The Mind is YOUR Battleground (It’s Where the Greatest Conflict Resides)


Angel Chernoff

It takes roughly 66 days to form a new habit. So for the next nine weeks, wake up every morning and look at the bright side of your life, and you will rewire your brain.

In other words, it’s time to practice thinking better. Let us show you how…

What you need to remember is that the mind operates like a muscle, and just like every muscle in the human body, it needs to be exercised to gain and maintain strength. It needs to be trained daily to grow and develop gradually over time. If you haven’t pushed your mind in lots of little, positive ways over the course of time, of course it’ll crumble on the inevitable days that get overwhelmingly stressful.

The most significant hidden benefit of exercising your mind and THINKING BETTER?

Renewing your trust in yourself, so you can LIVE BETTER.

In fact, what Marc and I lacked a decade ago when we were struggling to get our lives back on track was the trust that we were actually capable of achieving positive results in our lives. We had made so many little mistakes in the past, and had grown so discouraged in ourselves that we started subconsciously choosing procrastination and negativity over future attempts to fulfill the promises we made to ourselves.

In essence, we lost trust in both our abilities and ourselves. It’s kind of like another person constantly disappointing you—eventually you stop trusting them. The same holds true with the promises you make to yourself that always end in disappointment. Eventually, you stop trusting yourself.

And the solution in most cases is the same too: you have to renew your trust gradually, with small shifts in your thinking, small steps forward, and small victories. Of course, this process takes time, but it happens relatively fast if you stick to it. And it’s arguably one of the most important, life-changing things you can do for yourself.

Bottom line: The greatest conflict always resides in your mind first. You are what you think—you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking!

But, the good news is YOU CAN change your thinking!

A Better Me Makes A Better We: An Interview with Ellyn Bader, Ph.D.


Kyle Benson

Interview Guest: Ellyn Bader, Ph.D., is a co-founder of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, which integrates attachment theory and differentiation. Through her work at The Couples Institute, she has specialized in helping couples transform their relationships since 1984.

The idealized relationship where partners are fused at the hip is not a healthy relationship, as it doesn’t allow for the unique differences of each partner. Bader highlights this fusion as a conflict avoidant stance that happens when one partner feels anxious or uncomfortable and attempts to merge with their spouse.

One way of doing this is becoming more like your partner in hopes of being loved. There’s a deep fear that says, “If I express my needs and have different needs than my partner, I’m going to be abandoned.”

The other conflict avoidant stance is loving your partner at arm’s length. The fear in this stance says, “If I become more open and vulnerable, I’m going to get swallowed up and lose my sense of self.”

As Dr. David Schnarch states in his book entitled Passionate Marriage, “Giving up your individuality to be together is as defeating in the long run as giving up your relationship to maintain your individuality. Either way, you end up being less of a person with less of a relationship.”

Fusion happens when a person is fearful of encountering differences. These can be minor differences including how one spends their time or their hobbies, or major differences such as conflict style and desire for togetherness. The opposite of fusion is differentiation.

The Risk of Growth

Bader describes differentiation as an active process “in which partners define themselves to each other.” Differentiation requires the risk of being open to growth and being honest not only with your partner, but also with yourself.

  • If you’re anxious, it could mean realizing that you lean on partner so much that if they become unstable, you both fall down. Your demands on your partner and the way you discuss conflict may be pushing your partner away, which is the very thing you fear.
  • If you’re avoidant, it could mean noticing that you neglect your partner’s needs and prioritize yourself over your relationship. As a result, you perpetuate the loneliness you feel.
    To grow in your relationship requires a willingness to stand on what Bader calls your “developmental edge” and differentiate yourself as an individual. To risk getting closer to your partner without pushing them away.

What Differentiation Looks Like

In conflict, a differentiated lover can give space to their partner who is emotionally overwhelmed while also remaining close enough to be caring and supportive, but not so close that they lose themselves emotionally. Instead of reacting with overwhelming emotion, a differentiated partner, according to Bader, expresses curiosity about their partner’s emotional state:

“Can you tell me more about what’s going on?”
“Can you tell me about these feelings?”

The more differentiated you are, the less likely you are to take things as personally. As a result, you can soothe yourself or reach out to be soothed by your partner in a helpful way. Instead of saying, “You’re such a jerk. You never care for me,” a differentiated partner would say, “I’m feeling really overwhelmed and lonely. Could you give me a hug?”

