This was first published on KSL.COM
I have noticed lately that many of the men at work and in other meetings I attend interrupt me, cut me off, or talk down to me and the other women in those groups. I am just curious to know if you think there is anything we can do to garner more respect and/or change this? Should we say something when this happens or try to ignore it?
Women are often talked over, interrupted or shut down in conversation, especially in environments where they are outnumbered by men. A study from George Washington University found that men were 33% more likely to interrupt women than they were to interrupt other men.
Another study, from researchers at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, found that this even happens to female Supreme Court Justices, like the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Researchers examined 15 years of court transcripts to see how often men, either justices or advocates, interrupted the female justices. Over the last 12 years (when women have comprised only 24% of the bench) female justices being interrupted by men accounted for 32% of interruptions, while female justices interrupting men accounted for only 4% of interruptions.
According to Jessica Bennett, a gender editor at the New York Times, it is not just men who interrupt women. Other women are also more prone to interrupt women, and people of color and LGBTQ+ people fare even worse. The sad truth is we subconsciously see some people as less valuable or less important, and this shows up in the way we communicate.
I believe the crucial first step is committing to see all human beings as having the same value and demonstrating this belief in how we talk to them. Every person deserves to be heard and respected. We must see all human beings as equals, listen without interrupting, and honor their right to think differently than we do.
Obviously, there are also situations where the opposite is true and women interrupt or talk over men. The point of the article is to make us all better at respectful communication.
Practical ways you can be part of the solution
1. Stop before interrupting someone. If you feel the urge to interrupt someone, ask yourself, "Do I just want to ask a quick question to clarify what they are saying? Am I going to invite them to continue afterward, or do I think what I have to say is more important than this person?" If the latter is is the case, choose to keep quiet.
2. Check yourself before giving advice. Before you advise another person ask yourself, "Is there any chance I am explaining something to this person that they already know?" If you think there is any chance they might already know this information, don't insult them by telling them. You could also ask them directly if they would be open to some advice?
3. Ask permission before you share an idea or suggestion, or give advice. Ask the other person if they are open to hearing your idea and give them a comfortable out if they'd rather not hear it. Respect the answer to your permission question and don't forge ahead without permission.
4. Don't use demeaning nicknames like honey, sweetie, love or babe. These are not appropriate unless you are dating or married to the other person, and even then ask how they feel about these terms and make sure they are seen as a compliment, not an insult.
5. Never correct another person's pronunciation or grammar.
6. Avoid sexist or demeaning jokes and misogynistic statements. Call out other people who use them. Explain to them why their behavior is wrong. Watch for situations that make women or other marginalized people feel uncomfortable and stand up for them.
7. Make a committed effort to listen to other people. In any meetings you attend, make sure all the women and marginalized people are respected and heard. Insist that others acknowledge and hear them out. Stop people who are interrupting them.
8. Believe women and what they say. Insist that others do the same.
9. Don't get defensive if a woman — or anyone for that matter — tells you that your words or behavior were offensive or hurtful. Be open to understanding that from another person's perspective things can look and feel different than they feel from your perspective. Apologize and ask questions so you understand what you should do differently in the future. Be teachable.
10. Be careful not to talk over other people. Don't dismiss others' ideas; and if you cannot wait to make a comment, at least politely ask if you can stop them for a second. Then, make sure you invite them to continue afterward.
11. If you are on a board, panel or team, insist that they include a well-rounded number of diverse people. Invite more women or minorities to participate and be included.
12. Teach young people that being feminine is not a bad thing. Don't use phrases like "you hit like a girl." Challenge stereotypes that place women behind men as the weaker sex. Encourage women and girls to see themselves as equal, smart and capable as men.
What to do if you find yourself being talked down to or interrupted
1. Don't take it personally. Interrupting says more about a lack of manners in the other person than it says about you. This experience doesn't mean you are less important or less worthy of respect; it likely means the other person hasn't learned to be aware of how their actions affect other people.
2. Don't blame yourself or see yourself as weak or insecure. This happens because our entire society has been taught patriarchy as the social norm. You allow men to interrupt you because it is deep in your subconscious programming to see it as acceptable. It will take work and time for you to recognize every time it happens and learn to stand up for yourself. Have compassion for yourself during this time.
3. Whenever you are speaking to men, use confident words. Rose Kennedy, from the Atlanta Journal, encourages women to "speak with conviction using words like 'know' instead of 'believe' and 'will' instead of 'might." She says to "lean in and make eye contact," sighting a 1983 study that found men tend to interrupt women more often when they lean away or don't look at the person they're talking to.
