"LIFE STRATEGIES" by Phil McGraw 

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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights

You are sold "self-improvement" the same way you're sold everything else: it's easy; five simple steps; you can't help succeeding, because you're so wonderful; your results will be fast, fast, fast.  You're paying dearly for this polluting flood of psychobabble.  Instead of stripping away our excuses and jacking us up to deal with our true lies, the psychobabble provides us with a whole new set of excuses.

Denial is a common tendency that destroys people lives.  Denial is the refusal to admit that what is really happening is real.  Before anything can change you must GET REAL.

The second pattern involves making initial assumptions then failing to test them for truth and accuracy.  Don't ASSUME that things will happen the way you imagine, test them.

A third pattern is paralysis caused by fear and denial.  When the problem seems to big, we can become too paralyzed to do anything.  Assessing the situation and breaking it down into manageable sized steps is the only way we can succeed.

Another pattern is deceptive masking.  By putting on a false front, a "tough image" others are not aware of how we're actually feeling and can't help us because they don't know what's really going on.

Don't spend much time focusing on why your problems are happening to you.  Instead, focus on helping design a plan to move forward from where you are.

It's not ok to accept burdens like these:

  • Frustration that you're not making more money
  • Feeling that you're capable of accomplishing more.
  • Stuck in a rut and not getting what you want
  • Bored with yourself
  • Silently enduring an emotionally barren life or marriage
  • Trudging zombielike through a lifeless career
  • Consistently failing in the pursuit of your goals
  • Going through the motions with no passion, plan or goal
  • Living in a fantasy world in which you think you're bullet-proof when you're taking incredible risks
  • Living in a comfort zoned that yields too little challenge and too little of what you want and too much of what you don't
  • Living a lonely existence with little hope for change
  • Suffering financial burdens you can't handle
  • Living with guilt, frustration, or depression

You must begin working in a STRATEGIC way towards something better.  You have both the capacity and the right to do so, but first you have to stop being part of the epidemic.  You have to eliminate the behavior.

Ask whether the way you are living, behaving and thinking is WORKING or NOT WORKING.  If what you're doing isn't working then CHANGE.

If your marriage isn't working, change what you're doing.  If your self-management isn't working, change what you're doing.  You've been "right" long enough; try being a winner instead.

EXISTING is instinctual; it is involuntary, reactive self-preservation with the primary goal of just getting from one day to the next, without regard to quality.

LIVING, on the other hand, is the exercise of certain learned skills, attitudes and abilities that you have acquired and honed to a sharp focused edge.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Being able to predict the behavior of others can be almost as powerful as being able to control it.  This is particularly true of your quest to motivate and control yourself.

For example, if you suddenly understand why you always seem to quit before you achieve what you want and you understand how to change that pattern, then your life is different and it's different RIGHT AWAY.

The problem is that when it comes to succeeding at the game of life, nobody ever really taught you the rules, let alone how to play the game.

Why do so many marriages fail?  Because nobody gets taught how to be married.  We're not taught how to pick a mate, or WHY to pick a mate; we don't know how to manage our emotions once we're in a marriage; we don't know how to resolve marital conflict.  Married people have never been taught why they or their spouses feel the way they do and act the way they do.  Nobody has ever taught us the fundamentals.

You did what you knew how to do, and when you know better, you'll do better.   It's time you knew better.

There are idiots with fancy degrees who don't have enough sense to come out of the rain.  There are wise and insightful people without ANY highbrow education.  You can also find a few who have both education and wisdom.  It is up to you to choose solid, reliable teacher.  Not so that you can substitute their thinking for your own, but so you can add to your personal knowledge.

Before your life can go in the right direction, you have to pull your head out and STOP going in the wrong direction.

You don't have to stick your hand in your blender to know that it is not the best idea to put hands in blenders.

Life IS a competition.  They ARE keeping score and there IS a time clock.

What if you were violated or mistreated as a child?  Is it fair that it happened to you?  NO.  Is it fair that you have to deal with that?  NO.  Is it fair that you have to live with it and manage it for the rest of your life?  NO.  Are you nevertheless accountable for how you live with it and mange it?  ABSOLUTELY.  

The same is true if you have had a terrible loss of someone close to you or are stricken with a devastating illness.  The same is true if you are unjustly accused or imprisoned.  You may not be responsible for your circumstances but you are accountable for your actions, even if your circumstances are unjust.

  • When you chose the behavior, you chose the consequences.
  • When you chose the thoughts, you chose the consequences.