To differentiate is to develop a secure way of relating to your partner. This earned security, as highlighted by Bader, is created both internally and developed within the context of a relationship. This requires being authentic with your feelings and needs.

You can cultivate a secure and functioning relationship by recognizing and taking responsibility for your part in creating unhealthy dynamics in your relationship. When you do this, you can then express your needs, desires, and wishes in a way that allows you and your partner to work together to meet each other’s needs.

When both partners are whole, not only is there more flexibility in the marriage, but there is also more intimacy.

Damsel in Distress: Why Men Find Them So Irresistible!

damsel in distress
Ron Roberson
There’s something about a helpless girl that men can’t resist. But why is that and how can you use this? Find out why men love a damsel in distress.
Most women hate a damsel in distress.
Men on the other hand, can’t help falling for damsels in distress.
For men, it’s just inevitable.
Every time a man sees a pretty lass who needs help, a slob of a man turns into a chivalrous knight in shining armor.
Well, at least until he’s made enough of an impression to make her fall for him.
While much of the courting game of dating and falling in love depends on mutual attraction, there’s another secret force that most men and women don’t think about – the evaluation of desirability.
Do you really like a guy or does he really like you?
How badly do you want to go out with this person?
Answering these questions to yourself will help you understand and evaluate someone you meet as a potential date.
Why men love a damsel in distress
While courting, women like to be treated with care and respect. Men like to be treated like men.
When either sex experiences these emotions while spending time with a particular member of the opposite sex, they end up inevitably desiring the person even if there isn’t any mutual attraction to begin with.
Understand this little truth and the whole case of the damsel in distress will start to make sense to anyone.
Damsels in distress make a man feel like a real man
Throughout evolution, men have always been the protectors. Recent decades may have subdued a man and his protective streak, but his urge to be the defender and the protector of all things good still gives him a rush like no other. Why else do you think men love playing gory video games where they play the lead character? It makes them feel good. When a man sees a woman who needs help, he instinctively feels the urge to help her.
Damsels are easily approachable
Men approach women almost all the time in the dating field. When a man finds a situation where a woman needs help, he understands two things. One, he instinctively wants to help her. And secondly, she’s going to be easily approachable and perhaps even grateful for his help. And all men love women who are easily approachable.
A man’s ego swells when he helps a girl
When a man helps a woman, shows off his brute strength to her and gets thanked for it, he feels good about the whole thing. He feels more powerful and happy, knowing that he was able to impress a woman with his abilities. And when a man feels good about himself, he’ll obviously like the damsel in distress who helped him feel better about himself.
Men stay longer in a relationship when they feel like men
Men like to wear the pants in the relationship. And even if they don’t wear the pants, they want to feel like they do. With their epic egos and innate trait to protect, they want to feel like they are the driving force of the relationship.
When a man is in a relationship with a woman who behaves like she needs his protection and help, he’s always on guard when he’s with her. He instinctively becomes protective and feels more like a man.
Being in a relationship with a woman who wants him and needs him is every man’s fantasy. He feels like a man, he puts on his best behavior, and everyone wins.
But at the same time, there’s a thin line between needing a man and being needy. Get this wrong, and you could do more damage to the relationship than good.
It’s easy to be the woman that you are, and yet make your man feel like a real man. Just use these tips, and you’ll definitely make him appreciate you and feel great about himself.
Remember that men love an independent woman. But they feel terrible about themselves when their woman doesn’t need them at all. You may be perfectly capable of handling everything in your life, but ask a man for a manly helping hand now and then and he’ll feel good about it.
Ask him to help you in a man’s job
Are you having trouble carrying something heavy? Do you need help fixing a car, or perhaps a door hinge? Or are you feeling nervous to walk down the street after dusk? Ask a man for help.
A man likes helping a woman when he feels like he’s doing a superior job. Make him assume there’s no way you could ever have made it through without his help and his ego will swell. He’ll definitely feel more like a man around you. And yes, he’ll like you for it.
Thank him and don’t forget that flirty smile
While men absolutely love helping a woman in need, they are put off by women who can’t be grateful for it. If you ask a guy to help you, but don’t really show your appreciation, he may just avoid helping you or may even ignore you. No one likes being taken for granted, especially a man.
Always thank a man and compliment him when he helps you. Complimenting a man with a flirty smile and a twinkle in your eyes will definitely make his heart skip a beat. And he’ll be more than happy to help you out again.
Show off your independence
If you’re dating a guy, don’t play the damsel in distress all the time. Ask him for some manly help when he’s around. But when he isn’t with you, don’t call him over and ask him to help you out unless you really do need his help. By letting him know that you’re completely capable of running your own life effortlessly without his help, he’d respect you more. A man always loves an independent woman who doesn’t really need him, but wants him.
Drawing the line
Ask him for his help and assistance with the manly jobs, but do it only occasionally. He may love a damsel in distress, but he definitely doesn’t need an overdose of machismo. If he sees you carrying something heavy with difficulty and immediately jumps up to help you, he’s still happy with the damsel in distress in you.
But if he doesn’t budge to help you, he’s either a slob or you’ve been asking him too many favors recently. Asking a man too many favors can disgruntle him. So always remember the thin line.
Play the damsel in distress and make him feel like a man, and he’ll love you for it. Play needy and make him feel like your slave, and he’ll hate you for it.
And now that you know why men love a damsel in distress, go on and make some guy’s day. You’ll get the manly help you need, and he’ll feel a lot better about himself. And somewhere along the way, he’ll start to fall in love with you too!

Having Sex Too Soon: 12 Consequences You Have to Be Prepared For

having sex too soon


Bella Pope

There are a lot of reasons you’d want to get in bed with someone you really like, but first consider the consequences of having sex too soon.

Sex is a really important part of any relationship. I can’t deny that. But something many people don’t think about is the fact that when you have sex can also become a major factor. If you hop in the sack before you’re ready, it could cause major issues in your relationship. We’ve outlined the 12 consequences of having sex too soon.

Now, this isn’t just when you have sex for the first time either. Although these consequences definitely affect you when it’s your first time, you also run into issues when you get too hot and heavy too soon in a new relationship.

Why emotional intimacy is crucial

When you start a new relationship with someone, your priority should be building an emotional connection with them. You should get to know them on a deeper level before you get physical. Why? Because if you’re looking for a long-lasting relationship, you need that emotional connection.

This intimacy is vital to making your relationship last. It’s what binds the two of you together and makes you want to see them happy. When that emotional connection isn’t there yet and you rush into having sex too soon, you could be hurting the relationship before it gets stable or healthy.

The consequences of having sex before you are ready

Whether a virgin or with someone new, the decision to actually do it with someone should be a lengthy one. Never just hop in the sack and ask questions later—especially if you want a relationship with that person.

There are certain consequences that arise from having sex before you’re ready—either for the first time or with someone you just started seeing. These are the realities you may have to deal with if you jump into their bed too soon.

#1 It can send the wrong message. How many times do you end up having sex with someone and then they think that’s all you want? A lot of us do this and then get really frustrated because we want a lot more. We want a relationship.

The issue here is that you probably had sex too soon. When you have sex with someone quickly after meeting them, it can send the message that sex is really all you want. When you don’t take the time to get to know someone first, it makes them think you don’t want to really know them.

#2 You don’t get to build emotional intimacy first. If you’re looking for a real relationship, you have to build emotional intimacy. If you don’t get to know each other really well before deciding to stay together and have sex, it makes your relationship a lot more difficult.

If you don’t form a deeper connection, you probably won’t want to continue in a relationship with them. Sometimes you don’t realize that you don’t have this connection at first. If you have sex too soon, you’ll have hopped into bed for no reason.

#3 You may feel emotionally damaged. This is more for those who have sex for the first time before they’re ready. You can’t just think you’ll automatically become more mature after you have sex with someone. You should be emotionally ready before you do so. Just going for it without feeling ready damages you emotionally and makes it harder for you to become physically intimate with people in the future.

#4 You risk replacing emotional intimacy for physical intimacy. If you don’t have an emotional connection with someone, you can’t forge one with sex. Having sex with someone doesn’t magically create an intimate, emotional bond.

The truth is some people think having sex bonds and connects them with someone. And when they don’t feel that initial emotional attraction for someone, they have sex with them because they think it helps. It doesn’t.

#5 You put a rift in the relationship. So, let’s say the sex wasn’t great because you don’t really know each other, and it’s awkward. This makes spending time with them and getting to know them even more awkward.

When you have sex too soon, it can make both of you more insecure and guarded if it didn’t go according to plan. This puts a rift in your relationship and even prevents you from opening up like you should to your partner.

#6 You end up thinking sex is equal to their feelings for you. Just because someone has sex with you doesn’t mean they care about you. A lot of people in relationships who end up having sex too soon are those who think sex means they really like and even love you.

This mistake hurts you a lot more down the road when you realize they don’t actually care for you.

