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Relating to One Another

Everything positive can radiate out from an aware and caring individual.  Damage and broken bonds can radiate out from the unaware or consciously cruel individual.  Relating to one another is one of the most baffling and constantly challenging human endeavors.  With daily mindfulness of the impacts we have on others, even the most conscientious among us still falter and feel remorse.  Those who are not mindful can be destructive, abusive, and do real damage.   

Stephen R. Covey describes a paradigm that he calls “The Maturity Continuum”: 

"Dependence is the paradigm of 'YOU'—you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn't come through; I blame you for the results.

Independence is the paradigm of 'I'—I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; I can choose.

[The Ideal] Interdependence is the paradigm of 'WE'—we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together."

Imagine if we could all take full, unabashed ownership of our lives and embrace the bigger picture of what greatness we could create within the spirit of collaboration.  Imagine if we could put Stephen Covey’s beautifully simple and effective precept into action every day within ourselves, our family, our community, our nation, and our global world.

Here is an 
article with exceptional wisdom on how to achieve an enduring relationship.



Long-Term Compatibility Runs Deep  

Whether you've used an Internet dating service like eHarmony® or not, their assertion that compatability is a multidimensional and complex phenomenon is compelling.  Take for example, their 29 Dimensions® of Compatibility model.  The categories themselves are thought-provoking:


"Emotional Temperament"
4 dimensions:  self concept, emotional status, energy (emotional, obstreperousness), and passion (romantic)

"Social Style"
5 dimensions:  character, kindness, dominance, sociability, autonomy and adaptability

"Cognitive Mode"
4 dimensions:  intellect, curiosity, humor, and artistic passion

5 dimensions:  energy (physical), passion (sexual), vitality and security, industry, and appearance


"Relationship Skills"
3 dimensions:  communication style, emotion management, and conflict resolution

"Values and Beliefs"
5 dimensions:  spirituality, family goals, traditionalism, ambition, and alruism

"Key Experiences"
3 dimensions:  family background, family status, and education

Until recent studies and data became available, how many of us have really had the tools to explore the full depth of 

Dualities:  Do You Motivate or Undermine?   

Business managers, parents, and personal partners alike have the capability to foster ‘secure bases’ which in turn inspire others to thrive.  The left column represents attributes that result in positive impacts on those around us.  The right addresses behaviors that undermine, demotivate, and damage.  In this simple list of dualities from Daniel Goleman's Social Intelligence book lies an essential and critical truth.  

 Great listener 
 Blank wall
 Sense of humor
 Bad temper
 Shows empathy 
 Takes responsibility
 Shares authority

Honoring Our Lovers

The commitment to hold your partner in high respect and esteem is at the very core of a truly loving relationship.  In his book entitled Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, John Gottman, Ph.D. asserts that we must at all costs avoid the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” which are reliable indicators of impending divorce.  These are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.  Here's how to effectively stop them with their '
antidotes' per The Gottman Institute. 

However, if shared trust, respect, joint celebration of one another, and deep caring existand each person possesses a strong sense of selfthen many doors open up for you as a couple.

First, my mantra-like question has always been: "If I were a man, how would I and my body want to be treated."  It's quite amazing how much of an impact that one question can have on how you interact with your lover.  Of course, the same can apply when a man asks the parallel question. 

So, you can consciously choose to be a different kind of woman or a different kind of man for your beloved.  You can feel safe and free to adore and serve one another.  You are each other's king and queen.  Your lover's pleasure becomes your delight.  You can enjoy egoless sex.  You can banish destructive bedroom politics and pave the way for a deeper 'enter and be loved' experience.

NEW April 2013 Survey: 87% of women say that the hottest sex is when their is a 
deep connection with their partner.

"Important as it is to choose the right partner, it's probably more important to BE the right partner.  We focus on changing the wrong person."(1a) 

Current relationship research demonstrates that individual accountability and growth can be significant indicators of successful commitment and an enduring bond.  This relates to Covey's 'Paradigm of We' cited in the 1st section above. 

It also connects with the Michelangelo Phenomenon, a brilliant concept presented by Dr. Caryl Rusbult on how "close partners are interpersonal artists, sculpting one another’s strengths and weaknesses so as to bring out the best in each other"(summarized by Bruce Bower)"Such affirmation promotes trust in the partner and strengthens commitiment.  And commitment is a key predictor of relationship durability."(1b)

So it appears that the winning combination is for individuals to do their important 'inside work', while allying with their partners to nurture their growth into the people they dream of becoming.  The focus then is less about changing someone else and more about mutual, sustained interpersonal growth.

On a related topic, here is one of the strongest 
articles I've read pertaining to the DOs and DON'Ts of a healthy and committed long-term relationship.
(1a+1b) Hara Estroff Marano, The Expectations Gap, Psychology Today magazine, March/April 2010 issue, page 71.  Full articles no longer available online without subscription.

A Simple & Eloquent Truth

How can we hope that our children will grow into loving, fair-minded and solid citizens, parents and spouses if our families don't provide that model from the start?

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
…with hostility, they learn to fight.
…with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
…with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live
with tolerance, they learn to be patient.

...with encouragement, they learn confidence.
…with praise, they learn to appreciate.
…with fairness, they learn justice.
…with security, they learn to have faith.
…with approval, they learn to like themselves.
…with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.

by Dorothy Law Nolte

"Your website is so inspirational, what a wonderful contribution to life!"
— Margot F., San Rafael, CA

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How we treat our significant others during good times may be even more important than what we do during hard times.  Enthusiastically cheer one another on, ask questions, and pay compliments.  "A couple's ability to 'capitalize', that is to celebrate each other's positive events, predicts satisfaction better than their commiseration over negative events." — 
Darbe Saxbe


"For centuries, we've been declaring our independence.  And perhaps it's time to finally declare our INTERdependence." — Tiffany Shlain in the film "Connected"   

"What we are not aware of in ourselves, we pass on to our children." — Gabor Maté 

There's a new book entitled "
Mind in the Making" which addresses the 7 essential life skills every child needs to achieve his/her full potential: (1) focus and self-control, (2) seeing someone else's point of view, (3) communicating, (4) making connections, (5) critical thinking, (6) taking on challenges, and (7) self-directed, engaged learning.  If you want to discover how to most effectively teach these skills to your kids.

