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Posts Categorized: Relationships

Gaining a Positive Return in the Relationships You Invest In

Gaining a Positive Return in the Relationships You Invest In | FocusWithMarlene.com

“A friend is a gift you give yourself.”

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Perhaps you have experienced misplaced loyalty, broken commitments and trampled expectations from those you considered friends, colleagues and spouses.

If you have been hurt in relationships, you may ask: relationships – who needs them? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stay out of any serious relationship all together?

And yet, we are social animals and require social interaction to survive. As we learn more about the human brain the research reveals that we are hardwired to connect with each other.

That’s Not What I Meant! 12 Ways to Become a Better Communicator

That’s Not What I Meant! | FocusWithMarlene.com

We communicate every day in some way: texting, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc.

But that is not the same as talking to a person face-to-face, where we can see facial expression, have a discussion about difficult issues, and ask for clarification.

What are you saying and what is being heard?

“But you said. . . .”

“No, I didn’t. . . .”

“Yes, I heard you say. . . . .”

“Well, that’s not what I meant!”

Sound familiar?

Conflict – “He Said – She Said”

Conflict – “He Said – She Said” | FocusWithMarlene.com

“That’s not what I said.”

“Yes, it is, I heard you.”

“You always try to pin the blame on me. If you were here instead of out golfing, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Oh, and how about you – out shopping again….”

And round and round and round it goes, ending with two angry people who continue to find ways to attack, defend and destroy each other.

Many of the problems we face are interpersonal conflicts of some kind. They are usually laced with anger and blame and persistence that I am right, and you are wrong.

How do we get into these conflicts in the first place? And how do we get out of them?

12 Positive Affirmations to Help Bridge Your Past with Your Future

12 Positive Affirmations to Help Bridge Your Past with Your Future | focuswithmarlene.com

Bridges are incredible feats of engineering and ingenuity, rising high above deep gorges, over rivers and large bodies of water. I am fascinated by the ingenuity required to design such lofty and expansive works that are both practical and majestic; a combination of beauty and strength.

I like to use the analogy of bridges because we are constructing them every day. They make connections between couples and families. They bridge the gap between our past and future and expand our possibilities as we move from one venture to another.

We’ve been thinking about the stories we create to define what we are going through. We learned that we can change the narrative to work for us instead of against us. Setbacks do happen. But we can turn them into opportunities.

What Stories Are You Telling?

What Stories Are You Telling? | Focuswithmarlene.com

In preparing a speech and workshop for a group of writers on memoirs, I thought about how the threads of our past continue to have an influence on everything we do. Those threads are the many stories that make up our lives.

There are many stories that need to be told – stories that only you can tell. While we may live through similar times, everyone experiences those times differently and each of us will have a different interpretation of what occurred.

There will be funny stories and stories that break your heart, but all have an important message to share.

Transformation through Action

Christmas – we look at the twinkling lights and bright decorations and for a few seconds the Christmas spirit permeates our hectic schedules and “to do” lists.

We extend greetings and mail Christmas cards and packages and feel that “spirit” for a few more minutes. For some people, time is taken to attend candlelight services at a neighborhood church as a token to an old ritual or tradition.

But is that all there is?

Have we reduced Christmas to a few watered down traditions that we observe once a year before we go back to life as usual? Do we forget that we have this holiday because we wanted to honor and celebrate the birth of a tiny child who happened to be the Son of God? It is with this monumental event where transformation of the heart and soul begin.

The Power of Words

Jennifer was a goal setter – she attended college, returned home for a visit, met and married her first husband.

But then her world began to fall apart and like all of us whose ideals, expectations and normal assumptions for life begin to crumble, she found herself struggling to save her marriage – eventually realizing it was beyond saving.

She went from a healthy, vibrant individual to sinking into a troubling depression and wondering what life was all about.

As she struggled with the enormous changes that had occurred and the overwhelming challenges she faced, she found a bracelet that had been lost. Unable to find the owner, she looked more closely at the words that encircled the band:

Imagine Create Believe Achieve

Inspire Transform

Bottle Caps

I have just returned from a wonderful

European river cruise;

Pleasant conversation, new relationships,

and perspectives from those coming

from many different parts of the world;

pampered by cheerful and

accommodating staff, good food

and good wine.

Daily excursions took us to old castles on the hill,

gingerbread houses and towns and the natural beauty

found in countries and ancient towns along the Danube

and Rhine rivers; a wonderful stew of sights and sounds

and stories that will continue to be enjoyed through the

hundreds of pictures taken and in our memory banks.

Friendship Circles

We came together to pray and plan and encourage and find out where we were on our career paths.

Author, counselor, coach, teacher – we all congregated at my home for our annual retreat from life as usual to catch up and listen and ask for and receive clarification of our goals.

Sometimes our talking went on so long we failed to realize we were hungry when it was time to eat.

Friends: they support us and are willing to give us the valuable information we need from a trusted friend.

Our friendship circle was formed so we could support each other and encourage one another in our life’s work. Setting aside our wants and wishes, we reached out to help each other visualize and test their goal ideas. We shared information from the educational and training backgrounds we had along with articles we have read and books we recommended reading. At times it was like a think tank – exploring what we could accomplish if we set our hearts and prayers to it.

Moments in Time

August has flown by – Minutes filled with work, accomplishing projects and conversations.

But the best moments were those spent with good friends – talking, sharing and just being together.

Relationships are an important part of any steps we take through life. Knowing we are not alone allows us to step more confidently.

“This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.

We only have that moment in time. If we waste it, we are wasting a part of who we are. In that moment in time we have the ability to reflect, connect with loved ones, do some meaningful work, try new things, and look for opportunities.