Archive for the ‘Connection’ Category

No Shortage

Friday, July 13th, 2018

There is no shortage of love; there is an abundance of it. The truth is that the more we reach out to strangers with love, the more love we will have in our own lives.

We each have the potential to love strangers because we are all connected.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 68

[Photo: Black Forest, Germany, September 27, 1997]

Feeling Worthy of Love by Loving

Friday, July 6th, 2018

What we lose as resentment builds in love relationships is a cornerstone of the sense of self: feeling worthy of love. In the beginning, love relationships make us feel lovable. Regardless of our faults and foibles, we feel worthy of the love we receive. What we don’t realize is this:

It isn’t being loved that makes us feel lovable; it’s loving.

It’s a hard distinction to see most of the time. Being loved makes it so much easier to be loving that we can easily miss which provides the greater boost to self-value. Unless you feel lovable, feeling loved will not feel good, beyond a shallow ego stroke. It won’t feel good because it inevitably stirs guilt for getting something you don’t really feel you deserve and, worse, the shame of inadequacy, because you don’t feel able to return the love you get. The wellspring of resentment in love relationships is blaming this guilt and shame on our partners.

— Steven Stosny, Empowered Love, p. 113

[Photo: Great Falls, Virginia, June 14, 2016]

Good at Stress

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Embracing stress is an act of bravery, one that requires choosing meaning over avoiding discomfort.

This is what it means to be good at stress. It’s not about being untouched by adversity or unruffled by difficulties. It’s about allowing stress to awaken in you these core human strengths of courage, connection, and growth. Whether you are looking at resilience in overworked executives or war-torn communities, the same themes emerge. People who are good at stress allow themselves to be changed by the experience of stress. They maintain a basic sense of trust in themselves and a connection to something bigger than themselves. They also find ways to make meaning out of suffering. To be good at stress is not to avoid stress, but to play an active role in how stress transforms you.

— Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress, p. 94

[Photo: Dunluce Castle, Ireland, July 2001]

A Lovely Light

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by teling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

— Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water, quoted in Madeleine L’Engle, Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase, p. 155

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2015]

The Valued Self

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Criticism fails in love relationships because it embodies two of the things that most human beings hate the most: It feels like rejection and demands submission. In short, it threatens both autonomy and connection, throwing the Grand Human Contradiction completely out of balance.

Although people hate to submit, we actually like to cooperate, which affords balance of the Grand Human Contradiction. (We choose to cooperate, which enhances autonomy, while strengthening the connection.) We have a built-in reward of well-being for cooperation, probably because it was necessary for the survival of the species. Critical people demand submission but they really want cooperation — willing, resentment-free behaviors to further the good of the relationship. They seem oblivious to this key point about human nature: The valued self cooperates; the devalued self resists.

If you want behavior change from a partner, child, relative, or friend, first show value for that person. If you want resistance, criticize.

— Steven Stosny, Empowered Love, p. 35

[Photo: Burg Katz, Rhein River, Germany, July 23, 2006]

Connecting to Communicate

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

If partners are motivated to attack or avoid, employing even the most sophisticated communication skills will make them appear phony and manipulative. In my quarter-century of clinical practice, I have never seen skillful communication form a connection without a sincere desire to connect, nor have I seen poor communications skills or choice of words interfere with a sincere desire to connect.

Adults in love don’t try to communicate in order to connect. They connect in order to communicate.

— Steven Stosny, Ph.D., Empowered Love, p. 19

People Are Messy.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

To the extent that you shrink from the disorderliness of people, love will scare the daylights out of you.

— Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People, p. 25

Focus on What You’re For

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Beware of forming bonds with individuals or groups because you dislike the same people or resent the same things. The trick, once again, is to focus on what you are for rather than what you’re against. Say that an organization against domestic violence keeps its focus on everything that it devalues. Its members motivate themselves with anger and resentment, which they inevitably turn on one another. Such places are notorious for complaints, infighting, backstabbing, and sabotage; they are unpleasant places to work. Advocacy groups motivated by resentment tend to multiply like rabbits without increasing their membership. Disagreements within the groups splinter them into smaller and smaller units, competing with each other for media attention and community resources. The message of the cause becomes secondary to the competition for advancing it. But an organization for something — like safe, respectful relationships — keeps the focus on everything it values. Its members are motivated by passion for what is right — what they stand for — rather than resentment about what is wrong. Such organizations enjoy more cohesion and cooperation, and are simply more pleasant places to work. Bond over what you stand for, not what you’re against. The latter inevitably leads to resentment and aggression, which you’ll automatically transmit to others via the Web of Emotion.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 174-175.

Better in Small Ways

Monday, November 6th, 2017

If you focus continually on making the world a better place in some small way by improving, appreciating, connecting, and protecting, you’ll develop conviction, stand for something, and model those things for other people. In a small way, you’ll make the world a better place. You and those you love will be happier, your life will have more meaning and purpose, and you’ll create a legacy that will give you peace in your later years.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 165

Seven Billion With Me

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

“When I meet someone,” the Dalai Lama said, returning to what was becoming an important theme, “I always try to relate to the person on the basic human level. On that level, I know that, just like me, he or she wishes to find happiness, to have fewer problems and less difficulty in their life. Whether I am speaking with one person, or whether I am giving a talk to a large group of people, I always see myself first and foremost as just another fellow human. That way, there is in fact no need for introduction.

“If, on the other hand, I relate to others from the perspective of myself as someone different — a Buddhist, a Tibetan, and so on — I will then create walls to keep me apart from others. And if I relate to others, thinking that I am the Dalai Lama, I will create the basis for my own separation and loneliness. After all, there is only one Dalai Lama in the entire world. In contrast, if I see myself primarily in terms of myself as a fellow human, I will then have more than seven billion people who I can feel deep connection with. And this is wonderful, isn’t it? What do you need to fear or worry about when you have seven billion other people who are with you?”

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 100