"I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or an other's spiritual growth." - M. Scott Peck

Love Education 101.com

"To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love." - Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

"Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all." - Aristotle


LoveEducation4all@gmail.com- Click here

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Welcome to Love Education 101.com. - You are Loved!
This Love Education website is a collection of lessons, training, worksheets, goal setting and action plans for individuals and couples, and also a proposed curriculum / framework for love and relationship training in primary schools, secondary schools, universities and at home. Children and young adults need to understand how to love each other as much as adults do, otherwise you end up with bullying and negative relationship behaviors starting at a very young age which can cause problems for the rest of your lifetime. An gram of prevention/training is worth a kilogram of cure/counseling.
Since there does not appear to be many Share-Able, Open-Source love education training programs readily available on the world wide web, this training program is merely a starting point and will need to be improved upon by motivated individuals, teaching professionals, psychologists and experts in the field of love, marriage, parenting, family development and problem solving education. Please realize that not everyone will agree with everything that will be presented here. There will be some ideas and concepts that will be useful for you and others that will cause you to wonder about their validity.
That is part of the education process - critical thinking. We can not evolve and grow wiser without it. A quality education teaches us to have an open mind and use creative thinking, not merely memorize the "facts" presented to us. The facts may need to be analyzed using critical thinking and subsequently modified and improved upon.

The Problem Solving Methods discussed in section 2.8 are designed to help individuals in every aspect of their lives, not just in their relationships. They are also useful for communities and nations that might be heading toward increased conflict because of unhealthy relationship issues, for example in Palestine and Israel.
Love and Respect are a main theme in achieving peace in any relationship, whether personal or national.
"Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others that which you wish for yourself." Do you agree with the Golden Rule?
Many of us have never been trained in personal Problem Solving Methods (PSM's), and some of us have never heard of them before, but that is now going to change. It is time to put some new tools in our tool bag of knowledge.

The real value of this love education resource may be to merely create a starting point where Love knowledge and training can be refined so that we all benefit from having many useful, valuable, and easily accessible love education assets which can be adapted to local cultures, values and goals.
Thank you for being involved in the transition to a truly loving and peaceful planet.

A key aspect of this endeavor is to create a greater understanding of how love education will become a reality. The intention is to facilitate the development of a syllabus, a "document" that will organize information about the course and define the expectations, objectives and goals.

The main goal is to help all of us comprehend the importance of human communication, human perceptions, human behavior, national and international cooperation and human evolution in relation to finding a path to sowing and reaping fruitful Love on Mother Earth.
The wisdom we can learn from love education can take us to a place where happiness, peace and prosperity coexist in a golden age of Love around the globe.

This Love Education 101 curriculum has also been posted to World Peace Newsletter . com

Love Education 101, 201, 301 & 401 Curriculum

Syllabus and Lesson Plans - Website construction began on May 27, 2020

Phase 1: Construction, Creation and Brainstorming - Addition & Subtraction of Content.
a. Re-arrangement, Re-organization stage.
b. Refinement stage.
c. Finalize 1st rough draft.
Phase 2: 2nd through 100+ of rough drafts.
Phase 3: First "public offering" of completed 1st Article. (public offering means you are willing to show it to 1 or 1,000,000,000 people.)

Note: As of June 11, this Love Education Curriculum is currently in the early stages of Phase 1 but we have decided to release it to the public (Phase 3) so the lessons can be viewed and analyzed in order to get feedback which will accelerate the development of a severely overdue Love Education Curriculum, perhaps in time for fall classes.

These lessons are subject to change/revision - Latest major updates:
June 19, 2020 (Juneteenth): Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 1 - 7
June 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 8 - 10
June 28, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.12 - 10 Types of Intimacy
June 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Method: 11
June 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.13 - 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make
July 3, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.9 - Goal Setting Methods: 1 - 5
July 4, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.18 - Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal & Relationship Growth
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.11 - LE-101 Quizzes and Final Exam
July 9, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.17 - Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements
July 11, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.10 - Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues
July 16, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 12 - 13
July 19, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Creating Action Plans using PSM Tool #10 (Rev. B)
July 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.11 - Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships
July 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.14 - Deep Friendships
August 6, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.19 - Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)
August 13, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.15 - Family Relationships
August 17, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.3, Rev. B - Types of love
August 23, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness
August 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness - #16 Justice
September 4, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.7, Rev. B - Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself" - The Golden Rule
September 18, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 9a - Virtues: Praise and Blame
September 22, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 6 - Unified Wisdom Theory
October 12, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: Revisions to 5a, 10a & 14

You may notice that the graphics and photos may change on occasion. As we receive feedback and comments on what is liked and what might need some attention, we will try new images and add or revise content accordingly until we get it right. It is a bit like how a loving relationship grows and improves ;)

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Love is the reason we all have a hopeful Future. Live for Love. Choose Love. Pray for Love. Elect governments that Love!

Love Ed 101: Introduction to Love Education

1.1) Introduction to Love Education 101

1.2) Definitions of Love

1.3) Types of Love

1.4) 16 Stages of Love

1.5) Love at Different Ages of Life

1.6) How can you Improve your Chances to Find Love

1.7) Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself"

1.8) Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive and Well

1.9) Using the Arts to Teach Love Education

1.10) Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents

1.11) Love Ed 101 Quizzes and Tests

Note: Some of these lessons may be moved into Love Ed 201, 301 as we construct this curriculum.

Love Ed 201: Evaluating, Identifying, Strategies, Goal-Setting and Implementation to Improve your Relationships

2.1) Introduction to Love Education 201

2.2) Review of Love Ed 101

2.3) Evaluating your Love Relationship / Personal Questionaire - Tool #1

2.4) Evaluating your "Wholeness" using a Balance Wheel - Tool #2

2.5) Evaluating your Daily Growth using the Good Day / Bad Day checklist - Tool #3

2.6) Journaling your Daily Growth using "Morning Pages" - Tool #4

2.7) Identifying Problems and Issues for Improvement

2.8) 10+ Problem Solving Tools and Strategies to Address and Solve Issues

2.9) 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

2.10) Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues

2.11) Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships

2.12) 10 Types of Intimacy

2.13) 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make

2.14) Deep Friendships

2.15) Family Relationships

2.16) Parenting and Child Development

2.17) Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements

2.18) Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal Growth

2.19) Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)

2.20) Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

2.21) Continuous Quizzing / Testing / Monitoring of your Relationships

Love Ed 301: History and Teaching of Love

3.1) History of Love
3.2) Greatest teachers / mentors on Love
3.3) Teaching love in Schools
3.4) Love teachings in Religion
3.5) Love and Marriage Counseling

Love Ed 401: Working as a Love Counselor, Masters Program, Love Award ideas

4.1) Nobel Love Prize / Rewards / Merit Badges / Trophies - Positive Reinforcement
4.2) Teaching and Training Love as a profession
4.3) Love Thesis - Lab work (how fun is that!)
4.4) Post-graduate Love training
4.5) Love Masters degree
4.6) Love Doctorate - Dr. Love
4.7) Love Workshops
4.8) Friendship / Family Love
4.9) Love University / College
4.10) UN olive branch of Love Education & Peace Award

LoveEducation4all@gmail.com- Click here

Love Ed 101:

1.1) Introduction to Love Education 101
1.2) Definitions of Love
1.3) Types of Love
1.4) Stages of Love
1.5) Love at Different Ages of Life
1.6) How can you improve your chances to find Love
1.7) Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself"
1.8) Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive
1.9) Using the Arts to Teach Love Education
1.10) Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents
1.11) Love Ed 101 Quizzes and Tests

1.1) Introduction to Love Education 101

a) Love is probably the most wonderful, important and influential ingredient in the recipe of our lives, for perhaps every one of us. Most of us crave love from our partner, our parents, our friends, our "world", both our local and international neighbors, our pets and even ourselves. Thus it might be highly valuable to learn how to both give and receive love. It is not as natural as you might think, otherwise we would have a greater than 90% "happy marriage" rate. Since we do not, the information presented here is an attempt to help us get nearer to the goal of accessible "true love" for everyone, achievable through education and training. What we all want is to find a treasure chest of information (gold.) that allows us to enjoy our entire lives, not just certain phases of it; from our childhood through our golden / enlightened years. If we can uncover the gold that love education yields, it will result in riches beyond our wildest dreams since most of us yearn for gratifying love and friendship in all our relationships. In a joyous, "pragma marriage" we develop a deep and pleasurable love along with a deep friendship!

b) Many people believe that love is just something that happens between two people and that is all that matters.
If true love was really that easy, then why do so many people end their relationships in heart break and move on to another, and then continue to repeat this heart-breaking process? Why are so many children raised by single parents?
Love is defined in the dictionary as an intense feeling of deep affection. But that is a "feeling" definition and hides the reality of what true love can be. Plus, this definition of love is not measurable. Love should be an action, a process based upon the feeling of love and affection. The act of truly loving someone means you treat them in a kind, loving, respectful and caring way. A loving relationship is devoid of jealousy, anger and abuse, both verbal and physical. Some wives say their husband "loves" them, yet they are frequently abused. Sorry, but that is not love, regardless of how much affection they might have for you some of the time. Thus, "active true love" is a very visible, measurable practice for all to see. What do their actions tell you? Actions speak louder and clearer than words.

c) Berit Brogaard, the author of "On Romantic Love" (2015), who believes we should fall "rationally in love", writes:
"Why don't we avoid crazy love like the plague? Why do we, in fact, strive to fall so madly in love? The answer turns on our pesky brain chemicals: all-consuming love is coupled with a brain chemistry similar to that of people addicted to drugs."

Regarding "crazy love", most of us are looking for exactly that :) As if you could stop it anyway? The point is to understand what is going on and not forget to use your "logical left brain" to analyze (fall rationally in love) the direction your new-found relationship is heading. If all things point to you finding your soul mate, by all means proceed 3/4 speed ahead. Just be aware of your bias to have an extreme desire to want this to be the love of your dreams. You can save yourself a lot of wasted time and profound heart-ache by using some of your love education to help yourself be rational during this "crazy love" time frame. It is a bit like choosing short term gratification versus seeking long term paradise. If done right, you can have both.
There will likely be many more of these crazy loves ahead of you until you finally find the right "crazy love". Also keep in mind that some of the most successful and happy marriages are those where the couples first became friends and maybe never even had a crazy love phase. Being friends first, they already knew the others' values, perceptions of life (their "reality"), and their goals. Thus they could start proceeding directly to "companionate love" / Pragma Love.

d) Many of us learn about how love should be by observing our parents, but if our parents did not know how to truly love each other, what kind of lessons have we learned? Where will we learn how to find and develop true love? In school, at church, from friends? Hopefully love and marriage education will someday be taught at all schools, just like math and reading are. Many more people will benefit from Love Education in their day to day lives than they will from learning Advanced Physics.

e) The truth may be that love is something that must be taught, learned and nurtured. It should not just be taken for granted that it will just happen as someone "falls in love"? When we are young it is fairly easy to fall in love with just about anyone who shows mutual interest in us, but to find the right person takes a certain amount of time, understanding and discipline.
The easy and perhaps reckless method of "Falling" in love should likely be re-phrased to Fromm's "Standing" in love, and eventually improve to "Ascending" to a higher love in order to reach the summit, the top of the mountain, the top of the world.
Getting to know someone and determining if you have similar values, goals and desires may be more important than how smitten you are by their attractiveness.
Unfortunately, some steamy romances may also end up with an unexpected pregnancy and the two unready individuals may be "forced" to marry long before they ever find out if they are truly compatible as a couple. And once a child is added to the mix, stress levels and financial burdens can increase dramatically making it even more difficult to make your relationship work and to keep your relationship from falling out of love.

f) Many of us dream of a fairy tale marriage where we meet the prince or princess of our dreams, but without training and education about creating true love, our chances of finding and developing a magical relationship with that prince or princess will likely be much less glamorous, if not an outright disaster.
The great part is that this can happen! There are at least three ways for you to live your fairy tale inspirations.
Method 1 is to get very very lucky and meet the person of your dreams and they turn out to be everything you ever wanted (and that you have the inner peace and self-love to keep them).
Method 2 is to simply let the hormone cocktail flowing within your body during the infatuation and intimacy stage cause you to commit to a long term relationship, without realizing that those "love chemicals" racing through your body tend to cause you to make rash decisions and disregard obvious signs of potential future problems. Thus now that you have committed, the way to turn this into a "dream-love" is to start working together on mindfulness, conflict-resolution, and love education.
Method 3 is that you use the love education you have spent the time learning to narrow the right suitor down to the person of your dreams.

g) Love education is a tool to reduce stress in your life. It can help you avoid lost time spent in dead-end relationships that were fine in the passion stage, but not so good when you found out your values and virtues were unlikely to mesh when the infatuation phase ends.
Love education gives you confidence in knowing that you understand the "process" of love and can now choose to control the process instead of it controlling you.
Some people think that understanding the process of love diminishes the beauty and spontaneity of love. Maybe there is some truth to that, maybe not. If you choose to live your life without utilizing available information and knowledge on love, that is your choice but keep in mind what Thich Nhat Hanh stated in his book "How to Love": "To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love." or Aristotle: "Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all."
Would you rather jump from relationship to relationship and suffer the heart-break because you did not get the proper training or would you prefer to use your knowledge and evaluation skills to find your true love prior to committing to a long term relationship?

h) Who benefits from your love education? Everyone! Yourself, your current and potential future love interests, your kids, your friends and family, domestic violence counselors that won't have to counsel as many clients, your neighbors that won't have to listen to the loud arguments that sometimes happen, and lastly your dog or cat :)
Considering that it is very difficult to get adequate education, guidance and advice on obtaining and maintaining true love, this web site has been put together in the hope that it helps all of us grow. You may wonder how an web site on Love fits in with World Peace Enterprises? Well if you don't know how to love, and you end a relationship badly with your partner, you will likely have an "inner and outer" peace problem, adding to a global peace problem.

i) One of the keys to a happy relationship is understanding the concept of two magnets with a north-south pole.
On one end the two magnets are drawn together in inseparable closeness. On the other end, they are repelled by an invisible force field. So is a good relationship. Closeness is extremely important but so is space and the unselfish willingness to allow, to assist the other person to grow as an individual and have their own time and space, friends and interests.

j) Another key is understanding that all partners have imperfections, including yourself. Many relationships end early because we choose not to see these imperfections at the early stages, possibly because we are so happy to be "in love" and we don't want that feeling to end. But learning to discover and understand these imperfections and then deciding if you can stay in love despite these flaws is crucial to any successful and happy relationship.

k) One more key is to realize that it is nearly impossible to express true love for another if you do not truly love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a loving way that enhances your ability to love others. Also known as Philautia, or love of the self.

l) Research has shown that successful long-term marriages usually start out with passionate love and eventually evolve into compassionate, "companionate", mature love. These marriages express the positive virtues that lead to true friendship/partnership such as active listening and understanding, support, sympathy and empathy, give and take negotiations, humor, the ability to laugh at yourself, and adventurous fun.
They also showed less of the destructive tendencies that often lead to divorce such as biting criticism, raging fights, long lasting anger and contempt, and periods with lack of communication/stonewalling. They use mindful communication in order to relieve the problematic issues that nearly all couples will face, especially in the early stages of a relationship. And when they reach the companionate stage, most relationships attain an even higher level of love and respect and happiness, partly (or perhaps mainly?) due to the fact that they "worked" hard to reach their goal of attaining a happy and successful marriage.

m) The best gift a parent can give their kids is to love their spouse.
This is also what makes a house a home and teaches children and young adults how to live a happy and successful love-filled life.

1.2) Definitions of Love

The following are a few definitions and quotes about love. Perhaps you have your own definition of love?

A feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. - Merriam-Webster

The act of caring and giving to someone else. Having someone's best interest and well being as a priority in your life. To truly love is a very selfless act. - Urban Dictionary

"Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one object of love. . . . If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else 'I love you,' I must be able to say, 'I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself." - Erich Fromm

"When a man and women with significant spiritual and psychological affinities encounter each other and fall in love, if they have evolved beyond the level of problems and difficulties, if they are beyond the level of merely struggling to make their relationship 'work' then romantic love becomes the pathway not only to sexual and emotional happiness but also to the higher reaches of human growth. It becomes a context for a continuing encounter with the self, through the process of interaction with another self. Two consciousnesses, each dedicated to personal evolution, can provide an extraordinary stimulus and challenge to the other. Then ecstasy can become a way of life. Romantic love is not a myth waiting to be discarded, but, for most of us, a discovery waiting to be born." - Nathaniel Branden

"I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or an other's spiritual growth." - M. Scott Peck

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, to the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure. - Wikipedia

It has been said that Lust is the desire for the body, the flesh, immediate gratification.
Love is the desire for the heart and soul, long-term satisfaction.

"Lust causes the brain to produce the same reaction as if on cocaine or speed. Lust really is like a drug, it leaves you wanting more." -Dr. Jon Marsden, Director of the National Addiction Center

"To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love."
"Understanding is love's other name. If you don't understand, you can't love."
"Understanding someone's suffering is the best gift you can give another person."
"The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable. Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything."
- Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

Some of us need to hear this, some of us need to say it: You are Loved!

1.3) Types of Love

8 Greek words for love and their meanings:

1. Eros, or sexual passion.
The ancient Greeks considered Eros to be potentially risky and irresponsible as it involves a "loss of control" through the primal impulse to procreate. Eros is an intense form of infatuation/lust that arouses romantic and sexual feelings. Sometimes relationships start with this type of passion prior to even getting to know each other. An eros dominant person is mainly interested in beauty and physical attractiveness and can be critical of physical imperfections. They may choose a "trophy" spouse verses seeking true friendship.

2. Mania, or obsessive love.
When love turns to obsession and excessive control, it becomes mania. A manic lover alternates between elation and depression; extreme highs and lows.
Stalking behaviors, dominance, co-dependency, extreme jealousy, verbal abuse and violence are all symptoms of mania. It can be dangerous so be cautious of getting into or out of this type of relationship.

3. Philautia, or love of the self.
Aristotle realized there were two types of self love. The unhealthy philautian is associated with narcissism and is self-obsessed and focused on personal interests, fame and fortune.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive craving for admiration, and low levels of empathy.
This type of person is only concerned in what they can get from others to advance their own self interests and will discard others when they no longer conform to their demands. They criticize others to build their ego due to their low self-esteem. They claim not to care when others "unfairly" criticize them, especially those held in "high esteem", but deep down it hurts them as much as the pain they inflict on others.
"The 7 Things That Only Narcissists Will Do" by Amy Morin, Posted Nov 12, 2015
1. They make it clear they know everything.
2. They insist on being the exception to the rule.
3. They project an image of superiority.
4. They make a great first impression, but quickly wear out their welcome.
5. They boost their egos by implying others are inferior.
6. They assume everyone adores them.
7. They put their own feelings ahead of other people's needs.

The healthy version of philautia enhances your wider capacity to love and be loved.
The Greeks understood that in order to care for others, we must first learn to love ourselves.
"All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man's feelings for himself." - Aristotle
A person with this high quality of character has a well developed self-identity and self-confidence and can thus extend themselves to building the self-esteem and self-actualization of others, thereby helping the society in which they live. This type of person has the opportunity for transcendence, especially if they also possess agape love.

4. Philia, or deep friendship.
This is a bond that develops between friends, couples, co-workers, people in the military, fraternities, counseling groups, charities and foundations. It is also a love/friendship for neighbors, pets, animals, nature and all living things.
Plato believed that physical attraction was not a required part of love, hence the use of the word "platonic" to mean, "without physical attraction."
You love someone for who they are and what they mean to you, not for what their physical appearance is.
A philia dominant person seeks friendship but may also desire intimacy and passion depending on the relationship.

5. Ludus, or playful love.
This is the playfulness between young family members and friends; crushes for young adults and casual relationships for mature adults.
The ludic person desires entertainment and excitement and the relationship ends when it ceases to be amusing.
For adults it is similar to narcissistic love in that it is all about "what's in it for me" with little regards to the desires and feelings of others.

6. Storge, or familial love.
Storge is a natural form of affection experienced between family members. This protective, kinship based love is usually quite strong between grandparents, parents and their children, and vice-versa. Familial love is also extremely important during this COVID-19 pandemic, since the younger family members who disregard the health warnings can unknowingly infect their parents and grandparents and put their lives at risk, leaving them without a complete family for the rest of their lives.
Storge love can also describe a sense of patriotism / belonging toward a country, religion, race or ethnicity.
The storge individual seeks companionship and stability with someone they have common interests with but this type of relationship may lack romance. It is also known as Companionate Love: Friendship + Utility + Commitment.

7. Pragma, or enduring, longstanding love.
Pragma is a love built on commitment and long-term best interests.
This is the love that most couples hope to attain in a healthy and happy marriage. It consists of friendship (philia), compromise, trust, tolerance, understanding, negotiation, patience, forgiveness, and adequate training and education to help them achieve the greatest heights possible.
It is a love that has grown and matured thus allowing the relationship to strengthen and flourish over time.
The pragma partner seeks compatibility, commitment and trust with the anticipation and expectation that their most important wants, needs and goals will be satisfied. It is also known as True Love or Consummate Love: Friendship + Intimacy + Passion + Commitment.

8. Agape, universal love, love for everyone.
This type of love extends beyond family members to all people everywhere.
This love is unconditional, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion and an infinite empathy that you extended to everyone, whether they are family members or distant strangers.
Empathy for others has seen a great decline in the past decade as people seem to want to return to the "Me decade" of the 80's. The world seems more divided than ever and politicians seem to want to divide people even further. Hopefully there will be a return to the "Golden Rule" soon and people will Unite and realize that love for everyone is extremely important. The agape individual has spiritual love for everyone with little concern for personal gain.

Considering the many types of love that are available to us, how many of these types have you experienced? How many do you currently possess? Which is your dominant type? Which is the dominant type of your partner? Which might you need to work on? Are there any that are causing you problems?
Most people at different stages in their lives can survive and be happy while only experiencing one, two or three of these types of positive love during certain periods of their lives. Can you think of anyone you know that has that experience? If you were filled with five of the positive types of love at any given time, how happy would you likely be? Perhaps it might become one of your lifetime goals and require an action plan to achieve it?

1.4) 16 Stages of Love

16 Potential Stages on the path towards Love or Separation:

Understand that relationships may break up at any of these stages, especially the early stages if there has been inadequate communication and truth in order to really get to know each other's morals, values, personality and long term goals. Not everyone takes the time to really get to know the other person in the early stages possibly because the "passion" chemicals are racing through our body so rapidly that we are somewhat blissful and unconcerned because we desire love to happen right now, especially if we have been waiting a long time to find that "special someone".

Also realize that some relationships may begin with stage 6 because some people believe that instantaneous passion is what defines "falling in love" or "love at first sight". This section is hopefully going to help people find their "true love" and help them "live in love" (or "stand upright in love" instead of "falling" in love and hoping things work out without disaster and pain).

It is estimated that over half of all arguments in a relationship or marriage are basically unsolvable (things like your family, your background, your beliefs; things that aren't likely to change) so the best way to deal with them is to address these issues, come to a compromise and learn to live with some of those problems. If you can't do that with your partner then you are certainly headed for unhappiness.

Lastly, realize that the following suggested stages are not an attempt to minimize the beauty of falling in love, on the contrary, they are meant to help people understand some of the mistakes people make in their attempt to find love quickly. The hope is that you don't waste years of your life and suffer incredible heart-break with a person you are not compatible with, merely because you did not take the time to properly get to know that person prior to marriage and starting a family. Also, notice we do not state at what stage a marriage may occur. In fact it could occur at any stage or possibly never.

16 Potential Stages on the path towards Love or Separation:
(not necessarily in this order)

1) Desire for companionship and love.
2) Infatuation, "crushes".
3) Bodily "love chemicals" flowing swiftly, possibly causing poor judgment /decisions.
4) Adoration and bliss, no flaws perceived.
5) Romance, dating. People show their best behavior and tend to hide their negative behaviors during this stage.
6) Intimacy.
7) Initial realization of flaws and communication issues that are now being exposed.
8) Potential trust issues, jealousy, concerns.
9) Initial stages of fights, arguments and biting criticism. Many relationships end here at number 9.
10) Working through arguments (conflict resolution). Compromise. Give and take negotiations (hopefully equal). Forgiveness.
11) Stability, security, satisfaction and happiness. True understanding of each other's wants and needs. Sharing of chores and responsibilities.
12) Philia love, deepening friendship.
13) True love, Pragma love. Deep and understanding love between two partners.
14) Universal love, Agape love. A love that spreads to the people that surround your relationship now that you have love to spare for others.
15) Self-Actualization / Couple-Actualization Love. True partnership that spreads knowledge and wisdom, produces blogs, newsletters, books, charities, donations, sponsorship, foundations.
16) Transcendence (existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level) of the self becomes possible: Teaching others to arrive at self-actualization and to reach the highest levels of achievement.


1.5) Love at Different Ages of Life

As a baby, the love we receive is from our parents. Most of us don't remember this love, except from baby pictures possibly taken of us.

As young children, we mainly receive love from our parents, grandparents and relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc), if we are lucky enough to have a loving family surrounding us.
We are learning about what love looks like by observing and studying the relationship our parents have (hopefully a good example) and from watching other relationships from their family and friends.

Once we get into our early school years, we might also receive some love from teachers, church members, sports organizations and other extracurricular activities we get involved in.

In our middle school years we experience puberty and begin to have strange feelings of love inside us, usually as "crushes" on other kids our age or even on adults we view as attractive. It can be an awkward experience, especially since love education has not been taught to many of us at that age and we are left to figure out what is happening on our own.

In our late school years some of us will start dating. Thus we may begin to discover both the excitement of falling in love and the pain from being rejected or abandoned. It is often very confusing and chaotic. You may have a crush on someone but not know how to start the dating process, or even how to communicate your feeling to them. You might even start the dating process and then get fearful and end the relationship abruptly without even really knowing why? This happened to us when we were young and to this day we still do not know why we "broke up" suddenly with a wonderful and beautiful partner. Maybe things were just moving too fast and we feared that we were to young to suddenly get intimate and start a long term relationship that might lead to an early marriage that we were not quite ready for? Perhaps we were also afraid of experiencing a teen-age pregnancy situation? Regardless, young love can be both extremely exciting and scary. If only we had some training in school or elsewhere, perhaps we would have been able to handle things differently and not have hurt someone we "loved"?

Harder yet, is the longing for love and not being able to find a love connection with someone. You may start to wonder if there is something wrong with you, or you are not attractive enough to find love? Well, take comfort that there is someone out there that is likely thinking the same thoughts and wondering when they will find YOU. It may take some time but it will happen.
There is a song by Diana Ross and the Supremes, 1966:
I need love, love to ease my mind
I need to find, find someone to call mine
But mama said "you can't hurry love"
No you just have to wait
She said love don't come easy
It's a game of give and take
You can't hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
But how many heartaches must I stand
Before I find a love to let me live again

Not sure if that helps since most of us don't want to wait in order to find love, but it does show that you are not alone in your longing to find a true love. Seek and you shall find. Keep the faith. Also keep in mind that by being in a hurry and rushing in too deep without discovering if your first or second relationship will be a "true Love" you can wind up losing many precious years of your life in a dead-end relationship. Thus, love education is very, very important and many of us never received any. We were on our own! Good luck with that. Finding a "true love" relationship with good training is hard enough, find one without is sort of a miracle :)

If we are lucky enough to go to college, this is where many students find their future spouse. By now we have reached 18 years and perhaps have had one or more relationships.
For those that can not continue their schooling, they may find relationships through friends, at work, at church, in their neighborhood, online dating and other places. Once again the key to finding perhaps a true love is by being patient and using good communication skills in order to determine if you and your partner are truly compatible and have similar long term goals and dreams. One thing that should be mentioned is that people often choose mates that are not positive for them due to childhood issues that they are not always aware of. If you were anxious or fearful as a child, you may choose someone that makes you anxious as an adult, thus perpetuating your condition instead of relieving it. If you were abused, you may choose an abusive spouse. If you were a bully or abusive, you may seek someone you can continue to abuse. If you were depressed, you may end up with someone who adds to your depression instead of uplifts you. It may be helpful to assess your childhood upbringing and create an accurate awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Were you an introvert or an extrovert. Were you predominantly happy or sad. Did you like to spend your time doing art or were you more into athletic activities? Were you humorous or were you dark? Were you free or were you trapped? Were you verbal or were you analytical? Did you think with your head or with your heart/gut? Were you spiritual or were you agnostic or an atheist? By now, you probably get the point that we are made of of a very complex set of background issues that make up who we are and what type of spouse might be best suited for us.

A good book that might help you is titled, "Who are you? 101 Ways of Seeing Yourself" by Malcom Godwin, in which he discusses in detail the 4 types: Body type, Feeling type, Thinking type and Spiritual type.
The main point is to be aware of your negative childhood thinking, issues and tendencies and try to find someone who helps reduce those issues instead of someone who makes them worse. Try to find someone who "completes" and complements you. Someone additive versus someone negative.

In early adulthood, we have now possibly gotten married and started a family and have many responsibility to provide for our new family unit. The stresses this creates can be overwhelming at times so it is important that you have good communication with your spouse in order to help each other through the tough times and find ways to ensure that there are also many joyful times. Once again, having a good love education background can assist greatly in being aware of the challenges you may face and choosing appropriate strategies to combat these difficulties without leaning on our negative tendencies to argue, criticize and fight.