Your thoughts are behavior too.  Choosing your thoughts contributes to your experiences, because when you choose your thoughts, you choose consequences that are associated with those thoughts.  If you choose thoughts that demean and depreciate you, then you choose the consequences of low self-esteem and low self-confidence.  If you choose thoughts contaminated with anger and bitterness, then you will create an experience of alienation, isolation and hostility.  Getting over anger, forgiveness.

Some typical negative statements included:

  • I'm not smart enough.
  • Other people are better than me
  • I'm not as good as the rest of these people
  • I cannot and will not succeed
  • I always quit
  • I won't make a difference
  • I can't change their mind, they've already made it up.
  • I just go through the motions, nothing ever changes.
  • I'm too young, or I'm too old, or I'm too dumb

One of the most important choices you make daily is how you present and define yourself to people.  Everybody has a look, an attitude, a certain demeanor they choose when dealing with others.  Some might call it your personality or your style.

PAGES 73 - 80  Create analysis tool that defines your personality style that prevents you from accepting responsibility.

Challenge yourself with these questions

  • What if you deserve so much better?
  • What if you're wrong and you CAN change things?
  • What if it's not too late?
  • What if you DO have an amazing purpose to fulfill?
  • What if I could tell you right here and right now what you had to do to be free: Would you do it, no matter how scary or how threatening?

When you engage people in a certain way, they are most likely to respond in a certain related fashion.  YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE.

Life Laws are the rules of the game.  No one is going to ask you if you think these laws are fair.  They're like the law of gravity, they simply are.  You don't get a vote.

Life Law #1: You either get it, or you don't.
Strategy: Become one of those who gets it.

The "it" you need to get may change from time to time, but there are common elements.  Once you truly understand how things really work, you are functioning from a position of knowledge and strength.

Life Law #2: You create your own experience.
Strategy: Acknowledge and accept accountability for your life. Understand your role in creating results.

If you don't accept accountability, you will misdiagnose every problem you have.  If you misdiagnose, you will mistreat. If you mistreat, things won't get getter, plain and simple. Even if you think there can't possibly be a link between your problems and yourself, assume I'm right and keep digging for your role in the problem.  It is there, I promise you.

The problem is that it's the very core of human nature to blame other people; it is fundamental self-preservation to try to escape accountability.

Maybe you'll remember this story:  "It wasn't ME God, it was the Woman who gave me the apple to eat!"  "It wasn't ME God, it was the snake who said I should eat the apple!"

You will never, ever fix your problems blaming someone else.  Don't be a loser just because it hurts to admit the truth.  You're the one screwing up, if anybody is.  The sooner you accept that, the sooner your life gets better.  Lets face it, no matter who you might want to blame:

  • You made the choice
  • You said the words
  • You settled too cheap.
  • You god mad
  • You decided you weren't worth it
  • You chose the job
  • You sold out your dreams
  • You chose the feelings
  • You quit

I didn't say you are to BLAME.  I said that you're ACCOUNTABLE, as in "responsible."  There's a huge difference between blame and responsibility.  To deserve blame, you must have intended your actions, or recklessly disregarded their consequences.  Responsibility simply means that you're in control.  

There is more than one way to play the victim, but the most common way is to believe that you're right, those who disagree with you are wrong and therefore it is not your fault that things are at an impasse.

You are NOT A VICTIM.  You are creating the situations you are in; you are creating the emotions that flow from those situation.  This is not a THEORY; it's LIFE.

You need to step saying, "Why are they doing this to me?" and start saying, "Why am I doing this to myself?  What thoughts behavior, and choices can I change to get a different result?"

You must be willing to move your position and however difficult or unusual it may seem, embrace the fact that you own the problem.  Accepting that you are accountable means that you get it.  It means that you understand that the solution lies within YOU!  If the solution lies within you, that means YOU are in control!

Life Law #3: People do what works.
Strategy: Identify the payoffs that drive your behavior and that of others.

Failure is no accident.  You set yourself up for it or you don't.  You do things because at some level they work.  At some level, you perceive that the apparently unwanted behaviors serve a purpose.  The challenge is to identify the payoff for your unwanted behavior.

The behavior you choose creates the results you get.  If you repeat the behavior, then in some way those results must be desirable or you wouldn't behave that way over and over.  If you don't repeat the behavior, then the result is not desirable and holds nothing for you.

