Tag Archives: Communication

Intent of the Day: Love All Year

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On the eve of Valentines Day, it’s entirely possible that you’re sweating the big day tomorrow. There’s a lot of pressure to prove just how MUCH you love someone one day a year which means you’re having to do a check-in on where you’re at, where you should be at, how you compare to other couples in your same place… oh look at that. More sweat.

We here at Intent.com are of the camp that believes that proving your love isn’t a once-a-year kind of thing. Instead we hope to communicate love and commitment all year. Truthfully, a grand gesture can do wonders, but they will never measure up if they aren’t met with consistently showing up. The little things add up and it doesn’t mean you have to be a well of little things. Perhaps finding your few little things that you do on a regular basis is the difference between needing one all-out extravaganza in early spring.

How to do that? Here are 3 small ways you can consistently say ‘I love you’ all year long: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Stay Honest

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Our intent is to stay honest. That means we first have to get honest. Then we have to remain there. For so many of us, we have trouble even determining what is honest for us:
honest about our feelings
honest about what we’re good at
honest about what we’ve accomplished

But it’s hard to go somewhere new when we aren’t honest about our where we are or the state that we’re in. This is a moment to pause and get honest with yourself and then stay in that space when it comes to everyone and everything else.

Getting honest. You too? Here are 3 things to help you get there: Continue reading

Start Living Your Life Now

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You’ve finally revved yourself up enough to tell the person you’ve been seeing that you want more from them, when they come back and tell you they aren’t on the same page. What do you do? Continue seeing them even though you know you want more, or are you able to keep looking out for your well-being and gracefully give a kiss on the cheek and say adios?

I was the girl who said one thing and did another. It wasn’t only in romantic relationships but also friendships, agreeing to go to dinner or to a party when I really didn’t want to, or saying I would ask for a raise and then never doing it. Talking about boundaries is easy, but actually drawing them is off-the-charts hard, because it falls on us to do it, it’s our responsibility.

Through a lot of trial and error here’s what I’ve learned along the way. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Let Nothing Linger

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The holidays are such a special time. They come once a year, everything feels like it could end up a little dreamier. Movies tell us this is the time when people declare their true feelings, fall in love, reunite with lost loved ones and, if that’s your hope, we sincerely hope that happens for you. In fact, we hope to have every skill we need to give our third act monologue. Or maybe just the words we need to handle whatever feelings and thoughts pop up over this season. Our #intent of the day is to let nothing linger.

You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Say What You Mean

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Feeling misunderstood? Sometimes that happens because others aren’t listening. But it can also happen when we aren’t fully saying what we mean. Our words, our commitments, our attention can be so vague and non-committal and, while that serves a certain purpose, it can often leave us feeling disconnected and not fully ourselves. So today, our intent is to say what we mean. Our honest feelings. Our realest opinions. Our worries and concerns, our joys and our hopes.

You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Direct Communication

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For a long time, there was a point in our lives where the things we were saying were not being heard. Nobody was listening, and we didn’t understand. But we saw our mothers and fathers get things done in more evasive ways. They never came out and said directly what they needed or what they wanted done, but things got done. As we got older, we noticed that we had picked up the habit, but that other people didn’t communicate in the same way. They felt no shame asking someone for what they needed, and they didn’t have to stomp around, cursing and making noise in order to get a message across.

For the most part, passive-aggressive tendencies are not appreciated. For instance, someone I once knew moved to college and was put into a suite with several other ladies. Having an early class, and not wanting to wake the other girls, she left a note that asked if the person that left the dishes in the sink could please clean them up. Well intended as the note was, it did not have a happy reception on the other end. The note ended up causing tension, and the writer of it did not understand what was so bad about it. In her mind, she was doing what she was taught – tell someone something indirectly when she felt like she couldn’t directly. She felt since the note wasn’t angry or very urgent, it wouldn’t make sense to wake someone up just to tell them that. The other girls, however, thought that she was too afraid to go directly to the person that left the dishes and ask them. Of course, things were returned to normal afterwards, but it led the note writer to examine her communication skills, and find that she really was not very direct – even though, in this case, it worked out. Continue reading

Does Marriage Counseling Really Work?

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You may have heard that marriage counseling is the best thing a couple has ever done and how it saved their marriage.  You may also have heard that it was a total waste of time and money.  The reality is that marriage counseling does work for some couples, but not for others.  Whether it will help your marriage depends on you, your spouse, your counselor and your desire to save your marriage.

Marriage counseling is usually not an easy choice to make.  By the time you consider counseling, your marriage is often in trouble and you may be wondering if trying to save it is even worth the trouble.  Even couples who are ready to file for divorce can benefit from counseling, if both spouses are willing to make an effort to try and rekindle their love and passion.

To find a counselor, you can ask your family doctor or a minister for recommendations or search your local phone book.  Family and friends could be good places to ask, too, but many people don’t want others to know they are considering counseling.  If you have already spoken to a lawyer, you may even ask him/her if they have a recommendation.

Remember that once you have your list of marriage counselors, you may need to meet a few before you find one that you and your spouse are comfortable with.  Your sessions will involve very personal discussions and for your counseling to be effective, you both need to be able to share your thoughts and feelings openly.  

You will also need to respect the counselor so you can take his/her advice and not feel as if you are being put down for your feelings or criticized for choices you have made.

When you are searching for your counselor, you may want to ask the following questions: Continue reading

Music….A Fuel That Feeds Our Spiritual Engines

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Most cultures in our world embrace some form of what we have come to call “music”. Some much more than others. Some cultures use music only in religious moments. Some extremely primitive cultures (by Western standards) haven’t even defined music yet. That is, they don’t call it music, but they still create and use some sounds as music nonetheless.

It could be easily argued that music in all its forms is the true universal language that ties the spirit of all living creatures together. Man, of course is God’s primary creature that consciously uses music to communicate his feelings, emotions and needs often without a single word being uttered or sung. But we’re not the only ones… (think about birds singing).

How can it be then, that music, used by billions of people every moment of every day, is not recognized as essential in its purpose?  Ahhhh… the failings of mankind are pervasive. Still, it’s notable that our scientific community has recently discovered what most of us in the music community already knew:

Music affects ALL living creatures (a multitude of studies, anecdotal and scientific, suggest plant-life may also be positively and negatively impacted) such that it influences moods, sensations, emotions, physical growth, physical healings and emotional healings that can be quantified in bonafide studies. I like to say that music does all this and more by ‘speaking’ to us in a way that ALL people of ALL tribes innately grasp…. in a way that our ‘inner spirits’ always understand:  the “language of music”.

The “language of music” is so powerful that it can move our spirits in ways we never really thought about: Continue reading

How to Encourage Your Kid’s Communication And Productivity Skills

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By Samantha Madhosingh
www.askdrsamantha.com

Productive, confident adults…that is what we all hope our kids will develop into. There are very specific strategies that increase the odds of making that hope all parents have a reality, so let’s dive in.

Communication with Confidence

Empowering children with the skills of effective listening, self-advocacy, standing up for themselves, and the ability to communicate their needs, are some of the critical communication tools they will need from the preschool classroom to the boardroom.

These are the foundation skills of leadership development and can even prevent your child from being the victim of bullying and abuse.  You want your kids to be able to say “No” to other peers or adults who may attempt to harm them.  Practice with them through role plays, and show them how to be assertive, ask for what they want, and listen carefully to what others are saying. Continue reading

Reaching Out For Compassion

Rabindranath Tagore embarrassment of compassion fills your eyes rain on we lucky spaces between potential and the real take my hand and walk togetherAt a weekend workshop I led, one of the participants, Marian, shared her story about the shame and guilt that had tortured her. Marian’s daughter Christy, in recovery for alcoholism, had asked her mother to join her in therapy. As their sessions unfolded, Christy revealed that she’d been sexually abused throughout her teen years by her stepfather, Marian’s second husband.