4. Practice assertive body language. Do things like keeping your arms out to take up as much space in the room as you can. This is a power position and it changes how people treat you.
5. Be strong and confident without being defensive or overly forceful. You don't have to be angry and defensive to stand up for yourself. You can stand in your power and still be calm, peaceful and kind.
6. If you are interrupted or cut off, you have the following options to respond (which can all be done standing in your power):
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
I often have problems with co-workers and am often bothered or angry with their behavior. They are inconsiderate and they never take responsibility for what they do wrong. I am thinking of looking for another job, but I am worried that before long the new co-workers would just bother me too. I’d like a job where I didn’t have to deal with people at all, but in my field that doesn’t exist. I realize the problem might be me and not them, but how do you really know? How can I feel less bothered with people?
First I want to commend you for being willing to look at the situation and see if you are the problem. That takes courage and the truth is we are always at least part of the problem. If you are often bothered with other people’s behavior or find yourself angry at people on a regular basis, one of two things is happening:
If you are willing to seek the truth and grow, there are some things you can do to check yourself and make sure you aren’t the problem, and make seeing your problem easier to understand.
Strengthen your self-esteem first
To ready yourself for this exercise first remind yourself that you have the exact same intrinsic value as every other human being on the planet, whether you are the problem or not. Life is a classroom and you are here to learn, but you cannot fail or be "not good enough." No matter where you are or what you are struggling with, you still have the same value as everyone else and you are right on track in your classroom journey (or you can believe this if you want to).
This means you are safe to look at your behavior objectively, see problems with it and make changes and there is nothing to fear. You are still OK and safe. Take a minute and tune into this belief.
Ask for honest feedback
You might want to ask some close friends or family members for some candid feedback about your behavior. You might have to reassure these people that you can handle the truth and want to learn. Tell them you really want to see where your perspective might not be accurate. You might also ask them what you could do to improve yourself and show up for other people better. If doing this scares you, work with a coach or counselor to build up your self-esteem first. A coach or counselor may also be a safe place to get some objective feedback. A third-party person can often tell you things a family member or friend would be too scared to say.
Don’t be offended by the feedback. Thank them for being willing to support your learning and take some time alone to step back and look at their perspective. There is a chance it isn’t accurate and they could be projecting their issues onto you. But if you will sit quietly with the information, your gut usually knows what you own and what you don’t.
Check for trust issues
Do you have a hard time believing others have your best interest in mind? Do you delegate or prefer to do things yourself so you know they are done right? Does having control make you feel safer? Do you subconsciously assume other people can’t be trusted? If you have a subconscious tendency to distrust, you may generally feel unsafe in the world. This makes you see everything and everyone as a threat. If you have had this programming your whole life, you may be more confrontational and easy to offend. The important part is that you become aware of this tendency, so you can catch it when it’s happening. Acknowledge that you might be seeing the situation through your "mistreatment lenses." Ask another person who doesn’t have this tendency how they view the situation and be willing to shift your story around the situation to one that is less offending.
Ask yourself these questions:
Don’t have any shame around this — show compassion to yourself and others.
Just own that you may need some work on your fear triggers or some additional healthy thinking skills you haven’t had the opportunity to learn. It’s time to find some professional help to change the underlying fears that drive bad behavior. You are not a bad person, though. You are just a scared, stressed, worried person who needs to learn another way to see and process what goes on around you.
You also need to work on having more compassion and being more tolerant of other people’s bad behavior. Every time you condemn or judge another person for bad behavior and get bothered or annoyed by them, you are subconsciously making a rule that says "there are faults which make some humans unworthy of love." Every time you do this, you are also accepting the same rule for yourself. You are confirming the belief that there are faults in you that could make you unworthy of love too. This will make you need to judge others more to feel better and a vicious cycle is created.
Work on changing this one thing. Be more compassionate and less judgmental of others. Allow them to be flawed and still be worthy of love. Be more patient, forgiving, and let a lot of annoying things go. You will not only get along better with others, but your own self-esteem will improve.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I am in a wonderful relationship. I feel very loved, and I love her. We respect each other’s differences and appreciate them. However, something has recently come up: my partner has started smoking socially. I am a religious person and she is not, but that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that she is a recovering addict and she’s been sober for two years, but I’m afraid she is going to use smoking to replace her old vice. Would I be controlling or rude if I told her I was concerned by her smoking? She is pretty stressed right now, and I want to help her, but I can’t stand thinking that she’s going to develop another harmful habit.
It sounds like what you're asking is how to give negative feedback about another person’s problem or bad habit without making them feel defensive or attacked. Here are some tips and a very soft approach to making these tricky conversations easier.
