Let It All Fall

“Why did I just do that?”

“I Built a wall around my heart, never let it fall apart. Strangely, I wish  it will fall while I’m asleep.” 

Let’s talk about walls for a second. Why do we put them up? Why do they exist? And why is it so hard to tear them down?  Walls are a natural way to defend and protect. It’s what happens when there is a perceived danger. It’s hardly ever a pre-emptive move, but more as a result of an event that has already occurred. It’s very much the same in relationships.

There will be a time when we get hurt or offended by another person. That experience, whether we like it or not, stays with us. When we typically build a wall. Now, you may leave the relationship with that individual, but that wall remains long into the next relationship. Here’s the thing, you may not be aware of it. This wall typically doesn’t make itself known until your significant other does something that strikes you and your emotions. The reaction to their behavior may be almost involuntary and you find yourself thinking, “why did I just do that?” Because it’s happened before and that your reaction was a result of your wall. Your behaviors are not new. They had to come from somewhere!

Certain actions associate with the walls. It’s your job to think about what’s going on really. What were your thoughts that led to that behavior? What were your feelings that lead up to your mind? Identifying WHAT we feel is stepping stone in finding out WHY we feel that way, but most importantly HOW we behave.

While none of us want to have these walls up, it’s even harder to tear them down. Just like the Maroon 5 song lyric above, “I wish secretly it will fall while I’m asleep,” we want that these walls could just disappear on their own without us having to deal with the struggle that comes along with that. The truth of the matter is, real relationships have struggled and taking down a wall is a joint effort. It’s a terrifying thought, but leaving yourself open and exposed to the person you’re in love with may be your only chance in achieving the ultimate goal of really being together. Think of it as a project for you and your partner. Little by little, give each other the chance to show that both of you are the ones to knock those bricks down one by one

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here!

advice4life.us copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved Al Laws Jr. 

Love Ask For Nothing

Love what we are ASKING.

The Family Strengthening practice model is the national leader of strength-based essential skill development for improving communication and family formation that positively influences family development. 

Love asks nothing of another person, but to be who they are – no what ifs, no maybes, not buts. When we are in a relationship with another person, it is a habit to project unrealistic expectations on another person. As human beings, we always want to be in control – be in control of what people say and do because that is who we expect them to be. Just because this is what we WANT, this is what we are LOOKING for; this is what we are ASKING. At that point we have to stop and ask ourselves,  do we love this person or the person they could be. Remember, drama mostly derives from our thoughts and feelings, not purely on what someone else has done. Very quickly, you can become the very thing you are trying to combat.

A true fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. We must have the ability to look within ourselves and know our thoughts, feelings, intentions, and actions. This self-control and self-awareness yield itself to stronger communication and relationship. During a disagreement, try describing how you feel with ONE word is all it takes. From there, you empower yourself, and you enable the one listening to you. Once you are aware of your thoughts and feelings, find a way to communicate them. Contrary to popular belief, we are not all mind readers. So go ahead and try it, “I feel…”

Once we know ourselves, we can see our partner in an entirely different light. While we can accept them as they are, they can understand and accept us. It’s freeing to know the only expectation at this point is the promise to love faithfully and sincerely as God asks us to.

Listen to the #Advice4Life podcast here

advice4life.us copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved Al Laws Jr.

It’s Easy to Love the Lovely

Let’s say you pick a flower, it’s in full bloom with bright colors that catch all the right sunlight. It’s easy to want to have that flower, it’s easy to think that flower is beautiful. It’s easy to love that flower. Because who wouldn’t love the lovely? Now what if you picked a flower that was a bit brown on the edges, petals a tad shriveled. It’s still a flower, isn’t it? Is it still beautiful? Is it still lovely?

We are only human. We can’t smile and laugh and have our hair perfect all the time. We won’t always say the right things or do the right things. We’re not going to be able to control our reactions when we are disappointed, upset, angry, or sad. We will never be perfect. But what do we want? Someone who loves us perfectly. Just as God does.

When we are in a relationship that is strong and true, we are asking our partner to love us through our faults and shortcomings; all the while, trusting that they do this without being asked. So if this is what we want, how can we not expect the same from our partner? When we have chosen to love someone, we are making the commitment to remove judgement from ourselves AND judgement for another person. We are called to extract and  celebrate the good and beauty that is inherent in each person. In turn, the good and beauty within us will also be brought to light.

