Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tough Advice About Anger

Everybody gets angry, even me. Professionally, I've been helping people understand and reduce their anger for twenty years. And in all honesty, I do practice what I preach. I experience far less anger and frustration than I did when I was younger, perhaps some of which is due to age. People often tend to mellow as they get older. They have a different perspective on life. Things that in younger years created great angst no longer hold the same importance. A bad hair day or an unexpected car repair no longer evoke the hysterics of days gone by.

Yet there are a few things that still test my patience: technology, at times, is the bane of my existence. I spend an enormous amount of time on my computer and cannot run my business without it. So when something goes awry, I feel powerless. I must rely on others who are trained to repair what is not working properly. Entrusting a task of this magnitude to a foreign voice on the phone leaves me feeling vulnerable. The very definition of anger is "a feeling of discomfort or displeasure brought about by feelings of helplessness or powerlessness." Helpless and powerless - it my perception  of myself within that situation that causes these feelings to arise. But my perception does not match reality. In fact, I always have power. I am equipped with reasonable intelligence, the ability to collect data, the power to rationalize, and to ultimately make decisions that are in my best interest. Free will: the ability to choose what I think, how I see things, how I feel , and how I respond. Once I remind myself of truth, I can free myself of feeling powerless and angry.

Here are a few tips to reduce the amount and intensity of anger you allow into your life:

1. Remember that you are fully capable in every situation you encounter. Realize that your true personal power lies in your ability to make choices - your free will.
2. Put everything into perspective. I live by the "Ten Year Rule": will this issue matter in ten years? Will I even remember it a decade from now? If the answer is "no" I let it go.
3. When entering a new venture gather as much information as possible as to how things work, how to protect your property (or yourself) from harm, what to do when something goes wrong (plan ahead), and who to call when assistance is necessary.  And always have a Plan B. Plan B's provide a sense of added security and confidence.
4. Expect the unexpected. Understand that life, by its very nature, is filled with unforeseen surprises. One who is confident within themselves feels fully capable of meeting their new circumstances head on. A good challenge is an excellent opportunity for personal growth.
5. Know that every circumstance we find ourselves in is here for the higher good. Even those that disguise themselves as bad or wrong have the potential  to enrich our lives. Seek the value in each and the anger will evaporate into clouds of appreciation instead. 

It makes good sense to take reasonable precautions to protect oneself from life's adversities. But trust that a certain amount will infiltrate your life regardless. Do not live in fear and worry (root causes of anger) of when they will arrive for they will most certainly find their way into your life and try their best to disrupt your peaceful domain. Accept them, address them, resolve them, and bid them a fond farewell. Then pat yourself on the back for a job well done and go buy yourself something new. (Just kidding  about the buying stuff part.) 

To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The High Price Tag of Anger; What is it Costing You

There's no doubt: anger takes its toll on every facet of our lives. From on the job, to our personal relationships, to our health and overall enjoyment of life, destructive anger can wreak havoc in our daily lives.

On the job it cost businesses over $4.2 billion, yes -billion, a year. Fighting at work, time spent trying to get along, lost productivity, sick days - it all adds up. In society, anger leads to physical altercations, destruction of personal property, road rage, and murder. Those found guilty of violent crimes may end up incarcerated, costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year. In marriages, one third of all women report being abused verbally or physically. Couples fight and end up in divorce court. Children caught in the crossfire are at risk for self-destructive behaviors as children and adults. More than 50% of families in the US are estranged from a loved one. Anger can lead to resentment, jealousy, revenge, and more. The collective price tag is staggering!

Anger has also been directly linked to health issues as well. Frequent high levels of anger can lead to heart disease due to a rise in adrenaline and cortisol. Heart rate and breathing increases, blood vessels constrict, and blood pressure elevates. This can lead to a build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries and damage artery walls. Additionally, anger can lead to headaches, digestive imbalances, insomnia, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, skin problems, heart attacks, pulmonary disease, blood clots to the heart, and stroke.  According to world-renowned medical doctor, Dr. Bernie Siegel, anger can also lead to cancer. In my case, my anger manifest first as an eating disorder then later in the form of bladder and kidney problems, both of which involved surgery. 

But anger itself is not the issue. Anger serves a very necessary and useful purpose. In many cases it alerts us to the fact that something is wrong: an injustice is occurring, there may be an imbalance of power, an unfairness, or someone may be at risk for injury. Once the message is received, it is imperative to divert our attention to appropriately expressing it (if necessary) and to finding a possible solution. If an issue cannot be resolved at that moment or in the manner in which we choose, then putting our energy into accepting the situation as it is and finding a way to minimize it's negative effect on us is a productive use of our time and energy. Finding some benefit in our circumstances can also help to alleviate any residual anger we may be experiencing. 

Keep in mind that negative emotions can have devastating consequences on every aspect of our lives. Maintain a positive attitude, talk things out, seek reasonable solutions, keep everything in perspective,  forgive those who have wronged you, and practice peace rituals daily. In that way you can minimize any harmful effects of anger while maximizing your enjoyment and success in life.

To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One Secret That Will Redefine Your Marriage

I've been assisting couples and former couples professionally for nearly thirty years. Regardless of who comes into my office, there seems to be one common thread - people are seeking to learn how to better get along with one another. Their usual approach is to inform me of everything that's wrong with their partner and the proceed to tell me exactly what that person needs to do to fix the marriage. I'll venture to say that probably 100% of those who enter a till-death-do-us-part union do so in an attempt to get their own needs fulfilled. Let me explain. 

Some of the primary reasons people get married are because they want to find someone who will love them and make them happy. Others do so because they're tired of being alone, they hate being a part of the dating scene, and they want to settle down with one person. Some want to have children within the context of a traditional family. Some do so for financial reasons or to boost their self-esteem.

