Memorial Day.

Post by David Joel Miller.

Veterans.

Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Memorial Day.

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

― Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

― Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”

― Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works – Volume XII

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Memories.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Memories pictures

Memories.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams.”

― H.G. Wells

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

― Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Do you need a friend makeover?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Friends
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

True friends can improve your life.

Having good long-term friends in your life can be even more beneficial than being in a good relationship. With today’s high rates of breakups and divorces, you’re more likely to have one of your school friends in your life than your ex when you grow older. Studies have shown that friends are even more critical to your happiness than your romantic partner.

Humans are inherently social animals, and we don’t do well when we don’t feel we belong in the herd. The strong sense of connection positive friends provide can improve both your physical and your mental health.

People with close mutual friendships are healthier and live longer.

Being connected with friends and spending time with them reduces stress. It makes you less likely to be lonely or to feel isolated. Being lonely and isolated is just as damaging to your physical health as smoking, drinking, or being seriously overweight. People with networks of positive friendships tend to live longer. Spending time with friends can brighten your day and improve your mood.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Have you ever noticed that some people start to look like their dogs? People also begin to act like their friends. Hang out with the winners, and you’re likely to be a winner. Hang out with losers – will you know what will happen. Positive friends help motivate you to do things. Negative friends suck all the energy out of you.

One of the things people in recovery from drugs and alcohol learn quickly is that they begin to act like the people they hang out with. If you want to stop smoking, don’t spend a lot of time around smokers. You won’t get sober spending a lot of time in a bar. If all your friends go to college, you’re more likely to go there, and even if you don’t, you’re likely to learn a lot from those friends.

Friends can provide emotional support.

Whatever the goals you are trying to accomplish, friends can support you. People with positive friends are more productive and more likely to take the actions needed to take you where you’re going. Whether it’s writing your book or losing that weight, telling your friends what you’re working on can engage them in supporting you. Having someone cheering you on can motivate you to keep going when things get tough.

There’s a difference between friends and acquaintances.

I wish social media had never started calling those links to your profile “friends.” While you may connect with one or two real friends on any social media platform, the bulk of the people you’re calling friends are electronic imposters. Those are pixels, not people. Real friendships are reciprocal. They would do something for you, and you would do something for them. And I don’t mean just push the like button on their latest post.

Beware of friends who are only around when they need something from you. When you’re going through the tough times in life, look around and see who still considers themselves your friend.

Developing genuine friendships can be challenging.

Making friends can be a struggle. As our lives progress, it’s harder to put yourself out there and meet new people. If you are an introvert, or high in anxiety, making new friends may seem impossible. Despite all the challenges in making new friends, the benefits of friendship are well worth the effort. Remember, there are others out there who would like to make a new friend just as much as you do.

Another way to increase the quality of your friendships is to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with. Life gets busy, and sometimes we forget to stay in contact. Some of those friends you haven’t talked to for a while would love to hear from you again.

You make friends through shared activities.

Most friendships develop around something you do together. Lifelong friends are often someone you met in elementary school or high school. Old school friends are likely to be in your life come what may. If you engage in an activity, have a hobby or other interest, your involvement in that activity is a great way to create new friends.

If you want to make new friends, do more positive activities.

Whatever your interests, stop being passive and become involved. People who garden and join the gardening club frequently make lifelong friends. People who are active in sports develop friends who play the same sports.

Be careful about having your entire social circle revolve around your work. If the only thing you have in common is where you work, that friendship may not outlast your employment. People whose only friends are work friends may find themselves alone once they retire or leave the company. The people you enjoy spending time with are the ones who will contribute the most to having a happy life.

How satisfied are you with the quality of your friendships?

If friendships are an important part of your life, please leave a comment below. If you’d like to learn more about improving the quality of your friendships, please look at the other posts in the category – friends.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track, and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead. The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Graduation.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Graduation.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Helen Keller was blind and deaf when she graduated from college with honors. So, what’s your problem?”

― Charles Stanley

“Life is like college; may I graduate and earn some honors.”

― Louisa May Alcott

“I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment, you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

― Conan O’Brien

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

The challenge of long-distance relationships.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Long-distance relationships.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Long-distance relationships are a challenge.

There are three different types of long-distance relationships. There are those people who prefer living apart. I see this mostly in people in midlife or later years. They have had relationships before, then they spent a period alone and have gotten comfortable living by themselves. They’re not sure they want to give up their independence and accommodate another person in their living space.

The shelter at home of the coronavirus has resulted in couples spending more time together with an increase in arguments and even domestic violence. Sometimes too much togetherness is a bad thing, and people can find together begin to have more than normal conflicts.

