My wife and I can’t seem to get along. No matter how hard I try to please her, she says I am selfish with my choices. I am unaware of how my behavior is selfish and have taken great offense to being called this by her again and again. We have been married eight years and I am afraid this may be something we can’t come back from I’m feeling very resentful. Frankly, I think that she is the selfish one, only concerned with herself. Can you give us any advice?
It is hard to feel safe and have good connection in a relationship if you feel your partner is only concerned with their own needs and is not showing up for you. Most of us tend to pull back and focus on ourselves when we feel this too, which means we can become selfish. This is a recipe for disaster in a marriage, because if everyone is focused on what they aren’t getting — no one is giving anything.
You must accurately understand what causes selfishness though if you want to fix it. We believe the real cause of selfishness is fear of loss, and we all battle fear of loss to some degree every day. Fear of loss is basically suffering over feeling mistreated, taken from, ripped off, walked on, or not getting what you were hoping to get.
Every time your spouse does anything that makes you feel your needs aren’t being met, you may find yourself in a fear of loss, scarcity, hard-done-by state. The second you feel you aren’t getting what you expected, you can be in fear of loss and this drives you to subconsciously focus on protecting yourself, controlling things and getting your own needs met. Fear of losing out creates selfishness.
The question you must ask yourself is how much of the time are you thinking about what you aren’t getting and how often are you focused on meeting your spouse’s needs and giving to them? (The right answer is not what you might think.) Being totally focused on the other person isn't healthy either. It's co-dependent and this creates problems in relationships too. The right answer is to have a good equal balance between taking care of yourself and showing up for your spouse.
Good relationships are created when both partners are working on their own fears of failure and loss, feel secure and good about themselves and know how to ask for what they want and need (so they are responsible for their needs and don’t make it their partner's job to keep them happy.)
It is your job (not your partner's) to make sure your needs are being met and your bucket is kept full. If you are running on empty and are desperate for validation and reassurance, you are good enough, loved and wanted, you are probably not good at asking for what you need and doing self-care. This is the first thing we recommend you both work on. If you make sure your bucket is full, you will always have the energy to give to your family.
But, you could have an unhealthy partner, who despite any amount of self-care, boundaries and speaking up, isn’t interested in showing up for you. If you really feel your spouse doesn’t care and is only in this for themselves, we highly recommend you seek out a coach or counselor, who can help you both work on the relationship. If your spouse is not willing to get professional help, you may have a tough decision to make about what’s right for you moving forward.
Having said that, most of the time selfishness can be fixed if you both recognize your fears of failure and loss, and learn how to get out of them. We believe many of us withdraw when we are triggered by the fear of failure in a relationship, as we feel it’s safer to be alone and protect ourselves, especially if we receive criticism or feedback that is negative.
Your fear of failure is probably getting triggered by your wife’s feedback that you are selfish and this might be making you pull back and even become selfish because you are now focused on protecting yourself. When one spouse reacts in fear (which is selfish) it usually triggers the other person's fears and brings out selfishness in them too.
It sounds like your wife may be suffering with fear of loss, as she feels life is unfair and she is not getting the happy marriage she believed she would have. The fear of loss is triggered any time you feel taken from or your expectations are not met. Fear of loss may also be showing up in you, as you think about the impact of your wife’s criticism and the fact you also don’t have the marriage you wanted.
Instead of staying triggered in these fears you must adjust your mindset about your value, knowing it cannot be diminished no matter what your spouse thinks or says about you, and learn to see this situation as a learning opportunity.
In what ways could your wife’s feedback and comment about selfish behavior be your perfect learning opportunity right now? Would you be open to thinking about how you could use this issue to strengthen your marriage and see her feedback as just her way of trying to ask for the love she needs?
Actually, there is a powerful truth here you must understand -- all bad behavior is really a request for love. Most of the time this person who is attacking you is really subconsciously begging for validation and reassurance to quiet their fears. It is their fears of failure and loss that are driving the attacks. When you see their behavior accurately, you can handle it in a way that will create connection, not conflict.
Many of us are ill equipped with how to see behavior accurately, communicate, and ask for what we need in our marriage in a healthy way. Instead, we create hidden expectations that our spouse is supposed to fulfill, yet we don’t communicate them well, so they aren’t met, and we end up disappointed and even angry at our spouse. Where does the fault really lie for this? We believe it takes two scared people to create this dynamic, so you both have some work to do.
When expectations aren’t met, resentment begins and the label of "selfish" comes in. Instead of accepting this as a fact in your marriage, here are some things you can do:
1. Make time and space for some loving conversations and ask your partner how you could show up better for them, and let them ask you for what they need. ‘Honey, in what way can I support you right now and make you feel more loved?’ Ask your spouse this weekly.
2. Make a rule that neither of you will bring up past bad behavior, but focus only on the good behavior you want and need moving forward.
3. Pick one thing to work on doing to love your spouse better this week.
4. When you feel the triggers of self-pity, criticism or fear show up, remember your value can’t change and is the same no matter what and this is just this week’s lesson the universe has provided to give you a chance to practice being more wise and loving. We are on this planet to grow and learn. We believe your spouse can help you grow by pushing your fear buttons and bringing out your worst behavior so you can work on it, but these experiences are not a curse, they are an opportunity to become more mature, wise, strong and loving.
You can do this.
There is a free worksheet to guide you through having mutually validation conversations with your spouse on our website, and the Choosing Clarity workbook would also really help.
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, coaches Kim and Nicole share four ways to shift your relationship out of its current rut.
Our relationship has gotten sticky lately because I feel really unsupported by my husband. How do I feel loving, trusting and forgiving towards him, when it isn’t reciprocated? I have recently realized my actions and love are dependent upon his. When he is engaged in the home and helps me, then I will love back. But most of the time he doesn’t help at all, and I feel so drained, like we are unequally yoked, and I have been for so many years. He doesn’t even do the traditional "husband" jobs. How do I love and serve him when he doesn’t show love for me in the way I need him to? I’ve tried and I can’t get past the irritation over his behavior. Am I supposed to forgive this and love him anyway? Shouldn’t he need to change and start showing up for me too?