It's extraordinarily rare to hear of anyone getting married because they wanted to enrich their partner's life, or because they want to learn to be a more loving person. Has anyone you know chosen to commit to another for a lifetime as a path to attaining a higher level of spirituality? I'd be hard pressed to find someone who did. And yet to get married for selfish reasons ("I want...") lends itself to disappointment, conflict, and suffering.

I'm in my second marriage. My first ended through no choice of my own. While I had learned to be happy being single, I realized I wanted to share my life again with someone special. I felt I had a lot to offer and the years I'd spent working through my personal issues would ensure that I would be a great wife. I eventually met and married Mac, a truly sweet and kind man of great integrity.  However, the day after we exchanged our "I do's" I realized our marriage was in serious trouble. He was not what I had hoped for. No, there was no dark side of him that suddenly emerged. I simply recognized that there was a lot lacking in him and in our relationship. So, like any good wife (I say that sarcastically), I set out to fix him and make him the man he was meant to be. (How noble of me! Again, sarcasm.)

Very discreetly I tried to change him into someone who would more suit my needs. The more I tried, the more he resisted and the more resentment built between us. Disillusioned and hurt, thoughts of divorce tempted both of us to end our marriage. But I knew we had been brought together through Divine Intervention and I felt that unless God instructed me to release our union, I was not meant to visit Divorce Court for a second time. But how was I supposed to endure a marriage that did not meet my needs? One evening, while attempting yet another selfish effort to improve my husband ("Truly only because I love him", she said delusionally), I had a major revelation. God spoke to me saying,  "See him as I see him; love him as I love him." He further went on to state, "I gave you this beautiful man. Stop trying to fix him. He's not broken. What he is incapable of giving you, I will. Come to me and let me provide for you what is lacking in your marriage. Simply enjoy him for the wonderful person he is."

These words not only transformed my marriage but also brought me into a closer, deeper relationship with my Creator. By removing all of my demands and expectations from my husband, I was truly able to fully enjoy the funny and caring man he is. Without denying my own personal needs, I turned to God to give me what Mac could or would not provide. My love for my Father intensified and was reflected in every aspect of my life. My focus changed from getting my needs met to seeking and bringing out the best in my partner, to provide for him the love, acceptance, and appreciation he so rightly deserved. My capacity to love as God loves, unconditionally, set me free from the chains of provisional love. And my love for my husband grew in direct proportion to my ability to let go and trust in God to care for me. And gradually, my husband responded to my efforts.

Seventeen years later, I can honestly say I have never loved my husband more. And I was only able to do this through the realization that marriage has little to do with the union between Mac and I. It has everything to do with the relationship between me and God. Mac and I were brought together so that I could develop an intimate attachment with the Divine and through that bond learn to love more fully and deeply.  I love who I've become in this marriage and am so grateful to my amazing husband for helping me in my spiritual journey to a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. That is truly what marriage is all about. 

To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

From Once Upon a Time to Happily Ever After

 (First of 2 part series)

Like the old song "Love and Marriage" says, the two simply go together. Yet with the divorce rate over 50%, the notion of happily ever after seems to be reserved for Disney movies. Some couples believe that as long as they love each other they will somehow find a way to make it work.  Mutual interests may have  brought them together but that alone is not enough to keep a marriage strong. The foundation of a life-long satisfying marriage are common values, commitment, and skills. Choosing a life partner who loves to ski is a far cry from one who shares your beliefs about family or your faith. 

Loving someone is challenging. On their best days it is easy to see why you fell in love with them. On their worst days, thoughts of "what was I thinking" may clutter your brain. But commitment is the glue that holds couples together when times are difficult and they feel disillusioned. It is that promise that says, "You are so worth it no matter what!"
It saddens me that couples contemplating marriage are not properly trained in the art of couple hood. Marriage is at least as important as any other career choice yet it requires no particular training. With the proper skills, couples can learn to negotiate the never ending challenges that arise thus allowing them to actually fulfill their pledge of "till death do us part".

One of the most damaging components to any relationship is the desire to fix their partner. The inherent message is "You are not good enough the way you are." There is no more hurtful message we could impart upon our spouse than one that devalues them rather than appreciate them. It is pure arrogance on our parts to believe we are qualified to repair what is not perfect in them. In reality, it's a lame attempt to avoid looking at ourselves while deflecting attention onto our partner. Each party needs to seek to be the best they can be while welcoming the gifts the other brings into the relationship. 

I have spent twenty years working, in part, with couples who are trying to resolve their marital problems. When they first come into my office, I quickly explain that there is no such thing. The puzzled looks on their faces indicate that this is a foreign concept to them. "The issues," I explain, "are of a personal nature only. Each of you has unresolved personal issues that you bring into the relationship. When each of you are able to identify and heal those issues, the problems between you cease to exist. " 

Will there be disagreements and differences? Of  course. But they will no longer be problematic. Problems only exist in the mind. Someone who is a neat freak can be perceived by their partner as organized, caring, and meticulous or crazy, obsessed, and unreasonable. The behavior is not the issue. It is the other party's perception of it that is. If their partner's neatness triggers, let's say, images of being yelled at by a parent for being sloppy, then the issue triggers pain. Once the pain is healed, however,  the behavior itself simply is what it is. 

Marriage can be the most arduous or the most rewarding adventure of your life. It is not enough to simply love your partner. There are necessary skills that will enable you to navigate the ever-changing terrain of your relationship and nurture it into the sacred and rewarding journey it was meant to be. The choice is yours.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our relationship series. 

To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @