This was first published on KSL.COM
The Australia Journal of Psychology found that likable people are more likely to keep their jobs because likable people are easier to work with, are great on teams, and get people to work with them seamlessly. This is just one of many benefits of being more likable. Likable people also tend to have healthier relationships and more opportunities.
Keep in mind you don't want to work on your likability because you need approval or validation from other people to quiet your fear of not being good enough. You want to work on these things to become the best version of yourself.
This effort should be love-driven, not fear-driven. Right now, as you are, you have the same infinite, intrinsic value as every other human on the planet, even if you sometimes show up in a fear state, selfish, insecure or unlikable. Your value is always the same and you are good enough, but the way people react to you may not be creating the life you want.
If you want to become the most caring and likable version of yourself, here are some things you can work on:
1. Make sure you like yourself
Liking yourself is the most important element of being likable. If you don't like being you, you will have nothing to give other people and your low sense of value is something others will pick up on.
You are subconsciously teaching the people around you how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Do you always put yourself last? Do you put yourself down? Do you see yourself as less than other people? If you do, this has to change. You might need to work with a coach or counselor to help you eliminate your fears of not being good enough; they can make this process faster and easier.
2. Show other people that you like them
Everyone likes people who like them, yet we are often so worried about not being liked ourselves that we forget to show others how we feel about them. Make an effort to check up on people, invite them to do things, send notes or texts, and generally be a friend to them.
Also, make sure you remember people's names. There are many tricks to help you get better at this. For example, you can use word associations or rhymes to help you. Every time you use a person's name it instantly makes them feel valued and important.
3. Be sincerely interested in other people and their lives
Whenever you are around other humans ask questions about them and actively listen with the desire to understand, know and care about them. In every conversation, make sure you ask questions and listen more than you talk. This makes other people feel valued and important. If you can make every person you talk to feel valued and important, you will be very likable.
4. Be slow to be offended
If a behavior or comment feels insulting or disregarding toward you, stop and take a step back before reacting.
5. Remind yourself you are safe and have nothing to fear
In every room, you have two options: to feel unsafe and be subconsciously focused on yourself, getting approval, or bring liked; or to feel safe and be focused on others, validating them and making them feel important. You get to consciously choose which state you want to experience.
6. Pay compliments, notice others and validate them
Celebrate other's wins without being jealous. A win for someone else doesn't mean anything about you. There is enough abundance in the world for all of us.
7. Ask others for advice
This is a great way to show people you see their wisdom and expertise, and you value it and them. People love to give advice about what they know, and they will light up when you ask for advice.
8. Always be open to being wrong
Being open to being wrong about whatever you think you know prevents you from getting overly attached to being right — which is a behavior that repels other people fast.
Be teachable, open, curious and willing to take time to understand those who think differently than you. Truly intelligent people are always asking questions and challenging what they know. Likable people are open-minded and not afraid of being wrong.
9. Be reliable
Likable people keep their commitments, follow through, and are responsible and dependable. Do your best to be on time and be someone others can count on. If you can't do something, be honest about that and say no. Don't be afraid you have to commit to something (or everything) to be likable; it's more important to be realistic and only committing to what you really have time to do.
10. Smile and make eye contact
Your body language tells people if you are warm and open or cold and closed off. Practice making relaxed eye contact (don't stare) and smiling more. Be friendly and say "hello," "good morning," or "have a good day" to strangers.
11. Be genuine and don't try to impress
The harder you try to impress others the less impressive it is. Just relax and be you. Don't be attention-seeking or worry about whether others like you. Be interested in them, be friendly and kind, but also just be yourself.
Watch how you behave around people you feel safe with. That is probably the real you. Practice being that real around new people, and even being the same you no matter the environment. It helps to remember that you have the same infinite, intrinsic value no matter how you behave or what anyone thinks, so there is nothing to fear. Just be you.
12. Avoid judging other people and gossiping
If you are quick to judge others or talk behind their backs, you must understand this is causing problems in your life. It is making people feel unsafe with you, and it is preventing you from truly loving yourself. You see, when you see the dark parts of other people as making them unworthy of love or value, you will also subconsciously see your own dark parts as making you unworthy of love and value.
