This was first published on KSL.COM
My husband is a wonderful person, however, I think I need some advice. He points out all the things he does and has done all the time. While they are true, I’m puzzled at how he pats himself on the back ALWAYS and says this is what he does, and tells the story of when it happened, etc. He gives himself credit and brags all the time. He often tells these stories to his peers too if the subject surfaces. How healthy is this?
Your sweet spouse may just be suffering from fear of not being good enough — a fear many of us struggle with. He might brag because he needs some validation that he is a good person and has value. When you can see his behavior accurately, you may also see that what he might need is more validation about what a great guy he is. If he is less afraid, then he might brag less often. You are right to think this behavior may not be psychologically healthy.
In a recent study from the University of California at Davis, researchers identified specific personality traits that a psychologically healthy person usually has. The report was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and it asked 214 psychologists to identify the traits that a psychologically healthy person would possess.
They concluded a psychologically healthy person is capable of experiencing, processing and expressing emotions in a healthy way. The study said these people are "straightforward, warm, friendly, genuine, confident in their own abilities, emotionally stable, and fairly resilient to stress."
We can all find areas in that definition that we may need to work on. Your husband may need more confidence, but I believe becoming psychologically healthy can be a lifelong journey for all of us.
Here are 14 simple tips for anyone looking to be more emotionally mature and psychologically healthy:
1. Practice a pause
Try pausing before you respond to any situation. Let go of your first emotional response and ask yourself, “Are there any other options that might produce better results than this first reaction will?" Put your options on paper and think through what each one will create and if that's what you want.
2. Remember that we all have the same value
Work on being less judgmental and remind yourself that everyone is in a different life journey than you are, but that we all have the same intrinsic worth.
3. Practice putting yourself in another person’s shoes
Figure out what they might be afraid of and see how fear may be driving their behavior and what they need to feel safe. If you can give reassurance or validation first to help quiet their fears, then the rest of the interaction might go better.
4. Practice forgiveness
Holding onto anger is only hurting you. When you choose to see another person's offense as part of your perfect classroom and as an experience that's here to serve you or others in the end, forgiveness gets easier. If you let go and send blessings to those who hurt you, you might feel better immediately.
5. Let go of your need to be right
It is very immature to need to win every argument. Practice agreeing to disagree and not needing to have the last word.
6. Be more flexible
When you don’t get your way or when things go wrong, don’t react from that fear of loss. Whenever you are overly attached to your expectations or a specific outcome, you are setting yourself up to suffer. Be more willing to trust the universe in whatever experience it brings. Every experience in your life is here to serve you in some way. When you see life this way, you suffer less.
7. Choose gratitude
In every moment of your life, there will be things to complain about, but even more to be grateful for. Your mood depends on where you focus, so choose to focus on what’s right in your life more than what’s wrong.
8. Be quick to apologize for any bad behavior
The more real, authentic and vulnerable you are, the better your connections with others might be. Don’t try to look perfect, as it might push people away from you. People want to know you’re flawed and genuine because they feel safer with you if you are.
9. Work on your self-esteem and how you value yourself
This is the most important thing you can do for better relationships because fear of failure can create immature behavior. Choose to see your intrinsic value (and everyone else’s) as unchangeable and equal no matter what happens.
10. Be committed to personal growth
Accept that you will always have more to learn, so try to be open and teachable in every moment. The universe is constantly conspiring to educate you. When you see every experience as a lesson, you show up wiser and more mature.
11. Handle disappointments with grace
Life is going to disappoint you — and often. Get used to it. Choose to trust that there is a reason for every experience and that the universe knows what it’s doing. The less you resist “what is,” the less you might suffer.
12. Be more personally responsible
When you own responsibility for whatever you are experiencing in life, you also own the power to change things. Don't be a victim of circumstance, instead, claim the power to create something different in your life.
