Romance novels are a booming business in 2011.
Analysts believe book sales are increasing because romance novels provide a perfect escape during tough times.
A recent New York Times article by Motoko Rich indicated, “At a time when booksellers are struggling to lure readers, sales of romance novels are outstripping other categories of books.”
Romance novels revenue topped $1.36 billion last year, while religious, self-help and inspirational books combined sold only $770 million. Romance novels accounted for 55 percent of all the popular mass-market fiction sold.
"Twilight," which was named one of the Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books in 2005, was the top-selling book of 2008 and to date it has sold over 17 million copies. The "Twilight" books and other children’s books like them are not considered part of the romance book genre, though they are romantic.
If the “Twilight” numbers were added to the romantic genre, the number would be considerably higher.
Shaunti Feldhahn, a best-selling author, was concerned to learn that many romance novels are not as harmless as they look.
“In fact, some marriage therapists caution that women can become as dangerously unbalanced by these books’ entrancing but distorted messages as men can be by the distorted messages of pornography,” she wrote.
According to author of “Finding the Hero in your Husband” and psychologist Dr. Julia Slattery, there are similarities between what happens to a man when he views pornography and what happens to a woman when she reads a romance novel.
“There is a neurochemical element with men and visual porn, but an emotional element with women and these novels," she wrote.
Men are very visual, and viewing pornography produces a euphoric drug in the body. This drug is the reason pornography becomes addictive. When the natural high wears off, a man will crash and feel depressed (as happens with any drug) and crave another hit.
Women are more stimulated by romance than sex, so they read romantic stories (and they don’t have to be explicit to work) they can experience the same addicting chemical release as men do.
She said she is seeing more and more women who are clinically addicted to romantic books.
The Romance Writers Association said, “Romance readers are a very dedicated audience who don’t see these books as a luxury, as much as a necessity."
These books may be more than a necessity; they may be an addiction.
Many women do not see their love for reading romantic books as a problem, while others are admitting dissatisfaction in their marriages that may stem from reading these types of books.
“For many women, these novels really do promote dissatisfaction with their real relationships,” Slattery wrote.
Women may find their standard for intimacy begins to change over time because may not be able to get as satisfied with their partners as they can reading a book.
Pornography addiction counselor Vickie Burress said reading romance novels or viewing pornography may eventually lead to an affair for some women.
"Women involved in pornography have a hard time keeping their family together,” she said.
Kimberly Sayer Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com and was named one of the top 20 Advice Guru's in the country by GMA. She is a popular speaker and life coach who resides in Bountiful Utah.
The Kinetic King, Tim Fort, got a second chance to perform on "America’s Got Talent" this week. America eliminated Fort from the competition a few weeks ago when his chain reaction gadget didn’t work.
On the show's Wild Card segment, Piers Morgan brought Fort back for another live performance. This was his last chance to redeem himself and get back into the competition.
Fort created a giant chain reaction contraption, built from sticks, soda cans, plastic balls and garbage cans, covering the entire stage. The audience held its breath waiting to see if Fort would again go down in flames.
This time, the contraption worked.
Fort received praise and adulation from the judges, but it was left to America to decide his fate. Would America vote the Kinetic King into the finals?
Wednesday night on the live results show, it was announted that the Kinetic King had made it through. The crowd went wild.
This is where the story gets interesting, though. The other performers who won Wednesday night said things like, “Wow, this is the best moment of my life!” “I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true.”
They were overjoyed. They had stars in their eyes. They were one step closer to winning a million dollars and headlining a Vegas show.
The Kinetic King handled his moment of triumph a little different.
There was no jumping up and down. He smiled but his only comment was, “Yay, another week of hard work, frazzled nerves and the chance to look goofy in front of millions of people.”
There was an awkward moment of silence.
Wasn’t he happy about winning?
The interesting thing about Tim Fort is he takes everything in stride. He handled winning with the same amount of enthusiasm he did losing. He met both experiences with the same curiosity. He wasn’t crushed when he lost and he wasn’t giddy when he won.