The words and revelations Marian heard that day pierced her heart. “You just slept through my whole adolescence!” her daughter had shouted. “I was being violated and had nowhere to turn! No one was there to take care of me!” Christy’s face was red; her hands clenched tight. “I was afraid to tell you then, and now I know why. You can’t handle the truth. You can’t handle me. You never could. I hate you!”

As she watched her daughter dissolve into heaving sobs, Marian knew that what she’d heard was true. She hadn’t been able to handle her daughter’s involvement with drugs, her clashes with teachers, or her truancy and suspensions from school, because she couldn’t handle anything about her own life.

At this point, compassion for herself was not only impossible, Marian was convinced it would have been wrong: the horror that Christy endured was her fault; she deserved to suffer.

We’ve all harmed others and felt as if we were bad because of our actions. When we, like Marian, face the truth that we’ve hurt others, sometimes severely, the feelings of guilt and shame can tear us apart. Even when the damage isn’t so great, some of us still feel undeserving of compassion or redemption.

At times like these, the only way to find compassion for ourselves is by reaching out to something larger than the self that feels so small and miserable. We might for instance take refuge by calling on the Buddha, Divine Mother, God, Jesus, Great Spirit, Shiva, or Allah – reaching towards a loving awareness that is great enough to offer comfort and safety to our broken being.

As a Catholic, Marian had found moments of deep peace and communion with a loving God. But, in her despair, she now felt alone in the universe. Sure, God existed, but she felt too sinful and wretched to reach out to him.

Fearing she might harm herself, Marian sought counsel from an elderly Jesuit priest she had known in college. After she’d wept and told him her story, he gently took one of her hands and began drawing a circle in the center of her palm. “This,” he said, “is where you are living. It’s painful—a place of kicking and screaming and deep, deep hurt. This place cannot be avoided, let it be.”

Then he covered her whole hand with his. “But, if you can, try also to remember this: there is a greatness, a wholeness that is the kingdom of God, and in this merciful space, your immediate life can unfold. This pain is held always in God’s love. As you know both the pain and the love, your wounds will heal.

Marian felt as if a great wave of compassion was pouring through the hands of the priest and gently bathing her, inviting her to surrender into its caring embrace. As she gave her desperation to it, she knew she was giving herself to the mercy of God. The more she let go, the more she felt held. Yes, she’d been blind and ignorant; she’d caused irreparable damage, but she wasn’t worthless, she wasn’t evil. Being held in the infinite compassion of God, she could find her way to her own heart.

Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance. The priest wasn’t advising Marian to ignore the pain or to deny that she’d failed her daughter, but to open her heart to the love that could begin the healing.

Now, rather than being locked inside her tormenting thoughts, Marian could remember the possibility of compassion. When remorse or self-hatred would arise, she would mentally say, “Please hold this pain.” When she felt her anguish as being held by God, she could face it without being ripped apart or wanting to destroy herself.

Two weeks later, when she and her daughter met again in therapy, Marian admitted to Christy – still acting cold – that she knew she’d failed her terribly. Then, gently and carefully taking her daughter’s hand, Marian drew a soft circle in the center of her palm, and whispered the same words the priest had whispered to her.

Upon hearing these words, Christy allowed herself be held, wept, and surrendered into the unexpected strength and sureness of her mother’s love. There was no way either of them could bypass the raw pain of yet unhealed wounds, but now they could heal together. By reaching out and feeling held in God’s mercy, Marian had discovered the compassion that could hold them both.

Whenever we feel held by a caring presence, by something larger than our small frightened self, we too can begin to find room in our own heart for the fragments of our life, and for the lives of others. The suffering that might have seemed “too much” can now awaken us to the sweetness of compassion.

© Tara Brach

Enjoy this talk on Cultivating Compassion 

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