This was first published on KSL.com
I have a difficult family problem. My wife has a daughter from her first marriage that is toxic, controlling, and alienating. I am trying to be "the wise, mature, strong and loving adult” you talk about in your articles, but it’s really hard. And we coming up on the holidays, Christmas, and other special events and her daughter wants her mother there, but I am not welcome. My wife is even starting to get pulled in that direction and siding with her daughter, which really hurts. How do I handle this? How do I heal our family? How do we stop all the finger pointing and should I let my wife go or insist on being included?
Life is rough, it is no easy, rose garden endeavor and everywhere there are people, there are problems, drama, fighting and defensiveness. This is true because everyone on the planet is dealing with a huge amount of fear, which puts us in a selfish, needy, defensive, and protective state - where we are incapable of loving, wise behavior.
Our fears of failure and loss keep us focused, every day, on getting something (validation, reassurance, attention or a feeling of superiority) to quiet our fears. Until we get this, many of us have an empty bucket and nothing to give.
This sounds dismal, but understanding this truth will help you to see human behavior accurately (as fear-based) and get yourself into a better space where you can rise above it.
Many people, who suffer from deep subconscious fear they aren’t good enough, cast other people around them as the villain. If they can do this and stay focused on your bad, they won’t have to deal with their own bad behavior or feelings of inadequacy. Chances are pretty good this daughter has cast you as the bad guy, to make herself feel better or she is haveing fear of loss (losing her mother’s focus, attention and love). This might drive her to use guilt to manipulate or control her mother into siding with her.
This happens a lot in blended families and can make everyone feel threatened and unsafe. But you can fight the fear in your family dynamics with strength and love. Here are three questions, which might change the way you see this situation and help you to be your best in spite of it:
1)Are you experiencing this situation for a reason? One of my hero’s is Viktor Frankl, who survived the concentration camps during World War II. During the midst of that horrible experience he asked himself this question, “Was it just random bad luck that I ended up here or did this happen for a reason, and there is meaning and purpose in my being here?”
After much thought, he decided there was no way to know for sure which might be truth. This left him with a powerful realization, when there is no way to know ultimate truth “We get to choose our perspective”.
You can choose to see your life as random chaos, and view others as having the power to take from you and even ruin your journey. You can experience pain and grief over this situation, or you can see life as a classroom and the universe as a wise teacher, who is co-creating your journey with you and every choice you make, to deiver the perfect educational experiences for you. This would mean this whole situation is here to bless you.
Frankl said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose” in how you see them. When you decide to see any situation as here to serve you in some way, you will suffer less and take things less personally. You may even be grateful for it.
You have the opportunity (if you choose it) to see this daughter is your perfect teacher. She is in your life for the same reason everything else is in your life – to grow you, to help you become stronger, wiser or more loving toward yourself and others.
This is the real purpose of everything in your life. When you get this, you will feel better about the situation.
2)How can I be a hero and turn this mess into a human achievement? The amazing Viktor Frankl decided to see his circumstance as having purpose and meaning (to grow him in some way). He decided if he was here for a reason, then he must turn this horrible situation into a human achievement of some kind. He could do this by choosing to stay in trust and love, and help and serve others every day, which was absolutely heroic in those circumstances.
He was dwelling deep in human fear and suffering, which meant there was a great deal of selfishness, anger and hate around him. It would have been easy to embrace negative thoughts and behavior. I am sure it took every ounce of power he had to stay in a place of love, but he proved it can be done.
We can rise with love, amidst hate and conflict. We have the power to behave with grace and strength when things go bad or people attack us. Remember we are eternal beings having a interesting educational experience here, but we cannot really be diminished or destroyed. Ultimately we are safe in God’s hands the entire time, and our infinite, absolute value cannot change. Therefore there is nothing to fear.
When we remember this and choose a fearless mindset, we can become a hero in any situation. We can dig deep for the love and strength (that is our true nature) and love our enemies, give to those that curse us, and even stay peaceful through an attack. We do this not because we are a doormat, but because we know they can’t really hurt us.
“Human potential at its best, is to transform a tragedy into a personal triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.” - Viktor Frankl
You can do this too. Choose to view this situation as a story. Years from now someone will read this story and come upon this chapter (from today moving forward). What do you want them to read about you and how to handled this from today moving forward? Take the time to put write this story on paper and detail how you (the hero) will rise from here.
You might choose love towards your wife and her daughter no matter how they choose to treat you. You could ask them what would make them happy and if they choose to go alone, let them, without feeling slighted at all. But you must do this as a gift of love, not to claim moral high ground and beat them with your righteousness. You must take a completely generous, non-needy stance, showing them you are fine and will still stand in love towards them, no matter what they choose. This might make them see their unloving behavior and own it (but that cannot be your agenda).
Another possibility is that this lesson for you is about learning how to have mutually validating conversations so you can talk this through with your wife and daughter. There is a great worksheet on our website to help you with this. We also teach a relationship skills class each month, where we can show you how to have loving, mutually validating conversations and good boundaries so you can work through any problem.
3) What is in my control? You cannot control how other people think, feel or behave. You cannot make people like you or care about you. The only thing in your control is what you think, feel and do. You asked me, “How do I heal our family?” - the truth is you can’t, but you can heal yourself.
Viktor Frankl said, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
Make this your focus every day. Heal yourself by turning anger over to God and choosing peace. Make some plans with your friends or family and show you wife and daughter what love really is. Love never forces or demands, or defends or attacks. It just says “I want you to be happy and I know I’m whole, loved and right on track in my classroom journey no matter what you choose.”
Choose to see your wife and her daughter as innocent, struggling, scared, students, doing the best they can with what they know (they may need more education, which you can trust the universe to supply right on time.)
Be the hero in this story by choosing an accurate perspective (that you have nothing to fear), strong thinking (based in principles of truth), and loving behavior (that is unselfish and giving). These are the only things in your control and you will at least be proud of yourself and like who you are.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I struggle knowing how to best motivate my husband to exercise. I find him attractive, but I'm concerned for his future health and I admit I also want to be attracted physically to him as we grow older. He has been willing to work out occasionally throughout our marriage, he even trained for and ran a marathon, but his body doesn't seem to change a whole lot. I've encouraged him to try different workouts and push himself, but he just gets mad at me for saying anything. I wish he would catch fire with diet and exercise, just because he wants me to be more attracted to him. Your advice would be very appreciated. I know I’m probably shallow and need to change myself, but is there anyway to motivate someone else to change too?
There are a couple ways you can motivate your spouse to lose weight, but before you try them, you must first step back and look at the story you are telling yourself about his weight. There is definitely a lesson here for you.
(Whenever something about someone else is bugging you, it's a sign you have some changing to do too.)
It sounds like you have created a story that says “I will only be happy if my spouse loses weight,” meaning you will be unhappy if he doesn’t. You have created a story, which attaches your happiness to an outcome. This is a problem.
One of the most powerful things Buddha said is, “It is your resistance to what is that causes your suffering.” This means when you wish things were different than they are, you are creating optional misery that doesn’t have to be there.
This is truth because everything you experience is nothing more than perspective. No situation means anything (nor has any power to affect how you feel in any way) until you give it that power. Reality is objective. It is what it is and it means nothing and does nothing.
Your husband has genes that make him a larger person. That is the objective reality.
This situation cannot make you unhappy now or in the future. It’s the story you have created around the situation that determines how you feel. You’ve created a story that says you can only be attracted to a thinner person and if your spouse doesn’t work out and get thinner you won’t be attracted and therefore happy, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Whether you are happy or unhappy (in any moment) is a matter of choice and focus in that moment. It has little to do with your situation. We know this because in every single moment of your life you will have reasons to be unhappy and reasons to be happy. You will have things you don’t like and you will have things you are grateful for. There will be people who have it worse than you and others who have it better. These conditions will always exist in every moment. It is the nature of life.
The question is, what story are you telling yourself right now? Are you telling yourself a victim story about how bad you have it? Are you telling yourself a fear story about how bad the future might be? Are you telling yourself a shame story about how inadequate you are?
You will be a lot happier if you live in the objective present, stop creating misery stories and focus on what is right in your life. Stop worrying about how you are going to feel about your husband in the future. Choose to feel good about your life right now. Look at all the things that are right in your life and marriage, and focus on those. Create a story about how wonderful it is to be married to a person who has your spouse’s good qualities. Fill out the Nature of Life worksheet on my website, it will help you focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong.
If you are still struggling with control over your mindset, I strongly encourage you to find a coach or counselor who can help you.
If you want to have a better marriage and better intimacy, I can tell you exactly how to create that right now. Build your spouse up and tell him constantly how amazing and wonderful he is. Never make him feel he disappoints you on any level. The more admired, respected, appreciated and wanted you make him feel, the more he will love and adore you. This kind of loving behavior is what will create real happiness, connection and great intimacy — much more than weight loss will.
If you are really worried about your spouse's health and you feel you must talk to him about his weight, make sure it is a love-motivated conversation, not a fear-motivated one. If you approach him because you are afraid you aren’t going to be attracted to him when he’s older, that’s fear. Fear is selfishness (it’s about you) and your spouse will feel this and will immediately feel the need to protect himself. Fear breeds fear and selfishness. You can't approach your spouse from this place and expect a good outcome.
If you approach him because you want him to be healthy, strong and happy, and you are coming from nothing but love, he will feel this and the conversation will go better. Spend a lot of time validating him and telling him how wonderful he is first, though. These kinds of conversations trigger anyone’s deepest fear — the fear of failure that they might not be good enough. They will need a great deal of validation to go with your advice.
Follow the Mutually Validating Conversations Worksheet on my website to have this conversations in a validating way. Do more asking questions and listening than talking. Find out what he wants, what his fears and concerns are and what kind of support he wants. No matter what he says, don’t let your fears come into this. You have nothing to fear. Ask how you could support him to get healthier so you can have an amazing life together. Be his support and cheerleader, not his critic or coach.
Then, make sure if he tries to make changes you mention everything he is doing right and give him lots of positive encouragement along the way. Especially compliment who he is, his dedication and strength — not just what he looks like.
Most importantly, choose to be happy and grateful for what’s right in your life in every moment. It is the real secret to happiness.
You can do this.
I am upset by my church’s policy decision this week to exclude the children of same-sex couples from blessings or baptism until they are 18. I see it as a fear-motivated, unloving decision. I have read that their motivation was to keep families together and save them from conflict, but I’m still struggling with feelings of doubt that make me doubt my religion a little. I read your column because you teach love not fear, and I wondered if you would comment on this situation and help me find some peace around it.
Please don’t distress. There is another way of looking at this, which may bring some peace regardless of your personal beliefs.
First I want to remind you of three principles I believe are true. Read them and see if they feel like truth to you.
1) We are all irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, infinitely and absolutely valued, divine, good, loving children of God — and I mean all of us without exception (from the LDS leadership, to every LGBTQ person, to faithful LDS members and those that have decided to leave the church). We all have the exact same intrinsic worth, because we are all God’s children and part of him, no matter our beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation or anything else. We all deserve to be honored, respected and loved.
2) The real point and purpose for our being on this planet is to learn (because life is a classroom) and we are here primarily to learn one lesson — love. God is love and we want to become like him someday so we must learn to love as he loves. This means every single thing that happens here in the classroom is going to be a lesson on learning love at a deeper level. Everything God has inspired or created is here to teach us love. (If you wonder why anything happened or happens in your life, it is to teach you to love yourself, others or God.)
3) God created this perfect universe and us exactly the way we are with many differences (including race, religion, culture, ideology, sexual orientation). He created differences for a reason, because these differences make us stretch and learn to love at a deeper level than we would have to go if we were all the same.
This world, with all the differences, is our perfect classroom.
When we use difference to cast any other child of God as bad, we are forgetting these important truths. All these people (the ones in your church, out of your church, leading the church, leaving the church, and those of other churches or no church at all) are God’s holy children, who he loves and has asked us to love. They are all here in the classroom to both learn love with us and to teach us by challenging us to stretch beyond the limits of our current love abilities.
Given these as facts, the question you must ask yourself whenever anything happens (like the church stating a new policy) is, “How could this experience be a perfect lesson for me to learn love at a deeper level?”
You must ask yourself this question when anything happens in your life, because everything that happens is, in fact, a lesson on love.
That is just how the classroom of life works.
(Think about what is bothering you at work, in your family or in your marriage, and ask yourself that question again.)
Imagine if everyone could see this situation as their perfect lesson to love God’s children at a deeper level. Some may need to stretch and learn to love LGBTQ people, which may be slightly out of their comfort zone. For others it may be about learning to love and forgive Mormon leaders as they are. For some it might be learning to love and embrace family members or friends, who have different beliefs.
Whatever your situation is — just focus on loving all involved.
The thing we can’t do is let fear, suspicion, judgment, hurt and pain overcome us and further divide us from each other. God created all of us (in his image) as part of his divinity, and nothing can destroy the truth God declares, change the infinite he created, or diminish the value of his children. You will be released from fear the moment you accept this.
Our job isn’t to judge anyone or anything, attack anyone or anything, or defend (because to even defend is to give power to the illusion that you are diminishable). Christ said to turn the other cheek and not defend when you feel attacked. I think this means to turn to your brother and show him he cannot hurt you, because you are undiminishable and so is he, therefore you hold nothing against him. This is real love and forgiveness.
Forgiveness happens for me when I see all human beings accurately (as divine, students with much more to learn, just like me). Seeing them accurately means there is nothing to forgive, because the universe was just providing me a lesson.
I believe all human behavior is either love or a request for love. So, if I’m not feeling loved by someone, it’s time to increase my love for them (that might be something I do from afar though). If you feel mistreated, taken from or unloved, remember it is just a lesson to help you become smarter, stronger, better and learn to love at a higher level.
I believe all the children of God are divine because they are part of him. This includes all the children and adults on both sides of this issue. Our only job is to ask ourselves, “Am I seeing all the children of God accurately and giving them honor, respect and love?” This is the only thing in your control in most situations.
Focus on seeing everyone as love, because love is who we are. One of my favorite books, the "Course in Miracles" (CIM) says, “All fear comes from a denial of authorship.” Think about that one. Basically we are afraid because we are forgetting who we are, who created us, and by whose hands this classroom journey was created.
When you are afraid or confused, be still and know that God is real and you are his beloved child and so is everyone else. “Love everything he created of which you are a part or you cannot learn of his peace and accept his gift for yourself. You cannot know your own perfection until you have honored all those who were created like you.” (CIM)
We must learn to love all God’s children — to really know God.
If you will make your focus love (not defending, attacking, doubting, agonizing or fearing) and work to be the love (God’s love) that is in you, you will feel at peace.
Send thoughts of love and forgiveness towards those you disagree with on either side. Love them where they are. Love is the only fitting gift for anyone God created. Love them because they are part of him, just like you.
You can do this.
For those who are members of the LDS Church and struggling with this, I also highly recommend reading David Peterson’s blog — it will help. Here is the link.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Web Tease: Coach Kim's yearly New Year's resolution article. This year she challenges us to see all people as having the same value and make a stand for human rights, tolerance and love.
For the last two years in January I have recommended one resolution that would have the biggest impact on your life. In 2013 I wrote about improving communication skills and thereby improving your relationships at home and work. In 2014 I recommended forgiving yourself and others as this would greatly improve your self-esteem and quality of life. This year, I would like to recommend a resolution that could not only change your life — but may also change the world.
There is a great deal of hate sweeping our planet right now. There is terrible racial conflict in our country and fighting over differences in religion, race and sexual orientation, happening around the world. As we have watched the fighting, beheadings, riots and terrorism on TV, we, at our house, find ourselves asking the same question over and over, “What can we do to change this?”
This question can leave us feeling powerless at times, but the truth is, one person can make a difference. People like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who successfully made a big difference in the world, started out as regular people like you and me. They were regular people who decided to speak out for truth, but because their ideas were truth, it resonated with people and movements were born.
I am going to tell how you can help, speak out, stand up and make your voice heard in defense of truth to encourage equality, respect, unity and love in the world, but before I do that I want you to understand the real root of the problem.
The real problem behind these conflicts is a problematic tendency of human nature that makes all of us subconsciously see those who are different from us (in any way) as less than or worse than us. We basically assume that if we are different from another person, one of us must be better and the other worse. Since we don’t want to be the bad one, we subconsciously look for the bad in the other person so we can cast them as the bad guy, making us feel like the good guy. This can happen in a split second without us even consciously realizing we are doing it.
If you put any two people in a room, they will immediately (subconsciously) either feel intimidated and less than the other person, or slightly better and above the other. The factors influencing this viewpoint may be racial, social, economic or educational, but the more different they are from each other, the more fear and discomfort will be generated. We are also subconsciously afraid of things we don’t understand. So, people who are vastly different from us make us even more uncomfortable. This is why we struggle to accept those of different cultures or sexual orientation. Since we have a hard time understanding them, the difference generates more fear.
Have you noticed how we flock to those who are most like us? We are always more comfortable around our own kind, though we can change this by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and over time we can become comfortable around anyone. The problem is that most of us don’t push ourselves to do this. We just stay with our group.
This simple subconscious tendency to fear those who are different is responsible for most of the conflict, fighting, war, prejudice, racism, discrimination and hate on the planet. This tendency to see ourselves as better than others and think that our way is the right way and everyone else is wrong — is dividing countries, communities and even families. It is separating us and drawing all kinds of lines of division. We divide ourselves by political party, religion, neighborhood, which mayonnaise we use, which soda we drink and which school or sports team we cheer for, and then we declare ourselves as better than ‘those people’ and cast them as the enemy.
This has to stop.
But the only way to stop it is to change the way we think about and see each other, and this change has to happen inside the head of every person individually.
The problem is, the only person you have any control over is you.
So, that is where you must start. You must work on changing you.
You can start this year by committing to see all people as the same as you. This is the resolution I recommend in 2015. Practice not letting differences scare you, make you uncomfortable, suspicious or angry. You can practice letting all men be free to be who they are and not see yourself as better than anyone else. You can commit to treat all people as one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, amazing, divine human beings with the same value as you. You can work on treating people with respect, kindness and acceptance everywhere you go.
You can also check your behavior at all times by asking yourself if the behavior is lawful, kind, respectful, honest or helpful. If it isn’t going to further the cause of liberty, love and brotherhood with all people — don’t say it or don’t do it.
You can also join the march for tolerance, racial unity and peace online, right now. In the old days, people had to gather in a public place to march (to be seen and heard) and draw attention to a cause. You can now reach the world at home through social media.
Visit www.itakethechallenge.com to read more about how to join the march for tolerance and peace on social media. Make a sign, then film a video or take a picture and post them on social media with your commitment to be the solution. Use #iamthesolution with your post. I took the challenge and my video is on Facebook.
Then, directly challenge (call out) three of your friends or neighbors to do the same. Together we could literally flood social media with videos and pictures of people advocating for love, tolerance and unity. Then (and most importantly) back it up with your behavior this year. Make a commitment to actually live what you profess.
Don’t wait to act on this. Do it today. Don’t worry about how you look or the quality of the film. Just do it.
If Martin Luther King Jr. was still here and was organizing a march in your town today, would you join in? Would you be willing to speak out and let the world know that you commit to see all people as equal in value and deserving of respect, justice, tolerance and love?
This is your chance.
The world needs to see and hear from the silent majority who don’t make the news and who aren’t racist, angry or intolerant. It needs to hear from people who understand looting and anger aren’t going to change things. It needs to hear from you.
We need to flood the Internet in 2015 with commitments of peace, equality and love. Remember if you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Please do something.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
This article was first published on KSL.comIn this edition of LIFEadvice, I’d like to address the tragic death of three young missionaries this weekend, Sister Nancy Vea, 19, of West Jordan, Elder Connor Benjamin Thredgold, of the Springville Utah West Stake, and Elder Yu Peng Xiong, of the Kaohsiung Taiwan West Stake.
(This has hit close to home for me, since Connor’s father is a dear friend, a Claritypoint coach and even a co-contributor to this column.)
My heart is aching for these families, as I am sure your's is, so I’d like to address some ideas that may help us make sense of it all, find a place of trust and peace, and if possible, let this tragedy change us for the better.
