If our personalities are always changing throughout life, then how can we ever make decisions for our future? How can we possibly choose a career that’s right for us many years from now? How can we promise to love someone always? How long should we wait around for someone to change, when they promise us they will? When I was divorced many years ago I … Continue reading Promises
Tricia, an old friend of mine, said something that started me thinking. Her parents had been married for 40 years when her mother died. When her father fell in love again and remarried a couple of years later, Tricia was happy for him, but felt uneasy. “I’ve always believed in heaven,” she said. “It meant that my father and mother would be united there for … Continue reading Who is the Real You?
A character in the novel Today Will be Different, by Maria Semple, said about psychotherapy: Change is the goal. Insight is the booby prize. It reminded me of what I tell people when they ask, “Why isn’t my wife romantic?” or “Why is my sister always mean to me?” or “Why can’t my husband stop demanding that the house be spotless?” Will answering these questions make … Continue reading Insight is the Booby Prize
I was listening to a podcast from Studio 360 called, Can Laughing Make us Healthier?, and my first thought was, everybody’s got a gimmick. In the 1970’s there was primal scream therapy, where the patient remembers and reenacts a disturbing past experience that occurred in childhood. They express their repressed anger and frustration with spontaneous screams, hysteria, or violence. I’d hate to share a neighboring office with a primal scream therapist. … Continue reading Laughter Yoga – Gimmick or Game?
My mother asked me how my internet search for a relationship was going. “Terrible,” I told her. “I’ve been doing this for years and it’s a complete failure.” “Years?” she asked. “10 years! No, 15!” I said. 15 years was a nice round number and added just the right amount of dramatic spice to my pessimism. But I knew I was lying to my mother (and myself). Here’s what … Continue reading I Want it Now!
When I tell people I quit eating added sugar over a year ago on a dare from my son, the response I get is, “Wow, I could never do that. I don’t have your willpower.” But I quit the sugar precisely because I realized that willpower is a myth. How else to explain that whenever I hosted a holiday party, I had to give away, … Continue reading The Willpower Myth
I was so terrified about speaking up in school that if I had to give a presentation, I’d spend the whole class thinking of what I had to say. I’d become deaf to what everyone else was saying. After I spoke, my deafness persisted. My heart pounded as I numbly replayed my mistakes, and I shuddered at the memory of my faltering voice. People sometimes say, “I have low self-esteem.” Does that mean they don’t like … Continue reading Self-Esteem is Overrated
I once dated a guy, I’ll call him Mark, who said that he chose to never fall in love. “You choose that?” I asked. “But haven’t you ever met someone you couldn’t help but fall in love with?” I was asking, of course, because I was quickly falling for him and wanted to test the waters. “I don’t permit myself,” Mark insisted. When he saw my incredulous … Continue reading Manufacturing Romantic Chemistry
It’s more fun, and a lot easier, to change someone else than to change ourselves. But is it possible? It makes sense that we want to transform someone into the person we thought they used to be, many years ago, such as a spouse who was once loving and attentive. They can certainly be that person again, can’t they? Have you ever tried rewinding your own history clock and … Continue reading How to Change Someone Else, Pt. 1
When my older son told me he was moving off Long Island, where we live, to a city in upstate New York, about 225 miles away, I felt a pang in my heart. He was going to a better job, and a place where money bought a lot more than it does here at home. But he was my dining-out and beach-walk buddy. I was … Continue reading Parenthood: A Loop of Hellos and Goodbyes