Treat the other person as an equal
When you treat the other person as an equal, you do not talk down to them. We all have a subconscious tendency to see bad behavior in another person as making them "less good" than we are, and we might accidentally come across as thinking we are "better" if we aren’t careful. It is important that you remember that even though you don’t have this problem or bad habit, you have others. You are not perfect. You have faults and flaws too. Make sure you see the other person as an equal and make them feel honored and respected for their right to be where they are. Remember, they have the same value as you. Don’t talk down or be patronizing.
Focus on gaining understanding
Go into the conversation with your only agenda being to gain understanding and make the other person feel valued. Don’t have an agenda around changing or fixing them; if you do, they will pick up on this and likely get defensive from the start. Go into this conversation with the primary goal of showing them you care about, honor and respect them. You can have a topic in mind — in this case, to understand more about their smoking — but with no agenda around it.
Ask for permission to approach the subject
Ask the other person if they would be willing to have a conversation about smoking so you can know and love them better. Go ahead and let them know the topic you want to talk about, but reassure them that you are going to really listen and will not lecture, push your opinions, or interrupt. Make sure they feel safe with you. If you have not been a good listener in the past, you might have to apologize for that and ask them to please give you another chance to show up better.
Ask non-judgmental questions
Ask them questions about what they think and feel around the topic but make sure the questions don’t sound judgmental. Questions like: "Why in the world would you want to smoke? and "Don’t you know how damaging it is?" are judgmental questions. Instead, try something like "I really want to understand about smoking, I guess I don’t really understand the appeal. Would you be willing to educate me and help me understand why you like it? I promise my asking is not from judgment, but just from wanting to understand you so I can support you better. Would you tell me about what it does for you?" Notice the lack of agenda in that? The other person is not going to be honest and share their feelings if they feel you are going to make them feel wrong or bad. They have to feel they have a safe place to share.
Don't agree or disagree
Don't agree or disagree with what the other person says. Simply listen and validate their right to be where they are and feel the way they do. Say things like, "I can totally see why you might feel that way. Tell me more about that." Remember, you can disagree with what they say or think and still validate their right to feel the way they do. If you strongly disagree with their views, bite your tongue and don’t go there yet.
Be open to making your own changes
If you want someone to hear you, listen to your views, and possibly change their viewpoint or behavior, you must first show them you are also open to changing yours (you might want to read that again). This is the crucial piece. If you are stubbornly dug into your being right, they are going to do the same. If they can feel that you are open to learning, understanding, and even being wrong, they can let their defenses come down because they are safe to do so. They likely will be more open, too. You may have to prove that you are this open by actually bending and admitting you are learning some things here that make you rethink your position.
Ask to share your views
After the other person has had awhile to really explain their views, and they feel heard and validated, then and only then can you ask permission to share your views. Ask them if they know that you love them and only want the best for them. Ask them if they know you are coming from a position of only love, not judgment. Very respectfully ask them if they would be willing to let you share some of your concerns about smoking and why it scares you. Let them know if they don’t feel comfortable hearing your views on this, that is OK too. This makes this a real question, not a rhetorical one. If they say they are not open to hearing your views, you must say, "OK, I respect that" and walk away. Your willingness to honor their answer builds trust in the relationship.
Follow 2 simple rules
When the other person is ready to listen to you, follow these two simple rules:
Love, encourage and validate
If a person feels you are trying to change them, they will always resist changing. If they feel your unconditional love and support, and if you express concern from love and caring (not judgment) and are willing to listen, understand, and even learn something you didn’t know, they will be more open.
The best way to get someone to change something about themselves is through encouragement and positive validation. You could watch for times that she makes good health choices and tell her how awesome she is that she cares about her health and makes those choices. Let her know you admire the way she quit her previous addictive behavior and that you really love and respect her for that (without saying anything about smoking). If you make these comments every once in awhile, she might want to live up to your highest opinion of her and decide to change her habits on her own because she wants to be that person that you see.
Remember, though, you must stay out of judgment and let go of the idea that you are right and she is wrong. Show up with total respect for her and her choices, and just focus on understanding and supporting her. This approach is not controlling or rude as long as you are sincere.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares some tips and tricks to improve your relationships.
My husband feels that when our adult kids come over for Sunday dinner that I act more childlike especially if we are playing some type of game. He thinks adults should never act like children and it bothers him. From my point of view, I work very hard and I enjoy having fun especially with our kids — and since I have to be serious all day at work, it is fun to let up a bit on occasion, but he does not appreciate it. How do I respond to this and what should I do differently? Should I change to please him? Should he want me to change or love me as I am?
