Tag Archives: personal development

Cosby-Disappointment or Normal?

I raised my kids on Cosby. And since they’re in their 30s, there must be a lot of people who remember and love that show like we did. It and Seventh Heaven were the healthiest family modeling there was. We all wanted to be like them. And now both “dads” are accused of sex crimes. It’s heart-breaking.

In the beginning, I think we were all hoping it was just a personality-disordered gold-digger or two going after Cosby’s money. But now it appears that the icon we all love had a checkered past–was a very troubled man.

It’s so sad. We feel betrayed. This person we wanted our fathers and husbands to emulate turns out to have been a sex maniac.

I’ve been wondering, is he a sex addict? What he is accused of doesn’t sound sexual only; it sounds violent. Violent sex is about anger and hate, not really even sexual. Sex addiction is one step above that–the male brain so easily gets hooked on sex as a way to fix or escape whatever is wrong.

I’ve had a small therapy practice for 25 years, and I’ve always had someone dealing with sex addiction. It’s that common. I’ve had more than one client tell me how quickly it enslaved them–one “hit” of pornography was all it took. And now that it is so accessible, it’s really tough for men. But does that make it the norm?

NO! Maybe in numbers of guys struggling with it, but not in normal healthy behavior. Normal mostly isn’t healthy anyway.

What am I basing that on? The way a man’s brain is wired. Emotions are scary to men in this society. And since they can shut feelings down fairly easily, because of scarring to the corpus colosum in gestation, they tend to replace them with sex. I think men are emotionally starving here.

Indulgent mothers and absent or distant fathers, who have themselves forgotten what “manly” is, have made men uncomfortable in their own skin. There aren’t quests to prove manhood anymore. Fighting and sex is about as close as they get.

A man has fine, deep emotions, and his first sexual experience is powerfully bonding, especially if he’s “in love.” If the relationship doesn’t make it, and he doesn’t do some serious grieving, he’ll replace her, but never love or bond quite like that again.

He will want to grieve, but everyone, especially his buddies will tell him to go get laid and forget her–get involved with someone else. Of course, the exact wrong advice.

So his bonding ability is seared and feelings are buried. But buried feelings ferment and get nasty and come out other places–aberrant sexual behavior. And if its anger that’s being buried, look out! (African-American people, especially African-American men, have reason for anger.) Violence carries its own addiction. Sex and violence together are a bad combination.

Is there hope? There is always hope for every addiction, and the best of it comes from God the one who can redeem anything, and who made your feelings and your brain circuitry in the first-place. But you have to ask.

Therapy is a great help, but you’ll have to find a therapist who doesn’t think sex addiction is normal. Good luck!

And the love of a good, secure woman, if valued, is a great help also.

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Filed under a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Bullying, fathering, Grief, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, sex addiction

Learning to Love Your Body

 

Have you figured out that it is really hard to be happy when you don’t feel good? I was thinking health is not about perspective, but actually it is.  When your head aches or your stomach is upset, life doesn’t look good. Your mind doesn’t work well, and perspective is skewed.

On the other hand, remember a time when your body felt good. You felt energetic, like you could do anything you wanted, and your mind went along with it. Dreams came, and you believed you could accomplish them–humming along on a higher frequency–a great way to live.

Wouldn’t you love to feel that way all the time?

You can! It’s a matter of choice. But it is also understanding why you haven’t done this before. What is sabotaging you? Fear of failure? Thinking it’s too hard? Not wanting yucky food? Not knowing what to do or how to start? Afraid to make choices?

Let me walk along side and make it easy. That is what Love Losing is designed to do. It starts with how you think about yourself, your body, your health, your motivation for change.

Here’s the thing. You can’t work well and feel good unless you learn to make good choices. But that doesn’t have to be painful. Change the way you think about food, your weight, your body, your life. Take charge. You can do this!

It’s the difference between being healthy and unhealthy, and health isn’t that hard. It isn’t a drag, it isn’t negative, it isn’t deprivation. And for sure it isn’t starving!

It’s you in control and feeling good. When bodies are treated right they respond–and quickly.

