The Unsung Ingredient of a Healthy Relationship

We worship passion. We equate love and longing. We lay prostrate to the belief that “chemistry” is at the heart of sustaining a relationship. We chase after the golden idol of attraction in all of its forms. And yet, we live in a cultural that has an abysmal success rate for healthy, loving, longterm marriages. Clearly, something is terribly askew in our understanding of what makes love last.

There are many components, of course, that comprise a healthy relationship: shared morals, values, and vision are essential; a true and basic desire for the others’ well-being; a willingness to grow and learn together, especially when the going gets rough.

But the one that stands above the rest is so simple: friendship. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, doesn’t it makes sense that you would actually like the person?

Yes, yes: I can hear the … Click here to continue reading...

Is There a Better Match for Me?

Alongside the thoughts, “Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself to stay”,  “I don’t know if I love my partner enough”, and “Do we have a strong enough connection?“, the question of finding a “better match” is at the top of the relationship anxiety list of questions. The culture encourages the belief, of course, that there’s one person who is your perfect match, but the thought also plays directly into the mind of the anxious-sensitive-perfectionist psyche. After all, thinks the anxious-perfectionist mind who’s looking for a fail-proof person with whom to take the risk of committed relationship, if I’m going to marry or am already married, shouldn’t I wait for my perfect match? This thought can be particularly debilitating when you’re already married and you think, “Maybe if I had just waited a little longer…”

As always, there are many spokes to the wheel of an intrusive … Click here to continue reading...

When You're Irritated With Your Partner

A client told me a few weeks ago that she’s been feeling irritated with her husband. Then, in the hushed tones I’ve come to identify immediately as shame, she asked, “Is that normal?” At which point I told her that my post entitled “When You Feel Irritated with Your Partner” receives the most hits of any blog on my site.

“Really?” she said, audibly relieved. “So it’s really normal?”

“Yes, really. Completely normal.”

The next day, synchronistically, my e-course moderator directed me to a deeply insightful post that one of the members wrote called “The Progress I’ve Made in Six Months”, which focused largely on getting underneath the irritation. With grateful permission, I’m sharing it here:

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In the past six months I feel like I have made quite a bit of progress. I am starting to understand my fear cycle and I’d like to share it with… Click here to continue reading...

The Fear of Making a Mistake

The fear of making a mistake and the fear of failure live at the heart of what keeps many people stuck. Whether you’re struggling with relationship anxiety, career stagnation, depression, or generalized anxiety, the fear of making a mistake creates a debilitating and frustrating state of paralysis where you simply can’t move forward and express the longings in your heart.

I’ve often received emails like the following, one of which sparked my initial inspiration to create the Trust Yourself program years ago:

I’ve been able to work through my relationship anxiety, but now I’m suffering from career anxiety. I long to move my career to the next level and start my own business, but my fear of failure and making a mistake get in the way. Every time I start to move forward, the chorus of negative voices start chattering in my ear about all the reasons why it won’t Click here to continue reading...

Separation Anxiety and the Fear of Death

Many of those who fall on the anxious-sensitive-creative spectrum and find their way to my work describe a common experience: struggling with separation anxiety as a child. When a client shares with me that she dreaded going to school, hated the beginning of each new school year, couldn’t bear going to sleepaway camp or even a friend’s house for the night, and struggled with the transition into college, I look at her with a smile and say, “You’re in the right place.” Alongside struggling with perfectionism, having difficulty making decisions, and being more exquisitely attuned to the emotional tenor of life, separation anxiety is part of the profile of most people who struggle with the myriad manifestations of anxiety.

Far from being something to feel ashamed of, I see separation anxiety as evidence that my clients as children had a healthy attachment style and were aware of the deeper, existential … Click here to continue reading...