It’s looking like autumn with all of the beautiful colors turning.  This is my favorite time of year as I love the autumn colors and the change that is in the air.  Also, it always reminds me of shedding off the old and bringing in new growth. I like to think about what I am wanting to rid myself of that is getting in my way of feeling the abundant life we are called to have.

This summer I have been training a puppy through classes in obedience school. I was not aware of how much I like to control things as in many ways I felt powerless over not being able to handle her. She would bark at cars, people, and any moving object. In addition, she was not great at potty training, so my husband and I had to keep her tethered quite a bit and not allow her to freely roam around the house.

All of this was taking quite a bit of a toll on me, as I love to feel like I am accomplishing things and getting results with whatever, I take on. How many of you are like me?  You love to feel in control of your endeavors and when you can’t you feel quite defeated. Taking control is a basic human need that we all tend to struggle with. When we fail at something we can’t change we tend to blame ourselves and aren’t very compassionate with our failures.

All summer I worked on giving up my expectations of what I wanted this dog to give me. I learned I could have a love for someone, but still hate their behavior at times. This all brought to mind how hard it is to love family members or friends when they don’t meet our image of what we expect from them…like our marriage partner. It reminded me continually that when you love someone you are willing to put up with the times when you are angry at them.  My dog is now entering adolescence and actually is starting to exhibit more grown-up behavior believe it or not.  It’s worth all of the hard work I put in to train her. We were on a walk this morning and she didn’t aggressively bark at cars.   Such improvement!!

How many times do you look back at your marriage and see the results of sticking in there and working through conflicts? Many times, I haven’t wanted to stick to things when the upset arises, but there is always a little voice within me that says to stick in there…you made a commitment.  My husband Les and I have found some tools through the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that are working effectively with our inner and outer conflicts with each other. We now want to take these tools to share with other couples that are struggling and need something to help them navigate through conflicts.

I like to think that when we grow through areas of handling conflict, we are building up spiritual muscles that need strengthening. Too many of us want to give up when we meet an impasse. We don’t realize we have a responsibility to discover the hidden aspects within ourselves that are creating distress in relationships. When I work with couples, I bring them together initially and then separate them individually to work on their unique inner issues. I see that so much of what they are unresolved inside tends to splatter out on each other. Once they grasp that their inner world is more of the problem, they can make amazing headways in their marriage.

I challenge you to think about what are you holding onto that is impacting family members or your partner. Even if you are single you can see how these emotions may keep oozing out at work on your boss or colleagues or friends.