This article was first published on KSL.COM
My spouse has anger issues. She has been mad at me for years and can’t seem to let it go. She also expresses a lot of anger towards other people. She can invent reasons to be angry at anyone. I don’t understand her anger and it concerns me, especially when I’m sometimes the target of it. Is there anything I can do?
First, I want you (and I believe it would serve us all) to better understand the psychology behind anger. It usually comes from these three factors:
A victim experience can even be created when someone has done something wrong themselves and you have just called them on their bad behavior. Because they don’t want to be responsible for their behavior, they subconsciously focus on how mean you were for bringing it up. (Many of you have experienced this with your spouse or significant other.)
I experienced this recently when I was pulled over by the police for running a stop sign. It was a very interesting anger experience. My first thought (driven by my subconscious programming) was to think of an excuse that might get me out of being responsible for that partial stop. I hoped that this police officer would be nice (and not be a jerk) about my very slight offense and let me off with a warning, but the officer did her job, handled me in a very matter of fact way, and gave me a ticket.
I was not happy about this and I honestly felt mistreated. I experienced a great deal of anger towards this officer because I felt wronged. I did stop at that stop sign, just not long enough, apparently, but there was no reason to be so rude about it — that was my thinking. There was even a part of my ego that wanted to say something mean to her about what a rude person she was. I didn’t, because I'm pretty emotionally mature and nonreactive, but my ego side sure wanted to.
Instead, I sat in the car for a minute and really experienced my angry emotions. The amount of anger I had towards this officer, who was just doing her job, was amazing. I realized this experience could help me to understand why some people, who have more police “interactions” because of their skin color or ethnicity (which is a reality) would start to feel a great deal of anger towards the police.
I also understand it because I have an African-American daughter who gets followed around stores by nervous employees all the time. This can create some anger in both of us, but fortunately, we are able to see that it isn’t really about us (it’s about their fear) so we strive to ignore it.
I tell you this because I want you to understand that your spouse probably suffers from a general fear of being insulted or taken from all the time. This may come from her past and is a part of her subconscious programming. She probably also suffers from low self-esteem (though again, she might cover this with pride and ego) and to compensate for this she will subconsciously look for offenses to be angry about, because being angry at “them or you” makes her ego feel powerful and somewhat better about herself. By casting you or someone else as the bad guy, it feels like by default, that makes her the good guy.
So, now that you better understand her psychology, your question was is there anything you can do?
First, understand when the anger is directed at you that it isn’t really about you. It is really a projection of her fears about herself and need to feel powerful and right by making others wrong. You must see her anger accurately for what it is, so you won’t let it bother you too much. It is her problem. Don’t take it on and suffer over it.
Second, be nice, kind, calm and logical and treat her with all the respect and love that you can, even when she doesn’t deserve it. Praise her and validate her whenever possible too (about any good behavior you see). This is the last thing she expects as she is subconsciously hoping you will behave badly back, so she can further cast you as the bad one. Being kind will throw her off her game, and it may actually force her to see she is the one behaving badly. This is what you want.
Don’t cast any stones or point out that she is in the wrong. You want her to realize this on her own (it’s much more powerful this way.) Having said that, if a lot of time goes by and she just isn’t seeing her anger issues or working on them, you may need to get a professional involved who can help her to see how her behavior is a problem and show her how to change it. It works a lot better if a third-party professional, not you, is the one to point out her need to learn forgiveness.
I also mentioned in last week’s article (about the most important New Year's resolution you could make) that we all need to start seeing other people as the same as us, and not cast them as the bad guys, because this is the real answer to stopping hate and anger. Make sure you read it if you missed it and remember that we are all imperfect, struggling, scared human beings doing the best we can with what we know and we all have the exact same value.
If you would commit to see other people (and especially your spouse) accurately this year and never see yourself as better, it will take your ego out of the picture and bring love, tolerance and acceptance back in. We must stop casting our spouse, neighbors, the police or people who are different from us as the bad guys. We must remember that anger towards another person or group of people will hurt you more than it will hurt them.
Buddha said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; but you are the one who gets burned.”
Understand that every experience where you feel wronged or insulted is there to help you grow, learn to forgive and become a better person. It is your lesson on forgiveness, tolerance, understanding and becoming more mature (not theirs).
Even in situations when a wrong needs to be brought up, you must do it from a place of love for the other person, not seeing them as the bad guy. It must be handled from a place of forgiveness, seeing the other person as the same as you, as a struggling human being who has much more to learn.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I have a teenager who I love but I am struggling to connect with. He has been in trouble and broken my trust and there is now quite a divide between us. I want to feel closer to him, but my constant questioning just makes him angry at me, and I can’t stop questioning because I don’t trust him. He is almost 18, so I don’t have much more time with him in my home. I really want to repair our relationship and get him to like me again. Do you have any advice on how?
