Posts

You're paying with you whole life
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You're Paying with Your Whole Life

Matt called me and described how he was struggling personally and in his relationships. "Sounds like a lot of work," I said. "It is," he said. "I'm exhausted all the time." "So you're exhausted, miserable, and alone. That's the reward." "Not…

Never Rub Your Eye

In the twenty years I was an eye surgeon, I saw a great many objects embedded in the cornea of the eye, which is the clear layer through which you can see the world, and through which others can see your iris, or the colored part of the eye—the…
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Loving SO THAT . . .

A man wrote to me and asked, “Is it a Getting Behavior if one partner voluntarily does a thoughtful action—such as bringing a cup of coffee, or cleaning up the dishes—with the hope that the recipient will appreciate the action and come…

Carrying a Mountain

It’s an understatement to say that most of us are unhappy. Why? We did not get the unconditional love we needed from an early age, so we learned to survive by developing “skills” that would decrease our pain and give us a sense of satisfaction…

Weeds

The other day two of my grandchildren were visiting, and one of our “fun” activities was to cut down an eighty-foot tree, six feet in circumference, that was casting shade and adversely affecting the thirty- to forty-foot bamboo plants beneath…
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I Disappear

The instant I pretend to be other than my real self with you—to win approval or avoid disapproval—I disappear to you and cannot feel loved.

They'll Take Over

Getting and Protecting Behaviors are like weeds in my garden. If they're not diligently pulled out, they'll take over the place.

Protect or Cause?

The very tools we use to protect us from pain are the ones that cause us the greatest pain.

Observe Yourself

For one entire day, observe yourself and see how many of your words and actions are designed to GET something—love, attention, being right—for yourself, and then decide if that’s how you want to live.
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Why Do We Choose Certain Behaviors?

Occasionally people ask me why we choose our particular blend of Getting and Protecting Behaviors. Why, for example, do some people predominantly attack, while others run? There are a great many reasons why we choose our behaviors, some of…

Still Owns You

You can run from almost any problem, but whatever you run from still owns you.
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It Doesn't Help to Have a Longer Straw

Most of us are familiar with the story of the drowning man. Without the essential element of Real Love, we find ourselves lost in the middle of the ocean, drowning and struggling to keep our heads above the water. For most of us, the situation…

The Price of Protecting Ourselves

Recently I watched a football game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. At halftime, the Giants were far ahead---23-0, as I recall---so I quit watching. More than an hour later I turned back to the channel and discovered that…

The Tar-Baby

In 1879 the Atlanta Constitution began to publish a series of folk tales written by Joel Chandler Harris, a young journalist at the newspaper. He used the voice of an aged black man to tell a number of humorous and provocative stories set in…

Why Do We Marry Our Parents?

Recently I spoke with Mark, who described his mother in rather unflattering terms: critical, controlling, nagging, ungrateful. After a couple of minutes I said, "It sounds like you don't enjoy being around your mother much." "No, I really…
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He Just Hasn’t Learned to Talk Yet

I received a visit one day from a woman named Heidi who was quite unhappy with her husband. “I don’t like the way he talks to me. I don’t like the way he acts. Sometimes I just don’t like him. Period. I get so mad at him I could . .…

Don’t Pick the Flowers

As I have counseled with thousands of people, I have encountered a theme so recurrent as to be almost monotonous. Almost all of us make demands on the attention, gratitude, respect—the “love”—of particular people, and these demands uniformly…