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Dr. Bill Austin

Ya' Gotta Know When

Positive Comparisons

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The Wrong Big Picture

Staying Young On The Inside

What Is Your Bread?

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What's It Like to Retire?

Creating a Safe Relationship

Disease and Relationships

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Your Dog Can't Swim

What kind of listener do you want me to be?

Dealing with Criticism

Run Your Own Race, Part II

Run Your Own Race

The Next Chapter in Our Lives

Creating New Normals

Beating the Holiday Blues

Emotional Triggers

"You're with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company" - Diane Von Furstenburg

The grace of forgiveness

Trying to blend a blended family

The Umbrella Story

How Disease Impacts A Relationship

Overcoming the Holiday Blues

Talking Dog for Sale

Trying to Blend a Blended Family

The Worst Beating I Ever Took

"It's my fault!"

You had it last!

It's All About Me!

The grace of forgiveness

Cooling the brain

Life's Puzzle-Box Top

Simon Says

Unenforceable Rules

Stone Face

It's All About Me!

You Lost That Loving Feeling

Don't Tell Me What To Do

Do it now

No Opportunity to Repair

The Umbrella Story

How Do We Express Our Love?

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Professional Columns -
Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin


My father was quite an athlete. Leaving his small hometown in Tennessee, Dad and a friend drove to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in aeronautical school. While working on his degree, he boxed to help pay for his schooling. Eventually becoming LA’s middleweight boxing champion and winning the championship, Dad went on to play quarterback for the semi-professional LA Tigers—a farm team.  Among my personal treasures are several newspaper articles about my father’s adventures in sports.

When I was in junior high school, I decided to play football. Dad had several sayings he used to empower my brother and me. One of his empowering sayings was,” Your opposition puts their pants on the same way you do.” The truth be told, that saying did nothing for me; my response was, “Yeah, but look at how much bigger their pants are.”
I played tackle, and my number was 99. I never got it dirty because the coach never called my name!

I would come home after football practice with terrible headaches. Finally, my dad asked, ‘Why are you playing football?” My response was, “I thought you wanted me to.” Since he was such an outstanding player, I assumed he would want me to play as well. “ No,” he said, “you do what you want to do.”

What a relief not to go to football practice anymore. No more headaches. I wound up playing guard for our basketball team. I was not good at that either, but I enjoyed it, and enjoying a sport was exactly what my father wanted for me.

One famous motivational saying is, “You can do anything you want.” I heard Zig Ziglar challenge the truth of that idea. “I cannot do anything I desire to do,” Zig explained. “I cannot be a horse jockey because I am too big.” It would be more accurate to say, “We can do whatever is within our capability.”

“Never quit” is another popular mantra. We all have heard stories about people quitting too soon and missing some treasure that someone else discovers later. If they hadn’t quit, they would have found the treasure.

This idea is challenged in the song
“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers:
“You got to know when to hold them,
know when to fold them,
and know when to run.”

 A perfect example of knowing when to quit is found in the example of a mouse going down a path looking for cheese: if it doesn’t find cheese there, it stops. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about some of us. We go down the same old paths again and again, even though there is no cheese there. We mistakenly think if we try harder and go faster, we will find it.

The real challenge is to find a new path—one that we enjoy because it is realistic and takes account of our actual capabilities.

As the late great Danny Thomas once told his daughter, Marlo: “Run your own race.”

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Dr. Austin has decades of experience dealing with relationships. He charges clients on a sliding scale according to their ability to pay. His first book, Creating Our Safe Place: Articles on Healthy Relationships, was published in 2004. His second book, Keeping It Safe, was published in 2009 and can be purchased through,, and at the Parrish Book Store in Virginia Beach.  He is also a sought-after speaker at meetings and seminars.

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