In middle adulthood, if we have children, they are getting older and watching and learning from your example of how love and marriage develops. Hopefully your relationship has reached stage 10-13.
(10) Working through arguments (conflict resolution). Compromise. Give and take negotiations(hopefully equal). Forgiveness.
11) Stability, security, satisfaction and happiness. True understanding of each other's wants and needs. Sharing of chores and responsibilities. 12) Deepening friendship.
13) True love. Deep and understanding love between two partners.
If you have reached stage 13 then congratulations are in order. You have achieved what many people attempt to do but often don't have the training and tools to build such a desirable relationship. There should be a trophy presentation or an award that you may want to have engraved with your names and years of marriage stating "We achieved Paradise Together" or something to that effect.
This is also where you may have achieved type 4 of the Greek Love: Pragma, or longstanding compassionate and "companionate" love.
This is the love that most couples hope to attain in a healthy marriage with compromise, trust, tolerance, understanding and patience.

In our senior golden years, the children have likely left home and started relationships of their own. Hopefully they learned valuable lessons from observing your successful and happy relationship and you gave them guidance on how they can also achieve a similar wonderful, yet likely challenging marriage. At this age, if you are truly lucky and worked hard to get here, you can achieve the highest levels of love, Agape Love and Couple-Actualization.
(14) Agape love, a love that spreads to the people that surround your relationship, now that you have love to spare for others.
(15) Self-Actualization / Couple-Actualization Love. True partnership that spreads knowledge and wisdom, produces blogs, newsletters, books, charities, donations, sponsorship, foundations, etc.
These are the types of love that few couples reach without adequate research, training and hard work:
5. Agape, or love for everyone.
This type of love extends beyond family members to all people everywhere.
6. Philautia, or love of the self.
Aristotle realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal interests, fame and fortune. The healthy version enhances your wider capacity to love and be loved.
Not many people ever achieve self-actualization, let alone couple-actualization. If you have, you definitely need to create an award for yourselves exclaiming that you have reached the pinnacle of success. You have climbed to the top of the highest mountain and deserve recognition. Congratulations! Job well done! You graduated at the top of your class. You have earned your teaching degree and may want to become a mentor to others.


1.6) How can you Improve your Chances to Find True Love

Perhaps the best way to find and keep "true love" in your world is to begin with finding true love for yourself. How can you love someone else if you haven't learned how to love yourself first? If you already have a tremendous amount of love for yourself you can probably just skip this section. If you have a tendency to talk down to yourself and criticize yourself for mistakes you've made, poor choices you've made, or for your appearance, then you probably need to work on improving love for yourself and let go of some of your baggage. Perhaps your parents, siblings, past friends or past partners criticized you and you accepted their criticism as truth? You'll need to address these issues and repair the damage so that you can move forward with a positive self-identification. No doubt you have many, many great qualities and abilities. Learn to focus on these positive attributes and try to fix the negative attributes so that you can feel better about yourself.

If you criticize yourself often, then you are very likely to criticize your partner(s) in your future relationships, thereby jeopardizing any hope for a happy and healthy bond with them. As Thich Nhat Hanh stated, "To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love." Thus without learning to love yourself and without learning how to love others, your chances of keeping true love are greatly diminished, if not nearly impossible.

Another way to improve your chances of keeping true love alive is to improve your communication skills. Poor communication can sabotage almost any relationship no matter how strong the attraction and passion may be. One of the keys to good communication is to be "mindful" during your discussions with your partner. You definitely want to avoid the dreaded 3 R's during any heated conversation / fights: "Rapid, Rash Reaction". Once terrible words are spoken to your partner, they can never be taken back. It is always better to avoid saying awful things than to try and explain later why you said them. When things reach that level, take a time-out and wait for things to cool down for a period. It is always better to "Respond" instead of React.

In the early stages of any relationship, it is often best if you agree to some "ground rules" for future possible arguments, such as remaining civil and taking a time-out if things get too intense and there is the possibility of saying things that can not be retracted, thus jeopardizing the quality of your relationship.

Regarding finding the "right" person for you, have you ever considered that question?
Instead of seeking the most attractive person, the wealthiest person, or the smartest person, etc., how about finding someone who compliments and supplements your personality type, and you truly enjoy being with all the time? Someone like a best friend instead of a trophy for you to display to your friends? Yes, some people marry for money or a way out of their current situation, and maybe that might make them happy for a while but if you don't have much in common there will likely be trouble on the horizon. What is it that you really want in a successful long-term marriage? Lots of money and ego, or lots of joy? Didn't someone once say "money can't buy me love"? You might want to choose Joy!

How many types of Love do you have within you?

We have available to us many types of loves during our lifetime: from family, from children, from friends, from ourselves, from church, from pets, from co-workers, from school mates, from neighbors, social media acqaintances and from and for kind strangers and wayfarers from distant lands. We can also possess tremendous spiritual love and love for nature, flowers, gardens, art, creativity, education and learning, music, sports, food, entertainment, and the list goes on and on.
When you add all your love(s) together, it can get you through tough times, especially if you are wanting and missing love from a romantic partner. (Remember the 6 types of Greek love discussed prior). Romantic passionate love, for many people, may only be our highest priority type of love during a small portion of our lives, from 18 - 30/40 or so? Romantic passionate love may always be an imperative during your life, along with the other types of love, but it has an even greater importance during our younger adult years. Of course, if you are fortunate to have romantic love for your entire adult life, remember to count your blessings.

When you are living your life with many types of loves, it will likely also help you find romantic or "companionate" love because you tend to be happy and more attractive when you have plenty of love in your life. Keep in mind the well known concept of the law of attraction. In the New Thought philosophy, the Law of Attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person's life.

The Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. Keep your focus on good thoughts, not on the things you don't want because you will attract them also. People tend to be attracted to happy, loving individuals and groups of people. Utilize your happiness and positive thoughts to attract the person you are searching for. Perhaps the person you are looking for is yourself. Whether you prefer being semi-autonomous or prefer always being in a relationship, keep in mind the law of attraction.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Buddha
"You are what you think. All that you are arises from your thoughts. With your thoughts you make your world." - Anonymous, The Dhammapada
"A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes." Gandhi
"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." - Dalai Lama
"Think good and good follows. Think evil and evil follows. You are what you think all day long." - Joseph Murphy
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."- Dr. Wayne Dyer
"Change your thoughts and you change your world." - Norman Vincent Peale
"Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. - Mahatma Gandhi
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude."- Zig Ziglar
"The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous." - Carl Sagan
"How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?"- Tony Robbins
"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it."- Ernest Holmes
"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." - Helen Keller
"What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."- Napolean Hill
"Thoughts become things. Think good ones." - Mike Dooley


1.7) Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself".

Confucius understood how important it is to love yourself and to rectify your heart.

Wishing to order well their States, they first regulated their families.
Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons.
Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts.
Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts.
Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge.
Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.
Things being investigated, knowledge became complete.
Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere.
Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified.
Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated.
Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated.
Their families being regulated, their States were rightly governed.
Their States being rightly governed, the entire world was at peace.

So how do you rectify your heart?
The following are a few ideas to consider.

1. Confucius suggested to be sincere in your thoughts. In order to do so, you must investigate things in order to obtain knowledge (and eventually wisdom).
Well isn't this exactly what you are doing by reading this information on love education?
You probably wouldn't bother if you didn't want to learn valuable information that might help you not only improve your love for others, but also love for yourself.

2. Learn to let go of baggage from your past. Don't carry around useless weight that causes you pain and suffering.

3. Let go of resentment and contempt. "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." - Nelson Mandela.

4. Learn to live in the present (not the past and not the future).

Remember that it is the journey, not the destination that is most important to achieving success and happiness. Let your heart live in the present. The past is history, the future is uncertain, but this moment is a gift, a present to enjoy.
Granted, not all moments are joyful, but as the saying goes, "this too shall pass", which is a Persian adage translated and used in many languages. It reflects on the temporary nature of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase appears to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets.

5. Forgive yourself for mistakes you have made.
We have all made mistakes. "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone." (John 8:7)

6. Choose to do and be good now and in the future, and choose friends who have a good heart.

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit".
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him" (Matt. 12:33 & 35).
If you have evil stored within you, release it and free up more space to store good instead.

7. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Christianity. The Gospel of Matthew records the following:
One of the Pharisees, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." - Jesus (Matt. 22:35-38)
The Gospel of Mark records the following:
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." - Jesus, (Mark 12:29-31)
Islam. "Worship God alone and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbour from among your own people, and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the traveler, and anyone else under your control. Verily, God does not love any of those who, full of self-conceit, act in a boastful manner." - Quran, (Surah 4:36)
Judaism. "Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." Torah, (Leviticus 19:18)

Notice that the commandment implies 'Love yourself'. Well if you don't love yourself, how can you express and manifest love for your neighbors or partner?
Thus it becomes imperative that you find love for yourself, the sooner the better.

8. Abide by the Golden Rule.

To abide by the Golden Rule also means you treat yourself in the same manner you treat others, with respect and loving kindness.

143 leaders of the world's major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic". It is often considered the most concise and general principle of ethics. This rule is also endorsed by non-religious people in the common phrase, "Treat others as you would like to be treated." It is obviously very important for individuals, society and Peace in the world. No wonder this rule is Golden :)

Christianity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - Jesus (Matt. 7:12)
Islam: "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others that which you wish for yourself." -The Prophet Muhammed Hadith
Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it." - Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a.
Hinduism: "One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self."
This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. If the entire Dharma can be summarized in a few words, then it is: That which is unfavorable to us, do not do that to others.
Confucianism: "Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself." - Confucius
Buddhism: "Hurt not others with what pains yourself." - Buddha
Zoroastrianism: "Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself." - Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
Baha'i Faith: "If thine eyes be turned towards mercy, forsake the things that profit thee and cleave unto that which will profit mankind. And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself." - Baha'u'llah
Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." - T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend." - Guru Arjun Dev Ji, 5th Guru, Guru Granth Sahib, P1299
The three golden rules of Sikhism namely; Naam Japna (meditate on the name of God), Kirat karna (honest living) , and Vand Chakna (sharing with others) are the corner stones for all Sikhs. Out of these, Vand Chakna, sharing with all (Use some of your hard earned money and precious time to help underprivileged people. They give it back to the society in a form of Dasvand.) has been extended into the institution of Langar. Langar means a Sikh free communal meal.
Jainism: "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated." - Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Unitarianism: "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."
Shinto: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form." - Munetada Kurozumi
Mohism: "If people regarded other people's states in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own state to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself."
Native Spirituality: "We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive." - Chief Dan George
Native American Shawnees: "Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself."
Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."
Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me."
Aristotle: "We should behave towards friends, as we would wish friends to behave towards us."
Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors."
Epictetus: "What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others."
Thomas Hobbs: "Do not that to another which thou wouldst not have done to thyself."
Immanuel Kant: "Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature."
Napoleon Hill: "Only by working harmoniously in co-operation with other individuals or groups of individuals and thus creating value and benefit for them will one create sustainable achievement for oneself."
The Yorubas of West Africa: "He who injures another injures himself."
Moroccan tribesmen: "What you desire for yourself you should desire for others."
Bakongo: "If you see a jackal in your neighbor's garden, drive it out. One might get into yours one day, and you would like the same done for you."
From the Upanishads - the foundational document for Indian Brahmanism: "Let no man do to another that which would be repugnant to himself; this is the sum of righteousness. A man obtains the proper rule by regarding another's case as like his own."
Dalai Lama: "Follow the three Rs: 1) Respect for self. 2) Respect for others. 3) Responsibility for all your actions."

Above poster available through Scarboro Missions @ www.scarboromissions.ca/product/golden-rule-across-the-worlds-religions

Now that we have discussed ways to rectify your heart, what are some of the best ways of improving love for yourself with your new and improved heart and soul? One of them is by continuing what you are doing right now - educating yourself. Another may be through meditation and prayer. If you feel you have major issues that need addressing you may want to seek counseling.

What other ways come to mind for improving the love you have for yourself? Time with your family and friends? Time with yourself? Discussions with wise and loving friends, relatives and mentors? Reading books? Walks in nature? Taking a relaxing bath? Playing with pets? What works for you?
The internet has a wealth of information that can help you improve the love you have for yourself and others. Seek and you shall find. May Love be with you.


1.8) Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive and Well

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a simple but powerful technique to focus attention, manage emotions, handle stress and resolve conflicts. This allows people of all ages to make better decisions in stressful moments, rather than only in retrospect and can provide a much more positive social environment with fewer conflicts.
It addresses anger management and amygdala hijacking (15 seconds of rage, seeing red, can cause damage to your life for days, weeks, months or years). In heated situations, people are taught to try and keep calm so they can apply one of lifes most valuable lessons: Learn to respond (be mindful) verses rapid rash reaction (the dreaded 3R's).
Our basic human instinct (from our reptilian brain) is to react (fight or flight) but with training we can learn to use our higher consciousness (our cerebral cortex / human brain) and develop wiser responses to non life threatening situations.

"Mindfulness means to pay attention to the present moment, with intention, in a non-judgmental way. It is a practice of awareness and observation." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

This simple practice gives us the ability to respond (take a "time-out"), rather than impulsively react to any event or circumstance in our lives. Harsh words are seldom, if ever, able to be retracted and can sometimes cause irreparable harm to yourself and others.
With a better understanding of the relationship and inner workings of our brain (reptilian, mammalian, and cerebral cortex), mind (consciousness), heart (soul) and body (flesh), we will learn to make decisions from a place of strength, wisdom, and compassion.
As these "mindful moments" add up, they will allow us to feel a greater sense of peace in our daily lives and help us connect with ourselves and others in a more positive and meaningful way.
Mindfulness creates space, changing impulsive reactions to thoughtful responses.

When you are having a heated discussion / fight with your partner, remembering to stay mindful can not only save you a lot of pain, anger and escalation of the argument, it may save your relationship. We all want to be treated with respect and dignity and when we get down in the weeds and resort to biting criticism of our loved ones, we risk losing those loved ones.
In some cases, maybe it is best to end these non-rewarding / negative relationships, but if you currently value them, you may want to stay mindful. There is a thin line between love and hate, so just be aware of how quickly you can lose something that was once so joyful, just because of a few minutes of out-of-control rage. Bite your tongue, zip your lip, keep your mouth shut until you can calm down and discuss things in a civil manner if you value your relationship.

Don't lose your mind! Be mindful.

1.9) Using the Arts to Teach Love

Love education not only needs to be taught in the head but also in the heart.
Using the arts and through creativity and emotion, love can be integrated into our soul in ways that words and logic can not do alone.

Depending on the age group, the following activities can be helpful.

Finger Painting.
Paper Mache.

. .
Scrap books.
Painting, Watercolor.
Sewing, Knitting, Weaving, Quilting.
Basket making.
Beading, Jewelry making.

Poem writing.
Story writing.
Song writing.
TedTV and YouTube Love presentations.


1.10) Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents

There are many statistics on divorce averages around the world, ranging from 25% of first marriages ending in divorce, to 50% ending in divorce. We do know that the average divorce rate has doubled in the last 40 years. We also know that the divorce rate for second and third marriages are higher than for first marriages, sometimes in the range of 75%, thus boosting the average divorce rate as a whole. Until we have more data (which we are working on getting), we estimate the overall first marriage divorce rate to be in the neighborhood of 30-40% or 1 in 3.

Regardless of what the actual rate is, divorce is almost always a very devastating, emotional and financially destructive circumstance and it is probably even harder on the children (if there are any) than the adults. Remember that the children often blame themselves for their parents problems so be extra aware of helping them to understand that they are not to blame.
If we can use Love Education to better prepare us for the challenges and difficulties that lay ahead of us we can hopefully choose our marriage partners more wisely and then nurture our relationships so that love can flourish, both as a couple and as a family.

Keep in mind that a lower divorce rate is not really the goal we are after, although it is part of the equation. It is happy and healthy relationships that are the true measure of success! Perhaps that is what we should be measuring? Instead of divorce rate, what is the "marriage happiness rate"? The higher the happiness rate, the lower the divorce rate, don't you think? What we really want is for 75-90% of the first marriages to be "Happily Married", and likewise for those in their second or third marriages. How can we attain this optimistic goal? Possibly by Love Education.

The following article offers some insights that may be helpful.

Divorce Rates Around the World: A Love Story - Bella DePaulo Ph.D., Psychology Today
In four decades, divorce rates around the world have more than doubled.

University of California at Irvine sociologists Cheng-Tong Lir Wang and Evan Schofer analyzed nearly four decades of divorce data (1970-2008) from 84 countries around the world. They looked at changes in rates of divorce over time and different rates of divorce in different places. Their report, "Coming out of the penumbras: World culture and cross-national variation in divorce rates," was published in the December 2018 issue of Social Forces.

The approach that psychologists use to understand whether someone is likely to divorce is to look at individual life experiences and choices, such as a person's education, employment, income, and the age at which they marry. The sociologists Wang and Schofer were interested in societal factors that might be relevant to rates of divorce, such as a nation's level of economic development and the proportion of their women who are in the workforce. They also wanted to learn about global norms and values, such as the belief in human rights and gender equality, and whether they had anything to do with rates of divorce.

What Is Different about the Nations that Have Higher Rates of Divorce

They have a higher level of economic development. One of the most powerful predictors of the rate of divorce is a country's gross national income (per capita). In wealthier countries (as measured by gross national income), a greater proportion of people get divorced.

More of their women are in the workforce. Countries with a greater percentage of women (ages 15 and older) in the labor force have higher rates of divorce.

They are more highly educated. Nations with more people enrolled in secondary education have higher divorce rates.

They have lower proportions of Catholics. Nations with proportionately more Catholics have lower rates of divorce. Nations with greater proportions of Muslims also have lower divorce rates, but the results are not always statistically significant.

They are more likely to be part of international organizations and treaties. The authors believe that when nations sign onto international non-governmental organizations and treaties, they are more likely to be influenced by global norms and ideas such as individual rights, the importance of consent, and the freedom to choose one's own destiny. An example is the Convention to Eliminate All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The authors see a country's ratification of CEDAW as an indication of its "commitment to the cultural principles of individualism and gender equality." Nations with higher rates of membership in international non-governmental organizations and treaties have higher rates of divorce.

Why Divorce Stories Can Be Love Stories

Divorce can be a devastating experience for the adults who are splitting as well as their children. But it can be an empowering, and sometimes even life-saving, choice when the alternative of staying in the marriage is even worse.
Some marriages are abusive, posing risks to the emotional and physical well-being, and even the survival, of adults and children. It can be an act of love for yourself and your children (if you have any) to leave such marriages, especially in the face of an uncertain life outside of marriage and threats from the abusive spouse.
Divorce can be a love story when people love themselves enough to walk away from a bad situation. Divorce can be a love story when people believe that they can find romantic love once again.

Divorce can be a love story when people realize that they already have love, in the biggest, broadest sense of the word. Maybe they have friends they love and family they love. Maybe they realize that the romantic version of love is just one version, and a rather narrow one at that. Maybe those friends and family who are so important to them have been in their lives a whole lot longer than their former spouse.

Divorce can be a love story when people realize that they love their life outside of marriage. Maybe they love their single life more than any other life. Maybe they especially love living alone.

Because of economic development, the growing numbers of women in the workforce, and higher rates of education, more and more people around the world can afford to divorce. They have the skills, the knowledge, and the resources to support themselves outside of marriage. Because of the world-wide dissemination of norms and values that maintain that humans should have rights and choices, and that men and women should have equal control over their own destinies, more and more people take seriously the option to divorce.

The next step in this process is for more and more people to have the option - and to realize they have the option - not to marry at all. Once single life loses its stigma, then people who like living single can more readily choose to do so. People who want to marry will be advantaged, too. They can pursue marriage from a position of strength, as something they are running towards and not just a place where they end up because they are running away from being single. When single life is affordable and respected, and recognized as meaningful and fulfilling, then people who want to be coupled won't be in such a rush to get there. They won't lunge at risky romantic partners out of desperation.

People who want to marry might make better choices, and consequently be less likely to divorce. They (and their children, if they have any) will get to avoid the pain of divorce while enjoying the individual rights, choices, freedoms, and individualistic values and practices that are increasingly a part of everyday life in many nations all around the world.

More data and information coming soon on these topics.

Section 1.11 LE-101, Section Quizzes & Final Exam

The following quizzes can be used after each section. After studying all the sections, the sum of all the quizzes can be given as a final test, or you may choose some of the questions from each section to create the final exam.

Section 1.1 - Introduction to Love Education 101:

1) What were the 3 methods for finding true love?
2) Who benefits from Love Education?
3) What was meant by the "two magnets" theory about love?
4) What was the reason for loving yourself?
5) What is companionate love?
6) What is the first type of love often present at the start of many relationships?
7) What is the reason we tend to fall "madly in love" instead of "rationally in love"?
8) What are some of the possible consequences of falling "madly in love"?
9) What is the best gift a parent can give their children?

Section 1.2 - Definitions of Love

1) What was the definition of love provided by the dictionary?
2) Why was the dictionary definition incomplete when applied to a healthy relationship? 3) What was your favorite definition of love?

Section 1.3 - Types of Love

1) How many Greek words for love were discussed? Can you name half of them?
2) How many were considered risky or dangerous? What were they?
3) What was the word they used for a healthy and happy marriage?
4) What was the highest level of love that couples can reach?
5) How any types of love have you experienced so far?

Section 1.4 - Stages of Love

1) How many stages of love were described?
2) Did you agree with the stages as they were organized?
3) Which stage was a relationship in the most jeopardy of ending?
4) What was the reason that relationship sometimes end during that phase?
5) What was the final stage, which few individuals and couples reach?
6) How many people do you know that have reached this highest pinnacle?
7) Do you believe you can reach that pinnacle? If so, how?

Section 1.5 - Love at Different Ages of Life

1) Where does most of our love come from when we are babies?
2) As young children?
3) In our early school years?
4) What happens in our middle school years?
5) In our high school years, dating often starts to get serious. Why is it difficult for many?
6)What type of mistakes might be made because of fears, possible rejection issues, or lack of relationship training?
7) After finishing primary school, many of us may get married. What were some of the key ways to hopefully create a long term, happy marriage?
8) In early adulthood, after many have gotten married, what were some of the issue you might face? What were some of the best ways to help get you through them?
9) In middle adulthood, hopefully you have attained a high level of happiness and satisfaction in your marriage. What were some of the suggested methods to help your relationship grow? What is the greek word for love that describes a happy marriage?
10) In our senior golden years, what were the two types of love possible to couples that have survived the challenges and thrived to create a wonderful marriage and partnership?

Section 1.6 - How can you Improve your Chances to Find True Love

1) What was mentioned as perhaps the best way to find and keep true love?
2) What was another key to finding true love?
3) What was meant by finding the "right" person for you?
4) How many types of love do you currently have within you? Why is that important? How does it help you?
5) What is the "law of attraction", and why is it important to finding true love?
6) How many authors were quoted regarding the law of attraction? 8? 12? 15?

Section 1.7 - Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself"

1) What did Confucius have to say in regards to loving yourself?
2) What were 2-3 of the other ways to improve love for yourself?
3) What was meant by "Love your neighbor as yourself"?
4) Why was the Golden Rule mentioned?
5) What does it mean to abide by the Golden Rule?
6) How many religions were listed that believe in the Golden Rule?

Section 1.8 - Using "Mindful" Communication to Keep Love Alive and Well

1) What is the definition of mindfulness?
2) What does this simple practice allow us to do?
3) When you are having a heated discussion, why is mindfulness important?
4) What dreaded problem can mindfulness help prevent during moments of heightened anger?

Section 1.9 - Using the Arts to Teach Love

1) Why are the arts useful for love education?
2) How many types of art have you learned in your life?
3) What would be your favorite form of art to create displays of love?
4) Have you actually created any arts and crafts for a love display yet? Maybe you added them to your Master Journal.

Section 1.10 - Data about Love, Divorce and Single Parents

1) What is the estimated divorce rate worldwide?
2) Is it increasing or decreasing? How much in the last 4 decades?
3) Why is the divorce rate percentage the wrong objective to focus on? What is more important? 4) What types of issues are negatively impacted during and after a divorce?
5) What is a key concern for children involved in a divorce?
6) What are two differences about nations that have higher rates of divorce?
7) Why can divorce actually be a love story?
8) Is there a stigma to being single or divorced? What is the position of your culture?
9) Why might some people prefer not to get married, or remarried?

Click here to print the Quizzes and Final Exam for Love Education 101: LE-101, sections 1.1 thru 1.10, July 6, Rev A.

Now that you have completed the Final Exam, you can download, edit, save and print your LE-101 "Certificate of Excellence" which is your document of accomplishment certifying you have completed Love Education 101. You may want to add it to your Master Journal of Personal and Relationship Growth.

You can click-on and download, save, edit and print your Diploma, your Certificate of Excellence for completing the online course, Love Education 101: LE-101, sections 1.1 thru 1.10.

You may want to add it to your Master Journal notebook.

Coming soon:

Love Ed 301 - History and Teaching of Love
Love Ed 401 - Working as a Love Counselor, Masters Program, Love Award Ideas


. .

What levels have you attained on these pyramids? What level do you aspire to reach?

Which levels do you need the help of others in order to reach?

Love Ed 201: Evaluating, Identifying, Strategies, Goal-Setting and Implementation to Improve your Relationships

2.1) Introduction to Love Education 201

2.2) Review of Love Ed 101

2.3) Evaluating your Love Relationship / Personal Questionaire - Tool #1

2.4) Evaluating your "Wholeness" using a Balance Wheel - Tool #2

2.5) Evaluating your Daily Growth using the Good Day / Bad Day checklist - Tool #3

2.6) Journaling your Daily Growth using "Morning Pages" - Tool #4

2.7) Identifying Problems and Issues for Improvement

2.8) 10+ Problem Solving Tools and Strategies to Address and Solve Issues

2.9) 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

2.10) Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues

2.11) Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships

2.12) 10 Types of Intimacy

2.13) 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make

2.14) Deep Friendships

2.15) Family Relationships

2.16) Parenting and Child Development

2.17) Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements

2.18) Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal Growth

2.19) Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)

2.20) Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

2.21) Continuous Quizzing / Testing / Monitoring of your Relationships

2.1) Introduction to Love Education 201

Love Education 201 is focused around evaluating and improving your relationship(s). The first step in improving any situation is to identify the existing issues prior to solving the problem(s). You certainly don't want to waste time and resources solving the wrong problem. For instance, you don't fix a failing relationship by going on a romantic trip when the real problem is a communication break-down. Take time to fix the communication problem first, and then go on the romantic trip to re-kindle your relationship. This way you don't end up fighting during the entire trip. Does this make sense?

"If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it." - Albert Einstein

Love Ed 201 thus first addresses the evaluation process using a detailed questionaire and other evaluation tools.
After the evaluation is complete (actually it will never be complete since it is an ongoing process) it can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in your relationship with yourself and others. Notice this is a two-pronged approach. You need to identify issues in yourself prior to working on issues with your relationships with your partner, family, friends and co-workers, etc. Without solving your inner issues first, you will likely be focusing on the wrong problems.
It is similar to focusing first on inner peace before you can find outer peace.
You must grow inner Love prior to nurturing true outer Love.
Once you have accomplished some gains on your inner struggles, then you can begin working with others on your relationships.
After the identification process is done, we need to decide which are the best methods and strategies to facilitate improvement of the issues we have discovered.
Finally we can begin implementing these methods and apply them to solve our problems.
The last step is to begin the continuous and never ending step of monitoring and re-evaluating our progress. Are the methods we chose bringing progress? Did we truly identify the proper problems to work on? Maybe new issues have popped up since we started opening doors that we never realized were locked in the first place?
You are probably starting to see that this is a cycle, an expedition, a journey, not simply a destination.

2.2) Review of Love Ed 101

A brief review and summary of Love Ed 101 will be added here soon.

2.3) Diagnostic Tool #1: Relationship / Personal Questionaire

The whole point of completing this questionaire is to ensure that you understand who you are, your likes and dislikes, your positive attributes and possibly some things you need to work on.
You may also want to put a star next to the topics that you think are very important, significant, or might be a problem that needs addressing. Remember the whole goal of this exercise is to learn about yourself and your partner, and thus increase the love you have for both yourself and each other.

As mentioned in LE-101, it is estimated that over half of all arguments in a relationship or marriage are basically unsolvable (things like your family, your background, your beliefs; things that aren't likely to change) so the best way to deal with them is to address these issues, come to a compromise and learn to live with some of those problems. If you can't do that with your partner then you are certainly headed for unhappiness.

After your partner completes their questionaire (or you can take it together), you can compare the results and discuss areas for improvement and compromise so that both of you can get a better understanding of your values, strengths and weaknesses, and significant issues that you can work on together in order to improve your relationship and level of happiness.

Note: this is not a questionaire that you can add up your score and compare it to someone else's score. It is merely to be used as a guide to help both you and your partner understand where both of you are coming from, where you are at now, and where you want to go.
Also realize that at different stages of your relationship and at different times of your life, your answers to these questions will likely change.

