Love.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Child and adult on beach

Love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Love.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

― Mother Teresa

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

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.

12 ways to learn to love yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

The way you treat yourself is the way others will treat you.

Child and adult on beach

Love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Feeling loved begins with learning to like and then to love yourself. Loving yourself means you are gentle and caring towards the person you will spend your life with – you. Children who grow up never being shown they are loved may find it hard to think that they deserve love. Here are some ways you can create that feeling of being a valuable loved person.

1. Turn off the noise – disconnect from social media and others opinions.

A sad fact of modern life is that with more ways to connect people are feeling less and less connected.  Frantically posting and liking people on social media can create a false sense that your worth as a person is dependent on how many people like you and your posts.

The person whose opinion about you most matters is yours.  What other people think about you is not something you should be focused upon.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Stop rating yourself.  Work on doing more things that you can feel proud of.

2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your happiness will come from the time you spend with others.  Balance your time with others and your time alone.  Being alone should not be the same thing as being lonely.  Work at making your alone time an opportunity to rest, recharge and work on yourself.

3. Make mealtime an adventure, not a chore.

Think about all the times that you have shared food with someone else.  Shared meals are a part of many celebrations.  Couples go out to dates over dinner.  Family share meal time. Share some time with you. When you eat invest some time in making special things for yourself, experimenting with new foods and making your individual meals something special.

4. Make bedtime and sleep important.

Sleep is an important component of the happy life.  Not getting enough sleep will leave you grumpy and irritable.  Value yourself enough to make rest an important part of your daily routine.  Staying up late doesn’t make for a happier life.  Putting off bedtime is trying to borrow hours from tomorrow to extend today.  The consequence of this is you shortchanged your tomorrow.

5. Maintain your body; you deserve it.

Take good care of herself.  Beyond the sleeping and eating part get plenty of exercise.  Do those things each day that makes you feel valued and loved. Pamper your body.

6. Stop and savor the good things.

Difficult, painful times will be easy to remember.  The happy events in life are harder to capture.  Make sure you spend the time observing and studying the good things that happen in your life.  Commit the flowers, the sunrises and the sunsets to memory.  Make a point of noticing and returning each and every smile you receive.  Share all the happiness you can, and you will never run short.

7. When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up.

Be kind to you. The evidence tells us that beating someone up will not make them a better person.  A little bit of kindness for yourself and others goes a long way.  Compassion spent on yourself is never wasted.

8. Save some treasured mementos.

It is rarely the expensive things in life that bring the great joys.  Hang onto those little keepsakes that remind you of the fabulous adventures of life.  Those little pictures that your child draws, the craft projects they make in school, all add meaning to your life.

9. Learn to laugh.

Laughter is not frivolous.  The more you laugh, the more your soul matures.  People who smile and laugh more become happier.  Don’t wait to be happy to laugh, laugh to be happy.  Time invested in watching comedy, swapping jokes and gaiety will yield great dividends.

10. Have time to play.

Time spent playing is fundamental to creative pursuits.  Playing was someone can develop and strengthen relationships.  Play with your child.  Play with your friends.  Make having fun part of your time budget.

11. When something is wrong, take care of it.

People who love themselves do not hide from life’s problems.  When there something wrong the sooner you take care of it the better.

12. Save your stories.

As you move through life, you will experience things. These become your life stories.  Hold on to those stories.  Retell them as you can.  Writing out the stories of your life can become very good therapy.

Try to do some of these self-loving activities each and every day.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

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.

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

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

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. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Love better by loving yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

It is hard to love others when you are starving for self-love.

Selflove

Learn to love yourself.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You grow love in your life by daily creating small actions that nurture that love, for yourself and for others.  If you don’t love yourself no matter how much others love you it will never be enough.  Enlarge your feeling of being loved by working on the ability to love yourself.  Below are some tips on how to feel better about yourself and develop that self-love.

Give yourself a round of applause. Recognize your accomplishments.

In order to feel better about yourself, you need to recognize the things you do well.  Learn to praise yourself.  You do not need to do great things to feel well about yourself. If you pay attention to the small things that you accomplish each day, over time this will add up to large accomplishments.

Unfortunately, many people were taught to be suspicious of recognition for their accomplishments.  People used to think that the way to get better behavior from children was to constantly point out all their flaws.  The result of this practice was to create non-affirming homes.  If you grew up that way you are likely to find it difficult to recognize when you do things well.  There’s no evidence that beating yourself up will make you a better person.  There’s plenty of evidence that recognizing positive qualities improves your ability to feel good about yourself and raises your self-esteem.

