TCOY Lessons From My Favorite Bloggers (Jul11)

At my day job, 2 of the 3 administrative people in my office are new as one retired and one "got married and moved away". It has been fun getting to know new people and seeing what assets they bring to the work mix, and answering question upon question while still keeping up on my own work. Late March through mid-September is a "crazy busy" time of year for me, typically. Thankfully, one of the new staff has been a terrific help to balance the workload more efficiently and I have not been overwhelmed. What a delightful change!

From Corey at Simple Marriage:
K.I.S.S. – The art of non-sexual touch
But in a marriage, there’s more to life than sex...A major component of a fulfilling marriage is the connection you sustain with your partner...In my experience, most men will report that sex is a way to gain closer connection with their wife. While most women would state they want a closer connection to be more interested in sex...Incorporating more non-sexual touch in marriage will increase the level of connection.
As a woman, I completely agree with the need for a strong connection outside of "fun time". As I've told my husband, my view on marriage is that "It's you and me against the world". Non-sexual touch is one way that we reinforce our connection and serves as a reminder to each other that we are still sure of our commitment.

24 Keys To Remaining Friends With Your Spouse
Popular culture would say we should start with strong lust, but if your goal is a marriage that will last, friendship has more staying power than desire and needs to be acted on first, middle, and last. Paul Coleman...says, “Friendship is a form of intimacy. It represents a sharing, an openness, a willingness to be vulnerable. It requires a degree of trust. Friends show caring to one another by their availability, their thoughtfulness.”
Once I realized this on my own, I thought "But, of course, we should want to be and remain friends." However, not all relationship participants do value this. And those are the kind of relationships that baffle me. Why would I want that much intimacy with someone and not be friends?

From Sally at Already Pretty
Do You Buy Treats For Yourself When Overwhelmed?
And this combination of factors meant that I indulged in the “treat” mentality for much of this past spring. In a string of exasperated internal tantrums, I allowed myself to repeatedly decide, “I have been working my ass off without a break for what seems like forever, and I deserve a treat, damn it.” Historically, my “treat yourself” weaknesses are food and shopping...And while I nabbed some amazing deals on wearables during this haze of treats, what I really wanted to purchase was time. If I could buy a gift card for myself that would give me a week to just laze around with my cats, read a few novels, and do an obscene amount of napping, I’d be thrilled beyond all human comprehension.
Keeping in touch with ourselves allows us to know when we are feeling out of balance. It is especially important to identify whether our "coping mechanisms" are 1) effective and 2) worth their cost. If either is not true, then use your awareness to determine what is the true source and develop a strategy for minimizing its influence. Like Sal mentions in the article, her treats were not bad per se but she did determine that they were doing nothing to eliminate the problem and could, in the future, lead to other problems. By identifying the exact problem, she can use her awareness to heal herself instead of just addressing the symptoms, and that's taking care of yourself.

From Get Rich Slowly:
Reader Story: Estate Planning—The First Month
What would happen if you, your spouse, a parent, someone who you shared a financial life with died today? Not next week after the car payment is sent in. Not next month when you’ve finally gotten around to writing down all of your passwords and account numbers. Not next year when you’ve updated your will. What would happen if they died today?
This is my biggest (but haven't done anything about!) concern; followed by getting a will done. Have I reached the point of deciding that doing the work is more worthwhile than living with the procrastination and accompanying fear, worry, and possibly regret? Well, I can't say. Time will tell. Though I have discussed this with my husband and, hopefully, between these 2 procrastinators we can get it done.

From Trent at The Simple Dollar:
Twelve Excuses
Edward on Facebook asks “How about a small list of justifications and excuses people make for not getting their finances in order or for buying crap they don’t need?”...I started just making a list of the common ones I hear and came up with a fairly round number of twelve (after merging the ones that were essentially the same). You’d be surprised how often I see these excuses right in the emails of people looking for personal finance help!

