Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’ll never do that again,” only to find yourself doing the exact same thing just a short time later? If so, you’re not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another.
But making the same mistakes over and over can be costly in more ways than one. Perhaps your team has lost faith in you because your behavior doesn’t match your words. Or maybe your errors have cost you or someone else a lot of money.
The good news is, you can take steps to learn from your mistakes. Then, instead of repeating them again, you’ll gain valuable wisdom that will help you in the future.
Here are five ways to learn from your mistakes:
1. Acknowledge Your Errors
So often, leaders say things like, “I’m sorry you felt that way,” or “It’s unfortunate it didn’t work out.” But blaming other people or minimizing your responsibility isn’t helpful to anyone.
Before you can learn from your mistakes, you have to accept full responsibility for your role in the outcome. That can be uncomfortable sometimes, but until you can say, “I messed up,” you aren’t ready to change.
2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions
While you don’t want to dwell on your mistakes, reflecting on them can be productive. Ask yourself a few tough questions:
• What could I do better next time?
• What did I learn from this?
Write down your responses and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience.
3. Make A Plan
Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road. It’s important to spend the bulk of your time thinking about how to do better in the future.
Make a plan that will help you avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your plan may need to change.
Whether you find an accountability partner or you track your progress on a calendar, find a way to hold yourself accountable. Keep in mind that what works for one person might not work with someone else.
4. Make It Harder To Mess Up
Don’t depend on willpower alone to prevent you from taking an unhealthy shortcut or from giving into immediate gratification. Increase your chances of success by making it harder to mess up again.
As a psychotherapist, I’ve worked with people who have found some creative ways to become more disciplined. I once worked with a woman who blew her budget every month because she shopped online late whenever she was bored.
To prevent herself from having instant access to her cards, she froze her credit cards in a big block of ice. She’d have to wait for the ice to melt to get the number. Whenever she found herself trying to thaw the block of ice, she would pause and realize how ridiculous the situation was and she’d stop short of spending money she didn’t have.
5. Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Make The Mistake Again
Sometimes, it only takes one weak moment to indulge in something you shouldn’t. Creating a list of all the reasons why you should stay on track could help you stay self-disciplined, even during the toughest times.
I once worked with a woman who wanted to stop talking to her ex-boyfriend. She knew he wasn’t good for her but she couldn’t’ resist answering the phone whenever he called.
She created a list of all the reasons why she shouldn’t talk to him—it was bad for her mental health, they were toxic together, etc. She laminated the list and taped it to the back cover of her phone. Whenever he called, she’d turn her phone over and begin to read over the list. It helped her resist the temptation to answer the phone.
Move Forward With Your New-Found Wisdom
Sometimes, mistakes aren’t just one big blunder. Instead, they’re a series of little choices that lead to failure. So pay attention to your errors, no matter how big or how small they might seem. And recognize that each mistake can be an opportunity to build mental muscle and become better.
1) Ted Kennedy. Barney Frank. Rod Blagojevich. Eric Massa. Marion Barry. Dan Rostenkowski. Eliot Spitzer. John Murtha. Alcee Hastings. Anthony Weiner. James Traficant. Sandy Berger. Gerry Studds. Robert Byrd. Mel Reynolds. James McGreevey. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Robert Torricelli. Gary Condit. Bill Clinton. John Edwards. And those are JUST SOME OF THE ONES that got caught.
2) The estimated number of people killed in the Holocaust? 11 million. The estimated number of people who were killed in WWI? 37 million. The estimated number of babies who have been killed because of the Democrats’ beloved Roe v. Wade? 54 million.
3) The three worst Presidents of the last one hundred years have been Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson, in that order.
5) The Democrat Party’s slogan in 1868: “This is a white man’s country: Let white men rule.”
6) California is a large state with Hollywood, gorgeous weather, Silicon Valley, thriving farmers, dynamic ports and Los Angeles; yet the state is fast becoming a banana republic that will be incredibly fortunate if it can stave off bankruptcy for another decade. Democrats did that.