Knowing what you need to do and knowing how to do it are two very different things.  Unfortunately, some behavior, often that which we want to eliminate, is the very one that stubbornly continues to occur.  How can that be?  What you may not know is that those results, which affect you and the choices you make, occur at different levels of awareness and that the results can take many different forms, some subtle and powerful.

The challenge is to consider all the possible ways you may be getting paid off without being aware of it.  The "currency" of life takes on many different forms.  Some are healthy while others are extremely unhealthy, such as self-punishment, distorted self-importance, vindictiveness, or some other emotionally unstable response.

Money is an obvious payoff.  Physical income is the often-powerful sense of physical well-being that comes from good nutrition, exercise, proper weight management and healthy sexual activity.

Psychological income can take the form of acceptance, approval, praise, love companionship, greed, punishment or fulfillment.  Feelings of safety and security are the other, more general categories of psychological payoff that come from a healthy lifestyle.

Achievement income is a feeling of accomplishment, recognition from others or an inner awareness of a job well done.

Social income derives from feeling that you're part of a group; you not only belong, but are a contributor or leader.

Spiritual income is a payoff that can manifest itself in terms of peace, a sense of connectedness with a higher power or a feeling of righteousness and morality.  

The unfortunate fact is that the power of a payoff can support even behavior that you don't consciously want.

Pages 95-97 Create some tools.

Another element to consider in analyzing the payoffs in your life is the appeal of immediate versus delayed gratification.

Create a tool.

Life Law #4: You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.
Strategy: Get real with yourself about life and everybody in it. Be truthful about what isn't working in your life. Stop making excuses and start making results.

If you won't take ownership of your role in a situation you can't and won't change it.  If you refuse to acknowledge your self-destructive behaviors they will continue and GAIN momentum, become habitual patterns and grow more resistant to change.  

Problems don't get better with time.  What you don't acknowledge is going to get worse.  Denial can, quite literally KILL YOU.  

If at this point in your life you're living like a lazy slug, admit it.  If you're bitter and hostile, admit it.  If you're scared, admit it.  Be honest or you will cheat yourself out of what may be the best chance you've got to escape the destruction of your current life and get what you really want.

Acknowledgment is a no-kidding, unvarnished, bottom-line truthful confrontation with yourself about what you are doing or not doing, or what you are putting up with in your life that is destructive.  Admit that you are getting payoffs for what you're doing, however sick or subtle the payoffs may be.  If you're not willing to rise to the level of being brutally, penetratingly honest with yourself about who you are and what is wrong, then you will never effect change.  It's just that simple.

What most people want is not truth, but validation.  They want reinforcements for their thinking, right or wrong.  They seek out the people and the information that support the conclusions they've already reached, factual or otherwise.  The only things they want to hear are things that make them feel good, that give them comfort about who or where they are, right now.

You may be able to come up with 50 reasons you can't change.  And you know what?  Keep it up and once more in your life you'll be right.

In all the years that I worked with patients, and particularly the times I worked with couples, the most common goal of each patient was not to find out how to live and behave productively, but to convince me that what they were believing or doing was correct.  Seldom did either partner sincerely say "Dr. McGraw, I want our marriage to work, no matter who is right."  What both of them usually said, in effect was "I want you to recognize that I'm right and convince my spouse that I'm right so that we can do things my way."  They want a referee or a judge who could declare which of them was right and which was wrong.

You have to be 100% committed to paying whatever price, doing whatever it takes to reach your goal.  If that is peace in your marriage or with your children, you can only affect you.  You can't control them, so you need to figure out what YOU can do rather than focusing on how right you are.

The insistence on being right has a tragic outcome.  I saw couple after couple destroy their relationship and family rather than give up their beliefs.  And in most of these cases, both parents were wrong.  Way wrong.  (But I'm sure you're not.  You're the exception to this rule right?)

Once you have acknowledged the existence of a problem and your ownership of it, living with the status quo becomes much more difficult.  Once you admit ownership of the problem, you cannot hide behind other people.  Remember, there are no accidents; you create your own experience by what you choose and do.

50% of the solution to any problem lies in defining the problem.  Once you've had the courage and commitment to lay it out to yourself exactly as it it, then you cannot and will not spend another day in fantasy.  You must acknowledge that whatever your circumstance is, it did not happen by accident.

You must  acknowledge that you have to gain knowledge if you want the power to change.  You must acknowledge that you are getting some kind of payoff for living with what you don't want and be willing honestly acknowledge and label whatever personal characteristics are keeping you from success.  If you're scared then you must say "I'm scared."  If you're confused, admit it.  You cannot heal what you will not acknowledge.

