This was first published on KSL.com
I've heard from quite a few people this week who are stressed about the quarrels and family drama that so often accompany Thanksgiving dinner.
So, here are a few things to think about that might help you experience more love toward your relatives this year.
Who and what are you?
This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your life. It's important because your beliefs about your creation, your nature and your intrinsic worth create the lens through which you see the world. You literally see the world as you see yourself. Every choice, reaction and emotion reveals how you feel about yourself. What is your worst behavior saying about who and what you think you are?
Where does your value come from?
Right now, you subconsciously believe your beliefs, ideas, appearance, property and accomplishments determine your value. You likely believe your value must be earned, which means you also believe some people are better or worse than you. This belief is the reason you might see yourself as not good enough, but these are all just beliefs. They are not facts, which means you can change them any time you want.
You could choose to believe that your value is not tied to anything you have done or achieved. It is not based on how you look or what anyone thinks of you, and your performance and mistakes can't change it. You could choose to believe your value is tied to only one thing: your perfect, irreplaceable, divine creation by God or the universe.
Stop believing you create your own value
You didn't and don't create yourself, nor do you decide or determine your value, nor is it affected by what other people think of you. The only opinion that matters is the one who created us. This higher power gave all humans the same divine, infinite value, which doesn't change and isn't in question (at least you have the option of believing this idea is truth).
Robert Perry in his writing about self-esteem said, "If you were a homeless person without a penny, dirty and disheveled, forgotten by everyone, all of this limitless self-worth would still be yours. It has nothing to do with anything particular to you. In this sense, nothing particular about you matters. Your special talents, your special traits, your special place in the world—none of them can increase your self-worth one bit. It is already infinite. For you are the son (or daughter) of God."
Choosing to see people this way could change everything.
You aren't powerful enough to diminish your value
You could choose to believe that you were created by divine love, through divine love and as divine love, and that your value comes from this alone, is innate inside you and never changes. You could choose to believe your achievements, behavior, intelligence, appearance and popularity have no effect on your Identity or worth. While they might change your extrinsic value as the world sees it, they cannot change your intrinsic worth at all.
This means all your efforts to earn your value through your appearance or performance are futile. Think about this: God, or the universe, did not give you the power to diminish his creation (you) or make it worthless. He didn't give you the power to ruin yourself or discount his creation. Nothing you do or don't do can usurp his valuation of you.
When you start to internalize this truth, you will also begin to gain compassion for the imperfect humans around you. They, just like you, are perfectly created students in the classroom of life and their value is not in question either. They, like you, are here in life school to learn to love themselves and other people at a higher level. They, like you, are struggling with fears that get in the way and create bad behavior.
The way you see other people is the way you see yourself
If you harbor any hate or negative feelings toward any other person, it is a sign to you that you lack love for yourself. If you want to learn to love yourself more, you must stop attacking others and seeing them as worse or less than. The way you love yourself is often a reflection of the way you see other people and vice versa.
The Course in Miracles says, "When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself."
Choose love toward the people who bother you most
This doesn't mean you have to hang out with abusive, hurtful or negative people and spend time with them. You can have healthy boundaries and stand up for yourself, but you can do this from a place of strength, wisdom and love. You can choose to see everyone that God has created as a perfect part of your perfect classroom journey. You can see them as infinitely valuable human souls, even if you don't want to spend time with them.
You could choose to believe that nothing exists in your life that wasn't created to educate and grow you. You could choose to see the people in your life as perfect teachers, whose behavior is always serving you, even when they are driving you crazy. These teachers push your buttons and offend you to give you a chance to practice standing firm in your value, knowing you cannot be diminished, trusting you are here to learn and grow, and choosing love toward yourself and others even when it's hard. This is actually the purpose of everything you experience.
Bad behavior is often a request for love
You might approach family gatherings this year as a chance to work on loving yourself and others more fully. You will do this because you want to increase your love and compassion for yourself. In order to love yourself more, you must stretch the limits of your love and choose to see the humans around you as divinely created, struggling, infinitely valuable students in the classroom of life — just like you.
Choose to see their unloving behavior as a reflection of their lack of love for themselves. They are most likely projecting their lack of love for themselves onto you, though they can't see this. They are probably in fear that they aren't good enough or safe. These fears encourage them to attack others in order to see others as beneath them, get defensive, or show off because they believe they must do these things to be safe. But none of these behaviors is about you.