7) When the Social Security checks stop, your children are wearing rags and there are rampaging mobs burning things down because the government can’t keep order, you can thank the Democrats for bankrupting America.
9) The Democrats have blue as their party color when everyone knows they should be represented by red like the rest of the Commies.
10) The Democrats actually have taxpayer-funded abortion on demand right up until the day of birth in the party platform.
11) The Democrats fought Republicans for more than a hundred years on civil rights issues, finally came around to our position and then claimed we were the ones against civil rights. What’s it like?
It would be as if, after fighting Democrats for a hundred years over the issue of abortion, Republicans finally got Roe v. Wade overturned, and then, out of pure political calculation, Democrats jumped on the bandwagon and demanded a federal law outlawing abortion. Some pro-life Republicans would probably object that federal law outlawing abortion is not one of Congress’s enumerated powers. On the basis of Republicans’ constitutional objections, Democrats would then reverse the entire history of the pro-life movement and start claiming the Democratic Party alone fought to end abortion in America. That is exactly what they have done with the history of civil rights.
13) “It’s an obsession with the Democrats to nationalize everything: health care, welfare, the speed limit, abortion, the drinking age — so there’s no escape. Like all totalitarians, the Democrats’ position is: We thought up something that we know will work better than anything anyone else has done for the last 30,000 years. We don’t know why no one else has thought of it. We must be smarter. This is why the history of liberalism consists of replacing things that work with things that sounded good on paper.” — Ann Coulter
14) Democrat President Woodrow Wilson was an honest-to-goodness fascist in the true sense of the word. In the words of Jonah Goldberg,
Indeed, it is my argument that during World War I, America became a fascist country, albeit temporarily. The first appearance of modern totalitarianism in the Western world wasn’t in Italy or Germany but in the United States of America. How else would you describe a country where the world’s first modern propaganda ministry was established; political prisoners by the thousands were harassed, beaten, spied upon, and thrown in jail simply for expressing private opinions; the national leader accused foreigners or immigrants of injecting treasonous “poison into the American bloodstream;” newspapers and magazines were shut down for criticizing the government; nearly a hundred thousand government propaganda agents were sent out among the people to whip up support for the regime and its war; college professors imposed loyalty oaths on their colleagues; nearly a quarter-million goons were given legal authority to intimidate and beat “slackers” and dissenters; and leading artists and writers dedicated their crafts to proselytizing for the government?
15) The Democrats are the KKK Party. Not only did they create the KKK, Democrat Robert Byrd was the last member of Congress to hold membership in the KKK, Democrat Hugo Black was the last member of the Supreme Court to hold membership in the KKK and Democrat Harry Truman was the last President to hold membership in the KKK. Now, whom do the Democrats blame for the KKK? Republicans.
16) The Democrat Party symbol is the ass. Yes, seriously.
17) The only two Presidents that have been impeached so far are Democrat Andrew Johnson and Democrat Bill Clinton.
18) Barack Obama’s entire presidency.
19) The Democrats got us into the Vietnam War, put rules of engagement in place that made it impossible to win, destroyed public support for the war with their incompetence and dirty, hippie protests and then after Nixon put us on track to win, made sure we lost by cutting off funds to our allies in the South after we left, which led to a genocide.
20) Thanks for making us fight a Civil War because you loved slavery so much, assclowns!
The Call of the Caretaker
If you are a caring compassionate person, it is natural to feel sorry for others who suffer, including the narcissist. If you’re especially empathetic, it is your “normal” to feel others’ pain and to try to caretake them on the road toward peace and happiness. From social workers to teachers, therapists to animal welfare providers, civil rights advocates to artists, nurses to doctors, many people make “helping” their life’s work.
Taking care of others can be deeply rewarding, but it comes with risks and the need for firm boundaries. For professionals attempting to treat Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the results are limited at best. For those living with NPD in partners or parents, day-to-day life can be painfully challenging, with no solutions in sight.
The Narcissist as Tragic Figure
The narcissist is believed to have experienced a profoundly defining emotional injury at a very young age. “Narcissist injury” may be the result of abuse, loss, or a mixture of such deprivation with overindulgence and/or a highly sensitive nature.
