How do I deal with my husband who expects me and our children to clean up all the things he leaves around the house? I am trying to teach our children to clean up after themselves, but when it comes to the things my husband uses however, he expects us to take care of them. How can I get him to pick up after himself?
My spouse is not treating me the way I wish she would. She seems to care a lot more about the children than she does about me. I feel like I’m the last thing on her list. I think she doesn’t even really like me. How can I get her to change and treat me better? Is there any way to get my wife to be more loving towards me?
(This article is for people who have common, garden variety complaints about people. I am not talking about abusive, toxic people or those with infidelity issues. I have addressed those in other articles.)
I put these two questions together, because both of you are trying to change your spouse’s behavior. This is a tricky thing to do, because you can’t really change other people. You might be able to threaten, nag, control or bribe them into temporary change, but real lasting change has to come from them. They have to change themselves.
Having said that, there are some things you can do that will encourage them to want to change themselves, and sooner. There are also some important things you must avoid doing or they will never want to change.
In order to understand these do’s and don’ts, you must understand a couple principles of human behavior.
Principle 1: People want to be accepted for who they are right now. If they catch you trying to change them, they will feel rejected. If they feel rejected, they will resist changing. If they feel unconditionally loved and accepted they will feel safe, and from this place they are more motivated to change themselves.
Principle 2: If a person feels you are disappointed in them, this doesn’t motivate them to change. Disappointment makes them want to pull back and protect themselves. It makes them passive aggressive and more motivated to spite you than please you. The more you complain about what they do wrong, the less they will want to change.
The things you must not do are: nag, silent treatment, criticize, shame, make snarky remarks (especially in front of people), tease, be sarcastic, or snap at them in anger.
The more you act taken from, mistreated, insulted and like a victim, the less this person will respect you and want to please you. If you get angry, snap or criticize they will also start to see you as the enemy, behave badly to spite you, and pull away. These behaviors in you are also immature and unattractive.
Here is the real secret to changing another person’s behavior:
Step 1: Work on you
It would be nice if we could fix this person, make them more mature, responsible and get them to love you more, but the truth is, this relationship is your classroom too. You are on this planet to learn and grow. This person is currently providing you a beautiful opportunity to stretch and become better.
You must stop reacting from fear, feeling taken from, mistreated, disappointed, needy or insulted. I know that is a tall order, but if you come from a victim place of being wounded by this person, you are not going to motivate change, and on top of that, being a.victim is not attractive — at all.
The more you act like a victim, the less this person is going to want to please you. No one changes themselves because they feel sorry for you. If you are constantly feeling offended, you may need to hire a life coach to help you work on being more bulletproof and strong. You must get offended less often and show up less needy.
Being needy, wounded, bothered or disappointed is sucking the love out of the relationship, because you can’t be in fear and love at the same time. If you consistently show up in fear, worried about not getting what you want, you are not being loving to them.
If you change your behavior (and change your reactions to this person’s behavior) I promise they will feel differently towards you and treat you better. In my book, "Choosing Clarity," I teach you exactly how to stop feeling taken from and insulted. I teach you how to feel safe all the time and show up with more love. I highly recommend you read it.
You must stop being so disappointed in this person and work to accept them as they are. You must see them as your perfect teacher and your relationship as your perfect classroom. You must let them be who and where they are. You must do this if you want them to change. I know it’s counter-intuitive but it’s truth. They must feel accepted as they are in order for this change technique to work.
Step 2: Build up this person
You must validate, reassure and build up this person as much as you can. This means complimenting every small thing they do right. You must praise them and tell them how wonderful, amazing and good they are. You must do this because people are more motivated to change when we show them their light — than when we show them their faults.
People who feel good about themselves are more motivated, loving, positive and giving towards you than those who feel terrible about themselves.
The question is which are you creating in this relationship? Are you creating a person who feels wonderful or one who feels like a failure? Do you do more building up or tearing down?
Make this person feel appreciated, respected, admired and wanted every day. Tell them how lucky you are to be married to such an amazing person and I promise, they will adore you.
