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The Gift of Acceptance

5 Ways High Expectations Hurt You

In Losing Control, Finding Serenity, I explain how high expectations are a driving force behind our need to control our loved ones, children, friends and others. High expectations of others pressure them to do and be what we want, or what we feel is best for them. As such, we are imposing our will on them.

Have you considered how high expectations hurt you? Here are five significant ways:

  1. They create dissension in our close relationships.People resent it when we pressure them to be other than who they are or wish to be.   We are in effect telling them they are “not good enough.” This leads to resentment and dissension, thus impacting our bonds and connection with them.

Continue reading

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Control and Impermanence

control freaksOne of the illusions about control is that many of us believe we can significantly alter or impact the natural flow of things, or as I like to say, “life’s natural currents.” This is why our friends or loved ones may refer to us as control freaks.

I write about the folly of control in Losing Control, Finding Serenity (click here to download a free chapter of my next book, The Blessings of Acceptance).  In short,

The more we try to control others and things, the less control we really have over them. Continue reading

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5 Keys to Practicing “Acceptance”

acceptance storiesAn underlying theme of my book, Losing Control, Finding Serenity, is that acceptance is fundamental to reducing our need to control. Readers agree. The most highlighted sentence of Amazon’s best selling eBook version is:

“The more we accept people and things for who and what they are, the less we need to control.”

Readers also recognize the folly of trying to control others, a realization present in all acceptance stories. The second most highlighted part is:

“At bottom, excessive control represents our attempt to change another’s very nature and spirit. But because another’s true spirit cannot be changed except by that person alone—our efforts to do so are not only fruitless, they are also harmful. It is not about the other person as much as it is about us and our unwillingness to accept life as it is.”

The Importance of Acceptance

More and more people in all walks of life are coming to understand the importance of acceptance* to their overall well-being, not the least of which is the vital role it plays in improving (and healing) family, love, work and interpersonal relationships. (See “Five Good Reasons For Accepting People As They Are.”) Continue reading

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Letting Go of Denial

acceptance stories
Denial is usually associated with rejecting or denying a certain state of affairs, or thinking or believing that things “aren’t so.” However, denial really encompasses much more than that; wishful thinking, turning a blind eye, and withdrawal are just a few subtle ways of our not wanting to accept the “what is” in our lives. Click here to read  “5 Keys to Practicing Acceptance” to learn how to practice more acceptance in your life.

More specifically, denial includes such things as not admitting to ourselves that our spouse has a severe drinking problem or an addiction; not dealing with a recurring health issue; avoiding a serious business or financial matter; not accepting that our child has social problems; and not owning up to a loss in performance in our favorite activities.

Whatever its form or manner, denial is fraught with harm to our happiness and well being.   Continue reading

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The Blessings of Acceptance

acceptance storiesThere is an integral relationship between accepting life and people as they are, and enjoying a life with greater serenity.   Acceptance leads to new choices, discoveries and possibilities—many unexpected—as well as reduced stress, worry, and resentment.   In my forthcoming book, The Gift of Acceptance, these and other blessings are explored in depth together with keys to practicing acceptance in our relationships and affairs.

Let me highlight one important one for you.

The Blessing of Connection   

In these hectic, impersonal times, the need for  close, intimate bonds and connection with friends, family and loved ones are more important than ever for our overall well-being.   When people truly know you accept them, they don’t feel pressured or judged or “less than,” and trust develops and they feel safer in opening up to you. Continue reading

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Should You Accept the “Unacceptable?”

acceptance storiesPART ONE 

In speaking with people about their acceptance stories for the new book I’m writing, The Blessings of Acceptance, I am often asked “why should I accept the unacceptable?”  My short response is, “You’ve already answered that by your question. If something is unacceptable to you, you can’t accept it.”

The long answer, however, is more complex. Acceptance is a personal choice each of us needs to make. We can accept a person or situation, or not. And what may be unacceptable for one person may not be for another.   The determination is typically based on one’s beliefs and values, but also on their anger, resentments, perceptions—and misperceptions.

Whatever your predisposition, I would offer that before you decide that something or somebody is totally unacceptable, you should first consider what it will accomplish and Continue reading

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5 Common Myths of Control Freaks

control freaksMost control freaks live a life filled with grand illusions and myths about the efficacy of control.  Here are five common myths that control freaks harbor:


Control Freaks Myth #1:

The power to significantly change others.


The only person who can meaningfully change their ways, attitudes or nature is the person himself or herself—and only if he or she chooses to do so.

Myth #2:

They are happier and more content when they are controlling. Continue reading

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Control Knows No Borders

My writing of Losing Control, Finding Serenity was primarily within the context of my struggles and personal recovery from the compulsive need to control most things and people in my life– particularly those closest to me—and the resulting adverse consequences. I didn’t give much thought to how pervasive the need to control might be in people in other places, cultures, and traditions, nor in which ways they manifested control.

It was thus unexpected–and deeply rewarding to me–that LCFS has attracted a broad international audience since it was published six years ago. The same has been the case with respect to Danny’s Decontrol Yourself Blog, which draws daily visitors from the far corners of the globe.

I have thus recently thought about whether the need to control is a “global” issue and I believe it is. Here is why. Continue reading

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Control Freak Bosses Are Poor Managers

control freaksThe compulsion to control at work can be so strong that we rarely stop to consider how much it harms us, our employees, and of course, our business. This is particularly true with respect to micro-managers, nit-pickers, and other control freaks.

In a previous post, Work Control: Five Ways It Harms You and How to Avoid It, I outlined some of the pitfalls of excessive work control and offered some tips on how to let it go.   One of the harms I mentioned was that “Our interactions with others become abrasive and confrontational instead of co-operative and thoughtful.”

Research is now confirming the importance of business leaders’ controlling less, and establishing positive relationships with their employees. Continue reading

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Should You Tell Your Loved One About Your Past Addiction?


bonds-of-love-2011-9-8-8-48-55-2Guest Post by Anne Southern

Over 20 million Americans struggle with some form of substance addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol (this does not include the many million more who are also addicted to tobacco) Despite this huge body of people with direct experience of addiction, it remains a huge taboo in our society and, once clean, many people choose to hide their past as an addict from the significant people in their lives.

This level of deception and control can be hugely damaging to relationships, particularly to romantic relationships, and can make it difficult to let go and truly accept happiness. You will never truly know whether the person you are choosing to build a life with loves you for who you are until you have shown them every aspect of who you are, including the parts of your past that you are less than proud of.

Let Go of Your Shame Continue reading

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