Be brutally honest with yourself.  Don't deny anything and don't mince words when you do it.  If you're fat, you're fat.  If you're lazy, you're lazy.  If you're scared, you're scared.  You don't have a glandular problem, an energy deficit or a careful approach to life.  You're fat, lazy and scared.  Be willing to tell it like it is, or live with the consequences.  I'm not trying to drag you down; I'm trying to make you be real.  Face it so you can replace it.

You have to give yourself permission to be less than perfect.  You have to give yourself permission to have accumulated baggage along the way, without condemning yourself as a bad person.

Life Law #5: Life rewards action.  (EARN THE RIGHT)
Strategy: Make careful decisions and then pull the trigger. Learn that the world couldn't care less about thoughts without actions.
 

The responses and results that you receive from anyone, in any situation, are triggered by your behavior.  If you behave in a purposeless, meaningless, unconstructive way, you get inferior results.  You create your own experience.  When you choose the behavior, you chose the consequences.  The better the choices, the better the results.  If you do nothing, you get nothing.  Life rewards action.

People don't care about your "intentions".  They care about what you do.

RUT TEST

  • Do you spend a high percentage of your free time as a couch potato?
  • When you're at home, do you put on the same outfit to lounge around in all the time?
  • Do you stand at the refrigerator as if you might discover something that wasn't there five minutes ago?
  • Do you discuss TV characters as though they're real people?
  • Is your job or your kids all you talk about?
  • Do you only eat out at fast food restaurants?
  • Are you suspicious of people who look really happy because it just doesn't seem possible?
  • Do you feel alone even when people are around?
  • Does your appearance and standards of personal grooming seem to be on the decline?
  • When you awaken, do you dread starting the day?
  • Do you have a lower standard of conduct when you're alone than when you're with others?
  • In order for you to meet someone new, would they have to throw themselves on the hood of your car, or pull up in front of your TV set?

Measuring success or failure purely as a function of results means that you are taking a hard-nosed, bottom-line approach to self-evaluation.  You might as well do it that way, because that's how the world is measuring you.  You can't make your own rules or laws: the world already has its own.  More importantly, the world has the ability to enforce them.

The difference between winners and losers is that winners do things losers don't want to do. "Everybody wants to win.  Not everyone wants to prepare to win."

People who win take purposeful, meaningful action; they don't just think about it.  They don't PLAN themselves to death; they don't have a meeting to plan a meeting to set up a meeting to decide what to do.  There comes a time when you have to pull the trigger.  To get what you want you have to do what it takes.

Nothing in your life will change until you begin to do different things.  The question you may need to ask yourself is, "If not now, when?"  Recognize that if you don't have it's because you don't act.  We all know what's important, but do we focus on it and work on it or do we just react to what's in our face, intending to do the meaningful things soon?

My dad's life was a lesson about action.  At the age of seventy-one, thirty years after earning his Ph.D. in psychology, he enrolled in the seminary with the intention of earning a Master of Divinity degree.  The problem was exhaustion: his heart was so bad he could only walk fifty feet at a time, so he had to get to campus thirty minutes before class.  Then, from the parking lot, he had mapped out a route as complicated as any pass pattern in the NFL.  Ultimately, after two years and I don't know how many rest breaks, my dad stepped onto the dais to receive his diploma, and the whole arena erupted in cheers.  So don't tell me about how hard it is to do things.

PAIN gets you to take a direction.  Use it to propel yourself out of the situation you are in and get you where you want to be.  The same pain that burdens you now could be turned to your advantage.  It may be the very motivation you need to change your life.

How can you increase the level of pain in order to motivate you to act?

Some people just seem to be natural risk-takers; they keep on reaching, they keep on doing, until they get what they've dreamed about.  They have a mind-set that accepts rist as a way of life.  They are unwilling to settle for a "bird in the hand" if it's not the right bird.

Other people scranble for safety or withdraw from the game when things start to look scary or unknown or hard.  These people settle for what they don't want, and for a very logical-if unproductive-reason.  By settling, they remove themselves from the stress, pressure and fear of reaching and possibly failing.  By "taking a seat in the comfort zone," they avoid the risk of failing, and the pain that goes with it.

The very act of admitting that you want more puts the balance of your existence in jeapordy.  You feel a tension between wanting to maintain the security of sameness, however mundane and boring it may be, and the hope and excitement of having what you really want.  No matter what the circumstances of your live may be, even if it is painful, disrupting the sameness can be scary.  A familiar pain is like a not-very-good friend: it's not a good friend, but it's a known friend.  These things aren't true of new risks.  We fear the unknown, and when we try something new, the results are always in question.  "How bad can this get?  Can I lose it all?  Will I fail?"