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself as to which description most applies to you, the one on the left side or the one on the right side.
(1)-Left-side <---------------------(5)-Both--------------------> (10)-Right-side
Example: On question #1) if you mainly use your logical/thinking brain, then you may be a 2 or a 3. If you use your gut feelings to make most decisions, you may be a 9 or 10. If you use both equally, you may be a 5, or somewhere in-between.
If you are in a relationship now, you can answer each question for yourself, and then write a number down for how you think your partner is best described. Maybe you are a 3 and they are an 8, thus __3__ : __8__
Another way to answer these questions is to merely circle or underline the left or right description that most applies to you. If you are in the middle, circle the dash between them. . . . . . Date:________________________

Mind Questions:

1) Thinking / Left Brain Dominant - Feeling / Right Brain Dominant _____ : _____

Mathematical - Verbal / Pictorial / Graphical / Auditory / Touch _____ : _____

Introvert - Extrovert _____ : _____

Artistic / Creative - Not very Artistic / Creative _____ : _____

5) Intuitive - Not Intuitive _____ : _____

Good at dealing with stress - Not so good at dealing with stress _____ : _____

Patient - Impatient _____ : _____

Prefer spontaneity - Prefer planning and organization _____ : _____

Spiritual Questions:

Strongly religious - Slightly religious _____ : _____

10) Prefer praying daily - Prefer to have less daily prayer _____ : _____

10A) Prefer to go to church every week - Prefer not to go to church _____ : _____

Strongly spiritual - Slightly spiritual _____ : _____

Heart / Feeling Questions:

Are you emotional - Not very emotional _____ : _____

Do you deal well with your emotions? - Not well with your emotions _____ : _____

Do you feel confined? - Do you feel free _____ : _____

15) Prefer giving - Prefer receiving _____ : _____

Self-respect very important - Self-respect not that important _____ : _____

Do you have high self-esteem? - Low self-esteem _____ : _____

Respect for others very important - Respect for others not that important _____ : _____

Personal Boundaries very important - Boundaries not that important _____ : _____

20) Communication is very important - Communication is not that important _____ : _____

20-A) Do you communicate well - Do you need to work on your communication skills _____ : _____

Compromise very important - My way or the highway _____ : _____

Slow to anger - Quick to anger _____ : _____

Easily forgives - Hangs on to resentment _____ : _____

Quick to criticize - Prefer mindful discussion to solve problems _____ : _____

25) Humor not important - Humor very important _____ : _____

Seriousness not important - Seriousness very important _____ : _____

Thoughtfulness not important - Thoughtfulness very important _____ : _____

Have many regrets from the past - Have few regrets from the past _____ : _____

Body Questions:

Athletic - Not very Athletic _____ : _____

30) Energetic / Hyper - Relaxed / Casual _____ : _____

Strong / Muscular - Delicate / Fragile _____ : _____

Tall - Short _____ : _____

Heavy (Endomorph) - Slender (Ectomorph) _____ : _____

Personal Preferences:

- PowToon

Strongly motivated by money - Slightly motivated by money _____ : _____

35) Money very important to happiness / success - Money not that important _____ : _____

Prefer time together versus long work hours to make money - Money more important _____ : _____

Prefer to live in the city - Prefer to live in the suburbs / country _____ : _____

Enjoy watching sports - Enjoy watching movies / other, (Sitcoms/News) _____ : _____

Prefer being in nature / camping - Prefer being in a hotel _____ : _____

40) Prefer outdoor activities - Prefer indoor activities _____ : _____

Prefer home cooking - Prefer eating out _____ : _____

Prefer meat - Prefer fruit and vegetables _____ : _____

Like to stay up late - Prefer to go to bed early _____ : _____

Family / Friends Questions:

Good relation with parents - Not so good relations with parents _____ : _____

45) Good relation with siblings - Not so good relations with siblings _____ : _____

Good at identifying friend vs foe - Not so good at identifying true friends _____ : _____

Friendships not that important - Friendships very important _____ : _____

Prefer many friends - Prefer fewer friends _____ : _____

Enjoyed school - Did not enjoy school _____ : _____

50) Had a happy childhood - Had an unhappy childhood _____ : _____

Happy with my appearance - Not happy with my appearance _____ : _____

Relationship / Love Questions:

Time alone/apart not very important - Time alone very important _____ : _____

Time together not that important - Time together very important _____ : _____

Does your partner spend too much time with friends? : I do not mind being alone / ignored _____ : _____

55) Intimacy / Hugs / Holding Hands not important - Intimacy very important _____ : _____

Sex not that important - Sex very important _____ : _____

Love not that important - Love very important _____ : _____

Fidelity not that important - Trust / Fidelity / Faithfulness very important _____ : _____

Marriage counseling may be helpful - Marriage counseling not useful _____ : _____

60) Prefer separation of chores for each partner - Prefer both partners share same chores equally _____ : _____

Desire many children - Desire only one or two children _____ : _____

Children desired soon - Children can wait for a while _____ : _____

Parenting classes may be important - Parenting classes not useful _____ : _____

Prefer strict discipline for children - Prefer less strict discipline _____ : _____

65) Prefer public schooling for children - Prefer private schooling / home schooling _____ : _____

Prefer lots of time with family / in-laws - Prefer less time with in-laws _____ : _____

Prefer to live near family / in-laws - Does not matter _____ : _____

Are you overly defensive? - Not easily offended _____ : _____

Are you sensitive / understanding? - Not very sensitive _____ : _____

70) Are you kind / compassionate? - Not very compassionate _____ : _____

I can easily entertain and enjoy myself - I need others to help me feel better, enjoy myself _____ : _____

We like to spend a lot of time just talking - we don't talk much _____ : _____

Do you make plans without asking your partner? - I always ask before making any plans _____ : _____

Do you turn into a mind reader when your partner is upset? - I do not assume what is bothering my partner, I ask instead _____ : _____

75) If your partner is upset, is it always about you? - I do not assume it is my fault, instead I ask kindly, "is there something wrong?" _____ : _____

When it is your fault, do you apologize? - I seldom apologize since I am seldom wrong _____ : _____

I often my raise voice / use a negative tone when having difficult discussions - I usually keep civil _____ : _____

Do you sometimes get into yelling matches, or worse? - Not very often _____ : _____

Do you prefer a clean house? - Clutter is OK _____ : _____

80) Prefer a 1/2 hour or more of totally "alone" time per day to grow my soul - Time alone not required _____ : _____

Prefer to be told "I Love You" every day - Prefer not to be told that I am loved _____ : _____

What are your hot buttons, things that set you off: __________________________________________________


What are your cool buttons, things that please you:___________________________________________________


What are your phobias, anxieties and fears:___________________________________________________________


85) What are your favorite things in life / What do you love:_____________________________________________________


What activities do you enjoy the most with your partner_______________________________________________________


Which activities do you least enjoy with your partner ________________________________________


What other activities do you hope you can enjoy with your partner soon ____________________


What are your hopes and dreams as a couple____________________________________________________


90) What are the key things you are looking for in a partner: ______________________________________________________


What are the key things you don't want in a partner: ______________________________________________________________


What are your best attributes / strong points: ________________________________________________________________


What are your weak points you need to work on: _______________________________________________________


If you have a partner, What are their best attributes / strong points:___________________________________


95) What are their weak points they need to work on: _________________________________________________


96) Do you share similar political / governmental views: ___________________________________________________


97) Do you believe in similar humanitarian issues such as:

a) Respect for others regardless of race, gender, age, nationality, class, sexuality, appearance, political or religious belief, physical or mental ability. Yes / No
b) Empathy and willingness to understand the views of others from their standpoint. Yes / No
c) A belief that individuals and groups of people can make for positive change. Yes / No
d) Appreciation of and respect for diversity. Yes / No
e) Self-esteem and accepting the intrinsic value of oneself. Yes / No
f) Commitment to social justice, equity and nonviolence. Yes / No
g) Concern for the environment and understanding of our place in the ecosystem. Yes / No
h) Commitment to equality. Yes / No
Special thanks to the Peace Education Network of the British National Peace Council for these insights.


Now that you have completed this questionaire, what stands out to you as your strengths, and which are your weakness that can be improved or addressed?
Are you happy with the mind, body, feelings, behavioral, perceptual and spiritual aspects of your life?
If not, do you need to change your thoughts and feelings about some negative aspects, or can you create physical changes that will help you and others see you in a better light?
Part of this exercise is to understand that it is OK that you are not perfect (no one is).
Keep in mind the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Click Here to print or download this questionaire, June 12, 2020, Rev G


2.4) Evaluating your "Wholeness" using a Balance Wheel - Tool #2

The goal is to accomplish balance in your life. Think of it as 12 spokes on a wheel. If all aspects of your life are in balance, the wheel rolls smoothly. Get too many spokes out of whack, and the wheel becomes a square!

The "Left Brain" (logical) Spokes are: Work, Exercise, Nutrition, Chores, Learning, Planning

The "Right Brain" (emotional) Spokes are: Family/Friends, Relaxation, Intuition, Creation, Romance, Dreams

Notice how the categories differ. The type A personality spends most of their time using only their left brains. Where is the fun in that?! It seems that most of the enjoyable things in life are right brain dominant.

The key is to learn how to use our "two" brains together. We obviously need both sides in order to survive, but once again the critical word is balance! Looked at another way, if we only used our left brain (as a nation) then war and fighting would be dominant. If we only used our right brain then we would not have the ability to support and protect ourselves. Only by utilizing the two halves together can we become whole.

By looking at this "vase-face" picture, you can feel the shift from left (vase) to right (faces), and back again. By learning to control this shift we will take another step in our evolution. (see also: World Peace and Reality - an eassy on Peace

"Left" Definitions: Work (Job or Housework), Exercise (20 minutes +), Nutrition (4 food groups, 4-8 glasses of water, 2-3 alcohol drinks or less), Chores, Learning (Study, reading, internet research, informative TV, ...), Planning / Goals (5-30 minutes/day)

"Right" Definitions: Family/Friends, Relax (20 minutes +, lay on couch, meditate, bath, ...), Intuition (the sum of observation, perception, re-collection and contemplation), Create (Draw, paint, ..), Romance (time with significant other), Dream (Daydream, analyze past dreams, Meditate, Spiritual activities)

To make a daily chart to see how well you are rolling, draw a large circle on a piece of paper and divide it with 6 straight lines, all intersecting at the middle. It should look like a bicycle wheel with 12 spokes when finished. Write the first initial of a category, outside each spoke, ie. W-E-N-C-L-P & F-R-I-C-R-D

On a scale of low to high, the center being none, make a mark on each spoke that depicts the amount of effort you gave yesterday to each category. The outside of the wheel represents a lot of effort, the center represents minimal effort. After marking all spokes, draw lines to connect the dots and see how well you did. The larger and rounder the wheel, the happier and healthier you probably are! Date each wheel so you can compare your progress.

Another way of looking at the "Balance Wheel" you have just drawn is as a map of the brain. Is your wheel/brain one-sided? If so, you probably need to put more effort into developing the other side.

Printable version of the "Check List" and Balance Wheel - Click Here

-Rob Gonsalves

2.5) Evaluating your Daily Growth using a Good Day / Bad Day checklist - Tool #3

By reviewing the activities below and checking the ones you accomplished today, you can get a rating on the kind of day you've had. A score over 15 is a great day. 10 - 14 is a good day. Under 10, you need improvement. . . Did you:

Brighten someone's day?____ Smile/Laugh?____ Think positive thoughts?____ Help someone?____

Exercise?____ Clean?____ Eat Properly?____ Drink 8 glasses of water?____ Relax?____

Learn from a failure?____ Create something?____ Use intuition?____ Play?____

Time with significant other?____ Time with family?____ Time with friends?____ Time alone?____

Learn something new?____ Work on a goal?____ Have a success?____ Think about Peace?____

Count your blessings? _____ Pray/Meditate?_____

NEGATIVES: . . (subtract 1 for each check mark)

Yell at someone?____ Hold resentment against another (justified or not)?_____

Talk down to yourself?____ Pity yourself?____

Worry excessively?____ Over/under eat?____

Sleep poorly last night?____ 5 or more drinks yesterday?____

What might you change or add to this list to make it more personal for you?

Hopefully you scored well but the real point of this exercise is to learn to focus on the positive aspects of life and count our blessings. The happier and more balanced you become, the more happiness and love you will have to share with those you love, thus improving the chances for stronger, healthier relationships. Most people prefer not to be around negative, non-loving people and instead prefer to share the company of positive loving, supportive and understanding people.

It would be great if we all helped each other with our shared emotional and spiritual growth, particularly when our individual skills can be applied to the challenge, or opportunity, we choose to undertake. Regarding helping others, perhaps "an eye for an eye" should soon be interpreted as "when you save an eye you actually save your own as well"? In our case, we chose to undertake the challenge / opportunity to create a Love Education curriculum although we were fearful that it would fail, since our 25 year background is in Peace Education. After getting nearly halfway through the very 1st phase of this project we realized that Peace and Love go hand in hand. It may be that you can't truly have one without the other?!

Printable version of the "Check List" and Balance Wheel - Click Here


2.6) Journaling your Daily Growth using "Morning Pages" - Tool #4

Constructive Journaling, or writing your "Morning Pages" is the process of recording your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. If you struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, stress, or depression, keeping a journal can be very helpful. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.

Journaling helps to identify negative thoughts and behaviors. By clarifying your perceptions, thoughts and feelings, you will get to know and understand yourself better. Journaling allows us to look at our lives from an "outsider" perspective even though we are looking inward. Thus we have the opportunity to "counsel" ourselves without having to share uncomfortable personal issues with a true counselor/mentor. This can give you new perspectives that can help you achieve the goals and dreams you have established, possibly by writing them in your journal also. There may be times when you may need outside guidance or counseling, but having a journal will likely help with being able to better express your concerns and issues with someone qualified to assist you in addressing and resolving those challenges and opportunities.
Many mental health experts recommend journaling because it can improve your mood and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies support this and suggest journaling is good for your mental health. It may also make therapy work better.

Morning Pages also help you keep track of what is going on in your life, both positive and negative. When life seems extra chaotic, Morning Pages can help you sort out things going on in your life so they don't seem so out of control. Just jotting down a few events and situations and writing down some feelings about them can be a type of release to free up your bottled emotions. Then you can move on with your day and hopefully be more at peace.

Morning Pages are not just for the morning hours, although getting your thoughts and feelings released in the morning can be particularly beneficial during the rest of your day. It can be a safe place to record epiphanies, crazy ideas, concerns, sadness, hopes and fears all throughout the day and night. Consider this: We all have three sides to our personality.
1) The side we show the world.
2) The side we only show to close family and trusted friends.
3) The side we only show to ourselves.
By writing down your impulses and self-expressions, and all the other things mentioned here, you are getting to know the side you usually only show to yourself. You have the chance to become a better friend to yourself by sharing your inner secrets and most sincere thoughts with yourself. Since you spend more time with yourself than any other person in your lifetime, perhaps it is a great idea to develop a true love for that person: Yourself. Journaling can help you get there.

Twelve things Journaling / Morning Pages can be helpful with:

1) Keeping your thoughts, perceptions and feelings organized and making them more accessible in order to work on them. This will help with self-reflection and personal growth.
2) Providing a place to record both successes and failures, thereby allowing you to evaluate what went right and what went wrong.
3) Reducing stress by relieving bottled-in pressure. Instead of yelling, fighting and screaming to release stress, anger and depression, release these feelings onto paper (or your cell phone, computer, iPad, etc.). This will improve your chances of dealing more appropriately with your relationship(s) and the outside world.
4) Providing a place to record ideas, sadness, fears, hopes and dreams.
5) Providing a place to set your goals and the corresponding plans and strategies to achieve those goals. "A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
6) Providing a place for creative writing, drawing and doodling.
7) Providing a place for your "To-Do" list, as well as your "I Accomplished This" list.
8) Improving your writing and self-expression skills.
9) Improving your memory by recording a visual document of your daily / weekly events, plans and appointments. Part of our problems come from forgetting things that could have been remembered if we had simply taken the time to write them down, thus reinforcing them in our memory bank and on paper.
10) Keeping you on track and focused on the things that are most important in your life.
11) Providing a place to record your gratitude journal. Things you are grateful for each day.
12) Providing a place to get to know yourself better and develop a deeper love for yourself.

In a sense, journaling can be a form of meditation, prayer, understanding and planning, thus satisfying your spiritual, emotional and logical sides of your being.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, "We are human 'beings', not human doings."

What else might Morning Pages help you with?

- Special thanks to Julia Cameron for her introduction of Morning Pages in her book "The Artist's Way". This concept has been extremely valuable to many people.
"The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is a daily practice called Morning Pages."
"Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages - they are not high art. They are not even 'writing.' They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind, and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow."

Three pages may be a bit long for the average person who does not aspire to be an artist, but her concept combined with journaling makes for a wonderful tool, especially for those periods in your life when you need direction, understanding and clarity.

2.7) Identifying Areas for Improvement

This stage is where you are going to need both your "feeling/intuitive" right brain AND your logical/thinking left brain.

Using the Relationship / Personal questionaire, your gut feelings and the other tools you used in the evaluation stage, go back and identify the subjects that need addressing.
You will need to first identify the issues that you have the strongest feelings about.
Identify subject matter that inspires you and also those that cause you to cringe.
Review topics that might now only be a minor disturbance, and those that already bother you significantly.

After completing that analysis, now use the logical side of your brain and determine which issues might cause problems on the road ahead.
For instance, if your partner doesn't get along with your family, or they don't want to live where you want to live, or they don't share the same goals and values, these are possibly warning signs. Maybe not right now, depending on what stage of the relationship you are in, but they are red flags that probably need serious consideration.

Identify both the subjects that you need to work on as an individual for your own self improvement and growth, and also those your partner needs to work on now. Then identify the topics that need attention if you are to grow and mature in order to become a "companionate", "best-friends" couple.

Theorize on what the future could be if some of the negative issues could be vanquished using a thorough and meaningful identification process. What does your intuition tell you? Have you asked this valuable resource inside you for help lately? Merely ask and you'll get some sort of an answer. Not always the one you want, but it will give you some ideas to consider in addition to your already pre-conceived notions.
Regarding utilizing your intuition to identify potential problems and solutions, it may require "sleeping on it" for several nights, using meditation and prayer, getting massages, taking hot showers or baths, analyzing dreams, and searching your subconscious while relaxing or listening to music, etc.
These are just some of the techniques to finding answers to life's most important questions.
You will be amazed at the amount of inner information you will receive. It may take some time and effort but soon you will find the answers to the questions you are pondering. It won't be long before your realize the benefits and the value of nurturing your intuition in order to reduce the amount of problems and conflicts in your life. You will actually finally do the things you "knew" you should do, instead of ignoring them and facing the consequences. You can finally stop repeating to yourself, "I knew I should have done that, Why didn't I listen to myself?" You will now start doing what you should have done! You will have gained improved access to your sixth sense: Intuition / Extrasensory Perception. Congratulations and welcome to a higher level of consciousness and success in life.

Another way to grow your intuition is by learning to draw. Sounds strange but it really works. We highly recommend the fabulous book by Betty Edwards, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." It may have more importance regarding utilizing the right / intuitive / creative side of the brain than it does about learning to draw, although learning to draw and be creative is a helpful and fun thing to learn also. It turns out that the act of drawing turns off the left logical brain and allows the right intuitive brain to take full control, giving us access to "knowledge" that is normally hidden from us by the usually dominant left brain.

Two Ways of Knowing -
"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words. Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of 'whole things,' and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."
From The Fabric of Mind, by the eminent scientist and neurosurgeon, Richard Bergland.

In addition we can learn from the Nobel Prize-winning work of Dr. Roger W. Sperry, (1913-1994), the eminent neuropsychologist and neurobiologist at CalTech (the California Institute of Technology) in Pasadena. His work focused on the lateralization of verbal, analytic, sequential functions, which, for most individuals, are mainly located in the left hemisphere; and the visual, spatial, perceptual functions, mainly located in most individuals' right hemisphere. In Sperry's words, each hemisphere is:
". . . indeed a conscious system in its own right, perceiving, thinking, remembering, reasoning, willing, and emoting, all at a characteristically human level, and . . . both the left and the right hemisphere may be conscious simultaneously in different, even in mutually conflicting, mental experiences that run along in parallel." - Roger W. Sperry, 1974

Getting back to the identification process, try to get "relaxed" and theorize on how amazing the future might be if you implement methods and strategies to improve the weak areas of yourself and your relationship, while simultaneously capitalizing on the strengths you have identified. Sometimes your differences are a strength and sometimes your similarities are a strength, sometimes not so much.

Side note: If you think you can relax in only a few ways, it is time to change that notion as well. We are creatures of habit and if we think we can only relax in our usual ways, in our usual locations, doing the usual "relaxing" activities, we are limiting the time and space we have in our world to relax and de-stress. Look elsewhere and find ways to relax at any time, any where and any place so you can be relaxed more often. Stress may be one of the biggest problems (both mentally and medically) that individuals and couples face during their lives. Find better, faster and more effective ways to de-stress whenever needed. - OK, that ends this stress rant :)

Beware of over-believing your own analysis and conclusions. Just like you are hopefully being critical of information on this website, you need to hold yourself to the same High standard.
Unfortunately we all get a little prideful of our inner perceptions and logic. A controlled self-ego is a necessity to keep our personality and self-esteem in proper balance. We can easily drop our guard and neglect to be self-critical if we are perhaps a bit too biased in our analysis.

After you have completed your preliminary analysis of all the issues, strengths, weaknesses and concerns you have identified, you can move into the refinement stage and focus on the most important of these.

Identification Questions:

Which are the top 5-10 things I need to work on?

Which are the top 5-10 things that my partner needs to work on?

Which are the top 5-10 things that I have concern about regarding our future together?

Which are the top 5-10 things that you have in common?

Which are the top 5-10 things you differ on?

Which are the top issues that would create a "deal-buster" regarding your relationship?
For example, your partner wants to move to another country and you will lose close contact with your family and friends; or one of you has a drinking, drug, gambling or infidelity problem that may get worse.

Out of all of these topics, which are the most threatening to a happy future, both as an individual and as a couple?

Can you survive as a couple if the problem-causing issues are not addressed? Can you simply choose to overlook them and continue to lead a happy and healthy life despite the continuing situations.
Keep in mind that fixing the issues you identify will take some time. It is not easy to quickly change years of learned bad habits and vices, some of which they might not even realize is a problem (boundary issues for instance). Be patient and provide positive feedback to your partner as they attempt to improve their behavior. If they truly care, they will improve over time. Yard by yard, life can be hard. Inch by inch, life's a cinch.

2.8) 13 Problem Solving Tools and Strategies to Address and Solve Issues

Introduction to Problem Solving

Tool #1 - The 5 Whys: The Remarkable Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Tool / Problem Solving Method (5W-PSM)

Tool #2 - Index Card Problem Solving Method (IC-PSM)

Tool #3 - Alternative Solutions Problem Solving Method (AS-PSM)

Tool #4 - "What If" Problem Solving Method (WI-PSM)

Tool #5 - "In Their Shoes" Problem Solving Method (ITS-PSM)

Tool #6 - "The Six Thinking Hats" Problem Solving Model (6TH-PSM)

Tool #7 - "What Has Happened" Problem Solving Method (WHH-PSM)

Tool #8 - "Numbers In A Bowl" game / Problem Solving Method (NIAB-PSM)

Tool #9 - Golden Rule & Love Your Neighbor Problem Solving Method (GRLYN-PSM)

Tool #10 - Creating an Action Plan using the "Flow Chart" Problem Solving Method (FC-PSM)

Tool #11 - "Remove the Cause, or Dampen the Effect" Problem Solving Method (RCDE-PSM)

Tool #12 - "Trial & Error" Problem Solving Method (T&E-PSM)

Tool #13 - "IF-THEN" Problem Solving Method (IT-PSM)


Now that you have completed the evaluation and identification of the issues that need to be addressed, we can begin utilizing new problem solving methods and strategies that might shine light on the challenges you may be facing, or will likely face in the future.
If you have not completed the evaluation questionaire from section 2.3, you can view it here.
2.3) Evaluating your Love Relationship / Personal Questionaire - Tool #1

Along with some of the new problem solving methods presented here, there are already many problem solving methods for businesses trying to increase their profits. We have utilized a few of them and modified them to increase the "profits", gains, sustainability, and return on investment in our personal, interpersonal and societal relationships.
It appears that most people have never heard of Personal or Relationship Problem Solving Methods (PSM's), let alone received training on them. How many Personal PSM's have you been trained to use? Do you think that Problem Solving Tools are something that might have been helpful, had you known about them? Well it may be time to put some handy new tools in your "life-improvement" toolbox.

If you have many individual issues then you may want to work on those before starting on your relationship issues. For instance, perhaps you have problems communicating with others? Or perhaps you have a self esteem or self respect issue. Maybe you have anger or forgiveness issues?
Do you want to tackle the hardest problems or the easier ones first? Try to use your own personal examples when working through the PSM's to ensure you understand what application each method is most useful for. More details on that coming soon in section 2.10

Before we get into the training on the 10+ Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to be presented, the following are some concepts involved in the Problem Solving process.

The 14 Basic Steps to Problem Solving:

1. Define the Problems / Issues. Is it the Right Problem to Solve?
2. Prioritize the Problems. Which do you want to tackle first? A major one or a minor one?
3. State and check your Assumptions.
4. Collect and Analyze Information, Feelings and Facts.
5. Determine the Root Cause(s) of the Problem.
6. Develop an estimated / desired Time Frame to work on the problem, start testing and trials, and to begin implementation.
7. Utilize several Problem Solving Methods (PSM's).
8. Develop Alternative Solutions.
9. Evaluate Alternatives by examining the potential Benefits and Consequences (Pro's and Con's) of each one.
10. Select a Solution.
11. Implement the Solution.
12. Monitor, Review and Evaluate the Progress.
13. Learn from the Outcome.
14. Adjust by trying Corrections and Alternate Solutions until the Desired Goal is Achieved.

How can I Solve Problems in My Daily Life?

1. First, ask yourself: is there really a problem here?
2. Have I blown it out of proportion? Catastrophized it? (Sky is falling complex)
3. Is this a personal issue or a relationship issue?
4. Should I accept some responsibility for it?
5. Have I personalized this? Am I being overly critical?
6. Ask for help or an outsider perspective if needed.
7. Can you see the forest for the trees? Have you focused on the all the numerous details and failed to also see the bigger picture, key points, major issues or far-reaching opportunities and possible consequences.
The pieces of the puzzle (the trees) should fit together smoothly in order to define and recognize the big picture (the forest). What is the phenomenal "landscape" you are trying to create?
The big picture may be to create a loving relationship, while the details are all the challenges, awareness, knowledge and skills required to create that magical destination.
8. Break the problem down into smaller pieces. Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.
9. Find the opportunity and lessons to be learned from the problem.
10. Use your creativity and imagination to find hidden treasures and benefits (silver linings).
11. Are you being overly negative? Beware of "Yes but-ism": Yes it is a good plan, but I doubt the solution will succeed because ...
12. If possible, involve and work with all parties directly involved or affected by the problem you are trying to solve.
13. Use logic, intuition and PSM's to find solutions. Sleep on them until you know you are ready. Don't be overly impulsive.
14. Implement the solution(s).
15. Evaluate, monitor and learn from the results.
16. Try alternate solutions until the desired outcome is achieved.
17. Enjoy your success, or learn from your failures, and keep establishing new goals and action plans. Reaching an important goal without having established more goals and challenges can leave you feeling very hollow, bewildered, uninspired and unprepared to discover future personal growth in life, especially after the euphoria of reaching a high goal has dissipated.

18. Have an action plan, 2nd and 3rd level goals for the next higher phase after you reach your initial dreams and 1st level goals. The goals could be to solve other pressing issues, or they may be to share your success with others less fortunate. Maybe you want to write a book, a blog, a website or start a business, a charity or a foundation. Maybe you just want to relax for a while before continuing your journey towards peace, love and happiness, "self-actualization" and Transcendence? ;)


Tool #1 - "The 5 Whys": The Remarkable Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Tool / Problem Solving Method (5W-PSM)

Using this technique you may discover that the root cause of the problem often turns out to be something completely different from what you may have been expecting.
The 5 Why's analysis has the purpose to inspect a certain problem in depth until it shows you the possible/probable root cause. At this stage, the root cause determined is still just a hypothesis and may not actually be the true root cause, or there may be several. Further critical thinking will be required to determine validity.

The 5 Whys method is part of the Toyota Production System, developed by Sakichi Toyoda.
"The basis of Toyota's scientific approach is to ask why five times whenever we find a problem. By repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear." - Taiichi Ohno

Keep in mind that "5" is just a number. Ask "Why" as many times as you need in order to complete the process and eventually determine appropriate corrective actions to solve the problem.

Example #1:

I get upset quickly when discussing difficult issues with my partner.
Because they make me so angry.
Because they never listen to my side of the argument.
Because they don't know how to listen and only want to see their side.
Because they don't want to lose the argument.
Because then they have to admit they might be wrong.

OK, so perhaps the root cause of you getting angry quickly is that neither you or your partner like to admit they are wrong. That can be a problem? Yes?
Thus, the anger is a response to the problem, not necessarily the problem itself (although anger management might be a part of the solution) and the root cause is not wanting to admit you might be wrong?
So how might you fix the problem? Perhaps by admitting you might be wrong some of the time? Or on the flip side: Do you always have to be right all the time?! Both of these issues may need to be addressed by you and your partner.
Another part of the solution may be that you both agree at the beginning of the discussion that either of you could possibly be wrong, before you even start getting worked up and agitated. Trying to prove that one of you is right and the other is wrong is NOT the goal of the discussion. The goal is to resolve a difficult issue and move forward in a positive and productive manner.
If you see the discussion going south, agree to pause and remind each other of the agreement you made at the start to remain civil or else you will need a time-out and re-group later.
But look what else you uncovered in the 5 Whys.
1. They never listen to your opinion. That needs to be worked out.
2. They don't know how to listen. Together you can work on improving your active, attentive listening skills so that you truly listen to your partner and best friend (we are assuming they are your BFF - Best friend Forever).
3. They only want to see their side. You will both likely have to work on stepping into the other persons shoes (another problem solving method that is quite useful).
4. They don't want to lose the argument. Thus you both need to stop trying to win the argument and force your viewpoint on the other person. You are a couple and you need to reach a solution that benefits both of you, not at the expense of the other, if you want to remain a couple.