It helps me to believe that humans are only capable of two things: being loving and requesting love. This means all bad behavior is a request for love. Bad behavior is a sign they aren't OK. People who create family drama and conflict are never the ones with solid self-esteem, inner strength and wisdom. They are the ones who are blinded by fear and need love most, even though they are often the hardest to love.
Use family gatherings as love practice
This year, you might choose someone who you struggle to love and focus on seeing them more accurately. See their divinely bestowed and permanent value (which is the same as yours) and look for the fear that is preventing them from being loving. Are they scared, insecure or hurting? Allow them to be where they are in their unique classroom journey. Choose to see them as doing the best they can with what they know. They just can't see what they can't see. Try to tune into God's love for them and see if you can feel it.
If you must, limit your interactions with these difficult people to protect yourself; that's OK. You can practice loving them from afar, maybe from across the room or from the safety of your own home. Just practice choosing a mindset of love and accuracy toward them and it will still improve your self-esteem and make your holiday more positive and thankful.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
We have all heard the saying "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." But for many, knowing this truth is not helping them change and react to life in a more positive way so they suffer less.
Many of us struggle to change the meanings and stories we apply to the situations in our lives. We keep having the same belief-thoughts and negative ideas that keep making us miserable. These go-to perspectives and beliefs are deeply ingrained, which makes them easy and natural to keep using. Stepping back from situations and choosing a different perspective is hard work.
Here are some things you can learn and do to shift your perspective and change your reactions to what life throws at you.
Nothing means anything
The events, situations or happenings of your life are the facts of your life. For example, someone cuts you off in traffic; your husband forgets your birthday; your child gets a bad grade in school; your mother-in-law says something negative about your parenting; you say the wrong thing and offend someone; your friend doesn't call you back all week; you don't get the promotion you wanted. Events like these happen all day, every day. It's important to understand that by themselves, they don't mean anything.
The problem — or negative feelings about these facts in your life — occurs when you immediately apply meaning or "a story" to the events. Whatever that meaning is, is what makes you miserable. In truth, you have the power to sit back and see what happened as just an actuality, without applying any meaning or story around it, or you can choose a story that serves you and is healthy.
There is an infinite number of reasons why something might happen, but you won't see the world of possibilities unless you first acknowledge that nothing means anything without you applying meaning to it. Every time something happens, sit back and say to yourself, "This doesn't mean anything. I must be careful about the meaning I apply to this. It could mean something very different than I think."
You give everything its meaning
Your perspective is everything. It creates how you think, feel and act around everything in your life. It's also important to understand that perspective is flimsy, loose and changeable. You can look at something from one angle and think it means one thing; but if you looked at it from another angle or perspective, it may look and feel totally different.
You have given everything all the meaning it has. You have either consciously or subconsciously applied ideas, assumptions and fears to each actuality, and it is these stories that cause your suffering.
Most of the stories you create come from your fears of failure and loss. You often apply meaning like "I am not good enough" to everything that happens, and this makes things feel more personal than they are. You might be quick to assume whatever happened was a shortcoming or fault in you, or you might have a belief like "I am not safe and can't trust others," which always makes things feel like someone else's fault. The trick is you have to take your thoughts less seriously.
Your thoughts don't mean anything
The subconscious belief-thoughts you adopted in childhood often determine the kind of stories you create. As a child, you might have experienced something that made you think "I am not loved," "I am not good enough," "I am not safe," or "I am not smart"; now you could be applying these belief-thoughts to every situation you encounter.
Watch for a pattern in your stories and see if they all end up in the same place. These could be thoughts like "people always let me down," "I am just not enough," "I am on my own," "no one cares," "people can't be trusted," and "I have to protect myself." The problem is these belief-thoughts are not facts; they are just story options, and there are always many other options that might serve you better.
Here is an exercise to help you find some of your ingrained belief-thoughts:
You are never upset for the reason you thinkYou think you are upset because of the actuality or event. Let's say your spouse said something negative about your cooking, for example. You think you are upset because of their rude, hurtful comment. But what is actually making you upset is the belief-thought that you aren't good enough, which is a belief you may have carried with you since childhood. If you didn't already have this belief-thought, you probably wouldn't be so upset by their comment. It is your belief-thoughts about yourself that drive the stories you apply.
This is not excusing your spouse nor their accountability for being rude, nor am I saying that you should accept and allow abusive behavior. My point is that in everyday situations like this, you will suffer less and give other people less power over you if you understood that you contribute to the problem with your thoughts. In other words, if you recognize that it's your thoughts about what happens that make you upset, you can change the story you are telling yourself and choose a perspective that serves you more.
For example, when your spouse says something negative about your cooking, you might choose a story that says you are bulletproof and what others think or say about your cooking doesn't change your value or diminish you in any way. With this perspective, you can let insults bounce off. You might also choose to address the problem with your spouse, but you will now do that from a strong, loving place — not a hurt, victim place. This will lead to a better conversation.
Everything is a lesson
After 20 years as a master life coach, I have found that my clients do better if they universally apply the belief-thought that everything that happens is a lesson showing up in their life to serve them in some way. This is not a provable fact, of course. There is no source for ultimate truth about why things happen, but we each must choose a belief-thought about the nature of our life journey. If we don't consciously choose one, we will subconsciously choose one.
Try playing with the belief-thought that the universe is on your side and constantly conspiring to serve and grow you. Choose to believe the universe uses everything that happens for your good, and every negative event can be a blessing in disguise to make you stronger, wiser or more loving.
Also, play with the belief that all humans have the same unchanging value and nothing can diminish you. This belief-thought will make you feel safer in the world and change your reactions to everything.
Changing your stories and meanings will take time and work, but you can start today by playing with these new beliefs and applying them to each situation. If you struggle with this because your childhood belief-thoughts are so strong and your reactions too fast when triggered, I recommend seeking a professional coach or counselor to help you shift your beliefs. This can make a huge difference faster than you think.
You can do this.
I have recently found several of your articles and have loved them! I think they provide great insight and point of view. I have been trying to find one if you have one regarding "saying no and not feeling guilty." For example, if I get invited to a friend gathering and I respond with "no," but then feel guilty/manipulated into going or being a bad friend afterward. Are there any tips you have regarding it?
The first thing you must do is understand why you feel guilty taking care of yourself and choosing what you want to do. You have every right to make choices that make you happy. Why would you feel guilty for doing that?
5 fear-based beliefs
Most people find they have one or more of the following fear-based, subconscious beliefs. Do these feel like something you might believe?
1. "If I say no, then I am selfish."
You might have a subconscious belief (possibly learned in childhood) that says if you take care of yourself at all, it makes you a selfish, bad person. You may believe good people should sacrifice themselves to make others happy, but this is not true.
The truth is, self-care is wise and healthy, and you must take care of yourself or you will soon have nothing left to give. It is wise to balance taking care of yourself and taking care of others. In order to maintain this balance, you must say no and choose your happiness half the time.
2. "If I disappoint other people, I will be rejected or judged."
You might have experienced this at some point in your life, so you believe this is a rule. The problem is it's not a rule; it's a belief — which means it's not a fact.
Most people can handle hearing "no" without punishing or rejecting you for it. If they do reject you for it, they probably aren't the kind of person you want as a friend. A real friend will support you in doing what's best for you.
It's important to note that you may have taught the people in your life to manipulate you because you always feel guilty when you say no. You may have created these rules of engagement. The good news is that you can change the rules any time you want. You can retrain people in your life to "get over it" when they get disappointed on occasion. You can also say no with love and respect, and most people can handle it and will still love you.
3. "I can't handle confrontation, so it's easier to give in."
This subconscious belief might have come from a bad experience in your past. You may have decided that in most situations, it's safer to sacrifice yourself than risk a fight. The truth is, you can usually enforce boundaries in a kind way that won't lead to conflict.
If you are respectful and kind, yet firm, you can handle these issues with strength and love. If they do turn ugly, you can excuse yourself and refuse to participate until the other person can speak to you with respect. If you have people in your life that cannot handle an occasional "no," that is their problem, not yours. You must maintain a healthy balance and not feel guilty for doing so.
4. "Other people's happiness is more important than mine."
You may have learned as a child that sacrificing yourself or putting your happiness last makes you righteous. This is not true. It actually makes you are acting like a doormat and it makes people lose respect for you. You are the same in importance as everyone else. You have to see yourself as equally important or others won't treat you like you are.
5. "Pleasing other people means they will like and value me."