Then there are those people who are newly in a relationship. Maybe they met on vacation, or while traveling, or increasingly they met online. Someday they’d like to move and live together, but they’re just not sure about the relationship yet. They struggle with building a relationship with a lot of distance between them.

The most challenging type of long-distance relationship is those couples who would prefer to be living together, but the circumstances are keeping them apart. Military families often must endure long periods of separation. Sometimes one of the partners needs to live separately to care for an ailing parent. And increasingly, with two-career couples, particularly in government or corporate management, one may be working in one city while the other is working many states or countries away. All these enforced separations present challenges. There are ways to strengthen and maintain long-distance relationships, but there are inherent dangers.

Maintaining good communication when you’re apart can be difficult.

When you live together, you talk to each other a lot. Sometimes there’s conflict, but when you live in the same place, you can talk it out and resolve those conflicts. Modern communication makes it more feasible to stay in contact. You can email, text, or videoconference. But none of those distance communication methods has the intimacy of being able to reach out and touch your partner’s hand or hug them.

The majority of human communication happens through nonverbal communication. Even video conferencing isn’t as effective with communicating nonverbally. Emails and texts are notoriously open to misinterpretation. You can’t tell what the tone of voice was, and it’s hard to pick up on sarcasm.

Poor communication can lead to negativity when you’re apart.

When you don’t know what your partner is thinking or what they meant by that, you start to imagine all sorts of things. When you live together, you can ask your partner, “what did you mean by that.” But when you live apart, you can spend a lot of time between phone calls ruminating about what your partner was thinking and what they meant by that.

Separations can make trust issues worse.

Lack of trust is a problem couples commonly bring to therapy. Sometimes it’s because one partner has damaged the trust between them. Maybe there’s been an affair or secrets between them. Once trust has been damaged, it’s hard to rebuild. Many people enter a relationship already having trust issues. They may have trust issues from childhood or previous relationships. Some people are insecure, and some people value their privacy, even if it means keeping their partner at a distance.

One of the ways to improve trust in a relationship is to be extremely open and honest. If you’ve got nothing to hide, it doesn’t matter if your partner checks your email or your text messages. When you live together, you know what time your partner gets home at night. But when you live apart, there’s plenty of opportunities for your partner to be doing things they shouldn’t be. Not knowing leads to doubt, and doubt makes trust issues worse.

When you’re living apart, you don’t see your partner realistically.

Couples who live apart, particularly if it if it’s a new relationship, or if they are early in their relationship when the separation occurs, only see one or two facets of their partner. You see the things they want you to see. We all want to be liked, and we tend to engage in “impression management.” On a date, you try to put your best foot forward.

When you live together, you see them in the morning when their hair is a mess. You see them when they’re sick. You see all the flaws. Seeing your partner when they are vulnerable can increase your feeling of closeness. Seeing them when their greedy, selfish, and disrespectful can make you question the relationship. The challenge of long-distance relationships is wondering what other facets your partner has that they’re not revealing to you.

People change over time.

Life experiences can change us. Couples who live together share those life experiences and tend to change in the same direction. Couples and long-distance relationships are each having separate experiences. Some for the good and some not so good. Sharing verbally, over the phone, your experience with your long-distance partner is not the same thing as the two of you having gone to that concert together.

You may hear about your partner’s job or coworkers, but when you’ve never met them, you haven’t experienced those people in the same way your partner has. While it may be true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, it’s also true that when you can’t see your partner, your eyes may start to wander.

It’s easier to defer problems when you live apart.

People tend to bottle up their negative feelings whether those feelings have to do with the relationship or come from other sources. One of the ways couples grow closer to each other is by working through those problems and negative emotions. When you live apart, it’s important not to defer dealing with issues. It can be tempting to make that short phone call or text a positive moment in your day. But that hides the reality of your life from your absent partner.

People living in long-distance relationships can become conflict avoidant. Afraid of damaging the relationship, their problems never get discussed. Eventually, these issues can fester and poison the relationship, or if you do begin to live together, you may continue to be conflict-avoidant, which prevents you from developing close emotional intimacy.

Contact can become an afterthought when you live separately.

When you’re apart, particularly when you don’t know your partner’s schedule, exchanging communication can become one person’s job. One person may sit by the phone or watch their email waiting for their partner to contact you. It’s imperative for communication to be a two-way street and for each person to take an active role in communicating, but that’s not always possible.

When you’re living separate lives in separate places, you both can get busy. The result is that rather than spending an hour each night over dinner talking, your communication can get reduced to the bare minimum. What should have been a lively discussion between the two of you may be confined to a single sentence text. One or both partners can begin to feel that they are an afterthought in their partner’s busy life.

Are you in a long-distance relationship? Are you considering one?