They will also be more motivated to please you.
Step 3: Tell them they are behaving the way you want them to
When you see the highest best in someone you literally push them in that direction. We call this the Encouragement Technique because you are encouraging them to rise into their best self.
For the husband who doesn’t pick up his things, catch him picking something up (even once) and tell him what a wonderful father he is. Tell him how he is teaching your children by example, which is so cool, because kids do what they see us do, not what we say. Tell him what an awesome father he is, because he is demonstrating instead of ordering.
It may feel like lying, but it isn't — it’s seeing the good character in him ahead of time.
This works because people want to live up to your highest opinion of them. If you think they are responsible, loving, affectionate, smart and good, they will want to be that. It's just human nature.
This technique works great on kids, co-workers, friends and parents too. It’s the only way to motivate people to change themselves in a real lasting way. Force, control, anger and manipulation work in the short term, but they aren’t real change. Love and encouragement create the real deal.
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 and speaker.
I have people in my family that have hurt me over and over again. I hate family holiday parties because a certain member of the family will be there. This person is horrible to me and always has been. I take it personally even though I shouldn’t. Do you have any advice on surviving the holidays and being around this person?
For many people, family gatherings are a huge source of tension, but you can attend that party and even enjoy yourself, if you adopt a healthy mindset first.
The question is, are you ready to change YOU in order to feel better?
There will be some who read this article and scoff at the whole idea of changing their mindset. They will do this because, in reality, they don’t want to change themselves, they want other people to change.
You may also subconsciously want to stay in a place of judgment towards the offending family members and spend the holidays complaining about them. You may do this because being mad and placing blame on these “bad people” makes you feel superior or powerful. If you have low self-esteem issues (and are afraid you aren’t good enough) blaming others might be part of your coping strategy.
Be honest with yourself. Is there an ego part of you that likes complaining and gossiping about this person? Or are you ready to grow up and change yourself to feel better?
If you are ready to change yourself (because it is the only way to feel better) keep reading.
In my article two weeks ago titled Love toward all is the answer, I taught some principles that could help you survive your family parties, but you can’t just read this article once and expect to have a different mindset. You are going to have to adopt some new principles and shift your perspective on yourself and your life completely. Here are some important principles to adopt:
Principle 1: We are all irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, infinitely and absolutely valued, divine, good, loving children of God, and I mean all of us (without exception.) We all have the exact same intrinsic worth as everyone else, because we are all God’s children and part of him. No one can diminish your value and you can't diminish theirs.
Principle 2: The real point and purpose for our being on this planet is to learn (because life is a classroom) and the most important lesson we are here to learn is love. If this is truth, it means every single thing that happens to you here is a lesson on learning to love yourself, other people, or God at a deeper level.
Principle 3: Every person is having their own custom educational journey here. No one on the planet will get the same classes you got, so you cannot judge, compare or criticize how anyone else is doing. You aren't in their class.
Principle 4: The annoying, hurtful, bossy, rude people who show up in your life are there to serve as teachers. Their job is to push your buttons and bring your fears, defensiveness and weaknesses to the surface, so you can work on them. They don’t create your fears or issues, though. They just trigger what is already in you, so you have the chance to become more aware and change.
It is really important you see your family situation accurately, as your perfect classroom. There is no accident that this person is in your life. This person is your teacher and you are probably theirs. The lesson you are here to teach each other is about rising above fear and choosing love towards yourself and others.
When a person triggers fear in you (through attack or bad behavior), ask yourself the following questions to get some clarity:
If you can rise above your fears (and defensiveness) and remember they can’t hurt you, because you are infinite and absolute, you will be capable of giving them what they need. Doing this will make you feel strong and powerful, much more than being offended does. Your ego thinks being mad is strength, but judgment and anger are really weakness. Fearlessness makes you strong.
Remember, you are a unique, irreplaceable, incomparable soul, and nothing anyone thinks or says about you can change your value. You are bulletproof and no one can diminish you without your permission. What others think of you doesn’t matter at all. You are the same you, no matter what. You always remain undiminished.
So, don’t give anyone the power to diminish you in your mind. You control this.
Everyone is afraid they aren’t good enough, and this fear makes them behave badly. Fear makes people brag, boast, criticize and judge, but they do these things because they are scared about their own value. This behavior can’t hurt you. Just let everything they dish out bounce off. Remember, when other people behave badly, it’s not about you. It’s about their fears about themselves.
Treat them with love, kindness and respect. Do this because it’s the kind of person you’ve decided to be. Spend your time at the family party asking questions and listening to others. Show people you value them at the deepest level and see their infinite worth. The more you do this, the better you will feel about yourself.
You are a strong, loving, mature, wise person, who responds to every situation with strength and love.
You can do this.
(There is a new worksheet on my website called the Have a Happy Holiday Mindset. I strongly urge you to print it off and read it a few times a day to internalize these principles before Thanksgiving and Christmas.)
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.
There are so many serious problems in our community and the world. Watching the news about puts me over the edge. The world is falling apart and I feel constant stress about it. It feels like the whole world is going down the drain. Why do all these bad things have to happen? How can I process all this and not let it affect me?
There are problems in the world, but you need to turn off the news and look at the larger picture. Statistics show the world is getting better, less violent, more healthy and more humane all the time. There are still more good people than bad and those good people are making a significant difference.
Don’t believe me?
I also want you to understand what really causes stress and fear. It is not the facts, the situations or the state of the world. It is not your bank account balance, your bills or your marriage problems. Stress and fear are not caused by external factors at all.
Stress and fear are caused by how you are thinking about all those factors and situations. They are internally created.
This is good news, because if you created them, you also have the power to change them. Here are a couple ways to start changing your thinking.
1. Understand your negativity bias. This refers to the fact that things of a negative nature (unpleasant thoughts, emotions, harmful or traumatic events) have a greater effect on your psychological state than do positive things. You basically enlarge the negative in your mind and discount the positive. We all do it.
Michel de Montaigne said this 500 years ago, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
Most of what you fear isn’t real or isn’t as big as you think it is. Most of your suffering is unnecessary and self-inflicted.
A powerful way to counter this is gratitude. Count your blessings and what’s right in your life (every day). This will remind you that the good always outweighs what’s wrong. Statistics even prove it. Studies have shown 85 percent of what you worry about won’t happen, and the 15 percent that does happen, you will handle better than expected and will teach you amazing lessons.
You might need to remind yourself of these facts daily.
2. Use the haunted house analogy to get accurate. In a haunted house, things (or people) who look scary are always jumping out in front of you. These things may initially scare you, but then you remind yourself it isn’t real and you calm right down. Most of the things you fear and stress about in your life right now aren’t going to be a problem either. You are just living in a haunted house.
It helps to remember who built this house you’re traveling through. God, in whose hands you safely lay all the time, built it. He built this house as your classroom and as such, it must provide some scary experiences, but the more you learn to trust the builder, the less fear you experience.
One of my favorite quotes from "The Course in Miracles" says, “No nightmare can defeat a child of God in his purpose.” Remember life was meant to look scary, but it is mostly a nightmare. Nothing God created can do anything but bless you at best and educate you at worst. The universe is literally conspiring to serve you.
3. Remember the real point and purpose for being here is to learn. Life is a classroom and every terrible experience comes with a lesson or a positive aspect. God is teaching us about both the light and the darkness. Bad experiences and horrific tragedies give each of us a chance to decide who we are going to be. When terrible things happen, there is usually an interesting increase of love in the world.
This week I’ve discovered a new depth of love for people in Paris and Beirut (people I don’t even know), and that love is deeper than I realized. We ache for those people, and it is a beautiful thing to feel the depth of our love for our fellow human beings. The reality of terrorism gives the opportunity to embrace the principles of peace in our religions and make a commitment to be tolerant of others.
You asked me why horrible things have to happen in this classroom.
My answer is, there is a reason, but most of the time, we aren’t supposed to know what it is.
We are better off not knowing. Right now you are truly, deeply bothered by these horrible events in the world, as you should be. If you understood the reason why this had to happen, if the mystery was solved and you got the answer, you might make peace with the horror of the situation. You might not be so appalled by it — and that would be even worse than what you are experiencing now.
Watching evil and not being moved by the horror of it, not questioning and feeling pain, would take away what makes you human.
Aron Moss wrote a wonderful article on this topic in which he explains, “Worse than innocent people suffering is others watching their suffering unmoved. And that's exactly what would happen if we were to understand why innocents suffer. We would no longer be bothered by their cry, we would no longer feel their pain, because we would understand why it is happening. When you have an explanation, the pain doesn't seem so bad anymore. We can tolerate suffering when we know why it is happening."
We are not meant to tolerate suffering and evil.
So the question isn’t why do bad things happen; it’s what do we do when horrific bad things happen?
We choose trust and love.
Trust God and the universe. They know what they’re doing. Choose to believe that even the things you can’t understand serve us somehow. Trust there are still more good people than bad, who are using all their creative powers to change things. Trusting brings peace.
Then, let these events make you a better, kinder and more loving person. Be one of the good people and use your creative energy to do good in the world. Instead of trying to answer unanswerable questions, turn your grief into a force for good in your home and community.
Speak out against injustice and cruelty more often. Love people more passionately and take action to alleviate suffering wherever you can.
Moss said, ”We don't really want answers, we don't want explanations, and we don't want closure. … We want an end to suffering ... but we [shouldn't] leave it up to God to alleviate suffering. … He is waiting for us to do it. That's what we are here for.”
You can do this.
I am upset by my church’s policy decision this week to exclude the children of same-sex couples from blessings or baptism until they are 18. I see it as a fear-motivated, unloving decision. I have read that their motivation was to keep families together and save them from conflict, but I’m still struggling with feelings of doubt that make me doubt my religion a little. I read your column because you teach love not fear, and I wondered if you would comment on this situation and help me find some peace around it.
Please don’t distress. There is another way of looking at this, which may bring some peace regardless of your personal beliefs.
First I want to remind you of three principles I believe are true. Read them and see if they feel like truth to you.
1) We are all irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, infinitely and absolutely valued, divine, good, loving children of God — and I mean all of us without exception (from the LDS leadership, to every LGBTQ person, to faithful LDS members and those that have decided to leave the church). We all have the exact same intrinsic worth, because we are all God’s children and part of him, no matter our beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation or anything else. We all deserve to be honored, respected and loved.
2) The real point and purpose for our being on this planet is to learn (because life is a classroom) and we are here primarily to learn one lesson — love. God is love and we want to become like him someday so we must learn to love as he loves. This means every single thing that happens here in the classroom is going to be a lesson on learning love at a deeper level. Everything God has inspired or created is here to teach us love. (If you wonder why anything happened or happens in your life, it is to teach you to love yourself, others or God.)
3) God created this perfect universe and us exactly the way we are with many differences (including race, religion, culture, ideology, sexual orientation). He created differences for a reason, because these differences make us stretch and learn to love at a deeper level than we would have to go if we were all the same.
This world, with all the differences, is our perfect classroom.
When we use difference to cast any other child of God as bad, we are forgetting these important truths. All these people (the ones in your church, out of your church, leading the church, leaving the church, and those of other churches or no church at all) are God’s holy children, who he loves and has asked us to love. They are all here in the classroom to both learn love with us and to teach us by challenging us to stretch beyond the limits of our current love abilities.
Given these as facts, the question you must ask yourself whenever anything happens (like the church stating a new policy) is, “How could this experience be a perfect lesson for me to learn love at a deeper level?”
You must ask yourself this question when anything happens in your life, because everything that happens is, in fact, a lesson on love.
That is just how the classroom of life works.
(Think about what is bothering you at work, in your family or in your marriage, and ask yourself that question again.)
Imagine if everyone could see this situation as their perfect lesson to love God’s children at a deeper level. Some may need to stretch and learn to love LGBTQ people, which may be slightly out of their comfort zone. For others it may be about learning to love and forgive Mormon leaders as they are. For some it might be learning to love and embrace family members or friends, who have different beliefs.
Whatever your situation is — just focus on loving all involved.
The thing we can’t do is let fear, suspicion, judgment, hurt and pain overcome us and further divide us from each other. God created all of us (in his image) as part of his divinity, and nothing can destroy the truth God declares, change the infinite he created, or diminish the value of his children. You will be released from fear the moment you accept this.
Our job isn’t to judge anyone or anything, attack anyone or anything, or defend (because to even defend is to give power to the illusion that you are diminishable). Christ said to turn the other cheek and not defend when you feel attacked. I think this means to turn to your brother and show him he cannot hurt you, because you are undiminishable and so is he, therefore you hold nothing against him. This is real love and forgiveness.
Forgiveness happens for me when I see all human beings accurately (as divine, students with much more to learn, just like me). Seeing them accurately means there is nothing to forgive, because the universe was just providing me a lesson.
I believe all human behavior is either love or a request for love. So, if I’m not feeling loved by someone, it’s time to increase my love for them (that might be something I do from afar though). If you feel mistreated, taken from or unloved, remember it is just a lesson to help you become smarter, stronger, better and learn to love at a higher level.
I believe all the children of God are divine because they are part of him. This includes all the children and adults on both sides of this issue. Our only job is to ask ourselves, “Am I seeing all the children of God accurately and giving them honor, respect and love?” This is the only thing in your control in most situations.
Focus on seeing everyone as love, because love is who we are. One of my favorite books, the "Course in Miracles" (CIM) says, “All fear comes from a denial of authorship.” Think about that one. Basically we are afraid because we are forgetting who we are, who created us, and by whose hands this classroom journey was created.
When you are afraid or confused, be still and know that God is real and you are his beloved child and so is everyone else. “Love everything he created of which you are a part or you cannot learn of his peace and accept his gift for yourself. You cannot know your own perfection until you have honored all those who were created like you.” (CIM)
We must learn to love all God’s children — to really know God.
If you will make your focus love (not defending, attacking, doubting, agonizing or fearing) and work to be the love (God’s love) that is in you, you will feel at peace.
Send thoughts of love and forgiveness towards those you disagree with on either side. Love them where they are. Love is the only fitting gift for anyone God created. Love them because they are part of him, just like you.
You can do this.
For those who are members of the LDS Church and struggling with this, I also highly recommend reading David Peterson’s blog — it will help. Here is the link.
This was first published on ksl.com
My spouse and I fight all the time because he takes everything I say as an insult and gets offended too easy. I keep trying to show him he is filtering what I say and making it negative. He is projecting his issues and fears onto me. The problem is that he cannot see this. He thinks what he sees is real and I’m the problem. I honestly don’t know if I can keep doing this, if I can’t get him to see things more accurately. Do you have any advice?
Ask your spouse if he would be willing to read this article and understand your motivation in writing me was only a desire for him to be happier and for your marriage to work. I will explain in simple terms how we all, at times, create unnecessary and even self-inflicted suffering through projection and how to stop.
Basically we suffer, get upset and behave badly quite often, because we are not seeing the world accurately. We see and experience life through a thought-created filter made of our past beliefs, fears and stories. We subconsciously project these beliefs, fears and stories onto everything and everyone around us, and we all do this at times.
We project our faults and weaknesses onto others too, which is why a bully who is scared at home likes to make other kids scared at school. It’s why the husband who doesn’t trust his wife is also disloyal to her on some level. It is why controlling people tend to hate controlling people and when you are afraid you aren’t good enough, you will see rejection and insults in others, even when they aren't there.
If you see offenses, bad behavior and mean people everywhere you look, it is probably because you are coming to every situation already feeling inadequate, walked on or threatened. This is just a universal law: You see the world as you are. Whatever conflict, fear or pain you have inside you, it will filter and distort what you see.