According to the latest Stanford research, "
process based praise" of young children for their efforts results in more resiliency and productive risk-taking later in life.

Honoring Our Children

My daughter and I have a very close bond.  Many people who meet us say that they’ve not seen a mother and daughter as loving to one another as we are.  Part of the simple truth is that we consciously and heartfully committed to our relationship a long time ago, and we work at it every day.  Another aspect is that I wanted to be a different kind of parent. 

Some parenting concepts that have personally worked for us are as follows:

*  Be an honest and real person to her, not some unapproachable ‘do it because I say so’ monolith

*  Let her really know me without artifice, and for me to really know her in the same way

*  Be flexible and adaptable

*  Be physically and emotionally present

*  Listen actively

*  Be physically affectionate

*  Encourage her to be as functionally independent as she can and wants to be

*  Never infantilize her

*  Obliterate any double standard between her personal rights and mine 

*  Share engaging activities like fitness training, family movie nights at home, and a regular girls’ dinner night out 

*  Make and keep agreements

*  Create quiet times together to share ideas and emotions without judgment or censure

*  Create a home and a private space that is a warm, vibrant, and welcoming sanctuary for her and her friends 

The following assertions beautifully sum up the core truth about enlightened parenting:

“[The] conviction of being loved and lovable, valued and valuable as we are, regardless of what we do, is the beginning of the most fundamental kind of self-esteem…Indeed, when core self-esteem remains low even into adulthood, no amount of external task-oriented achievement or approval seems able to compensate.  On the contrary, the needy child of the past is a kind of emotional black hole into which external rewards disappear—which is why a lack of core self-esteem can produce totalitarian leaders for whom no amount of power is enough, grandiose
money-makers or spenders of inherited money for whom no amount of display is enough, and authoritarian parents for whom no obedience is complete.” — Gloria Steinem (1) 

So perhaps the most important thing for Julia and me is that from the day she was born, I felt compelled to respect her as a whole individual, with inalienable rights and unique dreams.  That belief continues to manifest itself in more and more ways as Julia, I, and our relationship grow.  She is a young woman and I celebrate that.  I feel grateful and honored to be her mother.  When I stumble, I apologize immediately.  I have vowed not to abuse her self-esteem, her trust, or my position as her parent.  As the brilliant filmmaker Ingmar Bergman once stated, I am fascinated by and utterly respect "the wholeness inside every human being," especially my most treasured loved ones.

Holistic relationships of all kinds are, I believe, at the core of our ability to flourish as humans.  To embrace the totality of another person—and ourselves—is to live and love most fully.

NOTE:  A 2014 European study conducted across 6 countries finds that children of overbearing, strict and under-affectionate parents are more likely to derail with excessive alcohol, smoking, and drugs.  More loving, nurturing, and effective parenting styles are also discussed.

QOLFace2face.jpg's 2016 Mom Salary Number

The work experts at have defined the stay-at-home Mom's job as representing a hybrid of several different jobs.  Below is a sampling (in random order):

1.  Day Care Teacher
2.  Chief Executive Officer
3.  Psychologist
4.  Cook
5.  Housekeeper
6.  Laundry Operator
7.  Computer Operator
8.  Facilities Manager

9.  Janitor
10. Van Driver

Based on these important tasks and the overtime necessary to do the job well, the stay-at-home Mom's salary for 2016 was $143,102 annually.  

We could even add several more tasks to the list:
11. Spiritual Advisor
12. Bookkeeper
13. Life Coach
14. IT Manager
15. Personal Shopper
16. Event Planner
17. Travel Agent
18. Nutritionist
19. Purchasing Manager

So the bottom line is that whether a woman (or man) selects an outside career, the full-time parent variety, an at-home office career, or a combination, valuable work well done deserves respect.

View the 
infographic now for other years of data.

Undemocratic Family Systems — A Signpost for Other Serious Problems?

Over the past three decades, I have considered whether authoritarian, hierarchical family structures don’t in fact signal deeper issues.  Personal observations, research, and frank discussions with friends have led me to believe that anti-democratic family systems seem to display one or more of the following:

*  Unhealthy and dismissively controlling behaviors

*  Lack of empathy, or underdeveloped empathy 

*  Racism or generalized prejudice towards certain groups (the "others")

*  Slurs and epithets used frequently

*  The proclivity for 'thingifying' others outside of the home may parallel an objectifying and one-down treatment of selected family members 

The consequences of the above list during the arc of a family’s lifetime can run deep and be quite devastating.  It is vital that we as parents carefully and empathetically consider the family 'culture' we are creating.  After all, families can be viewed as an important barometer and microcosm of our society.

If you care to share your thoughts on this topic or any other on the website, simply use the form on the Contact page.

Read a sample description of a 
family culture now.

One final thought:  "Ignoring a problem or situation is always the easiest thing to do in the short-term but it seldom works in the long-term because family issues don't just go away.  They lie in wait (under the carpet, where you've swept them), ready to come back — usually when you least expect it." — Amy Dickinson, Chicago Tribune, 7/3/2012

(1) Gloria Steinem, Revolution from Within, Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1993, pages 66 & 67.

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