The answer is YES. Your spouse should do better to pitch in and help around your house, and YOU should love him regardless of whether he does, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay married to him. Loving him from afar is one of your many options in this situation.
Before you choose from those options, though, listen carefully to your inner GPS (intuition) and figure out if it is your perfect classroom to stick with him and love him while you also try to teach him to behave better, or if it’s your perfect classroom to continue on alone. Only you will know which path is your perfect classroom, but if you feel your perfect classroom is still in this marriage, and you still feel drawn to make it work, there are a few things you can do to get this marriage unstuck from its current rut.
This advice will also be helpful for everyone in a relationship right now. Whether you just met and are enjoying that playful "honeymoon" phase or you have a well-established life together and many years under your belt, all good relationships take the same core principles to work.
Here are four ways you can consciously unstick and strengthen any relationship:
1. See your relationship accurately: Remember, you are on this planet for one reason, to grow and learn. Life is a school, and every experience you have is, at some level, there to teach you how to love yourself or other people better. Your marriage is no exception to this rule. You are always drawn to and marry your greatest teacher. You were drawn to this person because they can help you grow by pushing your buttons, triggering your fears and giving you amazing opportunities to work on yourself.
It sounds like your fear trigger is around “the fear of loss,” and your spouse’s disinterest in helping you is triggering this fear and making you feel taken from, mistreated and unloved. Fear of loss can bring unloving and selfish behavior to the surface. Whenever you feel taken from or mistreated, you will want to pull back your love.
Instead, there is a growth opportunity here where you could see the mistreatment as your perfect lesson, and instead of pulling back and being less loving, you could rise to the occasion, turn this moment into a human achievement, and choose to be loving, kind and hardworking without a chip on your shoulder about it.
You could look for opportunities to encourage your spouse and appreciate his good qualities, even if they aren’t the ones you hoped for, and see them as your perfect classroom. This isn’t easy to do, but there is beautiful growth and maturity that could come from this challenge.
Ask yourself what else being married to your spouse could teach you. How else could it force you to grow? How could a spouse who doesn’t help out actually serve you in some way? When you find the answers to these questions, you will be seeing your marriage accurately, and amazing peace will come.
2. Avoid disappointment in your partner: One of the gifts of a loving relationship is the role of support, encouragement and motivation to make each of you better people. However, this support can be loaded with expectations of how things should be and where you feel your spouse should be in their work life, financially, spiritually and emotionally.
All of us wrongfully project potential onto our partners. We see what is possible and we are often disappointed with what is. Disappointment is the biggest poison in a marriage, because it brings even more fear of failure and loss into the relationship, which sucks the love from it.
The irony is that when we see partners accurately for who they are, without projections or expectations about their potential, they are more likely to fulfill their potential and become more to your liking, but this takes unconditional love and patience.
We believe the more encouraging you can be about your partner's strengths, talents and good qualities, instead of nagging about weaknesses, faults and mistakes, the more you will quiet your partner's fear of failure (which we believe is the real cause of all bad, unmotivated, selfish behavior), and he will be able to show up for you better. Keep giving as much positive reinforcement as possible, and even tell him he is the very things you want him to be. This often nudges people in the direction we want, because they like to live up to your highest opinion of them.
3. Choose to serve your partner: One of the kindest ways you can show up for your partner is to ask yourself, “What does my partner need most?” To serve him, you must see him accurately. You must take notice and really look at what he values and what he fears. What stresses, pain, imbalances and pressures are happening there? How is he balancing all of his responsibilities, and is he having his needs met?
Look without judgment or criticism, with only a compassionate and loving heart, and ask, “How can I serve my partner and love him in a deeper and more impactful way?” We believe that becoming the cure to a partner's core fear (either failure or loss) is the way you can serve your partner best.
If your spouse is doing battle with a big fear of failure (which I would guess he is since he knows he isn’t living up to his potential), he may really need validation of his intrinsic worth and to hear that he has value. You may find giving him some validation quiets his fear and shame and even motivates him. If he is just not a motivated person, look for other qualities about him you can validate and appreciate.
4. Take care of your own needs: You are the one responsible for your own happiness. Figure out who you are and what you need to fill up your bucket so you can handle giving to your spouse and family. What do you need so you have the energy and capacity to keep caring for others?
We work with many couples who have found themselves lost in this misalignment, disconnected from their own needs and showing up only for their families and harboring a great deal of resentment about it.
You must own the responsibly for your own self-esteem and happiness. So, what do you need in your life to feel fulfilled, happy, confident and joyful? What do you need to give yourself permission to do so your bucket is full and you have something to give? What are you doing to strengthen your own understanding of who you are and what you are here for?
It may be time (or long overdue) for you to engage in some personal development or coaching and find your balance and truth, which in turn could greatly strengthen your marriage. You may want to start with our DIY coaching program workbook or hire a coach.
It sounds like you and your spouse are very different from each other. You value tasks and getting things done, and he might not share these values. He might value other things that aren’t worse, just different than yours. Most of us believe the way we are is the right way — but that’s a matter of perspective, it's not fact.
Your spouse has different fears and values, and understanding those is the first step to a better connection. You may want to take our free online Clarity Assessment to see your fears and values on paper and see if your spouse would do the same. We also recommend coaching or counseling with a relationship expert. A little help makes a huge difference.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. Nicole Cunningham is a human behavior expert and master coach.
This was first published on KSL.COM
My husband and I have been married for 17 years. We have been happy for most of this time and have raised four children together. I find myself now struggling to connect, and at some level even not wanting to be around him. I look at him differently and cannot connect to the reasons I married him in the first place. I just can’t respect him for the way he is behaving now. Is it possible that some of us fall out of love or change so dramatically that our marriage can’t be salvaged?
It is possible to feel disappointed in your spouse, but it is also possible to salvage the relationship, change how you feel and even grow to love and respect your spouse again.
Understand that the way you are feeling right now is based totally on your perspective (how you are looking at your spouse), and perspective is possible to change, and when you look at something differently, it can feel totally different.
It sounds like you have lost respect for your spouse because of the state he is functioning in right now, and this can be a hard place to come back from. But the first step is figuring out which fears are driving his bad behavior. (By the way, we call any behavior that isn’t loving or positive bad behavior. This includes being mean or being insecure or timid.)
It’s easy to pull back when you experience a spouse’s bad behavior. However, the truth is, all of us have some bad behavior that is not appealing or attractive. You may not have the same bad behaviors your spouse does, but you have others. (We know this because there is always a downside to being married to anyone. We all have bad, immature or insecure moments.)
The key to changing negative behavior (in yourself or others) is understanding the emotions in play that drive the behavior. You must see the behavior as fear-based reactions, not something fundamentally wrong with the person. Your spouse is fundamentally a divine, amazing, human soul capable of fantastic behavior. It is only fear that is bringing out the bad.
All of us experience times when we feel taken from or mistreated, and when you experience fear of loss like this, you might lash out, become defensive or angry or withdraw. You will then subconsciously choose behavior (good or bad) you think will quiet your fear. You may also get defensive or withdraw when you feel insulted or criticized. If you look behind your spouse’s (or your own) bad behavior, you will see one (or both) of these fears in play.
If you understand your spouse is scared, you won’t take their bad behavior as personally. You will also remember they are in a fear state driven by emotion; they are not a bad or broken person (at least most aren’t). We can all get ourselves into a balanced clarity state and behave better too. Everyone has the potential to rise.
So, take another look at your husband and his behavior: What is going on for him lately? Has he experienced any trials, challenges or changes that were not in his control? Maybe he is feeling some loss or having his confidence or position challenged at work. Could this be making him feel insecure? Is his age getting to him; is he losing his hair, struggling with his weight or feeling out of sorts? What are his triggers that bring out his worst behavior? Is he triggered when he feels insulted or criticized (fear of failure) or when he feels taken from or mistreated (fear of loss)? If you can figure out his core fear trigger, you will also know what he needs most to rise out of the bad behavior. He probably needs a great deal of validation or reassurance.
Sadly, it’s easy to judge, be disappointed and pull back, while it takes effort to see them accurately, lean into the relationship and have compassion. We strongly encourage you to try to figure out what your spouse needs to make him feel like he is good enough, safe and on track and see if that brings better behavior to the surface.
When people feel loved, wanted, respected and admired, they usually behave much better. They also become madly in love with you and treat you really well.
The one emotion that could absolutely destroy your relationship is disappointment. If you feel disappointed in your spouse (and your spouse feels your lack of admiration or appreciation for them), it cuts to the deepest part of their fear of failure and it creates more fear of loss in you. In this place of fear, neither of you is capable of loving behavior. Love and fear cannot exist at the same time in the same place.
If your spouse can feel you are disappointed in him (at any level) he will stay in fear and the bad behavior will continue. If you can show him you see the bad behavior as fear (not who he really is) you can inspire him to rise.
When one or both parties feels disrespected or disappointed, there is always a deep disconnect in the relationship. If this is allowed to go on for years, the resentment and dislike can create a huge wedge between you that gets harder and harder to heal. We work with couples to remove these emotional blocks and forgive each other, so they can repair and prevent disconnection, disappointment and disrespect.
To prevent disappointment from occurring in the first place or to repair it, here are a few tips:
This will require both of you to connect on an equal playing field though, where you both have the same value and you are both worthy of your feelings, thoughts, ideas and experiences. You are both exactly where you are meant to be (to teach you something). It will require you to lean in and love your spouse through this fear stage and help him to see himself as good enough, safe, on track and even admirable.
You hold a lot of the power right now, as you are the one who is disappointed and therefore the only one who can change it. (We know that is counterintuitive because you could see the problem in his control). But the answer to this problem lies more in your changing the way you see him than in him changing his behavior (partly because you have no control over that).
Focus on what you have control over and choose to see the highest, best potential in him (instead of the faults). If you can help him to see himself as awesome, kind, patient, hardworking (or whatever qualities you want to see more of) you can inspire him to change himself. This works because people always want to live up to your highest opinion of them. Encouragement always works better than disappointment or disapproval.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
My husband started to have a friendship with a woman, and last week he went out to see her. He promised me I didn’t have anything to worry about, but after knowing someone for so long, I could tell he wasn’t telling me the truth. He looked me in the eyes and promised me nothing happened. He even got mad at me for questioning him. The next day I pressured him a little more, and he tells me he made out with this woman in her car. I read your article, and you said “staying mad doesn’t protect you from further mistreatment.” But how does it not? How am I supposed to be able to trust him again if I am not with him, and he goes out on his own? How can I make myself trust someone that so easily looked into my eyes and lied and, not only that, promised me, and got mad at me for even questioning it? I don’t want to leave this marriage; that doesn’t feel right, but I don’t want to distrust him either. Help!
You are probably going to get comments on this article that say you should leave him, and that might be the right answer here, but remember you are the only one entitled to know what is right for you. For now, it sounds like your gut is saying you should stay though and work on the marriage, so this advice is directed to someone who wants to rekindle the flame and make their marriage work.
If you want to repair your marriage, staying mad and distrustful is not going to give you the security and peace you want. Not trusting him is also not going to create a great marriage that makes you feel loved and wanted either. In my article two weeks ago about getting more of your spouse’s attention, I urged you to figure out what outcome you really want.
If you don’t take the time to figure out what you want, in any situation, you might accidentally behave in a way that creates the opposite of what you want. Once you know what you want, you can choose behavior most likely to create that.
You probably want, more than anything, to feel secure about your spouse’s love and loyalty toward you. The question is, what behavior is most likely to create that? (There is a Clarity Questions worksheet on my website that could help you figure this out.)
Let’s look first at what won’t create love and loyalty: Suspicion, checking his phone and social media accounts, asking incessant questions about where he is and what he does, and being withdrawn, angry or bitter. No fear-based response is going to create love.