Your question has a lot of dimensions and I can’t cover all of them in this article. There is a great article on risky teen behavior and trusting your child again, by Janet Lehman, that I highly recommend you read.
In this article, I want to focus on helping you build a strong, loving and more respectful relationship with your teen, who is almost an adult and out of your house.
The biggest factor affecting the quality of your relationship is not whether you can’t trust your child, but can your child trust you? Have you created a relationship of trust where your child can talk to you about anything and get guidance, love, validation and encouragement? Or have you unintentionally become the enemy?
Teresa Graham Brett, author of the book "Parenting for Social Change," said, “Parenting is about building a relationship of trust and love between you and a child — it is not about making them turn out the way you want. It can’t be about control more than it’s about love, trust, mutual respect and caring for each other.”
I think this is where many of us get off track. We are more worried about them turning out the way we want than we are about loving them and respecting them as individuals. We have so many fears about failing as a parent we forget to ask, “What does my child need?”
If you are worried about looking bad, which we all are at times, your parenting behavior will be more selfish and controlling than loving and supporting. And your child will resent it. You must create a relationship where love and support come before control and expectations. This may mean being more flexible about some of your rules and standards. When you are too rigid about the way you want your child to turn out, you will come from a place of disapproval and judgment a lot of the time. This can say that you care more about your expectations being met than you do about them. Too many lectures and not enough listening and validating can make them feel you are against them.
I’m not telling you to be a pushover, drop your standards and let your child run wild, though. I’m saying if you were more open, more loving and more accepting of your teen’s ideas, opinions and choices, he would also be more open to hearing, understanding and accepting yours and in this place you will have more influence on him.
Bonnie Harris, M.S.Ed., says, “Children resist with all their might when they think we are against them — when we criticize, blame, threaten, lecture — when they don’t trust that we understand and accept them.” She says, “We often parent with the misconception that our job is to teach our children how to act and perform in the world, and if they don’t do it right then they must be forced with some kind of manipulative, punitive tactic to get them on track.” (You might want to read her article, too.)
Harris says this leads to power struggles, punishing, grounding and making them miserable, hoping this will motivate them to change. The problem is these tactics aren’t very motivating and they are more likely to push your child further away, where you have less influence on them. This type of parenting makes you the enemy and pushes your child toward friends for support.
Think about your relationship with your spouse or your friends. If you showed up in these relationships mostly focused on control and getting these people to be the way you want them to be, these people wouldn’t like you either. Of course parenting is different and requires some stewardship, teaching and guiding, but this can be done from a place of trust and love. It really can.
You will actually have more influence on your child when you have a relationship based on mutual respect, listening, validating and unconditional love — the same factors that build good relationships with business associates, soul mates and friends.
I believe building a relationship of trust, where people can trust you, requires three things: respect, the ability to focus on others and a close emotional connection. Let me explain how each of these works in a parent/child relationship:
You must have their respect: In the business world, no one respects you or comes to you for advice until you have achieved some level of success or have a proven track record of good performance. To build a good, respectful, trust-based relationship with your teen, you must first work on yourself and have your act together. If you have insecurities, emotional over-reactions to problems, or are prone to immature behavior, your child is not going to respect you or listen to you. I get a lot of calls from parents interested in life coaching for their teens, which we can do, but we won’t coach a teen until we have first coached the parents.
You must stop being afraid of failure and loss. You must stop worrying about what others think of you. You must gain confidence and start modeling happy, healthy, adult behavior. Teens are smart enough to know when you aren’t happy or balanced, and if your lifestyle isn’t making you happy, no teen is going to listen to you or follow you.
You may need some professional help to improve your self-esteem, see situations clearly and respond with more maturity, confidence and love. I highly recommend getting some.
You must be able to focus on them: This is more complicated than you think. Are you worried about how his choices make you look? Are you worried about losing him? Are you worried about failing as a parent? Are you worried about what the neighbors think? Are you overly concerned with how his actions make you feel and put you out? Are YOUR standards, opinions and ideas the ones that matter? All of these fears are selfishness and show your focus is on you. (I know you believe your truth is THE TRUTH, but that is still all about YOU). If you want to build a relationship of trust with your child, you must be able to set your stuff aside and focus on what he needs most.
You must have a close emotional connection: There is only one way to create this kind of connection with another human being — good communication and lots of it. This means communication that is open, honest, validating and encouraging. It means asking more questions and listening, than you do talking. It means honoring and respecting their right to think and feel the way they do. It means valuing them as a person and validating their ideas. It means being respectful and asking for permission before giving advice, like “Would you be open to a suggestion from Dad?” and not giving it if they say no. There is a communication formula worksheet on my website that teaches how to do this. It may take practice and patience, though, to rebuild trust if you have talked more than you’ve listened in the past.