13. Be a thinker, not a reactor
Nathaniel Branden wrote an amazing book called "The Psychology of Self-Esteem." In his book, he explains that as human beings we are destined to be thinkers and not instinctive reactors. When we react without thinking, with little awareness of others or from a place of fear, we end up hating ourselves. Branden believes it is only when we gain control of ourselves and our emotions and learn to think through situations rationally that we like ourselves.
14. Understand being upset is a choice
No one can make you feel inferior — you choose your state in every moment. Create a “to be or not to be offended" worksheet if you struggle with getting upset too often. Learn how to find other options for yourself in any upset moment.
Don’t try to work on all of these at one. Start by picking one to work on this week. Set a reminder for yourself whether it's as a wallpaper on your phone or a Post-it note somewhere you look often. If you work on yourself one small piece at a time, you will get where you want to be.
You can do this.
Get Coach Kim's worksheet called "To be or not to be Upset Worksheet" Here. Coach Kim Giles is a human behavior expert and people skills trainer. She is the author or three books and a sought after speaker and coach.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Hi Coach Kim. I have some family members who love to make fun of others, especially people who are less fortunate, those who are overweight, and those who have disabilities (either mental or physical). They say it is all in fun, but many times, it is cruel. When I talk with them about this, they say I am too sensitive, and now they say that they can't be themselves around me because I judge them. I don’t really like to be around them. It causes me anxiety, but I truly feel family relations are so important for me and my children. I know I can't change other people, but what should I do?
The first thing I want you to understand is why people may judge, gossip or put other people down. They might do this because they're suffering from fear that they aren’t good enough themselves. In order to feel better, they might look for anything negative to point out in other people. If they can stay focused on what is "bad" about others, it might make them feel superior.
When you're around people who are doing this, remember, they may just be insecure about their own value and might act this way to make their egos feel better. That doesn’t excuse it at all, but it helps you understand them and see their behavior accurately.
It's even more important to understand this principle if you have a tendency to judge, gossip about or criticize others. Your subconscious may start judging the people around you before you consciously even realize you're doing it. But when you think about this, it probably isn’t the kind of person you want to be.
If you have this tendency to judge others, watch for it. When you catch yourself doing it, stop and remember that your own insecurity may be driving that behavior. Take a moment to remind yourself that all humans have the same worth and choose to look for some good in the people you're judging instead. Choose to be someone who sees all human beings as having the same value, no matter their appearance or performance.
If you have to be around people that have this tendency and it drives you crazy, as it does our reader, remember that this behavior may come from their insecurities and what they need. They may need validation that they're valuable, appreciated and good enough. This may be the last thing you feel like giving them; you might actually feel like tearing them down. Instead, try just sitting with your feelings toward these people for a minute. Feel your own sense of disgust or disapproval, and be honest with yourself about your negative feelings about them.
Are you seeing these people as bad, less or worse than you? Are you standing in judgment of them or them being judgmental? Are you doing the same thing they're doing? The fact is, we all do it because we may all be insecure about our own value.
Take a minute and ask yourself who are all the people you tend to judge.
There's a reason you judge the people you do. They may trigger some fear in you and judging them as the bad guy may help you resolve that. Here are some examples:
Your family members may be seeing the bad in other people to make themselves feel better. This might anger you because the people who are being judged in this case deserve to be seen accurately and have their value honored. You may not like to hear this, but you, too, are being judgmental. You're judging your family members for judging and criticizing others (which might make you feel a bit superior to them on the subconscious level). Your family members also deserve to be seen accurately and have their value honored. Think of them as works in progress with much more to learn, just like the rest of us.
Remember, we're all students in the classroom of life. We all want to be good people but we all have faults and weaknesses. You may not have this issue exactly like they have, but surely you have others faults — we all do.
The best thing you can do is focus on being the strongest, most wise and loving person you can be today. Put all of your effort into trusting that we all have the same intrinsic worth, though we each have a very unique classroom journey.
We shouldn't judge anyone else as better or worse than us because they aren’t on our same journey. Instead of getting bothered by their bad behavior, focus on making sure you are seeing people accurately and showing up with love and compassion yourself.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I get many questions submitted by readers asking how to deal with "irritating," "annoying," "rude," "grouchy" and "unkind" humans. Some say they have a terrible boss, others have complaining neighbors, and some have hard to handle in-laws. Wherever there are people, we have people problems.
The first step in dealing with bad behavior is understanding what actually causes it. Understanding why people do disrespectful things or say negative things may help you understand what they need and how to communicate with them.
My goal in these articles is to make human behavior simpler to understand, deal with and improve. Some of my ideas or perspectives may seem overly generalized, but if you try them out, you may find they are accurate. After 17 years of research, I have found almost all bad behavior is caused by fear — though I define fear in a broader sense than you may be used to.
I've found that people may become selfish, defensive, angry or grouchy when they feel unsafe or threatened — either with insecurity about their worth or about being taken from or mistreated. In a state of fear, they are focused on one thing only and that's getting whatever they need to feel safe and secure again. It's only when they feel safe and secure that they can access their love and show up selflessly for other people.
To make this simple, I've identified two fears that I believe drive all bad behavior. If you really think about that terrible boss, difficult neighbor or annoying relative, you might be able to see one or both of these fears in play:
1. The fear of failure or the fear of not being good enough
We all battle this one to some degree every day, but people who have a lot of it and are seriously insecure may have all kinds of bad behavior issues. Some of them may overcompensate for their insecurity by showing off or being an arrogant person. Others may gossip, criticize or judge other people as a subconscious way to make themselves feel better. Or they might be the opposite way and be overly shy, quiet and reserved, because that feels safer. These people might play small and avoid situations that could make them look bad or feel less than other people.
If you have a terrible boss that is critical and hard to please, then he/she might have a fear-of-failure problem and just take it out on their employees.
If you have a difficult mother-in-law who is quick to point out what is wrong, then she may be insecure about herself and needs to show off her superior knowledge or put you down to quiet that fear and make herself feel better. Many of the people we may find annoying might just be insecure and trying to cope with that.
2. The fear of loss or the fear of being mistreated or taken from
Any time you are not getting the life you want, you might be put in a fear-of-loss state. In this state, you may be focused on protecting and defending what you want and need. This could make a person controlling, bossy, territorial or defensive. People in this state may often mistreat you in an effort to avoid mistreatment themselves.
A difficult co-worker may see you as a threat because you could get the promotion that they want. A fear-of-loss neighbor might be bothered with your yard and weeds because they affect his property value. When parents blow up over kids messing up the house, they may become angry because the kids are costing them time, energy and possibly money if they wreck anything. Whenever we feel mistreated, we might go on the defensive and behave badly ourselves.
A difficult mother-in-law may feel taken from because she doesn’t get the time with her son that she wants, or she may feel it’s unfair that you spend more time with your parents than you do with her. Can you see how mistreatment may create bad behavior?
Even being stuck in traffic might be a fear of loss experience and can create road rage. If you believe someone cut you off, then you might lash out at the offender and feel justified in doing it. You might not have called this behavior fear before, but it's based in the fear of losing your quality of life.
Once you understand which fear might be driving the other party's bad behavior, you'll understand what the person needs to calm their fear-based feelings and access their love. If you can quiet the fear, then you can encourage better behavior.
If they're insecure and afraid they aren’t good enough, then they may need validation. This might be the last thing you want to give a person who you believe is being arrogant, but it could be what they need to quiet their fear.
If someone is being a showoff or a know-it-all, try telling them how amazing they are. They may soon realize that they don’t need to show off. You can’t fix their self-esteem issues — they're the only one who can do that — but you can make them feel safer with you, which could mean better behavior around you at least.
If they're feeling mistreated or taken from and are in a loss state, then they need reassurance that they're cared for and that you're aware of their concerns. They need to know you'll do your best to honor what they need. Let that annoying neighbor know you're aware of his concern and will do your best on that yard. Let your mother-in-law know you care about how she feels. Just knowing you're mindful of their concerns may make them less adversarial.
