This was first published on ksl.com
I have been dating a guy for about seven months. We have talked about marriage but are not sure if we are ready. I have some concerns about how critical of each other we both are. He is critical of my clothes, car, cleanliness. I am critical of his schedule and how he doesn’t make time for me. I want to make the relationship works after all the time I have invested into it, but my feeling is that if we are critical of each other now, does that reflect a mismatch of values and perhaps mean it is time to move on? So my question is, how hard should you have to work on a dating relationship to make it work and when is it time to move on?
I love this question, but I am going to break it down into the three smaller questions that will make the answer easier to understand.
1. Why are you two being so critical of each other and what’s up with that behavior?
There are a few reasons this conflict might be happening. People are critical or conflict-prone because:
2. Is it a bad sign that means the relationship is wrong or doomed?
Criticizing one another does not necessarily mean the relationship won’t work, will be too hard, or isn’t right. But there are three things it could mean and, again, you will have to listen to your inner GPS to know which is happening in your case.
I teach relationship dynamics for a living, and I can tell you that the perfect match for you is rarely someone just like you. You were likely drawn to this person because of their differences. See if you can love those differences, laugh at their quirkiness and stop trying to change them.
3. Should you stay together and keep working on it, or when should you move on?
You are the only one entitled to the answer to this question, but you are entitled to it. Think it out, listen to your gut and make the decision that feels right, then try on the answer for a few hours — or a few days — and see how it feels. Even though breaking up is painful, sad and hard, you will know if it’s the right thing to do.
If you cannot figure out what your gut is saying, you probably have some fear in the way. You may need some help to quiet the fears so you can hear your gut. Again, some professional relationship help can make this easier.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I had a client ask me about the anatomy of the argument they keep having over and over throughout their marriage. They have noticed that other couples say the same thing: they always argue over the same thing or around the same basic issue. So, I thought that maybe I would explain a simple way to take apart that argument and see what is really happening.
The first thing you need to understand is that fear is in play. I believe there are two fears we all battle with every day, and have done so since we were small children. They are the fear of failure (that I might not be good enough) and the fear of loss (that I am not safe). We all experience both of these, but each person has one that is more dominant.
Find the fear
When thinking about your most common argument, it’s important to figure out which fear is in play for each of you. Ask the following questions to determine which fear is dominant for you, and then for your partner.
Fear of failure questions
Fear of loss questions
Study the fight
The reason it is important to know a person’s core fear is that once you understand where their fear is based, you also know the key trigger that knocks them out of balance and brings out their bad behavior. Most of your arguments will be the same basic fear getting triggered.
People who are fear-of-failure dominant get offended when they feel judged, criticized, rejected, unloved, abandoned or insulted.
People who are fear-of-loss dominant get offended when they feel taken from, mistreated, disregarded, disrespected or like they are losing something.
Think back on your most common argument or disagreement you have with a person. Which one of the above offenses happened first? Someone started this argument when they felt one of those things. Can you see which fear was in play first?
When their first fear was triggered, the person reacted and behaved in a way that triggered the other person’s fear. Can you see which fear that was?
Whenever you react from fear, the behavior that results is almost always selfish and focused solely on protecting yourself. This behavior makes the other person feel unsafe. When you are so focused on protecting yourself, you are not going to be thinking about protecting the other person. It is important that you can see behavior that the first person displayed, or what they said that got the second person triggered, too.
What did the first person’s behavior make the second person feel? Did they feel ...
See the solution
It is critical to understand the anatomy of these arguments so you can see the solution. At the end of the day, you both just want to feel safe, loved, respected, admired and wanted by your partner. This argument is really about the fact that you don’t feel that way.
So, the answer to ending this argument for good is to learn how to make your partner feel safe, loved, respected, admired and wanted when they first get triggered.
What if you could pause right at the beginning of the argument, when the first trigger happens, and ask yourself:
Mary and John
Let me give you an example of how this works:
Mary and her husband John live on a tight budget and are very careful in stretching their paycheck to the end of the month. John opens the fridge and finds a bag of salad that has gone bad and has to be thrown out. He turns to Mary and in anger says "That is just great! Why didn’t you use this before it sat in the fridge and rotted? What’s the matter with you?" Mary yells back, "Why do you have to be such a jerk? You are the worst husband ever." The argument escalates from there.
Let’s take this one apart: This argument started when John got triggered by fear of loss. He was already worried about not having enough money this month, and seeing food go bad triggered that fear. But notice that he doesn’t see it as a money fear problem; he inaccurately sees it as Mary’s problem. So, he aimed his bad reaction right at Mary, insulting and verbally attacking her.
This, of course, triggered Mary’s fear of failure, as John was accusing her of being careless and wasteful. But instead of recognizing what John’s fear was really about (the money fear), she goes on the defense and attacks him back. Now, both John and Mary feel unsafe with each other and instead of addressing the actual fear issue, they have made the argument about each other.
The truth is that most bad behavior is a cry for help, love or reassurance because the person is scared of something; it’s always more about the person’s fears about themselves than it is about you.
People who are grouchy and rude and attack you for small mistakes, or right out of the blue, are usually battling a huge fear that they aren’t good enough; however, they aren't conscious of that, so they project their self-hate onto you, which is easier for them than facing it.
Many people who feel mistreated, taken from, or are easily offended are really angry at life for disappointing them. They can’t punish life for their losses, so they project the problem onto everyone around them. If you can start stepping back and looking at each argument through this filter, you will find they are easier to understand and resolve than you think.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Many mental health professionals say that during this pandemic mental health matters more than ever. There are serious mental health consequences that show up for people suffering from sustained fear. The American Journal of Managed Care notes that you can start to feel a dissociation from your identity, you can find it harder to feel loving feelings, you can experience mood swings, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, and/or learned helplessness, where you give up believing help or an end to suffering exists.
If you read my column on a regular basis, you know my passion for helping people deal with fear — and specifically what I call the two core fears: The fear of failure (which is the fear of not being good enough) and the fear of loss (which is the fear of not being safe).
Right now, people all over the world are battling a more than normal amount of fear that they aren’t safe. We are all afraid of loss. We are afraid of getting sick, losing family or friends, afraid of police brutality, protests or riots, afraid that the election might create more turmoil or violence, afraid of business failures and/or losing our jobs. The entire world is holding its breath to see what unknown problems lie around the bend next.
It might help your family to talk about safety and where a sense of safety can come from. The truth is life will always be uncertain and full of risk. Bad things happen and there is no way to protect ourselves from all of life’s dangers. You could make an argument that fear and stress are even warranted, but there is a high cost to living in fear of loss.
When you feel unsafe in the world, it diminishes your capacity to care for and love other people. It hinders your ability to connect, it makes you feel separated, isolated and alone. It makes you quicker to take offense and see yourself as mistreated, which creates more conflict.
You might have noticed that your family members have been more easy to offend lately, or that there have been more disagreements. Some of this is from spending too much time together, but part of it is also coming from the sustained fear of loss we are all experiencing.
'It's just a story' strategy
It would serve us all to learn a strategy for eliminating fear of loss and feeling safer. I teach my coaches that the best way out of the "I am not safe in the world" belief, is to remember it’s just a story. The way you feel about anything is coming from the story you are telling yourself about it. You might, in fact, be very safe at this moment and there might be good things around the next bend for you. There is no way to know what is coming next. No matter what you believe, it is a story.
This means that standing in this moment you have two basic story choices:
Trust God and the universe
You might want to gather your family and talk about what you truly believe the point and purpose of our being on the planet is. Talk about whether you see this universe is a place of chaos or a place of order.
Go through the following questions:
Start practicing trusting God and the universe that you are safe during the little inconveniences and problems that show up every day. Could you see a flat tire, a canceled plan, or an unexpected mess as your perfect classroom journey today? Could you choose to feel safe in those moments, trusting that God and the universe have you and the setback is a blessing in disguise? Playing with small losses now helps you to have strong "trust muscles" on a really bad day.
Choosing to trust that God and the universe are on your side, and constantly conspiring to bless and grow you, makes a big difference on your stress level. Give it a try for yourself. You can do this.
More tips and resources
Here are some other ways to help your family cope with stress and fear:
This was first published on ksl.com
The French-born author Anais Nin, wrote about an old Talmudic philosophy that says we can only dream about things we have previously encountered or thought. So, "We don’t see things as they are, we see the world as we are," Nin says.
The way this works is that if you grew up in a stable, emotionally and mentally healthy family, you probably see the world as stable and safe. If you grew up in a violent, abusive, or unhealthy family, you will be more likely to view the world as an unsafe, violent place. You will always subconsciously project your world onto the world you see.
