Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 10 – Issue 4 – April, 2011
Relay 4 Life – April 16-17 – Because cancer never sleeps, Dr. Marlo Archer will join others in a round-the-clock walk to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. To support the battle against cancer, Click Here
Debunking Myths – Deciding Not to Honor a Contract – My Basic Right
Myth: With the economy as bad as it is and with politicians, corporations, and big banking being so corrupt, a strategic foreclosure is really my basic right and only hurts people who deserve it anyhow.
Times are tough. The housing market is down. Lots of people have lost their jobs. A lot of good, decent, hardworking people are having trouble making their morgage payments. Decent people who care to honor their obligations seek first to reduce their expenses when their income reduces. A great way to reduce your expenses is to get into a less-expensive house and there sure are a lot of cheap houses on the market currently. A number of responsible people have done just that, let go of homes that have been in their family for generations, often for a substantial loss, and bought something smaller, or in a less-desirable neighborhood, to continue their lives, as best they can, during these hard times. I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about people who went nuts during the housing bubble and signed their names on the dotted line, and got themselves into houses that were far enough above a comfortable margin that they left themselves no room for difficulty if something should happen with their employment, or folks who decided it was a good time to buy a second or third house to either “flip,” “rent,” or “hold,” without much further thought about the future other than what they stood to gain. Folks in that category have now found themselves “upside-down” in those houses. Housing values have dropped and the selling value of those homes are much lower than the purchase price people agreed to pay for them and people are just deciding not to honor the contracts they signed, continuing to live in a house they aren’t paying for, and causing the lender who trusted them and extended them a loan to foreclose on the home. Sometimes the very same people turn right around and buy the home back at a substantially lower price once it is back on the market.
Some folks in this position are looking at foreclosure as a strategic business move, something the banks “deserve,” something they should be entitled to do because the value of their house dropped, something the government should bail them out of , something that is their basic right. They see it as something harmless, something that affects only them.
Fact: To fail to pay on a loan you agreed to does several different kinds of damage to your fellow human being. First, it models for your children, for your spouse, and for your friends, that your word is no good. You may argue that you didn’t break your word to a friend, only to a bank, and that’s different. Maybe so, but to watch you break a legal contract, your children and your partner may begin to wonder what other promises you’ve made that you might break if you suddenly don’t feel like keeping them, if you suddenly find it more advantageous to you to break a promise rather than to keep it.
Second, it teaches your children that it’s okay to break their promises, too. Since you were willing to break your promise to a bank, your child will learn that it’s okay to break his promises to a bank, too, or maybe to his school, or a teacher, or a friend, or even to you. Kids aren’t going to make the distinction that some promises must be kept while others can be broken. If they see you break promises, they will learn that it’s okay to break promises.
Third, thinking of a “bank” as a face-less institution full of money makes it easy to break your promise. However, banks employ workers just like you and when they lose income because people default on their loans, they lay off workers. If you decide you simply don’t have to pay on the loan you took out, that might cost someone else his or her job.
Fourth, in order to be successful and stay in business, every company must take in more money than it costs to run the company. Banks are no different. Banks set fees based on their costs. When you decide to default on a loan, you start costing the bank more and they lose income. In order to remain successful, they will need to raise their fees in other areas to stay afloat. They may raise the cost for bouncing a check or for having your statements printed out or for selling you a cashier’s check. In any event, the fees will be raised because of foreclosures and those fees will be passed on to other people, including the people who went for forclosure.
Finally, when we decide not to pay loans, not to honor contracts, to go back on our word, and to have someone else pay for our decisions, we contribute to the destruction of cooperation in society. These sorts of actions say that only your needs matter and that everyone else is just on their own. You’re only looking out for you and yours, and too bad for everyone else. A self-centered approach to life is not helpful in the overall building of society as a cooperative unit and will eventually harm each and every one of us if we all become unwilling to take responsibility for ourselves and for the good of mankind.
March Discussion Question: What if your best friend were considerably younger than you?
Faithful reader, L.A. sent a reply longer than this newsletter to March’s question. The conclusion of the response follows: Someone who is considerably younger can be a best friend if they hold the right attributes. Age would not matter. However, in order to have the trust and unconditional love of a “Best Friend”, it takes time. Time to go through life experiences with this person to determine if your friendship is “unconditional” or not. Would you really die for one of your friends because you cannot imagine your life without them? Depending on when you become “Best Friends” with this person, you may not have the time invested with this person to be, by definition, a best friend if one is significantly younger.
Thanks for the great submission! Great Answer! You will now be receiving the brand new 2011 Dr. Marl Temporary Tattoos!
April Discussion Question: What are the Best and Worst qualities you got from your Dad and from your Mom?
E-mail answers to: email@example.com and answers will appear next month. Your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used unless you tell us not to use them. Anyone who responds and also includes a mailing address will receive our Brand New 2011 Temporary Tattoos!
Thought For The Day: If you are already thinking of what you’re going to say before the other person has finished, you’re not really listening.
PERSONAL GROWTH EXERCISE
To spotlight our E-Coaching services, our newsletter includes a personal growth exercise. These exercises illustrate the kinds of activities our clients are asked to complete when they are using our E-Coaching services. The exercises printed here are quite general in nature, but the exercises sent to our E-Coaching clients are individualized to meet each client’s specific needs. E-Coaching Sessions are available for $50 each.
Honesty is the Best Policy
There is a television commercial that plays on the idea that Abraham Lincoln was an exceptionally honest man. It shows his wife asking if her dress makes her “backside look big.” Her backside is on the large side and he hems and haws for a moment, then admits that yes, it does, a little, and she storms off. This illustrates a common dilemma in which couples find themselves. One member of the coupleship, seeking validation that he or she is still physically attractive to the partner, asks the question that has no correct answer. The reason it has no correct answer is that the question is also designed to test the honesty of the partner. If the partner replies that the asker looks fantastic, and the asker knows the outfit is not particularly flattering, they will deem the respondant a liar. If the partner does offer that the clothes are a little tight, the asker will assume the partner doesn’t find them attractive and become hurt and angry. People with successful dating experience learn to simply not answer that question, when asked, no matter what. They have learned that telling the truth doesn’t work, telling a lie doesn’t work, and simply not answering is almost as good as saying your partner is a big fat whale. So, what’s a person to do?
When you are asked a “trick question” like the classic described above, before falling into the trick, stop and pause for a moment and ask yourself what information the person is really looking for. Fat people know they’re fat. Scrawny people know they’re scrawny. People that did a rush job on a project know they did a rush job on a project. People that spent a long time working on something and still had it come out badly know that it came out badly. When people are asking you for feedback, they often aren’t wanting specific feedback on the item at hand, but rather, more global feedback about whether or not you love them, trust them, think they tried hard, are smart, are capable, are trustworthy. They want to know if you’re going to break up with them, fire them, or cast them aside. They want to know if you’re generally pleased with them, or irritated and frustrated. They’re asking about one specific thing, but they probably want a much larger answer than what they’re asking for.
This month, when you find yourself faced with tricky questions, particularly those that are soliciting specific feedback from you, pause and consider your relationship with the asker and see if you can determine what larger question they’re really asking and answer that one instead. Tell your husband you love and trust him when he asks how he did with the flower garden. Tell your teen son that he is becoming a mature young man when he asks how he did on washing the car. Tell your wife she’s the only woman for you for the rest of your life when she asks which shoes she should wear with the dress.
For a FREE 5-Session Trial of E-Coaching, send us a report of how this activity worked for you! We may share your report in our next newsletter with your name, last initial, and state of residence (unless you tell us not to). Send to FreeSessions@drmarlo.com. (Offer Expires 5-04-11)
E-Coaching! Try it Now!
Not every problem is a mental illness. Not every issue is a trauma. Not every botherment is an emotional disorder. For life’s daily issues and for personal growth, now there is E-Coaching! Dr. Marlo Archer offers a 10-session consultation package for people who are not diagnosed with any mental illness who would just like some coaching, some guidance, or some personal growth. We are offering the 10-Session package for $500. Begin by calling 480-705-5007 to make a $500 payment, then send an e-mail to DrMarlo@drmarlo.com, expressing your specific area of concern to begin!
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Dr. Marlo in the Media
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Read Dr. Marlo’s article, “Slippery Slope of Lying” reprinted in the March issue of Women Helping Women: News and Support for Female Gamblers in Recovery. Click here, then go to Past Issues, March 2011, then scroll about 1/3 down the page.
You don’t have to fly to another country to help those in need. Chances are the person who is physically closest to you right now could use something. Figure out what it is and do that! –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.