Invest in your support system.

Having a team of people who support you will make you feel better about yourself.  Developing that support system requires the investment of time and effort.  Make sure that each day you spend some time calling or talking to a friend. Good friendships revolve around shared activities.  Get out there and make friends.

Humans need other humans.  When you don’t feel good about yourself, it is hard to be around others.  Developing friendships requires an investment of time and effort.  Make that investment in developing friends and creating a support system and it will pay dividends in the form of you feeling better about yourself.  People who spend time socializing with other people feel more loved.

Make friends with your feelings.

Learn to make your feelings useful friends.  Feelings provide you with information, don’t try to ignore those feelings.  Somewhere along the line people got the idea that to have feelings was a bad thing.  If you do not acknowledge what you feel when you feel it, then it becomes very difficult to recognize the feelings of love when you have it.

Sometimes in life, bad things happen and we need to be sad.  Just because you feel badly does not mean that something terrible will happen.  Accept that feelings change.  Learn to surf those feelings and wait for the next round of happy, loving feelings.

Plan a better future.

Don’t get stuck in the belief that the way things are, or the way they have been in the past, is the way they must always be.  Envisioned a better future for yourself and begin to work on creating it.  Design plans for where you want to go in life and begin to do the work to get there. Set goals. As you make progress towards those goals give yourself credit for the successes you have created.  Creating, planning and working toward a better future are ways to love yourself and to feel more loved.

Invest in yourself.

It’s hard to understand someone who loves a partner but is unwilling to ever give them a gift or spend time with them.  To increase that feeling of love make it a priority to invest in yourself.  Invest by spending time with yourself.  Also, invest in things that make you feel good or meet your needs.

Make developing skills and continuing education a part of your ongoing investment in yourself.  Developing interests and hobbies is not a waste of time, but an investment in creating a better quality of life.

Allow yourself to enjoy life.

All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, it makes him a very unhappy and unloved person.  Doing things to make yourself happy is not being selfish.  Life is not all pleasure sometimes there’s work to do.  But if all you ever do is work and can never enjoy yourself, life loses its meaning.  Look for ways within your budget that you can make your life a more enjoyable experience.

Recharge your batteries. Rest and food.

Being overtired, hungry or thirsty creates feelings that will interfere with feeling good about yourself and with your self-love.  You wouldn’t think someone loved you if they were unwilling to ever let you rest or to allow you time to eat and drink.  Treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you.

Look for the good parts in every challenge.

If you approach everything in life as a terrible chore, all the pleasure goes out of your existence.  Look for the good parts in every challenge.  What strengths is this difficulty producing?  What lessons do you need to learn from this? Practice spotting hidden happiness.

Talk nicely to yourself – Self-talk.

People in love talk nicely to their beloved.  To feel more love by yourself and by others practicing saying the kinds of loving things to yourself that you wish others would say to you.  Negative, critical self-talk decreases your self-esteem.  Positive, loving self-talk increases your self-esteem.  What you tell yourself becomes the way you feel. Feed your mind healthy thoughts.

Develop positive habits.

Get into the habit of doing positive things for yourself.  Take the view that you deserve the best in life.  Treat yourself in the best possible way to increase your feelings of self-esteem and make you feel loved.

Budget some time for fun.

Fun is not a waste of time.  Sometimes even hard work can be fun.  Make sure that you are including in your schedule things that are enjoyable or will recharge your batteries and make you feel good about yourself. It is important to include some time for having fun in each day’s activities.

Let yourself feel good by doing for others.

One secret that people who are happy and loving have discovered is that doing for others is not an inconvenience. It is a great way to make you feel good about your life.  Don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to do little things for those you love.  Practice loving yourself by doing random acts of kindness for others, even those you don’t know. Filling your life with loving gestures for yourself and others increases that loving feeling.

Do what you love – love what you do.

It’s been said and repeated often, but it’s still true if you do something you love, it is not work.  Make it a point to do things that bring you joy.

Think about these ways that you might increase your ability to love yourself and how that might make you feel more loved by others.  Which of these loving expressions will you practice?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

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.

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

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

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. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Happy Valentine’s Day.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

― Lao Tzu

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

Is falling in love part of recovery?

By David Joel Miller.

Does everyone that gets into recovery fall in love?