You must also be very careful NOT to use shame or fear in your parenting. Imposing shame on anyone makes you an unsafe place and severs the emotional connection.
Remember that every situation in your life is there to teach you to love at a deeper level. This situation is no exception. If you will focus less on changing your child and more on changing and improving yourself, you can improve this relationship.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
This was first published on KSL.COM
There is a manager I have to deal with in my office who is driving me crazy. She creates problems out of thin air and blames them on me. She sometimes attacks me with ridiculous accusations. I’m apparently the only one with a target on my back, so no one can validate what I’m experiencing. I really don’t know what to do. I can’t leave this job and I can’t have a rational conversation with her because she denies it all. Any advice?
This advice would apply to anyone who has to work (or live) with someone they don’t like and struggle to get along with. We all experience people problems, therefore learning to cope with difficult people is an important life skill.
The famous author J.G. Holland said, “The secret of many a man's success in the world resides in his insight into the moods of men and his tact in dealing with them.”
Here are nine tips for coping with the difficult people in your life:
1) Understand most bad behavior is based in the difficult person’s fear about themselves. Even when they are attacking you or casting you as the bad guy, they wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t so scared of looking bad or being taken from. Everyone on this planet is scared of failure (looking bad) and loss (being taken from) to some degree, and these two fears are behind most bad behavior. Step back from every situation and ask yourself, “What is this person scared of?” This manager obviously sees you as a threat in some way. Why? Understanding her fear issues will help you with the next tip ….
2) Don’t take it personally. Just because she is blaming you and casting you as the bad guy doesn’t mean you have to take it, pick it up and own it. You don’t even have to be upset by it. You could let it bounce off you and deny her actions any power to hurt, diminish or bother you. You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to.
There is an old legend that a man started insulting and verbally abusing Buddha. Buddha let the man go on for a while, then asked, “May I ask you a question?” The man responded, ‘What?” “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, who does it belong to?” The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it. He must keep it.” “That is correct. “ And with that Buddha walked away.
3) Look for the lesson. I recently taught the principle of not taking things personally to a corporate group. One of the "difficult to work with" employees in the group immediately latched onto the idea of not taking things personally to excuse herself from being responsible for her bad behavior. She basically decided to dismiss anyone who had a problem with her. This wasn’t what I meant. When people attack you, complain about you, or are upset over your behavior, you had better step back and check this feedback for accuracy.
In a place of trust, seeing life as a classroom, not a test, where your value isn’t in question, you should step back and look at any and all feedback to see if there is truth behind it. Make sure you are mindful of how your behavior affects others. This experience is in your life to teach you something. What is it showing you about yourself? The easiest thing to change in any situation is you. Is there any way you could behave differently to improve this situation?
4) Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. What is going on in their world? Are they dealing with a family issue, a divorce or health problems? Are they struggling with their job or clashing with the boss and taking it out on you? If you can put yourself in their shoes, you may gain some compassion and clarity about what’s really going on. Then you might see a way to help them and solve the issue for you both.
5) Don’t react impulsively. An emotional reaction when you are annoyed never produces the best results. Give it a little time and space to make sure you see the situation accurately and are not coming from fear before you say or do anything. But don’t let the problem fester too long, either. It’s better to tackle bad behavior sooner than to dig up something that happened weeks ago.
6) Stop talking about it. If you are talking about this difficult person with everyone who will listen, you are adding negative energy to the problem. Check why you feel the need to do this. Are you doing this to get validation or feel important? Consider focusing on finding solutions instead of gossiping.
7) Treat this person with respect and kindness even if they don’t deserve it. This is the best approach because they will never expect it! Kindness may actually throw them off their game completely. Nothing changes a negative situation faster than refusing to participate in it. It takes two to fight. Look for good in this person and compliment them often. Dig deep and find something in this person to appreciate and be grateful for. The more you thank them for good behavior, the more they will behave that way toward you. Kindness will make it very hard for them to treat you badly in the future.
8) Have a mutually validating conversation. If you decide you must have a conversation with this person about their behavior, follow these steps for best results:
You have more power to change this situation than you think, but a scared, angry, victim mentality will rob you of that power. Your power comes by choosing to act from a place of strength, fearlessness, wisdom and love.
You can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and is a coach, speaker and corporate trainer.
First Published on KSL.COMQuestion:
Life is not a happy place in our home right now. Our marriage is not great, I’m struggling at work and I can’t say that I even felt a shred of happiness all week. Do you have any suggestions when someone is just unhappy with life in general?
Tony Robbins says there are six basic needs you must have to feel happy and fulfilled in life.
You cannot wait for life to change. That would take too long and it is largely out of your control. So, you must focus on the one thing that is in your control — your perspective. You always have the power to choose how you feel in this moment, and your perspective will create your experience.
Most people think their reality creates their experience. They think reality forces them to feel a certain way, but it isn’t true. You get to decide how you are going to experience every moment.
It is your decisions, not your conditions, that determine your happiness.
If you are currently unhappy, then it is time to change your mindset and start choosing to experience certainty, uncertainty, significance, love, growth and contribution. I’m going to tell you exactly how to do this. Then you will need to practice these choices until the concepts cement into your subconscious thinking.
1) Change how you see yourself. (Read this out loud now) I choose to see my value with certainty and my significance as a given. I am a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, amazing, divine, human soul and there will never be another me. This makes me infinitely valuable and absolutely significant. My value is never in question and cannot change. I am a student in the classroom of life. I am here to learn and grow, but this is not a test, so I cannot fail. I am always good enough, even though I have more to learn. My value is certain and I have nothing to fear.
2) Change how you see your life. (Read this out loud now) I choose to see life as uncertain but with a purpose. That purpose is growth and my learning to love and contribute. I believe life is a surprising adventure because it has to be that way to facilitate growth. Every experience that shows up in my life is an opportunity to learn something, practice trust or become more loving. Every offense, every challenge and every disappointment is there to help me become a better version of myself. Life is uncertain but everything serves me in some way, so I have nothing to fear.
3) Change how you see your mistakes. (Read this out loud now) Life is a classroom, not a test. This means mistakes don’t diminish my value. A mistake is just a learning experience and I must embrace the lesson, make amends where I can, then let it go. I am here to learn love and forgiveness even toward myself. My mistakes do not affect my value and they make me wiser. I have nothing to fear.
4) Change how you see your body. (Read this out loud now) My body is no more “me” than the shirt I am wearing. My genetics are a class I got signed up for here and though they are creating interesting lessons in my life, my body isn’t who I am. My love is who I am. I am wise and take care of my body (like I would my car) because it is the only one I get, but I don’t identify myself by it. Instead of trying to impress people with my appearance, I go get them with my love. My love can bring all goodness to me. I have nothing to fear.
5) Change how you see money. (Read this out loud now) Money is not the scorecard of my worth. If I see money as the scorecard, it will create a scarcity mindset. Instead, I see money as a resource that helps to facilitate my growth and contributions to the world, but is a resource that is always coming in and going out. I see it like the waves of the ocean, which ebb and flow, but are nothing to fear because they always come back in. I have an abundance mentality around money and trust I will always have all I need and more. There is nothing to fear. (Download theMoney Fear Worksheet from my website if this is a big issue for you.)
6) Change how you see your relationship. (Read this out loud now) The biggest misconception people have about love is they think love is something to get. This is inaccurate. The only love I will ever have is the love I have to give. I forgive my partner on a daily basis for their faults, flaws and fears, which make them incapable of giving love to me. I choose to focus on giving love, not getting it. (Unless this is an abuse situation where leaving may be the more loving choice for all involved.) I understand that my being more loving is the magic that will create the happiness I seek.
Tony Robbins says, “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life's deepest joy: true fulfillment.”
I promise if you will choose a more accurate mindset, make a bigger commitment to love, connect and contribute to those around you, while understanding your value is certain, even though the journey isn’t — you will experience amazing growth and feel happier.
You can do this!
First published on KSL.com
My husband is very sarcastic and I have struggled to know how to cope with his sarcastic remarks. Some of my hurt comes from fear that he is actually feeling what he says and that sarcasm is his passive-aggressive way to convey what he really feels. I have a hard time deciphering what is joking versus what is real when he talks. I have tried to talk to him about it, but he says I need to lighten up. I'm trying to combat it from within but need a little bit more of a boost. Can you help with this?
You may want to ask your spouse to read this article because once he understands why he is sarcastic, he may be more motivated to change it. Oscar Wilde said “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.” This is because sarcastic comments, though humorous, are usually passive-aggressive, mean and uncomfortable for the people receiving them. The dictionary defines sarcasm as “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt; a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark.” None of these sound like validating communication to me.
If you use sarcasm you must ask yourself, what are you trying to accomplish with your communication? What kind of relationship do you want? Are you striving to be funny at the expense of others? Or do you want to build relationships of trust and love? Do you care how other people feel? Or are you only interested in entertaining yourself?
Sarcastic people often see teasing as tough love and believe people should be able to handle it. They also think saying “just kidding” after a sarcastic remark makes it OK, even if it hurts. They usually see themselves as funny people, even if they are the only ones laughing. In reality, sarcastic people usually have a fear problem. (I know some of you aren’t convinced yet, that every problem is a fear problem, but keep looking at it because it’s true.) They are usually battling either a fear of not being good enough (the fear of failure) or the fear of being taken from (the fear of loss). They need to step back and figure out why they need to be sarcastic.
