DivorceMarriage

Common Relationship Mistakes to Avoid this Valentine’s Day (and the Rest of Your Life!)

By Natalia Hughes, Associate Marriage Family Therapist

Common Relationship Mistakes to Avoid this Valentine_s Day (and the Rest of Your Life!) (1)In my years as a therapist, I’ve come to realize that relationships are very much like learning how to walk when you are an infant.  Walking starts with the basics of sitting, rolling, and learning how to crawl. It then leads to pulling yourself up, walking with help, cruising and then standing and balancing on your own. Before you know it, you are taking your first step and, with practice, you will be walking like a pro.

Like learning to walk, relationships are a process.  The ability to have a healthy, loving relationship takes time (baby steps!) and self-awareness. Failed relationships happen for many reasons, and the failure of a relationship is often a source of great psychological anguish.

Most of us have to consciously work to master the skills necessary to make a partnership flourish. It is important to identify patterns from failed relationships so that we can learn from them.  With Valentine’s Day coming up and love in the air, I thought it was a good time to list five common patterns to avoid:

  1. Losing yourself. People often make the mistake of losing their identity when they are in a relationship.  Remember, you are an individual. A strong, well-developed identity for both parties is a key component to a secure relationship. When you’re in a relationship your partner enhances you, it does not consume Without two separate “I’s,” there can be no “we.”
  2. Over-sharing. Often people suffer from the “too much information” syndrome early on in a relationship.  The first few months of getting to know someone is the time you need to establish a firm foundation for the partnership to thrive. You don’t want to make the mistake of revealing deeply personal information too soon.  That level of intimacy and confidence takes time to nurture, and should be saved for when the relationship is more securely rooted.
  3. Focusing on the negative and assuming the worst. Not everything your partner says or does will sit well with you. Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. Try not to assume that you and your significant other will see things the same way or that you can read each other’s minds. No one is perfect and like you, your partner deserves the benefit of the doubt. The key to maintaining a happy, healthy relationship is not focusing on those shortcomings, but rather, those characteristics that you cherish about your partner.
  4. Shutting down communication. Silence and walking away is not always safe even though it may feel like it, which is why so many of us do it when hashing out difficult issues with our partners. Instead of clamming up, take ownership of your feelings and communicate them honestly and directly. Managing your emotions appropriately is the basis of a communication style that can resolve conflict and lead to more established bond.
  5. Thinking the past dictates your future. Be mindful of your learning process in relationships. History has a way of repeating itself unless you mindfully makes changes. Take an honest look at your previous relationship mistakes so that you can avoid repeating them. This means confronting your fears and dependencies, and not looking to your partner to take responsibility for what is yours.

Like walking, building a strong relationship is a work in progress that is rich with discoveries and always filled with challenges. Being mindful and open will help you to avoid some of the bumps in the road, and disarm the behaviors that can undermine your relationship.

(Permission to repost the original article published on Hillsides Community blog on February 13, 2018)

Natalia, who received a master’s degree in Marriage Family Therapy from the University of Phoenix, is a CalWORKs therapist intern with Hillsides in our Family Resource Centers, Pomona.   CalWORKs is a state-wide program that provides employment services and other benefits to families in need.   

Natalia is a firm believer that the more we strive to learn, the more we will grow individually and as a culture. Her greatest passion is to teach others to continue to grow on their self-journey of discovery.  “I enjoy helping my clients find healthy perceptions of themselves, fortify their loving relationships, and apply self-growth in order to be balanced individuals,” she says.

Health & Wellness

Part 3: Nourishing my Soul with a Balanced Life

file-sep-07-7-37-09-pmWhile at early faith formation classes, I discovered a book entitled, I like me! by Nancy Carlson. It is now my favorite one. We also crafted personal daily affirmations and I am reminded that‪ God loves me and God loves you just the way we are. So you might ask, “Why are you on this weightloss journey?” I’m taking small steps to live longer in the temple God gave me. I only have one and need to take care of it to continue being here for my sons. I want to embrace life with energy, passion, and commitment and that is what I’m showing my sons. Bottomline.

Taking care of your self is an important part of the journey. I’m embracing things I enjoy doing. I love being a mom, a coach, a mentor, teaching the little ones about their faith, hiking, trail running, running long distances, writing, meditating, painting, creating, tending a garden, watching movies at home, cooking, making cocktails, and so much more. I take time to do self-care activities. Whatever it is for you is what’s encouraged. Practice one thing daily.

file-sep-07-7-38-23-pmMy son asked, “Mom, why do you take pictures of your food?” Doing so is one mindful activity. Taking a moment to capture it gives me pause to appreciate what God has provided. It prepares me for sitting down and realizing that the choice I make at this very moment affects me later, as is the case in so much of our lives. A lesson I’m teaching my sons. And posting the picture on MissGuidedMom’s Instagram and Facebook page holds me accountable. We may not know each other, but the struggle and obstacles are still real in our journey. To know someone else who has the same challenges and is an ordinary person helps us stand together stronger.

What also helps is changing our perspective on how we see things. “Meet the Robinsons” is one of my favorite movies. Not only do I love it because Lewis, the main character, was an orphan and I work at a foster care charity, but Lewis never let that stop him from achieving his dream. Although he encountered obstacles and many times he wanted to go back in time to find his mother, he kept moving forward. So much of what keeps us from achieving our dream is the negative messages and habits from the past as well as the comfort of the present. Sometimes we have to change our perspective, let go of the past, and get uncomfortable from what we know to live the dream.

