Getting Practical #2: Relationships, Couples, Families, and Careers
Growing Up Emotionally

Therapists are often accused of not being very practical.
After we explain how some problem works, we frequently hear:
“OK, Fine. But what should I DO About it?!”

We don’t give a lot of practical advice because it usually doesn’t help.
People seldom change just by doing what someone thinks they should do.
But sometimes an idea comes at just the right time.

My hope is that today just happens to be your “right time.”


These suggestions in “Getting Practical #1” are so central that
improvement in any one of these areas
will automatically improve all other psychological aspects of your life!

So there’s no need to try to improve in all areas once!

Pick a few statements that feel right to you
and notice your improvement each day.
Then come back and decide
whether to keep these same goals or pick some new ones.


Avoid physical pain and discomfort.
Take excellent care of yourself at the first sign of discomfort.

Eat, sleep, and exercise enough to feel relief
– not too much and not too little.

Get plenty of attention
even though it means taking risks and sometimes being rejected.

Notice your own mental “self-talk.”
Take responsibility for changing it now, and as a lifelong project.

Don’t let life’s “rough spots” accumulate.
Get professional help when you need it.

Do whatever it takes to be 100% sure that
suicide is out of the question.
Be physically safe at all times.
Get all violence and threats of violence out of your life.

Don’t work or play or rest “too much.”
Aim at spending about the same number of awake hours on each of these.

Never use alcohol for any reason except to feel a little better
when you are already feeling great.

Don’t try to hide your feelings from yourself!
Embrace your anger, sadness, scare, joy and excitement.

About Each Feeling:
When you are SAD, feel it through
– and figure out what you LOST or what is MISSING from your life.

When you are ANGRY, feel it through
– and figure out what is BLOCKING you from getting what you want.

When you are SCARED
– notice it quickly and then decide what to do to PROTECT yourself.

When you are HAPPY, feel it through
– and, if you must think at all,
think about how to ENJOY YOURSELF EVEN MORE.

When you are EXCITED, feel it through

Fight guilt and shame,
alone or with a therapist.
They are always unnecessary and self-defeating.

Take responsibility for choosing what you do.
Don’t claim a person or a feeling “made” you do anything.

Take responsibility for changing and for choosing not to change.
Remember that you can change anything it is physically possible to change.

Learn about and improve the kind of treatment you “invite” from those around you.
Ninety-five percent of the time you are treated the way you invite people to treat you.

Acknowledge your anger or be depressed
– and take responsibility for the choice.

Use your anger energy as soon as you safely can.
Don’t let it pile up.

Don’t vow to stay angry.
And don’t stay in situations
which create constant, overlapping anger.

Don’t make unnecessary comparisons.
Each comparison you make should be a conscious choice
based on the need to understand,
not based on a subconscious habit of
finding your “faults” or picking on yourself.

Look for opportunities all the time, and take advantage of them.
There is plenty of what you need in the world.

Make a lifelong commitment to love and value yourself.

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