This also applies to the way you see other people. You subconsciously project your experience of what you are like onto others and assume they are just like you, or they should be. When they don’t act like you, you are often shocked.
According to an article from the American Psychological Association, neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese said, "It seems we’re wired to see other people as similar to us, rather than different. At the root, as humans we identify the person we’re facing as someone just like ourselves."
You see other people as you are, and you subconsciously expect them to behave as you would. The problem is that other people are just not wired like you are. They have had very different life experiences, so they cannot possibly see the world (or behave) the same way you do.
Some inaccurate projections
Here are some other ways this tendency to project yourself onto others shows up:
Consequences of inaccurate projections
All of these perceptions, or mind tricks, can create fallout in your relationships. Here are some common ways they might affect your life:
Obviously, the problem is that we are (for the most part) blind to our subconscious projections. We cannot tell that we aren’t seeing accurately, so awareness is the most important thing if we are going to change our projections. Start noticing your thoughts and assumptions about other people and question them.
As a coach, I use personality tests to show my clients the ways they are different and similar to the other important people in their lives. These tests help them to understand why other people see the world in a different way, which creates compassion. Hope this helps you.
You can do it.
This was first published on KSL.com
My wife says that my sarcasm and sarcastic comments hurt her and my children, while I think they need to lighten up and understand teasing. Sarcasm has always seemed intelligent humor in my family and I think she is being too sensitive. Since we both read your articles we wondered what you would say about it.
Most sarcastic people consider themselves both intelligent and funny, but I am sorry to say I agree with your wife that it can often be mean. This is because sarcastic comments, though humorous, are usually passive-aggressive, mean and uncomfortable for the people receiving them.
The dictionary defines sarcasm as "the use of irony to mock or convey contempt" and "a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark." Neither of these definitions sound like validating communication to me.
You might see your sarcastic comments as teasing, but you must stop and think about how those comments really feel to the people in your life. Don’t think that by saying "just kidding" after a sarcastic remark it is now OK, especially if it was a hurtful comment. Most sarcastic people do see themselves as funny, but often they are the only ones laughing.
As a human behavior expert, I find it is always helpful to figure out why you are behaving the way you are. There are always reasons, beliefs or programs driving our behavior. When you understand why you feel the need to be sarcastic, you can then decide if it is really working for you.
Reasons for sarcasm
Here are some common reasons you might be sarcastic:
1. You fear you aren’t good enough, so you subconsciously put others down so you can feel superior.
The worse you feel about yourself, the more stinging your remarks toward others could be. People who don’t like themselves often put others down or tease them, in order to feel more important themselves. If this is your reason for being sarcastic, you may need some professional coaching or counseling to work on your self-esteem.
2. Sarcasm is also a way of asking for what you want when you are scared to ask for it directly.
You might crack a joke about your wife’s crazy shoes because you don’t know how to just say you don’t like them and wish she wouldn’t wear them. Instead, your sarcastic remark leaves your wife questioning what you really think. Were you joking or serious? When you don’t know how to say things in a kind way, you might make a joke, which probably hurts the other person, but it also creates a place where if she takes offense, it’s her problem, not yours. If you do this, you might need to learn some better communication skills.
3. Sarcasm can be passive-aggressive anger.
This happens when you feel taken from, insulted or annoyed by another person and you really want to get them back but know you can’t do that directly. Sarcasm is a way to take a stab at them without being seen as mean or bad. A joke feels like it absolves you of responsibility for their feelings. If this is your problem, you need to resolve the issue you are angry about. This passive-aggressive behavior actually makes you look bad too.
4. You may feel angry at life for the disappointments or abuse you have suffered.
Sarcasm can be a way to take out your anger about disappointments or vent your frustration. The more your life goes wrong, the more biting your remarks toward others could get. If this is your problem, you need to change the way you see your life experiences so they make you better, not bitter.
5. If you were made to feel small as a child, you may be trying to feel superior now.
If you were teased in a cruel way, put down, or made to feel small or unimportant as a child, you may be subconsciously trying to feel superior now. You may look down on other people and jokingly jab at them as a way to feel powerful. Again, if this is your problem, you may need to improve your self-esteem so you can show up with more love.
6. You might like to get attention by entertaining those around you with humor.
If this is true, you probably need this attention to validate your worth because, again, you might have low self-esteem. You might need attention so badly you will sacrifice other people to get it. Fear creates very selfish subconscious behavior, but this can be fixed. There are lots of ways to be funny without hurting other people.
How to be less sarcastic
Just take a minute and honestly ask yourself if any of these reasons or problems could be behind your need to be sarcastic. Then, ask yourself the following questions:
You can be funny all you want; but if you do it at the expense of other people, there will be consequences. People may never feel safe with you. People may start to dislike you. If the people on the receiving end of your sarcasm are your friends and family, the cost for your humor may be high.
How do deal with a sarcastic person
If you are living with a sarcastic person here are a few suggestions for dealing with it:
I realize if you grew up in a sarcastic family, your programming for this teasing runs deep. You are going to have to stay committed to working on this to make this change but keep at it. It’s worth it.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
I enjoy reading your articles, but one question I have is about how to stay motivated. I used to operate out of fear of failure all the time; but once I learned that I have value no matter what I do, I feel less motivated to work or do anything. I used to do most things because I was trying to earn other people’s approval. How do I stay motivated to be a high achiever now?
You have to switch to love motivation now, but it is foreign territory to most of us because we have been taught to be fear-motivated all our lives. Our parents told us to be good or we would be grounded or punished. We had to work hard in school so we wouldn’t get bad grades. The world, in general, instills fear of failure, which makes us compete and compare ourselves with others to have any value at all.
I have found the only way to improve self-esteem is to change the fundamental system upon which you base the value of human beings. Right now, many of us see human value as changeable, which means we see some humans as having more or less value than other humans. This means no matter how hard we try to improve ourselves, we will always find people who seem to be doing better and we will always be afraid we aren’t good enough.
The only way to rid yourself of fear of failure and constant insecurity lies in changing this fundamental belief. You must choose to believe that all humans have the same, infinite, absolute, unchanging value all the time — no matter their appearance, performance, property or popularity. But it doesn’t work unless you give up all judgment of others. You must quit judging and start letting every other person be good enough. The more you do this, the quicker you’ll understand that this also applies to you, and you no longer have anything to fear.
You’ll soon see that comparison makes no sense, and this is where the problem you described with your motivation begins. Your fear motivation doesn’t make sense anymore; and if you don’t replace it with a different “why,” you can start to be too content with where you are. Add to this trust in the universe that it always sends the perfect classroom journey for you, and you get even more overly content.
To fix this you have to understand the three types of fear motivation and how to replace them with love motivation.
Perfectionism fear motivation
Perfectionism fear motivation shows up any time you attach your value to (seeing it as affected by) anything in your life. You might think you have to perform or look perfect in order to have value.
Think about why you clean your house. If you are perfection-motivated, then every time you see the house messy you feel like a failure. You need the house to look perfect to think you have any value. The funny thing about this form of motivation is that sometimes it is not motivating. Sometimes it feels safer not to try something than it is to do it imperfectly.
To fix this, you must come up with a new love-motivated reason to clean the house. You might decide to provide this beautiful clean environment for your family because you love them. This will make it easier to let the house go if other activities with the family come up that would show love even more. You don’t need the house clean anymore. You just like to provide a clean house when you can.
Obligation fear motivation
Obligation fear is the motivation that says you should do this, you ought to do this, you have to do this, or you need to do this — whether you want to or not. These are usually tasks you don’t want to do, but you feel fear and guilt about if you don’t. Think about why you diet or exercise. Do you do it because you want to or because you should? Do you bypass the cake and eat a salad because you want to or because you feel you need to? This form of motivation might not be a great motivator, either. Because you really don’t want to do these things, your motivation won’t last.
To fix this, you must either find a form of exercise that you love to do or good healthy recipes that you would love to eat. You aren’t really going to stay motivated until you bring passion and love into it. Or set a goal to lose weight not to look better or earn approval, but because you love yourself and want to feel healthy and strong.
People-pleasing fear motivation
People-pleasing fear motivation says you must do this to be accepted or earn approval from others. Think about why you spend time and energy picking the right outfit or fixing your hair. Are you doing it because you want others to think highly of you? Are you cleaning the house because the neighbors are coming over and you want them to be impressed?
To fix this, you must decide either not to worry about your appearance or to do it for yourself, not other people. You should either not worry about the house being clean or clean it for a love-motivated reason.
