“The one who loves the most – WINS!”

By Samahria Lyte Kaufman
Co-Founder/Co-Director – The Option Institute

Who wouldn’t want to know how to make their relationship better? Forty-nine years ago, when I was beginning my relationship with my husband, I would have given my prized rock’n roll collection for someone to teach me what I know today. I’m enormously grateful to have learned what I did eventually – and thrilled that my husband did too!

Through teaching courses about relationships for thirty years, I’ve selected some principles that can be implemented immediately:

An unflappable, loving vision: You are both wanting the same things… to feel love more and to be loved more. When we acknowledge that, then we don’t perceive our partner as the enemy,

but just someone trying their best to get what they want. Even when our partners don’t act in a loving or clear way, we can know they are doing the best they know how based on their current beliefs. If they knew better, they’d be doing it better. Think about them this way the next time you’re not getting what you want.

Responsibility Heaven:  As shocking as it can be for us, if we took full responsibility for our own happiness and unhappiness – and didn’t blame our partner for “causing” our unhappiness – we would actually feel like we had won the lottery. Why?  Because then, instead of relying on your partner to “make” you happy or change behaviors that “make” you unhappy, you place the decision-making power in your own hands, deciding to make yourself happy now. (This is the biggie! Get this and you’re set for life!) How can we do this?  By first accepting that we always have a choice of how we’re viewing any behavior or situation. The choice is to either be happy or unhappy about it. Take a close look at a particular time you got unhappy (hurt, angry, uncomfortable, irritated, etc.) with your partner. What did you hope would happen when you got unhappy? (We tend to get unhappy to either motivate another person or ourselves.) Did it work? My guess is “no”. Help! We need another way to go for what we want. When our partner is unloving, accusatory, angry, or in any way challenging, we could decide it’s an opportunity for us to learn or get better at something (e.g. loving, letting go of judgments, not controlling, etc.) Once we perceive the situation as an opportunity, it’s easy to choose to be happy about it, right? After all, we then believe what is happening is good for us. Then, no matter what your partner does, you get to be happy. No more need to blame the other for making you unhappy. (Your partner doesn’t have that power. Only you do.) No more need to make him/her wrong or bad because you didn’t get what you wanted. You’re no longer at the mercy of your partner’s actions. Now that’s relationship heaven! Additionally, it means we are not responsible for our partners’ unhappiness or happiness either. Great news!

Assumption alternative: Ask! We often make assumptions about what our partner thinks or feels without checking it out first. We believe our partner thinks the way we would under those circumstance… no way! Your partner will most likely put information together and form conclusions differently than you. Try asking your partner questions nicely like “What did you mean when you said that? Why did you just say that? What do you think about that?  How did you feel when I said that?  It’s important to believe your partner’s answer versus thinking it’s a lie.  So many people feel unheard or misunderstood in relationships, often because of assumptions.  All you can do is not fill in the blanks with what you think is going on for the other person, keep asking questions, believe what your partner says, and stay open to what they say. Everything that your partner does will simply tell you about his/her beliefs (not about you).

Ownership Power:  We are always doing what we want, even when we think we’re doing something for our partner.  If we decide to do something, we are making the choice for your own reasons. (If you’re doing something that fits into that category, ask yourself, “what is the

underlying reason I’m choosing to do this?” or “what do I hope to get out of doing this?” You’ll discover that, in the end, it’s for you, not your partner.) If we believe we have to or should, then we are not taking ownership of our choices and decisions, and blaming our partner. Get yourself out of the victim position by whispering in your own ear, “If I do this, it is my own decision. I’m doing it for me.”

Self-studentship:  Begin to study yourself. Notice when you get uncomfortable, unhappy, or reactive (without judging yourself!) You will then become aware of the ways you’ve learned to take care of yourself and ways you’ve learned to try to motivate others. Read “Happiness Is A Choice” by Barry Neil Kaufman (yes, my husband wrote it – and the learning of these ideas, which we teach to others at The Option Institute, saved our marriage, our parenting and our lives!) There is nothing that feels better, serves us and supports our lives more than knowing how to generate love from within ourselves, without needing our partners to change or be what we want first.  Sure, we believe the things we’re wanting in our relationship are important. Go for them. But do we want to make them more important than our happiness and our feeling loving? Every time we get unhappy, we are actually saying, “I am willing to give up my happiness to get myself or my partner to do this or stop that.” Nothing is worth the giving up of our happiness.

Make your happiness and being loving your highest priority, and you’ll never regret it.  I have a motto that has worked amazingly for me in my relationship: THE ONE WHO LOVES THE MOST – WINS!!!

Copyright © 2008 by Samahria Lyte Kaufman
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The Option Institute and its teachers have had the honor to present programs (during the last four decades) that explore the attitudes and beliefs we have (and may want to change) and to help program participants find their own answers to questions about relationships, careers, family challenges and health issues. Our new program, 5 Days to Live, Defying a Terminal Cancer Prognosis , focuses on navigating significant health challenges and decision-making with greater ease, clarity, and clear purpose.

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Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar