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Not Saying Has Consequences

I’ve come to believe that not saying anything is the most over-used communication strategy in couples. It’s not a bad strategy when used appropriately. For example, there are many things you might choose not to talk about because they are minor and would offend for no reason: a style choice, a passing grumpy mood, a silly mistake. The saying, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, makes sense to me. No need to criticize without a purpose. However, it’s also important to remember that the saying is not: if you have something unpleasant, difficult or emotional to say, don’t say anything at all. Too often we avoid saying something that might be hard or prompt an emotional response. The belief is that if we abstain from saying anything then we are not responsible. Our     . . . read more

Two New Workshops this Fall

I’m pleased to announce two new mini-workshops, specifically for women, to take place in my office at 203 Anderson Street in Portland, Maine. These are intended to be small and highly interactive, so space is limited. Getting to “No” Guilt-free Tuesday, September 24th 12:00-1:30pm This mini-workshop is for nice women who need specific strategies for how and when to say no, all while overcoming guilt. Whether you are over-extended at home, work, or both, this workshop is designed to give you the tools and confidence you need to stop the stress of never saying no. You will learn: Why no is nice How to gracefully, but firmly, say no When it makes sense to say no Why relationships suffer when you fail to say no How relationships benefit when you say no more often How to recognize unrealistic expectations of     . . . read more

Curiosity and Relationships

Note from Hannah: This is a guest post by Portland therapist, Bonnie Dunn, LCSW. It’s part of the New Perspectives series where writers give us their take on emotional wellness and the human experience. In honor of July 4th, Hannah did a post about Freedom.  Her last line was:  “Freedom is a stance of curiosity, experimentation and play”.   I’m pretty sure Hannah was referring to that healthy curiosity about life and people, and for the record, I think she’s right about how important it is.   But sometimes, showing curiosity about other people is seen as invasive, an intrusion into a person’s privacy. Don’t get me wrong – we’re a society that was built on a person’s right to personal freedom and privacy – our famous “right to remain silent” that protects us from the prying of others.  And that’s a     . . . read more

Assertiveness

  Assertiveness is… caring about a situation, cause, one’s self, or a relationship enough to speak or take action when needed. preserving one’s integrity, duty, connection, or worth. well-intentioned words or actions for the benefit of truth, justice, fairness, safety, well-being, or connectedness. exercising a human right to set and maintain boundaries, which are the basis of healthy, functional relationships. a respectful exchange of words, ideas, or actions that leads to a productive outcome. validating the feelings of all involved even when there is discord and disagreement. using skillful communication to motivate others to listen and respond appropriately. In short, assertiveness is a way of communicating that allows us to have authentic, connected relationships and a thoughtful, effective response to disagreement, discord, difficulty, and disregard.   Want to learn more about assertiveness? The Women’s Mini-Workshop on Assertiveness is this Thursday     . . . read more

Generosity and Love

I’m weary of assigning one day of the year to celebrate love. I’d like to re-frame Valentine’s Day a bit, if I may. How about if it’s one day of the year to be reminded how to stay loving? I believe that it’s in our words, thoughts, and actions that we truly express love. (Not so much in chocolates, flowers, or sexy…whatevers). When we really make the effort to be loving, we are being emotionally generous. I think this is what fuels a loving relationship throughout the years. Some ideas to help love flourish through generosity: Be generous with your assumptions. Try not to automatically assume that your loved one’s actions or words were ill-intended. Much of the time, mistakes are not intentional, let alone meant to be hurtful. Be generous with your words. Provide words of support, validation, positive     . . . read more

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