The interesting thing about motivation is that if you look at the most successful people in the world, you will find they are motivated more by a passion for what they are doing than by fear. We think fear is required for motivation, but the truth is fear is not that motivating at all. You will be more motivated when you find a love-driven “why” for what you want to do.
During the pandemic, I am hearing from many people who are struggling to stay self-motivated at home. Again, you have to really look at your “why” and find a passion-driven reason. Do things because you love your family or yourself and want to give them or yourself a better quality of life. Do things because you love God, humanity and helping others. Do something because you love to do it.
When you are going to do anything, ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" Get honest with yourself about whether this is a love- or fear-motivated reason. Either change the activity or change the “why,” and live your whole life from love. I promise you will be happier.
You can do this.
First published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares the different ways we argue, forgive and apologize — and how to honor each other's needs.
According to Gary Chapman, the author of "The Five Love Languages," each of us have a specific way we give and receive love. Likewise, we have a way we apologize and forgive best.
In my book, “The People Guidebook: For Great Relationships,” I explain how your unique values and fears make you different from other people and drive your behavior. In putting these different ideas together, I discovered there are four different ways we argue, forgive and apologize in communication with other people.
Read the “fighting styles” below to figure out the style that works best for you so you can see the pros and cons of it. You may also want to figure out the fighting style of your spouse, another family member or friend, as this will help you to resolve conflict and have difficult conversations in a way that works for both of you.
The 4 fighting styles
1. Long communicators with connection needed
These people are long talkers and always have lots to say, so they can argue or converse about a problem for a long time. This is fine, unless they are fighting with someone who is a short communicator (who can get easily overwhelmed or worn out by long talkers).
Long talkers often have a tendency toward a victim mentality and sometimes struggle to accept any blame or responsibility for a problem. They usually see themselves as the injured party. These people can get mean and ugly if pushed in an argument (which can be scary for less passionate and/or quieter people).
These people usually have lots of friends and highly value their connections. They often cannot resolve something and move on until they feel a close, caring connection has been restored. It’s easier for them to accept an apology after the person has taken responsibility for the slight or asked for forgiveness, or they have received validation about their feelings and feel cared for and reconnected again
2. Long communicators with restitution needed
These people are long talkers who need a person to restore their loss before they can let things go. They are very good communicators who can keep arguing for a long time. They are so good with words that they can twist the other person’s words around and use them against that other person.
These people tend to be very opinionated and stubborn. They have very black-and-white, right-and-wrong thinking styles, with no room for gray area. They are also very logical and practical (meaning not very emotional and sensitive) in how they see things. They can struggle to understand another person’s feelings if those feelings don’t make sense to them.
These people struggle to accept an apology until the other person has taken responsibility for the slight, asked for forgiveness, and has made some kind of restitution or major change in their behavior. If they feel taken from.
3. Short communicators with validation needed
These people cannot do long, drawn-out arguments, so don’t subject them to hours and hours of conversation. If you talk too much, they will start to shut down and will often say anything they have to just to make the conversation stop. If it doesn’t stop, they will pull back or leave. Don’t take this personally. It doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to work through the issue; it just means they can’t do it in one sitting.
These people don’t like mean, ugly, personal attacks or fighting that is loud and scary. These are quieter people who would rather avoid conflict. Angry criticism makes these people feel very unsafe. They need lots of positive validation before and after anything negative is mentioned.
The secret to engaging with these people is laying the ground rules before you engage. Tell them three things: how long this conversation will last (i.e. “30 minutes and no more, I promise”), how painful this is going to be (i.e. “I promise this is not an attack and you will get to give me feedback here too”), and what you are going to ask for in the end (i.e. “In the end, I am only going to ask you to change one little thing”). If you set up rules of engagement and stick to them, short communicators are more likely to stick with you and work things out.
These people cannot accept an apology until the other person has taken responsibility for the slight, asked for forgiveness, and has given them some positive validation about how good they are. If they feel like a failure at the end, they will struggle to forgive you.
4. Short communicators with restitution needed
These people cannot do long, drawn-out fights or arguments because they don’t have the patience for them. They are more likely to tell you off and then leave. Don’t take this personally. It doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to work through the issue; it just means they can’t do it in one sitting.