I have written quite a few times this year about how important it is that we allow others to be different from us. We all have a tendency to think the way we function in the world is the right way, and we subconsciously expect others to be the same and are irritated if they aren’t. This isn’t fair, right or workable in your relationships.
Every person comes with different perspectives, different internal wiring, a unique upbringing, and a different set of past experiences and views. They are, therefore, going to view and do life differently from how you do it. If you cannot allow them (and even honor and respect their right) to be who they are, the relationship is going to be a hard one and may not work.
Here are some tips, tricks, truths and rules of engagement to consider when you run into differences with someone you love:
1. If you have a different way of being that bothers your partner, you need to have a mutually validating conversation about it.
This means a conversation where you listen to their views, thoughts, feelings and concerns, and explore with your partner why the behavior triggers something negative in them. Try to understand why they feel the way they feel and honor and respect their right to feel that way. But this does not necessarily mean you should change the behavior.
2. If someone is unhappy with your behavior, you must ask yourself if you think the behavior is working for you.
Be honest with yourself and willing to see the problems or downsides of the behavior. Be willing to hear the other person's concerns about it and consider changing it. But, if you do this and you authentically like this part of yourself and think it’s working for you, ask them if they would be willing to listen to your feelings about it. Explain why it’s a part of you that is not going to change and that they will have to learn to accept. You could also look for some kind of compromise that might make you both feel honored and respected. But generally, you should not change who you authentically are unless you can see negatives in the behavior and agree that it’s not working for you.
In your specific situation with your childlike side, I tend to think you should honor and validate your partner’s feelings but continue to be you. If it doesn’t feel like a damaging enough or negative behavior that causes any real problems, your partner probably needs to learn to love you are you are.
3. You should always try to let the people you love be their authentic selves.
Allow others to have different views, beliefs, styles, routines and behaviors from yours. Never expect them to be like you. You can expect them to treat you with kindness, respect and love ,of course — and if they don’t, you should definitely talk about that — but personality type differences in behavior should be cherished, laughed at and even celebrated.
4. The key to changing another person’s view, is to be open to changing your life first.
If a person you love has major differences in values or morals, or they have views you really feel are wrong, you can speak your truth about this and even try to educate or change them, but you must do it the right way. You must first be just as willing to listen to their views as you are to talk about your own. You must handle the conversation with respect, seeing them as equal in value (because you aren’t perfect either). If you cannot approach them this way, with humility and respect, they will likely just get defensive and defend their right to be how they are. They will dig in their heels and refuse to change if you aren’t open to changing too.
5. Never assume your way of being is better or right, and others are wrong.
If you want a person to be open to learning and changing, you must be willing to listen and learn from them. You must be open to being wrong and learning something new yourself. This is the only way to encourage openness in them.
6. Be a safe place for each other.
The biggest problem I see in most relationships is that partners don’t feel safe enough to discuss critical issues with each other. They are both too quick to be offended and get defensive. They don’t feel safe with each other because they fear they are going to be made wrong or made to feel they aren’t good enough. The first thing that must change in these relationships is both partners must commit to be a safe place for the other, a place where the other's infinite value will be honored and their self-esteem protected.
7. Loved ones have more power to hurt us and, therefore, we must work twice as hard at being the cure to their fears.
We are all afraid we aren’t good enough and we aren’t safe. These are our deepest, darkest fears. We want, more than anything, to have the people we love most see us as good enough and to feel safe with them. Unfortunately, this sometimes doesn’t happen. The people we love disappoint us, let us down, irritate and offend us, and we in turn get critical and defensive. These fear reactions block our ability to love and cherish these people.
ConclusionIf you want to have healthy, rich, loving relationships, the most important thing you can do is make sure the people you love feel good enough and safe. You can literally be the cure to their core fears, instead of often being the cause. Be careful with criticism. Give lots of validation about everything they do right. Let them know, at the end of the day, they and their self-esteem are safe with you. Make it your No. 1 goal to give validation and reassurance to your partner on a daily basis. This will create a relationship based in love and trust.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
SALT LAKE CITY — There are always people in your life who you take issue with or who rub you the wrong way. There may even be some humans you just can’t stand.
It is important that you take stock of these people and why you have strong feelings against them. Maybe they did something that offended you, or they just have personalities that irritate or annoy you. Whatever the problem is, these people are triggering you for a reason, and figuring out the reason behind those triggers is important.
