I often find myself intimidated by other people. I realize I make all sorts of assumptions about what they think about me, most of which leave me feeling intimidated and inadequate in some way. I can tell that those assumptions keep me from building relationships with people. Could you give me some advice on overcoming this?
Intimidation and assumptions are caused by your own fears about not being good enough.
Principle: Fear is the root cause of most problems.
You must stop doubting your value. You must stop comparing yourself to other people. You are an incomparable being!
You are intrinsically and extrinsically different from everyone else on the planet; you are on a different journey and here to learn different lessons. There is no level where comparing yourself with others makes sense. It would be like comparing a strawberry, a grape, a peach and a cantaloupe to see which is better. The truth is, they are each perfect in their own way.
You are also a one of a kind. There will never be another YOU. This makes you irreplaceable and your value absolute. Remember, nothing anyone thinks about you can change your value.
Principle: Assumptions about what other people think of you are usually unfounded.
We all have a tendency to create stories that put us “below” or make us judged by other people. When you create these stories, you are usually projecting your own fears and insecurities about yourself onto these people.
Most of the time they aren’t thinking about you at all.
Principle: We have a tendency to see other people as different from us. We tend to see others as either better than us or worse than us.
Your subconscious mind sees everyone in terms of good guys and bad guys. It will see some people as the bad guys (worse than you) so you can feel like the good guy (superior). Others your mind will see as the good guys (better than you) so you can experience self-pity drama about how “less than” or bad you are.
Neither of these is ever accurate.
The truth is, we are all the same. We are all amazing, irreplaceable, scared, struggling human beings in process. No one is less than or better than anyone else. We all have good intentions and good hearts, and we all behave badly on occasion, too.
There may be some people who are actually “bad,” but they are the exception to the rule. Most people are doing the best they can with what they know and want to be good.
When it comes to our value as human beings, we are all the same. We cannot cast stones at anyone else, nor should we put anyone "above" us. You must choose to step back and see yourself and the situation without “good guy/bad guy” drama. This more accurate perspective is a choice you can make.
Whenever you experience intimidation, run through the following three truths:
You can only be in one of two places in any moment. You are either in fear and worried about getting love and validation, or you are in trust about your value and able to give love and validation to others.
When I say to focus on love, I am not talking about being a doormat and giving this person whatever they want. You can handle yourself with strength and confidence and show them you value them as a human being at the same time. Choose to focus on making them feel validated instead of worrying about your value. This is a (love-based) giving energy instead of a fearful one.
Make the decision to set aside your fears and focus on caring about this person who intimidates you. Focus on edifying them: Ask questions and listen to them and let them feel God’s love for them through you.
It will change the experience.
You can do this.
“A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by man.” -Leonard Ravenhill
I have a problem with being too nice and I am often taken advantage of. When people take advantage of my kindness or speak in a negative manner, I am too nice to say anything, but it festers with me for a long time. The resentment builds up, and I eventually lose it and let them have it. It's a long-standing problem and I don’t know how to change it. Can you help?
I can help you change this — however, you need to understand the problem is not that you are too nice. The problem is you are too scared to speak your truth, defend yourself and say no.
You can’t be mad at the other person for taking advantage of you when you don’t speak up and stop them. If you are too scared to speak your truth, then you are the one at fault.
You may have low self-esteem, which prevents you from taking care of yourself without feeling guilty. You may also think you need approval from other people to have value, and you are willing to betray yourself to get it.
The principle behind the advice: Fear is the root cause of your problems.
You must start trusting that your value is infinite and absolute. You do not need validation from other people; your validation must come from inside you.
You need to start speaking your truth when people offend you, but you need to learn how to do it in a loving way that honors the kind person you are. You will really discover your power when you learn to be strong and loving at the same time.
Here are some examples of strong and loving responses to the situations you mentioned.
To say no (with love and strength) when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do:
Ask them some questions before making your answer. Asking questions and listening makes people feel loved and valued. You are not asking these questions so they can lay a guilt trip on you, though. You are listening to show them you care. No matter what they say, you will still say no.
Ask questions like:
To speak your truth (with love) when someone is rude or offends you:
First, determine whether bringing up this issue is appropriate or necessary. Could you choose to let it go, have compassion and choose not to be offended? Most rude comments are not intentional and are not about you. The other person’s low self-esteem is the problem.
The principle behind the advice: Most bad behavior is a request for love.
It is a bad way to request love, but love is what the person needs. It is also the last thing a rude person expects. They are subconsciously hoping you will be rude, too, because that would justify their being rude. Don’t sink to their level. Be as kind and loving as possible.
If you must bring up the offense to preserve the relationship, say something like this:
Another great question is, “If I was a little bothered by [what they said or did], how could I bring it to you in a way that would still show you how much I love and respect you?”
These kinds of questions, asked with love for the other person from a place of confidence and clarity, will help you to speak your truth. If your intention is love instead of proving your right, the other person will feel it and they will not get as defensive.
If they do get offended or defensive, which they may choose to do, it doesn’t make speaking your truth wrong. Let them process their way through the experience however they choose. In the end, your friends and family will respect you more for being a strong person.
This will take some practice, but you can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Watch LIFEadvice with Coach Kim on KSL TV every Monday between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.
We struggle with past grievances in our family. We are not able to let them go and move on. Over time we are getting together less and less and each family member has his own reason for not coming. How can I, as the mom, help my children learn to forgive each other … and let things go … so we can enjoy each other’s company again?
You can encourage your family members to see the situation differently and forgive. Forward each of them this article:
We are too quick to take offense at things our family memebers say and do. We make unintentional mole-hill offenses into giant mountains that destroy relationships. The solution must start with a change in our attitude towards our family.
Desmond Tutu said, “You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.”
This statement is true, but let’s make one thing perfectly clear. God did not send them to make your life easy and joyful. They are in your life for a much more important reason.
Remember: Your life is a classroom, and every experience is a lesson. The people in your life are there to be your teachers.
Your parents, inlaws, siblings, spouse and children are in your life to provide you with opportunities for growth.
They will provide the most powerful opportunities for growth you will ever have. They will help you see yourself accurately. They will show you every dimension of your personality (both good and bad) and they will do this by pushing your buttons.
They will push buttons you didn’t even know you had. They will help you see your selfishness, your insecurities and your fears, and they will do this by ripping you apart, letting you down and offending you on a regular basis.
Welcome to life.
These people are in your life to teach you to be a better you — and especially to teach you about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the greatest lesson you are here to learn. We know this because it was Christ’s mission to teach you about forgiveness, and his mission was the greatest and most important act in human history.
Your family members (especially those who offend you) are here to teach you how to forgive and to give you opportunities to practice it.
You may have some relatives who are a source of unconditional love and support but I guarantee you will, at some point, marry or give birth to someone who will teach you forgivness the hard way. When this happens, smile and don’t act surprised.
Your relatives are supposed to cause problems in your life.
Let go of the idea that your family is going to unconditionally love you, know you and support you. They are human beings in process just like you, which means they are scared and focused on themselves most of the time.
This means, most of the time, they aren’t capable of showing up for you.
Get over it, love them anyway.
Let go of the idea that they should understand you and overlook your faults. They won’t. They will most likely call you on every last one of them.
Pamela Dugale said, “Siblings are the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, but quite often the hard way.”
Your siblings and parents, and especially your spouse and children, are in your life to teach you to be a better you. They are here to help you discover who you are and to give you chances to step it up and improve yourself.
The questions you must ask yourself on a regular basis are:
What are these family problems showing me about myself?
What are these people teaching me by driving me crazy?
How are these situations giving me an opportunity to be a better me? To be more forgiving or more Christ-like?
If you are holding onto anger and refusing to forgive members of your family, these situations will keep coming until you get it.
Let go and choose love.
Remember, you don’t forgive people because they deserve it.
You forgive them because you deserve it. You forgive them so you can move on and be a better you. You forgive them for their imperfectness because you want to be forgiven for yours.
This lesson is why you are here.
You are a work in progress. You are not perfect. You are still learning and growing and you have a long way to go.
Allow your family members to be a work in progress too. Don't take offense when they are less than perfect.
Love them even when they hurt you.
Love them even if they don’t deserve it.
Choose love — it will change everything.
Now, you may have some family members who are so toxic your best option is to avoid them, but these situations are rare.
You may have other situations that prompt a conversation with the offender about the offense. (Follow the steps for a validating conversation in last week’s article.) But most of the time your best option is to choose love and let it go.
That is the best advice I can give. Love is always the answer.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker. Watch LIFEadvice with her on KSL-TV every Monday between 6 and 6:30 a.m.