This is, again, not necessarily true. Sometimes even when you sacrifice for people, it won't make them value or appreciate you. They may even lose respect for you because you don't take care of yourself. They could treat you worse and take your sacrifices for granted.
Occasionally, saying no — especially to the people in your house — means they are more likely to appreciate it when you do say yes.
Which of these fear-based beliefs might be driving your fear of saying no?
Create new beliefs
The incredible thing about finding the faulty beliefs behind your behavior is that you can now change those beliefs. They may be deeply ingrained in your subconscious programming and hard to change, but your conscious mind is stronger and you have the power to choose, in any moment, a different belief that will immediately change how you feel about the situation.
You can write some new beliefs (in your own words) and claim them as your truth moving forward. You might want to put them somewhere you can see them daily and work on consciously choosing them whenever you are tempted to people please.
Here are some new beliefs that might serve you more:
Create new boundaries
You cannot change any behavior until you change the beliefs that are driving it. You can also use your new beliefs to help you write some new boundary rules that apply to specific situations. Write these new boundary rules down on paper, don't just think them. Writing them down makes them more concrete.
Here is an example of great boundary rule:
You can do this.
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.
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — This week I have been thinking a lot about perception and the way you see every situation in your life.
Perception is defined as the act of being aware, recognizing, discerning or understanding things. But the problem with human perception, according to human behavior expert Beau Lotto, in his book "Deviate," is that our brains were not wired to perceive accurately. They were wired to process the world efficiently, and this means you use the past to make assumptions about the present, so it’s easier and faster to understand things.
Everything you have experienced in your past becomes a filter or lens through which you see everything that happens now. You don’t see the world as it is; you see the world as you are. You are constantly projecting what you think you know from your past experiences onto the present, even though many of those assumptions or beliefs aren’t true.
A common assumption learned in childhood is "It’s safer to stay quiet and not talk about things." This may seem true to you if your trying to communicate in the past led to conflict and made you feel unsafe, but there is a cost when you don’t talk about what bothers you.
If you accept that your perceptions might not be accurate, then you have the power to question them. If you are open to other meanings and beliefs and questioning the way you see each situation, you will have the power to choose meanings or beliefs that serve you better and process your life in a more mature way.
Here are a few of the most common projections that cause misperception and problems in your life:
1. Perception of others comes from projections of yourself
Your perception of other people and who they are comes from you projecting the way you feel about yourself (and your own value) onto them. If you have accepted a belief (created from past experiences) that you might not be good enough, you can’t help but project that belief onto other people and see them as not good enough, too.
The more fears of inadequacy you have, the more you will be prone to judge, condemn, criticize and even reject other people. If you are prone to gossip or fault finding, you might be projecting your own insecurity or self-hate onto another person, causing you to see them as flawed too. Whatever level of flaws and faults you think you possess, you will see others as equally flawed.
2. Perception of yourself comes from projections you see in others
Your perception of yourself and your value comes from projecting how you view other people back onto the way you feel about you.
The previous point was the exact opposite, so you might be thinking: How can these both be true? Well, they are inexplicably tied together because it goes both ways. If you grew up in a family that was often critical of other people and you learned to be judgmental, you will project this judgmental attitude back onto yourself, too. You will be more self-critical and blame yourself when things go wrong. The bottom line is, it is impossible to have good self-esteem if you judge other people as not good enough.
To fix these first two projections: You should choose a new belief (assumption) that all human beings are created equal. The belief that all human beings are created by a divine or higher power — and therefore perfect and guiltless students in the classroom of life with infinite, absolute, unchangeable value — allows you to see everyone as "good enough" all the time. This means it is impossible to be "not good enough," and both you and others have nothing to fear. This will require practice, though, to consistently choose this new belief. But the more you do it, the easier it will get.
3. Perception of what others think comes from projections of yourself
Your perception of what other people think about you comes from you projecting the way you feel about yourself (and your own value) onto them. If you have accepted a belief that you might not be good enough, you will assume other people think you aren’t good enough, too. You might add this meaning to whatever they do or say and always think they are criticizing or judging you.
To fix this: Practice choosing to believe that what other people think of you is none of your business and completely irrelevant. Also, remember that what you think they think of you is usually wrong. They are actually so busy worrying about themselves, they don’t think about you very much at all. Finally, they don’t know you and what’s in your heart. If they judge or criticize you, remember they are only projecting how they feel about themselves onto you, and that isn’t about you at all.
