This was first published on ksl.com
I have a daughter who gets frightened too easily and has terrible fears every night. Halloween is making the situation even worse. Do you have any advice on helping a child be less scared or how to help her when she is?
Halloween is a great time to talk to children about scary things and dealing with fear. Here are a couple suggestions on how to do that:
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I don't know why but I don’t trust my husband. I love him, but this is a recurring battle between us. He swears that he loves me and isn’t cheating on me. He never hides his phone. I have all his passwords to everything, yet I constantly have a gut feeling he's cheating on me. I'm not sure if it's in my mind or real. How can I trust him if this nagging feeling keeps coming up?
I think your real question is, “Is this your intuition telling you something true, or are you projecting your fear and trust issues onto your spouse unfairly?”
Most of the time gut feelings are reliable and worth paying attention to, but your subconscious fears can also get in the way and muddle these messages. I had a client who had quietly known her husband wasn’t faithful for years, but didn’t act on it because she lacked confidence. She recently found out he’d been cheating on her the entire time.
Having said that, I have another client who let her fear of abandonment create a suspicion of cheating in her marriage that was completely off base. After years of being questioned and second-guessed, her poor husband finally asked for a divorce. This woman didn’t believe she was worthy of love and in the end she created that.
You must make sure your subconscious fears aren't clouding your perception of your husband. Ask yourself how often you suffer with insecurity or a fear of not being good enough or fear of loss? If these are big issues for you, or if you have felt unloved, unwanted or unappreciated in the past, there is a good chance you are projecting your subconscious fears onto your spouse.
If this is the case, you must do some work on your self-esteem. Once you can see yourself as amazing, lovable and valued, you will be better able to hear your intuition and know what's true about your husband. I strongly encourage anyone with trust issues to get some professional help. A good coach or counselor can help you get clarity on what's happening fast.
Also, understand the difference between an intuition message and a fear feeling. An intuition message from your gut is usually a peaceful one that prompts action, while fear tends to come with feelings of anxiety and stress that can paralyze you (like a deer in the headlights) and stop you from action.
Intuition is also more unemotional and focused in the moment, while fear feels emotionally charged and is usually tied to experiences from the past. If you were cheated on before or were raised to distrust men, you might bring those experiences with you into the future. If you have some of these experiences in your past it makes fear a more likely suspect.
Most people who get an intuition feeling describe it as a quiet knowing, while people who are experiencing fear are more bothered and grouchy. This is not the case 100 percent of the time, but it's a pretty good tell.
Another strong possibility, in your situation, is that you are just picking up on a detached energy coming from your spouse, because he is not fully invested in the relationship. He may not be cheating, but he may not be fully engaged in the marriage either.
If this is the case you must ask yourself if you are fully engaged. Are you fully invested in making him feel appreciated, admired, respected and wanted daily? Are you loyal to him (meaning do you give him the benefit of the doubt, have his back and create a safe place for him to be accepted as he is)? Very few marriage problems can be blamed all on one partner. Most of the time it takes two to create a broken marriage, so you must take a look at your investment level too.
Also be aware your distrust alone could be making him pull back and feel detached. If you are bringing fear energy into the relationship, you will always get fear energy back. Fear can't create love.
At the end of the day, you are going to have two choices.
He won’t trust you either. Distrust is a selfish place, where your focus is on protecting you. When people feel your distrust they subconsciously sense that you are only worried about yourself, and therefore, are not worried about them and makes them feel unsafe with you.
He will sense your fear and will lose respect for you. Fear in any form is perceived as weakness and weakness is not respected. Real strength (that comes from a place of trust and love) is what earns respect.
You will create antagonism in your relationships. When you are focused on protecting yourself all the time, it triggers the other person to focus on protecting their self. In this state, no one is giving any love and the relationship will fall apart.
You may want to try the following test and see if it brings clarity:
Make the decision that you are going to trust your husband from now on. Assume your distrustful feelings are based in your fears of inadequacy or abandonment. Then, spend the next few days fully committed to trust, work on your self-esteem, read some books on the subject or talk to a counselor or coach about overcoming your fears.
During this time, see how you feel about your decision. If you feel peaceful and calm, you are on the right track and there was nothing to fear. But if the feeling of warning won’t go away and continues to nag at you, you probably need to pay attention to it.
Most of the time (if you are still not sure what is true) it is better to choose love and trust. If you choose to trust your spouse and make him feel appreciated, admired, respected and wanted every day, and he ends up cheating, it will be his bad and his loss. He will carry the responsibility for wrecking the relationship. But if you choose to assume the worst of him and live with distrust, fear and suspicion and he doesn’t cheat, it will be you who wrecks the relationship.
I believe trust and love are the best answer.
Besides, seeing the absolute best in someone can often push him or her in that direction. If your husband thinks you think he is wonderful, kind, honest and loving, he will often try to live up to that. But if you think he is dishonest and sleazy, he might as well be that.
Tell your husband how wonderful he is and make sure he feels loved and wanted every day. People who feel adored, wanted and cherished usually don’t cheat. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. There are some situations where loving people who are fully invested in their relationship are still rejected or cheated on, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Some of us marry people who are incapable of being honest and committed. If you are in one of those relationships, getting out is your best course of action.
I recommend you choose to be fully engaged in giving love, support, appreciation and affection to your spouse; work to improve your self-esteem; and fully commit to seeing the absolute best in your partner instead of the worst. If you try this for a while and something still feels off, listen to your gut and follow it.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
I always read your articles and think they are great, but I’ve been hoping you would address guilt, which works on me much like worry. It hangs over me all the time and makes me feel like I’ll never be worth anything. Do you have advice for someone who is haunted by guilt?
Guilt is actually much worse than worry. Worry is at least about the future, a place where you have some control. Guilt is angst about the past, a place where you have no control and cannot change anything (which is why it produces such awful feelings of despair). You blew it and you can't fix it.
You only have two choices at this point. You can spend your days in regret wishing you could change the unchangeable, which is a waste of your time and energy. Or you can learn to forgive yourself and get focused on creating a better future. Obviously you should choose the latter, if you know how to do it.
Here are some secrets to finally making it happen:
Change the way you determine the value of a person
Every person on the planet has one inaccurate, subconscious belief, which causes more trouble than any other. It is the belief that your value as a person is changeable. This would mean you can earn more value through your appearance, performance or what other people think of you, and you can also lose value if you fail in those areas.
This an idea which most of us have accepted as truth and it leads us to seeing some people as “better” than others and creates a terrible fear of failing. It makes life feel like a test to determine your value. But this idea is not truth, it is just a perspective, which means you could change it. You could choose to see human value a different way if you wanted to. (I recommend changing this immediately because this belief is hurting you.)
You could instead choose to see all human beings as having the same, infinite, absolute value that is based on their uniqueness, as an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, divine souls. You could embrace this idea as truth and decide your appearance, performance and the opinions of others don’t affect your value at all. You could see them as interesting lessons, but trust your intrinsic value doesn’t change, because it is set by God and is therefore absolute.
You could choose to see life as a classroom, not a test, where your mistakes don’t affect your value, but are lessons to make you stronger, smarter and more compassionate. You signed up for these lessons (by making mistakes) because they were the exact lesson you apparently needed. This doesn’t mean you should keep making them. You should learn the lesson, make amends where you can, and move on, but separate the mistakes (lessons) from your value. This powerful change in perspective may take a little while to get your head around, but it will change your life when you get it.
The secret to forgiving yourself lies in forgiving others
This is a profound and life changing universal truth you must understand. The way you choose to see, judge and condemn others determines the way you will see, judge and condemn yourself.
If you are quick to see the faults, flaws and mistakes in others and let those mistakes determine their value, and even condemn them as bad guys or not good enough, you will be giving power to the idea that people can be “not enough” and fail. If you give power to this idea, it will also determine the way you see yourself. It will create a great fear of failing in you and you will be constantly focused on your faults, flaws and mistakes too. They will haunt you.
The more shame you experience around your mistakes, the more you will look for the bad in others to make you feel better. The more you put down, criticize or gossip about others, the worse your own self-esteem will be — and around and around you will go. There is no escaping this cause and effect, it is just how universal law works. You don't want to live this way.
If you want to feel better about yourself and let your past mistakes go, you must decide to see life as a classroom and let everyone (including yourself) be a struggling, scared, amazing, divine, infinitely valuable, innocent being who is doing the best they can with what they know at the time. You must choose a compassion mindset where life is a classroom and we are all innocent, silly, sometimes stupid learners, whose value is fortunately not on the line. This mindset will make you feel much better about yourself and you will also treat other people with compassion and understanding.
