Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!
















May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

~unknown 







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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Joy: A Story of a Modern Day Santa Claus

There are three stages of man: he believes in Santa Claus; he does not believe in Santa Claus; he is Santa Claus. ~Bob Phillips

The holiday season can be one of the most beautiful and loving times of the year. It is a magical time when our hearts are more open to give and think of others. Whether it is gifts, donations, or kindness, our giving brings us much of the joy we experience and associate with Christmas.

A man recently told me of an unexpected encounter he had with a homeless couple. He was on his way to work and planned to make a quick stop at a hardware store. As he walked in he saw a young man and woman carrying what appeared to be all their belongings in bags. He made brief contact with the couple and learned that they were on their way to the local homeless shelter. They were with a large group and had missed their ride when they made a stop. They asked the man for a ride. When he told them he was unable to give them a ride, they asked him for a couple of dollars for the bus. He gave it to them and wished them well. After he walked into the store, he had a strong desire to turn back to do more for them. He believed the couple was being truthful with him. He didn’t know how they got into the situation they were in, but his heart went out to them. He turned around and put a large bill into the young man’s hand. In complete surprise and gratitude, the young man began to weep and hugged the man who helped them. To this homeless couple, he was like Santa Claus; yet, he was an unexpected stranger who crossed their path and shared God’s love with them. That day, this modern-day Santa Claus brought some hope into those people’s lives and much joy into his own. Modern day Santas are some of the jolliest people around!

There is something magical about giving. It blesses everyone involved. Christmastime is one very special time, and one of many that we have to spread the good cheer and make someone’s day, week, month, or life brighter. Don’t wait until a special occasion to bring joy to others. Now is the time to give, love and experience some Christmas magic!


Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing,
Returns to you glad.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. ~ W. C. Jones

 
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~Hamilton Wright Mabi



Copyright © 2010 Krystal Kuehn andViolet James, BeHappy4Life.com,   All Rights Reserved.



Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling and child teenage counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Krystal is also author of several other blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems & Be Your Best blog and The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships (kindle version from amazon, also available in pdf format).


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are You Master or Victim of Your Attitude?

We are either the masters or the victims of our attitudes. It is a matter of personal choice. Who we are today is the result of choices we made yesterday. Tomorrow, we will become what we choose today. To change means to choose to change. ~John Maxwell

What kind of thoughts come to your mind when you think about your life? How about your family, your work, your future? Suppose your thoughts could change your destiny. Would you want to change or improve any of them?

We might believe our thoughts just happen, and we don’t consider the fact that we can choose to stop certain thoughts and refocus. We can choose what we accept and meditate on, and we can choose what we resist and reject. Our thoughts shape the attitudes that direct our lives. We make decisions based on our attitudes and beliefs.

Thoughts lead to other related thoughts. When they are hopeful and positive, we develop a good attitude. Likewise, a bad attitude results when a habit of negative thoughts dominate our thinking. For example, suppose you feel hurt that your friend didn’t come to your birthday party. You might begin to think that it is because it isn't important to her. That thought may lead you to wonder if she really likes you. Maybe you did something to offend her. Maybe there is something wrong with you. You feel angry and rejected. You dwell on the offense and have a bad attitude. If you hold on to it, feelings of rejection may lead to bitterness toward your friend.  It may even lead to a desire for retaliation.  It is common to reject others when we feel rejected.

Hurt and angry feelings affect our choices and attitudes. We might not be able to control how we feel, but we can control how we direct our thoughts. Suppose you were to stop the negative cycle after feeling hurt by your friend. There could be many good reasons why she wasn't able to join you. Maybe it had nothing to do with you.  You can choose to not take it personal if you know she wouldn't intentionally want to hurt you.  You can choose to not dwell on the offense and negative feelings. You can refocus. If it really bothers you, talk to her about it.  In doing so, you just may find out that you had the wrong idea all along.  This happened to a woman I know.  She never received the invitation sent by her friend.  It was somehow lost in the mail.  Her friend assumed she got the invitation and chose not to come.  It was months until she discovered why her friend had a bad attitude and pulled away from her. 

Our thinking patterns become habits and attitudes. Optimism and pessimism are the result of the kinds of thoughts we choose to dominate our thought life and perspective. If we were to live by these words of wisdom, we would spare ourselves of the negativity that keeps us from fulfilling our potential and purpose: Fill your mind and meditate on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8).

We can choose to occupy our minds with the best in people or situations, rather than the worst. We can choose to see the beauty and splendor of every rose rather than its thorns and ugliness. We can notice and praise what is right and good rather than dwell on mistakes or problems. We can hold on to hope rather than submit to despair. We can appreciate and embrace what we have and all that is before us rather than live in regret of the past. We can choose to live today as best as we can because that is all we have right now.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill



The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind. ~~ William James

It’s your choice: you can either count your blessings or recount your disappointments. ~Jim Gallery



We shouldn’t deny the pain of what happens in our lives.  But, we should refuse to focus only on the valleys. ~Charles Swindoll

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. ~Max Lucado


 
Copyright © 2008, 2010 BeHappy4Life.com  All Rights Reserved.


Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling and child teen counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Check out Krystal's other blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems & Be Your Best blog.



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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Life Lessons That Set Us Free

True learning can take place at every age of life, and it doesn't have to be in the curriculum plan. ~Suzanne Dale Ezell

It's already September and it's back to school for children as well as adults pursuing higher education. As I was thinking about education, I thought about how we have so many opportunities to continue to learn every single day. If we stop learning, we stop living. Not only does learning help us grow, develop new skills, and prepare us for work and service, but it helps us to know and appreciate life and our world.
 
