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My wife is never satisfied with what we have and it is really hurting our marriage. As soon as we get a new house, she wants a new car, new clothes, new furniture or an expensive vacation. She can’t be happy unless she is getting something new. What can I do to help her be more satisfied with what we have?
The need to buy things, to validate our worth, is a common problem in America. I believe it is a reaction to the two core fears we all struggle with most. The two core fears are:
1) The fear of failure (not being good enough) and
2) the fear of loss (that my life won’t be good enough).
Which of these do you think is an issue for your wife? (Readers should ask themselves these same questions.) Is your need for stuff driven by a need to feel better than other people? Does buying stuff give you a sense of value or security? What is the underlying fear you are trying to quiet through shopping?
Are you trying to prove your value, get validation from other people, protect or hold onto what you have or get things that will make you feel safe or better about yourself? I believe 80-90 percent of human behavior is driven by these fears.
A non-scientific study of Commerce Department data suggests that American consumers spend $1.2 trillion a year on non-essential stuff. Clothes, cars, jewelry, candy and trips would all fall under this category. That’s a lot of things we don’t need just to quiet our fears or make us temporarily happy.
The problem with getting ‘things’ to validate your worth or make you feel better is the satisfaction is quickly replaced by the need for other things you still don’t have. You can't get enough stuff to make this feeling of need go away.
The only way to win this game is not to play.
We must stop basing our value on our appearance and our assets. We must eliminate the underlying subconscious programs of fear that drive this need and replace them with a more accurate one.
Your current thought process (subconscious belief) probably says something like … if I have new stuff it makes me feel important or special. If I have the best stuff and lots of it, then I have more value as a person. If I have the best stuff and look good, people will approve of me, which will prove my value.
The problem is, none of these are truth.
Even though there are some people who will judge you based on your assets, in the end, it won’t matter what they think. You are the same you either way. The people who matter in your life will love you for who you are and how you make them feel. Your love is what matters to them.
A new, more accurate belief would be:
My value is not affected by what I have. It is not affected by what people think of me or how I compare to other people. It is not affected by how I look or what I have.
My value comes from my infinite and absolute worth, my heart and my love. It is based on how I treat people, my choices and my character. I don’t need stuff to feel important and valuable. My sense of value comes from inside me and is based in who I am, not what I have.
I will choose to win hearts and make friends with my love. People care more about how I treat them than what I have. I will focus on making other people feel valued instead of trying to validate my own worth through my stuff.
Instead of focusing on what I have, I will focus on what I give. I will be a force for love in my family, my neighborhood and my community. I will work hard and do my best at everything I do, and I will do these things because I love God, life, other people and myself. I will be driven by love, not fear. I will not let "things" come before people and my relationships.
Changing the way you think about yourself and your life, and focusing on love for others instead of your fears about your value, will help you eliminate a need for stuff over time. This will be a process, though, and will take some time to change.
If your wife is open to changing herself, you might show her this article and encourage her to work on a healthy mindset around her value. I would also highly recommend some professional help to work on her self-esteem. At the end of the day, this problem is a self-esteem issue.
Most marriage problems are self-esteem issues, in fact, and they have the power to destroy your relationship if you don’t fix them. You may have to insist on some coaching or counseling if necessary. A little professional help on overcoming the two core fears above will do wonders.
Remember that life is a classroom and you are in this class together for a reason. You were drawn to this person (your spouse) so you could teach each other important lessons. You are meant to figure this out and grow from the experience.
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 who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
I get intimidated by my boss at work and tend to stay quiet most of the time. But there are some problems that I think need to be pointed out. I am not comfortable speaking up about these things, but I think I need to. Do you have any advice on whether it’s wise to speak up at work and the right way to do it?
It is a well-known fact that people who speak up at work get more opportunities, more raises, more promotions and generally go farther in their careers. More doors open for people who are assertive, confident and open.
Speaking up shows people that you trust yourself and this makes them trust you too. If you don’t speak up, and stay quietly in the background, it will eventually hurt your career. People could make incorrect assumptions from your silence, about who you are and what you think. You must speak up to define yourself in this job and show your boss you are invested.
You are probably afraid to speak up at work for one of these three reasons:
1) You may suffer from a fear of failure, which is really about being embarrassed or looking bad. You may have a lot of fear about making mistakes. You may believe it is safer not to act at all, but this is the truth … no action is worse than a mistake.You should read my article about this fear.
2) You may suffer from a fear of confrontation. You may feel inadequate in difficult conversations. The problem is people lose respect for this kind of "chicken" behavior. With a little professional help on communication skills, you could easily get past this.
3) You may have a fear of success, which means you play small and shoot low because it feels safer. You may be afraid of the responsibilities and commitments that come with raising the bar. The problem is, people can subconsciously feel this fear and they tend to honor it, by passing you by. Read an article on this.
People will respect you more for having thoughts and ideas, and being brave enough to share them. Even if they disagree with you, they will respect you for having the confidence to speak up. You will also respect yourself more.
Here are seven steps for confidently speaking up at work:
1) Ask yourself “Why am I bringing this up?
3) Ask questions about their opinions and ideas first. Listen and validate their thoughts and feelings about it. This shows that you are open to their ideas and makes them feel respected.
4) Ask permission to share your thoughts. Would you be open to letting me share a few thoughts on this? Asking permission shows people you honor and respect them.
5) Speak up in a respectful way.
7) All you can do is speak your ideas in a respectful way. How they process that information, and respond to it, is out of your control. At that point, let it go and don't take it personally if they don't agree.
You can do this. Let us know how it goes!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem and teaching the principles of fearless living.
