I have been thinking about common messages that I talk about in session. A huge one is “quit being okay.” People try to put on a brave face, keep it together,or struggle through when facing difficult circumstances. While its admirable and at times necessary, this is a survival mode. It is not what getting better looks like.
Culturally, we hold a little bit of a distorted value. We admire seeing someone who struggling through something and doing it gracefully. We say “she is really doing well with it” or even “she is having such faith in view of this trial”. If our life is in a mess, we should be in a mess. Not continuously hysterical or non-functioning but sad, angry, hurt, lonely. There are certainly times in our life, we must feel these negative feelings. To not feel these is to be unhealthy. (Please note the vast difference between feeling something and acting on the feeling.) You won’t stay in this place forever. If you don’t allow yourself to ever stop here, you will keep carrying these feelings with you.
We will all have times during which we are not okay and we shouldn’t try to be. Yes, in front of our kids, when around acquaintances or on the job, we might need to keep it together. The road to being better always goes through being worse first. Life gets harder so that we rise to the challenge, so that we reach out for help, so that we question ourselves and so that we are shaken enough to let go of good/bad things to reach for something better. If you are currently overwhelmed, give yourself permission to not be okay. To cry. To think irrationally. To be angry. To have no motivation. It is through this season, you come through the other side to something better.
Quit being okay, so you can be better.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
- I like this book because it is short enough to read a 1-2 sittings and is very easy to apply to your relationships.
Divorce Busting: A step by step approach to making your marriage loving again by Michele Weiner-Davis.
- The first part of the book might be a little slow but the second half has some great applications for struggling relationships.
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson.
- Dr. Johnson has developed a very successful method of couples therapy, the model I most often use with couples. Her self help book is an in depth read which can give couples a new understanding and direction for their relationship.
10 Great Dates Before You Say I Do by David & Claudia Arp and Curt & Natelle Brown.
- A great book to help couples prepare for marriage. Each chapter focuses on an important topics for premarital couples and has sections to complete individually and to talk through as a couple.
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting by Dr. John Gottman.
- Gottman focuses on the often ignored or misunderstood role of emotions and emotional development. His techniques have been validated by research.
Scream Free Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel.
- Scream Free focuses on how parents can change what is going wrong by learning how to control how they respond to their children.
Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline and Tim Fay.
- This is a parenting classic. Love and Logic’s approach is understandable, easy to apply and the book gives lots of examples. Also look for their adapted versions for teens and young children.
How to Talk so Your Kids will Listen & How to Listen so Your Kids will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
- Another classic in the parenting self help field. This book provides a wealth of examples on how to apply their ideas to daily situations.
Forgiving the Devil by Terry Hargrave
- A great book if you have been hurt by a loved one or had a long standing damaged relationship. Focuses on forgiveness, moving forward, and rebuilding relationships.
30 Day Love Detox by Dr. Wendy Walsh
- A good book about dating for modern singles. Walsh uses a lot of research and an evolutionary biology perspective to support her conclusions. I might take a different stance on some issues but I believe it is very helpful for singles who are navigating new dating scene that has changed vastly.
The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
- A classic book for women about handling relationship, where the root of bad relationship patterns come from and how to change yourself.