I see education as a gift that leads us to freedom and insight. With education, we can become free of bad habits by learning what steps to take for real change. We can develop new skills by getting the necessary instruction we need. We can make better choices by getting direction that guides our path. We can maximize our potential as we learn more and put into practice what we already know. We can learn and relate to others better by learning from our mistakes.
 
We are never too young or too old to learn something new. We just need to apply ourselves, listen, and learn. I believe education is freedom because the truth sets us free. Ignorance leads to bondage and keeps us from becoming all we can be. Let's encourage our children to value education and do their best. Develop a love for learning. Show respect for those who teach us. Seek wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. Learn from the experiences of everyday life. Let mistakes be life lessons. Let problems push us to learn and find solutions. Let challenges motivate us to conquer. And let us be thankful that life is an ongoing education. Living is a learning experience!

May we all have another blessed year of learning and growing!   Krystal


Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself. ~John Dewey

Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought. ~Napoleon Hill

The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson. ~Tom Bodett



Life Lessons Exercise:

At the end of each day, write down 2-3 things you have learned throughout the day. It can be anything. You may have gained greater insight into something you already had some knowledge about. You may have learned an inspiring truth or a sad reality. You may have learned how to be or not to be from someone else's example. You may have learned a simple lesson from another person's good luck or misfortune. You may have learned that you are more special and loved than you had realized. The list never ends.

This simple exercise can be very empowering. It can help us to recognize and appreciate our daily life experiences. It can help us to grow and become better than we were as we reflect and allow ourselves to learn from all life has to teach us.

Life is a journey and an educational experience. What have you learned today?


Life Lessons That Set You Free
Copyright © 2008, 2010 BeHappy4Life.com. All Rights Reserved

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family marriage counseling and child teen counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Check out Krystal's other blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems & Be Your Best blog.



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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How Much Are You Worth Today?

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ~Bill Bradley

Opportunities to give and help are everywhere. If we just look around us, someone somewhere could use a kind word today. Someone needs to know that they are loved.

Someone is struggling financially and there is something we can do to help if even a little. Someone simply needs a hug. Someone wants to be heard and given some time and attention.

It might cost us time, money, stepping out of our comfort zone, or sacrificing our own needs, but the rewards of giving are priceless. When we give, we reap the joy of of seeing a bright smile, laughter, tears, joy, and gratitude. Giving is one of the best way to share our joy, love, and goodness for life!

I’d like to share a story with you that I believe is a great illustration of the value of giving, loving, sharing, and doing today!

A rich man once asked a friend, "Why am I criticized for being miserly? Everyone knows I will leave everything to charity when I die." "Well," said the friend, "let me tell you about the pig and the cow. The pig was lamenting to the cow one day about how unpopular he was."

"People are always talking about your gentleness and kindness," said the pig. "Sure you give milk and cream, but I give more. I give bacon, ham, bristles. They even pickle my feet! Still, nobody likes me. Whis is this?" The cow thought a minute, then replied, "Well, maybe it is because I give while I am still living."

I love that story! Is it any wonder why everyone loves the cow? It's not how much the cow gave, but the very fact that the cow gave what it could here and now. The pig boasted about how much he would give when he died and that was his excuse for being miserly in the present. The pig was missing out on so much joy that comes from giving that he envied the cow's popularity. What a great lesson to learn and apply about giving and making a difference today, while we still can!

Following are several questions to help you reflect on your giving:

* Would others describe you as a giver, taker, generous, miserly? Why?

* When was the last time that you gave someone a gift, compliment, your time, or anything? How did it make you feel?

* What was your attitude in giving? Did you hope for or expect a particular response or reaction?

* Do you feel people owe you something when you give to them?

* Can you be more giving? How? What are you waiting for?


You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Giving is the lifeblood of happy living. ~ Todd Parrish


I encourage you to bless someone today.
And may you be blessed with the true joy of giving!


Copyright © 2008, 2010 Krystal Kuehn, New Day Counseling Center. All Rights Reserved.

The manner in which it is given is worth more than the gift. ~Pierre Corneille

It is more blessed to give than to receive. ~Acts 20:35

 
Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family marriage counseling and children counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Check out Krystal's other blogs: Give Thanks Journal,  Baby Poems & Be Your Best blog.


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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If Today was Your Last Day

It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up -- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


We all have just one life to live. We don’t know how long we will be here, but it won’t be forever. I think that makes time even more valuable. How we spend it matters. I love the song If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickelbackthat encourages us to appreciate each day as a gift and to consider what choices we would make today if tomorrow were too late.

My dad loved life. I recall how grateful he was for the simplest things. He had an extremely poor upbringing and difficult life. From a very young age he struggled to survive and went to bed often without having eaten any food. He came to America in the 50’s in search of a better life and he soon found it. For some time, he had it all—a beautiful wife, children, successful businesses, a nice home—more than he could have ever imagined. He was very happy and blessed. My dad always had a passion and gratitude for life and an ability to live one day at a time with complete faith and trust that tomorrow would be a better day. But life took a negative turn when he and my mother divorced, and he began to make some poor choices. Yet even then, he was thankful for each day and tried to make the best of it.

What especially inspired me about my dad is that he not only lived each day fully, but he did not want to leave this earth without making peace with my mother. The day he asked her to forgive him, he was made free and so was she. He made an important decision to make peace, to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Actually, he begged her for forgiveness. That day he decided that he was going to say what he needed to say before it was too late. A week later he passed away.

There is nothing more unsettling as having regret over words left unspoken or deeds left undone. Did you ever wish you faced the fear and took the risk? Did you ever wish you told someone you loved them? Asked for forgiveness? How about letting go of the past or the anger that robbed your peace of mind and ability to live fully? Or how about taking the chances you had to help and change someone’s life for the better? I especially like this line in the song: Every second counts ‘cause there’s no second try. So live like you’ll never live it twice. As long as you are still here, it is not too late to make good choices and live each day fully.