Did you get that?
No fear-based response, born of protecting oneself, is going to create more love in a relationship.
Fear-based behavior is always going to damage connections and put a larger wedge between you. The more you second-guess him and check up on him, the more he is going to pull away. If you want him to draw closer to you, you must encourage him to want to do so by being positive and loving. If you want to create more love in your marriage, you must put more love into it. You must be validating, reassuring, admiring, appreciating and giving toward your spouse.
This is not easy to do, though, when you feel hurt and betrayed, but you must try because it’s a universal law — you get what you give. If you give resentment and fear, you will get the same back. If you give distrust, you create a relationship where no one feels safe. But if you were to focus all your energy on making your spouse feel loved, you are more likely to get that back. If you focus every day on appreciating, validating and reassuring your spouse, you will feel more appreciated and safe. (If this doesn't work, then your spouse isn't really in it and commited — and this will become clear pretty fast.)
Of course, this doesn’t mean you put up with infidelity and look the other way, either. You should let him know if it happens, again, you will leave the relationship because you deserve to be treated better.
Let him know you are going to make the choice to forgive him this time, though, and pour positive love into the relationship because you want to heal it. If he is willing to recommit and get professional help, you are willing to stay. This must be a firm boundary, and you must be ready to walk if it happens again. He must know you are serious. If he thinks you won’t leave, he will not be as motivated to change. We teach people how to treat us by the behavior we allow. Let him know you love yourself too much to allow that kind of behavior, again.
Here are some things you can do to create more love and security in your marriage:
1) Work on your self-esteem. You are responsible for how YOU feel about YOU. Do not make your spouse responsible for your self-worth and expect that person to keep your bucket full. Get professional help, if necessary, to know your value, and don’t let anyone diminish it. Your spouse will feel this confidence in you and will see you as valuable, too. If you know you’re a catch, your spouse will see you as one.
2) Figure out your spouse’s love language, and love that way. Make sure your spouse feels appreciated, admired, respected and wanted daily. What does your spouse value and care about? If it's a clean house, help with that. If it's physical touch or quality time, make sure you give that. If you are not willing to invest at this level in the relationship, you aren’t really in it.
3) Instead of checking your spouse's phone or social media for inappropriate texts or websites, fill the phone with love notes, playful flirting and fun from you. Be the one that blows up the phone with validating emails, texts and “I want you” messages. The best way to ensure your spouse doesn’t stray is to be so much fun that the desire to stray isn't there. If you have trouble showing this kind of love, own that, and do some work to learn how. You aren't responsible for your spouse's choice to cheat, but pouring effort into the relationship makes cheating less likely.
4) Have fun together. Plan fun dates, travel, find hobbies to do together and create exciting moments as a couple. Be the one your spouse is making out with in the car. Make it fun and exciting to be married to you, and you will have nothing to fear.
5) Get professional help. Don’t wait until your marriage is on the brink of divorce to work on it. Constantly invest in classes, retreats and counseling or coaching to improve your relationship and keep it healthy. We have a Marriage Mastery Retreat coming up that will provide this kind of relationship "upskilling." You will leave with a guidebook about creating a thriving relationship with your unique personalities and dynamics. We will show you exactly how to fix the underlying problem.
Listen to your heart on whether this relationship can and should be saved. If your gut says your spouse is going to do it, again, or if he refuses to get professional marriage help, you may consider being strong enough to leave. If your gut says the marriage can and should be saved, commit to a love-motivated course, and make him so happy he wouldn’t want to lose you.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and a speaker and author. Access all of her past article on marriage through her new app Get Clarity on your app store.
I have had some pretty negative feedback in my last review at work and I’m totally at a loss on how to fix it. They say I lack soft skills, communication and people skills, but how do I suddenly start to do better there? What’s the best way to change or improve on those levels? I admit that I don’t always show up great at work because I have a lot of difficult stuff going on at home. I probably bring those feelings to work and they make me harder to deal with. What do I do about that?
Did you know that 85 percent of your career success depends on your people skills? New research has shown that many employers believe interpersonal and emotional intelligence skills are even more important than your hard skills or education.
Mark Murphy, who wrote the book "Hire for Attitude," says 46 percent of new-hire employees are let go within 18 months because their soft skills are inadequate or they have bad attitudes. Much has been written recently about millennials and their severe lack of people skills in the workplace, but the reality is we could all improve in this area. People skills are a definite must if you want career success.
The problem is they don’t teach these skills in school, and if you came from a family with low emotional intelligence, you probably picked up a lot of immature, fear-based, emotional and reactive tendencies. You may not be naturally good at getting along with, motivating or negotiating with others. You may not know how to be emotionally resilient, handle conflict or keep a positive attitude when things get rough. These skills are so important, if your company doesn’t provide training or personal development, you might have to go get some on your own.
Here is a list of some of the most important people skills employers are looking for and ways to improve yours:
The art of not making everything about you:This is really about social-awareness and understanding human behavior. Social-awareness means having empathy, being able to give presentations that are focused on the needs of the audience, not your desire to impress, and being able to anticipate how others might feel in any situation. It means knowing when a comment is appropriate and when your input really contributes and when it isn’t necessary. It means being a good listener, not interrupting others and not taking things personally.Many employers say the majority of their office drama comes from a few people who lack this skill and tend to make everything about them. They seem to lack a social filter and can’t see how their behavior comes across to other people. If you have this tendency in your subconscious programming, a good executive coach can guide you through this and help you understand human behavior at a deeper level. There are also many personal development seminars that facilitate this kind of work. You will have to become open to some serious feedback though, even if it hurts.
Just remember we all have the same intrinsic worth no matter what, and your need for some people skills doesn’t diminish your worth as a person.
Situational awareness and problem solving:This is the ability to see situations accurately and find solutions. It includes being able to prioritize and see what needs to be done first and who the right person is to do each task.Situational awareness is a hard soft skill to learn, but some experts think that doing puzzles, problem-solving games and even video games that include teamwork and strategic thinking may help. Many of these games require you to scan a situation and respond quickly and accurately. Millennials, who employers find lack many people skills, are often strong in this area. Maybe you need to start playing some strategy games and, even better, get your co-workers to do it with you.
Self-awareness and the ability to control your emotions:Can you process situations and how they make you feel clearly and accurately? Can you step back and calm yourself before reacting? Can you recognize what are facts and what are stories or meaning you have inaccurately applied?Self-awareness also includes the ability to know how much personal information is appropriate to share, clarity about your own strengths and weaknesses and the ability to own your mistakes, apologize and learn from them. If you can tell you aren’t self-aware enough, you may need to find an expert who can teach you mindfulness and show you how to process emotions in a healthy way and help you to see your strengths and weaknesses more accurately. We have a free assessment on our website that shows your subconscious tendencies on paper you may want to try. It’s a good start to understanding which areas you need work on.
Resilience:This is your ability to bounce back from challenges or failures, have flexibility with change and remain calm under pressure. This also includes your ability to manage stress, stay cool in a negative situation, and reduce your negative emotions when they show up.We believe a lack of resilience is a fear problem (because you fear failure and loss). We work specifically on reducing your subconscious fears in our coaching program because when those go down, your ability to be resilient goes up. Find an executive coach that specializes in eliminating the fear of change, rejection, setbacks, failure and loss. When you become resilient you will become bulletproof and in high demand at work.
Being proactive, not reactive:To reach your highest career potential, learning to be proactive is a must. You must learn to be responsible for your emotions, thoughts and reactions and gain the ability to self-monitor and regulate them.This is really about emotional maturity and the ability to respond to situations appropriately and at the right time. It means having long-range plans and not just putting out fires, and the ability to prioritize what is urgent and what is really important. It requires self-awareness and the ability to manage your impulses and prevent distractions. If you struggle with these, download our free paper on 14 ways to reach your potential at work. This gives you practical suggestions for rising above average.
Treating people with respect and showing up happy:There is a strong correlation between how happy you are (with yourself and your life) and the way you treat others. If you are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, failure or disappointment in life, or if you have personal problems at home, you may subconsciously look for people to criticize or disrespect at work. When you find negatives in other people to focus on, it often distracts you from your own fear or pain.If you show up at work grouchy and treat people with disrespect, it is going to negatively affect your career. If you are discouraged or depressed with yourself or your life — do something about it. Again, I recommend working with an executive coach who can help you gain the skills to improve your mindset and learn to handle conflict with kindness.
If your personal relationship issues are causing problems with your behavior at work, own that and do something. Most people let negative situations go on way too long, mostly because they don’t know how to solve them. But there are answers and people who can help you … you just have to ask around to find them.
Don’t let any negative situation, feeling or pattern stay in your life. If you don’t know how to fix it, ask 10 people what they would recommend and find an option that works for you. The first thing you need is a change in perspective or mindset. Albert Einstein said, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them."
You must gain a different perspective and look at the problem in a new way if you want to create change. We find most of our coaching clients experience major shifts in thinking with only one session and they feel better fast. But you can’t do better until you know better — so get out there and learn.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
Many of us didn’t learn mature communication skills or how to process emotions with clarity from our families, and they don’t teach these skills in school or at church. Many people never have the opportunity to learn a better way or how to think positively unless they seek it out on their own. You cannot just sit back and blame your parents though, you must take personal responsibility for your lack of skills and find someone to help you. There are many courses, seminars, coaches and experts who can help improve your communication skills and gain tools to help you handle yourself better. And the truth is - You can’t do better, until you know better.
In this article I will show you five common bad “people skills” habits, with some suggestions for changing them. These come from Patrick King’s book People Tactics:
#1 Not being fully present in conversations:
You may think more about what you want to say next, than you really listen, or you might be thinking about something else altogether and not listening at all. You may give people the impression you don’t care about them or wish you were somewhere else. You are going to have to work on changing this if you want good relationships. If a conversation is boring you, you must own it’s partly your fault, because you aren’t engaged in making it meaningful by asking questions and getting to know this other human being.
One of the best new people skills you can practice is making every human being you talk to feel valued, by asking about and validating their ideas, opinions and stories. Choose to see every human being as having something important to teach you. Ask more questions, listen and give them all your attention. This will create rich, caring, respectful relationships. Choose to be more curious about other people, ask more questions about them and show they matter. Drop or set aside your concerns and opinions. Really focus on the person in front of you. Don’t just listen, but really hear them, especially the people closest to you. Echo back what they say and honor and respect their right to think or feel different from you. This takes commitment, but you can do it.
#2 Your world is black and white:
This means you believe your ideas, opinions or feelings are right and anything else is wrong. You also see the world with a strong moral compass, where there is no grey. Patrick King says, “This habit is particularly toxic because people who have this mindset are very judgmental.” They have a tendency to see themselves as better or smarter than others. If people sense this tendency in you, they may avoid conversations with you or avoid you altogether. If this is your spouse or child that isn’t engaging with you anymore – that is a big problem.
The way you can change this habit is to first, change the way you see the value of all human beings. You must choose to see all people as having the same value and that value doesn’t change – it is infinite and absolute. Choose to remember that though someone thinks or acts differently from you, they still have the same value. Remind yourself that your perspective is one perspective (it is not truth). Also understand the more opinionated and stubborn you are, the less connected you will be with others.
When you insist on being right and making others wrong, they feel you don’t value them as a person. This happens because most peole have attached their worth to their ideas and opinions. You must remember this and resist the need to be right all the time, so people will feel valued and like you. Choose to tell people you respect their right to their views and way of doing things (even your children). For some people with certain Psychological Inclinations, this black or white viewpoint takes a lot of work to change. If you’d like to know more about Psychological Inclinations check this link out.
#3 You are a conversational narcissist and dominate conversations:
Do you love to hear the sound of your own voice and like to talk about your opinions too much? Do you realize after a conversation that you didn’t leave room for anyone else? Usually this need to talk too much comes from a deep fear of not being good enough. This fear drives your need to talk so you feel validated or you are trying to prove how smart or important you are.
