day-to-day basis.

 

WHAT DETERMINES OUR HAPPINESS?

Internal and External Factors

The factors that determine our happiness vary from person to person, but roughly scientists are of the opinion that both internal and external factors determine our happiness. Only an estimated 10% of our happiness is determined by external factors and circumstances, such as where we are born, what kind of government we have, and even our family environment. A huge portion of our happiness is actually determined by our internal factors, such as the way we think and behave (40%) and our genetic make-up (50%). Thus our happiness is predominantly within our own control and dependent on ourselves.

Adaptation

We have the ability to adapt well to external circumstances. In tough circumstances, we learn to tolerate and bear with the discomfort and stressful environment, and they soon become the new norm. We see this in children living in war-torn countries and people with extreme disabilities. In the same way, in good circumstances, we also quickly learn to tolerate the new comfort, and so demand more or better comfort. That is why we continue to seek greater thrills in extreme sports, better tasting food, higher comfort and so forth.

A Bottomless Pit

The problem with seeking happiness from external and physical things is that there is no end in sight to it. It is like a bottomless pit or a black hole. It cannot be fulfilled. The goal is one of futility. It will only meet with vexation and frustration.

Right Focus

Thus, we should instead be focusing on attaining happiness from our own internal factors, and specifically on cultivating our thoughts (40%).

 

WHAT MAKES US HAPPY?

When scientists study what are the areas in our life that give us happiness, they looked at some of these areas: Happiness and wealth, happiness and health, happiness and relationships, happiness and meaning of life, happiness and spirituality.

  1. Happiness and Wealth

A common belief with regards to wealth and happiness is that the more wealth we have, the happier we are. In other words, many people see their happiness as proportionately related to the amount of wealth they have. Is this belief true?

According to the happiness scientists, this is a false belief. While it is true that we need a certain amount of money or wealth to be happy, it is not true that the more money we have, the happier we will be. We do need money to provide for our basic needs for food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Having these basic necessity met gives us a sense of security that makes us happy or contented. In the USA, scientists have determined that generally a yearly salary of slightly above US75,000 meets this condition for basic needs. Any amount of money above that does not significantly increase our happiness.

This seems to imply that a large part of our happiness comes from having a sense of security. Security here includes not just the fulfilling of basic physiological (physical) needs but also the need for safety in other areas as well, such as emotional, mental, financial and social security.

So, if you feel you need to hoard a lot of money to be happy, it might be worth looking inwardly into your own sense of security, or lack of security. Recognizing and overcoming our own inner sense of insecurity offers us a better and surer attainment of happiness than our external wealth, which can be taken away from us through sickness, theft, government, and natural disasters.

  1. Happiness and Health

A common belief about health and happiness is that having good health makes us happy, and this belief is true. However, what is less well known is that the reverse is also true – happiness itself brings us good health.

Studies have shown that people who are happy are less likely to have chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. They are more likely to have better HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) level, better immunity against infections and live longer.

Happy people are generally less reactive to stressors in life, have lower risk of depression and are generally more resilient.

Happy people are also generally more successful across multiple life domains, such as marriage, relationships, careers, income and work performance.

  1. Happiness and Relationships

Studies have shown that our relationships provide us with meaning and purpose of life, and having a meaningful existence makes us happy.

Some key traits that lead to successful and healthy relationships are kindness and generosity. On the other hand, traits such as contempt and criticism tend to worsen a relationship.

Many people believe that in order to be happy, they need to find the right person in their life. In other words, their happiness is dependent on someone else. The truth of the matter is that only we can give ourselves happiness. Happiness is found within us, not outside of us.

  1. Happiness and Meaning of Life

We have said earlier that a meaningful life is a happy life. One of the ways we find meaning is in our personal achievements. Thus, to find something meaningful or a higher goal to aim for, and to work towards that goal gives us a sense of satisfaction and happiness. The more honest we are working towards such a goal, the happier we are.

There is a common belief that for our success to be meaningful, it has to be big. Perhaps we have to be famous or become the richest man in the country, or we gain some limelight on TV or other media. The truth is that meaningful things come in doing the small things in life with love and compassion. According to Mother Teresa, it is not how much you do but how much love you put in the doing that matters.

So, if you belief you need to be famous or extremely rich to be successful, perhaps you might want to examine your inner need for recognition. Might this be about your ego instead?

  1. Happiness and Spirituality

It is commonly believed that a moral life leads to happiness, and this is verified by science. We have certain built-in traits, such as a conscience, that necessitate us to do what is considered right or good. To do what we know to be wrong is a stress to our conscience, and therefore to our peace of mind, which leads to sufferings.

Qualities such as good moral conduct (virtues), altruism, compassion, kindness, unconditioned love and generosity are universally encouraged by all major religions as conducive to happiness. Such qualities have been studied by science and they truly have strong links to happiness.

In addition, what we have also learned is that the state and attitude of our mind strongly determine our happiness. Gratitude, for example, is an attitude that leads to happiness and contentment. Forgiveness is another good trait that supports happiness.

Generally, studies have shown that people who are more spiritual are happier. Spiritual people here do not refer to those who religiously attend their weekly churches or temples. Rather, what truly matters is the quality of thoughts and sense of connectedness with others and with nature that define our spirituality.

It has been found that spirituality:

  1. Offers psychological comfort related to death and the afterlife
  2. Provides social support
  3. Provides meanings and sense of belonging
  4. Provides a stable foundation of good values for children as well as adults
  5. Encourages the experience of positive emotions

 

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS

Positive thoughts and emotions, such as unconditional love, kindness, compassion, gratitude, generosity, forgiveness and altruism, are the true causes of happiness. Happiness is the cause of our successes across multiple domains of life, not the result.

People with positive emotions are more able to thrive and flourish, are more creative and more resourceful. They are better at adapting to change, and are more resilient in times of adversity. It is not surprising, therefore, that they are more successful in life.

Thus, this verifies the truth of this statement: “Mind is the forerunner of all states. Mind is chief. Mind-made are they.” This is a powerful statement of truth and a complete understanding of this truth can lead us to happiness, to success and to good health.

 

HAPPINESS IS A SKILL

Happiness is not a fixed point. You can change your level of happiness. Knowing that your happiness is dependent not really on external circumstances but your own internal environment means your happiness is in your own hands. You are responsible for your own happiness.

You can always cultivate the necessary skill to become happier. The skills you need to cultivate to become a happier person are:

  1. Mindfulness of your own thoughts
  2. Courage to be honest with your thoughts, both positive and negative ones
  3. Letting go of the negative thoughts and increasing the positive thoughts
  4. Constantly repeating the above three steps

Once you have mastered these skills, you will become a happier person.

 

SPIRITUAL HAPPINESS

What we have discussed so far refers only to worldly happiness. Spiritual seekers recognize that there is an even greater happiness than worldly happiness, namely spiritual happiness.

Spiritual happiness is higher and better than worldly happiness because it is found entirely within oneself. It is more permanent and cannot be taken away from you by others or even natural disasters. Thus, it is a more secured form and greater intensity of happiness.

To attain spiritual happiness, one needs to attain the jhanas (intense absorption concentration of the mind), which is achievable through meditation practice.

 

2 traits scientifically proven to make your relationship last

2 traits scientifically proven to make your relationship last

Love is all about feelings, right? We lead with our hearts and ignore our heads. Not exactly. It turns out there is a lot of physiology and psychology involved in falling in love and maintaining relationships. If you want to make yours last, you might want to read up on current scientific findings.

Husband and wife psychologists John and Julie Gottman, who study marriage stability and run The Gottman Institute, have spent 30 years learning about what makes relationships last. Amazingly enough, they’ve been able to disseminate years of research and identify just two traits that determine relationship success.