Fundamentally, narcissists are stuck emotionally at the approximate developmental level of a three year old, and consequently they lack the most basic ability to care about the feelings, needs, and perspectives of others. Yet, as savvy adults, their powers of manipulation are off the charts.
At first glance, the narcissist may appear to be a tragically sympathetic figure. But the catch, and it’s a big one, is that narcissists are pathologically selfish and often stunningly cruel.
The Pathology of Narcissism: Overt and Covert
Those with NPD aren’t just more self-centered than most of us on the human continuum. They are, in fact, severely lacking in or altogether devoid of empathy and as a result are capable of terrible moral and legal crimes, all serving to prop the larger-than-life false self they have constructed to supplant their feelings of essential worthlessness.
Whether extroverted or introverted, narcissists assert a self that is superior, entitled, and above reproach. They are driven to continuously make a display of their grandiose “needs” at the expense of others. They do not take responsibility for their words or actions. They believe they deserve special treatment. They only “give” conditionally to get back. And they utilize a wide toolkit to get their way.
While their extravagant and manipulative agendas come from the same pathology, narcissists of the overt type are more obviously aggressive, using ridicule and rage, while covert narcissists are passive-aggressive, using guilt and pity-plays.
Narcissist Abuse Tactics
Narcissists use many strategies to get their way, assert their grandeur, and avoid accountability. Here are classic narcissist tactics:
4. They don’t ever want to let anyone else off the hook.
I’m sorry is one of the first things we learn to say as children, yet some adults refuse to apologize even when they’re clearly in the wrong. The question is: Why?
Elton John wasn’t kidding: Sorry does seem to be the hardest word. Some people find it so hard to apologize that getting them to admit to even the smallest wrongdoing involves a major battle—often, a fruitless one. Although we might perceive the reluctance of these non-apologists as simple defensiveness or pride, a far deeper psychological dynamic is often at play: Refusing to apologize often reflects efforts to protect a fragile sense of self.
Apologies can vary greatly in their significance: When non-apologists bump into someone in a crowd, they might mumble a quick “I’m sorry” without giving it another thought. But the same person arguing with their spouse about directions might yell, “I’m telling you: The GPS is wrong! Take this left!” only to find out the satellite system was correct—and still adamantly refuse to apologize, perhaps calling on excuses such as, “You take the wrong exit all the time, too!” or “The GPS is wrong half the time anyway—it’s not my fault!”
Similarly, when our actions or inactions cause someone actual harm, real emotional distress, or significant inconvenience, most of us quickly offer a sincere apology, both because it is deserved and because it’s the best way to garner forgiveness and alleviate the guilt we feel. But in these situations, too, non-apologists typically use excuses and denial to shirk their responsibility. Why?
Why Apologies Threaten Non-Apologists
For non-apologists, saying “I’m sorry” carries psychological ramifications that run far deeper than the words themselves imply; it elicits fundamental fears (either conscious or unconscious) they desperately want to avoid:
- Admissions of wrongdoing are incredibly threatening for non-apologists because they have trouble separating their actions from their character. If they did something bad, they must be bad people; if they were neglectful, they must be fundamentally selfish and uncaring; if they were wrong, they must be ignorant or stupid, etc. Therefore, apologies represent a major threat to their basic sense of identity and self-esteem.
- Apologizing might open the door to guilt for most of us, but for non-apologists, it can instead open the door to shame. While guilt makes us feel bad about our actions, shame makes non-apologists feel bad about their selves—who they are—which is what makes shame a far more toxic emotion than guilt.
- While most of us consider apologies as opportunities to resolve interpersonal conflict, non-apologists may fear their apology will only open the floodgates to further accusations and conflict. Once they admit to one wrongdoing, surely the other person will pounce on the opportunity to pile on all the previous offenses for which they refused to apologize as well.
- Non-apologists fear that by apologizing, they would assume full responsibility and relieve the other party of any culpability. If arguing with a spouse, for example, they might fear an apology would exempt the spouse from taking any blame for a disagreement, despite the fact that each member of a couple has at least some responsibility in most arguments.
