People generally find themselves functioning in one of these ways. When conflict arises people are most naturally either aggressive or passive. Being assertive is a skill that needs to be learning and practiced. Here are the difference in the three with assertiveness being the ideal.

Aggressive behavior is treating another person as if your thoughts, feelings, emotions are more important than theirs.

Passive behavior is treating someone as if their thoughts, feelings, and emotions are less important than others.

Assertive behavior is treating the other person that displays both people’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions at an equal level of importance.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

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A first-born or only child may be more likely to become a doctor or lawyer. Younger siblings more often turn to the arts or the outdoors. In part, you can credit parenting.

  • Parents may over-protect oldests or onlies. So they tend to follow more brain-based interests. When later children show up, parents can be more relaxed and hands-off.
  • Firstborns tend to try to be “perfect” more often than later-borns. But kids without siblings, who are often treated like little adults, seem to have even more of this trait.
  • 21 out of 23 of the first American astronauts were first born. All seven of the original Mercury astronauts were firstborns. Other famous firstborn trail-blazers: Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, JFK, and Oprah Winfrey.
  • It’s lonely at the top — or at least, at the beginning! A 2007 survey of corporate leaders found that 43% of CEOs were firstborns, 33% were middle children, and 23% were youngest children.200485798-009
  • Even when parents try to be even-steven, it rarely works out that way. Kids born first get as much as 3,000 more hours of quality time with parents than younger siblings do at the same age. Parents spend about equal time with two or more kids. But there’s less total free time than there was when a firstborn passed through a given age.
  • It’s clear why birth order interests us so much. Most of us weren’t born as the only child in a family.
  • Older moms say they feel closest to their “babies” no matter what the family size or spacing between kids. In the same study, mothers said firstborns were the ones they’d turn to when facing personal problems or a crisis.

Depression is a complex problem that affects many people.  It rarely exists in isolation.  It can be triggered and affected by neurons, hormones, nutrition, thought patterns, social interactions, or genetic predisposition.  Many depressive episodes are triggered by major life changes and stressful events; biological imbalance, illness and injury; personality and family history; vitamin deficiency; medications; or other causes.

Major Life Changes and Stressful Events

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  • Childhood trauma
  • Death or a loss
  • Divorce (break up)
  • Redundancy
  • Loneliness
  • Moving
  • Getting a new job
  • Financial worries
  • Difficult social circumstances
  • Abuse (emotional, sexual, physical)
  • Overworking
  • Giving birth
  • Unemployment

Biological Imbalance, Illness, Injury

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  • Brain injury
  • Under-active thyroid
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Celiac disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Kidney disease
  • Pyrrole Disease
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lupus

Personality and Family History

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  • Chronic self-criticism
  • Crippling guilt and shame
  • Being criticized and invalidated
  • Perfectionism
  • Ruminative thinking
  • Negative bias
  • Learned helplessness
  • Predisposition based on family history

Vitamin Deficiency

  • B complex
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Folate
  • Magnesiium
  • Amino acid
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Selenium

Treatments and Medications

 

  • Hormonal contraception
  • Accutane
  • Corticosteroids
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Opioids
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Anticholinergics
  • Poor Sleep
  • Internet overuse
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug use
  • Passive lifestyle
  • Unmet basic emotional needs

 

–throughdarknessindaylight.com

 

Intellect, athleticism, good-looks, and even “grit” are all qualities that find value in our society. Some more important than others.

A trait that does not feature as much when describing a person is emotional intelligence. This quality may be one that is harder to recognize than other ways to define a person but can be just as important. The good news is that unlike some other traits this can be positively developed.

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So what is emotional intelligence?

Simply put it is the capacity one has to be aware of, control, and express emotions. This skill creates a higher chance of success in interpersonal relationships.

Growing in emotional intelligence can be done with intentional work. One proactive option is to practice self-exploration when feelings arise. Try to specifically identify what feelings you are experiencing. Hurt, anger, and sadness are surface emotions. Being able to recognize a feeling such as rejection, disrespect, or a sense of loss helps solutions to be possible. By recognizing specifically what the emotion is occurring a more specific solution can be planned. Additionally, determining whether that feeling comes from a rational or irrational place is possible. It also helps discuss these feelings with other people.

Ways to practice:

Write down specifically what you are feeling–there may be more than one emotion.

