The Obstacle is the Way

Dr. Alex Lickerman, from the blog Happiness in this World comments on the great book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday: Unlike the idea that every cloud has a silver lining—that something positive can always be found in everything negative—the principle of changing poison into medicine explains that we can transform even the most horrific tragedy into the very thing we need to become happier than we currently are. This concept isn’t, of course, unique to Buddhism. According to Ryan Holiday, author of the new book The Obstacle is the Way, the ancient Stoics argued the same thing. As the great Stoic, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “Our actions may be impeded, but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” This notion that the obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals can be used—and in some cases may even be necessary—to achieve those very goals seems not just Pollyanna-like but also paradoxical. If an obstacle lies in our way, how can it possibly be used to achieve our goal? The answer may be different depending on the obstacle itself. Sometimes, for example, failure itself is a benefit—failure that forces us to pursue an alternative path we wouldn’t have otherwise considered but that turns out to be the best way, if not sometimes the only way, to achieve a goal. At other times, the true obstacle isn’t the obstacle in front of us...

A Breakup Guide

How to end affairs with dignity and minimal distress? When facing an imminent breakup, we get in touch with one of our deepest vulnerabilities: the fear that we are unlovable. “There may be little anyone can do to alter biological responsiveness, but everyone can control the way breaking up is conducted. Here, say the experts, is how to do it so that both parties remain emotionally intact, capable of weathering the inevitable pain and sadness.” The Thoroughly Modern Guide to Breakups...

A Surprising Way to Cultivate Contentment – Mindfulness

  Great article from Barbara Markway on Psychology Today about learning to rearrange your priorities and live in the present.   Barbara says: “You wouldn’t think that dwelling on death could make you happier, but considerable clinical and scientific evidence points to the benefits of doing just this.   Irvin D. Yalom, a noted psychiatrist interested in the interplay between spirituality and psychology, has done extensive work with cancer patients and their families. He found that the monumental shock of such a diagnosis results in far-reaching changes in the patient’s life, including:   A rearrangement of life’s priorities: what is trivial emerges as such, and can be ignored. A sense of liberation: being able to choose not to do those things you do not wish to do. An enhanced sense of living in the immediate present, rather than postponing life until some point in the future. A vivid appreciation of the elemental facts of life: the changing seasons, the wind, falling leaves, the last Christmas, and so forth. Deeper communication with loved ones than before the crisis. Fewer interpersonal fears, less concern about rejection, greater willingness to take risks than before the crisis. Confronting the idea of death makes us live more fully in the present. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring; we only have this day, this moment. When we are fully present in the moment, not thinking about the future, we’re less likely to plague ourselves with the “what ifs” of life. In addition, noted psychologist Todd Kashdan, Ph.D(link is external). writes in his Huffington Post article, “Confronting Death with an Open, Mindul Attitude”(link is external), that greater openness...

Facebook Infidelity

  Researchers from Texas Tech University found that although process of coping with social media infidelity  have some unique characteristics, it can trigger similar emotional experiences for the partner who was cheated on as any other type of infidelity. The researcher compared “the experience of nonparticipating partners when their partners have engaged in infidelity behaviors on Facebook” to “the basic social processes that occur when discovering the infidelity behaviors” and the results indicate that Facebook  cheating can affect deeply the relationship, as much as cheating in person. The study used data from Facebookcheating.com. “This is very important because there is a line of thought that if the infidelity was discovered online, or confined to online activity, then it shouldn’t be as painful,” said Jaclyn Cravens, a doctoral candidate in the Marriage & Family Therapy Program and lead author of the study. Cravens says ‘the emotional impact for the party who has discovered online acts of infidelity is no less severe than acts committed in-person’.  “Facebook already has changed the dynamics of relationships,” Cravens said. “We see when our ‘friends’ are getting into a relationship. We say a relationship isn’t ‘official’ until it’s ‘Facebook-official.'” Cravens and her team looked into the patterns of responses from people dealing with online infidelity. Based on that, they created a model for the stages that people tend to go through. The model includes the following five stages: 1) Warning signs: the partner who was cheated on notices gut feelings and/or suspicious behavior on the internet, such as minimizing windows, habitually clearing out browser history and adding passwords. 2) Discovering infidelity: the individual either takes it upon themselves to investigate the warning signs, or...

The Gottman Method at a glance

I came across this nicely made, very simple, poster from Yes! magazine, that gives an overview of the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy. The Gottman Method is the theory that informs the structure of my work with couples. It always puts a smile on my face when I come across simple explanations for seemingly complicated things. The principles of this theory are simple, but practicing them on our everyday life takes intention. If there is something we all should know by now is that a good marriage – fulfilling, connected, satisfying – is merely a reflection of our interactions with our partners in every day life. How is your marriage doing? Would you say that both, you and your partner, feel connected, fulfilled and satisfied with your relationship? Think that if your relationship is not on the right track, leaving it alone will just lead it further into the wrong path. Here is the link for the poster, I hope you enjoy...

When Infidelity Hits You

Life as you knew it is over. The relationship as you knew it is over. Infidelity forces you to turn off the movie of your life, where you were the protagonist of a story that you thought you knew very well. All of a sudden, you start questioning not only what you knew about your marriage, but your own identity. At this point, focus on being mindful of the steps you take as you handle chaos. Don’t run away, chaos will follow you. Resist the temptation to separate immediately. Don’t make big decisions; you are in the middle of a crisis, and important decisions should not be made right now. And as hard as it can be, this is one of those dreaded growth opportunities, even if all you can feel right now is anger, confusion, loneliness and pain. Infidelity is an invitation to take a deeper look at your life and your marriage. I know, you wish you never received this invitation. You may stay married after all this. You may not. It is way too early to know the outcome of all this. Hang in there, the growth will come if you simply don’t run away. You are paying a very high emotional price for this, so don’t waste it on superficial solutions that wont’t lead you to really understand what happened to you. An affair is always more that an affair. It is an invitation to face the things that were probably lurking under the surface and affecting your relationship. It may feel like you are trying to find your way in a completely dark room right now, you feel...