Being separate and being separated are part and parcel of human existence, even in ongoing relationships

Being separate and being separated are part and parcel of human existence, even in ongoing relationships. For being separated, consider the physical distance when a child goes away to school, a friend moves to another state, a husband or wife goes on a business trip. The pain of being separated range from a minor inconvenience that is temporary to invoking hurting memories of an unfulfilled childhood. The quality and content of thoughts and feelings about being separated can magnify the perspective of the people involved.

Being separate can be a healthy way to recognize healthy boundaries for relationships. Yet, with our social nature, humans need a sense of belonging and connectedness to others. This is especially true for those involved in intimate communication, such as families, friendships, marriage, church and even neighborhoods and communities. Maintaining the connection between people involves mental exercises in thinking and physical acts of remembering.

Our thinking shapes how you feel and what you do. Many famous thinkers, from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and many others, teach that what you believe and think will have a profound effect on your life. “You become what you think about” is a truth validated by decades of experience.

Many scientists today believe that repeated thoughts produce electrochemical charges that create physical “circuitry” pathways in the brain. To keep thinking the same thoughts over and over wears a channel so that the same thoughts become habitual patterns. This is great if the thoughts are wholesome and life-giving, but can be harmful with destructive, negative thinking.

Negative Thinking Destroys Many Relationships
Renowned psychologists have dedicated their lives to understanding what destroys marriages, families, friendships and communities. A common discovery is that harsh thoughts which criticize, condemn, and minimize others are major causes to the decline of happiness in relationships.

The statistics are startling: 40-to-50 % of marriages fail; domestic violence is prevalent; families are threatened by drugs, alcohol, and apathy. Headline stories in newspapers and the evening news expose gory details about crime, unrest and social anxiety.
But it does not have to be that way. In fact, you can have very positive, fulfilling relationships.

Positive Beliefs and Thoughts Create Love, Joy and Happiness
Many strong marriages, families, friendships and communities thrive when there is respect, trust and confidence in one another. These relationships have a common rooting in a positive belief: that a loving God is present and involved with people at all times. The belief of connection with God is a sustaining force which overcomes negativity and generates peace of mind about being separated. What would result if the thinking and belief of those who are separated by time and space be like if every person remembered that God is involved in their relationships and maintains that connection?

Consider these situations:
Desperate Housewives and Unfaithful Husbands are Transformed Happy, Fulfilled Married Couples
A marriage becomes a partnership between three persons – God, a husband and a wife – to bring forth and nurture life.

Dysfunctional Families Become an Exciting and Loving Place to Grow
Imagine every family time as sharing love and personal attention that relies on God’s grace to grow deeper in love and service to each other.

Shallow Acquaintances Are Replaced With Heart-Felt Friends
Visualize every friendship as a giving and receiving of affection, trust and caring between two people, blessed by God’s loving presence and kindness.

Neighborhoods of Fear and Apathy Transformed Into Communities Where It is a Safe Place to Live and Visit
Every neighborhood and community becomes a living network of people with the purpose to serve and help each other.

Now, notice that each of these four situations begin with a thought and a picture of what can be, not what may be at the present time. The first “how to connect” begins with thinking of the possibilities – what can be.

How to Build the Belief of Being Connected with God and Others
Consider the analogy of a Biblical scripture, a rope of three strands or cords is tough to break. Every relationship that you have involves yourself as Strand 1; another person or group of persons as Strand 2 and God, as Strand 3. All three strands are important. You are responsible for honoring everyone involved in your relationships. You do this by remembering and respecting each person. We are never alone, since God is always present.

Remembering is the second key. Remembering is accomplished by repetition. The same thought, when repeated often enough and with emotion, becomes a habit of thinking. That habit becomes a belief, which causes feelings and prompts behavior. As mentioned above, over time thinking positively and then remembering will create the belief in being connected to God and other people.

Here is one way that I have been able to value my wife for more than 20 years. Now, I am not perfect, but the secret I discovered is to remember my wife in a very positive way, including what her name means. My wife’s name is Cheryl and her name comes from the Latin: Filled with beauty and grace. How do I know? I have carried a card with her name and its meaning in my wallet for the last 20+ years. When I look at her card, I remember how lucky I am to have her as my wife. It has been a Dedication Card that has served me, my marriage and my family very well.

One of the common techniques used in achieving goals and attaining accomplishments is to write out your goals on a card, carry it with you and look at it often. This process creates a new way of thinking by creating positive thoughts in the sub-conscious mind, which lead to positive behaviors. A person has “automatic memory” of these positive thoughts and makes positive decisions in his or her life.

Dedication cards do exactly that for relationships. For example the front side of a dedication card may contain a special inspirational poem about marriage, family, friendships and community. That poem may reinforce the thinking that God, you and others are involved in the relationship. The reverse side of a Dedication Card may contain space that names those involved in the relationship, such as God, yourself, your husband or wife, family members, friends or even community.

By writing in the name of your lived ones, looking at the card often and reading it over and over, you can deposit positive thoughts in your mind. This leads to greater understanding and awareness – peace, respect and love for God, yourself, and others.

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