Archive for ‘Got Connections?’

January 1, 2014

Albert Einstein on the Church

Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in
Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it,
knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion
to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities
immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great
editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in
days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but
they, like the universities, were silenced in a few
short weeks….
Only the Church stood squarely across the path of
Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had
any special interest in the Church before, but now I
feel a great affection and admiration because the
Church alone has had the courage and persistence to
stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am
forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now
praise unreservedly.
  — Time magazine, 23 December 1940, page 38.

November 17, 2013

Free Yourself From Toxic Relationships By JOYCE MARTER, LCPC


We have all had toxic relationships. They may have been with friends, family members, partners, neighbors, colleagues or bosses.  These are relationships that deplete you of your energy, infuse you with negativity, bring unnecessary drama or conflict to your life, and trigger feelings of low self-esteem, insecurity, resentment, frustration or irritability.

It’s important to realize that toxic people are often unconsciously making you feel how they feel about themselves, in other words, it is more about them than it is about you. I like the expression, “Relationships are like elevator buttons; they either bring you up or bring you down.” It’s important for all of us to routinely take inventory of our support systems and care enough about ourselves to free ourselves from toxic relationships. This creates space to establish and nurture positive relationships.

As human beings, we’re all attracted to what is familiar. We may have unconsciously recreated old dysfunctional relationship patterns from our roles in our families-of-origin in our current personal and professional lives. As we become more conscious and move forward in our lives, we need to reevaluate these relationships, empower ourselves to shift our boundaries or to even end these relationships altogether.

Dr. Phil says, “We teach others how to treat us.” If we care about ourselves and have positive self-esteem, we are going to set healthy and appropriate expectations, limits, and boundaries in our relationships.  Like attracts like.  The healthier we are, the more we will attract healthy people and positive relationships into our lives.  I believe that people come into our lives for a reason—even those people who bring negativity or challenges.  Even difficult relationships are blessings, as they are opportunities to learn and grow in a positive direction.

In my practice, I advise clients to consider the following regarding toxic relationships: 

1) Is the person/relationship temporarily or chronically toxic? 

If you are in a relationship with somebody who is going through a difficult life challenge, such as a divorce, an illness or the death of a loved one, they may be in a bad space and temporarily toxic. With these relationships, it is important to set healthy limits and boundaries for yourself in terms of how much contact and support is healthy for you to offer them. You can also encourage them to get additional support by reaching out to others in their support network (such as their friends and family), or seek professional support from a therapist, doctor or spiritual advisor. Remember the toxicity of this relationship is probably temporary and will pass.  However, if the person’s toxicity is more of a chronic personality style or relationship pattern, it’s likely not pass and will need to be addressed more seriously.

2) How close and important is the relationship? 

The closer a toxic relationship is to you, the more important and more difficult it may be to address.  For example, a toxic relationship your partner or mother is a more challenging and delicate situation than a toxic relationship with a neighbor or coworker.  It’s important to run a cost/benefit analysis of your toxic relationships to assess if what you wait you gain from the relationship outweighs the cost.

If a toxic relationship is with somebody in your outer circles who you gain very little from, I recommend that you consider clearing your life of this relationship as best as you can if not altogether. For example, if it is neighbor that brings you down, shift your boundaries from having closer to contact to having little or no contact by simply waving hello rather than engaging in gossip over the fence or agreeing to go their house for dinner.

If a toxic relationship is with somebody who is very close to you and/or you do benefit from the relationship, communicate honestly and assertively with them to best promote a healthier dynamic between the two of you. For example, you may need to speak honestly with your mother about your concerns and give her the opportunity to learn and change. If she cannot, then you have the choice to change your boundaries in that relationship by possibly decreasing the amount, type or frequency of contact you have in an effort to make the relationship more manageable and less toxic in your life.

3) Which factors can you control and which can you not?

You can control your own boundaries (the amount of time or information or frequency of contact), your communication, your behaviors and your responses.  You cannot control the other person. When in doubt, reflect on the Serenity Prayer.

You can do your part by speaking honestly, assertively, diplomatically and using I statements to express your feelings and set healthy boundaries. Then it is up to them to change or not.  Then it is up to you to decide if you can still have them in your life or not.  If you find yourself repeatedly expressing the same needs and setting the same limits over and over again in the same relationship to no avail, seriously consider relationship counseling or ending the relationship altogether.