So the next time we find ourselves not giving our very best to another person – whether it’s because we have been offended or hurt – know that on the other side, someone else is loving our imperfections. Just as we must love them.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Love is Kind

Loving is tough when you’re angry. But that’s when it counts the most. When you’re experiencing any other emotion besides the pleasant ones and you’re still able to make your decisions from a place of love? You’ve mastered a very difficult skill.

It takes a lifetime to learn how to love. Everyone may think it’s just easy… Person A meets Person B. Person A and Person B fall in love. Person A and Person B spend the rest of their lives together. Nope, that’s not how it works. There are ups and downs and it’s how you handle these situations that really show your love for another person.

Why are you arguing in the first place? Why are you angry? When you are angry, seeing red, and quivering, there is a natural defense of building walls that defend your heart. When that happens, get yourself to a safe place. Walk away, make a sandwich, go for a walk. Do whatever it takes to step back and remain non-injurious.  When you find yourself in an argument, you must remember first and foremost that you LOVE the other person and it should never be your intention to hurt them. One way you can see this through is to be aware of what you are feeling and why. It’s also important to understand what your partner is really saying to you, not what you think they’re saying.

It’s important to remember that there can’t only be one person constantly fighting to make something work. Are you going to look in the mirror and be happy with the way you responded to a situation? Learn to love yourself so that you may fully love another person.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/how-to-stay-in-love-part-3-al-aisha-laws/

Be In Love

“Love is not a maybe thing.” This statement becomes more and more significant as the years go on. To love someone is to make a very important decision. Saying “I love you” is a tremendous statement. Love is not child’s play.

Al Laws, Aisha Laws, and Gregg Harris dig further and share their insight on how to stay in love. Being in love is the giving of your entire self – no ifs, ands, or buts. Love not only has to do with the feelings you have toward another person, but your level of maturity to go beyond yourself and your needs, your own happiness to ensure the health and happiness of another. Unless you are ready to serve another person before yourself, you are not ready to love.

Love is a powerful thing. It’s no wonder that some people can be scared of it. Never be afraid to love. Never be afraid to give another the best of you. At the end of the day, that really is all expressing love really is. See a person for who they truly are without projecting your own thoughts and feelings of who you want them to be. Once you do this, your role in the relationship will become that much clearer.

Mr. Laws shares a controversial truth about relationship: The man is the pursuer of love. It is the husband’s responsibility to look within his wife’s heart and draw out her needs. If a man goes into a relationship wanting to be served rather than being ready to serve, he has already missed the entire point of love. Men have been programmed to not be vulnerable and give that part of themselves, but as a man, that is what will take your relationship to another level. Enter into a relationship with the mentality to s
erve and you have one of the strongest foundations.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

When You Fall In love

“Love is something we were sent here to do, that is our prime directive.” – Al Laws, Jr. #Advice4Life 

Being in love is very complex. It has a way to make the entire world beautiful but can put you in a constant state of turmoil all at the same time. Sometimes you say I love you with sweet words or sometimes you say I love you with simple gestures. Love can feel like that funny feeling in your stomach or that cloudiness in your head. Either way, one thing is for certain all across the board – being in love is work. This week, Al Laws bring his wife. Aisha, on Advice4Life, to share her thoughts on how to stay in love.

It’s no secret that the “honeymoon” phase is the most fun. Everything is just so new and exciting! It’s easy to see the most beautiful things in a person during this time, and it’s easy to put forth only the wonderful things within yourself. However, eventually the honeymoon comes to an end, and you are left to make a very conscious decision – are you in it to win it? “When you love someone, you automatically have a responsibility,” Mrs. Aisha Laws reminds us. We have a responsibility toward the other person AND we have a responsibility to ourselves.

There are a few things we need to remember when we are in love. First, before we can love another, we must be able to love ourselves, and we cannot do that until we understand how God loves us. The second is to be able to trust your vulnerabilities to another person – when we say we love someone, God is testing us to see what we will manifest when these insecurities show up. Will it truly be love? Third, we have to make ourselves open and available to love – just let it in! Lastly, while we keep our hearts open, we must remember to protect the temples that are our bodies. What good is a spirit of love without a house? You had the human right to keep yourself safe and protected physically.

There’s so much more to love than the fluttery feeling inside of you. Help it thrive by creating depth and substance.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/ 

advice4life.us Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved Al Laws Jr. 

Change is Hard to Come By

You can’t change someone.Remember that.  As much as you want to, it’s an unrealistic expectation. The only person you can change is yourself. We learn that in our last meeting with Linda on Advice4Life.

Sometimes you find yourself in a relationship where the only exchanges between the two of you leave you feeling defensive and helpless. It’s a constant power struggle that can last for years. When you are emotionally attacked, you have a decision to make. Will you respond or react? For those of us who are fighters by nature, it’s hard for someone to come at you and for you to remember who you are.

