When You Say the Wrong Thing

The minute it’s out of your mouth you wish you could take it back.

But words are like toothpaste squeezed out of the tube.

Once it’s out, it’s out.

Sometimes, when the stakes are low, you end up with just a slightly awkward or even humorous interaction rather than a damaging one.

Never Assume

When Mike and I were first living together, I found myself being uncharacteristically careful to wash dishes promptly and put them away after Mike had cleaned the kitchen. Read More

Be Skeptical of Self-Help Articles (Like This One)

skeptical manI remember a lesson from the very first self-help book I ever read.

It said that when someone says or does something hurtful, it’s like they’re handing you a knife and asking you to stab yourself with it.

The idea was that you could choose to just drop the knife and walk away unharmed.

In other words, you could choose not to be hurt.

Putting Self-Help Advice Into Practice

This concept made such an impression on me that I still remember it more than 30 years later. Read More

Should You Self-Improve or Self-Actualize?

There are two kinds of people in the personal development world. As a therapist, I’ve worked with both.

The first kind of person, let’s call him the Self-Improver, seems to be looking for specific changes in his behavior.

He seeks the kinds of changes that are hard to accomplish but, once in place, help him feel better about himself.

An example would be someone who suffers from anxiety but holds his own feet to the fire by making himself do the things that make him anxious. Read More

What’s Your Philosophy of Life?

Life is short but can be meaningfulLife is like a box of chocolates. Or is it?

Last week I wrote about what you have in common with others, by demonstrating how normal you are compared to me. At the very least, I showed that if you hate sunshine, don’t care to own property, or hope never to retire, you’re not alone.

This week I want to focus on difference — specifically, differences between your philosophy of life, and someone else’s.

Do you see life as being like a box of chocolates, or a box of hammers? Read More