If today was your last day, what would you do? Are there words you have left unsaid? Do you want to tell someone that he or she is important to you? Is there someone you would call, someone who needs to hear you love him/her? Is there someone you would release and forgive? Can someone’s life be changed because you can make a positive difference? Do you have something you can give that can help someone in need? If your answer is yes to any of the above, I encourage you to do it now. Tomorrow may be too late. Time does not wait for us. Let us seize our opportunities while we still have them. Let us say what is in our hearts and do what we know we ought to do. Our decisions today can impact eternity for ourselves and for others.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it I say!! Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. ~Pope Paul VI
~
The question is not whether we will die, but how we live. ~Joan Borysenko

In loving memory of my father 9-17-28 to 8-13-10





Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ''tomorrow'' on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday's defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, ''If I had my life to live over again. ''Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. ~Og Mandino

Copyright © 2010 Krystal Kuehn, New Day Counseling Center. All Rights Reserved.


Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family marriage counseling and child teen counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Krystal is also the author of several inspirational blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems & Be Your Best blog.


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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Start Where You Are & With What You Have

Every artist was once an amateur. ~Ralph Walso Emerson

Do you remember when you first learned how to drive a car, cook a meal, use the computer or your new cell phone? How about when you first learned to play a sport or a musical instrument?

Whenever we want to learn something new or accomplish anything in life, we usually begin with the basics. As we build upon them, we get better and better. And as a result, there are some things that we do really well. With practice, education, and commitment, we can become quite proficient, maybe even experts.

Every new project or goal challenges us to learn and grow. We are all beginners at some point. We start with what we have and it is up to us to keep at it in order to get better and accomplish our goals. Eventually we will move beyond the amateur stages and begin to see progress. Sometimes things don't come as easily to us and we are tempted to just quit. We conclude that we don't have what it takes or that it's much too difficult for us. Times like these can push us on to try harder or find alternative solutions or ideas to reaching our goals.

Remember, it takes an investment of our time and energy to improve our lives and accomplish anything worthwhile. If we can accept where we are right now and believe that we can get better, our efforts will pay off. With each step we take, we make progress. As we acknowledge our small successes, we will experience greater satisfaction and move closer to our goals.

Today I choose to accept where I am and believe I can get better.

Today I choose to take at least one small step toward my goals.


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt
~
There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.
~Henry Ford

~
Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price. ~ Vince Lombardi



Copyright © 2010 Krystal Kuehn, New Day Counseling Center. All Rights Reserved.



Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family marriage counseling and child teen counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration to change your life, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Check out Krystal's other blogs: Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems & Be Your Best blog.


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Monday, August 2, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. ~Guillaume Apollinaire


Do we need a reason to have a good attitude or to be happy? I have heard people present arguments and excuses about why they will not allow themselves to have any peace or joy today. They are waiting for something to change instead of changing themselves. Sometimes they have unresolved issues that block their ability to receive and enjoy life fully. Or, they are too busy pursuing something—money, status, power, approval, a relationship—that they believe they need to be happy. When happiness does not come from within us, it usually doesn’t last very long. What are we pursuing today? If we want to just be happy and have true and lasting joy, all we really need to pursue is a lifestyle where we continually practice being our best, giving thanks, loving and valuing ourselves and others, and appreciating life! 

Today I choose to focus on the good things in life.
Today I choose to be my best.
Today I choose to value and appreciate the good qualities in others.
Today I choose to practice love and release anger.
Today I choose to give thanks for my life and enjoy it.



Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved.  New Day Counseling Center  Written by Krystal Kuehn.


Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a marriage family counseling and children therapy center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Check out Krystal's new Be Your Best blog and Words of Inspiration blog!


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original  dimensions.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I choose to be open to new ideas * I choose to try something new today!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Health & Fitness: Caring for Our Bodies

Happiness lies, first of all, in health. ~George William Curtis


Just imagine for a moment what life would be like if each individual on earth were allowed to own just one automobile per lifetime. Do you think you would be more motivated to take better care of your vehicle-getting routine tune-ups and oil changes, rotating tires, keeping it clean, and so forth? Some of us might have a very different attitude about it altogether. We might take our responsibility to care for it more seriously. And we would most likely appreciate and cherish it much more.

Fortunately, most of us are not limited to owning just one vehicle per lifetime so we don't have to be overly concerned with proper maintenance and care. But, how about our bodies? We can't trade them in for another model. And some parts can't be replaced. When something goes wrong we do what we can to fix it. We own it for life. And it's up to us to take proper care of what we have. The truth is, however, many people neglect proper nutrition and diet. They don't exercise consistently. And they don't make relaxation a priority. So their bodies get run down. They become more susceptible to illness. They get tired and end up having to work harder to keep themselves going.

Most would agree that they could do a better job in taking care of themselves. Oftentimes they know what needs to be done. There is a lot we can do to be our best-to look our best and to feel our best. When we take steps to take care of ourselves physically it also affects our mental and emotional well-being. Our body and mind works together. Our energy is increased as we make positive changes in improving our health. And our attitude and self-esteem is improved as we like the changes we see and feel.

So what is it that keeps people from taking better care of their bodies? For one, it is hard work. Making it a disciplined lifestyle takes motivation and commitment. But it can be done if you will take it one day at a time. Following are some tips to help you develop a healthier lifestyle:

* Begin with short-term goals. Be realistic in your expectations. Small changes over time result in big changes in the long run. Be patient and learn to appreciate and celebrate small victories.

