28Feb 2019

How to Evolve with Acceptance, Love, Peace of Mind, and Empowerment

By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD

Conquer self-defeating beliefs.

Achieve mastery over your feelings and emotional states.

Discover the love you want – and celebrate the love you receive.

Create personal empowerment and success.

Attain peace of mind, self-love, and unconditional self-acceptance.

Really? Sounded like false advertising to me. I was certain that this weekend “personal growth” workshop would be a waste of time. I’d been a practicing therapist for over 20 years, and I had many years of my own personal therapy. There were no more skeletons in my closet, and I’d already healed my childhood wounds.

I moved to Florida 18 years ago and needed to build a new practice. I met a woman at a networking meeting, and she told me that I would get referrals if I attended her personal growth workshop. I would have to be a student first, then I could be a therapist in the room. I told her I didn’t need any more personal growth, and she said I just might get something out of it anyway.

So, I went – with a lot of doubt and cynicism. I already knew everything they were teaching. Then by the second day I saw my childhood, my marriage, and my personal story in a whole new light. I was surprised at my powerful emotional reactions. And I learned a new language and a refreshing new approach to the personal angst that I had been denying. I made new decisions, and I felt empowered to create a new, hopeful, loving, and successful path, both personally and professionally. In short, this workshop changed my life.

Now I’m happy to say that I’m a consultant and instructor for Evolve, a weekend personal growth and development workshop in Delray Beach, Florida. I’ve been teaching this type of course for over 10 years, and I continue to learn and grow through this process.

Five Steps to Personal Transformation

I’ve found that there are five fundamental steps for achieving person growth and transformation:

  1. Conquer Self-Limiting Beliefs – At the Evolve workshop we uncover the true meaning of the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result). Our lives and choices are limited only because we operate on unconscious beliefs learned during childhood. For example, almost everyone experiences some type of emotional pain, loss, neglect, abandonment or abuse growing up. The child learns counter-productive survival strategies to cope with these experiences. Negative belief systems develop as a result of those events and our own attempts to deal with them. Our self-limiting beliefs result in a victim mentality, a tendency to blame others, and other rigid, self-sabotaging opinions, assumptions, and expectations. At Evolve we become aware of these often-hidden belief systems, and workshop exercises provide us with tools to conquer these beliefs.
  2. Master Emotional Agility – One of the most fundamental steps for personal growth is to learn the language and function of feelings. We talk about five primary feelings: mad, sad, glad, ashamed, and afraid. We connect the feelings we experience today with the same feelings we had growing up. Our emotional reactions – especially fear, anger, and shame – are road signs to our limiting beliefs, and to childhood wounds calling out to be healed. When our feelings are excessive, we may be regressing to an early childhood stage, and we may create drama. When we cannot manage our feelings effectively, we may feel overwhelmed and create chaos. When we can’t feel things at all, or we inhibit our emotional response, we may be protecting ourselves with emotional rigidity and “character armor.” When we experience our feelings with a new set of beliefs, we begin to learn how to respond – instead of reacting.
  3. Develop a Full Capacity to Love and Be Loved – As we begin to evolve, we develop empathy, compassion, and the ability to be vulnerable in relationships. We let go of the protections we learned growing up and develop trust in ourselves and others. We learn to love unconditionally, and to accept love from others without reservation. Through this process I learned the true meaning of love, connection, and partnership with others. I know I still have much more to learn – and that’s good news!
  4. Embrace Responsibility and Become Empowered – Experiential exercises help us to let go of the victim mentality, to let go of blame and revenge, and to see ourselves and others accurately, without judgment. We let go of the need to do superiority (grandiosity) or the need to make ourselves small (inferiority). We accept personal responsibility for our feelings, beliefs, decisions, and behavior. And we are then free to empower ourselves to choose a successful path at home, at work, and in all our relationships. We learn how to use boundaries, assertiveness, forgiveness, and gratitude as tools to create a life of authenticity and effectiveness.
  5. Practice Self-Acceptance and Self-Love – Years ago I thought the idea of “self-love” was a narcissistic, contrived, “new-age” fantasy. I was wrong (more accurately, I was influenced by negativity, judgments, and depression when I was a child). For many of us, self-love doesn’t come naturally. The good news is that anyone can learn a healthy, balanced version of self-acceptance and self-love. We use mindfulness practices to monitor and delete the negative self-talk. We learn to identify and let go of the shame we inherited growing up. We replace shame (also known as self-contempt) with self-love when we love the child within us.

You can read more about Evolve workshops, review the schedule for upcoming weekends, and register for courses at www.evolve-course.com. Or you may contact us at our Center for additional information.

23Jan 2019

The Great Shutdown

How Our Relationship is Like Politics in America

By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD

Dateline: January 2019. The parks are closed. Government workers are furloughed. Security lines are getting longer at airports. Food isn’t being inspected, federal loans for farmers and small businesses are suspended, and the U.S. credit rating is in jeopardy. The historic Great Shutdown continues with no end in sight, and hundreds of thousands of people are feeling the pain.

The Relational Shutdown

I’ve often thought that what happens globally or nationally also happens locally, personally, and in our closest relationships. Almost every distressed couple I’ve worked with has experienced their own version of the Great Shutdown. The patterns are familiar to everyone:

  • “He doesn’t talk to me. He won’t respond. I ask him what’s wrong and he says ‘Nothing’.”
  • “We fight over stupid things and she gets her feelings hurt. Then her wall goes up. It takes her days to get over it.”
  • “She attacks me. She’s critical, controlling, and it’s always my fault. So of course I shut down to protect myself.”
  • “Whatever I do it’s never enough for him. He wants sex all the time. Every time he touches me it has to lead to sex. So I just push him away and go to bed early to avoid him.”
  • “I can’t say anything to her. The least little suggestion makes her mad. Then she won’t talk to me.”
  • “We’ve been like this for years. We used to fight all the time. Now there’s no connection at all – we’re like roommates.”

Why We Shut Down

Our government shuts down when the two sides are at war. Each side needs to be right, and there is no compromise. When one side is “right” they make the other side wrong. It’s a classic power struggle – and it creates a no-win scenario. Negotiations lead nowhere, and the system crashes.

Relationships are very similar. Conflict is a normal part of marriage and committed relationships. We get triggered in a thousand different ways. We don’t feel appreciated or supported. Or we feel controlled, attacked, or ignored. In my own marriage we fight about walking the dogs, recycling, and the remote control (along with some slightly more significant issues). We shut down because we’re angry, and we shut down to protect ourselves (from real or perceived attacks).

When there is conflict, or emotional reactivity due to unmet needs, most couples employ what Terry Real calls “losing strategies.” These include:

  1. Needing to be right
  2. Controlling your partner
  3. Unbridled self-expression (verbal bombardment in the guise of self-expression or “communication” – a type of spontaneous venting or spewing)
  4. Retaliation and revenge
  5. Withdrawal

In case you didn’t notice, number five is the Great Shutdown. This emotional and physical distance is often the last resort, after other losing strategies break down. Withdrawal also includes defensiveness and stubborn resistance. A good example is the Donald Trump vs Nancy Pelosi drama, now playing on your favorite cable news network. Does this sound familiar to you in your relationship?

What Are We To Do?

Ultimately, I believe that fixing the Great Shutdown of our government shouldn’t be all that different from fixing relational shutdowns in our marriages and committed relationships. These are the basic steps and principles:

  • We are all in this together – otherwise known as: We are partners and teammates. We are on the same team. It’s about reaffirming our commitment to each other, based in love, understanding and empathy. “Would you rather be right, or be in relationship?”
  • Use an abundance mentality (rather than living in lack). There is enough for all of us – or both of us – when we are willing to compromise and share. Practice the art of giving and let go of expectations (giving unites us – expectations separate us and sets us up for resentment).
  • What do you really need in the relationship? Make a list of needs and practice giving your partner what you need. Then make reasonable requests and be open to feedback from your partner.
  • Find out what your partner needs – you might need to ask directly! Listen, acknowledge, and use empathy and compassion. Your partner’s needs probably aren’t that different from your own.
  • Practice forgiveness and gratitude. Forgiveness is simply letting go of your resentments (never tell your partner that you forgive them – that’s just a sideways form of retaliation, such as “I forgive you for being such a jerk.”) Holding on to resentments hurts you just as much as your partner. What do you appreciate about your partner? Write a gratitude list and add to it every day.
  • Let go of victim mentality. You create the role of victim for yourself by believing in your tragic story. The fix to being in victim is responsibility – take responsibility for your own feelings and create a positive outcome by your choice to be in partnership.
  • Use mindfulness – non-judgmental awareness – and practice non-reactivity on a daily basis. Slow the process down, take a cleansing breath, and use loving-kindness to create intimacy and connection.

If, or when our government practices these same principles and skills that are so effective in couples therapy, we may travel well beyond the Great Shutdown – to creative problem-solving and improvements for everyone.

Couples therapy is highly recommended when there is a repetitive pattern of shutting down in a relationship. Divorce and relationship break-ups are highly associated with ongoing patterns of distance and withdrawal. Our Connections program of marriage retreats and couples therapy intensives is very effective for couples who experience too much conflict and distance. Please contact us today for more information about our programs for relationship repair.

02Jan 2019

By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD

The stock market is crashing. Our government is in chaos. There seems to be a new shooting or act of terrorism every week. The planet is heating up more rapidly than predicted, as we endure catastrophic fires, storms and floods. War, nuclear threats, and authoritarian regimes continue to imperil populations and the world order internationally. While children are still being caged on the US-Mexico border. If you experienced new levels of anxiety and worry in 2018 you’re not alone.

So what’s to be done? How do we cope with all of the bad news?

As a psychotherapist (and occasional political activist) I believe each of us individually and groups of us collectively can and do make a difference. At a personal level we can change the course of our lives and our relationships when we function from the highest, most evolved version of ourselves. History shows that we are capable of great things when we rise to the occasion. We are often at our very best when things are at their worst.

And history proves that hope is reasonable and appropriate even during times of war, poverty, epidemic, and economic depression. That’s not to minimize the tragedy of great suffering and loss, personally and globally. One aspect of good mental health is the ability to experience all of our feelings – fully, without repression or denial – and to practice acceptance as a first step toward recovery.

There is reason for hope and renewal in 2019 and beyond. Hope itself is one of our most important coping skills. Hope followed by positive action is highly effective in creating change. As Andy told his friend Red in the movie Shawshank Redemption, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Reasons for Hope

  • Our system of government and our constitution are strong and enduring. History is on our side (we have survived and thrived after civil war, world wars, impeachments, The Great Depression, and The Great Recession of 2008).
  • The murder rate is actually trending downward in 2018 (despite mass shootings).
  • There are numerous indications of progress in the battle against global warming (such as international climate accords and progress in the development of nuclear fission, which will result in an endless source of clean, cheap power)
  • National and grass-root movements are achieving positive results in the areas of civil rights, gun violence, sexual harassment, and other important social causes.
  • Breakthroughs in medicine and world health include reductions in cancer and HIV deaths, and other improvements in treating and preventing heart disease, cholera, TB, and leprosy.
  • Progress is inevitable – it is an invariable rule of history. We will continue to have many challenges in the future, and those challenges provide us with endless opportunities for positive growth and development.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Progressive Recovery

In which I argue that recovery is much more than repair and restoration. Individuals may “recover” from addiction, depression, and trauma – with abstinence, a return to “normal” functioning, and the ability to live life without dysfunction or disorder. Progressive Recovery is the intention to live life fully, to practice a healthy and robust life style, and to create positive change in ourselves and our world. In Progressive Recovery we grow and develop emotionally, psychologically, and relationally, and we create healthy, productive, cooperative, and loving families and communities.

Imagine a world of people united in their efforts to create a world at peace, to end homelessness, poverty and hunger, to end violence, and to care properly for our planet (thank you John Lennon – you were a dreamer, and you were not the only one). These efforts begin at home. These efforts are relational – including our relationship with ourselves and with others.

7 Steps of Progressive Recovery

  1. Place the Adult in Charge – In my “Who’s In Charge?” self-help model I define our Adult self as loving and responsible. All of us have an Inner Child, an inner Teenager (often lost and angry), and an Inner Critic. Fortunately, we can learn to put the Adult in charge. The Adult is caring, compassionate, empathetic, responsible, and relational. Children and teenagers are often selfish and aggressive. Adults understand the value of sharing, compromise, and the delay of gratification. Who’s in charge in your relationships? Who’s in charge of the world today?
  2. Practice Non-Reactivity – The lessons we learned from the Buddha, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. remain highly relevant and effective. Non-violent, cooperative relationships are creative and productive. We teach non-reactivity to couples who experience relationship distress. It’s a fundamental step toward relationship repair and positive connection.
  3. Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance – The term radical acceptance was popularized by Tara Brach, a psychologist and proponent of Buddhist philosophy and practice. Mindfulness is based in eastern meditative practice, and is defined as moment-to-moment awareness without judgment. When we practice these methods in our daily lives, we approach all problems, personal, interpersonal, and societal with equanimity, understanding, and a belief in loving-kindness for ourselves, for others, and for our planet.
  4. Holistic Communal Wellness – Holistic health considers the whole person – mind, body, spirit and emotions. Holistic communal wellness considers the whole person, the whole family, and the whole community, including the world community. The major religions of the world, quantum physics, and progressive political movements all agree that we are one. We are not simply isolated individuals grouped together in communities and countries. And we do not simply share space together. The actions of one person affect many others. When we care for our personal health, our bodies and our minds, we are more likely to care for the health of others. And as we create optimal health and mental health conditions for our neighbors, communities, and other nations, we also heal ourselves.
  5. Positive Connections and Partnerships – Building upon holistic communal wellness, we achieve more, create more, and solve more problems when we practice social intelligence in all our affairs. We build productive partnerships with cooperation and compromise to benefit everyone.
  6. Giving Back to Others – In Deepak Chopra’s book The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success, Dr. Chopra reviews the “Law of Giving and Receiving”. He states that everything in the universe operates through dynamic exchange. Every relationship is one of give and take. Each of us thrives in direct proportion to our acts of generosity and love.
  7. Practice Gratitude and Forgiveness – Research studies have shown that the daily practice of gratitude is one of the most important keys to happiness. We will never lack for situations and events in life that make us disappointed and angry. (Actually, nothing can “make us” angry. Anger is a choice, albeit an unconscious decision. But that’s for another article.) Today we can practice forgiveness – letting go of the anger, and replacing it with understanding, compassion, and gratitude.

All of us at the Relationship Center of South Florida wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, peaceful, and abundant 2019.

For additional information on anxiety and worry, coping skills, and trauma recovery, please contact us today.

27Nov 2018

The Five Best Gifts for Your Wife or Girlfriend

By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD

This is a special holiday edition of my series about The LATE Men – adult men who are Lost, Angry Teenagers – late to mature and late to show up as fully functioning adults. They become stuck in an adolescent level of development. The LATE Men experience relationship distress because they’re lost and angry – they don’t understand women and what they need, and when their women express feelings and needs, they often react with anger.

Men Lost in the Holidays

The holidays are tricky and stressful for LATE Men. These men typically grew up in dysfunctional families, and they were culturally influenced by a toxic code of masculinity. This code taught them how to be controlling and angry, and how to stuff their more sensitive feelings (sadness, shame, and fear). The holidays present LATE Men with challenges they are unprepared for.

The LATE Men were never taught how to properly love and care for the women in their lives. So they don’t know what to do during the holidays. Or they’re so angry they sabotage this special time of family connection and celebration. For example:

  • Due to shame or self-doubt they numb themselves with alcohol, drugs, electronic devices, and other activities – and they don’t show up for the holidays.
  • They’re angry because they feel burdened, unappreciated, or they’re running from their shame – and they isolate, pick fights, or become excessively controlling.
  • Many LATE Men do their best to be helpful – even generous – but they miss the mark. They don’t really understand her needs or desires and they buy inappropriate gifts. Or they buy expensive gifts but don’t show up as loving partners.

The Five Best Gifts

Many women appreciate nice jewelry, perfume, and clothing – even certain electronic devices. These are perfectly nice, lovely gifts. They can also be impersonal, with little relational meaning or depth. LATE Men can do something different this year, and surprise her with a heartfelt gift of love and positive attention.

Here are the five best gifts a LATE Man can give his wife or girlfriend – gifts that express heartfelt sentiments of appreciation, gratitude, and love.

  1. Give Her a Break – Let her know you will take care of things at home so she can go out with her friends. Cook and serve dinner for her (and don’t let her do the dishes). Make a commitment to do that once every week. Buy her a package of spa services for a few hours, a full day with friends, or an entire weekend. Organize and plan a romantic weekend trip for the two of you. All of these gifts are more special and loving when they are presented in a romantic greeting card (in your own handwriting!).
  2. The Gift of Emotional Connection – The biggest complaint made by women in couples therapy is the lack of emotional support and connection by their men. I suggest writing a letter to her that expresses your commitment to be attentive, responsive, and emotionally engaged on an ongoing basis. But no empty promises! Add a note in your calendar (one that shows up every week of the year) that reminds you of this commitment. Let her know that you intend to stay emotionally connected by truly listening to her with understanding and empathy.Practice being emotionally open and honest yourself. All LATE Men have a healthy, loving, and responsible Adult self (in contrast to the Lost, Angry Teen, a wounded Inner Child, and a demanding, judgmental Inner Critic). Put the Adult in charge, and focus on maintaining a confident (not arrogant) friendship with your wife or girlfriend – one that includes humor and laughter.
  3. The Gift of Service – A recent study found that women are more interested in sex when men do household chores. And we know that both women and men feel appreciated and loved when partners are helpful and actively contribute to the upkeep of home and hearth. A special holiday gift of service (which may arrive as a written promise in a card or letter) may include timely completion of your “Honey-do” list, organizing and cleaning the garage, painting the house, or planting flowers. Other gifts of service may be ongoing, with a written commitment to wash her car every week, vacuum the house weekly, or do the laundry on weekends.
  4. Romantic Gestures – Write her a romantic poem. Leave a love note for her once a week (surprise her by placing the notes in different locations – such as her car, on her pillow, in her closet). Buy her some flowers – or a single rose. Send her loving texts during the day. Shampoo her hair – or brush her hair. Give her a massage (without the expectation of sex). If you want other romantic ideas, try asking her!
  5. The Gift of Appreciation & Respect – The sincere expression of gratitude, appreciation and respect is one of the four cornerstones of a healthy, loving relationship (along with trust, emotional support, and positive attention). I suggest writing her a letter that details everything you are grateful for. Let her know that you recognize and appreciate all that she does, and all the love that she gives. What do you respect, admire and honor her for? How is she your equal in life, and what has she taught you? Make a commitment to show her appreciation and respect every day.

One final gift idea for LATE Men and the women who love them: Our Connections: A Workbook for Couples. This reasonably priced workbook is a wonderful gift for her and for the relationship. The workbook is “…like a repair manual for relationships.” Based on our popular Connections program of marriage retreats and couples therapy intensives, it is a collection of exercises and articles designed to help couples in the pursuit of a more

secure, satisfying and successful relationship. It’s also the perfect gift for counselors and therapists who work with couples.

For additional information about the LATE Men, counseling for men, and couples therapy, please contact us today. The following articles about the LATE Men can be found in our web site:

The LATE Men

The LATE Man in Relationships

The LATE Men – 5 Reasons Why Men Self-Sabotage

Self-Sabotage: The Epidemic

8 Types of LATE Men

The LATE Man Grows Up

09Nov 2018

The True Story of Thanksgiving

By Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, BCD

Most historians agree that the true story of Thanksgiving is quite different from what we were taught in grade school. As children, we learned that the Pilgrims left England to avoid religious persecution – only to face starvation and a brutal winter near Plymouth Rock. We were taught that the locals there (Native Americans) generously helped the Pilgrims to survive on local plants and wildlife, and they helped to protect them from other hostile tribes. Sometime later, these early settlers celebrated the first Thanksgiving to honor a bountiful harvest with the natives who helped them.

Spoiler alert: The true story of Thanksgiving has a dark, shadow side.

The True Story

Not that historians agree on all of the facts. After all, Thanksgiving started some 400 years ago. The oral and written accounts from four centuries ago are certainly incomplete. CNN and Fox News weren’t around to report on all of the facts. (Seems we haven’t made that much progress since then. Even today with fact-checking and objective reporting “the truth” is hard to find.)

We do know that the actual history of Thanksgiving is complicated and disturbing. Should we start with the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Native Americans? Before we go there, please know that it is not my intention to tarnish a happy holiday with guilt and depression. Rather, today in the 21st Century, isn’t it time to face the realities of our deep divisions, our fears of the “other” who threatens us, and our mistreatment of those we want to subjugate? Anger, blame, and self-righteous judgment has become a national and political reality. And this occurs in our personal relationships as well (no need to quote the current statistics on divorce, domestic violence, and sexual harassment).

Perhaps if – no, when we face these realities we can begin the process of healing and positive change. One important aspect of healing is gratitude – the true meaning of Thanksgiving. I suggest that we also incorporate a process of honest reflection, and a higher level of consciousness that includes respecting and cherishing those who are different from us, and atonement for our transgressions.

The traumatic history of Native Americans actually started before the Pilgrims landed in New England. Previously, British slaving ships brought their cattle to America, but they didn’t know that the cattle were infected by smallpox. The local tribes lacked antibodies to fight this disease, and the results were devastating: Over ninety percent of them died. In today’s terms, an unwanted, “invading” caravan of white men nearly destroyed the native population. That time it wasn’t intentional. The intentional massacre happened soon thereafter.

The local tribes helped the Pilgrim refugees to survive their first dreadful year in the New World. These generous indigenous peoples were not exactly rewarded for their efforts. Rather, the Pilgrims proceeded to steal their supplies of grain. Maybe the British settlers were starving and they had no other choice. There is ample evidence to suggest that the locals and the Pilgrims were in the same boat. Food and other resources necessary to survival were in short supply, and conditions were harsh and dangerous. If they did celebrate the first Thanksgiving together it was probably not a “cross-cultural love-fest” (see footnote). Rather, they became untrusting allies as they fought off other hungry tribes of Native Americans.

In fact, the British colonists considered the natives to be nothing more than “uncivilized and satanic heathens” (ibid). Not long after the first Thanksgiving, a band of Puritans from England descended upon the Pequot tribe and slaughtered over 700 men, women, and children. In the years following this massacre, a “day of thanksgiving” was celebrated after many similar episodes of carnage.

So how should we celebrate Thanksgiving in light of this true story? What should this day really mean to us? These days we tend to neglect even the old traditional notion of Thanksgiving as a day of gratitude. At best we celebrate our family and friends coming together in recognition of our love for each other. But even these sentiments are frequently lost in the shuffle of meal preparation, over-consumption, excessive drinking, and football.

On top of that, should we ignore or deny our history – one that is riddled with discrimination, oppression, racial and ethnic persecution – even ethnic cleansing? When our denial is on such a grand scale, how can we be sure that we don’t mistreat people we interact with on a daily basis – even those that we love? I believe my chosen profession has a responsibility to bring into awareness that which we tend to hide from. Only through non-judgmental awareness can we recognize what needs to be changed to create something more positive for ourselves and for others.

A Thanksgiving which ignores the systematic destruction of Indian cultures which followed hot on the heels of the Plymouth feast not only does a disservice to indigenous peoples, it falsifies our understanding of ourselves and our history. 

Jane Kamensky, Professor of History, Brandeis University

Only by openly acknowledging the sins of our collective past, is it possible to proceed toward a future that all Americans can feel thankful for. (See footnote)

A Conscious and Honorable Thanksgiving

As I reflect on the anger I feel toward those I disagree with, and as I practice awareness of my prejudice and tendency to blame others, I come up with some thoughts that I hope will guide me toward a new understanding of Thanksgiving:

  • We’re not in this alone. It doesn’t have to be us against them. We aren’t simply Red and Blue States. We’re the United States, and it’s up to us – not just our leaders but all of us – to work toward unity.
  • We can and we do hurt others. We need to take responsibility for our trespasses and our cruelty and we can make amends and reparations.
  • That which is good for one of us is good for all of us. We live in a world of abundance. There’s enough to go around for everyone.
  • As a couples therapist and marriage counselor – and as a husband who continues to learn how to create loving partnership – I know that cooperation and compassion is possible even when we strongly disagree.
  • Something magical happens when I get out of my own way. When I stop being selfish and self-absorbed I can be helpful, loving, and cooperative. Then the magic happens: the love and generosity comes right back to me.
  • Compassion, understanding, and empathy conquers power struggle, fear, shame, and the need to be in control.
  • Forgiveness and gratitude cures almost every form of relationship distress, and the same can be applied to families, communities, and nations.
  • All of us at the Relationship Center of South Florida wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a bountiful, tenderhearted holiday season.

Footnote: Historical research and source material: Schiffman, Richard, The Truth About Thanksgiving: What They Never Taught You in School, www.huffingtonpost.com, 11/21/2011.

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