First, always remember the objective of life is to learn to love. As I always say, "Life is a Classroom," and every experience you have is to teach you to love yourself and other people at a deeper level. You do not go through painful experiences for nothing. There are no accidents, and everything happens for a reason to serve us, but some of these lessons are so extremely painful, and the loss of a child is one of the worst.
Sometimes when tragedy strikes we can see the meaning or purpose in the experience, but other times we can’t. It will always provide some measure of comfort though, if we choose to trust God that there is a reason, even if we can’t see it. We can trust that nothing will happen unless it will serve us or mankind in some way. I trust God has a reason that these three young people were called home so early. Though this doesn’t remove the pain, it can help a little.
I felt these same feelings after the Sandy Hook shooting, and I wondered what good children dying could possibly serve in the world. One thing I noticed in the days following that tragedy was a heightened sense of love for the people around me, and I noticed almost everyone was feeling it.
We were all holding our children a little closer and had a greater appreciation for our family and friends. The experience of loss was changing us. It was bringing strong feelings of love to the surface.
Along with the pain, during times of grieving, we also experience amazing, tender feelings of love, both toward the people who are gone and just toward the people around us. You might find your feelings of love for family and friends will be stronger than what you usually feel. This heightened sense of love, which always follows loss, is an amazing and beautiful thing.
You may even find it is easier to forgive old offenses or grievances while you are experiencing the unique love associated with loss. Things that mattered before may not seem to matter anymore. People may seem more important than issues, and it may seem easier to see the good than the bad.
When tragedy strikes, we are reminded of the connection we share with all our fellow human beings. We gain heightened levels of empathy and compassion for others. Think back to the months following 9/11. Do you remember how connected you felt to your fellow Americans? Do you remember how suddenly our differences seemed smaller and the things we had in common seemed bigger?
We all experience a deeper love for each other when tragic things happen. Could this be part of the reason?
When the loss is personal or has happened to someone you know, you will experience amazing feelings of love toward that person you didn’t realize you had at that depth. If this loss hadn’t happened, you may never have discovered the depth of your love. You may be curious as to what this poignant emotion is all about. Just sit with it and understand it is showing you the size of the love inside of you. Pay attention to this feeling. Remember that the pain of loss is inseparably tied to the wonder of love.
If you didn’t love so deeply, it wouldn’t hurt this much.
Take time when you feel pain for these young people and their families to remember the pain is tied to the love we have for each other as human beings, a community and families. Celebrate the fact that you can experience profound love this way. Isn’t it amazing to feel that you would gladly carry this pain for them if you could. Your love is amazing!
The power of our combined love and heightened sense of connection can create an amazing energy that will help to heal us. This is always felt at funerals as we gather together in loss. Also notice, in each moment, that you can focus on the pain or you can focus on the love. As much as you can, choose to focus on love and understand that the pain makes the depth of love possible.
We often get so busy with the duties and obligations of life, we forget about this deep love that connects us. It often gets set aside. Tragedy, though terrible and painful, can bring these feelings of love back into your life. My suggestion, in this time of tragedy, is simply this: Focus on the feelings of love and live them. Love everyone in your life, in whatever way you can. Treasure every moment you are alive and able to love. Make sure everyone in your life knows how you feel about them.
In honor of those whose lives have been cut short this week, let’s make the most of ours and fill the world with love on their behalf.
Honor them by showing a deeper appreciation for your spouse, children, friends and neighbors. Speak out against injustice and cruelty more often. Love people more passionately and take more action to alleviate suffering wherever you can.
Let this loss make us better, kinder, wiser and more loving.
Aron Moss wrote a wonderful article on this topic in which he explains, ”We don't really want answers, we don't want explanations, and we don't want closure. … We want an end to suffering … but we shouldn't leave it up to God to alleviate suffering. … He is waiting for us to do it. That's what we are here for.”
Honor the memory of those we have lost by being a force for love in this world. Perform more random acts of kindness, pay it forward more often and love the strangers all around you. Don’t wait for someone to ask for help, see the need and step in without being asked. Reach out to those who are suffering even if all you can offer is a hug.
You can do this — and we can do it together.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
I read your article on intimidation. However, if the other person has the power to harm us and our career due to his or her position of authority, like refusing a promotion or a pay raise, or even worse, firing us, how then can we not be intimidated and how can we not fear them? After all, they can cause us real problems. I also have a spouse who is threatening to leave the church we both belong to and this scares and intimidates me too. How can I not be scared of these situations when they could really mess up my life?
I’m going to answer your question by giving you a different perspective on these relationships. If you can change the way you see yourself and these people they won’t feel as threatening to you.
It is true these people could create some challenges in your life, but the extent to how these challenges causes you to suffer is completely up to you. You have control over how you feel about these people and their behavior. You could see yourself as safe and choose to believe you have nothing to fear.
At least you have the option of seeing your life this way, if you want to.
You basically have two options when it comes to how you will see and experience your life:
Option 1 - You can see your life as a scary and dangerous place where all kinds of bad things can happen, thus robbing you of the journey you deserved to have. You can see people as threats and feel intimidated and scared of them. You can spend your energy protecting and defending yourself from all the hurt or problems they could inflict upon you.