These people can get mean, ugly, loud and scary, but they won’t stay in that emotional state for a long time. They will explode and then cool down. This behavior can scare quieter people who would rather avoid conflict. Sometimes it will work best if you will let them explode and be mean, and then let them cool down before returning to the issue.
The secret to engaging with these people is to establish rules of engagement. Tell them the same three things from above: how long this conversation will last, how annoying or emotional this conversation is going to be (try to stay logical and practical), and what you are going to ask for in the end (let them know it won’t be asking for much).
These people cannot accept an apology until the other person has taken responsibility for the slight, asked for forgiveness, and has made some kind of restitution or major change in their behavior. If they feel taken from, apologies won’t matter until the loss has been restored or they see you have really been acting differently.
This information might be a game-changer in your relationship, because arguments and difficult conversations are only productive when both parties feel respected, heard, understood, and honored for their right to be them. You want to practice the Platinum Rule to treat people the way they want and need to be treated (not the way you want to be treated).
Don’t assume that the way you show up and handle yourself is the right way. It’s just a different way. Everyone has the right to be wired the way they are wired. Respect that and honor their differences and you can easily resolve most problems.
You can do this.
first published on KSl.COM
My marriage is struggling, and over and over one of us gets defensive and we give each other the cold shoulder for days. It is so hard to get back to love and feeling good when we feel offended, insulted or mistreated so often. Once those walls go up it’s so hard to get past them. What can we do to stop this cycle and end the constant offending and fighting?
First of all, I need to clarify that the answer in this article is for the person asking the question above, and in their relationship there is no abuse happening. The fighting is garden variety offenses and grouchy behavior where they trigger each other and get bothered on a regular basis. Obviously, if your partner is abusive, the mistreatment needs to be addressed and stopped immediately, and I encourage you to reach out for professional help.
If you and your partner get defensive all the time and often feel like the other person is the enemy, this article is for you.
People tend to get defensive when they feel mistreated, insulted, criticized, taken from or unvalued by the other person. These experiences make a person feel unsafe and threatened; in this state, a person tends to believe he or she has to defend or protect themself from the threat. But a sense of safety with one’s partner often has more to do with what he or she believes about themself than it does with how their partner treats them.
If you get defensive easily and often, you may feel unsafe in the world generally. You might have started feeling unsafe long before your partner showed up in your life. It might also be helpful to check for the following behaviors, which are signs of living in a subconscious fear state all the time, which means you might have a tendency to get defensive faster than the average person:
If you function in a fear state — always looking for slights — you cannot make your partner solely responsible for you feeling defensive. You can still bring up and discuss slights, but you should first run through the process below to make sure you are seeing the situation accurately. You should also seek out some coaching or counseling to work on your fear-based programming.
The 10-step process
When you feel slighted, insulted and/or defensive, follow these steps:
1. Own that you are feeling defensive, which means you don’t feel safe. Remember that your sense of safety with your partner may have more to do with what you believe about yourself and your life than you think. This means you must acknowledge that no one can make you feel unsafe without your participation at some level. Just be willing to own that your fears of failure and loss could be in play.
2. Ask the other person if they feel unsafe and defensive, too. Acknowledge that you understand that feeling and feel the same way. Acknowledge that this will be harder to resolve while you are both unbalanced and fear-triggered.
3. Agree that you are both safer than your feelings and your subconscious programming may believe. You both love each other and you both want this relationship to work.
4. Decide to be two people against the problem, not two people against each other. Agree to approach the problem by listening to how and why your partner feels the way they do. Commit to being willing to listen and really understand instead of trying to win.
5. Recognize your own fear trigger. Have you been fear of failure triggered — where you feel insulted or attacked by something, making you afraid you aren’t good enough? Or have you been fear of loss triggered — where you feel mistreated and/or taken from, ming you afraid you aren’t safe? Which are you struggling with right now? Knowing this will help you get balanced again.
7. Now you are ready to talk about the issue that started the defensiveness. Be willing to ask questions about what happened and how your partner feels Listen for the purpose of understanding them. Keep asking questions and listening (without sharing your thoughts) until you can tell they feel really heard and validated.
8. Ask if your partner would be willing to listen to you and give you time to explain your thoughts and feelings without interrupting you. If he or she agrees, then go to step 9. If he or she doesn’t agree, tell them you respect that and maybe the two of you can continue the conversation later when they feel more able to show up for you.
