The Value of Restraint and Why You Should Never Kiss a Goat

Center Street Coaching
April, 2014
Center Street Coaching Newsletter

The Value of Restraint
The Value of Restraint
And why you should never kiss a goat

         Over-thinking life
Restraint is important but also important is taking a chance, being vulnerable and pushing past the negative thoughts that keep us from doing the right thing.


People are often unreasonable, illogical and selfcentered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;  Be honest anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;  Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;  Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
Goats may give you poison oak, kiss them anyway (OK, I added this on.)

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;  It was never between you and them anyway.

Kent Keith

(Also known as the Mother Teresa Anyway Poem)


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Dear Reader
I’ve been accused, and rightly so, of “doing” without “thinking”….a sort of impulsiveness that. while oftentimes productive, can get me into trouble.
Such was the case most recently.  I visited my son and his family who own a home a little south of Eureka on 28 acres of redwood trees. It is a lovely piece of Paradise where they have a herd of goats who keep the brush at bay and “mow” their lawn.  Goats are cute, really.  They have sweet faces. They also have babies that beg to be held and and cuddled.
So, without thinking I carried a little one in my bare arms while we walked the property.  Her mother followed eyeing me the whole time. As I bent over to kiss the concerned mother on her head my son reminded me that their job was to EAT BRUSH, POISON OAK BRUSH.
Yes, I’m covered with poison oak rash.
What was I thinking 

                                  What’s not to love!

The Value of Restraint

Where am I going with the goat story? Its about the value of restraint and the importance of giving thought to words and deeds. Whether it is kissing goats or interacting with others, a little forethought can go a long way to having peaceful relationships and positive outcomes.
When I am working with couples for whom their marriage is on rocky ground I often observe their reactivity to each other.  Words fly out of their mouths that cause their spouse pain and from that pain the spouse shoots back more offending words…..and so it goes.  Clients also tell me of their spouse’s behaviors during times of stress that speak of knee-jerk reactions such as walking away from a heated conversation, exploding, getting super busy until they drop from exhaustion.  There are other behaviors such as eating, or drinking too much, sulking and nagging that are done when feeling stressed using little forethought for the consequences.
Restraint is also valuable when making decisions that affect the relationship.  Before I make plans to do something that includes my partner it is best that I check in first before I say yes and then have to reneigh on an agreement….Always a bit embarrassing.  Taking the time to think things through can eliminate backtracking, apologizing and waste of time.
And then there are the bigger decisions for which restraint is called to the fore.  Do I take the first job offered? Do I buy the 2014 red Corvette because “I deserve it”?  Do I agree to marry her/him….Did I say we would elope??? Tomorrow????   And perhaps I should have slept on it before I put that offer in on that house!   Restraint.  It calls for self discipline and patience.
I’m all for “doing” but I’ve learned that there are always consequences to what ever I do….or don’t do.  Taking a little time to think things through can eliminate a lot of trouble.  Being mindful in the moment of what is happening makes for appropriate behaviors. Using restraint can keep us safe and in the case of my most recent indiscretion, keep me from itching.
Well, all I can say is, goats are really cute but I guess I wasn’t thinking.
Center Street Coaching and Sonoma Couples Retreat offer guidance and and support for the challenges life brings to you and your relationships.
When you are ready to make the changes needed to create a healthy and joy filled life, call me.  I can help, it’s what I do.
Marianne Harms, LCSW/CSW
Couple’s Coach/Life Coach

Center Street Coaching

735 Center Street

Sonoma CA  95476707.343.7285

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