The people who rankle you hold clues about your beliefs, judgments, shame and inner pain. They provide opportunities for you to learn about yourself and heal. But in order to use these experiences to heal yourself, you have to recognize that they aren’t just annoying people; they are perfect teachers in your classroom.
The most important thing they do for you is show you the limits of your love. You are a loving person with love to give to everyone around you, right up until you get to THOSE people. Then, you hit a limit. Your love doesn’t extend that far. This is a place where some really amazing growth can happen if you are willing to ask yourself some questions.
What does the person represent?
Think about one of these teachers in your life who is showing you the limits of your love. Then ask yourself the following:
This is where the work starts
Now you get to explore the part of you that feels unsafe by the trait, behavior or fear this person represents. Why do you feel "not good enough" or "not safe" in the world if that trait, behavior, or fear is in play? What healing needs to happen for you so you can heal that part of you?
You may want to find some professional help from a coach or counselor for this work, but whatever you do you cannot keep projecting the problem on and blaming this other person for the way you are being triggered. They are only in your life as a teacher to help you see the place you need to heal so you can work on it.
This idea may be one you have to process and think about before you believe it’s true or worth the work. It will always feel easier to keep blaming and shaming someone else. Your ego will really want to keep making it about other people and their issues because this feels safer. The problem is that teachers will keep coming and this problem will not go away. It will keep showing up until you are ready to work on you.
Everyone you dislike holds a secret of healing and help for you if you are willing to look for it, but there is something else even more helpful they can also give you.\
Learning to love yourself
Another crucial thing you must understand about the people that bother you is they also show you the limits of your love toward yourself. You can only love yourself as much as you can love your neighbors, and you can only love your neighbors as much as you can love yourself. You may not be aware of this connection or want to believe it, but I believe it’s true. If you hate the darkness in yourself, you will hate every bit of darkness you can find in others. If you are hateful toward others, you similarly won’t be able to love yourself.
As long as there are people whose darkness (bad behavior or faults) seem to you to make them unworthy of love, there will also be parts of yourself that you will also see as unworthy of love. It’s like there are two options when it comes to love, and you are going to have to choose one. If you don’t consciously choose one, you will subconsciously choose one, so you have to choose. The two options involve how you determine the value of all human beings.
Option 1 – People can be not good enough. This mindset means you see human value as changeable and something that must be earned. This means life is like a test and you gain points or lose points based on your appearance, performance, property and what others think of you. This also means that some humans have more value than other humans and that judging who is better or worse makes sense. If you choose this option, you will gossip, judge and criticize other people because you need to see them as worse than you to feel better about yourself. You will also battle a terrible fear of not being good enough (and have low self-esteem), no matter how hard you try. You will always find people who have things about them you don’t have and you will never feel good enough. You will also see all human beings as different from you and you will feel separate from them, and this will encourage you to make more divisions and groups, trying to find some group identity that would give you a sense of safety (even though that safety comes only from hating or condemning other people). Can you see this happening in our world right now?
Option 2 – All people are always good enough. This mindset means you see human value as infinite, absolute and unchangeable. This means all humans (without exception) have the exact same intrinsic worth and there is nothing anyone can do that gives them more value than any other human being. There is also nothing you can do to have less value than any other human being. No matter what anyone does they have the same intrinsic worth as the rest of us. This will make you feel connected to the whole human race and you won’t need to form groups and declare some people better or worse. You will understand that we are all equal but different. The more you allow every human being around you to be a struggling, scared student in the classroom of life — just like you — the more compassion you will have for yourself, too. When you allow others' value to be unchangeable and you see them as good enough and worthy of love, even when they are flawed, this also lifts your worth. You will start to have stable, solid self-esteem because there is no possibility of failure. Life is a classroom, not a test, and mistakes create the lessons we need to learn, but they don’t change our value. This mindset makes you feel safer with others and could literally create more peace on Earth.
You get to decide about 20 times a day, which mindset you will choose. Every time you are tempted to judge or find fault in another person you are choosing a mindset. If you choose condemnation and judgment, you must understand you are also choosing that for yourself. If they are not good enough, you aren’t good enough, either. The option you choose for them you also choose for yourself. You can’t have it both ways.
We are on this planet to evolve, grow and learn. Every experience you have here serves that purpose, even feelings of dislike toward other people. Take the time to pay attention and think about these interesting people in your life, I promise it will serve you.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
First, I have to say I love reading your weekly articles. The last few weeks have really resonated with me. My girlfriend and I have been together for about four years. Lately, I find myself really wanting affection, validation, a compliment or to feel wanted by her. She used to do little things for me and tell me nice things all the time. Whenever I try to talk to her about it and ask for what I need, she gets angry and feels like I am criticizing her and she feels like she's not good enough. I don't feel like I am doing this with critical intentions. I feel myself getting passive-aggressive about it and feeling bad that she doesn't do these things. I feel like I can't even talk to her about it or she'll just get mad, so I feel like I just have to accept it as it is or give up on the relationship. Do you have any recommendations?
I am going to teach you some tricks for having hard conversations about your relationship, but I will also give you some tips for making the relationship more fulfilling and rich. It is definitely worth trying these things before you give up.
It would be a good exercise for every couple to sit together, read this article and discuss how they can do better in all six areas. Relationships take work; being willing to improve yourself and make changes is critical.
1. Learn more about your partner and how they are wired differently from you
Detailed information on how to learn more about your partner and how he or she is wired can be found in an article I wrote called "The anatomy of your relationship." Once you've done this, make sure you are loving them for who they are and giving them room to be themselves. You are never going to make a task-driven and not very emotional person into an attentive, emotional empath. You will (to some degree) have to learn to love who they really are. This doesn’t mean you can’t bring up offenses or request more loving behavior from them, you just have to do it the right way without attacking them or expecting them to be you. I will explain the right way to do so below.
2. Work on managing your own fear triggers
Your No. 1 job in the relationship is to stay in a trust and love state and be responsible for balanced behavior. When done correctly, this takes so much work and effort that you shouldn’t have much time left for trying to fix your partner.
If you have a hard time getting feedback from your partner and tend to get defensive or feel attacked, you may have a fear-of-failure problem that is hindering your ability to show up with love. You are so worried about not being good enough, you can’t access love for your partner. You may need to get some professional help to manage your fear and become more capable of receiving feedback without feeling attacked. A therapist or coach can make this process easier and faster. Likewise, if you are easily offended, overly critical, or judgmental, you may have a fear-of-loss problem you need to work on. Your partner needs you to own these issues and get to work on becoming a more balanced you.
It is also your partner's No. 1 job to stay in a trust and love state. If he or she is not willing to work on themselves, this might not be the healthy relationship you want to be in. That is something you will have to consider.
3. Have mutually validating conversations about what you both need — every week
Make it a weekly tradition that you find some quiet time (every week at the same day and time works best) and ask each other, "How you are feeling about our relationship and what is one thing I could do to show up for you better?" Then, listen and validate, honor and respect their right to be experiencing things the way they are and feeling how they do. Thank them for being open and honest with you and commit to trying to give what they requested. Then, have them do the same for you. Remember, mutually validating conversations are about listening to understand and better love the other person; they are about giving to each other, not trying to get what you need. If you both go into these conversations with a giving mindset, no one should get offended.
4. Become the cure to your partner's core fear
As you learn more about your partner and their differences, figure out what their biggest core fear trigger is. It will likely be something around being not good enough (fear of failure) or feeling taken from or mistreated (fear of loss). Ask lots of questions and figure out what makes them feel the most unsafe in the relationship. Figure out how you can become the cure to that fear and make them feel safe every single day — as much as you are able to, anyway. Most of their fear work ultimately has to be done by them, but you can help by being a constant source of validation and reassurance. Doing your best to make them feel safe with you is guaranteed to make a difference.
5. Make sure your partner feels admired, appreciated, respected and wanted every day
These four things create really rich relationships. Real love happens best when they are all present. If you love your partner but don’t respect or admire them, it won’t be the kind of love they are really after. If your partner loves you but doesn’t appreciate what you do, you won’t feel very loved. The one thing you have control over in this relationship is what you are giving the other person. Try every single day to say and do something that makes your partner feel admired, appreciated, respected and wanted, and you will be amazed at what you get back.
6. Forgive, give the benefit of the doubt, and be slow to get offended
Below are some things that will help you be more forgiving and less easily offended:
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I have been dating a guy for about seven months. We have talked about marriage but are not sure if we are ready. I have some concerns about how critical of each other we both are. He is critical of my clothes, car, cleanliness. I am critical of his schedule and how he doesn’t make time for me. I want to make the relationship works after all the time I have invested into it, but my feeling is that if we are critical of each other now, does that reflect a mismatch of values and perhaps mean it is time to move on? So my question is, how hard should you have to work on a dating relationship to make it work and when is it time to move on?
I love this question, but I am going to break it down into the three smaller questions that will make the answer easier to understand.
1. Why are you two being so critical of each other and what’s up with that behavior?
There are a few reasons this conflict might be happening. People are critical or conflict-prone because:
2. Is it a bad sign that means the relationship is wrong or doomed?
Criticizing one another does not necessarily mean the relationship won’t work, will be too hard, or isn’t right. But there are three things it could mean and, again, you will have to listen to your inner GPS to know which is happening in your case.