#7 You revert to sex to solve issues. When you’re down for getting it on really early in a new relationship, you begin to depend on sex a little too much. You start seeing it as a means to solve your problems instead of communicating. The problem is that sex doesn’t fix those problems at all.

#8 Communication is made more difficult. Sex is definitely a form of communication. You can say a lot through sex, but if you use sex as your main means of communication really early in your relationship, it makes talking to your partner way more difficult. Learn to communicate effectively before you start having sex.

#9 You may become uncomfortable with your body. If you have sex before you’re comfortable with your body, it only makes things worse. In fact, it changes the way you see your body if you do it too soon. You feel like your body is foreign and strange to you. And that greatly affects your self-esteem.

#10 You risk issues in the relationship if you decide to not have sex again for a while. Let’s be real, if you have sex one time in a relationship, it’s expected that you’ll have sex again. And again. And again. However, if you have sex too early, you may feel as though you don’t want to do it again until you’re more ready.

If that happens, you run the risk of your partner getting upset and even angry. Not that they should be mad about not having sex, they’ll most likely be hurt and feel insecure which can come across as angry. It causes a lot of problems.

Bonus risks you can’t ever ignore

#11 Pregnancy. Obviously when you’re having sex too soon, you risk pregnancy. And if you jump into it way too soon, you may end up having a child with someone you don’t actually have true feelings for. This changes your entire life, so make sure you know a person deeply before having sex.

#12 STDs. Again, if you have sex with someone too soon, you may not realize they carry an STD. And if you’re not even comfortable asking a person if they’ve been tested, then you definitely aren’t ready to have sex with them. Some STDs can be fatal and affect your fertility, so be careful.

Just because sex is important in a relationship doesn’t mean that you can make a relationship whole by having sex. Wait until you’re both ready or you may have these 12 consequences of having sex too soon to deal with.

Mini habits to soothe your child’s anxiety


Amberlee L. Peterson

Every child experiences it, but most don’t know how to handle it.

He was 5 years old, and he still couldn’t use the toilet. This was a daily struggle for my cousin and her little boy as they tried everything they could think of to get him potty trained. It was months and months of searching for solutions. And although there ended up being multiple factors in why this was such a challenge for him, along the way my cousin discovered a surprising factor they hadn’t expected: her little boy had anxiety.

Every child will experience anxiety to some extent, and the effects of it can pop up in surprising ways. Watching a scary movie and going to school for the first time are enough to give everyone a dose of it. But about one in eight children experience anxiety disorders. If you suspect your child has an anxiety disorder, you’ll want to seek professional help. But for smaller times when you sense your child’s anxiety building, specialists recommend these mini habits to help you all calm down together.

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12 Things Happy People Do Differently

12 Things Happy People Do Differently


Marc Chernoff

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed.  I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
-Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

I want to honor and discuss each of these 12 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.

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Making Your List, Checking…Who is Hot or Not


Kyle Benson

When you are walking around a Christmas holiday party or swiping faces on your phone, you probably have some idea of the type of person you find attractive.

Tinder Yes2015-12-19 19.56.26As you swipe away, you are seeking certain traits – physical, mental, social – you desire. Other traits, you say “fuck no.” Maybe you have a list of these traits, or maybe you just know it when you see it.

Either way, you have evolved to desire specific traits. The melting pot of your childhood, teenage, and adult experiences have sculpted and resculpted which traits you find attractive and which ones you find repulsive.

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7 things you and your spouse MUST agree on before having kids


McKenna Park

Make sure you tackle these tough parenting decisions before the baby comes. You’ll be glad you did.

Approaching parenthood for the first time is both an exciting and scary time in life. You can’t wait to welcome your own junior miss or mister into the world and raise them, but you’re also scared you might make some bad parenting decisions along the way.

You can help calm some fears if you realize that parenthood starts long before labor. It’s best to make these seven important parenting decisions together well before your little bundle of joy is born.

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The Couples Communication Guide

Even Soulmates Cause Problems


Kyle Benson

Relationships suck sometimes. And sometimes they are mind-blowing amazing. Paradoxically, most of us, including myself, must go throughthe suckage of rewiring how we love to create the amazing relationship we crave.

I propose that love lasts when couples are intentional, deepen their capacity to be intimate and are committed to each other.

Intentionality: We often fall in love with someone and then forget to stand in love; to willfully create it. Intentionally loving your partner means being willing to cultivate emotional connection and spontaneity. This means prioritizing time together: dates, sex, conflict, and friendship.

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