Say out loud what you feel to judge how rational the feelings are.

Focus on remaining calm in highly emotional situations. Mentally prepare yourself to respond a certain way. Pause before reacting.

Although cliche, there is a reason “how does that make you feel?” is asked in counseling sessions. Work on improving emotional intelligence and you may be surprised at how much your interpersonal relationships will improve.

Therapy is a good place to develop emotional intellect. We at Christian Counseling Center are trained and have experience walking with people as they grow this trait. Give us a call at 270.442.5738 for more information or to set up an appointment.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

Somewhere I once heard the quote:

“Be Yourself. If you won’t who else will be?”

I would like to take credit for this tidbit of wisdom, but alas, it just wouldn’t be right. These two short sentences to form a challenge of introspection can be quite meaningful. Trying to be different in ways that we think are necessary are just exhausting and we end up not really being anyone at all.

Each of us has value and can add through whatever skills and talents we may possess. This does not mean certain times don’t call for different behavior or that we can improve on skills. But, not embracing who we are as a person is highly unfortunate.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

My Granny Ray had two sayings that I am reminded of quite frequently: “Life gets tedious”, and “This too shall pass.” She didn’t necessarily use these together on the same occasion, but I have found that you can count on both. She used the saying about life being tedious to let me know that whatever I am going through is just part of life and that each person will go through difficulties in life.

Paul Faulkner, in his series, “Making Things Right when Things go Wrong”, sets the premise that things do go wrong. And life is the process of making things right when things have gone wrong. So what can you do about a bad situation?

  • Re-frame your thinking. Look for a positive aspect to the situation. Sometimes it is not what actually happens to us that matters as much as how we react to what happens. The Apostle Paul suffered a thorn in the flesh. But when he re-framed his thinking he was able to say, “When I am weak, then I am strong”.
  • Act better than you feel. Actions seal your commitment to something. While you cannot will yourself to feel a certain way, you can will yourself to act a certain way, which will cause your feelings to follow along. Faulkner says most of the good that’s done in this world is done by people who don’t feel like it. They are people of faith because faith is acting on something you cannot verify with your feelings.7bc994a82a277dc98a861bb33488415d.jpg
  • Cut your line when it is tangled. Experienced fishermen simply cut the tangled line, pull out a new line, and get on with their fishing. The line of life sometimes gets tangled by guilt and resentment. The way to survive and make things right that have gone wrong is to live one day at a time – today.
  • Keep cool, even when you are hot. Once you lose control of your temper, you are no longer capable of making things right. The problem goes unsolved and you must also deal with the damage that your anger has caused.

Life does get tedious. So maybe you find a solution to your difficulty. Maybe you find a way to live with it. Maybe you just start over. I think that Granny Ray was trying to tell me that it is up to me to change my life when things go wrong. But we can also rest assured, this too shall pass.

Cookie Adams

 

If you are a parent, then you most likely have dealt with a some challenging behaviors.  Some parents seem to have more difficulty than otherimages.jpgrs.  The difference is not always luck.  Parents can do specific things that can make problem behaviors worse, keep them the same, or make them decrease.

As a parent, our ultimate goal is to have children who routinely exercise self-control and acceptable behaviors.  It is best to assume that a proactive “teaching” approach will keep yourself calm and avoid power struggles with your child.

  • Rule # 1: Never argue with your child!
  • Before the behavior occurs, discuss choices your child can make about how to act.  Anticipate problems and discuss ways of solving conflicts, how to handle frustrations, and how to express their wants and desires appropriately.
  • Encourage your child to use their words in order to get their wishes and feelings known. “You are too close to me.” – rather than pushing; “Stay out of my backpack.” – rather than hitting; “I really want to go swimming.” – rather than demanding, begging, and pleading.
  • Acknowledge appropriate behavior and reward it intermittently.
  • Remind your child of the reason behind any rule or consequence to a behavior at the time the rule is being enforced. Have them repeat the reason for having the rule, back to you.  “Kicking can hurt someone.” “Kicking doesn’t solve the problem.”  Brainstorm other ways to deal with the problem.
  • Teach your child how to make and keep friends. (smiling, talking, listening, cooperative play, turn taking, how to start a conversation, interactive play, sharing…)
  • Teach problem solving and resolution skills. (role play with puppets, books)
  • Be empathetic to your child’s problems and frustrations. Help them process ways to deal with disappointment, anger, irritation, and sadness.
  • Seek to discover the cause of the behavior. You will gain insight that will make you more empathetic to their problems.

