Develop your true self in order to prevent your ego from destroying love.
Open your heart to the highest qualities of the human spirit so that you can let go of regret, forgive yourself and others, and lessen anger, guilt and resentment.
Become the best you can be so that you can then encourage others to be the best they can be.
About Arlene Harder
When I was asked to become an expert on Your Tango, I wondered what I could offer an online magazine aimed at readers much younger than my 76 years. Then I realized that one of the advantages of age is the wisdom one gains through all the learning and mistakes that have gone into those years. So I decided there were several ways in which my experience can help you.
First, perfectionism is one of the great stumbling blocks to satisfying relationships, and that is one area in which I am well versed. It was not until I learned how to become a “recovering perfectionist” that I could enjoy truly satisfying relationships in which I didn’t worry about whether I’m good enough, and in which I only expect reasonable standards from others.
Most of all, I bring to my writing a marriage of more than fifty years (to the same man). However, when anyone meets us, they can immediately see that my spouse and I are very different personalities, and may even wonder why we married in the first place. Actually, when we married we were both different than we are today (lots can change over fifty years). Now we’re different in other ways. However, what has made this marriage work is our willingness to allow the other person to be who he or she is; we’ve both learned that trying to change the other person is futile. You’re the only one you can change. This, in turn, has influenced my observation that too often people are focused so intensely on finding the ideal “soul mate” that become discouraged and overlook the potential “sole mate” who was there in plain sight all the time.
Being the parent of four children and grandparent of twelve, none of whom is perfect, as I am not, has also given me an understanding of families in all their diversity.
It is in this arena that I bring to my writing a special understanding of parents who have problems with their children even after the child leaves home. Actually, it was out of the difficulties I had with one of our children, plus work with clients, that I wrote a book for parents who have problems with their adult children. Now, although “Letting Go of Our Adult Children: When What We Do is Never Enough” is out of print, it is available for free on Support4Change. However, even if you don’t have children or your children aren’t yet grown, you may perhaps have trouble getting along with your parents. Fortunately, the same techniques I teach parents can work for you.
In fact, my latest book, “Healing Relationships is an Inside Job: When the Connection Between You and Another Person is Strained or Broken,” gets down to the core of what is needed to create satisfying relationships: (1) develop your true self in order to prevent your ego from destroying love, (2) open your heart to the highest qualities of the human spirit so that you can let go of regret, forgive yourself and others, and lessen anger, guilt and resentment, and (3) become the best you can be so that you can then encourage others to be the best they can be.
Finally, my experience over the course of 76 years, with all the lessons I have learned, has given me a perspective that could make your life a lot easier. Of course, sometimes we insist on learning our own lessons, and I can’t help you in that. But if you are willing to take some of the wisdom I have gained through my own hard-won lessons, you will be much further ahead than I was at your age.
As a licensed psychotherapist for more than twenty years, I have developed a strong interest in several areas.
The first is in using healing imagery and reflective meditation techniques, which began years ago with a study of Psychosynthesis. Applying this holistic school of psychology to my own life and learning from my clients, I have concluded that these techniques reinforce the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual qualities that arise from deep within each one of us. When I later became certified by the Academy for Guided Imagery, I created a series of imagery tapes on such topics as resolving stressful relationships, forgiveness, letting go of the past and dealing with life-challenging and chronic illness.
It was from my work in this last area that I co-founded The Wellness Community (now the Cancer Support Community), a non-profit cancer support program for cancer patients and their families where I served on the board and led many workshops. Out of that experience I co-founded and managed a non-profit online cancer support website, CancerOnline, as executive director (it is no long active).
Later I created three other websites: LearningPlaceOnline (which is no longer actively maintained) supporting readers with information on a broad range of topics; ChildhoodAffirmations to help parents raise resourceful, resilient and compassionate children; and Support4Change to help people understand how they can achieve peace within themselves, their families, work, community and world. Tens of thousands of people visit my websites every month and it gives me great pleasure to know that I make a difference in their lives.
In addition to working online, I have written three books.
The first is “Letting Go of Our Adult Children: When What We Do Is Never Enough,” based on my personal experience and the experience of my clients. It is out of print but I have made it available online at no charge.
My second book, “Ask Yourself Questions and Change Your Life,” is based on the idea that when we know the questions to ask ourselves, we can discover answers rather than assume that someone else knows what’s best for us.
My third book, “Healing Relationships is an Inside Job: When the Connection Between You and Someone Else is Strained or Broken,” is a major component of the Better Tomorrows Program for healing strained and broken relationships.
Currently I am focusing on three areas that may be of interest to readers of this online magazine. First, I am teaching myself how to use videos to explore concepts that lend themselves to visuals. Second, I am creating a series of e-books on 30-day explorations of several areas of personal growth. Third, I have taken imagery exercises I created twenty years ago on a wide variety of topics for tape machines that are no longer manufactured and turning them into MP3s.
While I am licensed, I no longer see clients, but you will find a great deal of value in many of the products I produce. This includes three websites with hundreds of articles, three books mentioned above, and a blog whose themes is “Enrich Your Life; Enrich Your Relationships.”
In all my work, which includes a stint as adjunct professor at Pepperdine University teaching family systems theory, I have believed that even when people have had an unfortunate childhood and live in less than optimal conditions, in every person there is love. In every person there is healing power. In every person there are sources for both serenity and vitality. In every person there is potential for beauty, wisdom and success.
Unfortunately, we don’t recognize those qualities within because we get distracted by problems in our work, in our relationships, and in the wider community. Focused on these issues, we are too busy to realize these qualities can help us solve the very problems that keep us from living fully, even in the face of difficulties.