It’s learning to love your body. Learning what it needs and wants to feel good, work well, and be happy.

My book, Love Losing, is an e-book or a physical workbook. It sounds like it’s about losing weight, but it is really about feeling good. It helps you find your “want to”, and helps you make a plan that’s yours, and cover all the bases. You can go as slow or fast as you want. It’s like having your own personal health coach every day you want it. And it will be free next Saturday (11-29) as a download.

http://amazon.com/author/arlacaraboolad

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Graciousness is for Growth

Wonder why you’re conflicted? Actually, I think it’s a sign of growth.

It starts when we are little–about 18 months old–and we realize we can go away from Mommy. I am separate. I am another person!

And I run away–into the other room even. And sometimes I can stay away a whole 30 minutes before I have to run back and make sure Mommy is still there where I left her. If I come back and can’t find her, I start to get panicky.

Individuation, as it’s called, is a life-long process. We have to separate from our parents, our family, and our system to grow up. Becoming autonomous is very important to maturity–the opposite of codependency: What do I think? What do I believe? as opposed to, What do they think?

And herein lies conflict. We have a developmental task to become us–autonomous, separate, individual, and so it should be, no two of us are the same. But then we grow up to discover that we are completely dependent on God for life!

A fact that’s hard for some of us to believe and accept. And yet if you pull back the curtain and don’t doctor history, it isn’t hard to see. We are part of entropy. We tend toward disorganization and decay, even though we fight it. We are all dying–some of us faster than others. So unless God calls us friend, and rescues us from it, it’s over when your heart stops.

Even if we don’t fight each other (which we most always do), we’re fighting dependency. Am I strong enough to disagree? Will there be a fight? Will they retaliate? Will they leave if I say what I think? Will they still like me? love me? Maybe it’s safer to keep quiet.

Or the other side: Can I love you when you are so different from me? When you disagree with me? When you don’t honor my point-of-view? won’t even hear it? possibly can’t?

What do you do with that? How can you reconcile such disparate and conflicting needs? You can’t just take on other people’s beliefs and grow.

We are never going to think the same about everything. We aren’t built that way.  We don’t do well in isolation either; we need each other.

But we can learn to accept that we are all broken–all mistake makers–all dependent on God first, for love and security. And we can carry on learning to listen, respect, and disagree graciously.

But doesn’t God demand compliance? Don’t we have to agree with Him on everything if we are His friend?

No! He only insists on two things: that you love love (as opposed to hate and destruction) and that you agree He is God and you are not. Inside of that you will never run out of possibilities for differences.

If no two people are alike, or think alike, what are the chances that God is threatened by differences? I don’t think there is any chance.

I believe God wants us to grow up–and that means differences. He obviously loves variety.

If you subscribe, as I do, to the belief that God is NOT both good and evil, but that He is all good, then force is not part of His character. He can love you wildly, and still honor your choice to walk away forever–even knowing you will lose everything…

So sometimes He allows evil to show us it’s true nature to let us know choices are important.

He does, however insist on graciousness, even when setting firm boundaries. It’s how He can tolerate so much difference. As long as you aren’t supporting death and destruction, you’re good, and your differences are all good and welcome. He will listen.

He will even teach us how to be gracious so we can allow differences without wanting to kill each other.

But that might be why He set the lifespan at 120! For some, it might take that long.

 

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Filed under Becoming real, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Respect and disrespect, Uncategorized, What is God like?

You Deserve It

Have you noticed how this line has become the call to action–or at least the hook for almost every female advertisement?

It isn’t surprising. They are targeting women over 40, or at least over 35, and most of us were raised to feel inferior to someone or something.

Even if we weren’t raised that way, we felt it…inferior to men, inferior to prettier women, inferior to the smart kids, inferior to women who were loved, excelled, got things done, Mother Theresa, and on and on.

As a whole, we grew up “not good enough” and felt it most of the time. Notwithstanding the feminist movement (70’s).

Now, the 70’s have had their effect, our brains have been done developing for a while (age 25) and we are beginning to realize that we are good enough to be loved, treated well, respected, cared for, paid the same as men, etc.