Option 2 - You can see your life as a safe, classroom experience where you always get the perfect lesson you need next to help you learn and grow. You can see people as teachers and focus on the ways their behavior could help you become more loving. You can spend your energy giving love to others, loving yourself and creating a peaceful life.
I highly recommend Option 2. You can choose to see the perfect in every situation, focus on the lessons, and choose love and forgiveness over judgment and fear. You not only can do this, you are meant to learn to do this as well. You are meant to live in abundance and peace, in spite of the challenges around you.
Here are six principles that can help you adopt a more peaceful mindset:
Wisdom means seeing yourself, the other person and the situation accurately. Even if they get you fired, you are still the same you with the same value and the experience of being fired can only hurt you if you let it. It will also not happen unless it is your perfect journey to have it happen because you are meant to learn something from the experience.
If your spouse leaves your religion, which disappoints you and affects your children and their faith, then it was the perfect lesson in their classroom journey, too. The universe sent them to your family with these parents for a reason and whatever way you mess them up will be the perfect way they were meant to be messed up so they can have their perfect journey figuring themselves out.
No matter what happens your journey — and theirs — is safe and perfect. At least you have the option of seeing your life this way if you want to.
Forgiveness means choosing to let go of judgment, condemnation, criticism and fear toward another person because you don’t want to live in fear yourself. There is a universal law we call “You get what you give." This means if you choose to judge people, you will also feel judged by everyone around you. If you see anyone as not good enough, you will feel not good enough yourself. If you choose to see this person as threatening, you will feel threatened everywhere.
If you choose to see yourself as bulletproof and this person as an innocent student in the classroom of life with infinite and absolute value no matter how they behave and allow them to be as they are, while still having healthy boundaries and speaking up for yourself when necessary from a space of trust and love, you can change the dynamic of the relationship completely.
When you choose to live in trust and love, these people will feel safe with you and stop seeing you as a threat. When they feel safe, they will treat you a lot better. Love has the power to completely change the energy in any relationship.
When you choose to see people with wisdom and forgive them for being lost, scared, confused and behaving badly (because you get this way on occasion too), they will also respect you more. They have to.
There is a great “High Level Forgiveness Formula Worksheet” on my website resources page that can help you to adopt this mindset. If it sounds difficult, that is only because you aren’t used to seeing life this way, but you can do it with practice.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book CHOOSING CLARITY: The Path to Fearlessness. She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.
Recently someone posted a beautiful video on Facebook that featured a man talking about his love for his gay brother and the discrimination he faced when he publicly acknowledged that love. The video brought me to tears because I have a cousin who is gay, but as I went to re-share it, I found myself hesitating and eventually deciding it wasn’t a good idea. I realized I was afraid of the negative response I might get if I did. It really bothers me that I held back to avoid being disapproved of. It bothers me that there is so much fear around the whole sexual orientation issue. Any advice on this?
It would be healthy for you (and all of us) to explore our fears on this topic.
(Just to clarify — this article is not about the political issues around same-sex marriage nor does it reflect the views of KSL or Deseret Media Corp. It only addresses the author’s ideas around choosing a love-based mindset toward all people and how fear can get in the way.)
I believe that we experience everything (and everyone) in this world from one of two places — fear or love. We have the power to consciously choose how we want to feel or think about any situation, but usually we don’t. We usually let our subconscious mind determine how we feel, and most of the time our subconscious mind is programmed to fear.
Many people experience fear around same-sex attraction because it triggers some of their subconscious fears. If you understand these fears, you will better understand their negative reactions. Here are some common subconscious programs of fear:
1. We may be subconsciously afraid of anyone who is different from us or who we don’t understand. Whether we are talking about someone from a different race or country, someone who is disabled, disfigured or whose sexual orientation is different, these differences can create discomfort. Just being around these people could push us out of our comfort zone. Sexual orientation is a tough one because most straight people can’t fathom how anyone could possibly be attracted to the same sex. They can’t get their head around it and we tend to fear anything we don’t understand. This subconscious program of fear around people who are different can result in pulling back, staying away and putting walls up. (This doesn’t happen for you or me because we have loved ones who are LGBT. We are more comfortable, so this fear doesn’t get triggered.)
2. We may be subconsciously programmed with a tendency toward judgment. This means if there are any two opposing ideas, we subconsciously assume one has to be right or better and the other wrong or worse. Because we would naturally like to be right, we subconsciously tend to see “anyone who is different” as wrong or bad. We subconsciously cast other groups of people as the bad guys, just because they’re different. We may also subconsciously look for evidence to support their being bad and conveniently ignore our own bad behavior. (LGBT people may also fear and judge straight people for this same reason.)
3. This issue could trigger the two core fears: loss and failure. Some people fear that support for LGBT issues could make them lose their rights to believe what they believe. Some are afraid accepting same-sex attraction as normal could mean losing their children, and this would signify failure as a parent. Same-sex attraction can make some people feel unsafe and trigger both of these deep-seated fears — and people tend to behave badly and get very defensive when these fears get triggered. (Again, straight people can also trigger the fear of loss and failure in LGBT people.)
