Why do we keep doing things that make us unhappy? What do certain things seem to happen over and over in our lives?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy explores some common repetitive scenarios: when you find yourself attracted to romantic partners or friends who cause you unhappiness, when you find yourself in similar situations at different work places, when you find yourself having trouble with change.
Spousal punishment can be inspired by and cause misery for a variety of reasons. As a therapist, Dr. McCoy has seen spouses punish the other for a long ago or more recent transgression: an infidelity, a lost investment, a wayward child, a business that went under or a career that never quite blossomed. Another frequent cause of spousal punishment: a relocation.
Living with such tension is hazardous to health and happiness. It takes two to perform this malevolent marital dance: the outraged punisher and the partner who feels guilty or otherwise deserving of punishment.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy explores ways to stop the cycle of marital punishment before it completely erodes love and good will. Even if peace seems impossible, she emphasizes that where there is love and a willingness to work together, so much is possible.
We all have life stories and scripts by which we live our lives. What one does with one's story can cause painful inertia in the present or facilitate positive change.
For some, clinging to an outdatd life story is a habit, an excuse not to risk change. Some have a story that is an endless loop of victimhood. Some have life stories and expectations that complicate family relationships in many ways.
Changing one's perspective and one's life story can be difficult and painful, but can lead one toward growth and a more satisfying new life. It may mean letting go of old pain to make room for new possibilities. Letting go of old family roles can be liberating and lead to better relationships with kin. Letting go of bitter life stories of victimhood can open your life to new opportunities. Letting go of old anger can create room for joy.
When you change your story, you can change your life.
What is life like when the retirement honeymoon is over?
Settling into this major life transition is much like we experienced in settling into our life's work or a long marriage: taking responsibility for our own choices and behavior and living with gratitude.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the fact that constant happiness is an impossibility, even under the best of circumstances, but we cn make the choice to stay positive, to accept current reality and to make peace with what is. Gratitude is a major part of this. So is understanding that happiness comes most readily not from getting, but from giving, not from hedonistic pleasures but from doing what gives our lives meaning at this phase of life.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy reflects on a New York Times opinion piece by a young writer complaining of the rudeness of people who send emails or texts to say "Thank you!" or who leave a voice mail message instead of texting. He said that such people were wasting his time.
Dr. McCoy discusses the value of all forms of communication across the generations, saying that we need to honor each other's favored means of communication, reaching out to each other in a variety of ways. She talks about the value of being respectful of each other, of greeting another's message with warmth rather than silence, and how this can bridge gaps between us, whether these are generational or philosophical or due to past misunderstandings.
How often do we look back into our personal histories and see the past in a new way, not forgetting the past as we once experienced it, but now reviewing it through the prism of life experience?
As time goes on, we have a choice. We can hold onto anger, bitterness and regret, letting negative experiences from the past darken our present. Or we can choose to look back with new understanding and with love. And that can be so freeing.
The value of perspective, the seasoning of our views and emotions with the years of experience that life brings, is inestimable in helping us to see all the colors and shadings in the complicated rainbow of our lives.
Not all friendships are forever. Even some close and treasured friends fall away over time -- maybe due to changing life circumstances, maybe due to misunderstandings, maybe due to no longer truly knowing and supporting each other. What do you do when a friendship becomes history?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses lost friendships, what we learn and how we grow not simply despite them, but because of them.
How do you feel about Valentine's Day? Neutral or disapproving of yet another commercial holiday? Having warm memories of past Valentine's Days? Or painful reflections of romantic disappointments or long ago hurt?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses these varied reactions -- and the lessons we can learn from our experiences.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the discrepancies we face between the people we once were and the people we are today; between how we seem to others and who we are inside. She talks about those who feel passionate and energetic despite weakening bodies and increasing disabilities, between seeming shyness or arrogance and the fears and insecurities within. She suggests ways that we can live fully whatever our circumstances by paying attention, not just to present aches and pains, but to the ageless, life-affirming, vibrant spirit within.
There is great value in the Hawaiian tradition of "taking story": sharing stories of oral history or one's life or simply one's day. There's a real therapeutic value in sharing with another, to be known and accepted, to know and accept another. Differing points of view or experiences only add to the richness of the exchange. By listening to others' stories, we can begin to undestnad who they are and why they make the choices they do. It can keep us from making assumptions about others. Strangers can become friends and friends can become family.
So often we miss the full measure of today because we're looking ahead to new challenges, either anticipated or dreaded, or behind us to old regrets or to triumphs unlikely to happen again. How would it be to live just in this moment, savoring it fully?
Dr. McCoy got a lesson in mindfulness from two elderly Irish nuns, lifelong friends, who are facing a barrage of physical challenges and yet who live joyously, vibrantly in the moment. This podcast includes an exercise for savoring all aspects of today, this moment, as a resting place, a regue from all that has come before and whatever lies ahead.
Have you given up on your New Year's resolutions yet? Many have.
Resolutions can seem punitive, stressful, set-ups for failure. Instead of resolutions, make some New Year's promises to yourself.
Promises mean hope. In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses some promises that may help you to meet some goals important to you with much pleasure along the way.
You can promise yourself nutritionous meals, more engagement with life, the freedom to surprise yourself, the peace of making choices that resonate with you and accepting life as it is, the joy of embracing all the love you have in your life.