And I’m wondering what they will use to hook the next generations. They were and are raised by women who champion women–who believe they deserve everything. Anyone under 35 seems to feel entitled to having it all.

They aren’t going to take anyone’s crap!

That’s what they say, and many of them can walk the walk, but underneath it, they still question if they are good enough.

Know why? Abuse, yes. But mostly it’s the curse. Not God’s curse; He would never curse us–but He did describe it.

In the beginning God created us equal to men, but breaking faith with God, believing a snake over our best friend, broke our confidence in profound ways. It filtered down to all of us.

Men have had a love/hate relationship with women ever since. They blame us, but have a hard time standing up to us in gentle, real ways. Force and violence come much easier to them. Or abdication.

What can we do?

Understanding the curse helps. It’s called “the curse of sin and death” in Scripture.*
1. It didn’t come from God–He is still our best friend.
2. It broke our direct relationship to God–that clear, true dependency.
3. It made us dependent on men. For centuries–millennia–we have depended on them. Societies were set up that way. Most of them still are.
4. We feel it. Many of us feel incomplete without a man.
5. Emotionally we want and seek a man to complete us.
6. Our first thought when we are unhappy or feel afraid or incomplete, is not usually, “I need God”; it is, “I need a man” or at least, “I need someone.”
7. But reversing the curse would be realizing, “I need God!”–exchanging the horizontal relationship we run after for a vertical relationship–making it number 1.

I’ve lived a long time, have listened to many people’s stories. And the only thing I have seen consistently work is reversing the curse. Find out for yourself what God is really like: He is crazy about you! He can love you like nobody else. He is gentle. He is strong. And He will never leave you.

And you are worth it. You do deserve a relationship with Him because He says so. And He walked the talk.

*Romans 7-8:1

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Filed under A God perspective, battered women syndrome, Becoming real, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Respect and disrespect, Separation, Uncategorized

What do You Choose?

Today is my grandson’s 10th birthday! Do you  remember when you were ten?

What did you want then?

What do you want now?

Maturity is summed up as learning to think differently in the letter of mental health (Philippians–which is also the book of joy!)

When you are ten you think as a child. Though I would imagine that the last three years have not been normal child thinking for my birthday boy–lots of adjustment–going through separation, divorce, and a new step-dad (whom he adores). Those would be seismic changes in a ten-year-old life.

But you might find it interesting that they (all three boys) prayed that he (specifically) would come for at least 6 months before he did. And then it all happened very fast (they had known each other for years) and the boys were all delighted and couldn’t wait to live with him!

That is not the way it usually happens I can tell you!

But they had always been coached that God would take care of them and they were going to be ok. And when they wondered why “their friend” didn’t come around anymore they were told to pray for him, and so they did–every night.

They weren’t at all upset when they came home from a vacation with Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma, and a surprise! Mommy was married and they were moved into their new dad’s house!

I know because they face-timed me and showed me their new rooms, singing, “We live here, we live here!” I think even their dad was relieved.

What a great illustration for learning to think differently! Situations that would normally be horrible were made tolerable, even hopeful, because God was in them working all things together for good.

Isn’t that confidence, that joy, that hope, what you want to live in?

Of course it helps if you have a parent that tells you more than once a week that everything is going to be ok, especially when you are two, five, and seven.

But you do, really, and it doesn’t matter if you are 22, or 45, or 67. He still wants to be your Daddy and tell you that everything is going to be ok, that He is working it all together for your good.

I know, that’s in Romans, not Philippians, but it is what Philippians is all about: You can choose to rejoice, and the more you rejoice the better you will feel because your confidence will grow and you will feel loved and cared for.

But what about when you don’t feel loved and cared for? Then you choose. Because choosing is an act of your will based on what you want, not what you feel. Remember, feelings follow thought and action.

If you want to feel better, think better. Make some good choices, some healthy choices, follow through and you will feel better. It’s a law of the mind.

Hey, this is a great place to make a plug for my new book–the real reason I’m late writing this week–it’s coming out any day now! Love Losing is how to have a healthy mind and body because you can choose to think differently.

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Joy, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Joy Filters

Your feelings of joy–or lack of them–do not reveal the quality of your life. They reveal the quality of your thinking.

I know this to be true. Yesterday I experienced it again.

I woke up crabby, and it continued until mid-morning when suddenly I said to God, “Why am I so crabby? I have no reason to be.” Instantly the above thought came to mind, and I realized that I had been thinking very negative thoughts.

Why?  I don’t know.

I may have awakened with a headache again. It’s been happening with more regularity than not lately. Have been wondering if I’m clenching my teeth in my sleep from stress (although I’m not aware of any), or if I have a sinus infection with no symptoms but a headache.

Maybe it got to me and I started looking through a negative filter.

Normally, I’ve been going about my life with so much gratitude. I have a fabulous life. I love everything about it. With God’s help I built it.

Of course it could be better, I could be nearer my kids and grand kids, I could be retired, my books could be selling more, I could have more money…and before you know it I’m off on a negative bent.

It’s so crazy what a little thing like a filter can do to a day or a life.

“Be careful how you see…”

No wonder Jesus said that in many ways over and over. How you perceive things determines how you think. How you think determines how you feel. How you feel determines how your life looks to you, and soon what you believe.

It’s like the body’s inflammation cascade–one thing starts another, that starts another, that sets off another until you are sick or anxiety riddled. And it may have been just a thought.

If I perceive something as negative when it wasn’t, like thinking an old rope in the path is a snake, I’ll have a bad reaction. If I won’t look to see that the snake is merely a rope, then the truth can’t do me any good. I’ll walk on in fear.

However, if I stop and look and see that what I thought was a snake was really a rope, then no matter how many times I look at it again I won’t be afraid of it. I might even let the relief bring me humor and joy.

Of course, I could choose to focus on worrying if there will be a real snake down the road. That’s called borrowing trouble. And a lot of us do it. It’s easy to fall into.

Why should I ruin today with tomorrow’s fear?

If God is good, and personally interested in everything we do…

“But evil lives here too! bad things happen!” you interject.

And you’d be right. But if you have given yourself to God, only what He allows can happen to you. And if He allows it then good can come from it unless you rebel.

So don’t get angry or fearful. Take it as God believing in you–there’s a whole universe watching. It’s  a complement–an honor. Who knows what He can do.

It is your choice. Check your filters often and change them if they need it.

And by the way, the rest of my day went much better after I changed my thinking.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, Joy, Living well, Loved, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Men, Add Some Joy to Your Most Significant Relationship!

The following fits so well with what I’ve been talking about lately, I just had to share it. It’s a guest post from therapist Peter Pearson.

 I was talking with a couple the other day and they told me about an experiment they were trying.

It was so brilliant I wanted to pass it on as another tip.

Here’s what the man had said to his wife:

“I will give you twenty minutes a day. You have my complete attention to direct me any way you wish. I will do chores, parenting responsibilities, discuss a topic of your choice, hold down the fort while you do something that feels refreshing and nurturing for yourself, or even gaze into your eyes if you wish.”

Think about it. A twenty-minute gift to his wife every day.

Her immediate response? “Wow,! I can’t believe it! This is too good to be true. He is such a workaholic. And now he is going to do this – for me?”

After going through this new routine for a couple of days, she thought “I want to give him back something for his generosity.”

Their process of mutually giving and receiving increased.

 On his part it was a leap of faith. Yes, he had the thought, “What the heck am I getting into? What am I setting myself up for? Will this make me her slave… will she lose respect for me?”

 It was an emotional risk. It would take effort.

 But it turned out to have big unexpected rewards.

 Are you willing to donate twenty minutes a day for your marital or relationship makeover? What if you start with this generous offer today?

 You are giving a gift to the most important adult in your life. Is enhancing this key relationship worth twenty minutes?

 The power of twenty minutes is exceptional. You now have it in your hands. There will be unexpected rewards but please don’t try to predict them.

 Just be open to a new experience.

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Filed under Joy, Living well, Love ed, Marriage, Mental Health