4. We may be scared of what others think of us. Some people are afraid if they seem at all sympathetic or open to people who are different, they could be seen “that way” or be looked down on. The fear of what other people think of us is a deep-seated fear that drives a large percentage of our behavior. (It is the reason you held back from posting that video.) But it is also an illusion because what other people think of you cannot change, affect or diminish you in any way, unless you let it. The world would be such a better place if we let love guide our actions instead of our fear of being judged.
I believe the way out of our subconscious fears is adopting principles of truth and consciously choosing a love-based mindset. Here are some principles I believe can guide us to a better mindset:
An individual, unique, irreplaceable human soul is the most valuable thing on this planet. If we are all irreplaceable, then our value is infinite and absolute. I therefore believe we all have the same infinite value, regardless of our individual differences. Our value is the same. This means we should never see another human being as intrinsically less than us, and we all deserve the same level of respect, honor and compassion.
The purpose and point of our being on this planet is to learn and love, and more specifically to learn to love. Life is a classroom, and you are here to stretch and grow. To facilitate your lessons, there are people and situations placed all around you to show you the “limits of your love” (a phrase coined by Marianne Williamson). Everything in the universe is here to teach us how to choose love over fear. Maybe we need people who are different to give us a chance to see the limits of our love so we can stretch and learn to love at a deeper level.
This means learning to forgive, honor and respect all men. You do not have to agree with them and you do not have to participate in their lives, but you do have to honor their rights, and it would be a good idea to refrain from judgment or attack and declaring anyone as worthy of rejection.
If you choose a mindset of judgment and rejection, you must understand you are sentencing yourself to the same. This is true because there are only two mindset options, and whichever you subconsciously choose for others, you choose for yourself as well. If you choose to dwell in fear (judgment, condemning and attack) you will also experience a subconscious fear of judgment and being attacked by others. This will create unease and is not a peaceful place to live.
If you choose to dwell in love (forgiving, accepting and edifying others) you will subconsciously feel accepted, loved and safe in the world. This is just how your subconscious mind works. You project out your own inner state and whatever you put out dwells within you.
I highly recommend you choose a mindset of love. Let go of your fears around what others think of you and remember that your value is infinite and absolute so you cannot be diminished by anyone. Choose a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness so you will feel accepted and forgiven. Make all your choices (like posting the video) a love choice, not a fear choice. Don’t do anything for a fear-based reason.
Remember that if anyone has a problem with your choice and chooses to judge you, it says more about them (and their choice to live in fear) than it says about you.
Hope this helps.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
The spark has gone from our marriage and there is growing resentment between us. I love my wife and I want to make our relationship better. Do you have any suggestions?
You can reignite the love in your relationship, but it is going to require some work, commitment and effort on both sides. Here are some suggestions that can get you started:
1) Get some professional help. Repairing this relationship would be easier if you involve a professional who knows exactly how to do it. If your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic. You need someone who can help make this repair faster.
2) Give more than you get. Most couples who come for coaching both say the same thing, “My spouse doesn’t make me feel loved.” The man usually feels unwanted and the woman usually feels unappreciated. The solution is making it your number one goal, every day, to make sure your spouse feels adored, admired, appreciated, loved and wanted. You must be committed to this behavior because it is the kind of person you have decided to be. It must be your policy and procedure all the time.
3) You must forgive each other for being less than perfect. Remember that you are not perfect either. You may not have made the same mistakes your spouse has made, but have made plenty of other ones. You are both works in progress (students in the classroom of life). You must give your spouse permission to be an imperfect, struggling, scared, divine, amazing human being in process, just like you.
4) Show your spouse more respect. Make amends for past wrongs, include your spouse in decisions, and never compare them with anyone else.
5) Listen more. Ask more questions and do more listening than talking. Ask permission before saying what you think, or giving advice. Validate, honor and respect your spouse’s right to think and feel the way they do, even if you don’t agree.
6) Show more appreciation. Let your actions speak louder than words. Do unexpected acts of service. Tell your spousethank you every time they do anything right, or even when they made an effort. Drown them in gratitude.
7) Work on yourself. Put some effort into exercise and looking your best, but even more important, work on your self-esteem. Confidence is super attractive, insecurity isn’t. Don’t make it your spouse’s job to make you feel good, it’s your job to feel good about you! People who are constantly improving themselves usually have good marriages.
8) Be a happy, fun person. It should be fun to be married to you. Find some common interests and do fun activities together often. Make sure there is laughter in your home and it’s a fun place to be.
9) Talk about your relationship regularly and ask your spouse how you can do better. Your relationship is a living thing and must be tended to and developed. You should read marriage books together, attend classes or get some coaching. Make this relationship a priority.
10) Get intentional about intimacy. Intimacy must be an expression of love for your spouse, not a way to get what you want or need. This must start with flirting and affection outside the bedroom. Then you should make time to be alone together.
