I am not happy in my marriage. We are good at pretending we are happy, but the truth is, things are bad. I harbor a lot of resentment toward my spouse for the things he’s done in the past. I can hardly stand to be around him. We pretend to get along for the children, but there is no love in my marriage. I wish there was some way to fix our situation but I don’t think I can change how I feel. Any advice?
Life is a classroom and every experience is here to teach you something. I guarantee this situation is in your life to give you a chance to become a better person. The question is, how? How are you supposed to step it up, make some changes in yourself and become a better person through this situation?
You will have to listen to your own inner truth for the answer. You may be in this situation to learn about leaving the marriage and standing on your own — or you may be in this situation to learn about forgiveness and making a relationship work. Only you will know which course is right for you, but I’ll teach you a couple of principles that may help.
Principle: A healthy marriage requires good communication.
When you have been hurt by your spouse, you must speak your truth about it. You cannot bury the hurt, withdraw or withhold love if you want this relationship to work. You must express your feelings about his behavior and ask for what you want and need. You must also give your spouse the chance to express regret for that behavior and try to change.
If you want a healthy marriage, both partners must be able to speak their truth and talk openly about how they feel, and handle these conversations in a loving way. If you attack your spouse, you will not get anywhere.
These conversations must be mutually validating for both people. ( I wrote an article on how to have validating conversations I recommend you read.) If both parties are committed, you can work through many issues this way.
Principle: Choosing to handle mistreatment with love will create more happiness in your life.
If you want happiness, you must treat every person — including your spouse — with respect and kindness, even when they don't deserve it. You will do this not because of who they are, but because it’s the kind of person you want to be.
Choosing to handle situations with love does not mean you automatically give the other person what they want. It means protecting yourself, enforcing your boundaries and asking for what you need — all in a loving way.
You should never tolerate abusive or disrespectful behavior, and being loving does not mean you have to continue your journey married to this person. If you cannot rekindle feelings of love, respect and trust toward your spouse, you may decide that continuing your journey away from this person is the most loving option.
Whatever you do, do not make any decision in anger. Decisions made with this kind of energy seldom turn out well. If you leave this relationship holding onto resentment toward your ex-spouse, you will take the bitterness with you into your future relationships.
Relationship expert Barbara De Angelis said, “The more anger toward the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.”
Base your decision in love.
If you decide leaving is the right choice for you, you still must forgive your spouse as part of that process. You must hold onto the lessons, but let go of the pain and resentment. You must forgive your spouse so you can move forward with peace. Forgiveness is about healing you.
It is not about the other person.
Principle: Forgiveness is about healing yourself.
If you choose to stay in this relationship, then make a commitment to do so with love. Decide to forgive your spouse because you’re not perfect either. Recognize his honest efforts to do better and give him some room to grow and learn. Give him permission to be an imperfect work in progress, just like you.
We are all struggling students in the classroom of life, and we must give other people permission to be imperfect and learning.
You are also going to have to practice patience. It takes time for change to happen, and it is a lengthy process to rebuild trust — but it can happen.
Remember, forgiveness is not denying or minimizing the hurt that you suffered. Forgiveness is the decision to let the pain stay in the past. It is about releasing the pain, animosity and angst toward a person because it doesn’t serve anyone when you to hold onto it.
You may think that holding onto anger protects you or benefits you in some way, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t right the wrong, it doesn’t punish the wicked, it doesn’t make you feel better and it doesn’t help either party to grow and learn.
Principle: Forgiveness is the most difficult but powerful way you can change your life.
Trust that this situation is in your life for a perfect reason and the universe will provide all the guidance and help that you need. Remember, this situation is here to serve you, not to punish you. You will be a stronger, wiser person no matter how it turns out.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in self esteem and renewing hope.
When I read a recent KSL article about a school superintendent berating and threatening employees, it sounded very familiar. I am also working for a leader who intimidates and threatens employees and uses fear to motivate us. How does one deal with this type of leader and how can someone be sure they aren’t this type of leader?
There are basically two types of leaders: Those who function in fear about their own value and can therefore only focus on themselves, and those who are secure about who they are and can therefore focus on the needs of others. I call these fear-motivated leaders or love-motivated leaders. (FYI: Parents are also leaders and fall into these same two categories.)
It sounds like the superintendent you read about may be a fear-motivated leader. Anyone who needs to threaten and intimidate employees (or children) to control their behavior is not secure about who they are. Their focus is on protecting and promoting themselves and making themselves look good. They are coming from a place of ego, and they often use intimidation to control and manipulate other people.
If you want to be love-motivated leader (or parent) you should:
If you are currently working for a fear-motivated leader, here are a couple of suggestions that may help:
1) Make sure you are seeing this person accurately.
3) Validate him as often as possible. This makes him feel safe with you. Be kind and respectful and stay in control of your emotions and reactions. The more mature and wise you behave, the better.
4) Document everything. Quietly keep track of unethical, immoral or manipulative behavior. Write everything down. Hopefully, a right moment will show up when you’ll be glad you did.
5) Say as little as possible. When you do need to speak, ask lots of questions and listen to him first, then choose your words carefully. Don’t put this person on the defensive.
6) When he does behave like a love-motivated leader, be sure to notice, thank him and let him know how much you appreciate it. This will encourage good behavior in the future.
You may also want to update your resume.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem and restoring hope.
