As a woman, how can I avoid settling for the wrong partner? ~ Anna

Anna, Dishonesty is the rotten core of so many relationships. Too many women settle to get a man. Women believe there are too many women for the number of men, and they "sell out" to get a man. Yes, it is disgusting in this day and age, but it is a reality. I know women who are doctors, lawyers, professors, and other professionals who give up their values and their truth to have a partner. Socioeconomic class is no preventative for the plague of "settling."Settling is when a person knowingly gives up truths that they value to keep or sustain a relationship. Please wake up and realize that you are living a lie when you are desperate for a relationship and give up the gift of you for the desires of someone else. A few signs of knowing that you are settling for an inadequate relationship are when you have conflicting core values, when your partner does not respect you or your opinion, or when the other person continually makes important decisions without your consultation.Give yourself the gift of life. Be your fully truthful, honest, whole self in your relationship with your significant other or spouse. Life is a rich adventure of love, passion, loss, and abundance that is best when it springs from honesty. Maintaining honesty in your relationship is a spiritual practice that must be tended to like a fragile garden. Weeds can pop up overnight, and it takes extreme vigilance to protect and nurture what is most important to you. I can assure you, it is worth every moment of tending.

Should I tell my partner I don’t like the gift he gave me? ~ William

William, Be honest about not liking jewelry or gifts you receive. Believe me, I have been through this myself. Just sit down and tell the other person you love him or her, but this gift is not your taste. Your partner spent lots of money on a gift and wants it to be something you will wear or love. Ask to be a part of gift choices so it will really be something you love and will wear for a lifetime. I was honest many years ago with my husband. I told him our tastes in clothes and jewelry were totally different. If he wanted me to be happy and wear his gifts, I would have to choose my own jewelry and clothes. This took the pressure off him, and we have built on this honesty and been very happy with our gift-giving decisions our entire marriage.

Why are family secrets harmful? ~ Joseph

Joseph, Family secrets are family lies. Dishonesty is not just what one says verbally, but also what is held in silence. I have always lived by the statement "Secrets kill and the truth heals." A family secret is like a hidden ticking bomb just waiting to explode. The family constructs a life around the impending time bomb. The family secret may be the adoption of a child or the sexuality of your favorite uncle or the rape of your mother or a mental illness or addiction in a family member.Whatever the secret, it causes separation and suffering in a family. There is an energy to a lie that each member of the family sidesteps in fear of an explosion.

What is shunning? ~ Lia

Lia, Shunning is an ancient practice that is still used today in many cultures, and humans have an innate fear of it. When a member of any group disagrees with the norms or the values of the family, the family may expel that person from the group. The Amish and other religions use this practice to maintain control of the group.In the animal kingdom, shunning can mean certain death. When an animal becomes disabled in the wild, the herd will shun the animal, and the immune system of the shunned animal immediately changes.The animal risks death in isolation. The animal may die, because in a state of isolation it loses the protection of the herd or it may fall to predators in its weakened state. Research tells us that when humans are isolated or shunned by a group, our immune system starts to shut down.

How common is dishonesty in the workplace? ~ Dylan

Dylan, How common is dishonesty in the workplace? Fifteen percent of workers reported they were caught in a lie at the office. Nearly one in four hiring managers -- 24 percent -- say they have fired an employee for being dishonest. Clearly this is a growing problem that we must face head-on.

What are the effects of lies and dishonesty? ~ Vanessa

Vanessa, We live in a culture of dishonesty, in a time of lies. Some corporations have betrayed our trust and wounded our belief in fair business practices. Our government and corporations have been dishonest about climate change. Mothers and fathers worry about the honesty of their children and install computer programs and video monitors to track their recreational pursuits. And people continue to betray and divorce each other despite solemn marriage vows.Dishonesty is an epidemic that we have become so accustomed to that we have accepted and integrated its distortions into our daily lives, poisoning our relationships and our jobs and damming the flow of our spiritual lives. We can neither shine a light nor stand in someone else's light when we are in a perpetual state of hiding from others and ourselves.We lie when we are afraid of what others will think. We lie to try to manage situations that are out of control, which inevitably spin further out of control. With each lie, the fear of being found out grows and more lies are required. We have to remember what we said and to whom we said it as we swirl into this destructive and exhausting pattern. When we try to hold back the truth, which naturally bubbles from the source, we divert the course of nature.

Please help me understand why some people are jealous? ~ Dylan

Dylan, Jealousy is complicated and so are the root causes. Jealousy is pretty complex, and can involve all sorts of emotions, like fear, anger and humiliation. There are many explanations for seeing green, and for decades, psychologists have been researching what may be to blame.Jealousy is very emotional and, at times, difficult to work through. Acknowledge your feelings, talk with the person involved and shift your mindset to the positive parts of your life. These steps can help you break free from envious thoughts. You may want to seek help with a counselor to sort out what is triggering your jealous feelings.

What is the role of optimism in marriage? ~ Mark

Mark, The institution of marriage is based on optimism. I believe the definition of marriage should include the word optimism. How can you stand before another person and repeat those vows and not have a seed of optimism within you? You pledge to stay with another person for the rest of your life through being rich or poor, sick or healthy. That's either optimistic or crazy!Couples who commit to a partnership and move in together root their relationship in optimism. Both partners are giving up the security of their own homes and identities to forge a new committed relationship. This can be more challenging than a marriage, because there are not the legal guarantees married partners enjoy. Hope and optimism become the energy that drives these beautiful, rich relationships.