After studying hundreds of couples in a “love lab” located at the University of Washington, Gottman and his colleagues determined how to predict how long couples would stay together, with 94 percent accuracy, just by watching for certain behaviors. The two traits most important in making your relationship last: kindness and generosity.

What? That’s too simple, right? Kindness and generosity are traits taught to toddlers then reinforced throughout life. Applying them to marriage and long-term loving, intimate relationships is more complex, but the basic idea still applies.

The Gottmans talk about “masters” and “disasters” as they categorize couples. The masters have learned to apply kindness and generosity to nearly every interaction they have with their spouses, while disasters employ hostility and contempt instead.

Consider how you respond when you reconnect with your spouse after a long day. Are you genuinely interested in the events of his day, mundane or exciting? I’ve run into this with my husband. He knows a lot about accounting and financial empirical research. I know almost nothing. Rather than tune out and literally “turn away” from him, something the Gottmans tracked, I’ve tried to gain a basic grasp of his work and world economics so that we can have discussions.

My willingness to learn and his patience with my ignorance of things that are simple to him have allowed us to grow closer over something that is crucial to both of our lives: his career. This example shows both kindness and generosity.

Another example: Your wife leaves her clothes all over the closet floor causing you to have to step over a big mess to reach your clothing. This bothers you. It’s important to remember that your spouse doesn’t have malice in mind when she does something that annoys you. Perhaps your wife had to leave quickly to get the kids to school on time or had to take an important phone call. As you discuss issues with kindness, leaving criticism out of the conversation, you show generosity by giving your loved one the benefit of the doubt.

Developing the traits of kindness and generosity in your relationship will take effort and time. It’s important to be kind not only during difficult times, like during an argument or when you feel stress, but also during the happy times, like when your spouse has success in her career or reaches an important goal. Employing kindness and generosity throughout life means you’ll be a master of your meaningful relationship with the one you love.

Source: FamilyShare.com.

5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it

5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it

What are you doing to brighten the lives of your aging parents? Bringing a little light and happiness into their lives will leave a legacy of love your own children will emulate.

An article by Gary and Joy Lundberg

Most people love and appreciate their parents. We don’t doubt that. The problem is, parents can’t tell this unless you show it by the way you treat them. Sometimes adult children can bring heartache to their parents without realizing what they’re doing. We’ve boiled it down to five main ways this happens. If you are a parent of adult children, you may recognize some of these. If you’re the adult child, you may be in for an awakening. As parents age, their physical needs may change but their need for your love never does. Check to see if you’re doing any of these.

1. You don’t call them much

Time just flits by, and you realize it’s been a month since you last called your parents to check on them or to share what’s happening in your life. You may be thinking, well, they can call me anytime they want. There’s no question; parents need to call their children, as well.

Here’s the thing, they don’t know your schedule, and they don’t want to interrupt you at the wrong time. Or they don’t want to trouble you with their problems. And yet, they want you to care. You need to take the initiative and call them, at least some of the time. Even just a short call to see how they are feeling. Ask them what they did that day then share what you are doing. Be sure to include some good news. Too often, the only news shared is the bad. Being in on at least part of your life will bring them more happiness than you can imagine. If they lay on a lot of unwanted advice, just say, “Thanks, Dad, I appreciate your concern. I was just thinking about you and wanted to know how you’re doing.” Don’t forget to say, “I love you.” That’s music to their hearts.

 2. You ask them for money

Some kids only call when they need money. Don’t do that. In fact, don’t ask them for money at all. You’re an adult and capable of providing for yourself and family. Your parents have worked hard for what they have, and they deserve to keep it for their needs. As their lives wind down they have no idea what expenses lie ahead. They need that retirement nest egg for the unknown. It’s comforting to them to have that security. We know some children who’ve bled their parents dry, and then when the day came and the parents needed the money to live on it was gone. That’s not fair. Don’t ask your parents for money. If you owe them for some you’ve already “borrowed,” pay it back as soon as you can. Lovingly help them protect what’s theirs. They need to be able to enjoy it in their later years.