4. Perception of God can come from how you see your parents
Your perception of God might come from the way you saw and experienced your actual parents. If you felt safe and unconditionally loved by your mom and dad, you are more likely to see God as having a similar love for you. But if you felt unsafe or struggled to earn your parent’s approval, or were often punished or even abused, you might see God as scary and very hard to please.
Take a minute and reflect on how you felt about your actual parents. Is there any chance you could have projected those feelings onto God and might be seeing him the same way? Because we cannot actually meet God and have firsthand knowledge of who he is, everything we believe about him will always be just belief (not fact). If your actual parents were selfish, emotional or out of balance, you might have a really skewed perception of God, and this can create a lot of fear of loss in your life.
To fix this: Choose a belief about God and that helps you more than it hurts you. You might choose to believe he is more loving and forgiving than angry and vengeful. Choose to see him as the essence of perfect love and trust that you are safe in his hands all the time. If you don’t consciously choose a belief and perception about God, you will subconsciously choose one based in fear. Choose a belief that serves you and makes you feel more loved.
5. Perception of safety can come from your childhood experiences
Your perception of life and your safety is a projection from whatever you saw, experienced or heard as a small child. Inevitably you saw or experienced some bad things that probably created the assumption that you are not safe in this world. You probably perceive the world to be a scary, unsafe place where you have to be vigilant about protecting yourself from other people who could take from you. This might make you quick to be offended or to feel taken from, and this could create a lot of conflict in your relationships.
To fix this: You have to choose a belief that life is safe all the time. Choose to trust God (or a higher power) that there is order in the universe and every experience is here for your good and is the perfect classroom for you at this time. Choose to believe that nothing exists God did not create, therefore there is nothing that isn’t perfect and here to serve you. Choosing these beliefs makes life look safer, and you will get offended and bothered less often.
Understand that everything you see and feel comes from your projecting your past onto it. This can help you to question your beliefs and give you the power to reframe the present in a more helpful way.
If you find yourself often unbalanced, upset or stressed out by life, this may be something you want to hire a coach or counselor to help you with. Coaching to change your subconscious beliefs is the fastest way to change your behavior and the way you feel about your life.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I have heard from lots of people who are worried about family holiday gatherings and dealing with difficult relatives.
We all have some complicated family relationships that can trigger tension, defensiveness and fear because of what they do and say. During the holidays it is difficult to avoid these relatives, so it's helpful to work on becoming more resilient and "bulletproof" before these parties happen.
Note: The following advice is not advice for dealing with abuse or trauma. This advice is meant for people who have some annoying, rude and disrespectful relatives who say hurtful things or treat you in a judgmental way. If you are dealing with abuse, trauma or really toxic people, avoiding family gatherings might be the best call.
For the rest of your people-problem situations, I have one powerful truth that can help you to stay balanced around your challenging relatives and hurtful things they might say this year.
'I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts'
A Course in Miracles lesson says: "I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts."
This is a tricky concept that might take some thinking to understand, but it means it is not someone’s words that hurt you, it is the thoughts you have about their words that hurt you.
If someone makes a hurtful remark to you — something that triggers pain — it can feel like a poison dart fired straight to your heart. It will sting for sure, but how long it stings and how badly it stings is something you do have some control over.
Do you ever let a dart stay in causing you pain all day or all week? How often do you pull the dart out and throw it on the floor so you can move on, but then later pick it back up and stab yourself with it again and again — for months, years, or even decades? It’s over and it happened a long time ago, why do you still think about it when it just causes you pain?
When the event is over and you are still feeling the sting, it has become a self-inflicted injury. You have the power to stop the stinging if you can change the way you are looking at what the other person did. If you can change the way you look at it, you can change how you feel.
This is high-level emotional intelligence, and it might take some work to get it right. So don’t be discouraged if you are not here yet. The more you read, practice and learn, the easier it will get. This is not victim shaming, though, because the fault does lie with the other person; however, at some point, you have to process the situation and decide to stop letting it hurt you. You have to take your power back. You do this by thinking about words, thoughts and opinions that come from other people. What are they? What are they made of? What power do they hold?
They are nothing. They are wisps of ideas drifting through people’s minds and out their mouths. They have no form and no matter. They do nothing. They mean nothing. They have no power unless you give them power.
