So, what do YOU think? Is people-watching OK at the airport?
Archives for January 2012
I cannot tell you how many times someone comes into my office for our first meeting and says, “My marriage is over. My spouse wouldn’t even COME IN today. Obviously they don’t care about me. I need help getting through this divorce.”
Now, please hear me say that, in my practice, it happens that both women and men come in and say this. But, to make matters easier (using “he/she” can get tedious), I will just use an example of the wife coming in.
The first thing I say is “Before you make any final decisions about your marriage, let’s take some time to focus on you. My bet is that you are pretty stressed out right now and not as happy as you would like to be. Is that a safe guess?” I say this because if I try to convince her that she may not, in fact, need to get a divorce, her stress and frustration will not allow her to agree. But, without a doubt, she can agree that she is not happy at that moment.
Of course, she is resolute that her discontent is caused by her husband. But we also put that blame on the back burner.
So, after we agree to put the marriage topic on hold and focus on her own happiness, things really start to change.
Why? Because an unhappy person is more likely to have an unhappy marriage.
I don’t know about you, but when I am overly stressed or upset about something that has nothing to do with my marriage, I am not the best wife. I might be a little short tempered with my husband (OK, or a lot short-tempered). I might interpret what he says or does in a negative (and unrealistic) way. I might overly react to something that was meant to be supportive, but I took it as an insult. Can you relate?
The same thing also happens with my clients.
Take Lori, as an example. Lori was stressed out at work. She experience immense guilt as a working mom. Her confidence was not very strong, and she was exhausted (mentally and physically).
When Lori first came to see me, she wanted OUT of her marriage. She viewed her husband, Bob, as unsupportive and selfish.
Rather than try to get Bob to come into sessions, I focused on helping Lori feel happier.
As I have said a gazillion times before in this blog (and on the Today Show, my TEDx talk and about 100 other public venues), happiness is a skill. When you learn the right skills and practice them, you cannot help but be happier. And this happens regardless of what is going on in your life, your marriage, your work, your body, your world.
During our sessions together, Lori learned and practiced the skills of happiness. She learned more effective ways to cope with her stress, release her guilt, believe in herself and enjoy her life.
And, guess what else happened?
Lori started enjoying her marriage again.
Where she used to see Bob as unhelpful and even hurtful, she now saw that he was, in fact, trying the best he could. She did not personalize his own stressful times. She no longer relied on him to say something to boost her confidence in order to feel good about herself. She was able to openly communicate with Bob about her needs and desires, as well as his. She viewed her husband as a team member rather than a rival.
All because she, herself, was happier.
So, go ahead. Follow The Happiness Prescription. Be an even happier you. And enjoy how your marriage blossoms!
No matter what emotional state you may be in, you can be happy! Dr. Lombardo shares her insights, experiences and ideas with us revolving around the idea that happiness is a science that can be studied and a skill that can be mastered.
How can YOU make lemonade out of the lemons that may have fallen into your life?