Going on this journey doesn’t mean you have to make sacrifices all the time. You don’t even have to make sacrifices if you change your perspective. I thought the Whole30 would be about giving up some food to detox my body, but instead it became a period where I gained so much more. I gained a healthier sense of self, a renewal of the spirit, and a restoration of the body. While I still enjoyed dinners at restaurants and birthday celebrations, I prepared myself. I would review the restaurant menu prior to going out to get my mind ready for what was to come. Taking this small yet significant step was a sign of becoming more disciplined one meal at a time, one day at a time.

file-sep-07-7-42-51-pmOn other occasions, I have experienced unexpected situations. Plans don’t always go as expected and when that happens I have learned to quickly adapt. Staying nimble is key to moving forward with creativity in workout goals or any of life’s goals. My advice: empower yourself with words that inspire you, moments you can hold on to, and motivations to change your life. Know your purpose and enjoy your journey, even with the ups and downs and roller coaster rides. These spiraling times change our lives and make us stronger. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that in the darkness I have tapped into my faith, learned my purpose, and regained a sense of identity. During these times, the darkness shows me a glimmer of light and with light there is new life.

————–

Follow Marisol Barrios, also known as “Eve,” on Instagram and on Facebook @MissGuidedMom. I will be sharing my weightloss journey, reflecting on what I’m learning and how #fitbyGRACE (God Reveals As Coach Eternal) is working in my life.

In case you missed Part 1: How I Became Committed to This Health and Wellness Journey: Feeding my mind spiritually  and  Part 2: Taking Care of my Temple

 

CareerUncategorized

Top 6 posts to celebrate 6 years

Top 6 posts (1)We’re excited to be celebrating six years of MissGuidedMom.com since we launched it in August 2010. As much as I’d like to celebrate with a glass of Merlot and cupcakes, this time around I’ll be joining Grace with a cup of tea. I’m on a fitness and nutrition journey and you’ll learn more about this on the online magazine. So while I incorporate the ideas of the Whole30 into my nutrition, I’ll be holding off on drinking a well-deserved glass of wine or even a martini.

Here’s to six years and our top six posts:
1. Making a List of Negotiation Topics (I’m not surprised; this list was the basis of my divorce decree.)

2. About MissGuidedMom (This made it to the top and thought, “Why not share it? Some of you may not know what we’re all about. You might think I’m just a bit misguided with no direction. To the contrary, I have my very own guardian angel, Grace, to offer guiding lessons.

3. Creators/Authors (Well, is this even fair to post the creators and authors of MissGuidedMom.com? You clicked and we paid attention. Want to know more about us? Follow the Instagram or Facebook account to learn more about my fitness and nutrition transformation. I reached my all-time highest weight and now shedding inches. With support from God, I’m building a reservoir of spiritual guidance and muscle along the way. :::wink, wink:::)

4. 5 must-haves for keeping a healthy marriage on the right track (I’m divorced and so how could I possibly know about a healthy marriage, right? I’ve learned a few things: my heart is warm, my spirit is eager, and my love is in abundance.)

5. How Letting Go and Letting God Channeled my Divorce (I’m grateful to be working with Caterina Clarke, who’s spiritual insight has guided me. I’m certain her article will resonate with you if you have been in her shoes. If not, I’m confident you will get a guiding lesson, as she always provides me to lift my spirits.)

6.  Party of Three: Two Handsome Young Men and Me (I remember days like these. For those like me who have persevered through family challenges, ultimately, everything I do is for my sons. And these two handsome young men remind me to be the best mom I can be: strong, courageous, and loving. Everything is possible with God by my side.)

Grab a glass of wine, martini, coffee or tea. Whatever is your preference to sip and savor, discover the stories of Eve and the pearls of grace by our beloved guardian angel.

Career

Cheers to trusting God and pursuing dreams

working mom, dream, careerI’ve been planning a career change for some time because Jonathon will be entering middle school in two years. This means limited options for daycare, namely, a teen center where the youth can hang out, do their homework, and get into mischief or be a latchkey kid. I may be pessimistic, but I don’t want that option for Jonathon. I want to be able to pick him up from school, take him to his extracurricular activities, and know exactly what he’s doing.

Working from home will give me the freedom to manage my work schedule, pursue my dream, and be creative. I’ve joined a community of other work-at-home moms and have been listening to a podcast about entrepreneurship and another one on how to live the life you want on my commute to work. I’m also building a community of women going through similar life stages in marriage, family, career, divorce, and health. So with that, here’s to a lifelong journey of inspiration, empowerment, and celebration. Cheers to 2015: a year of trusting God and of pursuing dreams!

Resources:

WAHM.com: an online resource for work-at-home moms

Entrepreneuronfire.com: a resource for entrepreneurs who want insights, tips, and resources along their journey

MissGuidedMom.com: an online resource for moms going through transitional stages in life like marriage, career, family, divorce, and health and wellness

Kate’s Take: an audio blog on how to live the life you want

Guiding lesson:

Eve, I am so happy you are pursuing your dreams.  You are showing your children the importance of caring for them and still making a difference by using your talents.  It’s never easy as a working mother.  So I would like to share Psalm 23 according to working moms.  Enjoy.

Love,
Grace

The Lord is my helper

I shall not control.
He makes me lie down my work for my children;
He leads me to find lost keys and toys.
He restores my sanity;
He guides me through homework that I can barely do
For His name’s sake.

Even though I try to balance career,
I fear no evil, for You are at my side;
Your wine and Your chocolate, they comfort me.
You prepare a table as I pick-up pizza for my hungry children;
You have blessed me with internet shopping;
My cart overflows.

Surely laundry, cooking and work will follow me all the days of my life,
Yet as a family we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Amen