Here are some common reasons you might be sarcastic:
1. You fear you aren’t good enough, so you subconsciously put others down so you can feel superior.The worse you feel about yourself the more biting your remarks toward others could be. Insecure people have to put others down or tease them, in order to feel important and of value themselves. If this is your issue you may need some professional help to improve your self-worth.
2. Sarcasm is also a way of asking for what you want when you are scared to ask for it directly. You might crack a joke about your wife’s crazy shoes because you don’t know how to just say you don’t like them. But your sarcastic remark leaves your wife unsure about what you really think. Were you joking or serious? If you don’t know how to say things in a way that won’t hurt, you make a joke, which usually still hurts, but creates a space where if she takes offense, it’s her problem. If this is your issue, you need to improve your communication skills.
3. Sarcasm may be passive-aggressive anger. This happens because you feel taken from, insulted or annoyed by this person and you really want to take a jab at them. Sarcasm is a way to take a jab without being seen as mean. A joke absolves you of responsibility for their feelings. If this is your issue, you need to learn how to resolve the issue you are angry about.
4. You may feel angry at life for the disappointments or abuse you have suffered. Sarcasm can be a way to take out your anger toward life or vent your frustration. The more life does you wrong, the more biting your remarks toward others could be. If this is your issue you need to learn how to use your life experiences to make you better not bitter.
5. If you were teased in a cruel way, put down or made to feel inferior as a child, you may be subconsciously trying to get the upper hand now. You may look down on others and jokingly strike at them as a way to feel superior and powerful. Again, you may need some help to improve your self-esteem so you can show up with love.
6. You like to get attention by entertaining those around you with humor. You probably need this attention to validate your worth. You need this attention so badly you will do it at the expense of other people. Fear creates subconsciously selfish behavior, but this can be fixed. There are lots of way to be funny without hurting other people.
Just take a minute, if you are the sarcastic person, and honestly ask yourself if any of these issues could be behind your sarcastic comments.
John Haiman, a linguist at Malcalester College says “People who use sarcasm are rarely kidding. The words come from an authentic place, but it’s wrapped up as a joke for protection. Essentially, sarcasm is a survival technique for the insecure. It’s used to make yourself appear stronger and better, but it’s not said with enough seriousness for anyone to accuse you of being a jerk.”
You may need to practice “think before you speak." This means checking yourself before you make a comment. Is it... true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind. You can be funny all you want, but if you do it at the expense of other people there will be consequences. People will not feel safe with you or like you. If the people on the receiving end of your sarcasm are your friends and family this cost will be high.
If you are living with a sarcastic person here are a couple suggestions for dealing with it:
You must also continue to work on feeling bulletproof, no matter what anyone does or says. As you become stronger your husband will be forced to see his own insecurities for what they are. I hope he will be open to changing, but either way you can be happy and feel good about yourself. Just keep reminding yourself that his comments can't diminish you. Your value is absolute.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular coach and speaker.
Every Christmas my family throws a big party (at their big house) and expects us each to bring expensive gifts we cannot afford. I have tried to explain this doesn’t work for us, but they keep doing it. I am really upset, hurt and offended by this. This year I finally stood up for myself and told them we would not be coming nor exchanging gifts with them. Now, they won’t talk to us. How can I get them to understand our position and be more understanding?
You will need to have a conversation with them to straighten this out, but you must be able to do this calmly, without going to a victim place, or attacking them or you will only make things worse.
The first thing you must do is step back and make sure you are seeing this situation accurately and have let go of your upset feelings. You must have this conversation from a place of trust (feeling safe) and love (compassion for them). You must also get accurate about why you are hurt.
I learned a powerful lesson reading "A Course in Miracles": You are never upset for the reason you think. You are not upset because they keep doing this every Christmas and aren’t listening to you. You are upset because of the meaning you are applying to their actions.
You probably think their behavior means they don’t care about you, they are selfish, they don’t understand your situation or they think they are better than you. But these ideas aren’t necessarily true. And these ideas only hurt you, because you are already afraid you aren’t as good as they are or as blessed. These fears already cause you pain. Their actions only aggravated the pain you have already chosen to suffer with.
Their actions hurt you because they hit your self-inflicted sore spot. You must understand you made up these sore spot fears (of not being as good or as blessed). They are coming from you and they are not real — and they are not their fault. These family members hurt you only because you take what they say or do, make it into a dagger and stab yourself with it.
You need to autopsy your thoughts about this situation and these people and check them for accuracy. Some of this hurt and upset is your own fault.