The endings of relationships can be hard.  Many of us want to avoid the pain of processing the termination of a relationship. Problems do not go away unless they are addressed. You must care enough about yourself to free yourself of negative relationships. You must have the courage to find your voice and address these relationships honestly and directly. You must also have faith that by letting go of these people, you are freeing up your energy for new and positive people to come into your life.

Watch this free webinar: The Psychology of Success,

Twitter: @Joyce_Marter and @Urban_Balance

Facebook:  Joyce Marter, LCPC and Urban Balance

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Image: danorbit. via Compfight

November 17, 2013

Why People Stopped Going to Church

Tony Whittaker writes, "I came across this quotation
recently. I can’t locate the source, but it rings true,
tragically: ‘When surveying people who stopped
attending church after six weeks, 92% of them said it
was because no one talked to them.’"





November 16, 2013

Are We Really Caring?

In Soulguide, Bruce Demarest tells of Dateline NBC’s
report on Boston oncologist Dr. Jerome Groopman.
Dateline followed the doctor for two years as he
attempted to save the lives of Gene, who suffered from
AIDS, and Elizabeth, who suffered from breast cancer.
As the patients were treated, Dr. Groopman grew in
intimacy with them. After watching them eventually lose
their lives to their diseases, he concluded: "If you
care for someone without addressing his or her soul,
you’re not really caring for them."
Is the same not true for the Christian who walks among
the spiritually dead of this world? If we meet material
and emotional needs, but never address the spiritual
need, then we’re not really caring for them.

  The Autoillustrator,

November 9, 2013

What Love is Not

Love is already inside of us, it is not something we need to find in another.

Love is the currency of life and is what connects us all, it is not something for the lucky few.

Love is abundant, there is no shortage of supply.

Love is trusting, not jealous or obsessive.

Love is empathic and compassionate, not self-absorbed or apathetic.

Love is presence, not distraction or preoccupation.

Love is freedom of authentic self-expression, not living as a false self.

Love is forgiving, not harboring of resentments.

Love is deeply knowing and curious, not disinterested.

Love is awareness, not obliviousness or obtuseness.

Love is honest, not deceitful or in denial.

Love is secure and stable, not fleeting and volatile.

Love is reciprocal and mutual, not imbalanced or unfair.

Love sees beauty, not flaws.

Love is admiration, not jealousy.

Love is thoughtfulness, not thoughtlessness.

Love is good nature and humor, not irritability and defensiveness.

Love is growth, not constraint.

Love is health and wellness, not self-destruction.

Love is accepting, not judging or critical.

Love is generous and giving, not selfish or lazy.

Love is engaging and connected, not detached and disconnected.

Love is respectful, not violating of boundaries.

Love is healthy self-love, not codependent selflessness.

Love is safety, not violence or threats.

Love is appreciation and gratitude, not taking for granted.

Love is attention, not negligence.

Love is constant, not episodic.

Love is peaceful, not anxious.

Love listens, it does not ignore.

Love is loyal, it does not betray.

Love is commitment, not a fair weather friend.

Love is energizing and revitalizing, not draining or exhausting.

Love is empowering, not disempowering.

Love is when two whole people make something greater, not when two people need the other to feel whole.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” ~1 Corinthians 13:4–8a

November 4, 2013

The Value of a Friend

  A sample of Daily Encounter by Dick Innes
"A friend loves at all times."

The following description of a friend came from an
English magazine:

"A true friend is one who has the
courage to disagree with us when [we are] in the wrong,
and advise us for our own good, rather than let his
sympathy or sentimentality cause him to agree."

Charles Spurgeon once said, "Friendship is one of the
sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath
the bitterness of their trial had they not found a

Samuel Johnston said, "We cannot tell the precise
moment when friendship is formed.
As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is that last
drop which makes it run over, so in a series of
kindnesses, there is at least one that makes the heart
run over."

And Dr. Alfred Adler, internationally known
psychiatrist, based the following conclusions on a
careful analysis of thousands of clients: "The most
important task imposed by religion has always been,
‘Love thy neighbor….’ It is the individual who is not
interested in his fellow man who has the greatest
difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury
on others. It is from among such individuals that all
human failures spring."
Oh the priceless value of having at least one deep
abiding friendship. Thank God for the gift of

Proverbs 17:17

The Message (MSG)

One Who Knows Much Says Little

17 Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

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