I teach relationship dynamics for a living, and I can tell you that the perfect match for you is rarely someone just like you. You were likely drawn to this person because of their differences. See if you can love those differences, laugh at their quirkiness and stop trying to change them.
3. Should you stay together and keep working on it, or when should you move on?
You are the only one entitled to the answer to this question, but you are entitled to it. Think it out, listen to your gut and make the decision that feels right, then try on the answer for a few hours — or a few days — and see how it feels. Even though breaking up is painful, sad and hard, you will know if it’s the right thing to do.
If you cannot figure out what your gut is saying, you probably have some fear in the way. You may need some help to quiet the fears so you can hear your gut. Again, some professional relationship help can make this easier.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I had a client ask me about the anatomy of the argument they keep having over and over throughout their marriage. They have noticed that other couples say the same thing: they always argue over the same thing or around the same basic issue. So, I thought that maybe I would explain a simple way to take apart that argument and see what is really happening.
The first thing you need to understand is that fear is in play. I believe there are two fears we all battle with every day, and have done so since we were small children. They are the fear of failure (that I might not be good enough) and the fear of loss (that I am not safe). We all experience both of these, but each person has one that is more dominant.
Find the fear
When thinking about your most common argument, it’s important to figure out which fear is in play for each of you. Ask the following questions to determine which fear is dominant for you, and then for your partner.
Fear of failure questions
Fear of loss questions
Study the fight
The reason it is important to know a person’s core fear is that once you understand where their fear is based, you also know the key trigger that knocks them out of balance and brings out their bad behavior. Most of your arguments will be the same basic fear getting triggered.
People who are fear-of-failure dominant get offended when they feel judged, criticized, rejected, unloved, abandoned or insulted.
People who are fear-of-loss dominant get offended when they feel taken from, mistreated, disregarded, disrespected or like they are losing something.
Think back on your most common argument or disagreement you have with a person. Which one of the above offenses happened first? Someone started this argument when they felt one of those things. Can you see which fear was in play first?
When their first fear was triggered, the person reacted and behaved in a way that triggered the other person’s fear. Can you see which fear that was?
Whenever you react from fear, the behavior that results is almost always selfish and focused solely on protecting yourself. This behavior makes the other person feel unsafe. When you are so focused on protecting yourself, you are not going to be thinking about protecting the other person. It is important that you can see behavior that the first person displayed, or what they said that got the second person triggered, too.
What did the first person’s behavior make the second person feel? Did they feel ...
See the solution
It is critical to understand the anatomy of these arguments so you can see the solution. At the end of the day, you both just want to feel safe, loved, respected, admired and wanted by your partner. This argument is really about the fact that you don’t feel that way.
So, the answer to ending this argument for good is to learn how to make your partner feel safe, loved, respected, admired and wanted when they first get triggered.
What if you could pause right at the beginning of the argument, when the first trigger happens, and ask yourself:
Mary and John
Let me give you an example of how this works:
Mary and her husband John live on a tight budget and are very careful in stretching their paycheck to the end of the month. John opens the fridge and finds a bag of salad that has gone bad and has to be thrown out. He turns to Mary and in anger says "That is just great! Why didn’t you use this before it sat in the fridge and rotted? What’s the matter with you?" Mary yells back, "Why do you have to be such a jerk? You are the worst husband ever." The argument escalates from there.
Let’s take this one apart: This argument started when John got triggered by fear of loss. He was already worried about not having enough money this month, and seeing food go bad triggered that fear. But notice that he doesn’t see it as a money fear problem; he inaccurately sees it as Mary’s problem. So, he aimed his bad reaction right at Mary, insulting and verbally attacking her.
This, of course, triggered Mary’s fear of failure, as John was accusing her of being careless and wasteful. But instead of recognizing what John’s fear was really about (the money fear), she goes on the defense and attacks him back. Now, both John and Mary feel unsafe with each other and instead of addressing the actual fear issue, they have made the argument about each other.
The truth is that most bad behavior is a cry for help, love or reassurance because the person is scared of something; it’s always more about the person’s fears about themselves than it is about you.
People who are grouchy and rude and attack you for small mistakes, or right out of the blue, are usually battling a huge fear that they aren’t good enough; however, they aren't conscious of that, so they project their self-hate onto you, which is easier for them than facing it.