To fix this bad habit you need to do some work on your own sense of intrinsic value. Choose to see every person as having the same value, and you will soon realize that counts for you too. The more secure you get the less you will need to talk about yourself. Challenge yourself to spend every conversation asking questions and listening instead of talking, because it’s the kind of person you really want to be. Showing up for others and making them feel important, will in the end, make you feel better about yourself than talking does.
#4 You give unsolicited advice or opinions:
Be honest with yourself. Is this something you do? Do you honestly mean well and want to help others, but accidently come off as a know it all? You must understand unsolicited advice is an insult. It makes others feel small, dumb or helpless no matter how well intentioned it is. If this is something you do, make a new rule you never give advice unless you ask permission first. “Are you open to some advice on that?” This is a great way to make sure you aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes. If they say no, honor that. Often people bring up a topic because they want to process out loud, more than they want your opinion. They need listening, more than input most of the time. Ask if they want help solving the problem, or just a listening ear? Then honor what they say. If they aren’t open to advice, respect that and let it go. It takes maturity and self-control to be this respectful, but it pays off big in most relationships. This one alone could completely change your relationship with your kids.
#5 Assuming you already know what someone feels and thinks:
If you haven’t asked questions and listened (today) then you don’t know where they are. One of the biggest insults in conversations is assuming you know what someone feels, thinks, does or did. Even if you were there, you don’t have any idea what went on in someone’s head or heart. To honor and respect other human beings, you must ask questions and listen to them, before you ever take action or say anything. Don’t assume anything.
If you want good relationships, you must listen more than you talk. You must work on controlling your fears, so you don’t let your emotions create dramatic reactions. I have written many articles on overcoming your fears and there is a great free e-book on processing emotions on my website that might help. You may also want to take our free Clarity Assessment because it will show you (on paper) your subconscious tendencies toward being right, talking too much or not listening to others.
If you are not creating the kind of relationships you want, or are getting consistent feedback that your reactions and behavior are out of control, immature or dramatic, own it and do something about it. I don’t know how to change – is no excuse. Life is a classroom and you are here to grow, so you must be actively looking for ways to improve yourself. Coaching is a great place to start, to gain new skills and have some support to get there.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
My husband and I have six children and have always had a happy home, or until the last few years anyway. We have always been a close family but the last few years we can’t seem to connect well with our older kids. I understand that the changes of puberty and high school can be overwhelming but my older children seem to be angry, disconnected and impatient with us and their younger siblings. What can I do to diffuse all this hostility and connect my family again?
The real reason that anyone behaves in a badly is they are scared of failure — not being good enough, or loss — the fear of missing out, being mistreated, or being taken from. It is these fears, which cause us and our kids to feel grouchy, angry and even mean at times.
During the teenage years, children are experiencing more fear and insecurity than ever before. They are also going through a natural process of starting to pull away from the family, so they can eventually become independent adults. The two of these factors together can make for a great deal of moody anger and rude behavior.
Anger, frustration and negativity that come across as misdirected rage towards the family, are really suppressed fear. When anger and fear are shut down, not accepted or pushed aside they can be suppressed, which can lead to exaggerated and explosive behavior.
Just like happiness and sadness, frustration and anger are emotions that require validation and time. We must validate the feelings that come up in our older children, listen to them, and honor their right to be experiencing this and feeling the way they do, instead of just correcting them. They must be allowed to be angry, scared and grouchy at times. However, guidance is often needed to teach teens how to process and express their anger in acceptable ways. You must understand the huge boil of emotions they are experiencing at this time, and focus more on connection than correction.
Suppressed anger can look like these three behaviors in your teen — denial, withdrawal and brooding.
Suppressed anger and the behaviors associated with it can be corrected as you move your teen out of fear into greater trust and love. There is a great worksheet on our website that steps you through an Emotional Autopsy to process emotions. I highly recommend you get it and look for ways to show your teen how to use it. If they are interested in trying it, take a picture of it with your phone and text it to them. (But only do this if you have asked if they are interested and say they want it.) You can also help them to experience less fear by teaching them (by example and the things you say) the two important principles below, which help lessen fear.
Another great way to connect to your teen is to make sure you get some one on one time with them every week. Make this a time of fun and be engaged in learning about your child’s life and mindset, instead of just approaching this time as disciplinary correction or getting to the bottom of their issues. Take them out for food (they love that) and make sure there is no lecturing or interrogations. This is a time to listen and validate their right to be where they are and think they way they do. You might want to make sure you have our Validating Communication Worksheet and study it beforehand so you handle this right.
Like all of us, children and especially teenagers want to be heard, accepted and acknowledged. Listen to them and invest in the relationship. Speak about your concerns from a place of vulnerability (sharing your fears) instead of your authority and really make the effort to show up consistently each week. Share with your child how you see every situation in your life an opportunity to learn and how this helps you come out of fear and into greater trust and love.
Some great questions to ask teens when you are together include:
Be patient with these conversations and drop your expectations or attachments to a specific outcome. Trust that with greater connection your child will feel safer and safer. Anger and misdirected rage take time to heal. Your child may also need some professional help to gain some new skills for dealing with their thoughts, emotions and experiences at school. Check out some of the coaching options we offer for parents and teens.
Feel reassured that the foundations you continue to lay down for your children are never in vain. No matter what the age of your children, they watch you and your behavior as an example and crave connection and validation from you. Do your best to make sure your language and your behavior heal instead of hurt. Commit to validating and continue to pour into your relationship with them. Here is a link to access many other articles and tips for dealing with teens.
You can do this.
Master Life Coaches Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham run www.claritypointcoaching.com and offer coaching workshops and classes for both parents and teens.
By Nicole Cunningham and Kim Giles
This was first published on KSL.com
My wife continues to bring up all of my mistakes from the past with any little issue in our marriage. No matter how many times I apologize and try to make amends, it seems that nothing is ever good enough for her. I’m trying to be patient and hope things will change, but everything is always my fault. We have some really big issues in our marriage which I want to solve, but how can I even begin when she says I am the problem and she isn’t? There is fault on both sides.