Your thoughts about what the person said or did are what create the sting, and you are so powerful you can create that sting from almost nothing. This is especially true if you have some deep negative beliefs about yourself in play — beliefs you have had since you were a child. These old subconscious beliefs are your open wounds; they are spots where others can barely touch you and it hurts.
I have a deep fear that says, “I am not good enough.” Because I have had this fear my whole life, it is my problem. It belongs to me. But just like an open wound, it's a place where it’s very easy for other people to hurt me.
These other people are completely responsible for any unkind things they say or do, but I am responsible for my original fear issue that makes their comments hurt me so much. I am also responsible for the thoughts I have that intensify and prolong the hurt.
Your ego thinks stabbing yourself with these old darts for decades is a good way to protect you from further pain. It thinks the constant stabbing will remind you to protect yourself from that person in the future, but the cost for this perceived protection is decades of pain anyway.
Instead of allowing thoughts that make mean comments hurt longer than necessary, practice the following:
1. Trust that your intrinsic value as a person is infinite and absolute.
Nothing anyone says or does can diminish your value. No matter what happens to you, you still have the same value as every other person on the planet. When anyone makes an unkind comment, remind yourself that it doesn’t have any power and changes nothing. You are still intact and fine. Imagine the dart bouncing off and landing on the ground. Then, leave it there.
2. Trust that every person around you is in your life for your own good.
Everyone who surrounds you is there for one reason: to help you grow and become stronger, wiser and more loving. Some of these people help you by pushing your fear buttons, to give you a chance to work on your insecurities and issues. When you see them as teachers in your classroom who are giving you chances to practice being strong and loving, you won’t take their comments as personally.
3. Remember that thoughts or words other people say about you are irrelevant.
These words mean nothing and do nothing. They are wisps of energy that are immediately gone and have no power to sting you. You can only have pain if you think about their actions stinging you. Instead, send them on their way with this thought: “Thanks for giving me a chance to practice being strong, but I am done with that lesson and moving on.” Send them on their way (figuratively) with a blessing and hope for their own growth and learning.
4. Focus all your energy on being the love in the room at your family gatherings.
Find others around you who need validation, love and support, and spend the whole party giving these things to them. Turn your party into a focused, giving love session instead of a minefield of offenses and insults. Go into it with a mission in mind and don’t let anyone knock you from that focus.
Love works miracles because you cannot do love and fear at the same time. If you are focused on love for other people and yourself, you don’t have time to be offended.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
When you get triggered by someone or something that makes you feel mistreated, taken from, insulted or unsafe, your body automatically shifts into a sympathetic nervous system response. This is the way your body prepares to flee or fight danger.
In this state, your vision narrows, your heartbeat rises, and your frontal lobe (the part of your brain that is logical, practical, wise, and mindful) shuts down. This happens, because you need all the energy your body has for fleeing.
The problem is that narrow vision and frontal lobe shutdown may have served our ancestors because their troubles were trying to chase and eat them. But today the things that make you feel scared or upset are often just people problems, arguments, or conflicts — all of which would go better if you used logical, practical and wise thinking.
When you are in a fight-or-flight state, your subconscious programming and stress — not your conscious brain — drive your behavior. You aren’t thinking clearly enough to make a thoughtful decision about your words or behavior. You are just reacting, and this type of reaction is not always wise or loving. You are more likely to say something stupid you will regret later.
It's my experience that when people get mad, upset or fearful, they also get selfish. This happens because they are afraid, and fear is all about you. Think about the last time your child did something wrong that made you freak out. Chances are you were feeling fear of failure as a parent and fear of loss around your child’s life and safety. In this place, you might have triggered your fight-or-flight response. This means your entire focus was on saying or doing anything that would make you feel better or safer.
As long as you are a fear-driven, fight-or-flight state, you can’t see anything but your own need to feel safe again. As a parent, you might, therefore, punish the child in whatever way makes you feel safer. You will completely miss what your child needs at this moment. This happens because your fear made you selfish.
You need to learn how to get your brain, logic, love and wisdom back before you respond to any situation or problem. Here is a procedure to follow that should help you avoid acting stupid or selfish when you are mad:
1. Call a timeout
Set up a rule with the people in your life who most often trigger you: Agree that if either of you calls a timeout, you both agree to stop talking and walk away, for about 10-15 minutes, so you can calm down and handle the conversation in a more balanced, logical and unemotional way. As soon as you can tell that you or the other person is getting unbalanced and upset, call a timeout. Use this time to do some of the suggestions below.