I have a situation and need some advice. I have dated a man for a little over two years. Last February, he started talking about getting engaged but now says he’s not sure he wants to marry again. (We are both divorced with children.) He says he wants our relationship to move forward, but he needs his space and is not ready to have someone around full time. He says he is not opposed to looking at rings, but he never takes the initiative to proceed. He also says his kids don’t like me and that prevents us from spending more time together. He knows I love him and want to build a life together, but how long do I wait before I give up on this?
I am going to give you the cold hard truth and I hope you will listen to me.
This guy is not in love with you.
I suspect he cares about you and likes having you around but this is not true love.
When a man is in love with you and wants to marry you, he does it.
He doesn’t talk about needing space. He doesn't hem and haw. He doesn't procrastinate. He isn't hot and cold. He doesn’t make excuses or ask for more time.
When a man is in love with you, he buys the ring and pops the question. He wants you in his life all the time.
You do not want to marry a guy who is not totally in.
Second marriages are difficult in the best of circumstances. It takes a great deal of commitment to make it work. Second marriages, where children are involved, end in divorce 70 percent of the time, usually because the children sabotage it.
True love can overcome these odds … but this doesn't sound like true love.
It sounds like you are both afraid to call it over. It's time to move on.
You can do this.
There is a great guy out there who is a better fit for you. Go find him.
If you keep hanging on and hoping this man get serious, you are going to look needy. Needy is not attractive.
The longer you stay in this, looking needy, the less he will respect you.
You can’t have love without respect. You deserve better.
I recommend you let go. Tell this guy you are moving on and mean it. Walk away with your head held high, in complete trust that Mr. Right is around the next corner.
Do this without tears. Do not look like a victim.
Show him a strong, confident woman who has a great life in front of her. Show him you are not afraid of a future without him, because you are a catch.
I recommend buying "All the Rules" by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. This book has been helping women marry Mr. Right for decades. If you are a single woman, this book will prevent you from ever looking needy.
Don’t wait around for a man who isn’t committed.
Let him go.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker.
How does one deal with a spouse who is overly critical and thinks it is funny to insult me in front of our friends and family? When I try to talk to her about these situations, she says I am overly sensitive and have no sense of humor. I do not think these comments are funny. I love her and I plan on staying married but would very much like to improve this part of our relationship. Any advice?
I am going to give you two possible solutions — a direct approach and a sneaky approach. You can decide which feels more comfortable.
Just so you know, I always base my advice on universal principles of truth. So I’m going to explain the principles behind these two approaches.
Here are the first two principles of truth:
Principle 1: When you validate another person’s thoughts and feelings first, they become more open to validating yours. They also become more willing to listen to how you feel and respect those feelings.
Principle 2: If you can have validating conversations with your spouse, there is no issue you cannot resolve.
Here are some instructions for having validating conversations:
1. Pull the person aside and ask if this is a good time to talk.
Do not have this conversation in the heat of the moment when you are annoyed or angry. Take time to step back and get a clear head first. The conversation will go better if you can focus on your love for this person.
Validating conversations are not about criticizing or attacking the other person for their bad behavior — they are about making both parties feel valued and appreciated. These conversations are about love.
2. Don’t criticize or put the other person on the defensive. This conversation must be motivated by love, not defensiveness. If you approach this in a defensive manner, you will trigger defensiveness in her and get nowhere.
3. Ask questions about what she thinks about your relationship and how she feels about it. Listen to her thoughts and feelings and validate her right to see the situation the way she does.
Ask questions about whether she feels loved and respected by you. Listen to her thoughts and feelings. This part of the conversation is about making her feel valued by honoring and respecting how she feels.
4. Next, ask if she would be open to hearing some of your feelings, even if they might be hard to hear. Ask her if she would be willing to let you talk and explain your feeling without interrupting? Ask her if she knows that you love and respect her? Ask her if she knows you want to have a great relationship with her and for you both to be happy?
Wait for a yes to each question.
5. Speak your truth about how you feel — but focus on how you would like to be treated. Don’t focus on her past behavior. Focus on the solution, not the problem.
6. Ask if she would be willing to honor how you feel about this.
These validating conversations can resolve most issues, but if your spouse gets defensive too easy or won’t talk to you, you may want to try the sneaky approach below.
Here are a couple more principles of truth:
Principle 3: You cannot change someone else. No amount of nagging or begging will work. The more you try to change them, the more they will dig in and defend their current behavior.
Principle 4: If you treat someone as their highest best self, they will often change themselves to live up to your high opinion of them.
You cannot change your spouse, but you can influence her in a way that will encourage her to change herself. If she changes herself — everyone wins.