So goes the logic of avoidance: no pressure, no pain, no fear; just don't do it and the problem goes away.  Call it a cop-out, call it choking, call it selling out your dreams; you quit on yourself.  Life doesn't reward quitting.  You are the only one that does that.

Create a support group that enables you to build each other up and a safe place to fall.  It gives you the motivation to DO IT!

  • There will be setbacks, but you CAN deal with them.
  • You will fail, but if you keep working, you WILL make it.
  • People will reject you, but you WILL make it through.
  • You'll suffer setback, but you CAN and WILL succeed.

Take Action and insist on Results.  This is a supremely important law of life.

You don't have the right to waste your gifts.  You're not only cheating yourself, you're cheating everyone whose life you could be touching.

Life Law #6: There is no reality; only perception.
Strategy: Identify the filters through which you view the world. Acknowledge your history without being controlled by it.

If you think you can or you think you cannot, you are probably right.  Get to know your limiting beliefs so well that if one begins to show even a hint of its presence, alarms will go off and you will counteract it.

We all view the world through individual filters.  Some filters may be healthy and constructive, while others may be distorted and destructive.  There is no good news or bad news; there is only news.  You have the power to choose your perceptions.  And you exercise this power of choice in every circumstance, every day of your life.  Whatever your filter is, you need to know it.

Our filters are never more profoundly distorted than when we view ourselves.  As a matter of course, people simply do not see themselves in a realistic and objective light.  We completely overlook the ways in which we ourselves contribute to our experience of the world.  Think about how many times you've heard people narrate an incident in their lives without seeming to notice any of their own accountability for what happened.  You hear them blame the other people involved, often in excruciating detail, and charge right past what is obvious to everyone listening-namely, their own contribution to the incident.

You must not use past events to build excuses.  We are products of our history, we do learn what we live, but that doesn't have to matter in the here and now whether your past has been good or bad, just that it has been.

You certainly, unequivocally, are not accountable for having been raped or abused as a child.  You are undeniably accountable for how you react to it now.

Life Law #7: Life is managed; it is not cured.
Strategy: Learn to take charge of your life and hold on. This is a long ride, and you are the driver every single day.
  

It will be highly valuable for you to think of yourself as the manager of your life from this point on.  You might think of and evaluate how good a job you are doing managing your life.

You must identify when you are hurting, angry, frustrated or confused.  You have to call time out and deal with it.  Address it with the person whom you're interacting, or at least with yourself.  If emotional pain or problems have cropped up in your life, you must insist on getting closure.  Closure means you don't carry the problem or the pain.  You address the issue, then you close the book and put it away.  

Whatever that takes, do it.  Maybe it means confronting yourself or the other person.  Maybe it requires forgiveness or making an apology.  Whatever it requires, you do it to get past it.  Avoid piling up this kind of burden in your life; give yourself emotional closure.

CREATE TOOL TO ASSESS YOUR MANAGEMENT JOB.  Create tools to assess the problems that are currently in your life and a strategy to systematically deal with them.

Honor your agreements.  Broken agreements are boulders you drop in front and behind you on the road of life.  Think about how you feel when someone makes a commitment to you and then breaks it.  

CREATE TOOL TO ASSESS THE DEALS YOU MAKE AND THE ONES YOU'VE BROKEN.  With yourself, your spouse, your children, your friends, your boss..

You're never without any problems or challenges.  You know that if everything is calm and peaceful in one area, such as your home, there's likely to be challenge and turmoil in the workplace or vice versa.  We try to dress up this paradox in order to make it okay. 

COMMIT TO RESOLVE RATHER THAN ENDURE YOUR PROBLEMS.

 Cliches abound about why problems are a good thing:

  • No pain no gain
  • Without the bad we wouldn't appreciate the good
  • Problems build character

It's not so much the particular circumstance that upsets us as the violation of our expectations.  Look into the eyes of a young couple in love and you might see that their expectation is that "everything's going to be perfect".  They are likely to react badly to the adjustment pains that accompany the merging of two lives into one.  On the other hand, if they were expecting to face problems, then their occurrence in the marriage will only confirm what was expected and be much less problematic.

BE AWARE OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

CREATE TOOL HERE.

"What if I get fired?" will gnat you if you don't force yourself to answer the question.

