The Limits and Misuses of Optimism

“If you can’t be positive, at least be quiet.” I recently saw a Facebook meme with these words. Oy. What an egregious misuse of the powerful concept of optimism! As we explored in Part 1 of this blog post – “From Pessimism to Optimism – A Healthy Shift” – optimism grounded in reality helps us live happier, healthier, and more productive lives. It’s a powerful tool for elevating our quality of life. Being optimistic, however, doesn’t require being quiet about, ignoring, suppressing, or belittling so-called “negative” emotions. Anger, sadness, anxiety, gloominess – they all come up intermittently throughout every life. The truth is, we can’t be dimensional human beings without all our emotions

Six Reasons why Self-Esteem Doesn't Work

For many years self-esteem was a self-help buzzword. I remember countless discussions about ways to build our children’s self-esteem, and I still have a lot of clients say to me, “I don’t have a good self-esteem." They often feel this poor self-concept is at the root of their struggles. Self-esteem seemed like a solid idea. We should esteem ourselves, respect and admire ourselves! We’d all be so much better off, but sadly, like many “seems like a good idea” concepts, the research into self-esteem doesn’t show that “good self-esteem” is well correlated with good mental health. For one thing, people with narcissistic and psychopathic tendencies rate themselves very high in self-esteem, and ye

Tips for Mixed-Faith Marriages: Slow Down and Find Common Ground

When I start working with couples who find themselves in a “mixed-faith” marriage… I find that the initial panic/discomfort/annoyance/anger (whatever emotion best fits your description)… usually has to do with some basic fear about “our contract” being changed. Things I typically hear from the spouse who is not transitioning or doing less of a transition: “I didn’t sign up for this.” “I thought we had our goals and parenting style set… now I have no idea what to expect from you.” “You keep changing the rules.” “I’m only having to face this because of changes you’re experiencing. It’s not fair.” “I don’t want our children’s testimonies negatively impacted.” “How could you have done this to us

Being Certain about Uncertainty - Part 2

Continuing from last week's post: Now for the tips to get you in touch with mindfulness: 1. Take a real inventory of your values. Learn about who you are. You are an amazing individual with many unique attributes that are yours and yours alone—your opinions, thoughts, beliefs, views, experiences, likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, interests that you might not even know you have...all are waiting to be known and unfold into life-giving purpose. 2. Become aware of how you are spending the time in your head. Observe yourself from a different viewpoint. Are you spending a lot of time worrying about what will happen in the future? Do you have a lot of regrets about things that have happened in

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