How Not To Be In Denial

   “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it” Roy kept saying. He was sitting at his desk in the corner of his office, alone in the dark. He was looking at his records and the unimpeachable truth was staring him in the face: Benjamin clearly had been doctoring the books. For years. Roy put his hand to his heart. He was not ready to calculate the cost that this amounted to. He was dazed and remembered to try to just breathe. Hours went by. “How had this happened?” he asked himself. Roy slowly moved his eyes off his screen and stared out the window, seeing the distant past. He recalled the first time he met Benjamin. What a nice young man! That was many years ago, but Roy still remembered the wonderful appearance he gave. He was so neat, so polite, so careful with his speech. So what happened? Where had things gone wrong? There was that incident five years ago that Roy brushed off. One of the managers had come to him, a bit concerned about a shipment that he, the manager, had never ordered. There was an amount of money on the books for it — and no merchandise. The money was unaccounted for. Roy remembered clearly that incident. He had waved his hand at the manger saying, “Benjamin will find it.” And when Benjamin didn’t report anything, he actually brought the matter to his attention. Later on, Benjamin reported it had been “taken care of” but that manager — what was his name? long since gone — told him that there was no indication it...

What’s Love?

How is it possible to love someone you never met, never saw, and know nothing about? It happens every day to hundreds of thousands of people. Just ask a pregnant woman how she feels about her unborn baby. Even more strange is how is it possible for a couple who is adopting a child they did not know to love that child? But they do. Why do grandparents fall madly in love with babies that they did not carry for nine months and do not get up to feed in the middle of the night? All the answers are the same: Beyond being a feeling, love is a decision. And just what are you deciding about when you decide to love that baby? Obviously, you are not governing your feelings by the loudness of the crying, the night’s sleep lost, the colic or the colds. Actually, some people are governed that way. They don’t react well to their babies’ cries; they take it out on the children and are called abusers. Which proves my point even more: You can focus on the good or focus on the bad. The choice is yours and the feeling follows. Take that and apply it to any close family member. Do you focus on the things that annoy you or the things that charm you? There are pitfalls and positives with both. Pitfalls of Focusing On The Good You would think that we ought to always focus on the good. That’s what giving the benefit of the doubt means. And that is absolutely correct. What’s more, we should overlook the injury our friend...

7 Ways to Win an Argument

In 1974, Dr. Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire was interested in testing the prevalent theory of the time that said “venting” works to let off emotional steam when someone is angry. Surveying over 300 college students about aggression in their homes, he found that as couples were more verbally aggressive, the amount of domestic violence increased. Surprised, he went ahead with the first national survey on this topic, interviewing 2,143 couples. Again, he got the astonishing conclusion that the higher the verbal aggression, the higher the physical aggression. It looked like venting anger is a bad idea. Dr. Straus then thought that perhaps this was because when people argue, they don’t really listen and are not trying to reason. In such an atmosphere, it really is no surprise after all, that physical aggression increases: People are frustrated and their arguments get nowhere, so they escalate. He therefore wanted to explore the idea that people who try to reason and negotiate might reduce the physical violence. Nevertheless, in analyzing the data, he found the high reasoners “are the most violent couples in the sample.” The least violent people, it turned out, took a breather when they were upset and then went and calmed down. That’s all very good, you might want to say, but how do you get there? How do you get to calmness when you and your beloved are in the middle of something far from it? The answer has several components. The first key is great listening skills. 1. If You’re Willing to Listen, You’ll Get Listened to If you know you’re right and your...
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