Rory Mackay, an fabulous English writer, said, “The problem is when our thoughts, interpretations and projections cause us to suffer. This happens when we interpret reality in painful, self-limiting, dysfunctional and destructive ways. When we have a limiting self-image and think of ourselves as being worthless and inadequate little worms, or have a distorted view of the world and the nature reality, we suffer immensely.”
He says there are two realities we experience.
1) The unbiased objective reality — what is actually happening around you. This reality is shared with others and is the same for everyone.
2) The thought-created reality — a reality you see because of the thoughts and beliefs you have projected onto the unbiased reality, creating a private reality only you experience. This thought-created reality is made of faulty scripts, stories and fear-based programming, much of which was created when you were a child. All of us see the world as a thought-created reality, to some degree every day.
To make matters worse, we believe this thought-created reality is the unbiased reality. We believe what we think we are experiencing is real.
When your spouse says something about your behavior at a party, your mind will instantly filter what she said through all your subconscious programming, beliefs, fears and stories you have previously created about yourself and her. The way you experience the comment could also be affected by your mood, which creates yet another filter that affects how you experience this comment. Hence, you are not really experiencing what she said, you are experiencing your thought-created version of what she said.
It is highly likely what she really said, if seen through the unbiased reality, was neutral and didn’t mean what you thought it meant. Your thinking (or what you thought about what she said) is causing your suffering — not what she said. The comment itself didn’t mean anything, because nothing means anything until your thinking applies meaning to it.
(This doesn’t let your spouse off the hook for actual rude comments, of course. Sometimes your spouse says something unbiasedly offensive, but even then you will still add meaning to it and determine the amount of pain you experience around it, because words can’t diminish you without your approval.)
Whenever a comment hurts you, step back and write what happened on paper in a completely non-biased way, being objective and unemotional about it. Strip away the meaning and emotion and just write what happened as factually and accurate as possible. This means "He insulted my cooking and doesn't appreciate anything I do" might become "His taste buds didn't like this one meal, which has nothing to do with my value as a person or his love for me."
If you feel a real insult happened, then maybe a conversation needs to happen about this issue so it won’t happen again. Just make sure you have that conversation from a place of equality (seeing the other person as the same as you). In other words, don't talk down to them.
There are two worksheets on my website which would help you with this. The Mutually Validating Conversations Worksheet would help you handle feedback conversations with your spouse the right way, and the To Be or Not to Be Upset Worksheet would help you step back and avoid projection. I recommend you get both.
You also need to do some work on your self-esteem and the subconscious fears you have about failure and not being good enough. The Course in Miracles states, “Every response you make, is determined by what you think you are.”
Each of us has a deep subconscious fear we might not be good enough. This fear of failure or inadequacy gets projected onto everything we experience. We may even subconsciously project this fear onto God and believe he doesn’t think we're good enough either.
When you feel deprived, vulnerable, cheated, unworthy or rejected, you project those feelings onto others and believe they are taking from you or insulting you. If you feel this way often, you must understand this problem is an internal one, not an external one, and your attacking others will not fix it.
The truth is you are perfect, totally forgiven, good enough and loved (even though you are a struggling student in the classroom of life with much more to learn). Life is a classroom not a test, so you have nothing to fear. When you don’t own this idea as truth though, you become a bundle of fear, which causes you to attack others and feel attacked all the time.
As a life coach, I believe the first and most important thing you have to do, to create better results in your life, is to correct this core fundamental belief that your value is in question, which creates the fear you might not be good enough. When you change what you think you are, it will change all your subconscious reactions and projections, which will change your behavior.
If you struggle with low self-esteem, fear of failure, or you just have tremendous stress and worry about life, you need to get some professional help immediately to correct your fundamental beliefs about yourself. You must find an expert who knows how to do this specifically. This is the most powerful, life changing thing you can do for yourself and your family.
Nothing would make a bigger difference.
I also explain how to make this fundamental change in your thinking, in my book "Choosing Clarity." It would help you to see your world and your value more accurately and suffer less. You might want to get one for your spouse.
You can do this.
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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.