Here is another example:

I have low self esteem.
Because I have always been told I am dumb and I make a lot of mistakes.
Because my family, friends, and students at school were fairly mean to me and then I do dumb things that cause problems for me.
I think they were mean because perhaps they have issues and said unkind things to me because of their own internal problems?
Because maybe they were treated badly as a child and developed self esteem problems which are the root cause of their unfair treatment of others?
Because maybe their parents did not receive good education about parenting, love and problem solving techniques?
Because Parenting, Love Education and Problem Solving Techniques have never really been taught in schools or at home?
That is a good question! Don't really have an answer for that one.
Maybe because no one ever took the time to develop a Love Education Curriculum and parents never demanded that parenting and Love Education be taught to children, young adults and themselves?
Why??? Seems almost absurd, doesn't it? That type of education seems fairly important to creating happy, healthy individuals.

OK, so a brief re-cap of what we learned. A person's low self esteem may have come from people being mean or bullying them, because those people have internal issues that were never addressed, because they were not given adequate training or guidance to help them become more emotionally and mentally stable (EQ and IQ). Thus they down-loaded their problems on you and they are partly to blame for you having low self esteem.

So what are you going to do about it? Perhaps start by realizing how many amazing good qualities you have and forgiving yourself for the mistakes you have made in the past. Now that you are aware of the root cause, there is no need to "own" your negative feelings about yourself and you can focus on your positive attributes and grow from a place of strength, instead of a place of weakness. You may still need to listen to some of your critics, but you don't have to believe everything they tell you. If they are offering advice that helps you grow, take it to heart. If not, discard it but recognize that if their criticism makes you really upset, there may be a kernel of truth that you need to address.

This last example is just to show how the "5 Whys" can even be used to understand the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issue: America has not been able to get the virus under control, while nearly all advanced countries have been successful. As of September 15, 2020, China has under 5000 deaths with a population of 1.4 billion, Japan has 1500 deaths, Australia has 825, South Korea has 360, and Thailand has 58. The U.S. now has 200,000 deaths; about 1000 per day (Worldometers.info).
See if you can use the 5 Whys to find the root causes of the U.S. failure (there are several). How might that help you and your famly save the lives of your parents, children, siblings, grandparents and others you care about? If America does not listen to health experts and get the first wave under control soon, how might that affect the U.S. and world economy and the expected 2nd wave coming now that schools are attempting to open and the seasonal flu is about to start? Why do you think America has largely ignored the health experts? How many thousand more lives will be needlessly lost because of this problem solving failure?
If America had been able to get mask usage (face coverings) above 90% instead of 50% or so, America would likely have less than 25,000-100,000 deaths, like Asian countries have been able to do. America would also have been able to open schools and businesses in order to grow jobs and get the economy rolling again, due to the lower COVID-19 transmission rate. Why won't Americans wear face coverings and save the lives and livelihoods of fellow citizens?! The U.S. has 5% of the world population but 20% of the deaths, yet supposedly America has perhaps the best science in the world. Hopefully someone, or some groups, will convince people to wear masks and utilize social distancing until a vaccine or effective treatment is available to the entire population (by 2022?). The U.S. economy is directly related to the world economy so hopefully the U.S. will change direction soon for the sake of the world in order to stop an economic and health catastrophe.

Tool #2 - "Index Card" Problem Solving Method (IC-PSM)

You can use this PSM to sort out and prioritize numerous issues you and your partner may need to work on.

1. Identify all the issues you want to address, perhaps after you completed the four evaluation tools from section 2.3.
2. On index cards or on pieces of paper that you have cut into squares, write all the issues down that you identified in the previous step. Now lay them out and organize them into two groups: Individual issues and Relationship issues.
3. Re-organize them from the biggest, most difficult issues at the top and the most minor issues at the bottom.
4. Now you can write the issues down on two separate pieces of paper (individual issues and relationship issues) in the order you just arranged them. It is often best to start working on individual issues first since solving some of those issues will sometimes reduce the problems you are having in your relationship.
5. Next, prioritize the ones you would like to fix first, second, third, etc. 6. Decide if you really want to tackle the most difficult issue(s) first, or perhaps it may be better to solve an easier challenge first, just to get your feet wet and gain some confidence. Now that you have organized the problems using the Index card problem-solving method (IC-PSM) it is time to use some of the other problem solving tools you are learning in order to further define root causes and alternative solutions.

An alternate way to use the Index Card technique is to turn it into a game we call the Index Card Problem Solving Game (IC-PSG).

1. After writing down all the issues you want to address on the index cards or pieces of paper, mix them up and put them in a bag or box. Also throw in a couple index cards with fun items written on them like "give your partner a kiss", "tell them something wonderful about them", "describe something wonderful about yourself", "meditate for 3-5 minutes", "say a prayer", "relax!", "think of something funny", and whatever else that will make this fun and not quite so serious.
2. Take one index card out and write down a few ideas you have that might help solve the problem in your "ISSUES / GOALS / MORNING PAGES" journal or on a piece of paper. After that, you might want to use the 5 Whys PSM and find the root cause(s). If you run into a roadblock and can't solve the issue right away, don't stress too much about it. Remember that you are trying to reduce stress, not add more to your life. Come back later when you have had more time to analyze the problem and have fresh new perspectives.
3. Take another index card from out and repeat step 2. Do this as many times as you want until it is time to take a break. Rome was not built in a day. Come back and work on these issues when you have the time and a positive frame of mind.

Tool #3 - "Alternative Solutions" Problem Solving Method (AS-PSM)

Phase 1: The goal of this problem solving method is to brain storm as many possible solutions as you can think of to solve a particular problem and then narrow it down to the best several solutions, realizing there is seldom just one way to solve a problem. During this predominantly right-brained session, don't get hung up on grammar, spelling, rambling or other left brain mathematical over-sight. Left brain "math and criticism" can quickly halt the rapid flow of intuitive and creative ideas. When you are finished coming up with both "genius, crazy and funny" ideas from this phase, you can move on to the next step.

Phase 2: On another page write down the emotions and feelings being experienced by ALL parties and their corresponding relationships. Partner, Family, friends, children, neighbors, co-workers and more. For example, let's say you are being bullied at school or at home.
Phase 1: Using uncontrolled free-for-all brainstorming you could come up with the following obvious, creative, crazy and possibly unrealistic ideas:
Beat up the bully. Tell the teachers you are being bullied. Tell him you disapprove of his insults. Tell your parents to discuss the problem with his parents. Discuss the problem with family and friends and ask for their advice. Tell yourself that he has serious internal issues that make him insecure and that causes him to be a bully, and now you can take pity on him instead of internalizing the insults he hurls at you and others. Realize that his Dad is likely a bully and he has learned these awful traits from him. Realize that maybe you are just different from him and he is picking on you because you are different - He has no sympathy or empathy for diversity, which is a spice of life - How boring it would be if we were all the same! Move to another country. Go into hiding. Switch to another school. Eat more ice cream :) Ask him to join you eating ice cream. Get a bigger bully to tell him to stop. Just ignore him and don't bother listening to him any more. Put on your earbuds and tune him out. What else leaps into your mind?
Side note: Do you think that the school shootings are part of the bullying problem and that young adults resort to extreme solutions, thus causing many fellow students and teachers to be murdered and the young shooters to ruin the rest of their lives?
Maybe educators and law makers need to use the "5 Whys" to solve that problem?

Ok, so what 5 or so solutions look like they might be the best for this bullying situation after completing Phase 1?

In our case, we stood up to the bully and he beat us up, but then left us alone after that, possibly because we stood up to him? Plus we soon realized that he had family problems. We felt pity for him and realized he had a tough future ahead of him because of his family issues. One great thing learned from the situation: Standing up for oneself and not accepting or internalizing unjust criticism is empowering!
In reflection, standing up to the bully was probably not the best solution since it was made out of anger, not reasoning or using problem solving techniques. But there was little education given to us on how to solve problems back then, thus rash decisions were often made.

Phase 2: In order to understand the thoughts and perceptions, feelings and emotions involved in the situation, write them down:
Anger, Rage, Hatred, Adrenalin, Resentment, Discrimination, Prejudice, Injustice, Division, Contempt, Distrust, Hurt feelings, Damaged Ego, Uncertainty, Stress, Belittlement, Retribution, Revenge, Fear, Concern, Uncertainty, Faith, Hope, Strategies, Discouragement, Dejection, Depression, Sadness, Hopelessness, ....
Now that you've completed the second phase and released bottled-up feelings you may not even have realized you were holding in, you can do another review of the best solutions currently available to you. By releasing feelings it can help you think more clearly and take some "emotion" out of your decisions. You don't want your emotions to affect your judgment prior to implementing the solution(s). But yet you need to address your emotions in order to realize how important (or unimportant) this problem actually is.
More solutions may present themselves to you soon in dreams, from your subconscious (daydreams), or by using other tools and methods.

After deciding upon the top 3-5 or so solutions, perhaps you will be able to choose the best one that works for you, or perhaps you might try several of them and see which one gives the best results. The point is that you need to have several options. You can sometimes utilize them all at the same time, or you can try them one after another until you get the results you are hoping for. Or maybe you will need to use different PSM's (Problem Solving Methods) to tackle the problem. By keeping an open mind and trying different methods, you will likely find appropriate solutions.

Tool #4 - "What If" Problem Solving Method (WI-PSM)

Play the what if game. What if we did this, What if we did that? Then what might happen?
Analyze each "what if" answer that you come up with and review whether it is feasible and desirable and if so, how would you make it become a reality?

Example 1, What If we did research together on improving our communication skills? What might happen if we were successful?
Our relationship would improve, we would be happier, less fights, more respect, more love, what else?

Example 2: What if we completed Love Education exercises and problem solving methods together or alone? What might happen?
Is our relationship with ourselves or our significant other strong enough to withstand facing the truth? If not, what might that tell us? If we are ready to face the truth, then a little understanding and guidance might actually help our relationship?

Since we are discussing problem solving methods, here are 17 issues and goals the United Nations is actively working on improving and solving. Goal Setting is presented in LE-201, section 2.9

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." - Dalai Lama.

Tool #5 - "In Their Shoes" Problem Solving Method (ITS-PSM)

1. Choose a problem to solve and then write down everything you can about it from the viewpoint of standing in YOUR shoes. Write down the facts, feelings, fears, hopes, benefits and possible consequences from your perspective.

2. On another piece of paper, write down everything you can about it from the viewpoint of standing in THEIR shoes. Write down the facts, feelings, fears, hopes, benefits and possible consequences from what you think their perspective might be.

Write down potential biases, prejudices and history that might not allow you or them to see the problem objectively and accurately.

After you have exhausted everything you can think of, review and organize the issues, perhaps using the Index Card PSM, and search for solutions to the issues you have uncovered.

In regards to the 17 goals established by the U.N., have you ever been affected by, or gotten involved in any of those issues (been in any of those "shoes")?

Tool #6 - "The Six Thinking Hats" Problem Solving Model (6TH-PSM)

The Six Thinking Hats was created by Edward de Bono, and published in his 1985 book of the same name.
This PSM is useful with groups or on your own. In groups, it has the value of reducing confrontation that can happen when people with differing thinking styles and points of view discuss a problem, because every perspective is valid and should be accounted for, even if you strongly disagree with their opinions.

Each Thinking Hat is a different style of thinking.

White Hat: With this "logical" thinking hat, you focus on the available data using logic. Look at the information that you have, analyze past trends, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge. What information are you missing?

Red Hat: When you put on the "intuitive" Red Hat, you look at problems using your intuition, gut feelings, and emotion. Also, think how others might react emotionally. Try to guess the responses of people who do not fully understand or agree with your reasoning.

Yellow Hat: Wearing the "optimistic" yellow hat helps you to think positively. It is the optimistic viewpoint that helps you to see all the benefits of the solutions and the value in them. The glass is at least half full. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.

Green Hat: Using the "creative" Green Hat is where you develop creative solutions to a problem. It is a brain-storming way of thinking, in which there is little criticism of ideas. You just try to get as many ideas on paper as quickly as possible without much concern for logic. This is often where unusual and hidden options are generated.

Black Hat: Wearing the "critical" Black Hat, you look at a decision's potentially negative outcomes. Look at it carefully and thoroughly. Try to see why it might not work. This is important because it highlights the weak points in any plan. It allows you to reduce them, alter them, or prepare contingency plans to counter them.
Black Hat thinking helps to make your plans "tougher" and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you employ your course of action. Many overly optimistic people get so used to thinking positively that they often cannot see the possible down-sides in advance. This leaves them ill-prepared for unexpected difficulties.

Blue Hat: This "directors/mentors" hat represents process control. It's the hat worn by people organizing, directing and encouraging the discussions. When facing difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they may ask for Black Hat thinking.

This PSM allows an individual or team to re-frame the challenge as an opportunity prior to starting the problem solving process. This method enables a team to solve problems with a focus on generating lasting change and improvement. You begin by discussing the issue you are going to work on and exploring the ways in which it causes problems before splitting into the five teams who will each consider the problem wearing the five different hats (the sixth Blue Hat guides and oversees the process). After each team has concluded their analysis they then get together and present their findings to the group. After combining all the data obtained, the group can attempt to find a consensus and develop an action plan. If necessary, the groups can then change members and repeat the process wearing different hats if further analysis is desired. Or perhaps the group may decide that everyone wears the same hat in order to discover more alternative solutions using that one type of thinking.

Tool #7 - "What Has Happened" Problem Solving Method (WHH-PSM)

This tool is useful to help individuals and couples understand how they ended up in the situation they find themselves in, how you actually got to where you are now; your current reality. Let's say that you are having some personal issues or your relationship is having some difficulties. What are the problems you are currently facing? Now take each difficulty and work backwards to determine what actions / lack of actions happened that caused each difficulty. The "5 Whys" might be helpful in finding out the root causes after you determine the key issues from working backwards.

We do not spend as much quality time together as we did before.
Working backwards:
a) We have been very busy lately with the kid's school and sports activities.
b) We have financial issues which are causing us stress.
c) My husband has been working longer hours because we have these financial issues.
d) We are spending more than we can afford because we have not established a budget.
e) We have not established a budget because we have not made the time to do so.
f) We have not been communicating very well because of the stress.
g) Because of poor communication we are sometimes not very happy with each other.
h) We are spending more free time with friends instead of personal time with each other.
i) By the end of the day we are usually very tired.
j) Because of the above issues, we have not had shared many of the 6 types of intimacy.
k) We are not as passionate as before, now that we are past the infatuation phase.
l) When we try to have intimate time together we are usually distracted and not very attentive.
m) Things seem to be spiraling out of control.

You may notice that this PSM is similar to the "5 Whys" except that it lists all the issues and does not address just one particular problem to determine the exact sequence of events and root cause. Thus, this method brings to the surface all of the issues so that you can see "what has happened" and why. You can dig deeper and use the "5 Whys" on the most problematic issues found to determine the root cause(s).

Now that some of the difficulties have been mapped out you can begin to search for the solutions that will lead to a course-correction and get you on a route that will lead to happier times. It appears that poor communication might be a key issue. If you can sit down to discuss the problems then you might be able to develop a plan to work on your finances and time-management objectives so that you can reduce the stress load on both of you. By working together to solve / reduce the issues you will likely start communicating better and feel a greater sense of hope for the future.
Perhaps you will both need to improve your communication skills? Be sure to establish communication guidelines so that finding solutions becomes the goal, instead of determining who is more at fault. Use mindful communication to stay civil and calm.
When you have hope and a plan, stress will likely be reduced and you can enjoy spending more time on the 6 types of intimacy together. Using intellectual intimacy, you will need to develop some goals and the corresponding action plans to achieve those goals.

Tool #8 - "Numbers In A Bowl" game / Problem Solving Method (NIAB-PSM)

This game can be played by yourself or as a group.
By randomly working on the two lists of questions shown below, one list for feelings and emotions and the other for logic and facts, you can create a fairly detailed analysis for issues and problems you choose to address.
Realize that not all questions listed below will apply to every issue, individual or group.
Answer the questions, or the portion of a question that apply and mark the others as "N/A", Not-Applicable.

Cut a piece of paper into small squares and write a number on each one for the questions you are going to address in this game. Put all the numbers into a bowl or bag. Choose an issue you want to solve and write it at the top of a piece of paper. Now take a number out of the bowl and write down your answers to that question. Repeat the process until you have answered all the questions. If you have a large group involved in this discovery process, you may want to split into small groups with each group working on maybe 3-5 questions. After each group has finished with their analysis, you can get together to review and discuss the answers each group developed.

By picking the numbers randomly, it allows you to bounce around thus promoting a greater possibilty to be creative and imaginative. It also makes the discovery and analysis less formal and regimented. Thus you approach every issue you work on in future games in different orders.
If you prefer, you can skip the bowl and just answer the questions as listed or hop around to the most important or interesting ones first. The choice is yours. Choose whatever works best for you or the group.
By keeping it random though, you may first address some questions you didn't realize were important because of our built in biases we don't always know we have. Other times we Absolutely know we have bias and prejudices and choose to ignore them because we Know we are right!
When you do get to the "important" questions, it may help you by having considered new perceptions and revised perspectives prior to answering the "big ones". You might even leave those numbers out of the bowl until the end. Do you see how you can adapt this game to fit the particular situation you are addressing? It certainly allows for you to structure the game to only include the questions you want or need to address, and in the order you want to address them.

After answering all the questions, analyze what you have brainstormed and sort out which questions and answers seem to provide the best insight and relevance to the problem and solution you are working on. You may want to prioritize them by importance so that you can go into deeper analysis on the top issues.
If you want, you can repeat the game again later, now that you have a better handle on the situation. You may even choose to only add the numbers that were identified as the most important and start the game over using only those in a random sequence.

This discovery game is split into two parts, just as our brains are. You may choose to start with the right brain side and discover feelings, emotions, creativity, hopes and fears. Or you may want to start with the left brain side and record the facts, logic, benefits and consequences (pro's and con's) first. Once again the choice is yours.

You may notice that some of the questions seem similar for both the right side and left side discovery phases. That can help you realize that depending on which thinking cap you are wearing at any given time (which side of the brain you are using), the answers can be vastly different. Thus when dealing with others, and you are arguing from one side and they are presenting their case from the other side of the brain, it may be very difficult to have a "meeting of the minds". Just keep that in the back of your head when trying to reach mutually agreeable solutions. Are you both working from just the facts or just from emotions? And are your emotions over-ruling any chance of seeing the facts correctly, or are you perceptions of the facts over-ruling any chance of seeing the feelings and emotions correctly? When someone only cares about their feelings, facts seldom matter to them. When someone only cares about the facts, feelings seldom matter to them. You see it in social media arguments everyday! Just be aware of this and it can help you immensely. To be balanced and "whole" you need to see and comprehend both facts and feelings. That is the point of this PSM; to help you become a whole brain thinker and thus find greater balance, success, happiness, peace and love in your life.

Right Brain "Numbers in a Bowl" game: Feelings and Emotions

1. What are your dominant feeling and emotions about this issue? Their deepest feelings and emotions?
2. What are your crucial values? Their main values?
3. What are your top goals? Their key goals?
4. How does this issue affect your happiness? Theirs?
5. How does it affect your Peace? Theirs?
6. What are your biggest hopes, fears and concerns? What are theirs?
7. What is your history regarding this issue? Their history?
8. What are your key dislikes, your deal-buster issues and "non-negotiable" points? What are theirs?
9. Are they giving you the respect you deserve? Are you giving them the respect they deserve?
10. Is your pride, ego and self-esteem being attacked? Is theirs?
11. Are you being treated fairly and equally? Are they being treated fairly and equally?
12. Are you being discriminated against? Are they being discriminated against?
13. Do you believe justice is being served? Do they?
14. Do they follow the Golden Rule and treat you as they treat themselves?
15. Are you following the Golden Rule and treating them as you want to be treated?
16. Do they Love you as they love themselves? Do you Love them as you love yourself?
17. Are your belonging and inclusion needs being met? Are theirs?
18. Do you have an open mind to resolve the issue and make compromises? Do they?
19. Do you want this issue solved quickly? Do they?
20. Is this issue critical to you? To them?
21. If not resolved, will it continue to affect your health and happiness? How about theirs?
22. On a scale of 1 (minor) to 10 (major) how important is this issue to you from an emotional viewpoint? To them?
23. What else should be included in these emotional right brain questions?

Left Brain: "Numbers in a Bowl" game: Facts and Logic

1. Why is this issue important to you? To them?
2. Is it the right issue to work on first?
3. Why are we/I having this problem?
4. Why haven't we/I solved it yet?
5. Why do we/I need to solve it?
6. What are the facts in this issue from your POV (Point of View)? From theirs?
7. How long has this issue been a problem for you? For them?
8. Do you have any biases, pride or prejudice regarding this issue? Do they?
9. Do you believe they should appreciate your POV? Do you believe you should understand their POV?
10. Do you believe they will agree to your requests/demands? Do you believe you will agree to theirs? If not, what can be done?
11. What other individuals or groups might help you solve this problem?
12. Who has the most to lose?
13. Who has the most to gain?
14. Who doesn't seem to care?
15. Who is at the mercy of the other?
16. Who is most likely to go berserk?
17. Are you educated enough to understand both sides of the issue? Are they?
18. What type of training/tools might be necessary to help find a solution?
19. Who has the most expertise?
20. Who has the most power?
21. Who has the more powerful allies?
22. Who is currently controlling the issue?
23. Is your personal safety and security at risk? Is theirs?
24. Are other family members safety and security at risk?
25. If a solution can be found, how important would it be to you? To them?
26. If a solution can not be found, how devastating would it be to you? To them?
27. What is the desired future from your point of view? From their point of view?
28. What is the undesired future from your point of view? From their point of view?
29. How long do you think it will take to reach an agreement?
30. If you can reach an agreement, how long can you make it last? What measures should be in place to ensure it lasts?
31. Where should the location be to discuss the issue(s)?
32. How might religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, financial wealth, distrust and retribution/vengeance affect the probability of a successful solution? How can these factors be countered to allow justice, respect, improvement and peace to have a chance to advance?
33. What action plan and steps are you using, or planning to use? What action plan and steps are they using, or might they use to counter your actions? 34. At what point can you begin testing and implementing a strategy?
35. What might happen if you can't reach an agreement or compromise?
36. What might happen if you do reach an agreement or compromise?
37. On a scale of 1 (minor) to 10 (major) how important is this issue to you from a logical viewpoint? To them?
38. What else should be included in these logical left brain questions?
In summary, after answering all the questions, analyze what you have deciphered and deduced and sort out which questions and answers seem to provide the best insight and relevance. You may want to prioritize them by importance so that you can go into deeper analysis on the key issues. What should the action plan be in order to implement the alternative solutions you will develop and deploy? You may want to put these results into a flow chart and help you see the process and steps needed in order to achieve the key goals.

In a group situation, if you don't get all parties to agree prior to developing the action plan and implementing the solution(s), you are most likely doomed to failure. In other words, work together whenever possible or suffer the consequences!

The last point is that you really need to address BOTH sides of the issues.
You need to see things from your Point of View and from the other sides' POV.
You need to see things from the logical left brain and from the emotional right brain.
To just see one side only gives you half the information you need to solve the problem.
How many of us can successfully solve our problems with only half of the data?
We surely can not. Can you?

Tool #9 - Golden Rule & Love Your Neighbor Problem Solving Method (GRLYN-PSM)

This PSM is very similar to the "In Their Shoes" (ITS-PSM) except that this deals with the way things could be if all parties truly followed the Golden Rule, instead of the way reality actually has turned out. The ITS-PSM is where you are now and how to move forward, while the GRLYN-PSM is where we should be if we all followed the Golden Rule, a Rule that nearly every major religion has as one of their main tenents or creeds.

1. Choose an issue to solve and then write down what reality would be like if all parties truly followed the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and also the "Love your Neighbor" commandment.

2. On one piece of paper write down the things You would need to do or correct in order to create and ensure justice, equity, respect and reparation. How would you follow these rules and make things right?

3. On another piece of paper write down the things the other party(s) would need to do or correct in order to create and ensure justice, equality, respect and reparation.

4. Write down not just logical/process things that would need to be addressed but also the hurt feelings and respect issues that will need apologies, repairing and forgiveness. What reparations would need to be given to the other side to repay them for the pain, damages, inequity and injustices that were inflicted on them? What would the benefits be from treating the other party the way nearly every religions command us to treat them? Do you believe in the Golden Rule? Does it only apply to some people? Perhaps only to those who claim to be religious? Do their actions show that they even care about the Golden Rule and obeying religious commandments? Can they truly be considered God loving people if they fail to follow the Golden Rule and the "Love Thy Neighbor" commandment? How will God judge them?

5. After you have exhausted everything you can think of, review and organize the facts, perceptions, feelings and biases, perhaps using the Index Card PSM, and search for solutions to the subjects you have uncovered. After organizing and prioritizing the issues you may want to create an action plan using the following Flow Chart PSM.

Tool #10 - Creating an Action Plan using the "Flow Chart" Problem Solving Method (FC-PSM)

Click Here to print this Action Plan Flow Chart : June 21, 2020, Rev. A

Flow Charts can be used to diagram the problem solving process and help create a more visual map of the Issues you want to analyze and solve. You can use these in conjunction with nearly all the PSM's discussed so far, or just start working on a Flow Chart from scratch. Flow Charts are useful to create visual action plans for achieving the results, goals and vision you establish.

You don't actually have to write inside each geometric shape since the "issues and actions" you need to write down are often several sentences. If using this pre-made form you can write a brief one or two word note to show the issue or action for each shape and then have a detailed page which goes into expanded details for each stage in your Flow Chart.

If you create your own Flow Chart on a blank sheet of paper you can go into greater detail and then draw the shape around the words you have written afterwards. Thus if you have numerous actions for each root cause you are not limited to the one or two rectangles shown on the blamk flow chart shown here. You may need several sheets of paper laid side by side in order to create this larger road map but you can tape them together if you want.

From Left to Right:

1. Issues in Squares
2. Root Causes in Circles
3. Actions in Rectangles
4. Potential Difficulties / Opportunities in Ovals
5. Time Frame in Triangles
6. Review, Measure and Learn in Hexagons
7. Results and Goals in Diamonds
8. 2nd Level Goals in more Diamonds
9. 3rd Level Goals in even more Diamonds

1. Issue = Anger when communicating difficult issues with partner.
2. Root Causes = [1] Can't or will not admit mistakes & [2] Poor listening skills.
3. Possible Actions = [1a] Be willing to admit fault, [1b] Don't force your opinion on others, [1c] Use Time-outs when things get heated.
[2a] Learn Active Listening, [2b] Learn improved communication skills.
4. Potential Difficulties = [1a] Partner not interested in improving. [1b] Change takes time.
[2a] Possible hearing or attention deficit disorders. [2b] Unwillingness to turn off TV.
5. Time frame = Whatever you both agree is reasonable for each action.
6. Review, Measure and Learn = [1a] Are you both finally admitting faults? [1b] What additional actions might be needed? (add new rectangles on the chart here if needed).
[2a] Are you now actively listening to each other? [2b] Is one partner still talking over the other? [2c] What additional actions might be needed? (add new rectangles on the chart here if needed).
7. Results and Goals = [1a] Finally admitting faults. [1b] Anger Reduced. [1c] Relationship improved. [1d] Family life improved.
[2a] Attentive listening improved. [2b] Communications improved.
If these are not the results you achieved, create a new flow chart to address the unresolved issues and start working on those.

8. 2nd Level Results and Goals: Assuming you achieved the 1st level goals and results, where are you going from there? Maybe there are other anger and communication issues to be solved that can be listed here?

9. 3rd Level Results and Goals: Assuming you achieved the 2nd level goals and results, where are you going now? What else do you want to improve in your relationship? More time together, more time alone, more support from your partner, a cleaner house, less over-spending of finances, etc.

And the goals keep going until you have achieved all the results you need and desire, which means you will probably need to set new goals for the rest of your life. (:

Now that you understand the visual representation of an Action Plan Flow Chart, we can delve deeper into how Action Plans can help change your dreams and hopes into reality.
Action Plans can be used to Solve Problems / Issues / Challenges and to Reach Goals / Dreams / Visions.

Your Vision and Mission statements are the airplane view, the grand picture of your dream for your life.
Your Action Plan is the bird's eye view of the forest, the big picture.
The Implementation plan is the detailed picture, the view of the trees from the perspective of being on the ground. It defines the steps you will take on your journey so you can reach your destination.

Action plans can be itemized on a piece of paper by following the process below. Once you have decided upon the the actions required to solve your issues or reach your goals, you can use them and the rest of the information to create the detailed steps you will take on your Implementation Plan (IP). You can itemize them similar to the AP lists below and then add them to your IP Flow Chart. (Section 2.11: IP's to be uploaded by July 25)

For Problem Solving, the Action Plan (AP) looks something like this:

ISSUES: (Perhaps Identified using section 2.1 - 2.4)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

ROOT CAUSES: (Perhaps using the 5 Whys PSM Tool)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________
5. ___________________________________________________________________

ACTIONS: (Perhaps determined from some of the PSM Tools)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

POTENTIAL DIFFICULTIES / CONSEQUENCES / OPPORTUNITIES: (Perhaps determined from some of the PSM Tools)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

TIME FRAME TO BEGIN / FINALIZE: (Perhaps using the Index Card Prioritizing Tool)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

For Goal Setting, the Action Plan (AP) looks something like this:

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

ACTIONS: (Perhaps determined from some of the GSM Tools)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

TIME FRAME TO BEGIN / FINALIZE: (Perhaps using the Index Card Prioritizing Tool)
1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

1. ___________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________

In conclusion, developing both written and graphic Action Plans (AP's) can provide you with the "Big Picture" roadmap that will help you reach your destinations. You can then break down the actions in a similar process to create your written and graphic Implementation Plans (Section 2.11), which define the steps necessary to complete the actions. Remember that a Goal without a plan is merely a Dream.

