Coach Kim, would you consider a follow up article about what communication skills you are referring to in this article? And could you teach us more about what anger really is? It sounds like it isn’t what we think it is...
I have written many articles about how to have mutually validating conversations (a conversation where both parties leave feeling heard, honored and respected for their right to their perspective and ideas). Here is a link to some of them. The basics involve showing up for others and listening first, before asking them to listen to you. If you know how to do this, there are few conflicts you can’t work through.
On the subject of anger, there is more to understanding where it comes from and how to deal with it. When you (or someone else) becomes angry, you are actually having a fear problem. Though it doesn’t look like it on the outside and you won’t feel scared, as much as mad. But you are angry, because one of your two core fears have been triggered. When you are angry, it is either because you feel insulted (which means your fear of failure has been triggered) or you feel mistreated or taken from (which means your fear of loss has been triggered) or both.
All anger is based in one or both of these fears being triggered. Think about the last time you got angry with someone or at a situation. In what way did you feel threatened, mistreated or at risk? Did you feel you were made to look bad or told you were wrong or bad? Or was someone discourteous, rude or unkind to you? Anger always involves some kind of mistreatment or injustice, and these all trigger your core fears.
The interesting part is that the groundwork of fear that created a place for your anger was laid long before the offending event happened. If you didn’t already suffer from fear of failure and you weren’t already afraid you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t feel insulted so easily. People who have rock solid self-esteem and see their intrinsic value as unchangeable, aren’t nearly as easy to offend with slights, insults or attacks. Their good self-worth makes them more bulletproof and less affected by fear triggers. You could insult them and they would probably just let it slide off.
The same goes for fear of loss. If you didn’t already feel unsafe in the world and see people as a threat, you wouldn’t be afraid of mistreatment or get defensive as easy. People, who see the universe as a wise teacher, providing perfect lessons, are more likely to see a personal growth opportunity in mistreatment. They are less often offended or angry.
When your journey brings you an anger experience, you can process the emotion (instead of reacting) and figure out what it is here for. If you choose to see life as a classroom (all about growth and becoming) then every experience is here to serve you in some way. Try some of the questions below to process your anger.
Choosing to see every anger experience as a chance to grow (instead of just mistreatment or insult), means you can turn every situation into a win. If this is hard to see because an offense is particularly painful, you may want to seek some professional help to work through it. Or make sure you read my forgiveness article from last week – it might also help.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
Some of those problems might make us feel insulted or like something is taken from us because of a subconscious fear of failure or loss. We may be afraid of looking bad or of being less than others and so it may seem like some people threaten our happiness.
The problem is, holding onto negative feelings toward other people doesn’t produce anything but pain, stress and unhappiness.
Forgiveness can be difficult, especially if you feel personally attacked, but you can learn to do it.
I often hear my clients say, “I’m not ready to forgive.” I believe that's an excuse people use when they either don’t want to forgive or can't articulate the real reason they don't want to forgive.
If you can identify the reason you don’t want to forgive, then you can work on getting past it. Some possible reasons people may not want to forgive are:
If you're still struggling with some of these principles, read my article about choosing to be upset and remember, you are in control of your thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to wait until you feel ready to forgive. You can choose to be ready.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a corporate people skills trainer and coach. There are worksheets on forgiveness on her website and other resources and free assessments www.claritypointcoaching.com
This was first published on ksl.com
I was visiting with a good friend the other day and he finally admitted that his life has been really hard lately and he and his family are going through things I had no idea about. We talked about how often people are pretending to be OK and when you ask how they are they say “fine,” but they really aren’t fine at all. How can you get people to tell you the truth about what they are going through instead of always saying “fine”? Is there a good question I could ask people that would get to the truth and open them up?
It was author Brad Meltzer who said, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” And he is right, especially today, when many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders or health problems. No family is immune from these kinds of serious challenges. You can assume everyone you know has something painful going on that they aren’t telling anyone about.
The reason we keep these challenges to ourselves could be that we fear judgment, criticism and looking bad. Some of us might not want to burden others with our heavy or dirty laundry, and we might not want pity or sympathy either. It just seems wiser and more practical to say we're "good."
If you want another person to open up and confide in you, then you are going to have to create a place that feels safe enough to do that. The other person has to know there will be no judgment and trust that you'll keep what they tell you confidential. They also have to know you won’t try to fix it or give them unsolicited advice, because that may not what they need.
What they might need is validation of their worth despite what they are going through. They may need validation about how tiring and difficult their challenge is and that it makes sense that they're struggling. They also have to know you will listen and not tell them what they should be doing differently.
Before you try to get another human to open up and tell you about their pain, you must be committed to honoring their right to be where they are and letting them know they still have absolute, infinite worth. You have to be prepared to validate without advising, fixing or giving them your take on the issue. In other words, it should stay about them, not about you.
Here's what I'd recommend saying when talking with a friend and have a hunch they aren't fine:
“If I could promise there would be no judgment and only unconditional love and support, would you be open to telling me about the hard stuff you and your family are going through? I promise I will just listen and be here. I’d really love to be that kind of friend to you.”
If they still don’t have anything to say, then that's OK. At least then they know if they ever do want a friend you are there. It sometimes helps if you are willing to open up and talk about some of your personal challenges, especially if you think they might be going through something similar. Your vulnerability and authenticity may encourage them to do the same.
If they do trust you enough to open up, then just listen. Don’t tell your story and how you got through. Don’t agree or disagree with anything they say (that would be making it about you). And don’t give advice or suggestions. One question that might help is, “What is the worst part for you?” When you ask that, you give them permission to go deeper and vocalize the depth of their pain.
If you really feel you can help and have some advice that could make a difference for them, ask for their permission to share it first. You could say something like, “Would you be open to a suggestion or idea around solving this? I don’t want to assume anything or infer that I know better, but if I had one bit of advice would you be open to it, or would it help you more if I just listen and be here?” In other words, give them a safe place to say “no thanks" if they choose.
You can do this.
Visit www.claritypointcoaching.com to learn more about Coach Kim Giles and take the Clarity Assessment, that helps you see where your fears and values are creating good and bad behavior in your life and relationships.
This was first published on ksl.com
It is the tendency to let differences create fear. Understanding this aspect of human behavior is critical to creating change in our world, and it's something you can start changing right now.
Here are three principles of human behavior that explain where hate comes from and how to change it:
1. When fear is triggered, we behave selfishly, in defense of ourselves
Many of my articles talk about how fear drives bad behavior because it makes us selfish and overly concerned with our own well-being (and less concerned about others). There are two core fears in play in every conflict or people problem.
The two core fears are the fear of failure (the fear of not being good enough) and the fear of loss (losing out or having our journey diminished in some way). Fear of loss includes fear of physical harm, mistreatment, disrespect or being burdened, while fear of failure includes being criticized, judged, dishonored or insulted. Conflict, racism, discrimination and hate can happen when people trigger any of these fears in us, though it may often be subtle and subconscious.
For example, if your spouse or friend has a different political view than you have, you could feel dishonored, disrespected or criticized for your view, and this could make you defensive and behave in a disrespectful way to them. This bad behavior comes from your fears of failure and loss being triggered.
Read more about fear here.
2. Differences create judgment
As human beings, we are hard-wired to subconsciously judge everything. When we see any differences, in any two things, we automatically assume one is better and the other worse. This is a core foundational belief, and it may affect your perspective every minute of every day.
Imagine walking into a room and there is one stranger you have never met in the room. The first thing that happens for both of you, at the subconscious level, is measuring, comparing and judging. We hate to admit this is true, but our subconscious minds are trying to determine where we fit.
Should we be intimidated or comfortable? Are we socially or economically above or below them? Are they friendly or cold? Are they part of “us” or part of “them”? All of this judging happens very quickly and is mostly subconscious.
We also do this in other aspects of our lives. If we cheer for the red football team and someone else cheers for blue, our subconscious mind, again, assumes that one is better and one is worse.
We seem to love dividing ourselves by differences. We divide our world into groups like political party, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, school, neighborhood, hair color, clothes, even which soda we drink (Are you a Coke or Pepsi person?) or which sandwich spread we prefer (Are you a mayo or Miracle Whip person?). We look for differences everywhere and subconsciously find our way as the right one, and “them” as bad or less.
Take a minute and think about all the groups to which you belong — your race, religion, gender, nationality, neighborhood, school affiliation, profession, height, weight, hair color, etc. How often do you feel superior to the people who aren’t in your group?
This could be the beginnings of hate, and if we keep letting this subconscious tendency happen unchecked, it will create problems in our lives and relationships.
3. Differences trigger fear and create bad behavior
Because we are all subconsciously afraid of being insulted or taken from, when “they” gain any power, gain in numbers, influence, recognition, fame or in any way threaten to be more or better than “us,” we get afraid. We could be afraid of physical harm, mistreatment, disrespect, being burdened or taken from, criticized, dishonored or insulted. Feeling fear of these things can make us feel justified in protecting ourselves. These fearful feelings might even make us feel justified in being selfish, rude, disrespectful or even hateful toward another human being.
Think about the last time you felt mistreated by a company, restaurant or store. Did you feel at all justified to be angry, mean or harsh to their employee because you felt taken from? Do you see how fear of mistreatment can subconsciously justify bad behavior?
According to the New York Times, the gunman in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting had expressed views online that Jewish people were the “enemy of white people.” He saw this particular group of people as a threat to his way of life. His fear of loss was triggered by "them," and he was afraid they would become more successful or more financially powerful than his group. His fear became so bad he even justified killing.
We cannot always influence other people and their fear issues, but we are responsible for ours. It is our responsibility to check ourselves for this tendency to see “us” and “them.”
You can start by watching for judgment and not seeing yourself as better than any other human being. This can start at home, by making sure you never cast your spouse or other family members as the bad or wrong one and talk down to them. Stop finding fault or judging other human beings for their choices, views or differences. Commit to seeing all human beings as having the exact same infinite value as you have.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a speaker and coach and the creator behind the 12 Shapes Relationship System — helping to create a more tolerant world app.12shapes.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.