Diane Reed, LPCC

I have found it to be true that when we are working on improving ourselves from time to time it is difficult to continue without major progress. A passage from a meaningful book “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran may be helpful with this.

You are good when you walk to your goal with bold steps. Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping. Even those who limp go not backward.

The point of this quote is that from time to time we will be moving slowly. Struggling through conflict and difficult circumstances. We can be hopeful as long as we keep moving, it may be a limp, but it isn’t regression.

During those times of “limping” we are available to walk along side for support and guidance. Feel free to contact us at 270-442-5738.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

 

Have you ever met a joyful person who was chronically worried? Giving in to fear is a joy-killer.  When you live in fear you will know the pain of constant, chronic, low-grade anxiety. But when you overcome fear, you will know delight.

According to current research, most worriers tend to have high-capacity imaginations.  They usually carry above-average IQ’s. They are often people with much creative potential. But their imaginations run toward the negative. They tend to catastrophize:

  • What if bad things happen?3Luke122526-225x300.jpg
  • What if I get in an accident and wreck the car?
  • What if I lose my wallet?

All these things are contingent, set in the future, and may never happen at all! In fact, most of them won’t. But living with a fear-filled perspective robs you of life now!

A healthy sense of perspective allows us to assign these events a realistic assessment that helps us get on with life. But when you live in fear, the power of the “what if” becomes overwhelming, and you will go through life without joy. Joy and fear are fundamentally incompatible.

Exerpts from: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat – John Ortberg

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!

Debt is definitely a bad four-letter-word!  Statistics published by NerdWallet, Inc. suggest that the average household has credit card balances of $16,748.  The average household with any kind of debt owes $134,643, including mortgages.

The strain of debt puts an inordinate amount of strmoney-and-marriage.jpgess on a marriage, especially when coupled with the everyday stressors of marriage such as raising children, caring for elderly parents, career changes, occupational stress, and retirement planning.  As a result, many marriages end in divorce, exacerbated by family debt.

Many couples have discovered that by following some proactive steps, they have eliminated much of the problems associated with being in debt.

Suggestions for proactive financial responsibility:

  • Both parties must be active participants in the ongoing financial process.
  • Discuss finances with your spouse frequently (at least weekly).
  • Agree upon ground rules for credit and debit card usage.
  • Create a system for tracking your purchases.
  • Inform spouse of large purchases and increasing balances.
  • Monitor your balance frequently (at least weekly).
  • Elect to have your credit card company send you phone notification after someone makes a purchase.
  • Close credit cards that are rarely used.
  • When closing an account, do so in writing, and get a closing confirmation notice
  • Monitor you credit rating.imgres.jpg
  • Pay your bills in a timely manner.

Never ignore a credit card bill!

Suggestions for attacking debt:

  • Using cash makes you more aware of what you are spending.
  • Cut all necessary spending.
  • Stop expensive hobbies, habits and travel.
  • Learn to cook, plan budget meals, take your lunch to work, eat at home.
  • Consider a 2nd
  • Sell unnecessary possessions – boats, campers, club memberships…
  • Consign rarely worn clothes and household items.
  • Pay off smallest credit cards first.
  • Don’t buy new cars or new furniture….
  • Repair what you can before considering replacing.
  • Check your account for electronic withdrawals (phone bills, online memberships…)
  • Stop all unnecessary automatic withdrawals.
  • Consider TV options- cable vs. digital receiver; public radio vs. satellite radio
  • Control your thermometer (heating and cooling).
  • Unplug any appliances that you do not use regularly. (printers, computers…)
  • If you must shop for clothing, shop consignment stores.
  • Shop off-brands and wholesale grocery stores.
  • Clip coupons, watch sale papers, and accept free samples.
  • Resist shopping online, watching digital shopping networks, and window shopping.
  • Take good care of what you have, it needs to last!
  • Before you buy, determine if it is a want or a NEED.money-bag-clip-art-bag_of_money.png

Keep some money for an emergency fund.

Extra funds are to be paid toward credit card bills.

There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment that comes from paying all of your debt.

Karen Diane Reed, LPCC

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