Never forget who you are.

Don’t find yourself in a place where you barely recognize yourself. Don’t let someone’s words or actions bring out a version of you that is anything but the very best.

In that moment, choose to look at yourself and what you can do to improve a situation. Can you talk it out or should you walk away? Again, you can’t change someone. Their thought process is their thought process. But yours can come from a place of righteousness and truth. Shake off that disappointment and frustration and approach the situation in another way. Take away your projections of what you expect a person to be and deal with who is right in front of you. And maybe, just maybe, when someone sees that you have been able to take that responsibility over yourself, they will begin to gain a sense of responsibility themselves.

Listen to the latest podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/

Journey to Forgiveness

The Awareness Wheel is a great tool to discover things about ourselves and others. There’s something about taking the time to really know your own intentions, thoughts, feelings, behaviors and actions that open you up to others. When you look inside yourself, you will more likely be able to manifest feelings of empathy and forgiveness. There’s a certain freedom that comes with the ability to forgive and that’s something that we can all work toward.

Advice4Life listeners were introduced to Linda the other week. She came to Al Laws and Gregg Harris with concerns that are all too familiar for families throughout the world. Today, blended families – although beautiful and special – come with their own set of issues they must deal with. One of these issues is co-parenting. At the end of her and her ex-husband’s relationship, they both made the decision that although they were not able to get their marriage right; they were going to give their all to parenting. Somewhere along the way, it became apparent to Linda that there was some sort of disconnect between her ex-husband’s intention and his behavior. A sense of hopelessness has overcome her as she has tried continuously to increase her ex-husband’s involvement in their children’s lives.

Throughout the next few weeks, we will follow Linda’s journey to forgiveness and understanding. As we take a look at her process, let’s also look inside ourselves and see what we can do to mend our relationships with others.

Listen to the podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/the-awareness-wheel-part-6-your-process/

Be The Change

“Keep moving forward; relationships are sensitive.”

“Love is something we were sent here to do; that is our prime directive.” – Al Laws, Jr. #Advice4Life 

Relationships are sensitive. There are constant ebb and flow and a rolling with the punches that we all have to endure. There are ups and inevitable downs – downs that come with the arguments and disagreements. Do you react or respond to these conflicts? At one point or another, we get to a place where we recognize that our response needs to be different. We can’t follow the same patterns that we have because apparently, something wasn’t working for us in the past.

Keep moving forward. Sometimes it takes looking in the mirror and saying, “I have to do this.” You have to reach inside of yourself and change YOU. You have to recognize what you have been doing and make the decision to alter your frame of mind, only then can your actions change. Only then can you get some different outcomes. Taking charge in the healing of a relationship can be accomplished in many different ways – allowing yourself to become vulnerable, become humble, non-judgemental, and honest. It takes a lot, especially when you’re so accustomed to acting in one way. But it’s what you have to do to make things work. People say they want to change all the time. People say they will change. You have to do it.

Any motive in a relationship needs to come from a place of love. When your ultimate goal is to love another person, everything else will fall into place.

Listen to the Advice4Life podcast here: http://advice4life.podbean.com/e/advice-4-life-interview-with-marie-recap/


“Is it too late now to say sorry?”

I’m just going to come right out and say it… Saying “I’m sorry” is TOUGH! It’s something about those two words that don’t easily fall off my tongue. Especially when in your heart of hearts you truly don’t believe you’re the one at fault.

But Al Laws and Gregg Harris share with us something that is SO powerful in the latest Advice4Life episode. Don’t under estimate the power in “I’m sorry.” Those two simple words are huge! In the live session with Marie, Mr. Laws tells her to do something we didn’t expect… tell the other person she’s sorry. But wait, isn’t the other guy the one that won’t spend any time with their son?? Even I got squinty-eyed at that one.

The truth is, once a situation has set a negative tone, we should be able to take on the task of steering in another direction. Your apology acts as a blinker, let the other person know what direction you want to go. When you say you’re sorry, it means so much more than admitting you’re wrong. (Although, when you are wrong you should most definitely apologize!) Marie definitely is not wrong for what she feels. However, she can say I’m sorry that the situation has taken a not so auspicious turn. When you say I’m sorry, you are digging into your pride and making yourself bare just to make peace. Advice4Life tells us that once we have apologized, we then affirm the other person and show understanding toward their thoughts and feelings. It is then you both can continue to move forward.

Don’t be afraid to give someone your best.

Listen to the podcast here!