 3. You forget their birthdays

Parents love to be remembered on their special day. It doesn’t have to be a fancy celebration, just a remembrance. You know how you feel when you receive a gift from them. They aren’t much different. They like it, too. Find out the things they enjoy. A young couple we know gives their parents a gift card to their favorite restaurant, and they thoroughly enjoy it. If you don’t have the money for a gift, you surely have the money for a card. Receiving a card in the mail from an out-of-town child brightens any parent’s day. A phone call is great, too. If you live nearby, drop by with a hug and good wishes. Let them know you’re thinking of them, and wish them a happy birthday. You might even add, “I’m sure glad you were born. I love you, Mom.” Some children invite the family over to celebrate a special birthday. Turning 70 is a lot more fun when you’re surrounded by those you love.

 4. You don’t offer them your help

You may be thinking, hey, I told Dad to let me know if there’s anything I can do for him, but he hasn’t told me of anything. He’s probably hesitating because he thinks you’re too busy, or he’s afraid you didn’t really mean it. How about suggesting something to him? Look around and see the needs. Older people are advised to stay off ladders because their balance is impaired, and it’s too risky. How about offering to come over, climb that ladder and clean out their rain gutters. A friend’s son recently did that for his parents, and they were extremely grateful for the help. A little help from you will go a long way in helping your parents feel loved.

 5. You don’t include them in your family events

They don’t need to be included in everything but for the main events, invite them. They want to be part of special occasions, such as holiday dinners, a baptism, a concert your child is in, weddings or a vacation. Let them enjoy being with you and your family when it fits. Sometimes just an invitation to Sunday dinner at your house will brighten their day. If they invite you and your family over for dinner, accept the invitation and show up.

Is this what you want?

Look at how you are treating your parents and ask yourself if this is the way you want your children to treat you when they’re grown. They are learning how by watching the way you treat your parents. It’s a lesson they won’t forget. If you’re not measuring up, it’s not too late. You can make a change this very day. Begin by picking up the phone and calling your parents right now.

Marriage: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Marriage: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

By Ocean Palmer

Whether at work or home, relationships erode because of four things:
1. Criticism
2. Contempt
3. Being too defensive
4. Stonewalling.

Criticism
Criticism is marked by attacks and negativity, the usual tricks of a bully. These stinging attacks hit especially hard on those whose personalities are meek or submissive, or who do not possess a confident self-image.

Contempt
Contempt is shown through put-downs and disdain. Belittling and disrespect are used to make us feel inferior. Often the sender of these messages does so in order to boost his or her own self-esteem, which is typically low to begin with. They try to make themselves feel better by making someone else feel worse.

Being too defensive
Becoming defensive occurs when someone challenges the negative feedback they are receiving by responding with mean, negative retorts aimed back at the initiator. This is a counterproductive “lashing back” technique that plays out like a tennis volley at the net, with both people trading shots.

The television show Seinfeld built an entire episode – The Jerk Store — around this concept. George Costanza took a verbal shot from a co-worker and was determined to think up something wittier to fire back. He failed miserably and never did.

Stonewalling
Stonewalling involves the silent treatment and/or the refusal to share information of emotional value during “clear the air” discussions.

This is called “selective disclosure” and selective disclosure erodes trust. The refusal to come clean on true feelings and relevant information are barriers to rebuilding a relationship.

Stonewalling can involve withholding information, revealing issues of emotional importance, or both.

Those four’s cumulative cost
Each of those irritation techniques will, over time, take its toll. Together they will accelerate hard feelings and cause drama and stress — which will eventually lead to bitter and resentful confrontation.

Excerpt from an article by Ocean Palmer

In contrast, 4 other qualities are good for a happy marriage:

1. Humour
2. Gratitude
3. Forgiving
4. Emotional Disclosure