I am going to give you a Christmas gift today. This is a tool you can go through every time you get upset to give your thoughts a check for accuracy:
Download the "To Be or Not to Be Upset" worksheet on my website.
1. What did the person say or do?
2. What meaning am I applying to their actions? What am I thinking this means?
3. Is this really true? Do I have any reason for wanting to believe the meaning I applied is true? Does it do anything for me? Does it earn me victim status or sympathy love?
4. Could there be any other reasons they might be behaving this way? Something that is totally about them and not about me at all? What are they focused on or afraid of?
5. Are you diminishable? Can their actions, thoughts or words actually hurt or diminish you or make you less than who you are?
6. If you cannot be hurt or diminished (unless you choose to be) is there really anything to get upset about? Can you let this situation just be what it is without letting it hurt?
If you could see yourself and the other person accurately (as infinite, absolute, perfect students in the classroom of life) you would see there is nothing to fear and therefore no reason to ever be upset. Everything is a lesson to serve you and your value isn’t on the line.
(Unless you need to create victim drama to feel validated or get attention, but this would be a very immature choice and you would have to own that you are creating the whole thing to serve that purpose alone, and this has nothing to do with them.)
7. Are you really upset about what they did? Or are you upset because of the thoughts and fears (that you have chosen to create, own and live with) from you and their actions only brought to the surface?
8) Do you have any other options? Could you choose to experience this in a different way?
I realize you might not be ready to see this situation accurately. You may want to keep casting them as the bad guys and playing the victim, but I’m hoping you would rather feel better.
The path to feeling better is through love, forgiveness, honesty, accuracy, kind communication and respect for yourself and others.
My advice is to call those family members, own the fact that you let your own fears create this problem and you want to apologize. Own the fact you interpreted their actions inaccurately and chose to take offense. Ask them if you can start over.
Ask them if you can explain your current situation and why these parties and the gift exchange is uncomfortable for you. Tell them you want to spend time with the family, but you don’t want to spend money you don’t have, or feel inadequate because you can’t.
Ask them for their ideas on solving this. Share your honest feelings without going to a victim place. One option is not going to the party, but with an understanding that it’s not personal and you are fine with it. See what other win/wins the two of you can come up with.
If they chose to be offended and cast you as the bad guy (which could happen), you will have another choice to make. Remember your value is infinite, and you can still choose love and forgiveness again. It is not worth being upset over other people’s choices. Love them where they are and choose peace.
You can do this.
Remember these principles of truth:
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought-after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in eliminating drama in the workplace. She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.
My family thinks that I get offended and defensive too easily. I admit I may be a little over sensitive to feeling insulted, but I am not going to just let people hurt my feelings without saying something. If people say or do things that hurt me, I’m not going to just ignore it. They claim they walk on egg shells around me, which hurts to hear (and frankly offends me), but I am willing to work on this because it’s not who I want to be. Could give me some advice?
Don’t be offended by your family or friends bringing this to your attention. They love you and want you to experience more peace and less unnecessary suffering.
This problem is usually tied to a subconscious victim mentality. It is highly likely that you experienced being insulted, put down, treated unfairly or wronged at some point in your life that has made you overly sensitive to these types of experiences. Your subconscious mind is now constantly on guard to protect you.
This behavior is also tied to your fear of failure (not being good enough) and your fear of loss (being taken from). When someone says anything that could possibly be interpreted to mean that you aren’t perfect, or is a sign they might take from you, you subconsciously see this person as the enemy and treat them accordingly.
The problem is that if this keeps up, you will eventually push everyone in your life away and you will be safe from harm, but you will also be alone.
Here are five principles that will help with this problem:
(I recommend you read these daily and commit to adopting them.)
1. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of the people in your life are good people who love you and mean you no harm. When they have moments of selfishness you must remember these are driven by their own fears of failure or loss. In that moment, they are worried about their own safety and can’t see how their behavior affects you. They do not intentionally mean to harm you, they just experience moments of oblivious selfishness. (You do the same thing when your fears get triggered.) When someone offends you, you can choose to see their behavior as unintentional, oblivious selfishness driven by fear. If you do this, you can let most offenses go. This person is more scared, than mean or bad.
2. Don’t take anything personally. Understand that 90 percent of what other people do or say is about their own fears and is not about you. Even behavior that looks and feels like an attack is actually about their fear. Don Miguel Ruiz in the book "The Four Agreements" says, “Taking things personally is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.” Don’t make everything about you. When someone offends you, stop and put yourself in their shoes for a minute. What are they experiencing? What are they afraid of? What do they need in this moment? Choose to make this moment about showing up for them. (I realize you may feel unprotected here, but you are actually safer than you would be if you were defensive. Defense makes real the illusion that you can be hurt. Letting go of your need to defend, makes real the idea that you are bulletproof.)