Many people who feel mistreated, taken from, or are easily offended are really angry at life for disappointing them. They can’t punish life for their losses, so they project the problem onto everyone around them. If you can start stepping back and looking at each argument through this filter, you will find they are easier to understand and resolve than you think.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Many mental health professionals say that during this pandemic mental health matters more than ever. There are serious mental health consequences that show up for people suffering from sustained fear. The American Journal of Managed Care notes that you can start to feel a dissociation from your identity, you can find it harder to feel loving feelings, you can experience mood swings, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, and/or learned helplessness, where you give up believing help or an end to suffering exists.
If you read my column on a regular basis, you know my passion for helping people deal with fear — and specifically what I call the two core fears: The fear of failure (which is the fear of not being good enough) and the fear of loss (which is the fear of not being safe).
Right now, people all over the world are battling a more than normal amount of fear that they aren’t safe. We are all afraid of loss. We are afraid of getting sick, losing family or friends, afraid of police brutality, protests or riots, afraid that the election might create more turmoil or violence, afraid of business failures and/or losing our jobs. The entire world is holding its breath to see what unknown problems lie around the bend next.
It might help your family to talk about safety and where a sense of safety can come from. The truth is life will always be uncertain and full of risk. Bad things happen and there is no way to protect ourselves from all of life’s dangers. You could make an argument that fear and stress are even warranted, but there is a high cost to living in fear of loss.
When you feel unsafe in the world, it diminishes your capacity to care for and love other people. It hinders your ability to connect, it makes you feel separated, isolated and alone. It makes you quicker to take offense and see yourself as mistreated, which creates more conflict.
You might have noticed that your family members have been more easy to offend lately, or that there have been more disagreements. Some of this is from spending too much time together, but part of it is also coming from the sustained fear of loss we are all experiencing.
'It's just a story' strategy
It would serve us all to learn a strategy for eliminating fear of loss and feeling safer. I teach my coaches that the best way out of the "I am not safe in the world" belief, is to remember it’s just a story. The way you feel about anything is coming from the story you are telling yourself about it. You might, in fact, be very safe at this moment and there might be good things around the next bend for you. There is no way to know what is coming next. No matter what you believe, it is a story.
This means that standing in this moment you have two basic story choices:
Trust God and the universe
You might want to gather your family and talk about what you truly believe the point and purpose of our being on the planet is. Talk about whether you see this universe is a place of chaos or a place of order.
Go through the following questions:
Start practicing trusting God and the universe that you are safe during the little inconveniences and problems that show up every day. Could you see a flat tire, a canceled plan, or an unexpected mess as your perfect classroom journey today? Could you choose to feel safe in those moments, trusting that God and the universe have you and the setback is a blessing in disguise? Playing with small losses now helps you to have strong "trust muscles" on a really bad day.
Choosing to trust that God and the universe are on your side, and constantly conspiring to bless and grow you, makes a big difference on your stress level. Give it a try for yourself. You can do this.
More tips and resources
Here are some other ways to help your family cope with stress and fear:
This was first published on ksl.com
The French-born author Anais Nin, wrote about an old Talmudic philosophy that says we can only dream about things we have previously encountered or thought. So, "We don’t see things as they are, we see the world as we are," Nin says.
The way this works is that if you grew up in a stable, emotionally and mentally healthy family, you probably see the world as stable and safe. If you grew up in a violent, abusive, or unhealthy family, you will be more likely to view the world as an unsafe, violent place. You will always subconsciously project your world onto the world you see.
This also applies to the way you see other people. You subconsciously project your experience of what you are like onto others and assume they are just like you, or they should be. When they don’t act like you, you are often shocked.
According to an article from the American Psychological Association, neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese said, "It seems we’re wired to see other people as similar to us, rather than different. At the root, as humans we identify the person we’re facing as someone just like ourselves."
You see other people as you are, and you subconsciously expect them to behave as you would. The problem is that other people are just not wired like you are. They have had very different life experiences, so they cannot possibly see the world (or behave) the same way you do.
Some inaccurate projections
Here are some other ways this tendency to project yourself onto others shows up:
Consequences of inaccurate projections
All of these perceptions, or mind tricks, can create fallout in your relationships. Here are some common ways they might affect your life:
Obviously, the problem is that we are (for the most part) blind to our subconscious projections. We cannot tell that we aren’t seeing accurately, so awareness is the most important thing if we are going to change our projections. Start noticing your thoughts and assumptions about other people and question them.
As a coach, I use personality tests to show my clients the ways they are different and similar to the other important people in their lives. These tests help them to understand why other people see the world in a different way, which creates compassion. Hope this helps you.
You can do it.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
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.