If so, please leave a comment and share your experience with others who are facing the same situation.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Mother

Mother.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Mother.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.”

― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

― Washington Irving

“There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.”

― Stephen King

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

How to become more hopeful.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Hope

Hope.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Hope lies on a continuum from low to high.

In a previous blog post titled Stocking Up on Hope, we talked about how hope lies on a continuum, and people can move from low levels of hope to become a high hope person. If you’re feeling less than hopeful right now, there are some things that you can do to increase your levels of hope.

While hope is certainly a feeling, it’s also an attitude towards things. Whether you’re a high hope person or a low hope person, your hope of achieving a specific goal can fluctuate dramatically as time, and you change. People who lose hope of reaching their goals give up trying and become depressed. Once someone comes up with a plan to reach their goal, their level of hope increases, sometimes dramatically.

Hope appears to have two separate components.

Hope seems to be the result of the interplay of two separate factors. First is your belief that reaching your goal will be the result of your own actions. If you believe that outside factors control your fate, that’s not hope, that’s wishful thinking. The second factor in building hope is developing a plan so that your actions take you where you want to go. Let’s look at these two separate factors.

Believing in your abilities increases the motivation to act.

One component of hope, at least according to hope theory, is agency. Closely related to self-confidence and affected by your self-concept, agency is your belief that you might be able to take actions that would lead you toward your goal. Those actions can be all sorts of different things. You might seek out help from friends, family, or a professional. You might begin to develop a plan of action yourself. Any one of these steps is likely to increase your level of hope.

Having a roadmap to take you to your goal increases hope.

The second component in hope theory is developing a plan of action. If you believe there are pathways you can take, which might lead you closer to your goal, this is certain to increase your level of hope. Let’s look at some of the ways that developing a plan of action can increase your level of hope.

Breaking goals into smaller doable steps increases hope.

If you try to eat an elephant in one bite, you’re going to choke. I see lots of people who try to accomplish one big major goal in a short period of time and end up defeated. You decide you don’t like your current job and you’re going to go back to school and get a degree so you can get a better paying job. If you try to take too many classes that first semester, you’re likely to overload yourself, do poorly in those classes, and give up.

One reason people lose hope is that they radically overestimate what they can accomplish over the next year. People who accomplish a lot of their life goals discover that important goals are rarely achieved in a single year, not even in a single step. Those same people often underestimate what they can accomplish in five years. You probably won’t get a college degree in one year. But going a little at a time over five years or so, can result in a college degree and a whole new career.

People often have a goal of getting out of debt and saving for retirement. They try to not spend anything the first month or two using all their money to pay off their credit card. The process becomes so unpleasant that they give up. Changing your spending and saving habits so that each month you spend a little less than you make, and that surplus goes to paying down your past debt can result in being debt-free over a period of years.

More options mean more hope.

People who have only one possible pathway to reaching their goal are likely to get frustrated, become hopeless, and give up. In developing a plan to reach your goal, it’s useful to have multiple options. You might select one option, option A, try that, and if it’s not taking you where you want to go, revise your plan. Multiple options mean you will be more hopeful of eventually reaching your goal.

Goals take time to accomplish.

Most goals, the worthwhile ones, will take time to accomplish. A thinking trap that leads to low hope is the belief that there is some magical action that will produce your goal quickly. If you expect someone else to solve your problem, you’re likely to become disillusioned. Often the solution to the problem requires you to develop specific skills. Even if a family member can get you your dream job, if you don’t have the skills and education required for that job, you’re not likely to keep it very long.

Specific goals are easier to accomplish, then vague ones.

Lots of people have vague general goals. They want to be wealthy. Failure to quantify that goal means that no matter how much money you make, you won’t feel wealthy. Lots of people who say they want to “be wealthy” try to make themselves feel wealthy by spending like a wealthy person. Wealthy people who spend that way don’t stay wealthy long. Being wealthy is about making more money than you spend or said the other way, spending less money each month then you make.

The numbers have changed over the years, but the principle is the same. When I asked students how much money they would need to have to be wealthy I frequently get numbers in the millions or even billions. The truth is that a very small amount of money will put you into the wealthiest of all Americans. More than half of all Americans owe more on their credit cards than they have in the bank. If you can pay off your credit card balance, and save a small amount of money, somewhere between 500 and 1000 dollars, you will rapidly move into the wealthiest one half of all Americans. Depending on the economy somewhere between $3000 and $5000 will move you into the wealthiest one-third of all Americans.

Setting a goal of paying off your credit card and saving even a small amount of money, rapidly increases your security, and takes you in the direction of being a wealthy American.

So, there you have the essential ingredients to having more hope.

For more on this topic, please see the category, Hope.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.