3. See yourself as bulletproof. You are a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, infinitely valuable human soul. Your value is therefore infinite and absolute and cannot be changed by anyone or anything. Nothing anyone says or does to you can change your value or diminish you in any way, unless you choose to let it.
Because of this truth, any pain you suffer over the words or deeds of other people is self-inflicted. They can’t hurt you without your permission. Instead of getting defensive, which subconsciously means you see yourself as vulnerable, choose to put down your defenses and smile, consciously choosing to see yourself as bulletproof and indestructible. Remember how Superman just smiles while bank robbers shoot at him. He isn’t offended they are trying to kill him because he can’t be killed. Your ultimate protection lies in believing they can’t hurt you.
4. Decide not to be a victim. You get to choose how you want to experience your life and you have only two choices: You can see yourself as a vulnerable, weak, picked on, powerless victim in dangerous world, constantly at the mercy of all the bad things and bad people around you, or you can choose to see yourself as a strong, bulletproof, powerful creator of your life, in a beautiful world that is constantly serving you and who can’t be diminished by anything or anyone.
How do you want to live?
If you choose a victim mentality you may earn some sympathy love and pity from people around you, but you will not earn their respect. You will also be choosing a life of grief and unnecessary drama. I recommend you make it your official policy to see yourself as safe, and the world as a perfect classroom constantly conspiring to serve your process of becoming. Choose to see yourself and the world as safe and you will experience more joy and peace.
5. Choose a forgiveness mentality. You get to choose how you want to see other people and you have only two choices: You can see people as flawed, evil, guilty, messed up, mean and mostly undeserving of mercy and forgiveness, or you can see people as perfect, struggling, scared, divine, amazing students in the classroom of life, deserving of mercy, compassion and in need of education and learning.
But you must understand that what you choose for them you also choose for yourself.
If you choose a judgmental, condemning mindset toward others you will also subconsciously feel flawed, evil, guilty, messed up and undeserving of mercy and forgiveness. Your self-esteem will suffer and will never feel good enough.
That is just how it works.
If you choose to see all men as perfect, struggling, scared, divine, amazing students in the classroom of life, in need of more education and learning, you are going to feel better about yourself and have good self-esteem.
(If you don’t believe me this is true, experiment with it yourself.) I promise you get what you give. Choose to see everyone as good enough as they are and you will finally feel good enough yourself.
Understanding these principles will help you to see situations, people and yourself more accurately. You will now understand how fear affects their behavior and the fearful way you experience it. You will also have the power to choose love and truth instead.
If some of these concepts are new to you, you may need to re-read them and process them for a while. You may also want to work with a counselor or coach to improve your self-esteem and eliminate the fear behind your need to be offended.
(This article did not address serious mistreatment or abuse. If you are experiencing either, you should remove yourself from the situation and seek professional help. This article only addressed minor offenses and a propensity for drama and overreacting.)
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. You can take a free fear assessment on her website to see if being offended is an issue for you.
Our family bickers like no other, and after a while it can rank on your nerves. The bickering can and does often end in argument with hurt feelings and misunderstandings. But for some reason, they keep doing it over and over again. Any advice to intervene and stop this behavior?
My main goal in writing this column is to help you understand human behavior better, so you can see situations accurately and respond in a way that will create the results you want. Before I give you some advice to stop the fighting, I’d like to explain why most people bicker and argue.
People generally bicker for one of these five reasons:
Let me explain what I mean by the word "validation," though, because it does not mean that you agree with this person. I believe you can completely disagree with everything he or she says, and still validate him as a person. To me, validation is about honoring and respecting another person's right to see the world the way he sees it, and think and feel the way he does. You may not agree with his position, but you can honor his right to be who he is at this point in his journey.
You can validate this person's worth as a human being by just being willing to listen to her thoughts and feelings, and honor her right to have them. When you do this, the other person generally calms down. I believe the best answer in any situation is to give love and validation.
You may want to remind the other person of your love in the middle of the fight: “In spite of this fighting I love and respect you, and I just want you to remember that my love for you is bigger than this issue.” (I actually use this in my personal life.)
Here are some other suggestions that would diminish the amount of bickering:
1) Learn how to have mutually validating conversations. I have a worksheet on my website that explains how. If you will follow the steps exactly, it will greatly improve your relationships.
2) Institute a family time-out rule. Everyone must agree ahead of time to honor this rule. The rule says that if a conversation gets heated and someone calls a time-out, everyone will walk away, go to their corners and calm down before you talk about this issue further.