Here is how it works:
Figure out how you would like this person to behave and thank him or her for behaving this way as often as you can.
1. Think about how you would like your spouse to treat you. What would she be like if she lived up to her potential as a wife? Write these qualities down on paper.
2. Then write down how you would treat her differently if she behaved like this. What would you say to her and how would you treat her?
3. Start doing those things and saying those things right now.
Thank her every day for respecting you and making you feel valued. Thank her for building you up in front of other people, even if she isn’t doing it.
(This is not lying — this is reminding her of the good person she has the potential to be.) Show her you see the wonderful woman she is.
4. When you do this, people tend to want to live up to your high opinion of them. It is amazing how quickly their behavior changes.
Both these approaches require you to step it up and behave with wisdom, maturity and love. Your carnal nature won't want to handle it this way. It will encourage behavior that feels good but is stupid, immature and selfish.
Don't listen to it.
Your spouse is in your life to help you grow and learn. She will be your greatest teacher, and you will learn some amazing lessons from solving this situation with love ... you can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker. She is available for church and community events.
Every January I get excited about the fresh start of a new year. I’m excited to set goals, make changes and become a better me — but by February I’ve fallen back to my old habits again. What can I do this year to make my New Year’s resolutions stick?
When you consistently fail to reach a goal, there is probably a counter-intention in the way. A counter-intention is a strong desire to do something that is the opposite of — or counter to — your goal.
In the past, your counter-intention has been stronger than your resolution to make a change. The good news is, this year you can do it.
To overcome your hurdle, identify what your counter-intention is, then choose a more passionate positive intention to eliminate it.
Here are four examples:
1) You may have fear about the responsibilities and commitments accomplishing this goal brings with it. You want the goal but you may not want the other things more. Your desire to avoid these commitments and responsibilities is your counter-intention. For example: You may be afraid that if you lose weight, people will expect you to keep it off. They may expect you to diet and exercise forever. Avoiding long-term commitment can stop you from achieving what you want.
To beat this counter intention: Don’t look so far ahead. Take it one day at a time. Decide who you want to be today. Decide what actions you will take today. Trust that when you reach the future, your abilities will have expanded and you will be able to handle what comes. Don’t let a fear of the future stop you from being the person you want to be, right now.
2) You may have a strong aversion toward the tasks required to accomplish your goal. You may love the idea of being thinner but hate the idea of dieting and exercising. If you hate exercise and the foods available to you on a diet, your counter-intention is your strong desire to avoid those things. You may force yourself for a while, but when you’re motivated by “I have to” or “I need to,” there’s just no joy in the tasks and the motivation doesn’t last.
To beat this counter intention: Change the tasks and make them enjoyable. Find a form of exercise you “love to do” or “get to do,” something that is fun and brings you joy. There are many fun ways to exercise that don't feel like exercise. Try Zumba, playing basketball or ice skating. Then find some healthy foods that actually taste good (yes, there actually are some). It is easy to stay motivated when you're doing something you want to do.
3) You may be getting a benefit from staying where you are, so there is a counter-intention that doesn’t want to change. For example, you may feel there are benefits to being overweight; you may use your weight as an excuse to get you out of things you don’t want to do. If you lose the weight you may lose the convenient excuse. Or you may love chocolate cake more than you love the idea of being thin (that’s the problem for me).
To beat this counter-intention: Decide who you really want to be and consciously choose to let go of the benefit.Decide that accomplishing this goal has greater benefits than excuses (and cake). Consciously make the decision to let the old benefits go. You may want to write them down and burn the paper as a symbol of your commitment. Focus on the benefits of success.
4) You may have an all-or-nothing attitude. This means that if you mess up once, you will throw in the towel and wait for next year. Your counter-intention is a perfectionist mindset. It says, “If I can’t do it perfectly I might as well give up.”
To beat this counter-intention: Change your standard of success. A mistake doesn’t mean you won’t make it. Talk to anyone who has quit smoking and they will tell you they tried to quit numerous times before they finally did it. If you fall off the wagon for a week, don’t let the mistake stop you. You don’t have to do it perfectly to benefit from the effort. Taking two steps forward and one step back will still win the race in the end.
My goal this year with LIFEadvice is to give you principle-based, time-tested solutions, which can change your life for the better. If you will read this column each week, I will teach you principles and give you the tools to solve many of life’s problems. Please send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Life is a classroom and it's time to learn.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Watch LIFEadvice with Coach Kim on KSL TV every Monday between 6-6:30am
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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.