You can literally only love your neighbor as you love yourself and vice versa. So practice giving every person you see unconditional love and unchangeable value no matter their behavior. They are here in a classroom to learn and grow, and they may have many lessons still to come but their value is always the same — and so is yours. Be someone who says only positive things about other people.
13. Practice the 'platinum rule'
The golden rule talks about treating other people the way you want to be treated. The platinum rule goes a little farther and states you should treat others the way THEY want to be treated. This sometimes requires you to ask them how they would like to be treated or get to know them well enough to find out. Never assume they will like what you like. Pay attention to what they value and lean toward. Make sure you show them that you see who they are and allow them to be different from you.
At the end of the day, remember some people still won't like you, and that's OK. We are all very different, and we connect with some people better than others. Each week I hear from readers who love my writing and others who don't like it at all, but I have to remember that my value is the same as every other person's no matter what and keep being authentically me. You can do this, too.
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — This pandemic holiday season is unlike anything we have ever experienced before.
It is a well-known fact that depression is linked to social isolation, and it typically increases around the winter holidays anyway, but this year we are adding masks, COVID-19 restrictions, quarantines, stay-at-home orders, family conflicts over gatherings, cold weather, dark days with less sunlight, and end-of-year deadlines. This time of year will be especially hard on people who are dealing with job loss, loss of income, divorce, separation from loved ones or mental health issues.
A School of Public Health study this summer found that the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. has more than tripled the prevalence of depression symptoms from 8.5% of adults before the pandemic to 27.8% over the summer. The numbers during the 2020 holiday season are expected to be even higher.
If you are finding this holiday season is bringing more depression than joy, here are some things you can do to get through it:
Completely change your expectations
Whatever image you had in mind for the holidays, think about dropping that. Instead, plan on this year being unlike any Christmas you ever had.
We've never experienced anything like this pandemic, and we must go into the holidays with a sense of adventure. You may miss the family gatherings you are used to, but if there wasn't an expectation of family gathering it wouldn't matter to you. Decide that this year has no "shoulds" around it. It shouldn't be like any holiday you've had before and remember, and different isn't necessarily bad. Embrace the different and go with it.
Whenever you feel disappointed, remind yourself that it's your expectations causing the disappointment, and you can change your expectations. This is a good life skill to practice during this interesting time.
Drop the traditions and do something different
Don't decorate the way you have in years past. Try something crazy to mark the year as unlike any other. We put decorations in places we have never used them before. Put lights up in weird places and it feels really good.
If you can't have the traditional Christmas Eve or Christmas Day gatherings, do something so totally different. You won't even miss the usual way. Some families are not even decorating at all and are planning to order in Chinese food and eat at a low table in the living room, or something else they have never done before.
Keep counting your blessings
No matter what we have lost this year, we still have so much to be grateful for. Keep focusing on what you still have over what you've lost.
Focus on ways things could be worse
This is a strategy I learned from positive psychologist Dr. Paul Jenkins. No matter how bad things are, there is always a way they could be worse. Focusing on the ways things could be worse naturally makes you feel better about what you have.
Scale back and simplify
Drop all the extra things that aren't necessary. Everyone expects this year to be different, so let this be the year you don't do half the stressful holiday tasks you usually do — unless doing them keeps you busy and happy. Just drop anything that is making you feel stressed, anxious or worse.
Take a break from social media
If seeing pictures of other happy people living lives that look better than yours is making you feel worse, drop social media for a few weeks. It would be good for you on many levels. Instead, write heartfelt email letters to friends and family expressing your love and gratitude for them. Enjoy the letters you get back. They may lift you up more than scrolling through social media ever did.
Limit media exposure
Get some great books to read, do a puzzle, knit or crochet, work on some home improvement project, take up painting, or spend time outdoors. Do things that involve the real world around you instead of binging more Netflix or watching more movies.
Get regular exercise
Exercise will have an immediate effect on your mental and physical health. Even though it's cold outside, you can bundle up and get some fresh air every day. If you spent even a little time exercising daily, you will feel better about yourself on every level.
Avoid drinking or indulging in unhealthy treats
Poor nutrition and too much alcohol always make depression worse. Instead, find some healthy recipes and make good food to enjoy and take the time to savor it. If you are eating healthy meals and getting exercise, you can treat yourself to some special holiday treats and feel good about it.
Get some sunlight
Too much time without sunshine and a lack of vitamin D will affect your mental health. Go up to the mountains — above the inversion — and feel some sun on your face. Talk to your doctor about a vitamin D supplement. If you have seasonal depression, you can also talk to your health care provider about trying light therapy.
"A light therapy box mimics outdoor light," the Mayo Clinic explains. "Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)."
Get outside in nature as much as possible
Don't stay holed up in your house for weeks on end. Walking in the park or around your neighborhood daily will lift your spirits and give you needed exercise at the same time.
Talk to a therapist
I cannot stress enough how much this will help you. If you have never tried therapy before, you might be skeptical. But therapy can do wonders to help you process your feelings and the thoughts that come with them.
Create a schedule and follow it
People who have structure to their days and follow a schedule feel more fulfilled and productive, and this helps with depression. Even if you don't have much going on, schedule a time to wake up, cook and eat, exercise, read, watch something (for a limited time) and then move onto other activities. Having structure makes the day go faster too.
Avoid family conflicts
Everyone is functioning in a loss state right now, which means we are all more defensive and more easily bothered. Knowing this, you can recognize that when grouchy behavior shows up it's not really about you. Then you can choose to walk away instead of taking the bait and creating more conflict.
If certain people trigger you more than others, make a plan to avoid interaction with them as much as possible. The one good thing about the pandemic is you can bail on any social gathering and everyone will understand. Use that explanation if necessary to protect your mental health.
Deal with loss by trusting in the good
You can always choose to focus on the growth any experience brings. You can choose to trust the universe that the lessons this year brought us will be blessings in the future; and though things are not as we like them, they are perfect for right now.
Nothing exists that was not created to help us evolve and grow. Remembering this helps us see loss as a blessing in disguise. Sometimes it is a very good disguise, but there will be some good from it.
Arrange social connection via technology
You need connection with other human beings. Contact friends or family members and arrange time to communicate through Zoom, Facetime, or some other video chatting platform.
You need this kind of connection to battle the isolation, so ask for it. Let people know that you really need to talk and ask if could they arrange time for you. It is important that you realize asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Be brave enough to ask for help, friendship or connection when you need it.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
This may seem like an obvious question, but I'd like some advice on how I break up with my girlfriend without hurting her too badly. She is great, but she isn't right for me. I know that she is probably going to take it hard, is there any soft way to do it?
I'd like to answer your question in a way that is relevant to anyone delivering bad news. This means situations like firing someone, giving negative feedback, or ending a relationship.
In each of these cases, the bad news is going to be the catalyst for some pain, fear or shame happening in the other person. There is no way around that. Rejection and criticism experiences are painful for most people, but there are some ways you can soften the blow and — even more important — change your mindset so it is easier for you, because being the one to deliver bad news can feel terrible, too.
Here are some things to keep in mind before you deliver the bad news:
Use some empathy
Take a minute and put yourself in their shoes. Imagine how they feel now and how the news is going to feel for them. Think about what you would want to hear and how you would want to hear it if you were in their position. This will help you to handle it with more kindness. You can also tune into God's love for this person and it will help you to come from love when you speak to them.
Find the right time and setting
Ideally, you'll want privacy, time and space for the other person to either be alone or to go be with other people who can support them. You might want a setting where it is easy for them to leave and not have to face you afterward. For example, don't break up with your girlfriend on a trip where you have to be together for two more days, and don't do it in public. Breaking up with someone in their home is best because you can leave and they feel safe there.
Remember: You are not responsible for their happiness
While you are responsible for delivering the bad news with clarity and kindness, you are not responsible for any part of what the person goes through next. That might sound cold, but you cannot be responsible for something that is out of your control. Place the person in God's hands and let go; he is responsible for their life journey and experiences.
Understand your part
The universe has set you up to be the one to deliver the bad news and facilitate this part of the person's perfect classroom journey. This person wouldn't be here if it wasn't their perfect journey to be here. They have in some way signed up for this "class" (whatever experience this bad news brings). Your perfect classroom journey placed you here to be the one to deliver this news because it is the class you are signed up for. Your part is to be kind, honest and straightforward. After you deliver the news, your job ends and God will take it from there.
End the relationship quickly
Put an end to the relationship as soon as you know it's not right for you. Don't keep dating someone because you feel bad hurting them. Be responsible and caring enough to be honest and tell them how you feel as soon as you know can.
Focus on a few positives first
Take some time and validate the person for the things they do right or their amazing qualities. Make sure they know you see them accurately and see their goodness, but don't spend too long here or they may get confused about how the bad news fits.
Use 'I' statements
Especially when breaking up with someone, don't focus on their faults or negative traits. Focus on what you are feeling, looking for or experiencing. They can't argue with your feelings because you are the only one who truly knows how you feel. Just state your feelings and what you need. Avoid statements about what they do or don't do.
Don't use cliches
Avoid saying things like "it's not you, it's me" or "I don't think I am good enough for you." The truth is probably "the chemistry isn't there for me at the level it should be" or "I know in my heart this relationship isn't right for me."
Be as kind, honest and as straight forward as possible
Deliver the news with respect, honoring the other person and their intrinsic worth. Be honest and speak the truth plainly. Don't beat around the bush, be direct and clear. Speak the facts with as few words as possible so there is no misunderstanding. Bad news is worse if you drag it on trying to get there carefully without hurting the other person. The sooner you give them the clear facts, the sooner they start on the road to healing.
If they get angry or sad, validate their right to feel that way
Don't try to talk to the other person out of their feelings; they are always right about how they feel. Say things like, "I totally understand why you feel this way." Tell them you are sorry but the conversation has to be over now. Don't allow them to drag out this part of being upset with you. You will actually help them start healing faster if you rip off the bandage and then give them space.
Give them closure
If you know this person isn't for you, then don't say you want to "take a break" or see where you both are in a few months. Care about them enough to walk away cleanly so they can start healing and getting over you. You cannot be part of their support system after the break-up. They need you to walk cleanly away and let other friends and family support them through it.
Allow them to vent a little
Allowing the other person to vent their feelings shows you care. If they have things to say to you or about you after you deliver the bad news, be willing to listen without getting defensive. They may lash out verbally as a way to make themselves feel better. This is them projecting their pain, and it would be best if you could listen to it while not getting upset or absorbing it. Allow them to vent a little and say again, "I understand why you feel that way." Validate their right to their feelings and then end the conversation.
What if they try to change your mind?
If the other person tried to change your mind, be willing to listen and validate their feelings but let them know that there is no changing this. Be clear, direct and honest. You are doing them a favor by staying strong because it puts them on the path to healing sooner.
It is never fun being the bearer of bad news and making other people feel bad, but it is part of life and we all play this role from time to time. Remember that it's not you making the person feel bad, it's the reality of this part of their perfect classroom journey. This experience is a perfect lesson for both of you in trust and love.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
As the holidays approach, I'm feeling deep uncertainty about having family come to visit. We have managed to social distance visit for most of the summer, taking advantage of strictly outdoor, socially distanced visits. With the colder seasons upon us, I feel like physical visits from family outside our home should stop since we cannot be outside for extended periods of time. I know it's the holiday season, but I just do not feel like it's worth it to get together. The problem I face is that I'm feeling pressure from family members to continue to see each other. Even though we have done visits safely all summer, these holiday events would be face-to-face within our home. Masks would not be worn, and it would not be possible to social distance. It seems reckless to me to observe the holidays in typical fashion during a pandemic. How can I maintain the peace and show respect but also keep pandemic boundaries?
In this situation, it sounds like you are going to have to be the bad guy, put your foot down and insist that the family do the right thing and cancel the parties, even if it means having family members angry with you. How do you feel about this? For many people, this is a difficult and scary proposition to share their views in face of opposition.
There are also people who have no problem being the bad guy and sharing their opinion. They think it is easy and struggle to understand why some people can't do it. If you are this type of person (fear of loss dominant, meaning you fear things not being right more than you fear judgment) please understand that for other people (fear of failure dominant, meaning your core fear is inadequacy and feeling not good enough) this is extremely difficult and takes great courage.
There will be many times in life when you will need to enforce a boundary, share an opposing opinion, or deliver bad news in the face of disapproval from people you care about. It is important for you to identify what you are so afraid of before you can beat the fear. See which of these fears resonates with you:
Here are some tips and tricks to help you stand strong and share your views:
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
This one is a tough one for me. We have 6 kids (plus several spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends) in our family that we adore. They all live nearby and we love having them come visit for family holidays. I'm in a pickle here, though, and need your advice. I'm an avid news and science follower and have followed the COVID pandemic closely. Unfortunately, my sister even passed from COVID last month so I am really concerned about it. The problem is that my husband says he has had enough of this pandemic and the isolation and has invited all the family to come for Thanksgiving. We've had lengthy conversations about it and he knows I think that we should visit remotely as instructed by our leaders. What do I do given that we disagree so strongly about this? I know I am sensitive because of my sister's passing, but I worry about the health and safety of ALL our loved ones. Shouldn't we be setting a good example for our family and following guidelines?
The short answer is yes, of course, you should absolutely follow the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when you celebrate Thanksgiving, which include hosting a remote gathering or wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, among other things. Having said that, I think your real question is: "How do I convince my spouse to follow the COVID-19 guidelines, and how do I handle the disagreement?"
The answer to that question is simple because it's the same answer no matter what the disagreement is about. You need to have a mutually validating conversation with them, where you both feel heard, understood and valued, and you need to come up with a compromise that honors both your feelings.
I believe knowing how to have mutually validating conversations is one of the most important relationship skills we need to have because it means you can talk about anything and not digress into a fight.
Here are some steps for how to do that:
1. Let go of your need to be right
If your goal is to convince him he is wrong and win the argument, he is likely just going to get defensive. A mutually validating conversation is not about being right and getting your way; it's about making both parties feel heard and understood, actually understanding the other person and their feelings, and honoring and respecting their right to feel the way they do. This requires you to be generous and caring as you go into this.
2. Make sure you see the other person as the same as you
This means you don't see yourself as smarter, wiser, more educated, more morally right, or above the other person in any way. You remind yourself that you have faults, too, and you both have the same intrinsic value all the time — that cannot change. This prevents you from talking down to the other person, which will always offend them. It also should prevent you from feeling intimidated or less than another person.
3. Set your agenda and feelings aside upfront
This means you are going to start this conversation with only one goal in mind: to ask questions, listen, understand and make sure the other person feels fully heard, honored and respected for their right to think the way they do. This conversation must start all about them, and not at all about you and your views. I sometimes need to set my feelings, opinions and agenda in another room and shut the door before going into a conversation like this. You must dedicate yourself upfront to just caring about how the other person feels.
4. Ask the other person questions about their thoughts and feelings
Ask your husband if he would be willing to talk to you about Thanksgiving and help you understand how he feels about it. During this step, you will ask great questions that show your desire to understand and give the him space to share all the details about his views. You want to spend as much time here as possible because this is the step that makes the other person feel safe with you, heard and valued. Make sure you don't agree or disagree with anything your husband says. This is not about you yet. This part is just about listening and caring about how he feels.
5. Ask permission to share your thoughts
After you have spent a lot of time listening, and you can tell your husband feels heard and understood, you may ask him if he would be willing to let you share how you feel about it. You might want to ask a couple of permission questions so you can create the safe space you need. This might sound like:
6. Speak your truth without attacking the other person
You will do this by following two rules:
Avoid bringing up any behavior from the past by saying things like, "I feel like you never care what I think, remember last Christmas?" Instead say, "Would you be willing to care about what I think about this, this year?"
Make sure you don't insist on making the other person be wrong; you just have different perspectives, and both deserve to be honored.
7. Find ways to compromise
Obviously, though, only one plan for Thanksgiving can happen. Some kind of compromise must be reached. You might ask if there is anything you could do to make your husband feel like the family is there with you while gathering for the meal remotely.
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.