- By refusing to apologize, non-apologists are trying to manage their emotions. They are often comfortable with anger, irritability, and emotional distance, and experience emotional closeness and vulnerability to be extremely threatening. They fear that lowering their guard even slightly will make their psychological defenses crumble and open the floodgates to a well of sadness and despair that will pour out of them, leaving them powerless to stop it. They might be correct. However, they are incorrect in assuming that exhibiting these deep and pent-up emotions (as long as they get support, love, and caring when they do—which fortunately, is often the case) will be traumatic and damaging. Opening up in such a way is often incredibly therapeutic and empowering, and it can lead them to experience far deeper emotional closeness and trust toward the other person, significantly deepening their relationship satisfaction.
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Life is full of big decisions, and they tend to inspire a lot of thought around this time of year as graduates accept their diplomas and plan for the road ahead. With that in mind, here’s some advice to help you along the way, from deciding where to live to deciding where to work, and so on. Of course, none of these decisions need to be made right now, but here are 10 decisions you’ll want to begin planning to tackle for yourself .
Choosing a college major
Choosing a college major
If you’re graduating from high school, t he first big decision you’ll probably have to make in your young adult life is which college to attend , but that might also depend on the area you’re interested in studying. Overall, college rankings aren’t that dependable , so the more important question might be: W hat do you want to major in?
Explore multiple majors in your early years , consider your job prospects , and do some other detective work to make the best college major choice you can (given the information you have at the time). It might also be worth knowing the difference in income for different college majors .
Deciding on a career
Deciding on a career
College majors and degrees often correlate with occupation, but not always (see every English major like myself who isn’t doing something directly related to English literature). Degree or not, at one point or another you’re going to have to decide what to do with your life . Network with others or look for a mentor to help you get an insider view of what working in different occupations is like. And more generally, here are the things you should consider when deciding which career path to go in .
Making a career change
Making a career change
M aybe it’s time to jump ship to a different, more rewarding career—which is a lot more common today than it was our parents were growing up. These are the things you should know before making the switch —not just income changes, but also whether you have the skills and experience to hit the ground running. Switching careers is a huge decision, but inspiring stories of people going to medical school in their forties or otherwise realizing their calling later in life remind us that changing a career can definitely be worth it if you can focus on work you love.
Going back to school or get an advanced degree
Going back to school or get an advanced degree
If you’re making a career change, you might want or need to go back to school. Or you might be considering grad school to advance your career. This calculator tells you if grad school is financially worth it, and these are the things you should think about if you’re considering going back to school (in some cases, you can keep your job and attend classes at the same time—maybe even getting reimbursed for them—which makes the decision a whole lot easier.)
Figuring out where to live
Figuring out where to live
Where you live can have a profound impact on your finances as well as your happiness . (The closer you live to your place of work , the better). If you have the flexibility to work from home, you’ll be better off in some cities than in others . Otherwise, check out these maps and other data to help you find the perfect place to settle down.
Renting or buying a house
Renting or buying a house
For most of us, housing is our biggest expense. But should you buy a home or does renting make more sense ? (Rent prices are all over the map .) Besides the difference in housing costs , you’ll need to take into consideration how long you plan on staying in a place, whether you want to customize your pad, and other emotional and financial factors.
Deciding who to date
Deciding who to date
Each individual date might not be a big deal or a big decision, but who knows if that person you ask out for the first time or say yes to dating will turn into your lifelong partner? Try to set realistic expectations when going on a first date , be careful when dating a coworker , and perhaps do some internet sleuthing to find out more about your next date . We also have a special podcast episode specifically about how to find the right partner for you .
