Okay…here I go (you asked!!):
Let me start with this: We have become a relationally ignorant people.
We have a very poor RQ (Relationship Intelligence Quotient). Statistics show that we are failing miserably in our relationships. The current divorce rate is about 50 percent. Furthermore, second marriages have a divorce rate of about 60 percent and third marriages are moving towards 70 percent.
The effects of divorce travel into the next generation as well. Statistics indicate that children brought up in single parent environments are more likely to drop out of school, become pregnant as teenagers, abuse drugs and get into trouble with the law more so than those living with both parents. Divorce obviously breeds dysfunction and more divorce.
In addition, domestic violence has been on the rise, and it is reported that one out of every three women is abused by her partner. Those are only the cases reported. It is estimated that far more domestic violence and spousal abuse occurs than we may ever know.
We are upside-down in where we are going relationally.
The bottom line is we are abusing, neglecting and abandoning the people that we say we love, which makes absolutely no rational or relational sense at all.
We are not only getting divorced from our marriages, but we are getting divorced from ourselves as well. Depending on what research you read, you will find that about ten percent of the population is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. The lesser known and reported addictions of gambling, spending, food, sex and cyber-based addictions (internet, video games, etc.) are too vast to research at this time. However, it is estimated, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, that the total annual economic cost of drug and alcohol abuse in the United States in the 1990’s was $250 billion per year. It is surely much higher today.
It is an understatement to say that we obviously have developed some very poor habits, lack appropriate coping mechanisms and are in search of something we have not been able to find. Basically, we have failed as a society when it comes to relationship skills; with ourselves and with others.
How do we stop this downward spiral? The answer (My answer) is to Marry YourSelf First!
The Marry YourSelf First! concept includes:
• Understanding and living your life purpose and your mission.
• Developing and maintaining your personal boundaries.
• Practicing your unique spirituality.
• Developing and utilizing your support network.
• Knowing how to communicate effectively.
• Having an understanding of the healthy relationship developmental process.
• Creating a relationship template to prevent relationship dysfunction.
• Committing to ongoing personal growth.
• Understanding and living within the principles of abundance and prosperity.
• Developing stress, priority and time management mechanisms.
• Accepting yourself for exactly who you are—flaws and all.
People who commit to marry themselves first can be assured that they know who they REALLY are first. From there they know what they want, know what they will not accept, know where they are going in life and they have a sense of passion and self-fulfillment aside from any relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, these same people are healthier, and usually wealthier, and have more consistent interpersonal boundaries.
I have been in the field of psychology and counseling for over 20 years, and I keep hearing the same story over and over again about how people struggle with their relationships. It seems that people are quick to settle for what they mistake as “love,” and repeat the same patterns that one or both of their dysfunctional parents engaged in while they were growing up. Either way, these individuals, or couples, end up in my office in much pain and often times they are ready to divorce each other. Quite frankly, it is time for us all to do something different. It is time for us to marry ourselves first!
My purpose and mission is to provide education to as many people as possible with the goal of improving relationship success and satisfaction, while also providing people with the tools, strategies and tactics so they may live their lives at the highest level of fulfillment possible.
I am committed to having a positive impact on relationships, and I also plan to get this same information into the curriculum of our education system so that we can lower the divorce rate, the domestic violence rate and the rate of addictive behavior. This is my legacy, and I am living it now.
This all begins by understanding how passion, power and purpose all fit together into a foundational triad that is self-perpetuating. Passion is the sweet succulent juice of life that gives that extra zeal and zest to your life. Purpose provides you with direction and focus in your life. Power gives you the confidence to go into the unknown, and to say “Yes” or “No” without second-guessing yourself or allowing yourself to be persuaded by others. When you have all three, you live in a place of wholeness, confidence and completion. Your life is then much more satisfying and fulfilled, and you have a much higher likelihood of being successful in your relationships.
I am excited to have this vision, to have received this calling, and to be living “on purpose” and in my purpose. I hope that you will join me on this journey. I am counting on you to make a difference as well. I am calling you to start with man or woman in the mirror.
Here’s the invitation with a bit of my loving confrontation: Marry YourSelf First!
Tell us something about yourself.
I’ve been counseling, coaching, and teaching since 1987. My credentials: licensed mental health counselor, board certified addictions professional, board certified clinical hypnotherapist, and certified master relationship coach.
(My team tells me I should also state that I’ve overcome the perils of addiction, the darkness of depression and the heart-break of divorce to become one of the “leading authorities on positive mental health, successful relationships and winning the Inside Game of Life”…I feel like I’m bragging to state all that, but that’s why they’re my team!)
I have spoken to numerous companies and organizations on stress management and work-life balance issues, including: Allstate Insurance Company, American Marketing Association, General Electric, Magellan Health Services, Mary Kay Cosmetics, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Verizon.
In my book Marry YourSelf First! I share with the readers how to win “the inside game of relationships” by first creating a powerful relationship with yourself.
People ask their toughest questions at www.AskKenDonaldson.com and I respond in my blog posts, on downloadable audios and in online video clips.
I was also one of six people who received the 2006 Tampa Bay Health Care Hero Award.
I was recently labeled as “Dr. Phil mixed in with Buddha and Salvador Dali.”
I have appeared numerous times on NPR, Good Day Tampa Bay, Daytime, Fox 13 News, News Channel 8, and Studio 10 TV, as well as in The Tampa Tribune, the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Bay Times.
I’m interested and interesting; thoughtful and thought-provoking; and compassionate and understanding of the human condition.
I’ve been on the frontlines and in the trenches with people’s issues and challenges…I have a good pulse of what people want, need and are struggling with…and I have creative and innovative solutions!!
What inspired you to write this book?
I think I outlined that above…let me add this: I got tired of feeling like I wasn’t do enough and I figured a book would be another way to my message out.
How did you choose the title?
It captures this essence of the material…get good with you first, commit to you first, know you first, trust your first, believe in you first…do all that FIRST, and not only will you have better relationships, you’ll be happier and most likely healthier as well!
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I self published…first time, so it felt like skiing up a hill every day for about a year.
Getting a typesetter, a graphics person, a printing and then building the website…oh yeah, I also discovered that you have to market it too!!
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I’ve been writing for a long time. Actually I discovered my joy and skill for writing in college (didn’t start until I was 29). Began writing articles for clients and for a simple Ezine.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes and no. I go through periods of much writing , then dormant times. When I’m in writing mode, I like to write early in the morning.
I also have many of my speaking presentations transcribed…I surprise myself sometimes with the spontaneous content I often come up with.
I can speak much faster than I can write, so speaking is just another form of writing for me….it’s more efficient.
Once transcribing, I go in and begin to edit.
It feels like I have a huge head start that way.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Yes…that I can do and I will continue to do better and better.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Probably have a better marketing plan.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Self help and spiritual growth…and some business books.
Deepak…love his stuff…it all makes sense.
Like to read Paulo Coelho for fun…takes me to another world for a while.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Yes…it’s a spin-off of Marry YourSelf First (I have a series planned…one for divorce recovery, one for addiction recovery, one for couples…) designed more for business and corporate clients. I am building my speaking business, so I feel this will be a credibility builder and a door opener.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Plan, plan and plan.
And plan that your plan won’t always work.
And never (ever) give up.
And sell like crazy.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Middle aged, female, divorced, some college, reads other self help books, may go to 12 step meetings or Unity church services.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?