March 21, 2019

You're Both Right - A Blog by Michael Barmak


testin the blog mailer

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I remind myself of this every time I start to go down that negative path thinking I should have done something in the past. I used to be very hard on myself for not having acted in ways (i.e. planting that tree) that I now believe would have made my life better. Instead of judging myself, I now move into acceptance and compassion for my past behavior and identify the learning from that time. Then I take that learning and identify the loving actions I can take TODAY to make this the second best time to plant that ‘tree’. It may not look like the same kind of tree. I may not be able to plant that ‘tree’ in the same place, with the same people or in the situation. However I always find a way to take a loving action that makes me feel more joyful and valuable. And it’s always a beautiful ‘tree’!

What trees do you need to plant a second time? Can you make the choice to plant one of those today? Make that choice and notice if you feel more self-worth.

You’re Both Right

During my first session with a couple, I’ll ask both partners to turn and fully face each other.  Then I’ll ask each of them to point to their right.  I’ll wait until both partners figure out which direction is their ‘right’ and then I’ll ask each of them, “Who is right?”  i.e. whose ‘right’ is right?  I’ll get answers like, “Neither of us is right” “I’m right and my partner is wrong”.  Sound familiar???  Once in a while someone will say, “We’re both right.”  Yes!  I let them in on the best kept couples secret:  You’re always both right!  The partner who thought he/she was right never looks very happy while the other partner looks relieved.  Anticipating the most common objection, I quickly qualify this to refer to emotional issues not factual information.  I share that each of them is always right from their perspective and that from my perspective, validating each other’s experience is at the heart of couples work.

I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me as I share with you in the coming days my thoughts and feelings about the couples I see.  I hope that you’ll stay open and be curious about what you hear and that you’ll learn how to live a more joyful, purposeful and harmonious life.  And so we begin…