Couple in love

Falling in love
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Everywhere you look people in early recovery are falling in love. This happens whether the recovery is from drugs and alcohol, mental health challenges or just the problems of daily living. Some recovery programs lecture clients against getting into a relationship in early recovery. It is often suggested that those who fall in love in that first year are doomed to fail – at love and at their recovery. If these love and sex relationships are so problematic in recovery why do so many people go ahead and start that new relationship so rapidly?

Hooking up and “fraternization” gets more people kicked out of some drug treatment programs than relapses on drugs do. It is not unusual to have two clients in the psychiatric hospital make an effort to hook up. Plenty of relationships start before the two people involved ever hit the street.

The question is sometimes asked if love, falling in love especially, is good for or interferes with recovery. Falling in love clearly is meeting some needs. If it meets your needs why is it so universally frowned upon? What is the problem with the person in early recovery falling in love?

Sure it takes their attention off the work of recovery, but recovery is a lifelong process so we have to ask “Does this new relationship only delay recovery or might it in some particular way send the person off in the wrong direction away from the goal of recovery?”

One model for human needs is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Let’s look at the problem of new relationships and recovery from this perspective. I will not pretend that this is a full or perfect representation of this theory only that some aspects of the hierarchy of needs might help us understand why people in early recovery are so prone to be diverted from recovery into falling into a new love relationship.

In the hierarchy of needs the list goes, physiological, safety and belonging, love, esteem, and self-actualization. The first four are ones recovering people are especially likely to be deficient in.

Love meets physiological needs.

People in their addiction to drugs or alcohol are prone to neglect their needs, physical and physiological. Good nutrition and sleep go by the wayside. Characteristics of depression and anxiety are changes in sleep and appetite. Sex is likely to become either a frantic desperate need or something that is neglected altogether.

When someone enters recovery they feel an urgent need to compete for a partner. Winning out in the competition for resources is a basic physiological need. Finding, getting and having a new partner becomes an urgent need. For many Love is their new drug of choice.

Love meets belonging and social needs.

Safety is a basic human need. Having others around you should increase your safety. Many people in early recovery find themselves alone. “Hooking up” is one way of engaging a support system. Believing that this other person will protect or care for you can lead the recovering person back to a state of dependence. This time the dependence is on a new relationship rather than a drug.

The risk of this rapid entry into a relationship is that it will become a dependent relationship. What the recovering person needs is to learn to be self-reliant and capable of taking care of themselves. A new relationship can delay this development of self-reliance.

Spending some time by yourself getting to know yourself can improve the chances that you will not lose that self in the next relationship you enter. Another person is not a cure for your illness.

Humans are social animals. We all need other people. The person with friends and who is a member of a tribe has an added chance of being safe. We expect that being with someone in a relationship obligates them to come to our aid and rescue. Being part of a couple should be safer than being alone.

Being in love, part of the couplehood club can make you feel like you belong. Many recovering people have never felt like they belonged except when around other people with a like problem.

Love meets esteem needs, Self-esteem and the esteem of others.

Early in romantic relationships, partners typically think of their new love interest as perfect, wonderful or other high esteem descriptions. It feels good to have someone who values you and thinks well of you. Being loved boosts your self-esteem, for a while.

Having someone who loves you or who craves your love can be a boost to your self-esteem as long as it lasts. The challenge is that in early recovery people do not know who they are and as they discover themselves those new relationships become less attractive.

Falling in love is easy, staying there is more difficult especially when the relationship turns out to be unhealthy. Falling in love while in the fog of confusion is a high-risk behavior and leads many back to their familiar problem.

Love and self-actualization.

Being the best you possible requires some time and some space to grow. It is hard to focus on yourself when you are distracted by trying to please and be pleased by another. Trees may belong in the forest but they still need some space to grow. People like trees benefit from being around others as long as they are not smothered and are allowed the room for personal growth.

There are likely to be some comments on this post telling me that they met their soul mate in the rehab or the psych hospital and have been happily together for decades. For every one of those people, there is a vast number who will tell us that those relationships begun when they were at their worse sent them back into their disorder or addiction.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

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.

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

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

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. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

11 tips for more marriage miles.

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to get more mileage out of the marriage you have.

Marriage Millage

Marriage Mileage
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Marriage seems to be an endangered institution these days. Fewer people getting married and more divorces, people appear to be trading in their spouses faster than they are trading in their car. What we often find, with cars and with partners, is that there is a reason someone else is trying to trade theirs in.

