This was first published on KSL.com
Every January for the past six years, I have recommended one New Year’s resolution you could make that would make the biggest difference in your life. You can read all my past New Year’s KSL articles here. This year, I recommend you resolve to get offended less.
The truth is, very few of the things you let bother you are worth the energy you spend on them. Most of your aggravation, disappointment, annoyance, and even anger about situations or other people, is self-inflicted suffering that could easily be put down.
As a matter of fact, every situation in your life is 10 percent the issue and 90 percent how you are looking at it. Your perception or the way you see it creates the story and how you feel. The problem is, your thoughts, feelings, stories and projected reactions are often not accurate. These perceptions are the result of your subconscious policies and procedures, most of which you created as a small child. I have written an entire book on recognizing your subconscious fear triggers and how to get free of them because it’s a little involved for an article. But here are six simple things you can do to get offended less often, lessen your misery and increase your joy this year:
1) Be 100% responsible for your thinking and how you feel about every situation. No one can make you upset, mad, offended or feel hurt without your permission. They are not that powerful. You have complete control over only one thing in your life: how you choose to think and behave. (Though most of us don’t claim this power and instead we give others permission to determine our happiness.) It is time to claim control and stop giving other people the power to determine your self-esteem, make you feel unsafe in the world, or take away your joy. Instead, let offensive statements or actions roll off. Ask yourself, “Is this worth giving away my joy for?" If it is that important, decide how much time is reasonable to feel bad for. When is enough misery, enough? It’s part of the human experience to feel negative emotions, but don’t live there. Give yourself five minutes for an angry rant or pity party, then choose to let it go and claim your peace and joy back.
2) Recognize when fear of loss has been triggered. This happens when you feel taken from, robbed or mistreated. In these situations, you can experience fear of loss. Remember, you are choosing to see the universe as against you and the world as unsafe. It is this belief that is causing your misery. You could choose, instead, to see the universe as always serving you, and this experience as your perfect lesson. If this experience is serving you, it isn’t a loss. Let the angst go and choose to feel taken care of, watched over, and safe in the world because the universe only creates experiences you need.
3) Let more small stuff go. Ask yourself “Will this matter to me in 10 years?" If it’s a yes, then again, decide if there is anything you can do about it. If there is, take action. If there isn’t, (because you can’t control other people), choose to trust the universe to take care of you. Living in trust that the universe is on your side and is always conspiring to serve you, is a perspective that creates more joy. Ask yourself again, “Is this worth giving away my joy and peace for?” Choose your battles and only suffer over really important things and limit the suffering shelf life on those.
4) Don't take things personally. The truth is, most of the time when someone attacks, offends or insults you, it’s really not about you. It’s about their fears for and about themselves. These people came into these situations with fears of failure or loss in play and then they projected those fears onto you. For example, a person who never felt important or cared about as a child may have a subconscious tendency to experience not being cared about everywhere they look. This means they might project that experience onto you, and they may honestly believe you don’t care about them. This might make them angry and attack you, but it doesn’t make sense to be offended. Instead, have firm but compassionate boundaries and don’t allow abuse. Look at their feedback and see if you can learn anything. Then, don’t take offense and let them hurt you. Recognize bad behavior means this person is having a fear problem that is probably more about them. You can offer them some reassurance or validation, but it’s not your job, (nor is it possible for you,) to fix the underlying problem. That is work they get to do.
5) Be quicker to forgive and forget. Holding onto past offenses hurts you more than it hurts the other person. When you get offended make a decision right then and there how long it makes sense to suffer over this. In "The Art of Living," as taught by S.N. Goenka, we learn Buddha taught the very instant you are offended, you must choose what kind of cut this offense will be. It’s either a cut through water that is gone immediately, a cut through sand that is gone tomorrow, or a cut through rock that will be there for decades. How long do you want to suffer?
6) Have good, peaceful, but firm boundaries. Boundaries should be rules you make to protect you from letting other people take advantage of you. Decide what behaviors you will allow, what you will let roll off, and what behavior is not tolerable. If someone treats you in an intolerable way, choose to walk away from that behavior with love and compassion. There may even be some people you have to love from afar. You must learn how to be both strong and loving at the same time, so you can balance protecting yourself with showing up for others. Both are needed to be healthy. Seek some professional help to learn how to enforce boundaries properly if needed.
Getting offended less, letting more small stuff go and not taking things personally will create a happier, more balanced 2019.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a poplar speaker, author and life coach. She owns www.claritypointcoaching,com and has a worksheet designed to help people process offenses easily at https://www.claritypointcoaching.com/worksheetsdownloads
First published on KSL.com
During the holiday season, our attention is turned towards giving, showing love to the people around us, helping the less fortunate, and trying to create a more peaceful world.
This has had me thinking about how un-peaceful the world feels right now. There is more divisions and distance between us than ever. There is a widening gap between the political parties, racial tension, religious transitions, and more divides around gender and sexuality than ever before. The “us versus them mentality” is stronger than ever.