The primary difference between you and "lucky people" is simply this: they did what they did, and you did what you did.  You just settled too early and too cheaply.

Poor choices are the ones that test your maturity and resolve.  These are the ones about which you have to say, "I will make this decision right," meaning, you will work to resolve the flaws, you will work to find a solution, and you will be committed to the end.  It's so easy to bail out on things that don't work out immediately, but decisions such as marriage, children and education are not so easy to undo.

Your stakes are the quality of your life, your hopes, dreams and goals.  Like it or not, you are a life strategist.  The problem you're trying to solve is your whole life-your relationship with your family, your career, your physical health and emotional well-being.

The question is: Do you have the skills it will take, not just to survive, but to succeed?  If you don't, you need to resolve to get those skills, or you will be yet another casualty of life.  The choice is yours.

Life Law #8: We teach people how to treat us.
Strategy: Own, rather than complain about, how people treat you. Learn to renegotiate your relationships to have what you want.

If the people in your life treat you in an undesirable way, you're going to have to figure out what you're doing to reinforce, elicit or allow the treatment.  Together you and your partner have hammered out the terms, rules and guidelines.  If you don't like the deal, don't blame just your partner, you have ownership just as much as they do.

PAGES 192 - 261 Delve into later

VISION:  People who consistently win get what they want because they know what they want.  Most people are afraid to let themselves get excited about having what they want.  People who are consistent winners are undaunted by that fear.  They have a vision that becomes their North Star: it keeps them motivated and efficiently on track.

STRATEGY:  People who consistently win have a written strategy.  They have a map, a flow chart and a timeline.  Their strategy includes an assessment of their resources and appraisal of the obstacles.  

PASSION:  People who consistently win play the game with passion.  They're excited about what they're doing.  The pursuit of their goal is not work, it is fun and intriguing.  They are reluctant to go to bed at night, spring forth in the morning.  Their passion is contagious.

TRUTH:  People who consistently win have no room in their lives for denial or fantasy.  They "tell it like it is" to themselves and others.

FLEXIBILITY:  People who win understand that even the best-laid plans sometimes have to be altered and changed.  They don't remain rigidly fixed and will consider any potentially viable alternative.  The DO WHAT WORKS.  They bend, but don't break.

RISK:  People who win are willing to take risk.  They're not reckless or dangerous, but they are willing to get out of their comfort zone and try new things.

NUCLEUS (community):  People who consistently win surround themselves with people who want them to win.  They choose their relationships  carefully and are part of other people's nuclear groups.

ACTION:  People who win take meaningful, purposeful, consistent, directional action.  

PRIORITIES:  Winners set priorities and live those priorities.  They commit to managing their time in ways that focus their attention on what is most important.

SELF-MANAGEMENT:  Winners actively manage their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.  They maintain a balance that keeps them safe from burnout.  They recognize that they are their most important resource and manage themselves carefully.

Life Law #9: There is power in forgiveness.
Strategy: Open your eyes to what anger and resentment are doing to you. Take your power back from those who have hurt you.


Hate, anger and resentment are destructive, eating away at the heart and soul of the person who carries them. They are absolutely incompatible with your own peace, joy and relaxation. Ugly emotions change who you are and contaminate every relationship you have. They can also take a physical toll on your body, including sleep disturbance, headaches, back spasms, and even heart attacks.

Forgiveness sets you free from the bonds of hatred, anger and resentment. The only way to rise above the negatives of a relationship in which you were hurt is to take the moral high ground, and forgive the person who hurt you.

Forgiveness is not about another person who has transgressed against you; it is about you. Forgiveness is about doing whatever it takes to preserve the power to create your own emotional state. It is a gift to yourself and it frees you. You don't have to have the other person's cooperation, and they do not have to be sorry or admit the error of their ways. Do it for yourself.

Life Law #10: You have to name it before you can claim it.
Strategy: Get clear about what you want and take your turn.


Not knowing what you want — from your major life goals to your day-to-day desires — is not OK. The most you'll ever get is what you ask for. If you don't even know what it is that you want, then you can't even ask for it. You also won't even know if you get there!

By being specific in defining your goal, the choices you make along the way will be more goal-directed. You will recognize which behaviors and choices support your goals — and which do not. You will know when you are heading toward your goal, and when you are off track.

Be bold enough to reach for what will truly fill you up, without being unrealistic. Once you have the strength and resolve enough to believe that you deserve what it is that you want, then and only then will you be bold enough to step up and claim it. Remember that if you don't, someone else will.

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