Deciding whether to get married or not
Deciding whether to get married or not
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before saying yes to marriage , what I wish I had known before getting married , the secrets of the happiest couples , and the mathematical formula for deciding whom to marry . (B asically, date 38.6 percent of the people willing to date you and then choose your partner from further dates that are better than that pool of previous dates. If only marriage was that easy. )
Deciding whether to have kids or not
Deciding whether to have kids or not
Among the life-changing events, becoming a parent takes one of the top spots. It’s hard to know if having a child is a good decision for you or not , and once you’re in the trenches you’ll likely experience emotions you didn’t expect, like guilt and also incredible pride. There’s no math formula for this one, but spending time with others’ kids could help you get a better sense if children should be in your future.
Knowing when it’s time to quit anything
Knowing when it’s time to quit anything
Finally, even if you’ve made the best decisions possible with the information you had at the time, you’ll still have to reconsider your choices from time to time, because life is about change. Whether you need to decide on quitting a job or ending a relationship, try to take a step back and objectively ask yourself if you’re staying for the wrong reasons, like the “sunk cost fallacy,” and if there are more rewarding opportunities for you out there. (Not saying you should always question your marriage or ditch your parenting commitment, of course. Quitting in other areas is a big decision.)
This story was originally published in January 2015 and was updated on May 24, 2021 as a slideshow with new photos and information.
Nashville seems like the place to be, right? WRONG.
Well, that’s a little harsh, because Nashville, like Memphis, is a slice of Tennessee you should definitely try to visit in your lifetime. But, over on the east side of the state is Knoxville, a city that definitely doesn’t get as much credit as it should.
Home to the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville boasts good food and a cool arts scene, thanks in part to one of its most significant landmarks, the Tennessee Theatre.
While you’re not eating and drinking your heart out, there are other activities like paddling and vintage shopping that will have you playing with the locals — heck, maybe you can even fit in as a pretend Knoxvillian. Maybe.
If you’re looking for a last-minute spring break getaway or you just need another excuse to get out of town, we recommend Knoxville — we promise you won’t regret it.
1. You’ll breathe the fresh air as you enjoy the great outdoors.
While in Knoxville, it would be a mistake not to explore the outdoors. And really, as the city’s nestled in a gorgeous valley just west of the Great Smoky Mountains, you can hardly avoid it.
Stop, smell the flowers and read some history at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, where there are multiple walking trails and displays that show off nature’s greatest beauties.
Or, gather a group together and brush up on your paddling skills at Billy Lush Board Shop, where you can have some fun on the waters of the Tennessee River. For a family vacation, enjoy some more waterworks and long walks at the World’s Fair Park.
About 45 minutes away from the city, there’s Blackberry Farm, where you can take in the view of the Great Smoky Mountains and maybe see a celebrity or two walking around. The secluded resort hosted Kelly Clarkson’s wedding and Hannah Davis’ 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue shoot.
2. There’s more to the food scene than Southern cuisine.
Of course, travelers most likely have a one-track mind when it comes to finding food in Tennessee. Barbecue, grits and farm-fresh Southern staples draw tourists to the state. But, don’t sleep on the other foods Knoxville has to offer!
A photo posted by buttermilkskypieshop (@buttermilkskypieshop) on Sep 26, 2015 at 8:53am PDT
Since you’ll probably go for Southern comfort food anyway, here are some recommendations. Sweet P’s is the place for that roll-up-your-sleeves-and-dig-in meal, with amazing macaroni and cheese. For a fancier twist on the cuisine, head over to Knox Mason, where chefs play up flavor based on what’s in season.
Or grab a couple of savory slices at Hard Knox Pizzeria, which offer varieties of white, red and gourmet pizzas with amazing names like “The Barbed Wire,” “Bonecrusher” and “Rocky Balboa.”
And if you’re sick of sweet pies and cakes, munch on a crepe from The French Market Creperie or just eat more pie (because why not?) at Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop.
3. There are enough vintage items and antiques to have you shop ’til you drop.
Vintage shopping is one of the best things to do while traveling because you never know what unique pieces you might find. If you have some extra cash (or have a fund ESPECIALLY for travel shopping), do yourself a favor and explore Knoxville’s local consignments and thrifts.
Nostalgia lives up to its name with knick knacks that are sure to give you a blast from the past experience. Four Seasons Vintage is also a great place for, well, everything, as is another local store, Mid Mod Collective.