I have always compared myself to others, way too much. How do I stop, and how do I stop letting what other people think of me matter so much?
Comparing yourself to others means you haven’t claimed your power to decide how you will value yourself. Without an internal source of self-esteem, you are letting other people — and how you compare to them — determine your value.
You can continue to let other people determine how you feel about yourself if you want to, but I wouldn't recommend it. You can change the way you value yourself right now by changing your perspective.
You can learn a lot about low self-esteem from watching ABC’s "The Bachelor": It is a perfect case study on what not to do. Many of the women on this show (even the beautiful ones) are desperately in need of external validation because they don’t know who they are, either.
These women let this one guy and his interest in them determine their value as a human being. They take rejection way too personally, and this lack of self-worth leads to some pretty immature behavior.
These women also spend too much time comparing themselves to each other. If they find fault in another woman (and see her as worse than them) they feel OK, but if another girl is at all pretty, fun or nice, she is seen as a threat, and this creates more insecurity and fear.
This fear, the fear of not being good enough, is the single most damaging fear you experience. You must put this fear to rest and stop letting outside influences determine your value.
Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and energy because you are a completely unique, irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind being on a very personal journey of growth and learning. You are incomparable on every level.
It would be like comparing a raspberry, grape, strawberry, peach and mango and trying to decide which was best. Their qualities are so different you cannot compare them. You are incomparable, amazing and divine, and it is time for you to own that.
But you have a subconscious voice of fear in your head that is going to keep trying to compare you to others and keep you in fear. You are going to have to wake up, catch yourself doing this and stop it. You can choose a different way to value who you are. This is not difficult but will take some practice.
Below are five things you can practice choosing, which will help.
Insecurity and neediness are not attractive.
Make a new rule in your head, that comparing yourself with other people is not allowed. When you catch yourself going there, stop it. Choose to value yourself accurately.
Remember, your real value comes from your love for life, yourself and others; your character; and your values. It does not come from your appearance, your weight or what other people think of you — these things are irrelevant.
Stop worrying about your clothes and your hairdo and go get them with your love. Everywhere you go, choose to be a source of love and validation in the room and trust that your value isn’t in question. These small changes will change everything.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles gives her advice in the "LIFEadvice" series every Monday on ksl.com. She is the president of Claritypoint Life Coaching and a sought-after life coach and popular speaker. www.claritypointcoaching.com
I am having relationship issues. I can't seem to make one work, and I'm starting to think the problem is me. Maybe I didn't learn how to do healthy relationships because my family was dysfunctional. I don't know if this is something you can address in one article, but any help would be great.
You probably didn't learn healthy relationship skills from your family because almost no one does. Parents can't teach what they don't know themselves. And where else can you learn them? They don't teach this stuff in school or at church.
The good news is, you can learn to build healthy relationships, and it's not that hard. Here are five things you can do to improve the quality of your relationships:
1) Work on your self esteem
Low self-esteem is the number one cause of relationship problems. If you don't value yourself accurately, you will be in fear about your value all the time. When you are in fear about your value, you are focused on you (you are basically more seflish), and you are not capable of being loving. Healthy relationships can only happen when both parties accurately see their own value. When you are not insecure and needy, you can focus on loving each other instead.
If this is an issue for you, I strongly recommend working with a counselor or coach to improve your self-esteem. It is the greatest gift you could give to your spouse. Better self-esteem means less fear and drama in your relationship.
2) Work on a healthy life philosophy
If you see life as a testing center (instead of a classroom) and feel that your value is on the line all the time, you are not capable of loving others the right way. You must choose to see life as a classroom and give yourself and others permission to be a work in progress. You must trust life that it is a divine process created for your growth and learning. You must see that everything that happens to you is a lesson and is for your good. When you see life this way, and trust the process of life, you are more balanced, confident and loving.
3) Don't take things personally
Understand that most bad behavior is about the other person's fears, it's not about you. When the other party is unkind, unthoughtful or even mean, ask yourself what they are afraid of. Their fear about themselves is usually driving their bad behavior. When you can see their behavior for what it is (accurately), you can respond more appropriately (with more love and compassion). Remember, most bad behavior is a request for love more than it's an attack.
4) See other people as the same as you
We all have a tendency to see other people as better than us or worse than us. We see them as good guys and bad guys in our lives. The problem is, neither is accurate. If you could see people accurately, you would see that we are all the same. We have the same value. We are different, but we are all struggling, scared, divine, amazing human beings in process. In most ways, we are the same. When you can see your loved ones as the same as you (not judging them as better or worse), you will treat them with the respect and love they deserve.
This is most important before you have a difficult conversation. You must make sure you are not casting the other person as the bad guy, so you can feel superior to them. They will feel this, and the conversation will not go well.
5) Improve your communication skills
Last week's article was on this topic, and I highly recommend reading it, if you missed it.
6) Focus on giving, not getting
Most of us live in fear that we aren't good enough. In this place, we are selfishly focused on getting the love, attention and validation we need to quiet that fear. We become getters whose entire focus is on us. You can make a conscious choice, in each situation, to be a giver of love, attention and validation, not a getter.
You can choose to be the love in every room you enter, focused on giving to everyone there. You can ask more questions and do more listening. You can show people you care about them instead of worrying about whether they care about you. If you do this, it will change everything. You will also stand out because most people are not capable of this confident, loving behavior. If you want to have a great relationship, give more than you get.
If you will work on these six simple things, I promise your relationships will be healthier. I also recommend getting professional help at the first sign of trouble in your relationship (don't wait until the problems get bigger). Most problems are easy to fix with a little help.
Hope this gets you started.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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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.