* Picture yourself the way you would want to be. If it is a possibility then it's a matter of doing what needs to be done. Start by believing you can do it. Having faith that it can happen is essential. It keeps you going when you want to give up.

* Find an accountability partner. Having someone to whom you can report how you are doing keeps you motivated. This person can help keep you on track and remind you of the progress you're making when you don't see it. A partner who shares your goals and will join you in achieving them can be especially helpful.

* Establish a routine and be consistent. A new habit can take about six weeks to become a part of your lifestyle. If you have a setback, don't give up. Get back on track as soon as possible. Begin again by setting goals, visualizing your success, believing for it and taking action.

Lifestyle changes don't happen overnight. Whether or not you begin today, three months from now will still come. You can be that much closer to your goals. You can be the best you can be if you make it a priority. How important is your body to you? Are you satisfied with how you are caring for it? How could your life be better if you were to make some changes? You have one body for life. What you do with it now will have lasting results.


Copyright © 2007 Krystal Kuehn BeHappyforLife.com, NewDayCounseling.org
Maximum Potential, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Free Ebook Download:
http://behappy4life.com/1training-nutrition-secrets.pdf

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family marriage counseling and child therapy center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We Can Live Above Problems

I am thankful that we can live above problems.

I notice that dwelling on problems makes them seem bigger than they really are. Molehills look like insurmountable mountains. Delays suddenly appear as dead ends. Annoyances are interpreted as personal attacks. We can make ourselves miserable by focusing on what is wrong, uncomfortable or frustrating. Having learned how quickly this causes me to lose my joy and peace of mind, I make it a point to refocus as quickly as I can on possibilities and positive outcomes. I can cope with the molehills. I can see myself on the other side of the mountain. Delays may test my patience, but I can pass this test. They might motivate me to make alternate plans. I can recall times when delays have turned out to be blessings in disguise. Annoyances do not have to spoil my mood or bring out the worst in me. Some people get so upset if a driver cuts them off that they start cursing and their blood pressure soars. It takes some time afterwards to calm down and shake off the agitation. There will always be people and situations that will bother us or push our buttons. We cannot control it, but we can control how we react and whether or not we will focus on the problem or sensible solutions. I want to remain hopeful when I face problems. I will seek out answers and solutions, but if I do not have any, I will not give up. I will see myself as an overcomer and continue to believe and pray for direction and answers until I have what I need. I am thankful that as I focus on the possibilities and trust that things will work out, problems and cares of this world cannot keep me down.


Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn. NewDayCounseling.org and BeHappy4Life.com

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a couples counseling and children counseling center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

5 Things New Moms & Dads-to-be Can Expect with a New Baby

Expecting a baby is a very exciting time in the life of couples wanting a child. As this precious new family member is carried in its mother’s womb, the couple immediately begins to connect and care and wonder…. 

What will he or she look like? Will she have mom’s eyes? Will he have dad’s sense of humor? They even think ahead into the future. What talents and interests will he have? What will she do with her gift of life? How will he contribute to this world?

When the couple’s baby is born at last, they are in awe for they have partaken of life’s greatest miracle. No words can describe the joy and gratitude that new parents experience when the child of their hopes and dreams arrives and becomes a part of their lives forever. A love like they never knew is born into their hearts. It will give their lives new meaning and purpose. It will teach them about sacrifice and selflessness. It will fill them with gratitude and laughter. It will be the beginning of their parenting journey!

As the parenting journey begins, new moms and dad to be can expect some important changes in their lives. Preparing in advance for changes to come can help new parents make successful adjustments to their new lifestyle and build a strong foundation for a happy family and healthy attachments.

Following are 5 things new parents can expect:

1. New moms and new dads can expect that life is never going to be the same.

They now have a 24/7 responsibility to care for their newborn. This means:

* feeding and changing diapers around the clock
* bathing and cleaning up after baby
* having their sleep interrupted
* calming, soothing a crying baby
* keeping baby safe and supervised at all times
* buying baby necessities--diapers, food, clothes, toys, blankets, carrier
* taking baby to pediatrician for checkups and vaccinations

2. New moms and new dads can expect to work as a team or encounter some disputes. Discussing and agreeing upon how responsibilities will be divided in caring for the newborn is very important in providing the best care for the baby. It also keeps each partner from feeling overwhelmed, burdened, or angry with the other partner for not doing their part.

3. New moms and new dads can expect to make changes to their usual routine in regards to work, hobbies, and leisure time. They will need to make arrangements for the care of their baby when they go to work or meet their other commitments. With time for other interests being limited, some may need to be suspended or changed. However, they should never neglect having quality time together as a couple. The health of their relationship has an important influence on them as a family.

4. New moms and new dads can expect to learn about parenting and raising a family in the process of doing so. Parents will encounter new challenges with each phase of their child’s development. They will continually learn about their child’s specific needs and personality. At times it may be confusing and they will not know what to do. It is always wise to seek sound advice and wisdom, gain some parenting tips, and learn about childhood stages. Parenting classes are also very beneficial in providing guidance, tools, and help and support to parents so that they enjoy their job and do it well.

5. New moms and new dads can expect to enjoy their baby. Parenting is hard work with many responsibilities. Besides caring for their baby’s physical needs, new parents ought to nurture their relationship with their baby and attend to his or her emotional and attachment needs as well. These include: playing, teaching, hugging, kissing, loving, and enjoying their baby.

Couples can prepare for good parenting by knowing what to expect, making plans for their baby’s care and upbringing, and having realistic expectations. Parenting is not an easy job, yet it is the most important job in the world. Expect it to be challenging, and more than that; expect it to be the most rewarding and enjoyable experience of your life!