Tool #11 - "Remove the Cause, or Dampen the Effect" Problem Solving Method (RCDE-PSM)

There are two main ways to solve a problem:
1) Remove the cause, or 2) Dampen the effect.
You can either fix or remove the problems you have identified, or dampen the effect either through compromise, reduction of the scale of the problem(s), by learning to accept the issues as a condition of an otherwise healthy relationship, or find other creative solutions.

Example 1, Sewage in a river.
1) Remove the source of the sewage.
2) Dampen the effect by moving up-river or somewhere else; or build a sewage treatment plant to reduce the amount of pollution.

Example 2, COVID-19 infections and deaths.
1) Remove the virus or stop it from coming to your community. Now that the virus has spread into a global pandemic, this option is no longer available.
2) Dampen the effect by wearing a mask or face covering, observing social distancing, disinfecting hands and surfaces frequently, avoiding large crowds (especially indoor crowds), avoid locations where yelling, loud talking, singing and heavy breathing causes the virus to spread greater than 2 meters, stay home as much as possible, listen to the advice of the health experts (if they are not being suppressed by your government).
Realize that the younger population tend to believe they will survive the virus and thus they are exposing themselves more often and receiving greater viral loads. Then they unknowingly bring high doses of the virus home to their parents and grandparents, putting them at an even greater risk of death. There is new evidence that they may be permanently damaging their lungs without realizing it, just as is happening to adults.
Eventually we will dampen the effect even further when vaccines and treatments are developed but until then we need to utilize the "3 W's" (Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance) in order to reduce the transmission rate and save the lives of our loved ones. As of July 2, the U.S. has reached 50,000 new cases per day (Wuhan has had 50,000 cases in total) and Florida and Texas have reached over 8,000 new cases per day, which exceeds the new cases per day in China and the EU combined. What are they doing to save their economies and lives that the U.S. has not? Nearly 100% of them wear masks when they leave their houses. It is really that simple. They "solved" the problem, the U.S. has not.

Example 3, Boundary issues in your relationships.
1) Remove or distance the offending party from your relationship (be it a "friend", family member, social media contact, etc).
2) Dampen the effect by informing the offender that they are crossing over your boundaries and you desire greater respect.
Inform them which boundaries are being crossed and discuss ways to improve the situation. Perhaps they do not realize they are invading your space and not being sensitive to your needs?
Understand that boundary problems are not just the inability to tell people No. You also need to clearly understand and define your boundaries to yourself and others. Don't assume they should know and understand your boundaries.

Boundary issues come in at least four categories and you or the offender may possess several:
The Compliant: saying "ok" to the bad. Letting others get away with bad behavior and cross the line.
The Avoidant: saying "no" to the possible good. Putting up unnecessary walls which could possibly hurt a healthy relationship. For instance you block love from others because you are afraid they will hurt you, as has happened before.
The Controller: not respecting others' boundaries and not caring. Probably the most difficult type to help change toward a more loving nature.
The Nonresponsive: not hearing the needs of others, perhaps because they did not grow up understanding boundary issues. These types have a good chance to improve once they understand that boundaries are extremely important.

By realizing the types of boundary issues that are present in your relationships you can reduce the ill effects by being aware and informing others when they do not comprehend, appreciate or respect those boundaries. Give them time to change their behavior since boundaries are sometimes hard to understand. If they truly love you, they will attempt to grow more loving.

Tool #12 - "Trial & Error" Problem Solving Method (T&E-PSM)

Most of us have heard of the Trial and Error PSM. Just think of Thomas Edison and his 99 ways not to make a light bulb. He failed "99" times but continued trying knowing someday he would probably succeed, especially since he was learning so much from his "failures". Looked at from the optimist's point of view (wearing a yellow hat), he was learning from his "minor successes" so that he could achieve a "major success". That is what you are trying to achieve using the T&E PSM. It relieves some of the pressure from having to "get it right" the very first try. You can gently try one thing and see what happens before going "full steam ahead" with the entire Implementation Plan (IP).

Brainstorm as many possible trials you can think of and then prioritize them in the order you want to conduct your experiments. The more trials you can dream up, the better. Some of them you will never even use but they may give you some insights to apply to the trials that are worth trying. Some of the results of the trials will likely provide you with clues as to which trial you should try next.

For instance you try giving your partner flowers before discussing something that may be tense. Did it have any affect on the conversation or did they accuse you of trying to soften them up be before "delivering the blow" :) What did you learn from this trial? Maybe you should have gone on a picnic or out to dinner instead? Perhaps during a walk in the park would have been more advantageous? Maybe you should have just asked if you could talk about the topic? What other trials can you think of to improve your chances of success?

In summary, the T&E PSM is a way to test the waters before actually going swimming. By trying different things and analyzing the results, you begin to formulate better plans that will help you achieve major successes.

Tool #13 - "IF-THEN" Problem Solving Method (IT-PSM)

The IF-THEN PSM describes what you will do in circumstances that come up in your day to day life, and when you are implementing new plans. It has a simple 2 step process:

1) IF this happens,
2) THEN you will do that.
You can then think of possible/likely scenarios that come up on occasion and decide upon sensible responses to reduce the odds of negative outcomes.

It can become a more complex PSM by adding "AND" or "OR":
1) IF this happens AND this happens, OR this happens,
2) THEN you will do that.

Imagine you start getting into a heated argument with your partner.
IF this happens, THEN I will remain calm and use the mindfulness and stress reduction techniques (coming soon) I have learned. If necessary, we will take a "time-out" until we can de-escalate the argument and continue the discussion after we have calmed down.
By having an IF-THEN tool in your tool bag, you are prepared for the times you will need that tool to save you from a near certain negative outcome.

Another example is you decide to proceed with one of your Implementation Plans (IP's).
Perhaps you want to discuss "boundary issues" or "intimacy" or "parenting"?
After initiating the conversation, IF the direction is going in a positive direction, AND your partner is actually being attentive, THEN you may move forward and bring up other related topics you want to expand upon.
IF the discussion is heading negative, THEN you can end the conversation OR switch to another topic before things start to get out of control. Attempt to avoid pressing one of their hot buttons, thereby sabotaging any chance of a fruitful consensus.
Perhaps you could agree to proper ways of discussing "difficult issues" prior to starting any "deep" discussions / compromises.

Try to think of as many IF-THEN scenarios as possible that so that you are better prepared for nearly every challenge or opportunity in your current reality. The point is to have confidence that no matter what difficulties or direction your plan goes, you have a plan B, C, D, etc. in your back pocket.
Thus fear and uncertainty do not stop you from enacting your plans and slow down your progress towards a healthy and happy life and relationship.

IF-THEN's can also be used to establish ground rules in your relationship that you can both agree upon.
They become the "IF-THEN Guidelines" or protocols.
Here are several detailed examples:

RULE #1 - Communication Issues
IF one party wants to discuss a sensitive topic,
THEN we will agree to the following 2 items:
a) We will establish a place, time and duration to discuss the topic.
b) We will agree to come to an agreement or set-up another time to negotiate a compromise.

RULE #2 - Arguments
IF we start raising our voices at each other (which may be a trigger for one or both parties),
THEN we agree to do the following 3 things:
a) Agree to either be mindful, considerate and open-minded; or agree to take a time-out.
b) Relax and de-stress for 15 - 45 minutes.
c) After de-stressing (or at least attempting to), determine if you should continue or wait until a better time.

RULE #3 - Intimacy
IF one of us feels that we need more of the 10 types of intimacy in our lives,
THEN we will agree to the following options:
a) Discuss the type of intimacy that is requested. Perhaps it is more time enjoying each others' companionship or more family time?
b) Determine a plan to address and improve that desired goal.
c) Implement the plan by establishing activities, times and places to achieve this goal.
d) Monitor, review and evaluate how the plan is working.
e) Make course corrections if necessary.
f) Celebrate this new improvement in your relationship by having a nice dinner together or other reward.

Other guidelines you may want to create protocols for could include: Boundaries, Time together / apart, Friends, In-Laws, Parenting, House keeping, Decision making negotiations, Financial decisions, Employment decisions, Cognitive learning needs, Support and esteem needs, Aesthetic needs, Vacation needs, Relationship and Love needs, Self actualization needs, Couple actualization needs, etc.

Both parties should agree to the "terms of engagement" or it is probably a waste of time to create these protocols.
You can both write the issues that are most important or disturbing to you and go over them together and develop your own IF's and THEN's (a, b & c's).

In a sense, these become relationship vows. They can be cited as Rule #1, 2 or 3, article a, b, c, d, etc.
It may be helpful to remind each other occasionally that we agreed to these guidelines in order to create a healthy, loving relationship so we either stick with them, revise them or suffer the consequences.
If you are writing these IF-THENS for personal, instead of relationship guidelines, the process is the same. It is a good way to keep yourself on track when you are having internal struggles, conflicts, challenges or opportunities. The bottom line is to have procedures in place so that you gain confidence in yourself for having established sensible solutions for difficult situations that come up during your life.

You may want to add these to your Master Journal as a reminder of your agreements.

Click Here to print these Problem Solving Methods - PSM's: July 16, 2020, Rev. F

2.9) 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

click on image to download

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, and helps you to organize your time and limited resources so that you can attain your hopes and dreams.

A SMART goal is a carefully planned, clear and trackable objective. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. They are well defined targets that you intend to accomplish over an established period of time.

The Benefits of Goal Setting include:

1) Direction. First and foremost, goals give you a direction and a destination.
2) Starts you on your journey.
3) Clear focus on what is important.
4) Decision making experience.
5) Provides control of your future.
6) Increases motivation.
7) Bestows a sense of personal satisfaction and self-esteem.
8) Gives you a sense of purpose in life.
9) Provides a reward for personal achievement.
10) Improves your relationship with yourself and others.

Your goals should also correlate to your Personal Mission and Vision statement, something that will be addressed here before July 15 (that is the goal.)

Tool #1 - "Steps to Achieve your Goals" Goal Setting Method (SAG-GSM)

This tool is a forward looking process where you define the goals you want to achieve and then determine appropriate steps to reach those goals.

1. Write down all your goals and dreams.
2. Sort them into major and minor goals.
3. Which are Short term and long term.
4. Now determine which ones you want to focus on first, second and third. Choose one or two major and minor goals.
5. Use the SMART method when defining your top goals. Are they Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based
6. Write an action plan to achieve the first goal you've chosen. What steps do you need to take to get you there? When, where, how and why? I will exercise at least 4 days a week for 30 minutes at the gym using the treadmill, swimming pool and weights.
7. List the benefits. By exercising I will get healthier, look better and sleep more deeply.
7. Define a time frame for achieving the first goal(s) you want to work on. When will you start and how long will it take?
8. Visualize your self achieving the goal.
9. Start working on your goal. Realize that goals can compete with each other causing loss of focus.
10. Monitor and evaluate your progress.
11. Make changes and course corrections as required.
12. Achieve your goal or decide that it is no longer as important as you thought.
13. Congratulate yourself for the effort you put into this process, regardless of whether you achieved this goal or not.
14. Start working on your next goals.

For simple goals you can combine and connect new goals to existing habits.
Examples: After breakfast I will write in my gratitude and "morning pages" journal. Before starting dinner, my partner and I will spend 30 minutes of "quality time" together to discuss things on our minds.

If you want a simplified list of the goal setting process, here is a five step process:

1) List all your goals and then narrow them down into the top 5 major and top 5 minor goals.
2) Create the Overall Action Plan and then break it down into a daily/weekly "To-Do List" to reach one or two of these goals and stay focused until successful.
3) Put your plan into action and continue to monitor and evaluate the progress.
4) Learn from your successes and failures.
5) Celebrate the fact that you are finally working on your goals, dreams and visions.

Remember: A goal without a plan and action is just a wish.

Tool #2 - "How Did We Get Here" Goal Setting Method (HDWGH-GSM)

This tool is often used by businesses that want to reach certain goals, but individuals and couples can use it as well. It uses a backward looking process and imagines you have already achieved the goal.

1. You start with a goal, or several goals and imagine that you have achieved these goals in a matter of days, weeks, months or years.
2. Now work backwards and write down the imaginary steps and actions that you took to achieve the stated goals/vision/mission. Use both imagination and logic.
You can merely write them the steps down or put them in a flow chart. This is the beginning of your action plan.
3. Analyze and make corrections to the rough draft of your action plan and add more detailed steps.
4. Keep adding, subtracting and modifying the steps. Refine it by going from Rev. A to Revision E or higher.
Our theory in creating excellent "Final Articles" is to begin with your "first article", which would likely get you a low grade in school, and revise and refine it about a dozen times in order to get a high grade. Sometimes, presenting it before it is truly refined can be helpful when you present it as a "work in progress" and request feedback and assistance in order to accelerate realization.
5. When ready, you can implement your action plan(s) and start solving your issues and reaching your goals, hopefully creating more peace, love and harmony in your life.

This GSM can be used to create action plans to achieve many types of goals: Love Goals, Relationship Goals, Occupational Goals, Spiritual Goals, Financial Goals, Personal Growth Goals, etc.

There are many ways to achieve the goals you have established so make sure to be creative and write down as many possible paths you can think of in order to reach your goal(s). Choose which are the best paths and begin your journey. Be sure to keep monitoring and correcting as you go.
Good Luck on your travels!

Tool #3 - Warren Buffet's "Not To Do" Goal Setting Method (NTD-GSM)

Warren Buffett's secret to success is intense focus: instead of doing more, do less.
His philosophy is that in order to reach your goals, you need to do three things.
1) Write down your 25 top goals, and then circle the 5 most important.
2) Put the top 5 into their own list and goals 6-25 become the 'not to do' list.
3) Ignore everything on the 'not to do' list until you've achieved your top 5.

The beauty of this approach is that it keeps you focused on what is most important in your life. It may be that you did not even realize some of the things that are very important to you. Introspection can be a very useful tool. Introspection is the examination of your thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection is based on observation of your mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul.
By analyzing what is most important to you, you are also discovering your Personal Mission and Vision statement and learning more about yourself and your dearest values and beliefs.

Tool #4 - "Flow Chart" Goal Setting Method (FC-GSM)

Click Here to print this Goal Setting Flow Chart : July 9, 2020, Rev. B

Similar to Tool #10 in the Flow Chart Problem Solving Methods, Flow Charts can be used to diagram the Goal Setting process and help create a graphic map of the goals you want to achieve. They create visual action plans for achieving the results and goals you establish.

You don't actually have to write inside each geometric shape since the steps you need to write down are often several sentences. Using this form you can write a brief one or two word note to show the goal or action for each shape and then have a detailed page which goes into expanded details for each stage in your Flow Chart.

If you create your own Flow Chart you can go into greater detail and then draw the shape around the words you have written afterwards. Thus if you have numerous actions for each goal you are not limited to the one or two rectangles shown on the blank flow chart shown here. You may need several sheets of paper laid side by side in order to create this larger road map but you can tape them together if you want.

From Left to Right:

Goals in Diamonds
Skills / Education required in Squares
Actions in Rectangles
Time Frame in Triangles
Potential Difficulties in Ovals
Review, Measure and Learn in Hexagons
Reward yourself / Celebrate in Circles

After achieving some of your major and minor goals you may want to revisit your goals and see if they are still the same. Has the priority changed for any of them?

Tool #5 - "To Do Lists" Goal Setting Method (TDL-GSM)

Using To Do lists can help you focus on your day to day tasks as well as your loftier "major" goals. They help you get more things done each day than if you just keep the list in your head.
They can be used as both a carrot and a stick, a reward and a reminder to stay on track.
They are also a memory tool so you don't forget to follow through on your promises to yourself and others.

You may want to create 3 or more lists: One for Personal daily tasks, One for Relationships goals, One for Work or Education, One for Major and Minor Goals, One for Personal Growth goals, etc.

1) Create 3 sections on each list: A - High Priority, B - Moderate Priority & C - Low Priority.
2) Write down the items you want to get done into each section.
3) Put a star next to the ones that you really need to stay focused on today / soon.
4) During the day, add a check mark next to the ones you actually worked on today.
5) Put a line through the items that you actually completed and won't be required to do again on future days.

You do not have to complete each item every day, you just need to be able to see that you are making progress on your highest priority items. For example, one of your moderate priority items may be to relax or play for 30 minutes each day. Perhaps you spend only 15 minutes de-stressing in the morning. You can add a check mark next to that item. If later in the day you relax for another 15 minutes then you can cross that item off your list or just add another check mark.
You might only cross items off the list that are "one time" items, for instance a doctor appointment.

Maybe you want to write your "morning pages" in your journal every day. You can add a check mark next to that item on the days you did that. Over time you might have many check marks and it becomes a visual reward that you are spending time on issues that truly matter to you. It also shows you a graphic of items that you are not focusing on, which is fine if they are low priority items.

You may be able to use one to-do lists for several days or longer, or you can re-write them as they get cluttered. Whatever works for you is the most important point. Maybe you have a section in your journal where you write them down instead of on loose pieces of paper. In that journal you may also record your goals and action plans in another section, create a daily gratitude section, golden life moments section, and personal mission statement section. We will soon go into more detail on these other sections that could become part of your master journal that helps you grow your relationships, your successes and your happiness.

Click Here to print these Goal Setting Methods - GSM's: July 9, 2020, Rev. B

More GSM's to be posted soon.

2.10) Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues

After learning about various tools available for personal and relationship problem solving, it is helpful to understand and comprehend what each tool actually does and where it is most useful in the problem solving process. As you may recall, their are 14 or more steps to solving problems.

1. Define the Problems / Issues. Is it the Right Problem to Solve?
2. Prioritize the Problems. Which do you want to tackle first? A major one or a minor one?
3. State and check your Assumptions.
4. Collect and Analyze Information and Facts.
5. Determine the Root Cause(s) of the Problem.
6. Develop an estimated / desired Time Frame to work on the problem, start testing and trials, and to begin implementation.
7. Utilize several Problem Solving Methods (PSM's).
8. Develop Alternative Solutions.
9. Evaluate Alternatives by examining the potential Benefits and Consequences (Pro's and Con's) of each one.
10. Select a Solution.
11. Implement the Solution.
12. Monitor, Review and Evaluate the Progress.
13. Learn from the Outcome.
14. Adjust by trying Corrections and Alternate Solutions until the Desired Goal is Achieved.

The PSM's have been aligned with the corresponding stages of the problem solving process in which they may be most beneficial. Also realize that some of the PSM's listed below may be applicable in several steps of the problem solving process. Just because they are listed in one phase doesn't exclude them from being helpful for other steps also.

1) Define the Problems and Issues.

The Personal / Relationship Questionaire (Analysis Tool #1) from section 2.3 can help expose and identify specific issues for you to work on. Section 2.4 thru 2.6 (Analysis Tools #2 - #4) may also help identify more broad areas that can be improved. Section 2.7 "Identifying Areas for Improvement" helps you sort out and refine the analysis from sections 2.3 thru 2.6

PSM Tool #5 - "In Their Shoes" Problem Solving Method (ITS-PSM) may be useful to uncover current and past issues that can then be analyzed and prioritized to discover the root cause.

PSM Tool #9 - "Golden Rule & Love Your Neighbor" Problem Solving Method (GRLYN-PSM) may be useful to uncover current and future issues that can then be analyzed and prioritized to develop an action plan.

2) Prioritize the Problems and Issues.

PSM Tool #2 - "Index Card" Problem Solving Method (IC-PSM) is a useful way to order the issues from major to minor. Do you want to start working on a major issue or a minor issue.

3) Determine the Root Cause of the Problem.

PSM Tool #1 - "The 5 Whys" Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Tool / Problem Solving Method (5W-PSM)
The 5 Whys is very useful for determining the root cause of a problem. It will likely expose 3+ other issues/symptoms that might need to be addressed. Once you know the root cause, you know what the real source of the problem is.

PSM Tool #7 - "What Has Happened" Problem Solving Method (WHH-PSM)
This tool is useful to help individuals and couples understand how they ended up in the situation they find themselves in, how you actually got to where you are now.
You may notice that this PSM is similar to the "5 Whys" except that it lists all the issues and does not address just one particular problem to determine the exact sequence of events and root cause. Thus, this method brings to the surface all of the issues so that you can see "what has happened" and why. You can dig deeper and use the "5 Whys" on the most problematic issues found to determine the root cause(s).

4. Collect and Analyze Information, Feelings and Facts.

PSM Tool #8 - "Numbers In A Bowl" game / Problem Solving Method (NIAB-PSM)
Similar to PSM #7, this PSM allows you to analyze what you have discovered and sort out which questions and answers seem to provide the best insight and relevance to the problem and solution you are working on. It sheds light on both feelings and facts. You may want to prioritize them by importance so that you can go into deeper analysis on the top issues.

5) Develop Alternative Solutions.

PSM Tool #3 - "Alternative Solutions" Problem Solving Method (AS-PSM) is a basic brainstorming method using both the right and left brain to come up with possible solutions.

PSM Tool #6 - "The Six Thinking Hats" Problem Solving Method (6TH-PSM) allows you to approach the issue from 5 different types of thinking in order to develop alternative solutions.

PSM Tool #12 - "Trial & Error" Problem Solving Method (T&E-PSM)
The Trial and Error PSM allows you to experiment with different approaches to solving problems until you find the best methods for each particular issue.

PSM Tool #13 - "IF-THEN" Problem Solving Method (IT-PSM)
By creating IF-THEN scenarios and guidelines, it can help establish positive solutions to issues, challenges and opportunities that may come up in your day to day life.

Both Tool #12 and 13 can be applied in the Implementation Phase also. Essentially they can be used to both develop possible solutions and to implement them.

6) Review the Alternative Solutions and Choose the Best Ones.

PSM Tool #4 - "What If" Problem Solving Method (WI-PSM)
Play the what if game. What if we did this, What if we did that? Then what might happen? Which solutions provides the best outcome with the least amount of complications and consequences?

7) Implement the Solution(s) and Monitor, Evaluate, Learn and Adjust the Progress.

PSM Tool #10 - "Flow Chart" Problem Solving Method (FC-PSM)
Flow Charts can be used to diagram the problem solving process and help create a more visual map of the issues you want to analyze and solve. You can use these in conjunction with nearly all the PSM's presented, or just start working on a Flow Chart from scratch. Flow Charts are useful to create visual Action Plans for solving the issues you have chosen to work on.

8) Celebrate Successes and Learn from Failures. Determine Additional Problems and Goals to Conquer.

Repeat the problem solving process until you have solved your major issues. You may want to be working on your goals and vision statement simultaneously by utilizing the GSM's from section 2.9: 5+ Goal Setting Tools and Strategies to Establish Goals and Action Plans

2.12) Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships

Click Here to print this Implementation Plan Flow Chart : July 12, 2020, Rev. A

When you have completed the identification, evaluation and analysis phase, and created your action plan(s) you are now ready to implement and apply your plan to improve and enhance your life and your relationships.

In review, your Vision and Mission statements are the overall "Grand Picture", the airplane view. These are your loftiest goals, the dream you have for your life.
The Action Plan (AP) is the "Big Picture", the bird's eye view of the forest. It utilizes the information learned from the identification, evaluation and analysis phase and combines them with the actions required to solve your problems and reach your goals. It provides a guideline to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.
The Implementation Plan (IP) is the "Specific Picture", the detailed view of the trees from the ground. It is where "the rubber meets the road". It takes the actions from the action plan and breaks them down into the steps you will take to complete your plan and realize your vision. It describes the actual roads you will take on your journey that will get you to your destination.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu
Remember to embrace and enjoy the journey. View it with positivity, curiousity and hope. It may not even matter if you ever reach your "destination", as long as you are motivated, grateful and joyful during the journey. In the end you may well discover that the journey is more important to your happiness than the destination. There is a saying that states "A gold medal (or a million dollars, or a championship ring) may be a wonderful thing, but if you are not enough without it, you will not be enough with it. Be who you are before you acquire the things that you think will make you who you are".

How should you start? What actions did you determine are needed from the Problem Solving Methods (PSM) or Goal Setting Methods (GSM) and what time frame did you decide for each action? What actions have the highest priority? Do the actions need to begin at the same time or should each action come in phases dependent upon review and success or failure of the prior actions? How will the people who are involved in your implementation plan likely to respond? Are they even aware of your attempt to enact this new direction? Do they need to be involved or advised?
Be aware of some of the obstacles to implementing your plan such as creating a plan that is unachievable or impractical, not thoroughly thought out, overly focused on immediacy or not reviewed often enough. As you can see, there are many things to consider in creating successful Action Plans and Implementation Plans.

Creating and Applying an Implementation Plan - For both Problem Solving and Goal Setting.

A) Choose the actions you want to address first:

1. List the actions you want to focus on. Perhaps you decided upon some actions you want to take after using some of the Problem Solving Methods or Goal Setting Methods? If you created an Action Plan (Section 2.8 - PSM Tool #10) or Goals (Section 2.10 - GSM Tool #4) you can use the ones you listed there.
2. Organize and prioritize the actions.
3. Re-check your assumptions and biases to ensure you are open-minded and thinking clearly regarding these issues and actions.
4. Are there any other actions that you might need to consider prior to implementation?
5. What time frame did you establish for each action? When does each start and how long might each take to complete?
6. Have you considered the potential difficulties and consequences (the cons) for each action?
7. Have you considered the potential opportunities and benefits (the pros) for each action?

B) Determine the steps required to complete each action:

8. Who are the people involved in each step?
9. Do you need to advise or get help from any of the significant parties that will be involved or affected prior to implementing each step?
10. Consider how you want to start each step and the potential reactions.
11. What is your plan for addressing these potential responses (course reinforcements or corrections)? You may want to utilize the If-Then PSM. IF the response you are getting is positive, THEN you will proceed by doing specific subsequent steps. If it is negative, what will you do then?
12. List all the steps and information you have developed and create your Implementation Plan and IP Flow Chart (FC-IP).

C) Review your Implementation Plan (IP) and Start the Implementation:

13. Review the Implementation Plan (IP) you have created and determine if any changes are needed.
14. Believe in your IP and stay focused and motivated during the implementation. Although committed, remain flexible.
15. You may want to consider trying a few test trials prior to implementation. The Trial & Error PSM Tool #12 may be useful at this stage.
16. Now that you have confidence in your IP, as Nike would say, Just Do It.
17. Monitor, review, and evaluate the results you are perceiving.
18. Make necessary course adjustments or determine if you need to abandon a particular action and move on to another.
19. Celebrate the fact that you actually implemented your plan. Excellent Job! You need to create a Certificate of Excellence award for yourself for putting in all this research and effort to improve your life. Reward yourself. It does not even matter if your initial plan is a success or needs adjustments. The bottom line is you instituted action in an attempt to align your life with your vision and mission statements. That is how life gets better for those that choose to direct it instead of letting life steer them. Do you want to be the driver or the passenger?

If you have gotten this far, you are performing all the steps necessary to give yourself the highest possibility for success. Regardless of the outcome, you understand the risks, the rewards, your vision and the fact you are learning and using all sorts of life skills that will undoubtably benefit you for the rest of your life. Knowledge is power. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Success is using wisdom to improve and beautify your life.
"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." - Ray Bradbury

For both Problem Solving and Reaching Goals, the Implementation Plan (IP) looks something like this:

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2.12) 10 Types of Intimacy

There are many types of intimacy: emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, creative/fun, sexual, athletic, artistic, amusement, meditative and more.
Intimacy is linked with feelings of closeness among partners in a relationship. If closeness is drifting apart, focusing on intimacy can be very beneficial. If you are unable to develop or restore intimacy, your relationship will likely face increasingly serious challenges.

1. Emotional intimacy is a key component to a happy marriage. It is about becoming best friends, sharing secrets, desires, wants and needs. It is you nurturing them and them nurturing you with a deep understanding of feelings and the need for emotional support. It is giving them daily compliments and telling them how much you love them. How successful you are at this intimacy is directly related to your E.Q. - Emotional Intelligence as opposed to I.Q., which is more useful for Intellectual Intimacy. Working on improving your E.Q. can be quite helpful in a relationship. There are many resources online to guide your training.
Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ - Daniel Goleman) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, utilize motivation to overcome challenges, defuse conflict, accept valid criticism and improve your social skills.

2. Physical intimacy is about soft caresses and touches. It is holding hands, kisses goodbye and hello, massages and shoulder rubs, cuddling during sleep and the need to be close to each other. It is also fun activities such as darts, table tennis, video games, hiking, talking walks and playing games with each other. The key is that you get to enjoy each others company, just as good friends do. What type of activities do you enjoy together?

3. Intellectual intimacy is the sharing of thoughts and ideas, hopes and concerns, hobbies, skills, goals, plans and values. You should also discuss how you want to raise your children, schooling decisions, and considerations such as financial management and how to address structuring time with the in-laws. It is spending attentive quality time talking about daily issues, opportunities and fun stuff, perhaps during afternoon tea or while enjoying a cool beverage.

4. Spiritual intimacy involves practicing and discussing your spiritual and religious needs and differences. Which type of worship or religious organization might be appropriate. Do you want to spend time doing a spiritual study together? What key concepts might you want to learn about first? Perhaps the Golden Rule which is observed by nearly every religion :) How often each day do you want to pray? How might you involve yourselves and your children in prayer? Perhaps before meals and before turning out the light at night, as a start? There is a popular saying, "the family that prays together, stays together."
Are you willing to learn about other religions and attempt to understand their value, meaning and essence or would that be a threat to you? Are you familiar with the 3 Abrahamic religions?

5. Creative intimacy is where you try new things and go to different places. Maybe you enjoy listening to music together. You could plant a vegetable garden or plant flowers. Perhaps you surprise your loved one with a special gift or flowers on days other than Valentine's day. Maybe you give them a hand written love letter or write a poem. Go on a picnic, enjoy being in nature, bird and wildlife watching, watch a sunset or sunrise, go to the park, beach, lake or river. The idea is to keep fun alive in your relationship and enjoy each others company.

6. Sexual intimacy often gets much of the attention during the early stages of any passionate romantic relationship. The real concern is after the infatuation stage cools down, how do you continue towards a more relaxed intimacy? Some couples get overly worried that because the passion is less intense your relationship might be in jeopardy. Could you drift apart? That is where the other intimacies really create common ground and prop up your relationship. Successful relationships still have plenty of passion even after the infatuation stage has passed. With mutual understanding, communication and teamwork, your relationship can remain romantically passionate while adding other intimacies to make it more balanced and enjoyable. In fact, as you develop the other intimacies, passion can actually improve in ways you had not anticipated.

7. Athletic intimacy is based upon exercise and sports. You can try yoga or work-out together at home or at the gym. Choose a sport that you both like or learn one together. Some options include: jogging, tennis, golf, badminton, table tennis, soccer/football, cricket, basketball, field hockey, skiing, bowling, bicycling or dancing.

8. Artistic intimacy involves addressing your artistic desires such as creating arts and crafts projects, drawing, painting, watercolor, sketching, ceramics, cooking, jewelry making, photography/film making, writing or playing musical instruments. You may want to take some online or in-person classes. You might be saying to yourself, "I don't have that kind of talent or creativity". Our reply is that you need to have more faith in yourself. You are amazing in many, many ways and creativity is probably one of your skills. Art can be learned just like reading and writing. We know because we previously thought we could not learn to draw either. After reading Betty Edwards book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" we discovered that not only did we learn to draw, we were meditating and improving our intuition simultaneously since those are also right brain activitities. The real reason that we utilized this book was because we really wanted to improve our intuition, not because we wanted to draw. Intuition improved immediately. We started doing what we "knew" we should do instead of going against our intuition and suffering the consequences. Hopefully the same intuition growth can happen for you also, however you get there.

9. Amusement or Entertainment intimacy is just what it sounds like, finding ways to entertain yourselves together so that boredom does not take hold of your relationship. Maybe you enjoy going to concerts, plays, museums, parties, sporting events, casinos, amusement parks, the movie theater, the zoo, the fair, the science center, doing puzzles, scrap-books, volunteering to watch another couples children so they can have some time alone, volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or nursing home. Help someone in need. Create a bucket-list and pick one activity to do every week or so.

10. Meditative intimacy is both a relaxation, stress reduction technique and a partnership building method. By helping each other improve your meditative abilities it will likely open doorways to an area of your soul that you have not worked on before. Meditation can help you get in touch with your subconscious, your intuition and your spiritual nature. It is hard to put it into words until you experience it. At first you will both find it difficult to stay focused and not get distracted with random thoughts such as "what else do I need to add to the shopping list". After you have spent 5-10 minutes practicing, it is fun to ask your partner how many times they got distracted and what thoughts were popping into their head. That is normal but with practice you can reach greater depths and last for perhaps 30 or 60 minutes or more, assuming you can schedule that amount of time for yourselves. There are many apps that offer soothing sounds such as a soft flowing stream or waves at the beach to help you relax. Science has proven that meditation / stress reduction techniques can be a great benefit to your health and to your relationship whether you practice alone or together. Unfortunately many cultures have not yet come to comprehend this benefit. How do you think monks get so wise and peaceful? Here are several quotes from the Dalai Lama.
"Love is the absence of judgment."
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster."
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
"Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other."

In conclusion, you might want to agree to enjoy 3-5 or all 10 intimacies. Each partner should pick their top activities and compromise so that each of you gets to enjoy your favorites with each other, even when their favorites may not be your top choices. You will probably discover that they are more fun than you expected, especially because you are doing them with your best friend. And maybe some of their top picks are also some of yours. That is an extra bonus.

Click Here to print the "10 Types of Intimacy" : June 29, 2020, Rev. B

2.13) 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make

"The 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make and How to Avoid Them"
by Dr. Arthur Freeman and Rose DeWolf

The following is a list of 10 mistakes almost all of us have or will make. We have summarized our interpretations of each chapter below along with a few additional comments and the "Serenity Prayer". Hopefully you can learn something from these lessons that helps your relationships and your improves your life.

1. Chicken Little Syndrome.
In the Chicken little syndrome Chicken Little is hit on the head by a nut falling from a tree and immediately thinks the sky is falling. In the same way people jump to all sorts of catastrophic conclusions and irrational thinking without a second thought. Blowing things out of proportion can cause all sorts of stress and make finding solutions nearly impossible.

2. Mind reading.
Mind reading is one of the most dearly held illusions. We assume we know what others are thinking and that others should know what we are thinking. "I don't have to tell him, he knows" is an all-too-common remark and one that has a way of leading to conflict and disappointment. Often it turns out that he not only doesn't know, he doesn't even know you think he should know.

3. Personalizing.
Some people seem to take everything personal. They interpret many comments as a personal attack against them. As a result they tend to feel very angry and resentful much of the time and have a hard time working in a group. In this light, advice and constructive criticism do need to be applied in a sensitive manner.

4. Believing your Press Agent.
This is a common failure of the famous but quite ordinary folks who have family, friends and an internal press agent to glorify them fall victim to it also. It can cause self-righteousness and cause one to be over-bearing and unwilling to cooperate. It also involves among other things, believing that success in one area automatically translates to success in other areas without a need for the same effort that led to the first success.

5. Believing or Inventing your Critics.
This mistake is the direct opposite of believing your press agent. It can be just as troublesome but in a different way. To accept without debate anyone who criticizes you, or to assume that others are criticizing you without bothering to determine if that is really true, or how qualified those critics are to judge you. "What Sally says about Suzy says more about Sally than it does about Suzy".

6. Perfectionism.
This is the desire to be perfect in all things. Sounds quite admirable and no one would deny that it's smart to set high standards for yourself, however perfectionism becomes dumb when the standards you set are so high that you could never meet them nor can anyone else meet your unrealistic standards.

7. Comparisonitis.
To compare and contrast is a respectable way of analyzing differences but people often get into trouble by focusing only on negative comparisons of themselves to others, or by accepting negative comparisons of themselves made by others. This is very discouraging and usually inaccurate.

In our view, comparing yourself to others can cause quite a few problems. It is unhealthy to think you are better or worse than others. There will always be people better looking than you, richer than you, more successful than you. What really matters is how happy and how much love and success you have in your life. Those are the types of issues you should be working on improving instead of either boasting about how much better or complaining how much worse you are than other people. For all you know, the people you are comparing yourself to may not be nearly as happy as you imagine them to be, and even if they are, who cares. It is growing your happiness and success that you need to stay focused on.

8. "What if" thinking.
Worry worry worry. That's what "what if thinking" is all about. It's worrying about things that don't exist or are highly improbable. And it is worrying about real threats to success, health and happiness to a degree that diminishes your power to deal with them, instead of increasing your coping power.

Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
(Although known most widely in its abbreviated form above, the entire prayer reads as follows...)
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

9. The imperative should. (coulda, woulda, shoulda)
Should is an ordinary everyday word except when it is used to indicate an order that may not be refused. Then should becomes a finger waving under the nose. This imperative says don't you dare deviate by as much as a millimeter or you'll be sorry, you'll feel guilty, you'll feel ashamed. Should users build prison cells for themselves. They are so focused on what they or others should do or should have done in the past, they cannot think about what they can do, or what they might try in the future.

10. Yes but-ism.
The yes-but person always manages to find a negative that outweighs any positives. They tend to get in their way and the way of others, and can demean and alienate others, stirring up arguments and anger. They seldom look at situations from the other person's perspective. Everyone else seems against them while they and their press agents are the only ones who can see clearly. They refuse to look in the mirror and tend to be judgmental and unforgiving.

In summary, most of us have experienced some, if not all of these mistakes. Also be aware that many of these mistakes can combine in particular situations or relationships, compounding the problems and making it that much harder to reach workable solutions. Try to identify the ones that are holding you back and work to fix them. It will likely improve your life and help you find success, love, peace and happiness.

We have decided to add one more mistake to the list:
11. Forgetting to be grateful. Gratitude is extremely important to your happiness and success in life. When you forget to be grateful, you stop seeing the positive factors in your life, the factors that make life worth living. Many people keep a "gratitude journal" where they write 5 things they are grateful for each day. Usually the first item on the list is being given another day to write down your gratitude. Even if you don't write them in a journal, merely thinking of 5 things you are grateful for each day can improve your outlook on life and make you aware of how many things you do have going for you.
"Who is rich? The one who appreciates what he has."
"Who is wise? The one who learns from every person."

2.14) Deep Friendships

Friendships are one of the most important relationships you will have during your life, along with family and marriage relationships. In fact, friendship is a key to happiness in both marriage and family relationships. If you are not good friends with your spouse and your family members, you probably don't have a good relationship with them. Thus it is important to understand the different types of friendships and focus on developing "true friendships" whenever possible.

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

The dictionary defines friendship as "the state of being friends".

The definition of friendship as defined by Wikipedia is much better:

"Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.
Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection; kindness, love, virtue, sympathy, empathy, honesty, altruism, loyalty, generosity, forgiveness, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other's company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. Friendship is an essential aspect of relationship building skills."

Aristotle put great emphasis on the value of friendship. He writes about it as a special possession and a necessity to a happy life.
"What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies."

"In poverty as well as in other misfortunes, people suppose that friends are their only refuge. And friendship is a help to the young, in saving them from error, just as it is also to the old, with a view to the care they require and their diminished capacity for action stemming from their weakness; it is a help also to those in their prime in performing noble actions, for 'two going together' are better able to think and to act."

3 types of friendships:
He also said you will experience three different types of friendship. One of them, true friendship, is the type of friendship that is valued above the other two. The others are not considered bad or undesired, they are also a part of life, but true friendship is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It creates a bond with another living soul that is invaluable, altruistic and treasured.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson states:

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another."

Aristotle explained his three types of friendship in book VIIII of his ethics masterpiece, Nichomachean Ethics, based upon the works of his mentors, Plato and Socrates, 2400 years ago. The three friendships are: Utility, Pleasure & Goodness (true friendship), in ascending order of worthiness. The first two kinds of friendship are accidental, because in these cases friends are motivated by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the other person. Both of these kinds are often short-lived because the needs and pleasures of each person change over time.

1) Friendships of "Utility"; Self-interested friendship; friendship common for adults

These are the types of friendships where either one or both parties want something from the other. It may be access to other people, access to money, power, social status, reputation or other things of value. It may also be merely to escape loneliness or to become part of the in-crowd they want to join. It tends to be intellectual in nature. This type of friendship is often manipulative and may not last long. Whenever the benefit ends, so does the friendship. Aristotle noted this to be more common in adults. Many of us have experienced this type of friendship at one time or another. An example would be at college or a work relationship. You may enjoy the time you spend together, but once the situation changes, the relationship is over. If the "friendship" was manipulative, eventually most people realize they were being used and the relationship will end, sometimes with severe anger and resentment.

2) Friendships primarily for "Pleasure"; friendships for a moment in time; friendships common for children and younger people

This type of friendship can be very enjoyable while it lasts. It is emotional in nature. You probably remember these types of good times when you were a child or in your teens. You had friends that made you laugh, had sleep-overs with and went to parties, social functions or were on the same sports team. All everyone wants is to have a good time and forget any problems they may be experiencing. Before long though you realize that some of these friends are shallow and not there for you when you need help with your problems. They are off having a good time with others that will not "bring them down". All of us have most likely had this type of friendship. It is a normal part of life until we grow more mature and realize that we need more than just frivolous pleasure; we need meaning and purpose in our lives. We need people we can count on to be there for us when we need them and vice-versa. That leads us to the third type of friendship.

3) Friendships based on "Goodness" and virtue; True friendships; friendships that last a lifetime

The third type of Aristotle's friendships is the one you hope to find and nurture, a near perfect friendship. It is the rarest of all friendships. True friends like this don't come around very often unless you are willing to search them out and give them reciprocal friendship in return. How many friends do you have that would loan you their last dollar? How many will be there when you need a shoulder to cry on? Research suggests you might have hundreds of "friends" on social media, dozens of friends in your neighborhood, but only about two true friends at any given time in your life.

These are the friends who truly appreciate you for who you are, in good times and bad. They are there to support and encourage you in your times of despair, sickness and grief. These friends are not trying to always get something of value from you. It is their personality and inner qualities that attract you to these good friends. They care about you and want you to grow and find happiness. This is actually the type of friendship you also want in a romantic relationship or long-term marriage. They take effort, understanding and patience. A friend like this is worth their weight in gold. You can not put a price on this type of friendship and you certainly can't buy one. It comes from kindness and compassion.

True friendship is stable and are only possible between good, virtuous, honorable and mature people. He believed this type of true friendships are rare because there are very few good people. But this raises the question, is he right? Are there really so few good people that true friendships are nearly impossible to develop?

Accordingly he believed that a person must first love himself, in order to be able to give true love or friendship. Good people want to do good to themselves but they also want other people to be happy and successful. Thus it takes two virtuous people in order to create a union that can become a mutually beneficial and pleasurable friendship. People cannot bond together for long if they are not pleasant and do not enjoy the same things and have similar values, as friends who are companions seem to do. Goodness is an enduring quality, so friendships based on goodness tend to be long lasting.

Both individuals involved in a friendship of the good must value giving love over being loved, and as such, their relationship will be based predominantly around loving the other person and wanting what is good for them. Each, then, both loves what is good for themself, and makes an equal return in goodwill and in pleasantness; for friendship is said to be equality, and both of these are found most in the friendship of the good.
To be a self-actualized person, in the Aristotelian sense, you need to master the art of friendship. Abraham Maslow put "friends" in the middle level of his self-actualization pyramid but it appears Aristotle would have placed it near the top of the pyramid, believing that friendships of the good (only achievable through virtue) were a key to happiness and success.

If you can develop true friendships, you also get the best of the other two friendships as well. You receive mutual benefits/utility and pleasure. The times you spend together are rewarding at all levels. By combing the virtues of two good people, you amplify the possibility of achieving even greater heights by being engaged in this amazingly beneficial friendship. Aristotle believed that virtuous relationships are what make life worth living. Do you agree?

Aristotle insists the highest good, happiness, is achieved through virtuous activity and is not something that comes to us by chance. Although we must be fortunate enough to have parents and fellow citizens who help us become virtuous, we ourselves share much of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising our virtues.
It is up to us to develop ethical virtues (temperance, courage, empathy and so on), and also intellectual virtues (education, knowledge, practical wisdom {understanding the way certain things are} and theoretical wisdom {understanding why things are a certain way}, etc.).

How to identify if a person has virtue and may be a candidate for a true friend

If you want to know if someone has virtue, observe how they treat others, not just how they treat you or the ones they care about. Do they treat others with love, kindness and respect or do they treat others poorly. Do they routinely say mean and nasty things about others? What they say about others is merely a reflection of how they see themselves. Think of the bullies you have known for example. How much virtue did they possess? Young bullies usually use their above average size, strength or "popularity" status to bully and belittle others. Adult bullies tend to abuse their power, money and social status to dominate others and get their way. They believe that everyone that disagrees with them are inferior and deserves their self-righteous wrath. They often have "Narcissistic Personality Disorder".

People without empathy and maturity can seldom develop true friendship because it takes commitment and trust over time to create such relationships. People with limited virtues tend to be more interested in instant gratification, pleasure, ego and what they can get from you. They are takers, not givers.

"The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good." - novelist Paul Eldridge 1948
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." - Malcolm S. Forbes 1972
"The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back." - Abigail Van Buren 1974
"Friend or Phony?: The best way to judge an individual is by observing how he treats people who can do him absolutely no good." - Ann Landers 1977

Warning signs that it may be time to end or reduce time spent with a friend:
They don't respect your feelings, boundaries, time, values or goals. They seldom ask how you are doing or reach out to you. They blame everything on you. They never take responsibility. It is never their fault. All they ever talk about is themselves. They only call you when they need something or when it is convenient for them. They have jealousy issues. They criticize you or belittle you. They try to make you feel guilty. They violate your trust.
If you have fake friends that are doing these things to you, it may be time to confront them and let them know these things are becoming an issue, or it may be time to find true friends.

If you decide to end a friendship you can gradually start distancing yourself by responding less often to their calls or texts. You can have less one-on-one time together. You can let them know that you have other issues that you need to attend to and that you won't have as much time for them as before. You can be straight forward and advise them that due to some of the things that have happened recently, perhaps trust, reliability, criticism or boundary issues, you are not ready to re-establish that trust right now. Instead of blaming them, merely advise them that you need some time to think things over. There is a phrase, "It's not about you, it's about me, and things I am going through right now." In reality, "it takes two to tango" and regardless of who is mostly at fault it may be time to solve the issues or move on.

Friendships, Justice and Long Lasting Societies

On a final note regarding Aristotle. He believed that it is through friendship that cities and societies are held together. Those with the moral virtue to develop relationships of goodness are a major part of this, but friendships of utility and pleasure are also needed since friendships of virtue are rare. It is the friendships of utility and pleasure that keep the city or nation together. But it takes the character of those with virtue for a solid long lasting unified nation to survive. It requires exceptional leadership, guidance, wisdom and unity (friendship). Without virtue, societies divide, enter into civil war and fail. It nearly happened in the United States in the early 1860's. From a historical perspective the average lifespan of a democracy is about 200 years. With wise and virtuous leaders and empowered citizens they can likely last much longer.

Aristotle states in Book VIII, Chapter 1: "Between friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered to be justice in the fullest sense. It is not only a necessary thing but a splendid one". Aristotle bases his perception of justice on the conception of fair exchange, and does the same for friendship. Friendships of goodness are developed and sustained because each friend gives as much as they receive. Thus, justice and friendship are intertwined. Without them, unified societies collapse causing social, political and economic distress.

As Daniel Webster, the U.S. Secretary of State prophetically proclaimed in the late 1840's prior to the American civil war on slavery and racism: "Hold on my friends to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."

Friends are good for your health

Good friends are important to your health and well-being. Friends are there to celebrate good times and provide support during hard times. Friends reduce loneliness and give you the opportunity to prove to yourself and others that you have empathy and compassion. Studies have shown that people with healthy support networks tend to live longer and have reduced risk for medical issues such as high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, stroke and depression.
Friends also:

* Advance your feelings of meaning, belonging and purpose in life.
* Help you through traumas and grief such as the death of a loved one, break-ups, divorce, serious illness, job loss, mid-life crisis and aging.
* Reduce stress and depression by allowing you to release your emotions, and provide you with alternative advice.
* Increase your happiness, self-confidence and self-esteem.
* Provide occasional safety, food, financial or housing support in the event of a disaster.
* Support your efforts to reduce bad habits, such as heavy drinking, poor nutrition, smoking, gambling, or lack of physical activity.

Many adults have difficulties developing and maintaining good friendships. Remember that true friendships depend upon virtue and compassion by both parties in the relationship. You need to have virtue as much as they do. You can help each other by working together to nurture maturity and virtue.
Creating true friendships is sometimes even more difficult due to the hectic lives that many adults lead due to their jobs, financial responsibilities, social unrest (or war), natural disasters, famine, disease, medical issues, and taking care of their children and/or elderly parents. The problem can be even more challenging if they are a single parent. Thus developing joyful and supportive friendships is sometimes considered to be something that will have to wait until things calm down. The truth is that a good friend can help you relax and reduce your stress! The benefits of a good friend are worth the effort to develop and maintain these types of relationships.

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."
- Helen Keller

Developing new friendships

There are many ways for adults to find and develop new friendships. Meeting new people requires that you put forth some effort to go out and socialize. Some possible ideas include:

* Take classes at a community college or through your local Parks and Recreation offerings.
* Volunteer in your neighborhood at a charitable organization, church, youth or senior center, museum, etc.
* Join a fitness club or sports organization.
* Participate in school activities and events thus meeting other parents.
* Get to know the parents of your childrens friends.
* Go to parties, social gatherings, carnivals, parades, plays, community concerts, etc.
* Attend religious, community watch or special interest events: Walk-A-Thons or fund raising events for example.
* Join meet up groups like the Sierra Club, Botanical Clubs, Art clubs, etc.
* Join community groups in your neighborhood that play bingo, cards, dominoes, bridge, bunco, etc.
* Take your kids to the park or beach and meet other parents there.

When you find others who seem to have positive virtues and you find them interesting or perhaps you have similar interests and values, try to establish a relationship by inviting them to a party or asking them to join you for lunch, coffee, tea, wine or a beer. They may not always respond to your invitation initially but if you try to get to know them better over time you may find that they will warm up to you especially if you are patient and positive. People tend to attract others by showing their virtues and staying cheerful and positive. They tend to repel others when they are negative and critical.
Maybe you already know people in your network who you have just failed to evaluate as a potential friend? Maybe you have lost contact with a friend or relative who you could re-kindle a valuable relationship with? There is a decent chance they could use a good friend also.

Nurturing friendships

Recall the 3 types of friendships: Pleasure, Utility/Benefits and Goodness / True Friendship. If you want to make some new friends, just be aware of what type of friends you want and be cautious of people that might be trying to use you for their personal benefit. As long as you are aware of where they are coming from, it may reduce the likelihood of you getting hurt if and when you part ways.

To achieve true friendship, your relationship needs to be based on having fun together and offering each other support and compassion. Sometimes you are the one seeking support and sometimes it is your friend. If this support is not mutual it is unlikely it will develop into a true and lasting relationship. All too often we can get a bit self-centered and forget to give as much as we take. That is partly why true friendships are rare. A wise person once said it is better to give than to receive. Maybe they were thinking about true friendships?

Regarding the emotions, feelings and actions that lead to lasting friendships, the following are very important:

Show kindness and compassion.
Exhibit patience, tolerance and non-judgmental mindfulness.
Follow through on promises and commitments.
Be reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
Practice attentive listening skills.
Understand their boundaries and avoid crossing them.
Be available for them whenever possible.
Respect their time and support their values and goals.

"A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you."
- Elbert Hubbard

2.15) Family Relationships

Family relationships are one of the most important associations you may have in your life, along with romantic and friendship unions. The "richest" among us have satisfying relationships in all three types during our lives. They become a true and lasting treasure, more valuable than gold.
Family relations includes parents, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws and possibly adopted or foster children. The family circle may also include neglected neighborhood children, isolated elderly neighbors or just people in need of family love.
Hopefully some of the strongest and most supportive friendships you develop are with your spouse, children and family members but for those that are not that blessed, friendships with people within your local or virtual community may be enough to provide a meaningful and happy life.

Family relationships are extremely influential to the development of our personality, character, self-esteem, behavior, core beliefs and values. They provide five of the things we need most as children and young adults: love, belonging, support, discipline and guidance. One of the primary purposes of families is to develop the well-being of children and help them become well-functioning members of society. The other main purpose of course is to create a warm and secure home to share love and joy between family members, which everyone benefits from. Family members are often the only ones who are there to support us in our times of greatest need, both emotionally and financially.

The following are some of principal reasons human beings bond together as family units, just as many animals do in the animal kingdom:

1. Survival.
2. Food and shelter.
3. Protection and security.
4. Love.
5. Friendship.
6. To create a feeling of belonging and connectedness.
7. To provide guidance and education in order to become self-sufficient.
8. To provide discipline, rules, and guidelines of conduct in order to develop a character of quality.
9. To communicate core values and beliefs.
10. To provide support in times of need and despair.
11. To provide a safe haven in times of disasters.
12. To develop independence and interdependence.
13. To build self-confidence, self-esteem and a sense of identity.
14. To promote a balance between reading, writing, math, science and creativity (the arts).
15. To teach the importance of mutual trust and respect.
16. To teach the importance of diversity and tolerance.
17. To teach the importance of caring for the environment and mother earth.
18. To help understand our spirituality and position in our universe.

Essentially, the family unit has the opportunity to help the family members become not only happy and successful members of the family and society, but also necessary members of the planet in order to create paradise: "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All". Granted, human beings still have a long way to go to achieve peace on earth but by developing healthy relationships within our personal and family lives, and across the globe with all countries, peace will become a reality. Remember that a rising tide raises all ships and a sinking tide threatens all ships. Let's focus on working as a team in both our family relationships and our global relationships in order to create a world filled with love and peace. Shangri-La is within our reach but is up to us to get there.

How to best grow and nurture successful family relations:

Good family relationships don't just happen by chance. Just like successful and happy marriages and friendships they require communication, compassion, understanding, negotiation (give and take), tolerance, forgiveness, discipline, utility (mutual benefit) and pleasure.
There are many sayings about how to achieve a happy family such as "the family that plays together stays together", "the family that eats together stays together", "the family that talks together, walks together", the family that prays together stays together", "the family that gives together, lives forever" and "Families are like branches on a tree - We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one". What others can you add or create from your personal experience?

What are some of the ways to nurture a good family environment? Here are a few suggestions:

a) Try to involve everyone in family decisions as much as possible. Ask for input on family activities, vacations, birthday arrangements, social engagements and other important events. Having family meetings to discuss these topics can be quite beneficial. Let your children make some of their own choices when appropriate. Let them know that it is not always "my way or the highway".

b) Develop family rules and guidelines such as ways of treating each other with respect and compassion, observing established times for meals, homework, chores and play time. Also develop and communicate penalties for violating these rules. As children mature, whenever possible, attempt to get family input in developing these rules and guidelines. Remember when you were a kid and were forced to endure your parents rules without being able to have any say in the matter. This is a family unit, not an army unit. Your children want you to be both a loving parent and a friend. Without proper discipline you are neither. Children that grow up without discipline often have character flaws and are less likely to be happy as adults. It may be that they feel their parents didn't really care about them by letting them get away with whatever they wanted, or perhaps they were sent to a boarding school. Do avoid yelling and hitting them. Children that are raised in those hostile environments tend to yell at others, get into fights, become bullies, and show more aggressive behaviors than other children. Children usually do to others as you have done to them.

c) Help your older children to understand the reasons behind your rules and guidelines so you can earn their respect instead of demanding it. Be willing to admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness when you might have lost your temper or possibly been too over-bearing or did not show enough sensitivity to issues they may be facing. We are all human beings and none of us are perfect, including parents.

d) Establish household chores and rotate responsibilities daily or weekly to help train children on running a household and to instill discipline, responsibility and character. When possible, involve them in cooking, cleaning, household repairs, yard work and gardening. If you can involve them in volunteer activities such as picking up litter, walk-a-thons, helping out at a senior center, a children's hospital, a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, these activities will help them understand the importance of caring for the planet and having empathy and compassion for those less fortunate.

e) Use meal time and driving time to discuss daily events, activities and issues that have occurred for each family member. Allow each member to discuss whatever is on their mind and the highlights of their day. Discourage judgment and criticism by other members. Try to keep communications positive and supportive.

f) Encourage daily family fun and together time. You may want to set a time each day perhaps before or after dinner to play, go to the park, enjoy a game or sports activity, or discuss spiritual lessons. If things are too hectic during the week, at least spend some quality time on the weekends by taking hikes, a trip to the beach, lake, river or pool, enjoy a picnic lunch, play games or sports, go shopping or to a movie or sports event, etc.

g) Try to spend individual time with each family member each day. This includes both your spouse and children. Maybe there aren't always important topics to discuss each day but on the days where there are, it is important that you are there for them. They may not always want to talk even though you know something is bothering them (especially teenagers), but at least they know you care and are paying attention to them. When they do want to talk, give them your full attention and if you don't have answers to help them with their problems let them know you will try to research ways to help them.

h) Discuss family history and memories with each other. Many parents never really tell their kids how they meet each other and fell in love or how they were raised as children. Tell them what your parents were like and what your grandparents were like. What were some of their best features and some of the things you hope not to repeat from their parenting lessons. Where have they lived and what were their favorite things in life. Let your children tell you about some of their fondest memories / golden moments. You might be surprised at what they tell you. It may also provide you with clues on how to create more golden moments for them. Tell them some of the fondest memories you have about them. When they are old enough you may want to tell them about some of the struggles you had to help them through when they were young so that they can understand their emotional background and some of the challenges they overcame. They likely were never consciously aware they had those issues such as fears, immaturity, anger, temper tantrums, sibling jealousy, isolation, etc. Explain to them how they matured and overcame those challenges and turned into the fine young adult they have become. From personal experience, this happened to us and it was not only eye-opening, it was life-changing.

i) Encourage family members to support each other by acknowledging each others' special achievements and occasionally going to each others' significant events such as school band, choir or plays, sports events and scholastic award ceremonies. Recognize and discuss each others unique talents, strengths and abilities. No two children will have the same and each can benefit by being aware of the diversity within the family unit. Show appreciation for their successes by telling them how pleased you are with them and their accomplishments as often as you can. Use these moments to help boost their self-confidence, self-esteem and identity.

j) Ensure that everyone gets the hugs, kisses, hand-holding and the emotional support they need. Parents need these just as much as children. Pay close attention to others' moods and emotions and be responsive when it appears they may be struggling. They may be having problems with school classes, with teachers, bullies, friends, siblings and possibly with their own feelings and emotions. As they reach puberty, they may need support and guidance to understand the changes that are happening to their body, thoughts and emotions.

k) Try to create an "open door" environment so that your kids feel comfortable to discuss difficult issues such as peer pressure, social groups/cliques, "fitting in" at school, friendship issues, dating, sex, marriage, drugs and alcohol, etc.

How society benefits from healthy and loving families:

The benefits of raising a healthy family go far beyond those that you and your family members receive. They also help society by directly and indirectly reducing gang violence, murder, theft, vandalism, bullying, fighting, school shootings, sexual assault, rape, drugs, alcohol problems, teenage pregnancies, mental health issues, suicide, prejudice, discrimination, racism, gender inequality, religious intolerance, police / military / judicial corruption, white-collar crime, money laundering, civil / legal corruption (abuse of wealth), political corruption (abuse of power) and more.
Side question to ponder- Which harms society more: Blue-collar or White-collar criminals? Which lawbreakers have more influence on the emotional distress, direction, economics, and well-being of society?

In summary, the family relationship is amazingly critical, especially in the development of the youth of the world. What children learn from their family has lasting implications for their health and well-being as adults, as well as for society. By teaching them well and giving them the love and guidance they so badly need you greatly improve their chances to find lasting love and happiness for the rest of their lives. Show them by example how a happy family can flourish and encourage each member to reach their full potential. What they learn from trained and enlightened parents can help them create and nurture a happy family of their own someday. Thus you will get the future benefit of sharing in their happy and healthy lives. It becomes a win-win situation for all.

Coming soon:

2.16) Parenting and Child Development

2.17) Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements

Your personal and relationship vision and mission statements reveal your "top of the mountain" highest inspiration for what you hope to attain and become by using the best of your skills and talents. They describe what you want to be "when you grow up" and mature into the person (or relationship) of your dreams. If you find a soul mate who has similar vision and mission statements it can greatly improve your chances of achieving a loving and joyous relationship.

You may want to complete your personal vision and mission statements first before defining your relationship statements. The relationship statements may be completed prior to actually being in a relationship, just to help you clarify what type of person you are looking for. Merely use the same methods for developing your relationship statements as you use for your personal statements.

Stephen Covey, the author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" says your mission statement is about "defining the personal, moral and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself." Writing it down on paper makes it real.
Many businesses establish a Vision and Mission Statement and a corresponding business plan using measurable objectives.
To create a visual image, your vision is placed at the top of a pyramid. Below that is your mission statement. Beneath that are your 3-5 most important goals. Below your goals are your core beliefs and values. At the base of the pyramid are your skills, talents, educational training and childhood upbringing, all of which tend to contribute and define your core beliefs, perceptions and values. After your pyramid is completed, you can develop an action plan to help you achieve your goals and dreams.

A vision statement is a bit like an image of yourself which describes the current and future dreams and hopes for your life. The vision statement is intended as a guide to help you make decisions that correspond to your life philosophy and declared set of goals and values. Your vision statement (the big picture, your purpose in life) should align with your mission statement (a more detailed statement of how you will get there).

Key Elements of a Good Vision Statement:
1. Forward-looking.
2. Motivational and inspirational.
3. Reflective of your culture and core values.
4. Aimed at bringing you benefits and improvements in the future.
5. Defines your reason for existence and where you are heading.

Examples of company vision statements:
IKEA: "Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people."
Oxfam: "A world without poverty."
Amazon's vision statement is "to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavor to offer its customers the lowest possible prices."
World Peace Enterprises: "Help create a world where Peace and Love overpowers war, hatred and distrust."
Love Education 101: "To help individuals increase both the amount and quality of Love in their lives."
Side note: Many people believe that love is a prerequisite to achieving peace. Thus if your life is filled with anger, contempt, fear, distrust, anxiety, depression and hate, it is unlikely that you will find peace. On a much larger scale, if the entire planet is filled with hate, it is unlikely we will achieve world peace. Thus finding love for ourselves and our neighbor is a pretty big deal in the grand blueprint for creating world peace. We must start with love, respect, compassion, equality and justice in order for peace to grow. Would you agree?

Examples of personal vision statements:
"To become the kindest and best person I can be."
"To help those around me that are less fortunate."
"To achieve self-actualization within my lifetime."
"To achieve couple-actualization in our lifetimes."
"To share my passion for children by helping as many as possible get a decent education."
"To become financially successful so that I can help as many people as possible."
"To always meet others with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love."
"Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other -- it doesn't matter who it is -- and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other." - Mother Teresa.

You can create a personal or relationship Mission Statement by following these 6 steps.

1. Identify Successes and Triumphs. What have you accomplished that strikes you as being significant in contributing to who you are and where you are at? What are some of the Golden Moments in your life?
2. Identify Core Values and Beliefs. What are your strongest, most important values? What are the key beliefs you have held dear since childhood? Which of these values and beliefs do you share with your partner?
3. Identify Contributions. Who helped you aspire and achieve the majority of your successes?
Maybe the key contributors were your partner, parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, friends, spiritual advisors, book authors, etc. Perhaps it was mainly yourself as the leading contributor to your success? Who was part of your "Master-Mind Group"?
4. Identify Skills. What skills most helped you attain your successes? What skills will you need to use and develop in order to reach your future goals?
5. Identify Goals. What is it you hope and dream of achieving in the near future? Distant future?
6. Write your Mission Statement. It should be fairly short and to the point. Not an essay. It ties your highest goals and vision with how you are going to accomplish them. In business it often focuses on 3 things: Product or Service, Customer or Audience, Uniqueness or why you should buy from us.
Apple's mission is "Bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services."
Amazon's mission statement is "serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience."
World Peace Enterprises: "Help people develop and grow peace, love and satisfaction in their lives by creating online 'open source' educational resources that can be freely shared and improved for the benefit of all to enjoy."
"Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all." - Aristotle

A personal mission statement might be something like the following:
"To use my education to help myself and others achieve the goals that bring joy and prosperity."
"To be nurturing, compassionate, forgiving and patient to myself and others."
"To use my creativity, imagination and passion for giving, to help make life better for those within my reach."
"To be curious, kind and courageous so that fear and doubt can not derail my grand vision."
"To create a positive world around me that facilitates me becoming the person of my dreams."

It does not matter that you get your vision and mission statement perfect on your first attempt. As you probably noticed they can get a bit confusing and hard to distinguish one from the other. The point is to start focusing on both of them until you gain clarity. Just the mere fact of going through this exercise will help you better understand your life's purpose and how you intend to reach the top of the mountain. Obviously it takes some perseverance and learning but those that put in the effort usually obtain the rewards. Plus, the rewards you will receive along the journey to your destination will often be more than amazing than you can imagine. There is a reason that we have a phrase, "it is the journey, not the destination."
Your journey IS your destination; your being.
We all love a good journey.
Make yours Great!

You still need to write your "business action plan" in order to achieve your stated goals, mission and vision. A Flow Chart, or other GSM's previously discussed may be helpful in writing your personal development plan. You may want to add your first, second and 'final' drafts into your Master Journal so they can be reviewed and updated occasionally.

To summarize: the bottom of the pyramid is your talents, training and upbringing, the next level is your core beliefs and values, the next level is goals, the next level is your mission statement and the highest level is your vision statement.
You can create one pyramid for yourself and another by working with your partner to create your "relationship pyramid".

In conclusion, developing your vision and mission statements will not only help you with clarifying your values and goals, and establishing an action plan, it will also help you reduce many of your problems by staying focused on your true purpose in life, whatever it may be.

2.18) Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal & Relationship Growth

By clicking on the Journal image you can save or print a cover page.

By creating a Master Journal it provides a location to record and store your goals, issues, action plans and more.
You can use a 3 ring binder, a spiral notebook, a folder, a box or store it digitally. The following are some of the items you may want to include in your Master Journal. This then becomes a history, a story, an art and creativity book, a guide, a plan, a direction and motivational tool to support your personal and relationship growth, and a place to record your accomplishments, setbacks and lessons learned.

What will you put in your Journal? Here are a few things you might want to include.

Relationship and Personal Issues and Problems you want to address
Action Plans
TO-DO Lists
Evalauation and Monitoring notes
Completed Action Steps
Daily / Weekly Successes and Failures (note: You tend to learn more from failure than from success)
Course Correction decisions
Daily Gratitude Statements
Morning pages
Golden Moments throughout your life
Personal Mission and Vision Statements
Thoughts and Ideas learned from Love Education
Dream Journal
"Eureka" thoughts and epiphanies
Artwork, Drawings, Paintings
Award certificates
What else might you want to include?

You can click-on and download, save, edit and print your own Certificate of Excellence for being among the first 10,000 visitors to review and study the online course, Love Education 101, in June 2020. You can also download a Certificate for being part of the 1st 25,000 study group during July 2020, the 1st 50,000 study group during August 2020, and the 1st 100,000 study group during September 2020.

You may want to add it to your Master Journal notebook.

2.19) Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's). Ways to de-stress.

We all endure stress during our lives. Some stresses are minor like traffic jams or long lines at the grocery store. Others are more severe such as job loss or the death of a loved one. Regardless of the stressor, your body is flooded with a chemical reaction causing increased heart rate, blood pressure and physical tension.
This "fight or flight" stress reaction is built into our DNA as a survival tool against dangerous situations that may threaten our lives. As humans have evolved and the stresses we face today are not the same as they were when we were "hunter-gatherers" but the stress response is still the same. The advantage we have over our predecessors is that we have developed better understanding and tools to deal with stress, grief and trauma.

Realizing that relaxation is the opposite of stress, we can use relaxation skills to combat stressful situations instead of being a slave to our instinctive reactions. Using mindful response instead of letting the fight or flight reaction take control of us is a big step in improving our mental and physical health and reducing unfortunate mistakes that cause us problems at school, with our relationships, at work and in our daily lives.
Regarding stressful situations in relationships, you will need to identify your stress triggers and find quick ways to de-stress so that heightening arguments don't escalate into major destructive fights that are caused by an amygdala hijacking and produce the dreaded 3R's: Rapid Rash Reaction. We suggest utilizing at least 3-5 of the SRT's below, whichever work best for you in preventing disastrous blow-ups.

There are numerous relaxation skills (Stress Reduction Techniques) that are advantageous to us in more ways than just reducing stress. They can help lower blood pressure, reduce depression and anxiety, reduce negative thinking, improve constructive thinking, help you get better sleep and increase mental and physical health. The following are some tools you may want to put in your tool bag, whether it is for reducing stress or increasing your health and well being.

Relaxation Skills / Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's):

1. Learn to take "time-outs". They are used effectively on children because they work. Use them for your own benefit. When things are spiraling out of control, remember to step back, pause, be mindful, and take a break before you reach the point of no return. Reduce the number of times you say or do things that can not be taken back, and possibly not forgiven. There is a reason this is listed as the #1 tool in your tool bag.
2. Practice deep breathing exercises. Often when we're stressed we hold our breath or have irregular breathing.
The 4-8-8 breathing technique, also known as "relaxing breath," involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 8 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. This breathing pattern can reduce anxiety or depression and also help people get to sleep.
3. Write in your master journal. Use the stream-of-consciousness writing technique to release the emotions you are feeling. Don't worry about grammar or spelling, just get the emotions out. Repression is harmful. If you want to throw away your writings afterwards, as a way to show that you have released your anger, resentment or pain, by all means do so.
4. Use Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to determine appropriate solutions to issues you are facing. Focus on solving the problem instead of remaining upset or assigning blame.
5. Do something pleasurable such as listening to music, reading, gardening, hugging a pet or taking a shower or bath.
6. Change your environment. Go to another room, the back yard, the park, the river or just be in nature.
7. Meditation.
8. Prayer.
9. Do relaxation exercises: Yoga, tai chi, or qigong.
10. Go walking, jogging or swimming.
11. Practice a physical activity such as basketball, soccer, golf or darts.
12. Draw, paint, quilt or sew, work on a scrapbook, take photos or utilize other creative activities.
13. Use the progressive/alternating muscle tension & relaxation exercise. Tense your muscles from your toes and relax them. Do this all the way up to your eyes. Tense muscles are a normal reaction to stress and can cause a build up of lactic acid. This is also useful for meditation, auto-hypnosis and as a sleep aid.
14. Take a nap or close your eyes and relax on the couch.
15. Utilize creative visualization. Visualize solving the issue, or merely visualize a peaceful activity or place you enjoy.
16. Exercise.
17. Force yourself to smile. The act of smiling can actually make you feel better. Not sure why but many experts advise it.
18. Talk to a friend or family member. Seek positive company. Avoid negative company.
19. Utilize the internet to see what solutions others have developed.
20. Seek guidance from a counselor or therapist.
21. Challenge your thoughts. Watch the watcher (a key to enlightenment by Eckert Tolle in "The Power of Now").
22. Avoid over-thinking. Be aware when your thoughts have become repetitive and harmful. Awareness is one of the first steps to reduce over-thinking and move on to constructive thinking.
23. Use the 4 A's, four strategies for coping with stress: Avoid, Alter, Accept and Adapt.
24. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Avoid excessive alcohol which can make things worse.
25. Get a massage. Massage decreases cortisol, the stress hormone.
26. Use coping self talk such as "This too shall pass", "I've done this before, take deep breaths" and "I've got this".

What others strategies would you add to this list? Which ones work best for you? Which ones haven't you tried yet?

The psychological and emotional signs of stress:

Anger, irritability, or restlessness.
Fear, hopelessness and loss of direction.
Depression and anxiety.
Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused.
Sleeplessness or sleeping too much.
Over-eating or under-eating.
Racing thoughts or constant worry.
Negative thinking.
Negative relationships.
Problems with your memory or concentration.
Making bad decisions.

The psychological and emotional signs of relaxation:

Peace, hope, empathy and compassion.
Feeling of ease, satisfaction and direction.
Lack of anger and resentment.
Nearly worry-free.
Positive and constructive thinking.
Positive relationships.
Making good decisions.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most beneficial therapy methods to deal with stress.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a talking and thinking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you perceive, think and behave. It's most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for many mental and physical health problems such post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.

Common CBT strategies include learning how to manage stress and anxiety, and identifying situations that are likely to cause distress before they reach the fear and panic threshold. As CBT can involve confronting your emotions and anxieties, you may experience initial periods where you are anxious or emotionally uncomfortable but these will typically fade as you address your challenges.

How to Use Cognitive Restructuring (change your thinking patterns):

Step 1: Calm yourself. If you're still upset or stressed by the thoughts you want to explore, it may be difficult to concentrate while using this tool.
Step 2: Identify the troubling situations and conditions that are causing the stress.
Step 3: Analyze your mood. How do you feel about these situations.
Step 4. Become aware of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs and biases about these problems.
Step 4: Identify automatic thoughts and triggers.
Step 5: Identify negative, non-constructive and inaccurate thinking.
Step 6: Find objective evidence to prove your negative thinking has been harmful to you. Has this type of thinking helped you or hurt you so far?
Step 7: Replace negative or inaccurate thinking with positive and constructive thinking, actions and behavior.
Step 8: Evaluate the results you are obtaining and modify your thinking and behavior accordingly.
Step 9: Celebrate the fact that you are working to improve your life and reducing anxiety by focusing on positive strategies instead of non-constructive thinking.

A change in perception and thinking leads to a change in attitude, which leads to a change in behavior, which leads to a change in your world.

Life's what you make it. Make it the best you can! It's up to you.

Two key components of CBT are core beliefs and automatic thoughts. Core beliefs are the most central beliefs that people have about themselves, others and the world around them. We begin to form these beliefs in childhood as we interact with others in our world. We develop them from parents, teachers, friends, enemies and acquaintances. These beliefs are not always correct or helpful to us. Automatic thoughts are the reactions and behaviors we have developed in response to stressful and anxious situations. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) explores the links between thoughts, emotions and behavior.
CBT's main tenet is that all humans' core beliefs can be summed up in three categories: self, others, future. Your core beliefs directly affect your thoughts, feelings and behavior. It your core beliefs, developed from early childhood through your adult years, are erroneous, it leads to all sorts of problematic issues with your thoughts, feelings and behavior, which thankfully can be adjusted and fixed using CBT and other methods.

Main Goals of CBT Include:

1. The promotion of self-awareness and emotional intelligence by teaching people to "read" their emotions and distinguish healthy from unhealthy thoughts and feelings.
2. Helping people to understand how distorted perceptions and thoughts contribute to painful feelings.
3. Reduce anxiety and improve well being by replacing harmful cognitions and behaviors with beneficial thinking and behaviors.

Doing cognitive behavioral therapy on your own can be very effective. It's widely recognized that a few sessions of self-directed CBT can help in treating the anxiety and depression that so many people experience. Some individuals may need or prefer to seek professional guidance.

CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors), improving emotional intelligence and regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems. CBT is based on the belief that thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors play a role in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders, and that symptoms and associated distress can be reduced by learning new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.

2.20) Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness

Ethics and virtues are of critical importance to creating and maintaining gratifying relationships, a happy life and to becoming a responsible and valuable member of society. Aristotle's book, "Nicomachean Ethics" has become one of the most influential manuscripts ever written on the subject.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE, Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece) was a Greek philosopher, scientist and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. As a friend and student of Plato (who was mentored by Socrates), he was the founder of the Lyceum (the first research institute in which a number of scholars and investigators joined in collaborative inquiry and documentation), the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. At the request of Philip II of Macedon, he tutored Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, and government.
He authored a philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and means of expression for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remain embedded in modern thinking.
Dante called him: "The master of those who know."
Although the ten books of his ethics masterpiece are rather detailed and somewhat difficult to comprehend they are well worth the effort to study them. Realize that the key points listed below may seem overwhelming to understand at first. If you can take one concept at a time, or one sentence at a time, and attempt to relate it to your life and how it may affect you and your societies overall happiness, it may make it easier to understand and put these ethics and virtues into practical use. It took Aristotle about twenty years to develop these world-changing notions so it may take some time to make sense of his theories. If you have someone to help you sort out questions you have about these concepts, that can help also. Perhaps by the time you have fully comprehended this section, you will essentially have a degree in Philosophy 101, with Aristotle being your mentor.
Aristotle strongly believed that happiness and understanding / comprehension of life are of key importance for human beings since we possess a "rational soul".
Essentially his manuscript is a manual of how to attain earth's greatest treasures.

The following are a some of the key points he introduces and expands upon.

1. The greatest good and the desired end goal in human life is the pursuit and continuous fulfillment of Happiness. Nearly all other "goods" are useful in developing, supporting and maintaining this greatest good.
Question: Is Aristotle suggesting that Happiness is the meaning of life? If he is, do you agree?
"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence.

1a. Regarding the definition of happiness, the same person may define happiness differently at different times in their lives. A sick person defines it as good health, good medicine, and staying alive, a poor person defines it as prosperity and having a safe place to live, a person who is suffering from discrimination and repression defines it as fairness and justice.
Do you believe that most people in most countries think happiness stems from such things as emotional pleasure (joy), mental and material well-being, equity, liberty, justice, respect and honorable status?

2. Every art and every occupation, and similarly every action and pursuit, is an aim to reach some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim (the desired end result). The end result of the medical art is good health, that of shipbuilding is a seaworthy vessel, that of construction is a quality structure, that of the artist is beauty of form, that of a philosopher is practical and theoretical wisdom which leads to happiness, and that of politics is honorable governance to achieve human benefit. To achieve the good of the individual is important, but the good of society, which is composed of many unique and diverse individuals, is the main purpose of virtuous government. "Political science spends most of its pains on making the citizens to be of a certain character, to make them good and capable of noble acts."

3. Happiness is achieved not by accident but by gaining virtue through education, contemplation, self-discipline and the development of honorable habits, thus developing morality and practical and theoretical wisdom regarding universal truths. Since happiness is dependent on excellence, it can be acquired by many citizens, for study and effort make it accessible to anyone whose capacity for virtue is unimpaired. Aristotle, Plato and Socrates are among those who believe that contemplation is the most likely way to achieve a lifetime of happiness. Do you?
"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

4. Happiness is not a virtue, but rather a virtuous activity. Living well and maintaining sustained happiness consists in doing something, not just being in a certain state or condition at a given moment in time. It consists of lifelong activities that fulfill the ethical virtues of the rational part of the soul.
Aristotle has this to say about the person whose whole life is good: "for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy."
We all have our "golden moments" but truly happy people find a way to live our normal lives consisting of "golden years" where we are surrounded by those we love and who love us.

4a. The function of the rational part of the soul is truth; hence, the virtues of that part of the soul will be "the states that best direct it toward the truth." Considering that humans are the only species that have a rational part to their soul, it gives humans the advantage of being able to apply reason and virtue to live happier lives than those in the animal kingdom. He believed that a happy person leads a good and honorable life because actions and behavior that conform to virtues are in themselves pleasurable. The person who does not enjoy performing virtuous acts is not a good person at all, regardless of the acts they may perform. Thus both a good person and an immoral person can perform virtuous acts, but only the good person gains long-term happiness from such actions. The non-virtuous person tends to choose immoral acts which may lead to short term gratification but eventually lead to disgrace, dishonor and the loss of friendship and respect from their peers and loved ones, thereby causing them distress, misery and unhappiness.
Those who think that by merely studying ethics they will become good, they are foolish, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do. The knowledge of ethical philosophy without the utilization of morality for the proper reasons is of little value.

4b. "A happy person will be happy throughout their life; for always, or by preference to everything else, they will be engaged in virtuous action and contemplation, and they will bear the chances of life most nobly and altogether decorously, if they are 'truly good' and 'foursquare beyond reproach'."
"Many events happen by chance, and events differing in importance; small pieces of good or ill fortune clearly do not weigh down the scales of life one way or the other, but a multitude of important events if they turn out well will make life happier (for not only are they themselves likely to add beauty to life, but the way a person deals with them may be noble and good), while if they turn out ill they crush and maim happiness; for they both bring pain with them and hinder many activities. Yet even in these nobility shines through, when a person bears with resignation many great misfortunes, not through insensibility to pain but through nobility and greatness of soul."

5. Goods are divided into three important classes. The highest goods are goods of the soul (wisdom, virtue, genuine love, truth, happiness, etc.), which can never be excessive.
* Side note: Have you ever thought that the words "never" and "always" were too extreme to be realistic?
Goods of the soul might possibly "always be beneficial and never excessive", thereby disproving this axiom?

Next are goods relating to the body (health, sensual pleasure, safety, relaxation, etc.), followed by external goods (wealth, fame, power, reputation, friends, entertainment, etc.), which have a limit and can become excessive and corruptive.
Friends are considered to be the greatest and most important of the external goods.

We call those goods that relate to the soul the most proper and "true" goods and virtues, since they are ends in themselves, whereas the other two kinds of goods are merely means to an end. Goods of the body and external goods are indeed needed to attain complete happiness but they are not capable of bringing sustained happiness alone.
Goods of the soul depend ultimately on each person's nature, guidance, education and learned habits, not on chance or luck.
Aristotle relates these goods to an ideal society, which like a person, needs internal goodness, leadership, justice, respect and wisdom in order to achieve the greatest good: Happiness.

5a. A soul's essence is related to the organic structure. The souls of living things are ordered in a hierarchy. Plants have a vegetative or "nutritive soul", which consists of the powers of growth, nutrition, and reproduction. These powers are fed via their organic roots. Animals have, in addition, the powers of perception and locomotion. Animals are considered to have a "sensory or appetitive soul". Every animal has at least one sense-faculty, touch being the most universal. Their powers are fed through their ability to eat food and drink water via their mouths. Since animals have senses and can feel pleasure, they like humans, also have desires. Humans, in extension, have the power of reason and rational thinking (logismos kai dianoia), which is considered our "rational soul". It is this rational soul that gives us the ability to utilize our intellectual powers to control our appetite, desires and emotions (the irrational element of our soul) but it does not guarantee that human beings will use this unique power and not succumb to our base desires such as greed and gluttony, lust and adultery, power and revenge, etc. That is why education, contemplation, self-discipline and the development of virtues and honorable habits are so important to individuals, politicians, the justice system and society.
Aristotle's structuring of the soul and its elements has influenced philosophy and science for over two thousand years. At this time it is believed that self-awareness is perhaps the most fundamental difference between us and animals. Human beings are capable of self-analysis, imagination, creativity, perception of past and future, intuition, spiritual worship, morality, justice and cultural / governmental establishment. Aristotle recognizes all of these unique human abilities but since few of them can function properly without educated reasoning he includes them as activities which should be guided and directed by our ethics and rational soul.
These higher level skills distinguish us from animals and form the basis of our ethical virtues and global culture as a species.

5b. What is virtue? Our soul is conditioned by three things: emotions / feelings; faculties / capacities; and character / disposition. Virtue must be one of these. Emotions and passions are the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain. Faculties are the way in which we are said to be capable of feeling these emotions, e.g. of becoming angry or feeling empathy. Character is that which we are praised or blamed with reference to the passions, e.g. with reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with reference to the other passions.
Neither the virtues nor the vices are passions, because we are not called good or bad merely because we have natural emotions. We are neither praised nor blamed for having the capacity (or incapability) to experience these many natural feelings. If the virtues are neither emotions nor the faculties to feel them, all that remains is that they should be states of character. Virtues (excellence) and vices (immorality) therefore develop from our choices which eventually over time become our character and disposition.

Virtue is a disposition of the soul in which, when it has to choose among actions and feelings, it observes the golden mean that would be formulated by a honorable person practicing practical and theoretical wisdom. It should be noted that it is impossible to choose a middle ground in regard to some actions or feelings. Emotions like hatred, malice and envy; actions like adultery, theft, cruelty and murder are evil in any form or degree. One can never do right by experiencing such feelings or committing such deeds. Evil is evil in every form or magnitude while good is good in every form or degree.

6. Virtue is of two kinds, intellectual and moral. Intellectual virtue (virtue of the mind) is the part of the soul that engages in reasoning and value determinations and its growth is due to education and contemplation (which requires experience and time).
Intellectual virtues are qualities of the mind that promote intellectual flourishing, critical thinking, open-mindedness, fair-mindedness, curiosity, imagination, the search for truth, and the love of wisdom. They are also considered to be dependent on well-functioning mental faculties such as perception, intuition, logic, memory, and emotional and cultural intelligence.

6a. Intellectual virtues are cognitive bound. Moral virtues are behavior bound (ways of acting) and come about as a result of developing honorable habits. They include courage, benevolence, modesty, civility, liberality, generosity, good temper, forgiveness, appropriate ambition, magnificence, friendliness, wit, kindness, empathy, truthfulness, integrity, fidelity and respect.
Moral virtues are attained when the irrational element of the human soul (appetite, desires, emotions) becomes contolled by the wisdom of intellectual reasoning. Because the irrational element of the soul can be governed by reasoning, it should actually be classified as intermediate, not fully rational or irrational.
Aristotle does not consider animalistic appetites to be necessarily negative. Only when they get out of control and there is either an excess or a deficiency do they become harmful to the soul. When they are regulated in accordance with the "golden mean" they make a positive contribution towards a good and happy life. On the other hand the intellectual virtues are never in excess, for their attainment always enhances the welfare of the entire soul.
In summary, the intellectual virtues are based on philosophical wisdom and understanding which come about from training and experience. Moral virtues come about as a result of honorable behavior, actions and habituation, hence the term ethics (ethike), formed by a slight variation from the word ethos (habit).

6b. Only if a person possesses moral virtue will they behave in an appropriate manner to create a good life. Only if they possess intellectual virtue will they make virtuous assessments of the circumstances in which their decisions are continuously made. Moral virtues are incapable of intellectual reasoning but are established by the embodiment and habituation of intellectual virtues. Morality has to do with developing virtuous habits; the habits of right thinking, right choice and right behavior.
It is impossible to be morally good without wisdom, or to be truly wise without moral virtue. Only when correct reasoning and right desire come together does truly virtuous action result.
Virtuous activity is the result of successful application of practical wisdom. But practical reasoning can be defective in various ways. Someone may be driven from a vicious choice of lifestyle. A glutton, for example, often plans their life around the purpose of always maximizing the present pleasure of their desires for immediate gratification.
In another example, immaturity is not only associated with youthful lack of knowledge; it is also linked to a lack of character and virtue in a person in their older years, for it comes about as a result of pursuing a life consisting of immoral, hypocritical, vulgar and self-serving impulses with little empathy and concern for others.

6c. Aristotle structured his ethics lessons by broadly discussing ethical virtue, then examining particular ethical virtues (honesty, temperance, modesty, etc.), and finished his analysis by evaluating the intellectual virtues using practical wisdom and theoretical wisdom. Practical wisdom is understanding the way certain things are. Theoretical wisdom is understanding why things are a certain way. [the Way and the Why]
Unified wisdom is having practical wisdom in order to understand the way things are now; and being able to use theoretical wisdom to improve the way things will be once this greater wisdom is applied, thus benefiting individuals, relationships and society as a whole. Unified Wisdom Theory - Love Education 101
Virtue makes us aim at the right goals, while Unified Wisdom makes us use the right means.

7. Every ethical virtue is a relative mean (golden mean) between extremes of excess and deficiency, and in general the moral life is one of moderation in all things except virtue. Even the "vices" are not necessarily considered bad if they are controlled by reason according to a moral principle. For example, the brave (courageous) person realizes that some dangers are worth facing while others are too risky and not worth the potential consequences. They also experience fear (cowardice) and uncertainty appropriate to the situation they are facing which helps in their decision of excess or deficiency. Thus the brave person balances rashness with courage and utilizes fear and self-preservation to sustain life, limb, security and sustained happiness. Stated another way, the person who fears everything becomes a coward and the person who fears nothing becomes reckless or foolhardy, and neither is able to develop or maintain the virtue of courage. This rule applies to all the virtues. Excess or deficiency destroys them. Actions in accordance with the golden mean produce and maintain them. The same actions that produce virtue may be either the cause or destruction of that virtue.

It is through the rational power of the soul that passions and vices are controlled and moral action is guided. Decisions should not be based on one's feelings but on what our reasoning tells us is most appropriate with reference to our life as a whole.
Another example to help clarify the "golden mean" is the appropriate amount of anger that should be expressed in circumstances that warrant such strong emotions. In some cases a small amount of anger is appropriate while in other cases a great amount of anger and outrage must be expressed in order to make clear the importance of the situation. It involves the proper amount of emotional response towards the right person(s) at the right time in the right way in the right duration for the right situation.
Our emotions should not exceed the level at which we lose control of reason.

8. The virtuous person receives pleasure and satisfaction from being guided by their intellectual and emotional skills and does not typically have the distress of fighting their internal pressures that cause them to perform disgraceful acts or to choose dishonorable pleasure over what is morally right and just. A good and happy person delights in virtuous actions and is vexed at vicious ones, as a musical man enjoys beautiful tunes but is pained at bad ones.

Aristotle considered those who suffer distress from such internal disorders to be one of three types: Continence, Incontinence, and Vice (Evil). All three types experience some level of ability to fight their inner vices such as lust, pleasure, greed, power, dominance, anger, wrath, hatred, dishonesty, vengeance, laziness, self-glorification and other immoralities.
The person that is more successful than the average person at controlling their internal pressure to succumb to shameful acts is considered to be "continent". This type of person is not actually virtuous although they may appear to be to the casual observer.
The person that is less successful than the average person is considered to be incontinent. The incontinent person is like a city that votes for all the right decrees and has excellent laws, but does not apply them. They recognize and regret their lack of self-restraint but succumb to vices anyway.
The "evil" person is one who in most cases refuses even to attempt to do what an ethically virtuous person would do because they have become convinced that justice, temperance, charity, faith, empathy and other virtues are useless in their endeavor for power, wealth, luxury and ego. They are driven "to pursue the pleasant thing at hand." Even though they are highly focused in their pursuit of these vices, they are deeply divided because their insatiable desire for more and more leaves them continuously dissatisfied, hollow, and subject to extremely low levels of self esteem and self respect.
All three of these deficiencies involve a serious lack of internal peace and harmony but the evil / vice person has the greatest potential to harm society, particularly due to their shamelessness and lack of other virtues.

9. Virtuous acts are not necessarily ingrained in human DNA and therefore require conscious choice, moral resoluteness and personal motivation. Human beings have moral responsibility for their actions. We ourselves share much of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising human virtues. We are creatures of habit which make it vitally important that we develop virtuous habits hopefully from an early age. If not we can still learn them once they are explained to us and then use our reasoning and rational soul to understand how important virtuous activities are to achieving happiness for ourselves and those around us. We can then also come to realize how our vices and drive towards lustful desires and immediate gratification can cause us such incredible personal harm, disgrace and destruction of our self-esteem and long term happiness.

9a. Responsibility: Praise and Blame

Aristotle states that we are responsible for our actions so that others can reasonably praise, blame or punish us. Praise is awarded to the one who works hard and possesses honor and virtue. Blame, condemnation and disgrace are assigned to a person who chooses vices such as immorality, laziness, lies and deceit, shamelessness, spitefulness, meanness, vulgarity, narcissism, corruption, lawlessness, unfairness, dishonesty, hypocrisy, etc.
Aristotle considers praise and blame to be voluntary or involuntary and we can either attribute them to a person or to other factors.
Involuntary acts are those for which a person is not necessarily responsible for because they are (1) due to a force of circumstances, (2) done as a result of external compulsion, threats, coercion or manipulation, (3) done out of ignorance, or (4) done in fear of greater evils or for some noble good.
Voluntary acts are those for which a person is responsible because none of these four extenuating circumstances exist. Praise may be given for acts revealing honorable character while personal blame may be assigned for acts exposing dishonorable character.

Regarding (1), force of circumstances, Aristotle uses the example of a ship caught in a violent and deadly storm. The sailors must throw goods overboard in order to save the ship. In this case the action is not fully voluntary and we would not blame the sailors for their actions. They fully addressed the imminent danger at hand and chose rational and life saving actions. There may be people who would claim that they were cowards and should have risked their lives in order to save the material goods they were transporting. There may be others that praise the captain for acting virtuously and thereby saving lives. As we live our lives we are required to deal with many circumstances and must choose our actions appropriately, and hopefully ethically. In this example, the captain and sailors would likely have been blamed if they had not taken the appropriate actions and thus caused unnecessary loss of life and the demise of the ship. Instead the captain and crew courageously addressed the life-threatening situation and rightly implemented protective actions such as battening down the hatches and choosing to sacrifice a certain amount of economic goods, which can be replenished, in order to save what is most precious and can not be replaced: human lives.

In regards to (2), external compulsion, threats, coercion or manipulation; a person may not truly be at fault because they were forced to do acts (or coerced to deceive others or not reveal truths) against their will due to threats to their reputation, health, safety of their family, finances (e.g., being fired from their job, sued in court, or imprisoned), etc. Thus it is the coercer(s) who should be held accountable and punished or disgraced for forcing someone to do something against their will or better judgment.

In relation to (3), ignorance, even if a person makes a poor decision due to ignorance, what decides good or bad character is how they react when the the truth is discovered. If we fail to repent or regret our harmful deeds, then we should certainly be blamed, even if the original choice may have been justified. Actual regret about the misdeed shows that we want to disown it, and prepares us to make up for it as best we can. An absence of remorse or the lack of an attempt to correct our misjudgment shows that we have a deprivation of virtue and shall be judged accordingly.
Some may conclude that an evil person is ignorant of the difference between right and wrong and their evil deeds are due to this ignorance and are non-voluntary and not reprehensible. This is wrong. Involuntary acts are the result of ignorance in a particular situation, but "universal" ignorance (ignorance of what is right and wrong) can never be condoned.
Children who make poor decisions due to ignorance and their lack of education on social norms may not necessarily need to be punished for every misdeed but should be educated on the desired virtues and recommended behavior for future decisions and actions. They should also be praised when they do conduct themselves in a virtuous manner in order to reinforce good behavior. This is how habituation is created in order to allow them to live a life consisting of virtuous activity and thus improve their chances of achieving life long happiness.

Lastly, (4) involuntary acts done in fear of greater evils or for some noble good. As with the other "involuntary" acts it may be debated whether such actions are voluntary or involuntary. Consider the example of a government employee who reveals damaging information against a tyrant or government officials in order to save lives, prevent a war, or expose unethical plans or illegal operations. The person is torn between going against the government and possibly breaking laws that prevent revealing government information; however their virtuous character requires them to release the information they know to the public in order to stop greater evils. These evils may include assassination, genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity, illegal actions, unethical behavior, deceit, corruption, profiteering, political retribution, treason, etc. The person in this example did not intend to voluntarily reveal unethical or illegal activities but after discovering incomprehensibly disturbing information they felt compelled to inform the public. There will be some people who will see their acts as honorable since they were done for the greater good and the exposure of a perceived injustice, while others may see their acts as dishonorable and done out of spite or for personal gain.
In another example, a government employee may choose not to reveal "evils" they know about and instead merely "resign out of protest". In this case, the involuntary act does not directly divulge the injustices that were discovered. Thus the person protects themselves and their loved ones by not volunteering to release the information in their possession, yet signals that something unethical may have occurred and may need to be investigated.

As with all four types of involuntary acts, judgments of praise or blame will largely depend upon personal bias, beliefs and values regarding the perceived "facts" and the deep-rooted feelings involved.

When a person makes choices voluntarily they are responsible for their actions in ways that may be debated for those making "involuntary" decisions. If a person chooses actions which are considered honorable, especially if it helps increase the greater good of others, that person will likely be praised and rewarded. If a person chooses actions which are considered dishonorable, dishonest and immoral, especially if it only serves their personal interest at the expense of others, that person will likely be blamed, disgraced and punished.

10. Moral virtue requires moral action in a social environment. It can not be achieved strictly in a classroom. Aristotle believed ethics and politics are closely related, for politics is the science of creating justice in society so that all people can develop their full potential and live freely in the pursuit of wisdom and happiness. He believed politics was one of the most important of all arts and occupations due to the tremendous influence and impact on society.

10a. Moral excellence is concerned with pleasures and pains which are the main causes of evil or harmful actions. It is on account of pleasure that we do bad things, and on account of pain that we abstain from noble acts. Hence we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that advance our virtues; for this is the right education.
The whole concern of both virtue and political science is with pleasures and pains; for the person who uses these well will be good, those who use them badly are considered evil or vice.
Punishment is inflicted by the application of pain, for it is a kind of cure, and it is the nature of cures to be effected by contraries; the opposite of pleasure being pain, the opposite of stress being relaxation and peace, etc. Thus pain (which could be disciplinary actions, social disgrace / shaming, monetary fines, removal from employment, impeachment, imprisonment, etc.) can be useful as a treatment for a person lacking in virtue or one who breaks rules or laws, refuses to adhere to socially accepted norms, undermines the constitution, or commits treason.

11. All human beings have the potential to become ethically virtuous and wise. In order to achieve these goals we should first develop proper habits in childhood and then acquire practical wisdom as maturing adults. This begins with learning to respond to situations with appropriate actions and behavior during our youth and eventually we rely less on others for guidance and we develop self-sufficiency as our reasoning skills and emotional intelligence improves. Aristotle states that the good person is one who finds pleasure and satisfaction in doing those things that are in harmony with his own good and also the good of others. A virtuous character consists of a good set of habits and it is not until these have been developed can one rightly be called a good person. While the virtuous habits are being formed a person is making progress toward a good life but they will not fully arrive until these behaviors and habits have become part of their nature.

12. Aristotle makes it clear that in order to be happy one must possess others goods as well such as loving and guiding parents, good friends, a minimum level of wealth, power and justice; and united citizens in a well-functioning society. One's happiness is hindered if a person is severely lacking in these advantages - for example, if one is extremely unhealthy or has lost family members or good friends through premature death. Aristotle reasoned that a person's virtuous activity will be to some extent diminished if one lacks an adequate supply of other goods in order to maintain happiness. Someone who possess few of these other goods will simply not be able to find many opportunities for virtuous activity over a sustained period of time. Regardless of our life situation, we ourselves share the majority of the responsibility for acquiring and exercising the virtues needed to achieve the greatest good: happiness.

13. Aristotle discusses three types of lives that he believed were especially significant: one is devoted to pleasure, a second to politics, and a third to knowledge and understanding (contemplation). Of the three, he believed that the contemplative, philosophical life was of highest value. A lifetime of study and education in order to actually attain practical and theoretical wisdom leads to the greatest chance of becoming virtuous and happy. It is the attainment of wisdom and adequate supplies of the other goods mentioned previously that provide for a lifetime of sustained happiness.

He thought that the life of a political leader was nearly as important as a philosopher because a person who possesses such qualities as justice, wisdom and greatness of soul is a person who could properly allocate the large resources needed to promote the common good for nearly everyone in the city, state or nation, regardless of their wealth, power or political affiliation. It is always a mistake to sacrifice the welfare of a large group in order to promote the interests of a smaller one. The true student of politics is thought to have studied virtue above all things; for he wishes to make his fellow citizens good and obedient to the laws. The average and sub-average politician has some major challenges because governance can be a busy life that is unlikely to provide adequate time for philosophical contemplation of ethical virtues, and is also subject to greed and corruption due to the great power in their possession. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Definition of politician (Merriam-Webster)
1 : a person experienced in the art or science of government especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government.
2a : a person engaged in party politics as a profession.
2b (disparaging) : a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons.
Aristotle hypothesized that if politicians were able to be like Plato's philosopher-kings and utilize both philosophical and political skills the likelihood of corruption and abuse of power would be greatly reduced.

The third type of life mentioned is a life devoted strictly to physical pleasure and is quickly admonished because of its self-centered vulgarity. This type of lifestyle reveals a self-indulgent, bestial mentality, little better than that of brute animals.
"To judge from the lives that men lead, most men, and men of the most vulgar type, seem (not without some ground) to identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure; which is the reason why they love the life of enjoyment."
Aristotle concedes that physical pleasures, and more generally, amusement and entertainment of all sorts, are desirable in themselves, and therefore have some claim to be our ultimate end. But his discussion of happiness builds on his thesis that pleasure cannot be our ultimate goal. Pleasurable activities and entertainment will not be absent from a happy life since everyone has a need for both excitement and relaxation but they play a subordinate role because rest and diversion are needed in order to return to more virtuous activities with the proper energy and focus.

14. The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful for the sake of something else. Many wealthy people live very unhappy and lonely lives. Of the external goods, friendship and close family ties are considered the most important goods in order to achieve supreme happiness (similar to the sensory souls of animals). Money is not the root of all evil, rather it is the love of money and power that creates so much evil, harm and human misery.
"Don't get so caught up in making a living that you forget to make a life." - John Wooden
Aristotle disliked the accumulation of money because there is no limit to the amount of currency one can accumulate, leading people to indulge in an excess of self-gratifying pleasure and power with little concern in using it to help others and to benefit society.

15. There are three types of friendships: Utility, Pleasure & Goodness (true friendship), in ascending order of worthiness. The first two kinds of friendship are accidental, because in these cases friends are motivated by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the other person. Both of these kinds are often short-lived because the needs and pleasures of each person change over time.

A) Friendships of "Utility"; Self-interested friendship; friendship common for adults

These are the types of friendships where either one or both parties want something from the other. It may be access to other people, access to money, power, social status, reputation or other things of value. It may also be merely to escape loneliness or to become part of the in-crowd they want to join. It tends to be intellectual in nature. This type of friendship is often manipulative and may not last long. Whenever the benefit ends, so does the friendship. Aristotle noted this to be more common in adults. Many of us have experienced this type of friendship at one time or another. An example would be at college or a work relationship. You may enjoy the time you spend together, but once the situation changes, the relationship is over. If the "friendship" was manipulative, eventually most people realize they were being used and the relationship will end, sometimes with severe anger and resentment.

B) Friendships primarily for "Pleasure"; friendships for a moment in time; friendships common for children and younger people

This type of friendship can be very enjoyable while it lasts. It is emotional in nature. You probably remember these types of good times when you were a child or in your teens. You had friends that made you laugh, had sleep-overs with and went to parties, social functions or were on the same sports team. All everyone wants is to have a good time and forget any problems they may be experiencing. Before long though you realize that some of these friends are shallow and not there for you when you need help with your problems. They are off having a good time with others that will not "bring them down". All of us have most likely had this type of friendship. It is a normal part of life until we grow more mature and realize that we need more than just frivolous pleasure; we need meaning and purpose in our lives. We need people we can count on to be there for us when we need them and vice-versa. That leads us to the third type of friendship.

C) Friendships based on "Goodness" and virtue; True friendships; friendships that last a lifetime

The third type of Aristotle's friendships is the one you hope to find and nurture, a near perfect friendship. It is the rarest of all friendships. True friends like this don't come around very often unless you are willing to search them out and give them reciprocal friendship in return. These are the friends who truly appreciate you for who you are, in good times and bad. They are there to support and encourage you in your times of despair, sickness and grief. These friends are not trying to always get something of value from you. It is their personality and inner qualities that attract you to these good friends. They care about you and want you to grow and find happiness. This is actually the type of friendship you also want in a romantic relationship or long-term marriage.

If you can develop true friendships, you also get the best of the other two friendship types as well. You receive mutual benefits/utility and pleasure. The times you spend together are rewarding at all levels. By combing the virtues of two good people, you amplify the possibility of achieving even greater heights by being engaged in this amazingly beneficial friendship. Aristotle believed that virtuous relationships are a significant part of what makes life worth living.

It has been disputed whether the happy person actually needs friends or not. It has been said that those who are supremely happy and self-sufficient have no need of friends; for they have the things that are good, and therefore being self-sufficient they need nothing further, while a friend, being another self, furnishes what a person cannot provide by his own effort; whence the saying 'when fortune is kind, what need of friends?' But it seems strange, when one assigns all good things to the happy person, not to assign friends, who are thought the greatest of external goods. Surely it is strange, too, that a supremely happy person would choose a solitary lifestyle since man is a political creature and one whose nature is to live with others. Therefore even the happy person lives with others; for they have the things that are by nature good. And plainly it is better to spend your days with friends and good folks than with strangers or any chance persons. In conclusion, happy people need friends.

There are more details on friendship in section 2.14: Deep Friendships

Plato (pointing to the Heavens / Gods) and Aristotle (pointing to the Earth / Fellow Humans) in Raphael's "School of Athens"

16. Justice - Book 5

a) Justice can mean either lawfulness or fairness, since injustice is lawlessness and unfairness. Laws are established to encourage people and leaders to behave virtuously, so the just person, who by definition follows the laws, regulations and social norms, will also be virtuous. Thus justice is concerned with everyone's benefit, while injustice only benefits those who share the same bias. "Justice is whatever produces and maintains happiness and its parts for a political community."

b) Virtue deals with one's moral state, while justice deals with one's virtuous relations with their neighbors. Aristotle did not list justice in his table of virtues and vices because it is a special case. Since the behavior of justice is virtuous behavior, justice encompasses all the other virtues. Further, justice is not a mean between two extremes, as injustice itself is a single extreme and vice. True justice is complete virtue in relation to our neighbors and as such justice is considered to be the greatest of virtues since in justice every virtue is exercised. "In justice all virtue is summed up."

c) Justice is considered absolute virtue because he who possesses it can exercise his virtue not only in himself but towards his neighbor also; for many men can exercise virtue in their own affairs, but not in their relations to their neighbors.

d) Remember from earlier discussions that happiness stems from virtuous activities and now in Book 5, justice has been defined as the culmination of all virtues. With this reasoning, you can easily comprehend why it is nearly impossible to attain happiness without justice, whether it be in your personal life or that of a society. Just look around and notice how injustice and deceit in any society leads to division, chaos, violence, destruction and eventually economic decline. That is generally a reflection of either incompetent leadership, corruption, tyranny or other malfeasance.

e) Universal justice is that state of a person who is generally lawful and fair. Particular justice deals with the "divisible" goods of honor, money, and safety and involves the interaction of two or more people. Aristotle argues that decency is actually superior to justice. He claims that this is because a universal law sometimes falls short of being able to address every particular, and in such cases, decency makes up the deficiency in the law.

f) Political justice and domestic justice are related but different. Political justice is governed by the rule of law, while domestic justice relies on respect, tolerance and working out differences. Political justice is based in part on natural law, which is the same for all people, and in part on particular legal conventions, which vary from country to country and between and among cultures.
Political justice is considered to be served by laws and guidelines that tend to produce and preserve happiness for political society, not just the party of the current leader. "A leader who behaves for his own interests becomes a tyrant".
Domestic justice may be even more important than political justice since how we treat others is the one of the main themes of nearly all religions: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.

In relation to political justice: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
In relation to domestic justice: "Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."
- Abraham Lincoln
President Lincoln was able to unite a bitterly divided country during a period of extreme social injustice because he was a person with great character and virtue; a true leader.

g) Laws of justice direct us do the acts of a brave man (e.g. not to desert our post nor take to flight), those of a temperate man (e.g. not to commit adultery nor to gratify one's lust), and those of a good-tempered man (e.g. not to strike another nor to speak evil), commanding some acts and forbidding others; and justly-framed laws and regulations reinforce virtuous and desirable behavior.

h) People mistakenly think that justice is an easy matter, as it simply requires obedience to laws. However, true justice comes only from a virtuous disposition, and those lacking in virtue are unable to perceive the just course of action in all cases.

i) Laws may not always be perfectly applicable. In particular circumstances in which the laws do not produce perfect justice, equity is necessary to mend the imbalance. Therefore, equity is superior to legal justice but inferior to absolute justice. Leaders that utilize police and military forces against their own people to create the illusion of "law and order", instead of using negotiation, compromise, compassion, public policy revisions and legislation to correct the real or perceived injustices, are often considered to be either unjust, corrupt, or both. Turning a society into a "police or military state" often creates even greater turmoil, chaos and dissatisfaction in a society, thus jeopardizing personal safety and civil liberties while simultaneously reducing law and order.

j) It is impossible to treat oneself unjustly. Injustice involves one person gaining at an others expense, so it requires at least two people. Even in the case of suicide, it is not the victim, but the state, that suffers an injustice.

k) Aristotle's concern was that the right leaders should rule. His concept of distributive justice is meant to ensure that the greatest power and privilege go to those leaders who exhibit the greatest virtue rather than to those who have the greatest wealth, the greatest military strength, or the most powerful associates.

l) If a leader works to only promote justice for those that support them (and thus they retain power and control) and disregards interest in promoting and ensuring justice for those that do not actively support them, that leader is not only considered unjust, but by direct implication is also without virtue and ethics, since justice is considered to be the utilization of all virtues.

m) Unfortunately those in the party with the majority power of the government on their side will often do nearly anything it takes (legal or otherwise) to maintain that power and control, which usually leads to the corruption of the government, the military, the police, the intelligence community and the judicial system, leading to the possible demise of the government and the country. They may use destructive and unethical tactics such as disinformation campaigns, withholding of damaging information, outright falsehoods, conspiracy theories, propaganda, nepotism, installation of unqualified personnel to high ranking positions, attacks on the media, attacks on health and science institutions, attacks on civil liberties, inciting fear and panic, inciting citizens to take up arms against each other, the use of military force against the citizens, subversion of foreign alliances, forming alliances with foreign adversaries, election fraud, voter suppression and the request for foreign interference in elections while attempting to discredit, imprison or inflict physical, financial or reputational harm on their political enemies.

n) Governments may govern for the general good or may only govern for the good of the rulers. Government by a single person for the general good is called a monarchy; for private benefit, "tyranny". Government by minority rule is an aristocracy if it aims at the state's best interest and an oligarchy if it benefits only the ruling minority.
If a society contains an individual or family of outstanding virtue and excellence, then Aristotle theorized that monarchy may be the best constitution. But such a case is very rare, and the risk of failure is great, for monarchy corrupts into tyranny, which is the worst constitution of all. In reality Aristotle preferred a kind of constitutional democracy, which he called "polity". It is a government in which rich and poor respect each other's rights and the best qualified citizens rule with the consent of all and with everyone's interest in mind.

In regards to whether tyranny is treasonous, Article Three in Section Three of the Constitution says:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."
Sedition vs Treason: Sedition is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. Not all sedition is illegal, such as the right to protest (unless under a dictatorship). Treason is a violation of allegiance towards your country, especially betrayal in war, or providing aid and comfort to an enemy. Sedition may threaten the leaders, while treason threatens the entire country.

Aristotle continues with how the governments may be preserved. He recommends that the ruling party always be on guard against the beginning of constitutional destruction; always be wary of lawlessness, especially in its petty forms; never try to deceive the masses; treat everyone well and fairly with great respect to those of the other party; cultivate a state of emergency so that people will not attempt to revolt; prevent in-fighting between notables; be careful not to confer great promotions or significant withdrawals of honor too suddenly; ensure that the property qualification for office remains proportionate to the wealth of the city; prevent public office from becoming a source of profit; and offer special considerations to the poor and underprivileged.

Aristotle explains that a constitution is most likely to last if those holding office are loyal to the constitution, highly competent, and of good character. Additionally, it is essential that a majority of the people be in favor of the constitution and that the constitution refrain from becoming too oppressive. A middle ground (golden mean) is important in all things: extremism will very likely undermine the mandates of the extremists. Perhaps most important of all is the education of the citizens in the essence of the constitution. Being faithful to a constitution can then be liberating rather than enslaving, thus ensuring the longevity of the republic for which it stands.

o) Since true leaders, just like true friends, are rare, justice is not easy to obtain or hold on to. That is why power in a well-functioning democracy is split apart so that there are co-equal branches of government that work to reduce abuse of power, corruption, greed, favoritism, bigotry and discrimination while simultaneously improving the health, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people. The problem of injustice becomes amplified when a leader breaks with tradition, norms, guidelines, regulations and laws and thus gains control of several of the branches in order to consolidate power for only one party at the expense of other parties and the citizens. This is the beginning of tyranny and oligarchy which was common with kings and emperors. Perhaps the best way to combat such tyranny is to work together with alliances (foreign and domestic) to support the virtues of sustained democracy and the constitution.

Due to the difficulty of this subject matter, more additions, revisions, interpretations, explanations. and corrections will likely be coming shortly. Since happiness is the end goal of this entire curriculum, hopefully this section on ethics and virtues is as helpful, challenging, stimulating and enlightening to you as it has been to us. May virtue be with you.
August 29, 2020, Rev B. - #16 - Justice added

Beginning Monday, October 19, 2020, people around the globe are invited to help celebrate National Character Counts! Week.
Character Counts! Week is the biggest celebration of character in the world.
CHARACTER COUNTS! was created by Michael Josephson and founded at the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics.
First declared "National CHARACTER COUNTS! Week" in 1993, the U.S. President, U.S. Senate, State Governors, and officials around the world proclaim the third week in October "CHARACTER COUNTS! Week" as a time to highlight character education and the importance of modeling good character. Every year millions of citizens around the world participate. You can show your support by wearing the colors corresponding to the Six Pillars of Character.
The Six Pillars of Character are the core ethical values of CHARACTER COUNTS!
Articulated in the Aspen Declaration, these values were identified by a nonpartisan, nonsectarian (secular) group of youth development experts in 1992 as "core ethical values that transcend cultural, religious and socioeconomic differences".


RESPECT - Tuesday - Gold
RESPONSIBILITY - Wednesday - Green
FAIRNESS - Thursday - Orange
CARING - Friday - Red
CITIZENSHIP - Saturday - Purple

Click Here to download the K-12 lesson plans: 466 page pdf
October 21, 2020, Rev C. - "Character Counts!" added

Coming soon:

2.21) Quizzes / LE-201 Final Exam / Monitoring of your Relationships

Love Ed 301: History and Teaching of Love

3.1) History of Love
3.2) Greatest teachers / mentors on Love
3.3) Teaching love in Schools
3.4) Love teachings in Religion
3.5) Love and Marriage Counseling

Love Ed 401: Working as a Love Counselor, Masters Program, Love Award ideas

4.1) Nobel Love Prize / Rewards / Merit Badges / Trophies - Positive Reinforcement
4.2) Teaching and Training Love as a profession
4.3) Love Thesis - Lab work (how fun is that!)
4.4) Post-graduate Love training
4.5) Love Masters degree
4.6) Love Doctorate - Dr. Love
4.7) Love Workshops
4.8) Friendship / Family Love
4.9) Love University / College
4.10) UN of Love Education

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May 10, 2020: Love Ed 101: Curriculum framework and content writing begins.
May 27, 2020: Love Ed 101: Website construction begins.
June 7, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.1 thru 1.10 1st draft nearly finished.
June 10, 2020:Love Ed 201: 2.1 thru 2.5 1st draft.
June 14, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.6, 2.7
June 19, (Juneteenth) 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 1 - 7
June 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 8 - 10
June 26, 2020: Love Ed 101: Foreward & 1.1, Rev. B
June 28, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.12 - 10 Types of Intimacy
June 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Method: 11
June 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.13 - 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make
July 3, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.9 - Goal Setting Methods: 1 - 5
July 4, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.18 - Creating a Master Journal to Support your Personal & Relationship Growth
July 5, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.18 - "Certificate of Excellence" for being part of the first class, the first 10,000 viewers, June 2020.
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.11 - LE-101 Quizzes and Final Exam.
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: LE-101 1st draft completed, Sections 1.10 thru 1.11
July 6, 2020: Love Ed 101: LE-101 Diploma available for download.
July 9, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.17 - Creating your Personal and Relationship "Vision and Mission" Statements
July 11, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.10 - Choosing the Best Problem Solving Methods (PSM's) to Solve Problems and Issues
July 16, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Problem Solving Methods: 12 - 13
July 19, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.8 - Creating Action Plans using PSM Tool #10 (Rev. B)
July 21, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.11 - Creating Implementation Plans (IP's) & Applying them to Improve your Relationships
July 30, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.14 - Deep Friendships
August 6, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.19 - Stress Reduction Techniques (SRT's)
August 13, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.15 - Family Relationships
August 17, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.3, Rev B - Types of love
August 23, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness
August 29, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20 - Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness - #16 Justice
September 4, 2020: Love Ed 101: 1.7, Rev. B - Learning and Growing "Love for Yourself" - The Golden Rule
September 18, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 9a - Virtues: Praise and Blame
September 22, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, 6 - Unified Wisdom Theory
October 12, 2020: Love Ed 201: 2.20, Ethics, Virtues and the Pursuit of Happiness: Revisions to 5a, 10a & 14

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Peace Education 101.com

Printable Documents:

Click Here to print or download the Personal / Relationship Questionaire, June 12, 2020, Rev. G

Printable version of the "Check List" and Balance Wheel - Click Here

Click Here to print all Problem Solving Methods - PSM's: July 16, 2020, Rev. F

Click Here to print the Problem Solving and Goal Setting Flow Charts : June 21, 2020, Rev. A

Click Here to print the "10 Types of Intimacy" : June 29, 2020, Rev. B

Click Here to print the Goal Setting Methods - GSM's: July 9, 2020, Rev. B

Click here to print the Quizzes and Final Exam for Love Education 101: LE-101, sections 1.1 thru 1.10 : July 12, Rev. B

Click Here to download, save, edit and print your Diploma and Certificate of Excellence for being among the first 10,000 visitors to review and study the online course, Love Education 101, in June 2020. You can also download the Certificate for being part of the first 25,000 study group during July 2020, being part of the first 50,000 visitors in August 2020, and being part of the first 100,000 visitors in September 2020 : September 28, 2020, Rev. D

This Love Education curriculum is free and available to everyone, as such this text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (Open-Source.); additional terms may apply. For more information visit: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

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Love Education 101 by http://www.loveeducation101.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.loveeducation101.com, 2020.

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