In order for you to get some peace here and learn to communicate with your spouse without fighting, you must first see her and your behavior more accurately.
We all hurt people when we are in pain or fear. No matter what the circumstances are, it is only from our pain that we attack others. This means that attacks are really more about the attacker and their fears, than they are about you, the victim. Think about that for a minute.
To understand your wife (and her need to continually bring up the past) I encourage you to look deeper into her life and heart, with a greater level of compassion. When she brings up the pain she has experienced and holds it over your head, it’s just because she is still hurting and scared. She also finds it necessary to cast you as the bad one, because seeing her own faults would be more painful than she can emotionally handle.
All bad behavior comes from two core fears, the fear of failure, not being good enough and the fear of loss, being taken from or losing out. When you can clearly see which fear is in play with your wife (and it could be both of them) you will see the attacks differently. You will also have more compassion, because you will see her as scared more than mean or bad. When you see her bad behavior as fear, you will begin to disassociate yourself from the attack and experience more compassion for her and yourself.
There is a great Understanding Your Marriage worksheet on my website, which will help you to delve deeper into the fears that are showing up in your marriage. I encourage you to fill it out and be really honest with yourself.
It takes a brave, rational and objective person to be able to disassociate from their pain and fear, and see the ways they have contributed to a problem. Most of us are not good at this. Instead, we exhibit a lot of blaming, projecting behavior.
There are several ways you can bring more compassion and love into the conflicts and confrontation you experience in your home:
1) Choose to see every attack as a request for love. People who attack you are in pain, because of their fears for and about themselves. If they have a fear of failure they need reassurance and validation that they are still worthy of love and understanding. They need to be reminded that all people have the same value. If they have fear of loss they need reassurance that things will work out ok. I tell my spouse and children, if I get mad or upset, just remind me that I’m good enough and that God’s got me safe in his hands, and I will probably calm right down. (I only get upset when I have forgotten these two truths.)
2) Choose to see meaning in everything. I love to read about the strength and optimism of Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor. He was the first to discover that when you see meaning in every experience, even the most brutal ones, you will suffer less. I choose to see life is a classroom and believe we are here to learn and grow. This brings meaning to every interaction with my spouse, because I see it as today’s lesson on love. When I see every interaction as a lesson I naturally challenge myself to be more mature and show up with more love. This small perspective shift will allow you to suffer less in the problems.
3) Focus on improving yourself. Viktor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”This is one way to face negativity, criticism and fear. Take them as a challenge and rise above the attacks and choose love anyway. When you refuse to take the bait and join in the fight, it also highlights your spouse’s immature behavior and she can see it better. She would prefer you to sink to her level and behave badly back (this would give her more ammunition to cast you as the bad one). If you refuse to sink to her level and calmly show up with grace and kindness, she will be forced to see that she’s the one who is in the wrong. Don’t do this from ego though, to show you are better than her. Remember you have the same value all the time, you are just learning different lessons.
4) Healthy Communication - Accept responsibility that you are 50 percent of the problem in your communication. Even if the way your spouse behaves is not heathy, you can still create change and be more respectful and loving. It’s not easy to stay respectful when you are being attacked, but you can do it with some new tools and practice. There is a great worksheet on mutually validating conversations on my website. It involves being willing to see her as the same as you (not casting her as the bad one) and being willing to ask questions and listen first, before you ask her to understand you. When someone is in fear and attacking you, what they need most is validation and reassurance to calm their fear. Only when their fear is quieted will they be capable of hearing you.
5) Focus on the future not the past. Too often we drag up the past and use it to toxify the present. When we bring up the past we are also talking about things the other person can’t change and it makes people frustrated and defensive. Make the decision to keep the focus on future behavior not past behavior. The future they have control over and we can make changes there. Be prepared to ask your spouse if she would be willing to let the past go and focus on what you are both willing to do differently moving forward.
(You might want to each write down on paper all the things in the past you are still hurt about. Agree to let them go and forgive, so you can both do better moving forward. Put these papers in a box and bury them deep in the backyard. Make an agreement that you won’t bring up those past mistakes ever again, unless you are willing to go dig up the box first to do so.)
Healing relationships takes time and takes commitment. See if your spouse wants a better relationship than the one you currently have, and explain that you can’t create happiness at the same level of thinking you were at when you created the problems. You must learn something new.
Find a course, coach or counselor who specializes in dealing with fear and upskilling your communication, and preferably one who works with each of you independently. We find that couples do better when each person works to fix their side of the problems on their own first.
Despite all of the pain and the uncertainty, remain in trust that this is your perfect classroom. This set of circumstances has shown up for a reason (to help you grow) and it is exactly where you are meant to be. You always marry your best teacher and when you choose to see her as your teacher (who is meant to push your buttons so you can work on them) it will change how you feel.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM and 10 other publications
My relationship with my adult children is not good. They are disrespectful and unkind in spite of all I have done for them. They have hurt me deeply in the past, but I forgive them, why can’t they forgive me for past mistakes? I have had so many things go wrong in my life the last few years and I just need them to understand I’m doing the best I can. How can I get them to see how their behavior isn’t right? How can I get them to stop blaming and shaming me?
(KSL readers: Please go easy on this person in the comments.)
The problem is you cannot change or fix other people. You can have a mutually validating conversation with them and really listen and validate them, after which you ask to share how you feel and ask for different behavior moving forward, but that doesn’t gaurantee they will change, and their future behavior is totally out of your control. The only person whose behavior you have any control over is yours.
The path to change or fix any situation starts with taking personal responsibility, owning your part in it, and working on your part. Often we are so wrapped up in our fear of not being good enough that we prefer to cast the blame on others. When we do this it just makes the situation worse, and no one wants to be around a person in shame and blame.
It takes a very motivated, mature and clear person to be willing to see their role in every problem, take responsibility and be willing to grow and to change. Ironically, this is the kind of person that everyone wants to be around.