9. Carefully share your thoughts and feelings. Avoid "you" statements because they can feel like an attack. Use "I" statements and talk only about your perspective, your feelings, your triggers and your observations. Also, make sure you’re focusing solely on future behavior and don’t waste time talking about the past, which your partner cannot fix or change. Ask if, moving forward, they would be willing to do this or that differently.
10. Repeat. At this point, your partner might have more to say. Go back through steps 7-9 again. Keep doing this until you can reach an agreement or compromise.
Remember, your spouse isn’t ever a jerk, selfish, mean, or careless; he or she is more likely scared, and it is their fears that drive jerky, selfish, mean or careless behavior. We behave badly when we are worried about protecting ourselves. Reminding yourself that you are safe, is critical to the process of working through a fight maturely.
These 10 steps show you how to have a mutually validating conversation without letting fear triggers make you both defensive. This may take some practice to master, but you will be amazed at the clarity it gives you both, when you recognize the fears and why you are feeling defensive.
If you have felt defensive and unsafe with your partner for a long time, you may need some professional help to work through forgiveness and making some big changes in behavior. I recommend getting professional help sooner than later. Someone who knows how to help relationships heal can make the process much faster.
You can do this.
First published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — Along with being a life coach, I also provide people skills training to companies and organizations. I have been thinking lately about some of the bad workplace behaviors that can annoy co-workers, ruin the atmosphere at work, or even sabotage your career.
Here are 10 common annoying workplace behaviors to watch for:
1. Do you have trouble accepting feedback?
In the workplace, it is critical that you are open to any and all feedback that could help you learn and grow. Feedback cannot diminish your value as a person (because nothing can). You are the same you with the same value as every other person, no matter what feedback you get. Great employees accept constructive feedback and even ask for it. Being confident enough to receive good feedback can even launch you forward.
2. Do you complain about the company or organization?
Do you have a tendency to focus on what’s wrong in everything around you? If you aren’t happy with yourself, you might tend to focus on the bad in others to distract yourself from your own faults or misfortunes. If you don’t feel safe in the world, you will also be on watch for anything that doesn’t seem right. If this sounds like you, get some help to work on your self-esteem and your sense of security in the world. Then fight the urge to verbalize everything you think. Try talking less, listening more and focusing on the positive.
3. Do you hesitate to speak up and take risks?
Both a fear of failure and a fear of loss can cause you to keep your ideas to yourself and just do the minimum to stay under the radar. This tactic might feel safe, but it won’t open doors for you. Also watch for feeling entitled to promotions just because you’ve been there awhile. Promotions are given to those who take initiative, stretch out of their comfort zone, and go above and beyond the call of duty.
4. Do you lack confidence?
If you don’t believe in yourself and are afraid you don’t cut it, others will pick up on this and won’t believe in you either. If you can tell this is your challenge, seek out some professional help to change the way you determine your own value.
5. Are you overly dramatic, emotional or unprofessional at work?
If your insecurities cause tears, breakdowns, yelling or other emotional scenes at work, this can also hold you back. This behavior is unprofessional and makes people lose respect for you. If you bring your personal problems to work, you may need to get some professional help to work on this. Don’t expect your co-workers to be your therapists.
6. Do you struggle to get along with other co-workers?
Your ability to create good relationships is what drives your value at work. If you create people problems or always end up in the middle of them, this diminishes your value to your employer. If you lack people skills, I suggest you seek out some training to improve them. Improve your communication skills and learn how to handle tough conversations with kindness. A good life coach or counselor could help you.
7. Are you late or undependable?
If you are always running behind, your co-workers could start to see you as irresponsible and someone they cannot count on. If you struggle with this, set your watch, phone and other clocks ahead of the actual time and be committed to becoming punctual.
8. Do you get bothered or offended too easily?
If you are on the lookout for mistreatment, even at a subconscious level, you will find it. We always find what we are looking for. Great employees have thick skin and can let a lot of small offenses and irritations go. They learn to not take things personally and understand that most of other people’s behavior is about their own fears and not about you.
9. Do you take credit for other people’s work, or are you a know-it-all?
Be someone who is quick to give credit where it is due, show gratitude, and let other people shine. Employees who don’t need the spotlight and can encourage others are more likely to be promoted. Watch yourself for being a know-it-all and talking too much. Don’t dominate conversations or always "one-up" another person’s story or comment. These behaviors can drive co-workers crazy. Make sure this isn’t you.
10, Do you create more problems than you solve?
If you create more problems than you solve, your days as an employee at your company could be numbered. Your employer can’t afford to keep you on staff if your drama affects productivity. If you want to rise through the ranks, focus on what you are giving and contributing to productivity on a daily basis. Be a problem solver, not a problem creator.
A few other really annoying behaviors include spending work time on your cellphone, calling for pointless meetings, eating smelly food at your desk, stealing food that doesn’t belong to you from the office fridge, being messy, or trying to sell co-workers your latest MLM products. These are annoying behaviors you definitely want to avoid.
If you can see any of these behaviors in yourself, I strongly encourage you to change them. If you have to deal with annoying coworkers who are behaving badly, here are a few suggestions.
NOT PUBLISHED ON KSL
Watching the protests and riots across the country this weekend, I have been reminded of an important truth, which may help us understand anger and what is behind it. The truth is, anger comes from feeling threatened, unsafe, or unloved. When someone is angry or hurt, it is usually because they feel mistreated, taken from, or not cared about on some level. Watching the riots and looting can distract us from hearing what the anger is really about. Protesters are trying to express the pain they feel from long standing systemic racism and they are requesting love and fairness.
Before I explain how we need to listen and understand other people, it is important to understand what racism really is. In the book, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, she explains that we have been taught to see racism as "intentional acts of racial discrimination committed by immoral individuals". If you define racism this way, then most of us are not racist. The problem is that socialized racism is much bigger, more widespread, and more ingrained in each of us than this definition covers. An entrenched culture of racism in this country has made a large group of us feel rejected, disrespected, and unloved for a very long time. People of color are trying to tell us that they don’t feel valued, seen, appreciated, cared about, nor safe. They are in a fear state all the time and are tired of expecting mistreatment every time they leave their house. This is something that as a white person, we cannot even begin to understand, but we have to try and we have to listen.
The pain and anguish that people of color feel, includes rejection, inferiority, hate, shame, and anger at not being seen as the precious, infinitely, absolutely, and equally valuable beings they are. They are children of God made in His image, by Him, and of Him, though they rarely feel treated as such. It is important to understand that these angry emotions are a desperate request for love, acceptance, equality, kindness, respect, and brotherhood. The anger is not born of hate, it is born of love, and a hope that the world will finally love them in the way they (and all humans) deserve.
We need to listen and understand what their anger is saying and we need to listen at a deeper level than we are used to going. Most of the time when you listen to another person, you are primarily listening to help you formulate what you are going to say back. Rarely are you open enough to hear, understand, validate, and even change your opinions, based on their thoughts and feelings. Most of the time you don't listen to understand and learn something new. Our ego's are not comfortable with this level of listening, because it opens us up to being wrong.
The time has come for better listening to other people and this means setting down our defensiveness and even be open to attack, guilt, and shame for our ignorance and selfishness (something all white people are guilty of, simply because the problems of racism don’t affect us. We haven’t cared enough to change, because life the way it is, is comfortable for us and doesn't cause us pain.)
Instead of defending ourselves or speaking about our moral views and opinions, we need to stop talking and really listen. We have to look behind their anger so we can understand what drives it. We must also understand that anger, acting out, and lashing out are, at their core, a plea or request for love. We know this because all behavior is either loving or a request for love.
If you will really think about the last time you got really angry, you will see that you also felt unloved, unappreciated, or unvalued at some level. Your anger was a request for love too.
Obviously anger and violence is not the best way to request love, but we all request love this way. When you and I feel unloved or mistreated we lash out too, and the other person we are angry with, often sees our anger as an attack against them. They very rarely can see the bad behavior as a request for love. Nevertheless, that is exactly what it is. I am not going to tell you it is easy to see anger accurately though. It takes wisdom and maturity to see behavior as coming from fear of not being loved (respected or cared for), but we can do it with practice.
Our brothers and sisters of color want us to see them. They want us to see their hearts, their struggles, their pain, worthiness, glory, divinity, goodness, godliness, and worth. They want us to understand no person exists that God did not create. No one exists who is not worthy of respect, honor, and love. When you look at any human being, you must see God in them and you must be open and willing to listen and understand them. You must validate their right to feel mistreated, and remember that you cannot begin to understand what life in their shoes has been like.
So, what can you do?
You can do this.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional 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.