3) Be accurate with your words. What I mean is, don’t exaggerate, over-generalize or personalize your complaints. John Gottman from the University of Washington did a study on how couples fight and how their words affected the success or failure of their marriages. (You can read about this in the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell). Gottman discovered that if people made an issue personal and turned to character assassination, rather than focusing on specific complaints, the relationship wouldn’t survive. He said to make sure you didn't turn the complaint of, “You left your dishes on the table” into, “You're such a lazy slob.” He could listen to people fight for only a few minutes and predict if their relationship would make it, based on the words they used.
4) Decide to let love override most small issues. Gottman also said people are generally in one of only two states in their relationships: They were either in “positive sentiment override” where they could quickly forgive most offenses because their love would override most the issues, or “negative sentiment override” where they would draw lasting negative conclusions about each other from each offense. In these negative relationships, even good deeds were seen as good deeds from a bad person.
If you have an underlying dislike for someone in your family that is showing up in every situation, I would recommend some professional help post-haste.
5) Decide right now to let people be a “work in progress.” A painter hangs a sign like this on a painting when he leaves for lunch, because he doesn’t want anyone to judge it yet. The people in your life are all struggling, scared students in the classroom of life. They have a lot to learn and they need some room and permission to be imperfect and grow. Imagine everyone in your family with that sign around their necks every day and choose to forgive most offenses, because you're imperfect, too.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem. Read about her free Tuesday night coaching call on her website.
My wife says I have anger issues and I admit I lose my temper more than I’d like. She says I need to work on this, but I’m not sure where to start. Is there anything I can do in the moment to calm down and stop losing my temper?
The first thing you must understand is that your anger problem is really a fear problem.
Anger happens when something (or someone) triggers your core fears. The following principles explain your two core fears and how they affect you.
Principle 1: There are only two states from which you can respond to any situation. You can respond from love (and focus on honoring, edifying and validating the other person) or you can respond from fear (and focus on what you need). Every other response or emotion fits into these two categories.
Principle 2: There are two core fears which drive most human behavior. They are the fear of failure (that you won’t be good enough) and the fear of loss (that your life won’t be good enough). The fear of failure is a fear of not being loved, valued, appreciated or wanted. The fear of loss is a fear that you won’t have what you need, want or deserve.
Principle 3: When you experience fear you automatically cast the other person as the bad guy and yourself as the good guy. In order to do this, you will conveniently leave out the good in the other person and the bad in you.
When you experience anger it is usually because you feel ripped off, short changed, unloved, dishonored or mistreated in some way. Take a minute and think about the last time you were angry.
Was it a fear of loss issue or a fear of not being loved, wanted, honored or appreciated issue?
Anger management starts with figuring out what you are afraid of and learning to manage your fear by choosing trust and love (the opposites of fear).
It is also going to mean choosing to see the other person accurately, someone like you, (a work in progress doing the best they can with what they know) and ditching the need to cast them as the bad guy.
Here is a procedure (set of steps) for gaining clarity, seeing the situation accurately and calming yourself:
1) Step back and ask yourself — What am I afraid of here? What am I seeing as a threat to me? Why am I afraid of this? Which core fear is this about?
(Remember that no person or situation can diminish you. Your value is infinite and absolute and whatever happens, this situation is in your life to teach you something.)
2) Figure out why part of you wants to be angry? What is being angry about this giving you? What is it costing you?
3) What is this situation showing you about yourself? How is it giving you a chance to be more loving, wise and mature? What is it here to teach you?
(This situation is in your life to serve your process of growing and learning. When you figure out the lesson, you may see the situation differently and calm down.)
4) Step back and make sure you are seeing the other person (if there is another person involved) accurately. What are they afraid of? Which core fear is driving their behavior?
(All bad behavior is about THEIR fear about themselves. It is not really about you. This means all bad behavior is a request for love and validation.)
5) Choose to see this person as you see yourself. Try to see them the way God would see them. You have the same value and you are both scared, struggling, divine, amazing beings in the classroom of life. Neither is perfect nor all bad. You are the same.
6) Let go of your fear by choosing to trust God and life. Trust that your value isn’t on the line and that your life is the perfect classroom journey for you.
7) Let go of fear by choosing love. How could you choose to be loving towards this person you are angry with?
(This doesn’t mean you trust them or let them hurt you again. It may just mean sending love and forgiveness their way, from afar. Or it could mean giving them the validation they need to quiet their fear.)
8) The only moment in which you have any power is this one. This is the place where you get to decide who you want to be and how you want to live. There are only two choices — love or fear.
How can you claim that power and choose to experience this moment in love? What response would be the most productive and loving one in this moment?
Keep this procedure on hand and run through it when you get angry. After you have done it a few times, you will have it in your head.
If anger continues to be a problem, I highly recommend you get some professional help to change your thinking and eliminate your fears.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of ldslifecoaching.com and claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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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.