Cameo Haag, says, “Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of, whenever it happens … it happens. Become intentional about intimacy. Wash the sheets, get some dim lighting, put on some soft music so you can get in the mood. As women we can fall into the trap of feeling unattractive and non-sexual. Intentional thoughts and actions will awaken this part of us, and then we will prime ourselves to be present and engaged in intimacy.” You can read more from Cameo atwww.sexlessmarriagenomore.com
Your marriage can be the most painful or the most wonderful part of your life. If you have pain and resentment between you, please don't wait any longer to get some help. Things can improve if both of you are willing to work at it, and it's often easier than you think.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem and writing personal policies and procedures for a happier life.
I am not happy in my marriage. We are good at pretending we are happy, but the truth is, things are bad. I harbor a lot of resentment toward my spouse for the things he’s done in the past. I can hardly stand to be around him. We pretend to get along for the children, but there is no love in my marriage. I wish there was some way to fix our situation but I don’t think I can change how I feel. Any advice?
Life is a classroom and every experience is here to teach you something. I guarantee this situation is in your life to give you a chance to become a better person. The question is, how? How are you supposed to step it up, make some changes in yourself and become a better person through this situation?
You will have to listen to your own inner truth for the answer. You may be in this situation to learn about leaving the marriage and standing on your own — or you may be in this situation to learn about forgiveness and making a relationship work. Only you will know which course is right for you, but I’ll teach you a couple of principles that may help.
Principle: A healthy marriage requires good communication.
When you have been hurt by your spouse, you must speak your truth about it. You cannot bury the hurt, withdraw or withhold love if you want this relationship to work. You must express your feelings about his behavior and ask for what you want and need. You must also give your spouse the chance to express regret for that behavior and try to change.
If you want a healthy marriage, both partners must be able to speak their truth and talk openly about how they feel, and handle these conversations in a loving way. If you attack your spouse, you will not get anywhere.
These conversations must be mutually validating for both people. ( I wrote an article on how to have validating conversations I recommend you read.) If both parties are committed, you can work through many issues this way.
Principle: Choosing to handle mistreatment with love will create more happiness in your life.
If you want happiness, you must treat every person — including your spouse — with respect and kindness, even when they don't deserve it. You will do this not because of who they are, but because it’s the kind of person you want to be.
Choosing to handle situations with love does not mean you automatically give the other person what they want. It means protecting yourself, enforcing your boundaries and asking for what you need — all in a loving way.
You should never tolerate abusive or disrespectful behavior, and being loving does not mean you have to continue your journey married to this person. If you cannot rekindle feelings of love, respect and trust toward your spouse, you may decide that continuing your journey away from this person is the most loving option.
Whatever you do, do not make any decision in anger. Decisions made with this kind of energy seldom turn out well. If you leave this relationship holding onto resentment toward your ex-spouse, you will take the bitterness with you into your future relationships.
Relationship expert Barbara De Angelis said, “The more anger toward the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.”
Base your decision in love.
If you decide leaving is the right choice for you, you still must forgive your spouse as part of that process. You must hold onto the lessons, but let go of the pain and resentment. You must forgive your spouse so you can move forward with peace. Forgiveness is about healing you.
It is not about the other person.
Principle: Forgiveness is about healing yourself.
If you choose to stay in this relationship, then make a commitment to do so with love. Decide to forgive your spouse because you’re not perfect either. Recognize his honest efforts to do better and give him some room to grow and learn. Give him permission to be an imperfect work in progress, just like you.
We are all struggling students in the classroom of life, and we must give other people permission to be imperfect and learning.
You are also going to have to practice patience. It takes time for change to happen, and it is a lengthy process to rebuild trust — but it can happen.
Remember, forgiveness is not denying or minimizing the hurt that you suffered. Forgiveness is the decision to let the pain stay in the past. It is about releasing the pain, animosity and angst toward a person because it doesn’t serve anyone when you to hold onto it.
You may think that holding onto anger protects you or benefits you in some way, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t right the wrong, it doesn’t punish the wicked, it doesn’t make you feel better and it doesn’t help either party to grow and learn.
Principle: Forgiveness is the most difficult but powerful way you can change your life.
Trust that this situation is in your life for a perfect reason and the universe will provide all the guidance and help that you need. Remember, this situation is here to serve you, not to punish you. You will be a stronger, wiser person no matter how it turns out.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in self esteem and renewing hope.
We are having marriage problems, and part of the problem is my lack of interest in sex and my husband’s frustration with my lack of interest in sex. I think there may be something wrong with me because I was into it when we first got married but now I’m more interested in sleep. If this doesn’t change I don’t see our marriage making it. Any advice?
You are not alone on this one. According to a CNN Health article, 40 million Americans are in a sexless marriage, meaning they have sex less than 10 times a year.
This is a problem because a healthy sex life is a critical part of a good marriage. For the man, sex creates feelings of security, love and validation around who he is. For the woman, sex creates a feeling of connection, fulfillment and security.
If you are committed to making this marriage work, you must identify what the problems are and commit to solving them. Here are some common issues:
Here are some things you can do to improve your relationship:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after life coach and president of www.claritypointcoaching.com - Cameo Haag, co-writer, is the founder of www.sexlessmarriagenomore.com and author of the e-book "5 Beliefs That May Not be Serving You in the Bedroom."
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and is a
popular life coach, author and speaker. She was named
one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly
on local and national TV and Radio.