As the parents-to-be eagerly expect their new baby, they plan for his or her arrival. They make room in their homes to welcome their special blessing. The parents-to-be prepare bedding, furniture, clothing and other necessities. They try to make it comfortable, inviting, and safe. They also plan to be the best parents they can be. They do not want to make the same mistakes their parents made. Surely, they hope to model the good practices they were brought up with and not repeat the bad. No parent is perfect and they realize this. Yet, the parent-to-be will still try to be that perfect parent, if at all possible.


5 Things New Mom & Dad to Be Can Expect with a New Baby
Written by Krystal Kuehn.
Copyright © 2010 Baby-Poems.com. All Rights Reserved


Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a marriage family counseling and child therapy center, BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration, and Baby-Poems.com where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy!


* Click Here to Watch the Baby Girl Video

* Click Here to Watch the Baby Boy Video

Monday, May 17, 2010

Children & Divorce: Overcoming Challenges & Succeeding in Life

Divorce is a major stressful event for children and adults. To children, divorce is confusing. They have so many concerns and questions about how their lives will change. They cannot control what is happening to their family, and they often think that they are responsible for their parents divorce. Strong emotions are experienced such as hurt and anger.

For adults and children, divorce is an adjustment that takes time. It is more difficult for some than others, depending on a number of factors. Conflict between parents creates more stress and difficulty for children of divorce. Support from family and friends has a significant impact on coping. Children with little support tend to feel more insecure and worried than children with a good support system.

Signs of difficulty adjusting and accepting divorce are most evident in children’s behavior. There will be changes in their normal patterns, such as irritability and angry outbursts. Some children will become more withdrawn and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Academic problems can also develop as a result of changes in behavior. Children experiencing depression may have difficulty focusing on their schoolwork. Aggressive behavior in children can cause problems with teachers and peers. Overall effort and motivation can wane. For this reason, it is extremely important for children of divorce to get the support and help they need to make healthy adjustments and improve coping.

Research shows that children of divorce are at higher risk for:

• academic problems
• aggressive behavior
• drug experimentation and use
• sexual activity
• relationship problems
• low self-esteem
• depression


Parents and teachers often underestimate the difficulties children of divorce face. There are many behavioral signs as listed below. Most children of divorce will experience some of these symptoms.

• regressive behavior in young children: whining, clinging, returning to security blanket, toilet training problems, thumb sucking
• sleeping problems
• fears, insecurities, worries
• withdrawal, isolation, unusually quiet
• disobedient, disrespectful to parents and authority
• aggressive, violent, or destructive behaviors
• anger, resentment, embarrassment about divorce
• physical symptoms: aches and pains, stomach problems, headaches
• academic problems: focus, truancy, declining grades, tardiness, missing assignments


Although children of divorce are at a higher risk for many problems, they can make healthy adjustments and develop a strong support system. They can begin to understand divorce and not fear its consequences. They can gain peace of mind as they learn that although life will be different, life can be good. Divorce is not the end of the world but the beginning of a new life. Children can learn how to manage their feelings and accept the challenges and new responsibilities they will have. Focus and motivation can be restored, and they can face life with greater strength and hope.

Children need support and help as they deal with the many challenges of divorce. The stress, confusion, and behavioral problems can be significantly reduced with proper and healthy intervention. Many future problems can also be prevented. Children can make a positive transition with children therapy. For children, divorce counseling can provide a strong and safe support system to help them adjust and cope. Children therapy can help them work through their many emotions, release their fears and anger, keep focused and perform their best in school, and maintain good relationships with their parents, siblings, peers, and teachers.

Divorce does not have to lead children down a dark, difficult, destructive path. Children are resilient. They can understand and adjust well. They can learn healthy ways to cope and overcome challenges. They can have peace in the midst of the storm, and love can be their anchor. Children of divorce can develop greater compassion, deeper insight, understanding and wisdom from their experience. They can become stronger and more determined as they withstand the tempest winds and tumultuous seas that threaten to overcome them. Children of divorce can and will succeed with help and support.


Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved. written by Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
Co-founder of New Day Counseling Services and BeHappy4Life.com




Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a licensed professional counselor, author, teacher, and musician. She specializes in helping people live their best life now, reach their full potential, overcome barriers, heal from their past, and develop a lifestyle of health, happiness, and love. Krystal is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, providers of family, adolescent, children therapy and divorce counseling and BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights, and inspiration.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Infidelity: Is It Selfishness or Survival?

I have come across many articles and discussions on infidelity lately and find that there is a consensus. Infidelity, adultery, having an affair, cheating, betrayal... or whatever it is you want to call it, is a growing problem. Why is this? Some say that our culture has contributed to an increased discontent and unhappiness in our lives. We seek pleasure and expect our partners to meet our needs. If they don’t, we blame them for our unhappiness. Marriage becomes more about meeting my needs and making me happy.

We lose our sense of commitment to the marriage when we focus only on ourselves. And, it is commitment we need for marriage to work. Researchers have found that commitment is a key predictor of relationship durability. Rather than giving up on a potentially good marriage, committing to work through hardships can make our relationship stronger and more intimate. In the process, we learn to negotiate and accept one another. We learn how to overcome difficulties together.

As long as our expectations of a happy marriage or the right partner are distorted, we will continue to consider infidelity as the solution to our unhappiness.

Self-centeredness has been identified as the root of infidelity in much of what I have been hearing. The cheater ultimately wants pleasure, and as long as his or her partner is not providing it, the cheater will go outside the marriage to find it. The cheater is painted as the villain who is deceptive, selfish, and thoroughly enjoying his or her life. Little has been said, however, about the internal anguish and unresolved anger that the cheater may be experiencing. Whether or not the cheater experiences any guilt or shame depends on his or her values, morals, and culture, some say. The cheater doesn’t necessarily believe his or her actions are wrong. This may be the case, but not always. I would propose that it is less the norm than some may think.

