How do you keep your love alive? Try affirmation.

October 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm | Posted in Affirmation | 4 Comments
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What do you suppose this woman has just told this slightly amused-looking man?

• “Not here, John!”
• “No, you didn’t really tell my mother that story!”
• “We’ve been dating for 3 years now, don’t you know I love you?”

Or, perhaps, this guy has just received an affirmation from his friend, a few encouraging words about an aspect of his character – “John, I really admire how calm and steady you are, you always put me at ease.”

It’s words of affirmation like this – when spoken by someone you trust — that help you feel valued and cared for. At times when you’re discouraged and insecure, words of affirmation also can remind you of who you are and help you get back on track.

You may have been told that receiving too many compliments will give you a big head, but I disagree. Experience tells me that when I receive honest affirmation from someone who truly knows me, I feel humbled and just want to keep embodying the qualities my friend says are true about me.

Setting the intention to be affirming to others is one of the most loving gifts you can give someone. Begin by looking for those qualities that you appreciate most about your partner, spouse or best friend, then communicate how you feel. Try at least one affirmation a day to start.

Can you recall the last time you were affirmed or you affirmed someone else? How did it make you feel?

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What if you wrote a memoir?

October 8, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Storytelling | 4 Comments
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Memoirs are sizzling hot in the book world just now, and I’ve been devouring them! Real life stories often have the capacity to inspire, encourage, entertain, amaze, and move us even more dramatically than fiction. In the last few months I’ve read:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) – The first 11 calamitous years in the well-known poet/activist’s life.

The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls) – A news journalist’s growing-up years in the midst of extreme poverty and neglect.

Left to Tell (Immaculee Ilibagiza) – A young Rwandan woman’s survival in the midst of the horrific 1994 genocide in her country.

Beautiful Boy (David Sheff) – A father’s perspective of his son’s battle with meth addiction.

Each of these stories is riveting in its own way . . . and each of us has similarly powerful stories to share. I’ve been musing about what aspect of my life I might address, were I to write a memoir — I think I’d explore my relationship with my father, who passed away 10 years ago.

How about you, what if you wrote a memoir? What season of your life would you describe . . . and/or . . . what memoir have you recently read and enjoyed?

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How do you keep your love alive?

October 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Posted in love | 1 Comment
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It’s one of the most dizzying and blissful feelings in the world, being in love. However, after the first few heart-pounding months whiz by, there generally comes a season for exploring deeper emotional sharing . . . a time for the practical and demanding process of learning to love another human being. This second phase of love can feel impossibly tough, especially if you have little idea how to step beyond trying just to get your own needs met.

In his book, “Here and Now,” the spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, comments on our human desire for love and connection, and the complexity that goes along with developing emotional closeness:

“The other, who for a while may have offered us an experience of wholeness and inner peace, soon proves incapable of giving us lasting happiness and instead of taking away our loneliness only reveals to us its depth. The stronger our expectation that another human being will fulfill our deepest desires, the greater the pain when we are confronted with the limitations of human relationships. And our need for intimacy easily turns into a demand.”

Loving someone often feels like incredibly hard work, doesn’t it? But choosing to engage in deep relationship is the most rewarding work we’ll ever do.

Quality work requires good tools, so here’s one that I believe is absolutely essential in nurturing lasting love. On a regular basis take the time to assess your needs and express them to your loved one. Then listen as the other person shares his/her needs with you. Finally, re-commit to try and meet one another’s needs as much as is humanly possible, not out of duty but out of a desire to care for each other.

What’s one of your most reliable ways to keep love alive?

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