When you need to communicate with someone functioning in a fear state and behaving badly, first take time to ask questions and listen to all their concerns, thoughts and feelings. This shows them you care about them. It will make them feel honored and respected, even when you can’t give them what they want.
Now, there are some people who are so deep in a fear state that there's nothing you can do to fix it. These people might be nearly impossible to deal with. They might be irrational or their perspective might be so inaccurate that you can’t begin to deal with it. These people are often referred to as toxic because you just can’t get anywhere with them.
In dealing with toxic people, you should stay away as much as you can and not take anything they do or say personally. Work on having thick skin around them and not letting their fear-driven, selfish actions or words hurt you. When you cannot change another person and their behavior, you get to work on changing yours and becoming stronger.
Just remember, most bad behavior in others has nothing to do with you (even if they're attacking you). It's usually about the other person's fears about themselves that they just project onto everyone around them. Knowing this will help you let most problems roll off.
You can do this.
Coach Kim Giles is the author behind the new books The People Guidebook Choosing Clarity. She is a sought after corporate people skills speaker and trainer, and a master life coach.
This was first published on KSL.Com
I enjoy reading your articles on KSL, thank you for your insights on life, they are very helpful. I've had a situation that I'm wondering if you might have some advice on. Last night my in-laws came over, without warning, and said they wanted to talk to us about something. They then expressed concern that our son wasn't getting enough attention and that I needed to spend more time with my son.
We're still very confused and pretty hurt about this criticism. We feel like they overstepped their bounds. They are on business trips every other week and we don’t even see them much anymore. So, I'm not sure how they can think that we don't give our son enough attention. Additionally, I am working full-time and in graduate school, doing the very best I can to spend quality time with my son, so it was especially hard for me to hear them express these feelings. What do you suggest we can do about the situation? How can we heal from the pain this has caused us?
I think they may have overstepped too. If they wanted to give you some feedback or advice, they should have asked permission first. That might have been a more respectful approach. They could have asked if you'd be open to some observations or suggestions around your parenting and given you the chance to say "yes" or "no."
Unsolicited advice can sometimes be construed as an insult. So, it's understandable that you were offended to some degree. The problem, however, is that being offended isn’t going to serve you, your son, or your in-laws in any way.
I’d like to suggest another way to process this situation or any situation where you receive hurtful feedback because this can happen to any one of us.
The next time you receive hurtful feedback or criticism from someone, try following these steps:
— See if there is any merit or something you could learn or improve on. Is the feedback warranted and could you do better in any way? You can always look for a lesson in the experience even if you don’t think it’s accurate.
— Consider the other person's agenda in giving you the feedback.
— Read some of my past articles on forgiveness and work on seeing them as imperfect, struggling, scared students in the classroom of life — just like you. Remember, they have the same intrinsic value as you no matter what they do or say.
— Understand forgiveness becomes easier when you choose to see every experience as one meant to help you grow. If you begin to see them as perfect learning opportunities, then you may begin to see the people involved as your perfect teachers. Those teachers might push your buttons or bring up your fears and weaknesses to the surface so that you can work on them. This can be a painful process, but it's still here to serve you.
Hopefully, this process will help you see your in-laws as well-intentioned and help you let the part you consider insulting to roll off. I see these insults as poison darts — you can choose to let them hit you and hurt you or you can let them bounce off your force field of love, truth and wisdom. I recommend you let them bounce off and don’t suffer from them anymore.
If your in-laws do this kind of thing often, you might want to ask permission to give them some feedback. If they agree and are open, explain that you consider unsolicited feedback as an insult and you would appreciate them asking permission the next time they have some for you.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a popular executive life coach and speaker. Check out her articles on forgiveness at https://coachkimgiles.weebly.com/apps/search?q=forgiveness and learn about becoming a life coach at www.claritypointcoaching.com
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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.