This guy has talent and it has nothing to do with his act.
He understands that nothing is necessarily good or bad. Each experience is just interesting. They both leave us wondering what will happen next. He understands that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary.
He understands the law of impermanence.
In this life, everything is subject to constant change, to rise and fall, there is no permanent state that exists.
There is an old story from India that explains this principle. There once was a king who called upon his wise men and asked them," Is there one mantra or suggestion that works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time? Is there one mantra that could help me when there is no one is available to advise me?”
After a lengthy discussion, the wise men came up with something. They went to the king and gave him something written on paper. But the condition was the king was not to see it yet. He was to wait until a moment when he found himself alone and in extreme danger, and only then should he read it. The king put the paper under his diamond ring.
After a few days, the kingdom was attacked. The king had to flee on his horse. Suddenly he found himself standing at the end of a road. Underneath there was a rocky valley a thousand feet deep. If he jumped into it, he would be finished…and he could not return because his enemy was approaching fast.
In that moment, he saw the diamond ring and remembered the message. He pulled out the paper and read it. The message was very small but very great.
"This too will pass."
Only a few days ago, the king realized, he was enjoying his riches. He was the mightiest of kings — and today, the kingdom and all his pleasure were gone. However, just as those days of luxuries were gone, this day of danger would also pass. The revelation of message had a great effect on him.
He reorganized his army, defeated the enemy and took back his empire. When he returned home after the victory, he was received with much fanfare at the door. The entire kingdom was rejoicing.
Again, the diamond of his ring flashed in the sunlight and reminded him of the message, "This too will pass."
This is the nature of life.
Happiness comes and goes. Sorrow comes and goes. Nothing in life is permanent. Everything changes. One day you lose but another day you’ll win. Life is a beautiful dance between the two.
The lesson Tim Fort taught us this week is an important one for our time. He taught us to take both the wins and the losses in stride. You are the same you during both experiences. They are just experiences. They don’t define who you are.
Don’t be so quick to judge a situation as good or bad.
They will often surprise you.
Greet each experience with curiosity and gratitude, and remember if you are down and out today, it isn’t a permanent state. We have survived tough times before and we will make it through to brighter days again.
Americans have always had that talent.
My job is torture right now because a co-worker is driving me crazy. He is annoying, obnoxious and unprofessional. He not only bothers me, but he prevents me from being productive as well. Complaining to my supervisor would just make me look like a whiner. Is there anything else I can do?
At some point in our lives, we all have to deal with a coworker we can’t stand. Here are a couple ideas that might keep you from losing it.
1. Get accurate about the situation. Robert Bacal, author of "The Complete Idiots Guide to Dealing with Difficult Employees" says you first have to ask yourself, “Who is the problem?”
Is the person annoying several people at work? Or only bothering you? If everyone else gets along with this person, you might be the one with the problem. You may need to work on letting things go or being more thick skinned.
2. Avoid the annoying coworker as much as you can.
Here are some avoidance tips:
If this person’s behavior is keeping you from getting work done, and avoidance techniques aren’t working, it’s time to have a talk about it.
Do not have this conversation in the heat of the moment when you are annoyed or angry. Take time to step back and get a clear head first. The conversation will go better if you are calm and cool.
Daniel Robin, a consultant who runs the website www.abetterworkplace.com says the conversation will go over better if you talk to the person in private. Don’t gang up on the person with other colleagues.
Pull the person aside and ask if this is a good time to talk.
Don’t criticize or put him or her on the defensive upfront. Ask him or her questions about your working relationship and how he or she feel about it. Listen to his or her thoughts and feelings and validate the right to see the situation the way he or she does. Even if you think he or she is crazy, you must honor and respect his or her right to be who he or she is.
Then ask the person if he or she would be open to hearing some of your honest feelings. Ask if her or she open to some feedback, even if it’s hard to hear.
Wait for a yes.
Speak your truth about how you would like the work relationship to be. Focus on the solution and how you would like to be treated. Don’t focus on past behavior. Ask if he or she would be willing to honor how you feel about this and what you need at work.
4. This last idea is sneaky but very effective. Figure out how you would like this person to behave and thank him or her for behaving this way as often as you can.
One manager who tried this had an employee who was sharing confidential information with people outside the organization. Instead of getting angry, this smart manager pulled the employee aside and thanked him for being so careful with confidential work information. He told him how much he appreciated being able to count on him to handle sensitive material with discretion. He thanked the employee for this quite often.
They never had a problem with leaked information again.
Positive encouragement makes people want to change themselves. Dr. Rick Brinkman, a professional trainer and author of the book "Dealing With People You Can't Stand" says, "Any time that you project positive on a person, you shove them in that direction."
You could also go to upper management with your frustration, but like you mentioned in your question, you may be seen as a complainer. If you decide to talk to a manager, get some other colleagues, who are also annoyed to go with you.
If none of these techniques work there’s always revenge. You could superglue his or her mouse to the mouse pad or pull all the keys off his keyboard, rearrange them in different spots.
I am suffering from a lack of confidence. I compare myself with others too much and I never measure up. I am very intimidated by other people and often don’t stand up for myself. I am starting to see the same tendencies in my children and I don’t want to pass this on. How can I help myself and my kids to feel good about ourselves — is there a cure for low self-esteem?
If you want to change the way you feel about yourself and help your children to do the same, you must change the way you think about yourself. Here are some things to work on.
1. Increase your responsibility
Figure out what your responsibilities are. Ask yourself, “Am I doing these things?” If you are letting things go undone, procrastinating doing them or breaking commitments you make to yourself, that must change.
For example, if you commit to go to the gym three times this week. do it. You will feel empowered when you do. When you take consistent action to be responsible for your life and do the things you need to do, you will immediately feel better about yourself. Get help from an expert if needed.
2. Increase your ability to respond to life
Read books, attend personal development seminars and choose to be around positive people. Read books about speaking your truth, trusting yourself or increasing self-esteem.
Look for information on how to be a better spouse or parent. There is an unlimited supply of material out there that can help you to learn and grow. When you are in a process of learning, growing and becoming a better you, you will automatically have increased feelings of self worth.
3. Increase trust
Trust that your value is infinite and absolute. Nothing you do can diminish who you are. You are a divine, irreplaceable, one of a kind amazing soul. You have value because you are a child of God. You are exactly who you are supposed to be and where you are supposed to be in your journey. Choose to trust this fact.
Trust is a choice. You decide how you will experience each moment. You can choose to fear you aren’t good enough or you can choose to feel safe, important and good. Practice choosing trust. Your value isn't on the line, you are here to learn and grow. There is nothing to be afraid of.
4. Increase love
Focus on loving, edifying and listening to people everywhere you go. Make the decision before you walk into a room you are not going to worry about yourself and dwell in fear about your value. Instead you are going to be laser focused on making other people feel valued and important. Can you imagine how you will feel on the way home if this is how you show up?
When you are laser focused on love, fear cannot exist. Fear and insecurity are selfish emotions because they keep you focused on you. When you choose to be a force for love, your insecurities melt away. Be the love everywhere you go and you will discover who you are. Go get them with your love.
5. Listen to your children
The best way to increase self-esteem in a child is to listen to them. When you ask questions about what they think and feel about things and really listen, they feel valued at the deepest level.
Instead of explaining things, ask questions that guide them to discover the truth for themselves. Instead of lecturing, ask questions that help them understand their choices and the consequences on their own. Be a question-asking parent. Be a loving listener. This will also make you feel good about the kind of parent you are becoming.
Help your children understand they are not their looks, their abilities or their performance. Focus more attention on their love for family and friends, their kindness and compassion. Don't give so much validation for looks, abiltites or performance. Focus on the qualities of their character — that is where they will discover their worth.
I am not saying to discount their talents and good looks but to make sure they see "who they are" is the source of their true value — not what they do.
Remember you are the one who determines your value each day. You can choose to listen to the voice of fear that says you aren’t good enough and that compares your extrinsic qualities to others. Or you can tell the voice of fear to be quiet and go away.
You can choose to value yourself intrinsically for the irreplaceable amazing soul you are. You can choose to appreciate your love and goodness because it is really who you are.
You can do this.
“The tragedy is that so many people look for self-confidence and self-respect everywhere except within themselves and so they fail in their search.” — Nathaniel Branden
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a speaker and life coach who has a radio show at www.lifeadviceradio.com.
How do people stay positive when things are really rough? I know we can’t be the only family struggling to keep our heads above water. Could you give us any tips for getting through the discouragement? How can we stay happy in the face of huge setbacks and problems?
I’m so glad you asked this question because you are definitely not alone. Most families are experiencing some fear and stress about their situations right now.
Here are nine tips for surviving rough times with a smile.
1. Understand that even if you can't control outside circumstances, you can decide how you want to experience them. Since negativity will get you nowhere, choose a positive attitude even if it’s ridiculously optimistic. Refuse to dwell in fear.
Consciously choose to trust that you will make it through and gain strength and wisdom from this experience. Every situation makes you a better person and this one will serve you in some way. Choose to believe good things are coming. They might be – you don’t know what’s around the next corner and it’s more enjoyable to expect the best than the worst.
2. Remember this won’t last forever. Life is cyclical and you will always have your ups and downs. Life is a beautiful mix of blessings and challenges. Whether things are good or bad, it won’t last forever. Decide to accept the impermanent nature of life. Those who expect it to always be easy will always be disappointed. Try to embrace the difficult times as a perfect and inevitable part of your journey.
3. Hang out with positive people. Avoid negative people who wallow in their stories of woe. Misery loves company but it doesn’t have to be yours. Choose to associate with people who think positive. Make friends with people who are problem solvers and motivated to create good things in their lives. It will rub off on you.
4. Read encouraging, uplifting books and listen to upbeat, happy music. Choose books that give you a fresh perspective on life and music that makes you want to dance. A library card and listening to the radio are both free. The personal development author and speaker Og Mandino wrote about the night his life fell apart. He thought about killing himself but decided to go to the library instead. He read every book he could find on positive thinking and it changed his life. It could change yours.
5. Start a gratitude journal. Focus on what you do have. Enjoy even the smallest of blessings and treasure every simple happy moment. Take time each day to write down five things you are grateful for. You’ll be amazed at how blessed you really are.
6. Work on your spirituality. Research shows that those who practice faith and maintain a relationship with God live longer and more satisfying lives. Turn your worries over to a higher power and practice faith.
7. Laugh as much as possible. Laugh together as a family. Watch funny movies, read joke books and keep your sense of humor alive. Watch "Wipeout" or "America's Funniest Home Videos." For some reason watching other people fail really cheers you up. When we were struggling we often laughed about just how bad off we were. We had nothing more to lose so we just had to laugh at it.
8. Reach out to others who are worse off than you. Get your focus off your own problems. Perform acts of service. Find a place to volunteer. Service will change your perspective. You will feel better right away.
9. Get some help. A little professional help could make a huge difference especially if you are feeling depressed. You are in charge of your destiny so get some help to change the course of your life. There are many life coaches, counselors and therapists in your area to call on.
"A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change. Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
Times have changed.
Kids today are exposed to distractions we could not have imagined. They are influenced by an avalanche of media and information that threatens to swallow them up. Despite our best efforts to protect them, many are getting lost.
They are becoming disconnected from us and life.
We are losing them to the world of alternative reality.
We are losing them to fantasy.
Many spend hours a day playing video games, where they are having adventures, making friends and accomplishing things in a world that doesn’t really exist. Others spend hours a day watching television or movies. Kids who spend too much time here are not investing in making real friends or accomplishing real things. They are literally missing their life.
Still others spend hours a day reading the latest teenage romance books. One girl told me she had read the entire series of vampire romance books 32 times. She was literally living in the books. I wonder what other experiences she is missing out on.
Don't get me wrong, I am not discouraging reading. Reading is a great hobby for children and I strongly encourage it.
It is only a problem if they are spending all their time reading, watching TV or playing video games, instead of doing other important things like building relationships, developing talents and using their creativity or accomplishing goals.
When children spend too much time in fantasy, they eventually struggle with their identity and self worth. They may not know who they are anymore. They develop low self esteem, which triggers an increased desire to be someone else or be somewhere else.
This is an alarming and vicious cycle.
We, as parents, have to be more on our game than ever before. We have to be smarter and more involved in our children’s lives and activities. We can’t just shoot from the hip. We must develop a parenting plan ahead of time.
Here are some principles that will help you raise confident healthy kids.
1. Be proactive and create experiences for growth and accomplishment.
Plan some projects or activities for your family to participate in together. Make some goals, do a service project, plan a trip, make some money together, take up a hobby or a sport. Sit down as a family and decide on some things you want to accomplish. Shoot high. You will be amazed at what you can do.
Two years ago my children decided to take Christmas to four orphanages in Mexico. My children were kept busy for months raising money, wrapping presents and planning their trip. It was an experience they will never forget.
2. Help children figure out who they are
Twice a year (before school starts and in January) I sit down with my children and ask them to brainstorm about what kind of person they want to be this year.
What kind of a student, sister, brother, daughter, son or friend do they want to be?
What do they want to accomplish this year? Who do they want to be?
I encourage them to figure it out now.
I ask them to write these ideas on a card in this format:
"I am a caring friend who is always there for my friends when they need me.”
“I am a loving daughter that always helps my parents.”
"I will earn the money to buy a new bike this year."
When they have decided who they want to be ahead of time, it is easier to make good choices each day. Encourage them to keep this card and read it daily.
3. Give children as much liberty and free agency as possible.
Free agency is the principle of governing our Heavenly Father chose to govern his family. He chose it because it creates maximum learning and growth, which is his ultimate goal for us.
Force and control may produce more obedience in children, but without the opportunity to think through problems, listen to their intuition, make choices and experience the consequences, children don’t learn anything from the experience of being obedient. Children learn best when allowed to make their own decisions.
I recommend giving children every possible opportunity to make their own choices and experience the full weight of their consequences. Smart parents ask questions to guide a child’s thought processes in the right direction, but they let children figure out answers for themselves.
Your children will make some wrong choices with this plan, but rest assured, the lessons they learn from those choices will be well worth it.
4. Get children involved in creating structure and rules in your home
When people have a vote in establishing laws, they are more likely to honor and respect those laws. I recommend having family meetings and discussing what rules would be necessary in your household and what the consequences for breaking those rules should be.
Only establish rules for the really important things like protecting each others' rights and for dividing up the responsibilities of the home. Encourage children to set limits on TV, books, video games, etc. for themselves. What would be an acceptable amount of time for me to spend in fantasy? How else could I spend some of my time?
Encourage good choices by having a lot of open and validating conversations with your children about what they think and what they want in their life. Open communication will create smart, confident children.
5. Lead and motivate children through love, not fear
Our Heavenly Father wants us to make good choices because we love him — not because we fear him. He parents us with love. He doesn’t berate us for our mistakes. He doesn’t say, “I told you so” and he doesn’t tell us how stupid we were.
He doesn’t need to; we already know.
He lovingly lets us experience the consequences of our choices and loves us through them.
We would be wise to follow his example.
Children respond best when treated with love and respect. When parents are kind, encouraging, loyal and respectful, they earn the same back.
If you want your child to respect what you think, then respect what he or she thinks first. Ask lots of questions and do even more listening. The more you listen to your child and honor and respect their right to think and feel the way they do, the more valued they feel and the more they will respect you back.
When fear motivation is used, children will stop obeying as soon as they are out of your sight. Children who are loved and respected make good choices because they want to.
You can do this.
You are the perfect parent for your child.
Kimberly Sayer Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com and was named one of the Top 20 Advice Guru's in the country by GMA. She resides in Bountiful, Utah.
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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.