Following I want to share a story about a cheater who wanted more than “pleasure.” He wanted his spouse to hear his cry for love and intimacy, but he felt he was constantly being pushed away. He turned to someone else to express his anger and frustration, to get revenge. In his mind, his spouse rejected and abandoned him. Now he was asserting his voice. And, it is heard through his infidelity.

It wasn’t long into their marriage when Angie and David began to have problems. They married young and had a lot to learn about marriage and each other. One thing they both agreed on was to stay committed no matter how hard it became. When David lost his job, the financial strain tested their marriage. They survived and learned about teamwork and how to better manage their finances. When Angie had to care for her sick mother, the exhaustion and irritability it caused put pressure on their marriage. Then there were the challenges of raising their twin daughters with very different parenting styles.

After ten years of staying committed and surviving some difficult hardships, it seemed nothing could come against their marriage or family that they couldn’t overcome. Maybe that’s why it didn’t seem like a big deal to Angie when she lost interest in sex. She loved David, and it was nothing personal. She felt it was no longer an important part of their marriage to her and she would prefer to do without it. She had the children and family she always wanted. She just didn’t want sex. What’s the big deal, she thought. To David it was a big deal. He couldn’t bear the thought of not having a healthy sexual relationship with his wife. He repeatedly told her how he felt about it. Occasionally she would give in to his advances, but most of the time she would push him away.

David’s frustration and anger grew. Angie wasn’t listening. She didn’t understand. She was rejecting his affection and thwarting his expression of love for her. Why didn’t she care? Why was she being so selfish? Did she still love him? David was hurting like never before. He tried to make her understand but felt he was fighting a losing battle. Eventually, he lost hope of things ever changing, and David did what he thought he would never do. He looked for another woman with whom he could have a casual relationship. He soon realized that it was not very difficult to find someone else who was discontented and looking for affection. Kim was looking for a guy just like David. Strangely, she resembled Angie in many ways. Was David trying to substitute Kim for what he hoped to have in Angie? Was this the closest he felt he could get to her now? Angie continued to push David’s affection away. As a wife, did she have a right to withhold sexual relations with her husband without his consent? David didn’t think so. But, Angie would not listen to him. He felt he had no voice. Anger and frustration pushed him into making a decision, a costly one. Angie did not know of David’s infidelity, but David had to live with it. Justification was the only thing that made it seem alright…sometimes.

David’s story is not very uncommon. It doesn’t condone infidelity, but it does show us that it is not always about seeking pleasure. Sometimes it is about meeting deeper needs, that is, love, respect, and appreciation. David once expressed that he didn’t care if he was found out. He was so angry at Angie and felt he was paying her back. He justified his actions, yet he felt cheated and blamed Angie for causing him to become so vulnerable and desperate. Ultimately, David is responsible for the choices he made. Blaming Angie does not make the pain and frustration go away. It actually makes it worse.

Cheaters may justify their actions, blame their partners, claim they have tried, or complain that life isn’t fair. There are a myriad of excuses for having affairs. David’s story is not everyone’s story. There are cheaters who are looking for pleasure and don’t place a high value on being faithful to their partners.

In sharing David’s story, I want to show that no one is immune to the temptations of infidelity. Even commitment can be weakened and values compromised in some situations. Affairs are becoming more and more prevalent today. They are becoming easier and more acceptable. No marriage is totally immune to the pressures that breed them.

If we gain anything from all of this, I think it is to place a higher value on our marriages, and to love and appreciate our partners. Do not take them for granted. Be thankful for them and don’t look for opportunities for something better. Listen, understand, and care about each other’s needs. Try to bring out the best in each other. Be supportive. Stay committed and value vows made to stay faithful and true. Satisfying relationships are hard work. They need our time and attention. Continually investing in them will help to guard us from the dangerous trap of betraying our marriages, our families, ourselves and our God.


Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn. NewDayCounseling.org & BeHappy4Life.com


Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family counseling, couples counseling & child therapy center and BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & inspiration.


For signs of a Cheating Spouse click here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Celebrate with Family & Friends!

HAPPY EASTER! The greatest festival of the Christian church commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is Risen!   &   HAPPY PASSOVER! Passover commemorates the freedom of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt!   God bless you as you celebrate with your family & friends :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reflections on Health, Happiness & Wealth


If you have health, you will probably be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want. 
~Elbert Hubbard

As I reflected on the quote above, I was reminded of several things.  For one, health is not only a gift; it is a responsiblity.  We make choices every day that affect our overall physical, emotional and spiritual health.  What we put into our bodies and minds has immediate and/or long-term influence in our lives.  Something as simple as complaining about a frustrated goal or dreaded appointment can keep us from feeling gratitude and hope.  Something seemingly innocuous as snacking on sweets can spoil our appetite for healthy foods and contribute to our feelings of guilt and lack of self-control. Taking good care of ourselves is an ongoing process and challenge that can become an established way of life with commitment, discipline and practice.  The more we practice healthy habits of body and mind, the more likely they will come naturally to us.  With practice, we can feed our minds and bodies with what is good for them, and we can have better health. 

Now if we have health, that is, if our minds and bodies are well taken care of, we will most likely be happy as it stands to reason.  In that case, happiness is actually a byproduct of a healthy body, soul, and spirit.  And furthermore, if we have both health and happiness, we are wealthy indeed.  Now the last part of the quote is what I spent a little more time thinking about.  It states that with health and happiness we have all the wealth we need.  Yet, despite having this wealth, it may not be all we want. 