If you want to see more clothing on your Knoxville getaway, hit up Market Square where you can eat and shop at the same time. Sounds like bliss to us.
4. The arts scene provides great entertainment.
The historic Tennessee Theatre is a place you should absolutely visit off the bat. Catch a classic movie during the summer, see a play, or listen to the amazing sounds of an orchestral performance. And of course, there other theaters like the Clarence Brown at the University of Tennessee or Bijou Theater downtown.
During the day, venture around the local museums like UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture or the Knoxville Museum of Art.
5. Beer is your best bet.
Get into beer culture in this college town. and no, we’re not just talking about kegs and Natural Light. Knock back a couple of craft brews and some other cool cocktails at joints like The Public House and Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern.
A photo posted by Knoxville Public House (@knoxpublichouse) on Feb 1, 2016 at 8:19pm PST
Want to go somewhere a little fancier? Try the speakeasy atmosphere of Peter Kern Library at The Oliver Hotel.
Convinced? Let us know where you want to travel next.
The art of communication is not mastered by just knowing what to say and how to say it.
A big factor is knowing when to say it. So often people sit back and say nothing when something really needs to be said. It could be an idea, a suggestion, an observation, a criticism. but for some reason they don’t want to speak up.
They may be afraid of hurting another person, looking mean or foolish, or opening a can of worms that will make a mess in everyone’s lives. Sometimes it seems like staying silent is the wiser choice. But here are five reasons why despite the risk, standing up and saying your peace is best.
1. Silence is deemed approval. You may think that staying silent keeps you from being involved in any conflict, but quite the opposite. Silence is as much an active form of communication as talking. Anytime you are involved in a situation, people are aware of all the input and lack of it. If you disapprove and don’t say anything it will not make you seem easy going. If the problem persists and you did nothing people may consider it as enabling and think the issue is as much your fault as the person who actually caused the problem. You may destroy trust and create resentment. People rarely thank you for withholding information down the line.
2. The greater good should be the priority. I like to believe most people are good hearted by nature. And many stay silent because they don’t want to do any harm by offending or criticizing someone. But when a person or the team is headed down a dangerous path it’s selfish to put your own need to be comfortable above the needs of the others. Worse, by staying silent, you may be harming the very people you hope to help. The worst case scenario if you speak up is that someone may disagree, but at least the issue is at the forefront and an active decision can be made. The best case scenario is that everyone benefits and you are hailed as a powerful leader.
3. Demonstrate you are invested. Why are you in the conversation in the first place? Someone invited you into the dynamic. If you truly don’t have a stake then find a better use of your time. But if you are there for a reason you need to show your commitment to the process and the people involved by being active and vocal. Speaking up is an important form of honesty. Honesty actually builds trust, especially when combined with tact and empathy. Demonstrate that you will be truthful with people, that you care about them, and that you give good advice, and you will never lack for trusting friends and followers.
4. No one else may know. You can’t assume the obvious is obvious. Your experience and knowledge has value in a given situation. No one else has your unique perspective. That doesn’t mean that everything in your brain is worth communicating, but with a little discretion and thought, you should be able to bring value in most situations. And your piece of the puzzle may be the most important finisher. You’re also not doing yourself any favors by not sharing your expertise. People don’t automatically recognize your skills, values, ambitions, and desires when you are quiet. If you wait around for people to notice or read your mind, you will likely end up on many paths that are not of your own choosing. You may end up with projects you don’t want, missing promotions you do, or accepting tasks you don’t have time or ability to complete. Gather up your confidence and share.
5. You may not be alone in your thinking. It’s entirely possible that your insightful observations and conclusions have surfaced in the minds of others. Others may share your thoughts and opinions, but may be also unwilling to speak up. By speaking your mind you encourage them to voice their opinions as well. If everyone holds back, the bus may silently head over a cliff. In my organization we believe so strongly that everything should be voiced in some manner that we have a core value of Bring It Up. We would sooner celebrate somebody saying something irrelevant and unimportant than lose ground or have massive failure due to group silence.