University of Maryland professor Lilliana Mason recently released a study showing that the political divide between the parties is creating more disdain and even hatred for members of the opposing party than we have ever seen before. She found it wasn’t even the issues that divides us, as much as the political identities of the two groups, and our desire to fit in on one side or the other.
According to the Pew Research Center there has been a spike in the contempt each group has for the other. More than 4 in 10 Democrats and Republicans say the other party’s policies are so misguided that they pose a threat to the nation. This means we are becoming scared of each other, and that fear breeds conflict and hate, not compassion.
The internet has made it easy to access news and commentary that is biased towards our side, which strengthens the animosity towards the other, and throws gasoline on flame of discord.
The problem is, at the subconscious level, our egos like this “us versus them” idea. We like it because when you make the other side the villains and cast them as the bad guys, you cast yourself as the good guys, which can be a subconscious boost to your self-esteem, but this comes at a great cost to our country and communities. Instead of unity, compassion, and tolerance, we create fear, distain, and division.
The real problem behind these problems in our world (terrorism, racism, discrimination, hate, misogyny and prejudice) is a simple, foundational belief we all have. It is simply the belief or idea that human value can change. Let me explain why.
You believe your value as a human being is dependent on your appearance, performance, property and popularity. These things change all the time, so your sense of value changes and goes up and down. Some days you feel good about yourself and others you feel worthless or less than others. Because you believe your value can change, you also believe other people’s value can change, and this means you also believe some humans have “more value” than other humans.
You may not believe this consciously, but the two beliefs go together, and if you believe value can change, you have to believe some people are more valuable or good than others.
Most of this plays out subconsciously though. Think about how you judge, measure and assess everyone you meet, and some of them you see as better as you (and you are intimidated by them) and some you see as less than you (and you might talk down to them).
This simple belief is the real problem behind all the problems on the planet. We see certain groups of people as better or worse than other groups of people, and if we see them as the bad guys we can justify treating them badly.
The terrorists see Americans as the bad, horrible and we see them as horrible violent people. Democrats see Republicans as racist and fascist, while Republicans see Democrats as socialist free loaders. Millennials are disgusted with old views, and older folks see millennials as entitled and lazy.
People who leave their religion see the believers as the clueless, while the believer see them as sinning apostates. People who live on the east side, see the west side neighborhoods as ghetto. The holy war between red and blue football teams further divides our community. There are a million ways we divide ourselves into “us versus them” and as long as we see “them” as the bad guys, we will create discord not peace.
This is where each of us can step in and create real change in our world. We can change this core, foundational belief inside us, and if we all did this, we could change everything.
You can start this by choosing to see all humans value as unchangeable, infinite and absolute. This would mean everyone has the exact same intrinsic worth no matter what party, race, or religion they belong to. This means you can’t earn more value and be better than anyone else. You also can’t lose value and be less than anyone else. You always are the same - no matter what you do.
This is a simple idea, but the affect could be profound. If everyone on the planet chose to stop vilifying the others as bad, and chose to see them as just different, but equal in value, we could make big changes in our community. But you have no control over them, you only have control of you.
So, choose to see all humans as equal in value, starting today. Give up judgment, gossip and the need to put others down to feel better about yourself. Stop seeing the other political party as horrible people, and just see them as scared of different things. Their fears make them concerned about different issues, but they are good people with the exact same value.
There are some “bad” people out there, who wish to do harm others. But, you can still see them as equal in value. These people have usually had a much different life journey, where they have experienced things you haven’t, and some have developed mindsets that come from fear and hate. But if you had had their journey, you might be the same way. You don’t have to trust these people or be friends with them, but if you choose to see their value as the same, you could address them with wisdom not hate.
You start creating peace on earth at home. Make sure you remind yourself daily that your own value doesn’t change. When you have a bad hair day, make a mistake at work, get dumped, or experience a setback remind yourself none of these change your value.
Make sure your spouse and children know their value can’t change. When they drop a glass in the kitchen that shatters and makes a huge mess, quickly remind them that didn’t change their value. Make sure you don’t cast your spouse as the bad one in a fight. Instead see both of you as both good and bad at times, with the exact same value.
The more you talk about this idea and choose it as your truth, the better you will feel. Also refrain from gossip, judging and putting others down. Never speak negatively about people who are different from you politically, racially, economically or spiritually. Make seeing all people as the same, a daily commitment.
Look for similarities not differences, and reach out to people you haven’t been comfortable around, and get to know them. It’s hard to hate people up close.
Find people whose views are different from yours and instead of seeing them as wrong or debating the issues, ask questions and see what you could learn from their perspective. See if you can feel their heart and goodness. If we all reached across the aisle and had more compassion for our neighbors, maybe our leaders would learn to lean in and create compromise too.
Peace on earth beings with you and me.
We can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after coach, author and speaker. She is the president and founder of www.claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes.com She is the author of the books Choosing Clarity, and The People Guidebook.
This was first published on ksl.com
What advice would you have for someone who is tired, discouraged and burned out? Life has been rough the last few years. I’m just tired of struggling and watching other people have easy lives, while mine is all uphill and hard. Do you have advice for me?
First, be very careful who you compare your life journey with. There are just as many people out there whose lives may be more difficult than yours as there may be people whose lives are easier. If you catch yourself feeling jealous of someone else’s life, try thinking about the large percentage of the world that might give anything to have yours.
Of course, it’s better if you don’t compare at all and choose to see each person as getting the life journey that will serve them best. I believe each situation in your life is meant to teach you something, and you can choose to have this perspective, too.
The issue of feeling burned out and running on empty could mean it’s time for some better self-care. It's your job to make sure your emotional tank stays full — especially if you're going through a lot of draining experiences right now. This may mean time alone or time with friends, more rest, hobbies, exercise or whatever. Let's you put stress aside and simply relax.
Some people in your life might see taking time for yourself as selfish, but it’s not. Self-care is not self-indulgent — it is a sign of self-respect.
Here are some self-care suggestions to help fill your emotional tank and avoid burnout:
Sometimes, when things feel really discouraging, all I can handle is 5 minutes at a time. If you try to carry the burden of all your troubles for the coming year right now, it might begin to crush you. So just focus on a little at a time.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after corporate people skills trainer, life coach and business owner. She is author of the book Choosing Clarity and the founder of www.claritypointcoaching.com
This was first published on ksl.com
I hear from a lot of people during this time of year who aren't fans of the holiday season. They say they dread it all — the pressure to spend money on gifts, the obligation to attend gatherings with people they don’t like, the commercialization and materialism, and the seasonal depression that might be brought on by overcast weather.
Do you feel like this in any way?
When you are unhappy, afraid you aren’t good enough or are struggling with relationships, you may have a tendency to project these feelings onto the holiday season. We all subconsciously project our feelings about ourselves onto things and people around us.
Here are a few ways to cope during the holiday season:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after speaker, author and business owner. She is the founder of www.claritypointcoaching,com and www.12shapes.com and provides simple solutions to every kind of human behavior difficulty.
I hate family holiday parties because there is one person who completely ruins them for me. They are negative and critical, and they never fail to insult me in some way. Do you have any advice for managing this situation, since I am expected to attend like it or not?
You are not alone in dreading this part of the holidays. Many people find family gatherings trying. If it’s not annoying relatives, it’s dreading the questions people will ask about your life (and your lack of good answers). Most families today are made of people with different beliefs, values, standards and ideas too, and these differences can create conflict, defensiveness and arguments.
There are a couple key things to remember to help you survive these parties:
1. Differences don’t mean better or worse, or right or wrong — they just mean different
The reason differences might scare us and make us feel judged and criticized by others is we might assume someone is right and better, and the other is wrong or worse. That's not true, it's just a perspective option, but it’s not your only perspective option.
You could choose to believe that all human beings have the same, unchanging, infinite, intrinsic worth — no matter their differences. This means different can’t make anyone better or less than anyone else. If you choose this perspective, you can be bulletproof at family parties or any other social setting. No one can judge you as less or worse and hurt you with their opinions, unless you let them. You can choose to believe you still have the same value as they do. If you choose this though, you also have to give up judgment and stop seeing them as bad or worse. Can you do that? Can you give infinite, absolute value to everyone else? If you can you will at the same time choose it for yourself, and no one can hurt you with their opinions again.
2. Give up judgment of others and let them all have the same value as you
You may subconsciously like being in a place of judgment toward certain family members and like spending the holidays complaining about them. You may do this because placing blame on these “bad people” makes you feel superior in some way. If you have low self-esteem (and are afraid you aren’t good enough) blaming or judging 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 change yourself to feel better?
3. Choose to see life as a classroom and your relatives as your perfect teachers
I believe the real purpose for our being on this planet is to learn and to grow and the most important lesson we are here to learn is to love ourselves and other people. If this is truth, it means every single thing that happens to you here is a lesson on learning to love at a deeper level.
It also means the annoying, hurtful, bossy, rude people in your life might be here to serve as teachers and bring your fears, defensiveness and weaknesses to the surface so you can work on them. It's really important you see your family as your perfect classroom. It's no accident that this person is in your life and you are in theirs. Think about that annoying relative and ask yourself how they could be the perfect teacher for you. Do they trigger a fear or insecurity that you need to work on? Do they inspire you to be different than how they are? In what way could they possibly be here to help you grow? When you see them as here to serve you, you might be less bothered and more compassionate toward them.
4. Everyone is in their own perfect classroom journey experience, learning different lessons from yours, but they still have the same value
This also helps you stay out of judgment and stop comparing your life with theirs. The lessons you need to learn are different from theirs, so your experiences and struggles will be different too. Allow them room to be a work in progress with much more to learn (just like you).
5. Ask yourself these questions to help process your feelings toward this annoying relative:
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 may feel about yourself.
During those family parties, remember no one can hurt or diminish you because your value is infinite and absolute. Don’t give anyone the power to take away your peace and joy.
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.