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When we're older and thinking about long-term relationships and, eventually, marriage, the process is more like a merger: two complete beings coming together. The older we get, the more set in our ways we are, and the more we crave someone who will easily fit into our lives. We assume that the more similar we are, the easier the merger will be. But that assumption is wrong. Research tells us that similar personalities are not a predictor of long-term relationship success. Could it be working on talking to yourself in a kinder way? Whatever you choose, it will be right for you. Often, that's our body-mind-heart connection answering us. Whatever you answer, add it to your life and notice how it affects you. Keep track of how you feel before, during, and after you use one. Self-nurturing practices should nurture you, leaving you feeling better, stronger, and more relaxed. If they don't, then they may not be the right ones for you to use, or the right ones for you now. Either way, they provide powerful information that you need to help you make the best, most informed choices about your road to recovery. There's a part of us inside--our essence, our soul--that wasn't damaged by the abuse. This part of us is beautiful, radiant, and you might not know it's there. Warning your child that a new direction is dangerous usually backfires. In the course of his life, he tries many things that you consider dangerous and nothing happens. Yes, he may have second thoughts if he watches a friend suffer or die from negative choices, but even then, he will mostly likely believe that he is infallible and indestructible. If your child knows that you trust him to make wise decisions, he makes those decisions from a position of autonomy. Then, at least, he won't be testing for reasons of rebellion.

Peer pressure is more influential with insecure teenagers, so make sure he feels secure in your love. If he isn't hurting anyone with his choices, why oppose them? If you do oppose them, your inability to trust his judgment is the very doubt that forces him to test your loyalty. On the other hand, if you tell him that his choices are up to him and not you, he begins to act responsibly. Ideas are out there for anyone who wants them. In my interview with Northwestern professor and marriage expert Eli Finkel, he said, There is no correlation between how satisfied or how happy you are with a relationship and how similar your personalities are. In other words, we make our potential pool of partners smaller by mistakenly eliminating people who are not similar enough to us. The question is: Would you really want to date yourself? I know I wouldn't! A client of mine is the life of the party. He's an event promoter with a big personality. He was dating someone calm and caring who liked to be in bed before ten p. He wondered, Wouldn't my life be better if I dated someone more like me? I sat him down and told him that two of him would be too much for one room, let alone one relationship! They'd fight to be the center of attention. Part of the healing process is to rediscover it and to realize you're not bad, not wrong, and not terrible,' but instead, you're this beautiful soul. Jenny didn't recognize the person in the mirror. A former Division I cross-country ski racer, a marathon runner, and now a mother, Jenny was known as the fun mom, always doing activities, having playdates, putting on dinner parties, volunteering, and saying yes to everything and everyone. In her late 20s, she loved her life. That's why she felt so blindsided when the strange physical symptoms appeared--the extreme fatigue, the swelling, the brain fog.

Eventually, she learned that she had four strains of Lyme disease that were in her brain stem, spinal cord, and nervous system. She also had hundreds of parasites in her body that had put holes in her organs and endocrine glands. And when the parasites died, they released viruses, bacteria, and neurotoxins into her body. In six months, Jenny gained 70 pounds--mostly from the massive amounts of toxins. Her liver and kidneys couldn't process the toxins fast enough, so her body used the survival mechanism of creating fat to store the toxins and keep them away from her organs. No matter what you do to protect your children, they will test whatever they are determined to test. Isn't that true for you? If you are told that taking a certain action is wrong but your friends are going in that direction and having a wonderful time, you get interested in that direction. However, if you know that you are responsible for what happens if you follow through, you linger before you leap. If your child chooses destructive behavior from an autonomous position, he knows that he is autonomous to choose differently. When he has no one to blame but himself, he is forced to become accountable. After all, those who love him have reassured him that he is free to do what he wants with the gift of his life. If he makes decisions without mutiny in mind, he makes different decisions when things turn ugly. However, if he behaves masochistically as a way of getting back at you, he won't want to stop. To stop would be to make you right and him wrong. Do you know the show The Amazing Race? I asked him. The show follows couples or pairs of friends or family members who travel to exotic locations to complete missions. The pairs that are too similar fight, I said. They get stuck on the same things.

The most successful duos complement each other. They don't have identical traits. When they miss a flight, one partner finds another route and soothes the other's panic. That's what makes them win. You want the same thing with your life partner. Jenny's body was under siege, and no one knew how to fix it. For two years, Jenny watched as her body grew weaker. She felt chronically stressed--mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Making it worse, Jenny and her husband discovered a massive mold outbreak in their home. The mold had caused chronic health issues for their daughter, who once had such a severe allergic reaction that she almost had to be life-flighted out. Their home had to be renovated, but it wasn't easy. The family moved six times, staying with Jenny's parents, camping, and living in small cabins. The stress of everything was so intense that she felt like her nervous system had been hijacked. She tried meditating, something that had always helped, but it didn't now. She tried positive affirmations, but they felt hollow. If your child makes decisions that put family members at risk, release him from the family. Not with condemnation, but with the reassurance that he is welcome back as soon as his behavior is non-threatening. There is no good reason for other family members to suffer because one family member has suddenly turned abusive. Come from a logical position. Tell him that he isn't welcome as a disturbing factor, but when he is ready to contribute instead of take, he is welcome back.

Does this seem harsh? After all, where can he go if he isn't old enough to take care of himself? Well, if he is old enough to make decisions that put his family at risk, he is old enough to bear the consequences. Talk honestly, like you would to anyone disrupting the peace. Tell him that he is free to go where he wants to go and do what he wants to do, but if he chooses behavior that is harmful to the rest of the family, he has to find another place to experiment. Over the course of a year, he worked on appreciating his partner's differences rather than wishing she were more like him. They recently decided to have a baby together. Key tip for your dating search Find someone who complements you, not your personality twin. Many people say they want to find someone with a similar personality. Yet when Michigan State University researchers William Chopik and Richard Lucas studied more than twenty-five hundred married couples who had been together for an average of twenty years, they found that couples with similar personalities aren't any more satisfied with their relationships. And when it comes to our genes, we may have evolved to prefer people who are genetically dissimilar to us. There's a theory that we feel attracted to the smell of people who are genetically different from us because if we reproduced with them, we'd pass on two very different sets of genes--making our offspring more robust and more likely to survive. Swiss biological researcher Claus Wedekind explored this in his famous T-shirt study. He collected DNA samples from male and female students. Forget running--that was out of the question. But even slow walks in nature and gentle yoga were too much. Although she barely had the energy or strength to get out of bed, Jenny still tried to muscle through, showing up for her kids and saying yes to her normal routine. One day, she crawled under the covers in her bed and curled up into a ball. Her husband tried to help her feel better.