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The deceased is a close friend or family member.
If you are close to the deceased then, by all means, attend the funeral. If there are extenuating circumstances and you are having difficulty deciding, talk it over with a friend or family member. There may be an appropriate way to express your condolences that doesn’t include attending.
The bereaved is a close friend or family member.
Attending the funeral of a close friend or family member is almost always the right move. Unless there is some particular reason that you cannot attend, go to the funeral.
You would like to pay your respects to the family or you would like to show support for the person’s loved ones.
Attending the funeral in order to pay your respects to the family is almost always appreciated. The loved ones of the deceased will take comfort in the fact that you cared enough to take the time to express your support.
Your presence would not be disruptive, distracting, or cause a family member to be upset.
If for some reason your presence at the funeral will distract from the purpose of the service or make the family and loved ones of the deceased uncomfortable, then you would do well to skip the service. There are other appropriate ways express your condolences.
You want to attend but the services are private.
If the family has indicated that the funeral or memorial is a private affair, then you should choose another method of expressing your sympathy.
Funerals are a unique type of life celebration. Formal invitations are rarely (almost never) issued. Instead, information on the date, time, and place for services are passed through public sources. Typical methods for passing along logistical details are a newspaper obituary, word of mouth, or social media. More often than not, funeral and memorial services are open to the public. Unless the family wants the funeral or memorial service to be private, you are welcome to attend.
If you are close to the bereaved or the deceased, live close by and have no extenuating circumstances, then, by all means, go to the funeral. In fact, if you don’t go, your presence may be missed.
Keep in mind that funerals are for the living. By going, you are showing your support for the people the deceased has left behind. You may not know the person who has died, but you may have a relationship with someone who cared deeply about him or her. To attend shows respect to the person who has died and this will be greatly appreciated by the loved ones.
Should You Attend The Funeral?
The rule of thumb is this: It’s not about you.
Funerals give the surviving family and friends the chance to say goodbye. The primary focus should ALWAYS be the family of the deceased. Your job is to support and comfort them. A funeral or memorial service is a time when you should put your own needs aside and be there for those closest to the deceased.
5 reasons to go to the funeral:
- The deceased is a close friend or family member.
- The bereaved is a close friend or family member.
- You knew the person (perhaps not well) and would like to pay your respects to the family.
- You want to show support for the person’s loved ones.
- The deceased is a public figure in whom you have an interest and the services are open to the public.
5 reasons not to go to the funeral:
- Your attendance at the service would be disruptive or distracting to any member of the immediate family.
- Your attendance at the service would be upsetting to any member of the immediate family.
- The services are private and not open to the public.
- The services are out of town and you cannot get there, or you cannot arrange for the time off work.
- You are ill or physically incapable of travel.
There are cases when going to the funeral or memorial service just isn’t possible even if you want to attend. You may live out of town, have financial constraints, or be physically unable to travel. In these circumstances, there are other ways you can express your condolences. A heartfelt sympathy card, flowers, or a donation to a charity in the name of the deceased are all good ways to honor someone who has died. A telephone call to let the family know you are thinking of them at this difficult time is also appropriate.
If your presence will be distracting or disruptive, then you would be well advised to skip the services and show your sympathy some other way. An example of this would be a difficult or complicated family situation where there is ill will. If you are separated from the family in some way but are still on good terms, then it may be appropriate for you to attend. Divorce is a common example of this type of situation. In these cases, you will have to use your best judgment.
Even in the case of the death of a close family member or friend, attending the funeral is optional. The decision is always up to you. But it would be unusual for someone to skip the funeral of someone with whom they had this kind of bond. If you are struggling with the decision, it may help to discuss the situation with other members of your family or circle of friends. You may also want to consider how you might feel in the future if you skip the service.
Even if you didn’t know the person who has died well, you are honoring his or her memory by taking the time to pay your respects. Those who are mourning will take comfort in knowing that others care enough about them and their loved ones to go out of their way to personally express their support.