Self Improvement
From Get Rich Slowly:
What Do You Care What Other People Think?
Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare your Present Self to your Past Self. Your goal is to constantly improve your own life, if only in little ways (emphasis is mine)...It’s easy to become your own biggest critic, especially when you think others are doing better than you are...Don’t think that everyone around you is living with a net carbon deficit, reading 400 books a year, helping to end world hunger, and clipping coupons to buy the ingredients needed to make phyllo dough from scratch. Because they’re not...Instead of criticizing yourself, notice what you’re doing right. Be your own personal fan club. Choose your values and follow them as best you can. Keep growing, learning, and stretching. Live well by living wisely. Be nice to yourself. And remember that it does not matter what other people think.

Playing To Your Strengths
J.D.’s mentioned this philosophy before in a roundabout way. For instance, in his review of The 4-Hour Workweek, he quoted this passage: “Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses. Most people are good at a handful of things and utterly miserable at most. [...] It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor.” J.D.’s admonition to do what works for you is nothing more than a call to play to your strengths...Buckingham argues that our innate strengths and weaknesses are established fairly early on in life. Yes, we can improve on our weaknesses, but we’ll never completely overcome them. He believes we’re better off focusing on our strengths. As he puts it, “You will grow the most in your areas of greatest strength.”
An interesting look on career choice and about many of the choices we have to make in general. It does take more effort to overcome a weakness than to go with the flow one gets when engaged in something we enjoy doing.

From Lysa:
All Twisted Up
I once had a toy car that had a twist knob on it’s bumper. With each twist the tension inside the car ratcheted higher and higher so by the time I released it on the floor, the car went buzzerk. It shot across the floor with no regard to anything in its path...Nothing stood a chance in its wake until the tension knob inside untwisted completely and the car slowed to a halt...Sometimes I feel like I have that same kind of twist knob inside my heart. I let things build inside until I’ve been twisted one to many times and then wham! Off I go in an emotional fit with no regard to anything in my path.
I know of some people like this and they really do just erupt and let it all flow out like hot lava (ahem, my husband). If you can relate, this would be an amazing awareness opportunity to seek out new ways of responding (versus reacting) to your stimuli overloads.

From David at Raptitude:
How To See Straighter By Crossing Your Eyes
I would go ahead and watch the movie, and whenever I was getting a bit freaked out, I would cross my eyes just slightly enough to blur the scene, and the scariness was gone, instantly...It wasn’t long before I found myself doing this as a reflex during other unpleasant scenes in life...A profane and obnoxious cell phone conversation across from me on the bus. An argument ahead of me in the queue, between an unreasonable customer and an unreasonable employee...The interesting thing is that for many of these situations, it was not the visual element that was the unpleasant part. My hearing didn’t blur along with my vision, I could still listen attentively to their grating nonsense, if I wanted. But blurring my eyes for a moment still made it easy not to react to it. I had a choice whether to get my feelings involved with it, and so I felt no need to get away from it, to tell the speaker off in my head, or to shut him up...It is an experiential demonstration that all the ups and downs in life — all things that can possibly happen –are really just reactions to configurations of sounds, shapes and feelings. It’s all just content, always renewing itself, always turning over in front of us. If we could just stay aware of that, interacting deliberately where warranted but without getting taken in by the torrent, we could spare ourselves so much suffering.
When you shift your awareness, it is amazing how the scene in front of us, aka life, changes. Suddenly we aren't in the show anymore; just an audience member watching the people moving, saying things and other stuff happening around it.

From Mary Ann at Simple Marriage:
Expectations Equal Unhappiness
A good working definition of expectations is planned disappointment...When what we expect to happen does not happen, we are disappointed and we suffer pain at some level...Ironically, we are also likely to be unhappy even when our expectations ARE met!...We are most grateful for the good things that come our way that we did not expect to happen...If you expect your spouse to help with the housework, you will be disappointed, mad, sad, or angry when your spouse does not help you with the housework, but you won’t necessarily be grateful when your spouse does help with the housework...Whatever you focus on, grows. Grow your happiness by lowering your expectations and growing your gratefulness.
Interesting to consider, no? Just changing our way of thinking in such a small way produces a big result.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

Photo Credit: Iron Design

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