We all want people in our lives who are clear, have appropriately proportionate reactions and behaviors, and who own their mistakes and apologize when they make one. We are drawn to and respect people who are strong enough to own their faults. However, too often, we see people too afraid to wear any responsibility for their actions and decisions at all, and usually their lives and relationships continue to spiral downhill.
Stop here for a minute and ask yourself an important question. As you were reading the first part of this article … were your thoughts on how others really need to own their part, or were you honestly thinking about your own behavior?
If you were already in blame mode and more focused on how the other people in your life need to read this and own their part, chances are this is a pattern in your life and you are struggling to own your part.
(If you were focused on your own behavior, you are probably good at seeing your own part. Some of you may even have the opposite problem of blaming everything on yourself and you may need to do some work on repairing your self-esteem.)
Either way, you probably have some deep fear of not being good enough. You may have had this fear most of your life and it may have created a subconscious tendency to point fingers, judge and even be angry at other people, because focusing on how bad they are quiets your own fear of failure a bit. (Or you may always point the finger at yourself. What we are shooting for here is balance.)
Please be honest with yourself about your pattern, especially if it's a tendency to point fingers. You probably don’t consciously chose to blame others though and take the victim role. You subconsciously do it. It is just the way you were programmed to see things throughout your life. The good news is, you can change it.
One of the best ways to take greater personal responsibility in your life is to realize that this situation, though it may not be all your fault, is your responsibility. Unless you take responsibility for the lesson showing up (because you apparently have something to learn in it or a way to grow from it) you won’t have any power to change it. You must own that. Though others may need to change too, your focus must stay on becoming more mature, wise, calm, balanced and loving yourself. You must work on you.
You may not like how this sounds, but the buck really does begin and end with YOU and your behavior. In every person’s life there is a time when they must step up and take responsibility for what they have created around them and for their own happiness. It is no one else’s job or responsibility to make you happy!
Look around you and take note of what is working and what isn’t working in your behavior. If being mad and angry at the kids isn’t making you happy, you might want to try something different. If telling them how horrible they are treating you isn’t making them love and respect you, you might want to gain some other skills or tools to try. If the people you love don't want to spend time with you, what behavior in you might be causing that? Where is the stress, unhappiness or imbalance in your life showing up?
What are you willing to change in yourself to create something different?
There are many ways in which you can take personal responsibility and create change in your life:
I promise you, when your children see you take personal responsibility for your part of the problems and see you learning, growing and changing, they will not only feel more open and loving towards you, but they may be more likely to look at their own bad behavior and be ready to grow too.
We all desire more connectivity, respect and a life with less conflict and confrontation. Understanding your own behavioral patterns and getting some new tools and techniques to express yourself and connect with others really can change everything.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness." Nicole Cunningham is a master coach and psychological inclination expert.
I am constantly asking nicely for my family to help with simple everyday chores, or just get ready for family outings. My family waits for me to wake them up, tell them what to do, and even though I tell them how much time we have, they drag their feet and I find myself loading the car and doing all the work to get there on time by myself. By the time everyone's in the car, I'm stressed and upset and they’re all mad at me for rushing them. If I just leave to be there on time, my husband gets mad at me for leaving him behind, but he lays in bed until right before we have to leave then gets in the shower. I'm left yelling at the kids to help me get everything else ready so we can leave. The kids feel like I make them do all the work their dad should be helping with, but no matter what I say or do, I'm the bad guy all around. Can you help me get my spouse and kids to be responsible?
I can help with this, but you are going to have to be more responsible too if you want to fix this. You have taught your family how to treat you, and you have accidently taught them to be lazy and make you feel guilty about rushing them. Or you may be so controlling that you have created natural resistance against whatever you try to make them do.
You may also be what we call an "Organizer," which is one of 12 psychological inclinations that all humans fit into. (If you want to read more about them, you can on my website.) Organizers have a strong need for order and control, and it can feel, at times, more important than people. If you are like this, you may need to do some work on letting go of control and loss. It may even require some work with a coach or other professional.
You are also going to have to stop shouldering responsibility for everyone’s choices. Right now you are either being a doormat or you are over-controlling, selfish and mean. You are most likely going back and forth between these two states, because you can’t get either one to work.
In order to change this behavior, you must understand the three choices you have in response to other people’s bad behavior. (There is a Boundaries Worksheet on my website that shows these in detail.) Your three options look like this:
It sounds like being on time is important to you and it’s not important to your family. You should have a family meeting and explain that you’ve been trying to make everyone have the same values and needs as you, and that’s not fair. From now on, you are going to do better to honor what they want and you are going to ask them to honor you back.
So, you will be getting up and getting ready and leave on time. If anyone wants to come with you they are welcome to, but you will be leaving at this appointed time and if they aren’t ready (you will go without them) but that’s fine too. You will be happy either way. Make sure they all understand you love and respect them no matter what they choose. Then, you do your thing, and if they are mad that you left without them, that is their choice. They are also totally welcome to get ready earlier next time, and you (again) will love them either way.
If you are going on a trip though and you can’t leave without them, you might let them choose which tasks they would like to own to get things ready and packed and you will be in charge of the rest. Let them know that you plan to leave at a certain time so you will have your stuff ready then. If they aren’t ready at that time, you have made plans to go get a pedicure or sit on the patio with a good book (or choose something that’s a real treat for you) so you will be happy and occupied while you wait for them to get ready.
If your pedicure goes long, they may be waiting for you, but let them know ahead of time this is what they can expect. Whatever you do, don’t go to a place of loss and anger, behave maturely and kindly at all times and have clear expectations ahead of time.
These are examples of healthy, love and strength based boundaries that honor your needs and are also respectful of others.
Make sure you also forgive yourself for being weak or mean in the past. These situations were perfect lessons, and they now give you the chance to look at all your behavior options and see the results each produces, which is very valuable information. Past behavior has nothing to do with your value as a person. Focus on the beautiful lesson this situation is providing you to help you grow, and let the anger go.
You can do this.
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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.