Start today and eliminate judging others from your life. Forgive them for their mistakes by focusing on what lessons you learned. When you eliminate anger and blame, you will also eliminate shame. (There are some great forgiveness formula worksheets on the resources page of my website that could help you with this.)
Understand how pointless shame and guilt are
I teach that "shame" is an acronym that stands for: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. If life is a classroom, shame is ridiculous. You are a student in the classroom of life. There is no way you could have known it all all along. Give yourself permission to have been an imperfect work in progress. You were learning and growing. You are on the path of self improvement, and that is enough. Understand that guilt, shame and beating yourself up for years does no good. It doesn’t fix the past nor create a better a future. It makes more sense to focus on who you want to be today.
What other people think doesn’t matter, but what you think does
Remember the opinions of others are just thoughts and ideas in their heads, which have no power, mean nothing and can’t hurt you, diminish your value or change you in any way. (They may influence events in your life, but if you trust the universe is a wise classroom, you won’t worry about that, because it only brings experiences if they are your perfect lesson.) But what you think of yourself matters a lot.
If you see life as a classroom and your value as absolute, you will show up with confidence and people will feel that and respect you, in spite of your mistakes. Even if you made BIG mistakes in the past, if other people can feel that you have learned the lessons, moved on and now know your real value, they will tend to follow suit and let your past go.
If you cannot do this however, and continue to beat yourself up, they will feel this too, and they will also have trouble forgiving you.
Gary Zukav, who wrote "Seat of the Soul," said, “By choosing your thoughts and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others and the nature of the experiences of your life.”
I believe forgiving works best if you shift your perspective and look at your life in trust that it has always been your perfect classroom. Trust this mistake experience happened because it could teach you something. See if you can name 10 positives that making the mistake has created in your life. This will help you see it as your perfect classroom journey. Then focus on being the most forgiving person you can be. The more you forgive others and allow them to be innocent, struggling students with much more to learn, the better you will feel about yourself.
That is the secret.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I'm a social worker and am struggling to find the emotional energy to deal with the serious problems and people I deal with at work — and have anything left for my family at night. I feel run down, less confident and my patience with my family is running thin. I think I’m burned out. Do you have any advice since you are also dealing with people problems on a daily basis? How can I keep giving to others and not get so drained?
You are not alone on this one. To help me answer your question I called on Marette Monson, LCSW, an expert with “compassion fatigue.” This kind of serious burnout is a common problem with helping professionals of all types, including police officers, firefighters and therapists. Compassion fatigue also happens to individual citizens who are caregivers, parents or who have demanding church callings.
A 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association (Nursing and Health Sciences (2014), 16, 3–10.) reported that psychologists had depression at rates three times greater than the population they serve. Another study (Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, Vol. 23, No. 3, May 2010, 319_33) showed 100 percent of humanitarian aid workers reported symptoms of compassion fatigue. Health care workers, veterinarians and police officers had similar statistics. It is also difficult for helping professionals and caregivers to get help so they can continue to do the work they love. Most helping professionals face a stigma when or if they ask for help, and there are very few places in the community where they can go.
Monson has opened the Center for Counseling Excellence here in Utah, and it is one of the only places in the United States where helping professionals can go for compassion fatigue treatment. She learned the accelerated recovery technique (ARP) from the nation’s leading expert, Dr. Eric Gentry, who created it to help professionals and others struggling with burnout. The ARP is much more than just tips on self-care to prevent the problems. It is a method for treating those who are experiencing compassion fatigue and it helps them recover and get their energy and motivation back.
Susan Gleason, LCSW, who also suffered from compassion fatigue, said, “I want to make sure people know about compassion fatigue before they are right in the middle of it. When I was deep in compassion fatigue, I was losing weight, became horribly paranoid, and was acting in childish ways I would have never done in the past. I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t know what to do about it. By then, it was so pervasive that I couldn’t have figured out how to get out of it on my own. It’s not just knowing about it, but also being able to prevent it from going too far. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms right now, you need to be able to see it happening in yourself or other people, because they won’t be able to heal themselves.”
Here is a link to a compassion fatigue checklist from Gleason, which may help you understand the symptoms to watch for. Go through it and see if the symptoms sound familiar.
Then, here are some tips from Monson, Gleason and me for preventing and overcoming compassion fatigue:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
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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.