Does this imply that we can still be happy and not have what we want?  We may have what we need, but is it enough?  Does not having what we want justify unhappiness?  To some of us it does.  We are not happy unless we have what we want.  But to be happy in the midst of not having what we want suggests a way of being that leaves our inner joy intact.  Is it hope that keeps us believing? Is it gratitude that keeps us fulfilled?  Is it patience that helps us to appreciate and live in the now?  Is it peace that keeps us secure?  Is it love that satisfies our deepest longings?

The next time not having what we want tempts to rob us of true inner joy and peace, maybe we ought to ask ourselves how much our health is worth.  Are we not wealthy when we see the good, hope and believe the best, release doubts, fears, and anger, receive and give love and thanks?  And are we not wealthy when we awaken to a new day with strength and vitality, seeing the light, breathing fresh air, and ready to fulfill our day's purpose and enjoy life's simple blessings?  

Health, happiness, and wealth.... suddenly they all seem to come together.

Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.  - Henry Ford

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. BeHappy4Life.com, NewDayCounseling.org Written by Krystal Kuehn



Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a marriage counseling and family therapy center and BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

PETS – How They Enrich Our Lives & Improve Our Health

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown


Anyone who loves and owns a pet knows the joy of companionship and love they provide. Pets are our devoted friends. Following are just some of the many benefits that having a pet can bring:

Love & Affection

Pets offer humanity one thing that we all need and seek, that is, the miracle-working power of unconditional love. People with pets experience that love because they know they don’t have to earn it. Their pets love them just the way they are. When they are irritable or moody, their pet is forgiving and accepting. When they are apart, they know they are missed and will be greeted with excitement and an affectionate welcome. It can make them feel like the most important person in the world, and they actually are to their pet.


Pets express affection to their owners and this loving act reminds them that they are loved. Pet behavior is actually more consistent when compared to human behavior, which can be unstable and unpredictable at times. Therefore, pet owners can be secure in knowing that their pet’s love and affection will not be withdrawn unexpectedly. Emotionally, they can experience a love that is accepting and does not have to be earned from their pets. This experience of unconditional love can be very therapeutic as it is a constant reminder that they are valuable, special, and worthy of love and respect.


Companionship

Pets keep us company. They can help ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation. The very presence of a pet reminds us that we are not physically alone. Pets provide a unique bond and companionship that also helps in warding off feelings of disconnection from others. Caring for pets requires verbal and/or nonverbal communication with them. In turn, pets respond and follow. They provide a listening ear to our troubles as well. Talking to them or showing and receiving affection are healthy ways to feel more connected with our loving companions.


Relaxation & Comfort

Research studies consistently show that pets help us relax. Simply stroking a pet lowers blood pressure and calms us. Pets provide comfort and affection that help to reduce stress. They help to divert attention away from problems. Pets also provide enjoyment and make us laugh, releasing the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Pets are good for our emotional as well as physical health.


A Rewarding Relationship

We all need to have a sense of purpose in our lives, something to do and look forward to every day. Aside from our work and other responsibilities, we need meaningful and rewarding ways to give out and enjoy life. Having a pet provides us with an important responsibility and a chance to give our time and attention to a rewarding relationship. Pet owners know that they are counted on every single day to care for their pet’s many needs—feeding, bathing, exercise, grooming, and affection. Having a pet to take care of gives us the sense that we are needed and responsible for our companion who counts on us. This can be healthy for our self-esteem as it keeps us actively involved in caring for something other than ourselves. And in that there is great reward and fulfillment.


Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. NewDayCounseling.org Written by Krystal Kuehn,


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. ~ Josh Billings



Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a marriage counseling and family therapy center and BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

5 Parenting Tips for Communicating with Children & Teens

There is nothing that adequately prepares us for the most important job there is—parenting. Children and teens do not come with an owner’s manual, and most of our training is on the job. With our own parents as our most prominent role models, we tend to repeat what we have learned about parenting from them. We do our best, learn as we go, and make our own mistakes along the way; but we don’t have to leave our parenting to chance. We can become more effective parents. We can parent with more confidence instead of frustration. Parenting can be enjoyable and rewarding instead of stressful.

Following are some parenting tips for improving communication and building healthy and respectful relationships with our children and teens.

(1) Show interest in your kids

One of the best ways to get anyone to talk is to show interest in them and what is important to them. Sports, music, or any other activity provides great ways to connect and share. Become engaged in whatever it is your child or teen enjoys. It can be anything--watching a football game together, listening to songs and talking about favorite artists, joining a video game, watching your child draw or build model cars, or helping your daughter with her hair and nails.

(2) Initiate conversations

Often parents begin conversations with a question instead of simply sharing their thoughts. Kids are more likely to engage in conversations when they do not feel they have to explain or defend themselves. Letting them know you are thinking about them and that you care about what is happening in their lives are good ways to initiate conversations. Timing is important as well. Good times to talk might be bedtime, while driving, or at dinner.

(3) Make yourself available                                                                            

Sometimes parents get so busy and don’t realize that their children feel there is no time left for them. They do not express this directly saying, “You know, I’ve been feeling neglected lately. It seems you’re so busy with everything and everyone else and don’t make time for me. And when you are with me, you seem preoccupied and distracted.” They might, instead, distance themselves or act out for some negative attention. Making time for kids can be a sacrifice, especially for very busy parents, but the investment is well worth it. Developing a good relationship with one’s children requires time—both quality time and quantity of time. Planning weekly one-on-one time with no distractions is a good idea. Kids want to know that they are important and valued. Making yourself available to them communicates this loud and clear.