I get discouraged and frustrated too often these days. Life has become one exhausting challenge after another, and I’m not feeling much joy in this journey. How can I find more happiness when the daily grind is not any fun?
If you are waiting to find happiness, you will be waiting a long time.
Happiness is not something you find, it’s something you create. Understanding that happiness is a choice is the first step in creating it. Here are a few unique ways to create more joy, plus a few jokes to get you laughing today.
1) Be responsible for your own happiness.
Understand that happiness is not dependent on circumstances. There have always been rich and successful people who are unhappy and poor people who joyful. Happiness is a choice.
Decide that today will be enjoyable before it even starts. Llisten to music while you work, laugh at everything and do something nice for yourself. Choose a positive attitude and believe good things are coming your way. This positive attitude does make a difference.
2) Focus on what’s in your control.
Get out a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On one side list all the things that are in your control and are your responsibility relative to any situation. Put everything that’s not in your control or your responsiblity on the other. Don’t waste time or energy on those things.
3) Keep commitments you make to yourself.
If you committed to going to the gym three times this week, do it. The more you keep commitments to yourself, the more powerful, free and happy you will feel. Keeping commitments to yourself empowers you and creates feelings of self-worth, which increase happiness.
4) Be grateful.
Start a gratitude journal and take five minutes every day to write down the blessings in your life. Focus on the small things. Gratitude is the most positive emotion there is.
5) Be present in the now.
Fear is usually about either the future or the past. Don't dwell in guilt and regret over things that are done and gone. This is a waste of your time and energy. You must move on. Think of these past experiences as a location you drove through, and don't let them define who you are now.
Focus on who you want to be today.
Don’t waste today worrying about tomorrow, either. You can spend time planning and working to create a good future, but do this without fear. Trust that things will work out.
6) Be secure.
Trust that your value is infinite and absolute. Nothing anyone says, thinks or does and nothing you do, think or say can diminish you. You are literally as bulletproof as Superman. No one can make you feel “less than" or change who you are, unless you let them.
Choose to feel bulletproof. Let insults bounce off and let negative people keep their yucky energy to themselves. Choose to believe you have nothing to be afraid of.
7) View others with kindness.
Remember that life is a classroom and every experience is a lesson. You are here in a divine process of growing and learning and there is no situation which is not here for your good. Every experience teaches you things about yourself, people and life. If you can remember to see life this way, it will take away much of the suffering.
Choose to see other people as the same as you. Give yourself and other people permission to be imperfect students learning to be better.
8) Be loving.
Choose to focus on lifting and edifying other people instead of worrying about yourself. When you are focused on the good of others you are being an expression of your highest self, and that creates happiness. Be a force for love in the world.
9) Make yourself laugh.
Read the comics section in the paper, search for funny videos on YouTube, watch a funny movies or play a prank on your children or co-workers. Fly a kite or buy an ice cream cone. Do something today that makes you laugh, and keep it up every day.
Here is a chuckle in honor of approaching tax day:
"Two things you need to know about taxes. They've extended the deadline to April 18, and when you write your check, just make it out to China." -David Letterman
"We ought to thank President Obama. He's made it a lot easier for people to do their taxes this year. No job, no income tax." -Jay Leno
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in self esteem and building confidence.
I haven’t been happy in my marriage for a while. My spouse does nothing to make me feel loved or appreciated. He does nothing for my self-esteem and I can’t stand feeling this bad about myself any longer. How can I get him to give me the validation I need?
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship I recommend you get some professional help right away. Emotional abuse includes any form of criticism, intimidation, manipulation or behavior designed to belittle or control you.
If your spouse intentionally makes you feel inferior or makes you feel unsafe, this behavior should not be tolerated. You should seek the help of professionals, and you may want to remove yourself from this situation.
Helpguide.org has some valuable information on recognizing emotional abuse, and I recommend you read it so you can better assess your situation.
Having said that, if your situation is not about abuse, it may be that you have unrealistic expectations about your spouse’s role in creating happiness in your life.
It is not your spouse’s job to make you happy or fix your self-esteem —it’s yours.
If you are depending on anyone or anything (external) to give you validation and provide feelings of self-worth, you are never going to get there. Though external validation feels good, it cannot replace the need for intrinsic validation that comes from you and your beliefs about yourself.
If you don’t love yourself, no amount of external validation will be enough.
Stop looking to other people for happiness and self-esteem. You will never be happy unless you take full responsibility for your happiness.
When you give responsibility for your happiness to other people, it leaves you powerless and weak. When you take responsibility for your happiness (all on your own) you will feel empowered to create the life you want.
Taking responsibility for your happiness creates feelings of freedom and power, which create self-worth.
Happiness comes from choosing to be happy no matter what treatment you get from other people. (With the exception of abuse of course). You can choose to be happy even in a relationship where you aren’t getting love or appreciation from your spouse. People do this every day.
You don’t have to stay, though.
You could make the choice to leave the relationship and try to find another one. But unless you also make changes to your self iimage, no matter who you chose, they will disappoint you in this same way. If you aren't happy with yourself no one else can fix that.
You can request change and better treatment from your spouse but you also need to work on changing you.
Happiness is a choice you must make.
Here are some things you can do to take back your power, choose happiness and increase self-esteem on your own:
You will also give more love to your spouse because you are no longer as needy and your spouse will be more attracted to this confident new you.
Changing YOU may be the answer.
“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe." -Deepak Chopra
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem. Watch Coach Kim on KSL Today's Morning Show.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.