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I listen to my brilliant wife, and learn, too

December 7, 2008
By MATTHEW GOODEMOTE, For The Leader-Herald

My wife is brilliant.

Fortunately for me, she and I are different and she sees the world very differently from the way I do.

She practices being true to herself each and every day.

I am constantly amazed at how much she loves and cares for others, especially our kids, and I feel very fortunate to have her in my life.

A week or so ago, she noticed I was overreacting to a particular event.

You see, my son doesn't always do what I want him to.

He is a great kid and I know that he is being a kid when he's not doing what I want him to, so the event that got me upset at him is not even worth mentioning.

My intention was to get my son to do something "I" wanted him to do.

I wanted him to calm down and to stop being so loud.

Ultimately, I wanted to control the behavior.

So I showed him how his daddy handles his problems.

I did the following:

I got less and less calm.

I yelled louder and louder.

I lost "my" control.

In the end, I got my way and felt OK about what happened until my wife said, "You know that what you are teaching Thomas is that if Daddy gets mad enough, he controls that situation.

"So Thomas will learn that he needs to get angry to get his way."

I stopped to consider what my wife said.

I realized that she had an excellent point.

You all know the expression "Talk is cheap; it's what you do that matters."

So instead of "walking my walk," I expected him to do what I wanted even though I couldn't do it myself.

I have a favorite teacher that has helped me through some rough times by using this exact line of thinking.

It is somehow easier for us to find fault in others and expect them to change their behavior. We all know how difficult it can be to change a bad habit.

The fact is, when we step back and look at what we want others to do, all we need to do is turn it around to our own lives and use our own advice.

I am learning to use my own advice as a way to find out what "I" need to do instead of someone else.

I literally carry a little notebook in my pocket so I can write down any criticisms I have of other people, and thoughts I have about myself that I need to work on or change.

This notebook is proving to be quite the teacher. It turns out that everything I want someone else to do I myself need to do first and foremost.

How many of us have yelled, "Stop yelling at me."

How many of us have noticed someone who is overeating while we are out in a restaurant overeating?

How many of us criticized someone for not being more considerate of others' feelings.

Are you angry with someone being angry?

Or perhaps have you gossiped about a friend you are mad at for gossiping?

So if I want my son to be quieter and act more calmly, then I have to start first and lead by example.

If I want to have a particular dinner, I volunteer to cook and make what I want to eat.

When I notice someone is saying something offensive, I check and make sure I have not been offensive to them.

Take a minute to consider how brilliant what my wife said really is. I am teaching my son through my actions what to do.

I lead through example. Sure, I can talk all I want about how being calm inside is important.

If my actions are wild on the outside, my son sees the truth.

What are you showing the world about yourself?

My intention is not to give people more to stress about.

In fact, to me it is a doorway to meet the stress and move on with my life. Results matter.

If I want my life to be something and my actions go against it, then I feel lousy inside because there is no balance.

But if my actions match my internal guidance, there is no reason to be stressed about a situation.

When it comes to health, most of my patients know that what they eat is not good for them and most know they need to exercise more.

Several patients know they are stressed out and need to learn how to relax more.

Most people I know say that relationships matter more than money but put off friends and family because of money.

Patients know they are getting well and feeling better but decide to put off their own health because it "costs too much." Instead of putting off other expenses, they put their health lower on the totem pole.

How is your back feeling?

Is it bothering you?

Walk the walk and start taking care of it today.

Are you mad at the doctor for all the medicine he is giving you for cholesterol, high blood pressure, acid reflux and depression?

Understand that if you want to take less, then you have to participate in your own health and get exercising.

If you take a pill at least once a day, then you should be exercising at least once a day.

We need to stop blaming the doctor when we are the ones who make excuses about exercising or not.

We are the ones who put the unhealthy food in our body. We are the ones who get to walk our own walk.

I understand that it may seem like this has been oversimplified and that it won't work.

Try it for one week to see what happens.

Every time you want to complain about someone else, take your own advice.

Every time you notice someone else's unhealthy lifestyle, examine your own and fix it.

Use your own wisdom to help yourself find Wellness.

Notice what you are saying and see if it matches how you are acting.

If it is not lined up, then your own internal wisdom is calling you to change.

If you have been putting it off, today is the day you stop putting it off and start acting on your own internal knowing.

Health and wellness are available to everyone who wants it and we are ready for you when you are ready for it.

What is it that you want in your life?

Don't wait until after the holidays to start. Start now.

Matthew Goodemote, a Gloversville native, owns Community Physical Therapy & Wellness. His Health & Wellness column will answer your questions and discuss topics that are relevant to your everyday way of life. If you would like to ask a question, e-mail Matthew at



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