(4) Be a good listener

You know you have heard someone correctly when they feel understood. One way to do this is to repeat what you think you heard back to them. They will clarify what they meant if they think you are genuinely interested and trying to understand them. Kids also need to feel safe when sharing their thoughts, with no fear of judgment, being cut off, or causing an angry reaction. It is important to resist arguments and criticism. When there are disagreements, parents can express that it is okay to disagree. Although their thoughts and feelings differ, they are not rejecting their child. Parents and their children will encounter many differences in opinion. However, being a good listener lets your children know that you understand where they are coming from without lecturing or threatening.

(5) Use words to motivate

If you see your children and teens as winners, beautiful, and full of potential, they will know it and act on it. It will show in how you treat them and what you say. As a result, they will believe in themselves as well. Your words have power. The words of a parent can motivate and empower for a lifetime. They can also discouraged and break a child’s spirit if they are negative and critical. We can all recall things our parents have said about us that we have carried with us throughout our lives, such as: I believe in you. You can do anything you set your mind to. You are so smart and creative. Or, you will never amount to anything. You do not have what it takes. You are the ugly one of the family. Let us choose our words carefully. Speaking good things over them, blessing them with our words motivates them to fulfill their purpose in life.

It is not easy parenting children and teens and knowing what to say or how to bring out the best in them. Feeling connected and getting along with our kids takes time and effort. The goods news is that parents and teens can have healthy connections that are founded upon trust and unconditional love. The parenting tips provided above are a good start to better communication and a more rewarding parenting experience. For more tips or help with problems, parents may benefit from parenting classes or family counseling.


Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn. NewDayCounseling.org

Children need love, especially when they don’t deserve it. ~anonymous

Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another. ~Richard Garnett

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a couples, family counseling and child teen counseling center, and BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Relationship Advice: Love, Couples & Friends



Before you got into a couples relationship, you had your own friends to hang out with and have fun. You never had to worry about a partner who did not like your friends or did not want to hang out with them. You never had to concern yourself with problems that could arise if you simply wanted to spend some time with your friends rather than your partner. But once you left the singles scene and became a couple, some things regarding friendships began to change.

Following are some common challenges that couples face regarding friendships.

(1) Finding couples friends that both you and your partner enjoy spending time with.

One of you might like spending time with another couple while the other does not. So what do you do? There are a couple of factors to consider when looking for other couples to hang out with:

How time is spent together

When couples share common interests, they are more likely to enjoy the company of other couples with the same interests. For example, if both couples like to do certain things like go to sporting events, (or concerts, comedy club, the theatre, bowling, golfing, or playing cards, watching movies, or just hanging out and talking), they will all enjoy the activity and are more likely to actively engage and work together. We have all participated in things we really enjoy and find that even if we have an issue with someone or something, we can still enjoy ourselves. Personally, I experienced this when working in an orchestra. Once we got into playing the music, our differences subsided for the time being and we all had a great time. On the other hand, if one or more individuals really lack interest in the activities, there is a good chance they will not enjoy spending time together. It might be the activity more than the couple that they do not appreciate and enjoy. Finding things both couples like to do can make a big difference.

Personalities, Compatibility, and Connections

Another important factor that affects enjoying time spent with couple friends is the connection they all have. Do they genuinely like and respect one another? Are they comfortable and feel safe to open up? We connect with others when we find commonalities on which we can bond, such as hobbies, political or religious views, interests, problems, or life experiences. There are so many different levels on which we can connect. Once we do, real friendships can develop and we begin to enjoy time spent together in laughter, sharing, learning, and appreciating life together. Oftentimes, the most rewarding couple friendships develop between couples involved in common goals and interests. That is why it is important that each couple develop goals together first, then they can share them with other couples.

(2) Avoiding conflicts when one of you does not want to hang out with the other’s friends

Couple relationships require a great deal of sharing, giving, and compromise if they are going to be happy and healthy. Doing something the other person wants to do when we do not want to can be handled in several ways. First, you have the choice to do it anyway. That can be a sacrifice on your part, but you do it for your partner. Secondly, you can decide to work out a compromise. You need to discuss this and both feel good and right about it. If one partner feels taken advantage of, it can turn into resentment and bitterness that will eventually come out and affect the relationship. So, you may agree to hang out with his friends today and he will go shopping with you all day tomorrow. Do whatever works as long as you both have a good attitude. It is about give and take. The better we get at it, as it applies to our relationships, the better we can avoid conflicts and find lasting satisfaction in our relationships.

(3) Allowing each other time apart and freedom to choose how and with whom it is spent

Couples ought to have an agreed upon together or "we time" and agreed upon time apart or "me time." Me time should be used any way the person chooses, whether alone or with friends. If one partner does not have their own friends, they can use this time to visit their relatives or simply do something on their own. Whatever they choose to do, the other person’s time apart ought to be respected. It is a good idea to discuss and agree that time alone and time apart from each other will be honored and respected without resentment. The important thing is that couples are satisfied with their time together. A satisfying relationship built on trust creates security. Couples ought to be secure enough in their relationship to let their partners go when separate time is needed. Relationships require a certain amount of freedom. There is an old adage that says, "When you love something, let it go. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it does not, it never was." It is not in the best interest of a relationship to make the partner with friends feel guilty or to impose upon his or her "me time." If the issue has to do with the type of friends he or she is spending time with, this needs to be addressed. If it is his own insecurities or boredom, he ought to develop some new interests apart from the relationship or talk to a counselor who can help him work through some possible insecurities, fears, or boundary issues. Couples can also benefit from couples counseling as they establish healthy boundaries and build new friendships.

Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn. NewDayCounseling.org

I wrote this article in response to an interview for The Detroit Free Press. To read more on the topic, check out: Don’t Forget Pals When Dating by Cathy Nelson (The Detroit Free Press, January 10, 2010).





Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a family and couples counseling center and BeHappy4Life.com, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.