Monday, February 3, 2014

An E-mail Worthy of Sharing

Hi Maryam,

Eric Charles here and today I want to talk
to you about how the quality of your
relationship is determined before you
even open your eyes each day...
(And 10 personal secrets I learned to live
a stress-free life and have better
relationships with everyone...)
STRESS (and how you relate to your
own emotions) is by far the biggest
factor in whether your relationships
will succeed or fail.
Although it's been said... many times...
many ways...
You can't find love in the world until
you can find it within yourself.
Your relationships with others is only
as good as your relationship with
We can only give love freely when
there's enough within ourselves to
give away.
OK - we get it!
But what's the opposite of love within
ourselves then?  What blocks this
"love" within ourselves that would and
should flow out into our relationships?
I would call it "stress" in general, but
here are some common expressions
of it:
- fear, worry, insecurity, doubt
- anger, bitterness, cynicism, sarcasm
- jealousy, criticizing, insulting, hatred
- resentment, holding grudges
- feeling unloved, unappreciated, unnoticed
And on and on.
But rather than list more expressions of
stress and how it blocks your potential
for love, let me give you a couple of
examples of why you can't have love
in your life when you're stressed.
Think about the times that you've
snapped at a loved one or treated
someone you knew poorly.
I can guarantee that there was always
some form of stress present within you
at that time.
Stress puts us into a primitive state of
panic.  In fact, a neuro-scientist
once explained how when we enter a
stress-state, our brain actually down-
grades into a mode where we lose
access to the most-evolved, creative,
rational parts of our brain (the neo-
In other words, there is physiological
proof that if you want to make the
best decisions, you need to make sure
you're not stressed.  Being stress-free
in a relationship leads to a good
Sometimes people want to sell the idea
of being "stress-free" as walking around
in some transcendent state of zen, or
like some kind of bliss-filled grinning
No stress is actually much simpler and
less glamorous than that.
No stress just means that you feel "fine"
and "OK".
Now, if you're used to feeling constant
stress, that can seem like a God-sent.
But I just want to make clear that
no stress is just a state where you know
there's no "problem".
And that's one of the major
understandings about getting rid of stress
so that we can have the best relationships
possible:  We need to find our way of
looking at life where we realize that
"there's no problem".
Yes, there are things to handle.  Yes,
there are things we need to respond to
in the moment.
But there is a world of difference
between handling something and
stressing about it.
Stress is a greedy, poisonous and
highly contagious state.
Greedy because it fights to make
itself the center of your attention,
above all other people and

Poisonous because it often makes
you withdraw (avoid people), fight
(repel people) or rebel (act like the
opposite of what that emotion is
making you feel).  All of these are
destructive to your relationships.
Highly contagious because when
you handle your stress poorly and
lash out (either subtly or explicitly)
at the people you're close to, you
end up causing them stress that
they then need to handle.
So now I give you a short, personal
list of how I keep my stress low so
that I enjoy my life and have great
1.  I take stress very seriously.  I do
not allow it to exist within me for long.
2.  I am honest with myself about
my stress level before talking with
someone.  I know myself - if I'm
feeling stressed, it's a guarantee that
I will lash out at someone by
accident.  I do my best to handle my
stress before interacting with someone
3.  I am extremely clear about who
and what in my life causes me
stress.  When it comes to people, I
make an effort to eliminate people
who cause me stress from my life.
If I can't eliminate them, I limit my
exposure to them to the bare
4.  I recognize that stress
boomerangs.  In relationships, when
I lash out at someone because of stress,
they will resent it and inevitably lash
back at me at some point in the future.
I do my best to avoid creating that
problem for myself.
5.  Bad jobs are poison.  When I
worked for bosses that hated me and
a company I didn't like in general,
I was incredibly stressed.  There
are few things more stressful than
being forced to be in a place you
hate with people you hate doing
work you hate for 40 hours a week.
I got the hell out of there and it was
the best decision of my life!
6.  I recognize that we live in a
stress-inducing world and we must
fight stress actively.  Part of what
makes advertising work is that it
causes its target audience stress.
The stress it causes is subtle and
insidious, but it is there.  It might
be insecurity, jealousy, mild anger,
craving or any other emotion on the
spectrum, but the driving force in
marketing is to emotionally compel
you to BUY.
And as long as there are advertisers
out there and companies selling
product, media will find more and
more ways to advertise to you
(which means stress).
We must accept that "stress sells"
and do what we can to limit our
exposure to it as well as counteract
stress.  Which brings us to...
7.  I live a stress-reducing lifestyle.
I choose to live in the area that makes
me happiest - on the beach.  I choose
to exercise 5-6 times a week for the
mood-boosting, stress-reducing effects.
I choose to eat a very healthy diet to
minimize the stress on my body and
maximize a healthy, happy state.
8.  I REFUSE to do things in my
life that will cause me stress.
Sometimes someone will come to me
and ask me for something in a wild,
agitated state.
It might be a close friend, family member,
etc.  My initial reaction might be to feel
stress, but then I quickly remind myself
that if I'm going to do something, it is
NOT going to be out of stress.
I do not take on anything until I have
found the "path" to do that thing in
a way that it will get done, but I won't be
stressed about it.
Lesson:  There is ALWAYS a way to do
what you have to do without stress being
9.  I am compassionate towards people
who are acting out of stress.
It is easy to react to someone else lashing
out at me with wanting to lash back at them.
If I'm not in a great mood to begin with, I
might slip and react poorly.
But I strive to remember that often times
these are people who love me and who
share my best interests - they are just
struggling with their own stress.
When I remember that, it helps me treat
them with forgiveness and compassion,
which in many cases calms them down
and resolves the issue before it starts.
10.  I live MY idea of my happiest life,
not somebody else's.
When I was younger, I was pre-occupied
with being who I thought everyone
wanted me to be.
I would chase ideals that I thought were
what I was "supposed" to care about and
downplay the things I personally liked.
I would try to be the image of what I
thought everyone wanted me to be
instead of just being who I enjoyed
I hung out in places that I didn't enjoy
(I had to admit to myself that I hate
clubs, for example) and I was friends
with people who I didn't respect or like
for really any reason.
Hell, I even took a job that I didn't
want to take after months of nagging
from my girlfriend at the time.  (In
retrospect, I wish I dumped the job
and the girlfriend!)
And the result of my incessant
desire to please the crowd?  I lived
an empty, stress-filled life that I
absolutely hated.
These days I love my life.  I make
no effort to hide my dorky preferences,
my odd and quirky sense of humor, my
interests or anything else about myself
that I don't feel fits the "norm".
(To do this, I really had to realize that
I didn't care at all about the people who
didn't like or understand me.  Frankly,
the only people who I care about are
those who like me as I am... everyone
else is not important to me.)
The result?  I love my life and my
relationships are tremendously better
with the people I love the most.
Hope that's helpful to you,
Eric Charles

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