In general, the same considerations apply to wakes and visitations. Attendance is optional but attending shows honor to the deceased and respect to his or her family and friends.
You want to cheat. Come on, admit it. You’ve been seriously thinking about what it would be like to have sex with someone else other than your husband or wife.
Maybe someone attractive flirted and showed signs of interest in you. Or maybe you’re feeling neglected because your partner isn’t giving you enough love, sex, or attention.
Also, all your friends are doing it, so why can’t you?
Yes, you love your partner and you don’t want to hurt anyone. But could you get away with it? Could you live with yourself after cheating?
I understand the struggle. I had a chance to cheat myself, and things didn’t go exactly the way I imagined. When I was an undergraduate student, my girlfriend said she wouldn’t be available because she had to write her thesis.
“Go off and play with some of the other girls,” she told me.
I said, “You don’t mind if I sleep with someone else?”
She assured me that she just wanted to make sure I was happy while she worked. So, I had sex with one of her friends. Once. She wasn’t angry and claimed she wasn’t hurt. But then she proceeded to sleep with every single one of my friends, one after the other. It was devastating!
So, before you go down the road to infidelity, here are five reasons to consider why you will regret cheating (even if you really, really want to):
1. Cheating will change your life forever.
Whether it’s for the better or irretrievably for the worse, if you don’t want your life changed, don’t cheat. But if you do, maybe you can take action to change it without causing someone (aka your partner) a world of hurt.
2. You probably won’t get away with it.
Oh, you’re good at keeping a secret, containing your feelings, and zipping your mouth shut. Sure, it’s possible to have an affair and never get caught.
One patient of mine has led a double life for 30 years. She doesn’t want anyone to find out or end her marriage. I think she will get away with it, but most people do not. Why? Because .
3. Sex changes us in noticeable ways.
What’s the point of having sex if it didn’t? Doing the deed affects us in powerful ways. You can put your clothes back on, tidy yourself up, and try to look normal. But you feel different inside. You might feel elated, enraptured, or enthralled. Or you might feel guilty, ashamed, or regretful — or both at once. How you feel on the inside shows on the outside. What then?
4. Usually, the discovery of an affair causes more pain and damage than the act is worth.
Sometimes, that damage is irreparable. The hurt feels like a javelin through the heart and it destroys trust. It is one of the most traumatic experiences a human can face.
Look, the temptation to cheat is normal. But you should really think through whether it’s worth the drama and pain you’ll cause through that act of betrayal and consider why you will regret cheating.
If you’re unhappy or unsatisfied in your current relationship, there are other choices available other than cheating.
Here are things to focus on instead:
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- Understand how cheating happens. Sexual infidelity often begins with seemingly innocent interactions, like meeting over coffee and then progresses from there. Lunch. Drinks. Dinner. Attending an event together, a conference perhaps. Before you know it, you’re both on your own in a hotel room.
- Bring your thoughts, feelings, and fantasies to your partner. This is a testing moment, but it helps prevent acting on the deed itself. Tell your partner honestly about your temptations and what is eliciting them. They may feel terrible, but they are more likely to forgive you if your disclosures aim to apply the brakes.
- Identify any issue that generates susceptibility to cheating. Are you feeling resentful? Are you unhappy with how your partner is treating you? A number of reasons are possible. Even if you cannot resolve the issue, couples feel better for frank and open discussions about their negative feelings.
If you cheat and discover you have destroyed your relationship, don’t be surprised. Be prepared for payback.
I wasn’t, but I learned the hard way.
And if you’re really that unhappy in your relationship, get out first, then you’re free to do what you like and with whoever you like.
If the fantasies are compelling, or someone you’re attracted to makes you feel tempted, remember this: Cheating changes you, and it shows.
Coming home aglow is like wearing a red neon sign that says: Guilty!
Better to bring your inner life to your partner honestly than risk your outer life being turned upside down.
Dr. Jan Resnick is a psychotherapist, couples counselor and family therapist based in Perth, Western Australia and author of the book, How Two Love: Making Your Relationship Work. For more information, visit his website.