Before you scrap your marriage and go shopping for a new relationship consider that whatever relationship you are in may be in need of a little refurbishing. Marriages need maintenance just like houses and cars. You may need to see a professional from time to time. That is what marriage counselors are for, but there are lots of things you can do on a daily basis to maintain that relationship before it falls apart.

Consider doing some of these activates frequently if you want your relationship to last.

1. Make couples maintenance a priority.

You’re in a relationship, you think you are past the hard part. Now that you have a partner you can focus on becoming a success in life. Not so fast.

Jobs will come and go. Life has its ups and downs regardless of the partner you are with. You may move around or change jobs. Your kids will grow up and launch out on their own. In all that living will you stay connected to your partner?

Put time spent maintaining that relationship in your schedule. Money may come and go but you only get so much life. Invest some of that time in maintaining your relationship. Otherwise, you will wake up one day and not know who this person you are living with has become.

2. Add more kind words to your relationship.

Families who are happy make kind words a staple in their emotional diet. There are plenty of times that people disagree and there will be arguments, but make an effort to say nice things to your partner.

If someone only hears about the things their partner does not like, but never hears that they are valued, they develop the belief that their partner does not see anything good in them or the relationship. For a long-lasting relationship say nice things to each other more often.

3. Touch is a two-way street.

Touch builds bonds. In early courtship couples hold hands, they snuggle and want to be close. Touch needs to be in the relationship for more than just the mechanical part of sex. Sex is good, it builds the couple relationship, but sex alone will not be enough.

Make sure you are including some hand holding, some gentle touching, and an occasional back rub or massage for a well-functioning relationship.

4. Talk more for more marriage mileage.

Humans use words for a lot more than conveying information. We think in words and we use them to express feelings. If you really want to understand your partner and to be understood, talk more. Talk not to convince them or to win the argument but to learn about each other.

Couples in the dating period do lots of talking, then they get together and there is progressively less time for talking. Life happens, the job, the kids. Over time people change. Make sure that you spend some time just talking if you want to know your partner. Otherwise one day you will wake up and discover that the two of you no longer know who this person is that you are living with.

5. Have new experiences together.

Far too many families discover when it is too late that the things of life do not make you happy. Yes, a new car or video game is enjoyable for a while but eventually, they wear out and get discarded. What you have after the things are gone are the memories.

Make memories together. You will need those good time feelings in the emotional bank when the trials of life arrive.

6. Problem solve. Use disagreements to brainstorm new solutions.

The easy solution to life’s problems is to fight for what you think you want or need. Do not blame your partner for the problems and make it all their fault. You are in this partnership together. Avoid win-lose solutions and spend some time looking for options that allow both of you to get your needs met.

Do not fall into the trap of trying to control the situation and your partner. When times are tough winning the argument can cost you the relationship.

7. Have something to look forward to.

Life should not be all grind. Have hopes and dreams and work towards them. Make sure you do not get so wound up in the work of living that you do not see the rewards down the line.

8. Do unexpected nice things.

One large meal will not fill you up for a month. Do not expect that an occasional nice thing for your partner should make them feel loved and satisfied.

In your love menu include small unexpected treats and you will maximize positive relationships.

9. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh at your mistakes.

Trying to be perfect can leave you perfectly alone. The perfect person is very difficult to live with. Take the pressure off you and your relationship. Learn to admit when you are wrong about something and try to fix it.

Being able to laugh at yourself is a very helpful ability. We all do silly things at times. Recognize when you do those things and do not keep trying to explain why you did that or why it is not your fault.

10. Create new together activities and interests.

Couples, like individuals, need to grow. Grow together or grow apart. It is healthy for there to be interests that your partner does not particularly share. Talk about those interests some of the time. But also make it a priority to do new things together and develop new interests. This keeps the relationship alive and growing.

11. Put more kisses on your to-do list.

Happy long-term couples kiss more. These frequent kisses are not reserved for the start of sex but are liberally sprinkled throughout the life together. Make sure that there are quiet together times for these affection gestures. While your partner is struggling with a misbehaving child or an overflowing washer may not be the best time. But sometimes those are exactly the time to stop the flow of things and interject an “I love you” and a kiss.

Those are some of my suggestions for things you might want to do to keep your relationship in top condition. Have you found any other maintenance techniques that make your relationship run better?

For more on this topic take a look at these other posts on counselorssoapbox.com

Relationships

Love

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

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.

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

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

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. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.