2. Do some diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing means taking slow, deep breaths and pushing your stomach out (as fat as you can) on every in-breath, and sucking in your stomach while you breathe out. Do this for 5 minutes or until you feel calmed down.
3. Focus on personal value and belief
Remember that your value is infinite and absolute. No one can diminish you. You are the same you, no matter what anyone says or does. Remember that your life is the perfect classroom journey for you and every experience is a perfect lesson.
4. See the equality
Make sure you see this other person as the same as you. They are also a work in progress, just like you. Don’t talk down to them or see them as wrong or bad. You might not have done what they did, but you have other faults.
5. Think of the other person
Can you see what the other person is afraid of? Are they afraid of loss or afraid they aren’t good enough? Understanding the fear driving them right now will tell you what they need. Are they tired, hungry or incapable of mature behavior because they haven’t had the opportunity to learn a better way? What has happened in their life, that affects their current behavior?
6. Develop a plan
What are some possible responses to this situation? Think of many, and write next to each option what you think the outcome of choosing that option would be. Figure out a fear-motivated attitude in each response, as well as a love-motivated attitude.
For example, if one option is not to say anything about the offense, a fear-based attitude would be to not bring it up because you are scared to do so. A love-motivated attitude might be to see the other person's fears and realize the offense isn’t about you, then just forgive them and let it go. Which would be healthier? Cross out all the fear-based options and choose a love-based response that feels healthy to you.
The next time you find yourself in a fight mode or feeling angry or upset, ask for a timeout to get balanced, calm and smarter before you continue. Then pull this article out and run through every step. Once you have done this a few times, it will start to be your go-to procedure for smart responding. Fighting smart (instead of emotional, selfish and stupid) will be a game-changer in all your relationships.
Still, you cannot control other people. Sometimes their fear keeps them in fight-or-flight mode, and you can't fix that. Giving them lots of validation and reassurance may help quiet their fear enough that you can have a productive conversation with them. However, if they are badly fear-triggered and can’t get themselves under control, or are abusive or mean, enforce a boundary and don’t communicate with them until they can do it respectfully.
You can do this.
I love your column and appreciate what you say about fear being a problem, but isn’t there some fear that motivates us and keeps us safe? I can think of some fear situations that help me avoid danger or be more motivated. (I) just wondered what you would say to that.
Fear of being physically hurt can prompt behavior that makes you safer, and fear of failure can motivate you. The question is, can you be too afraid of danger and does motivation require fear? Is being fear-motivated healthy? Would being passion- or love-motivated be better?
I will concede that fear for your safety serves to protect you on occasion, but you don’t want to live there. That would be miserable. Being in fear can be motivating, but I believe being motivated by love and passion is better. Sometimes fear is more paralyzing than motivating. However, there is another way that some fear serves you and ensures the survival of the human race.
I write often about seeing life as a classroom and how this mindset helps you to see every single situation, emotion, challenge, process or feeling you experience as existing to serve your growth in some way (and this includes feeling fear). Fear is in your life to serve you.
I actually believe fear is biologically necessary, even critical to our growth because it keeps us in a constant state of dissatisfaction and insecurity — which motivates us to keep growing, innovating, evolving and striving to survive. If we didn’t have any fear, we would get too content and might stop improving, growing and evolving, which could lead to the decline and eventual end of the human race.
That might seem a little extreme, but growth, change and improvement are what push our species forward. We must stay somewhat dissatisfied and insecure so we will do the things necessary to grow. If you were totally satisfied with where you are and who you are, all growth would stop. This might be the reason that as soon as you get comfortable, the universe throws a curve ball your way. The classroom of life requires challenges to keep us growing.
But too much fear is also a problem. Too much fear can have the opposite effect and might hold you back from taking risks, pushing your limits, and reaching new goals because it simply feels safer not to. You might, at this very moment, feel safer playing small in some area of your life.
Too much satisfaction means you are drifting
In his book "Outwitting the Devil," Napoleon Hill says drifters are people who are neglecting growth and mindlessly reacting to life with the same old patterns over and over. He claims that 98% of us fall into this category at times in our lives.
“Those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters. A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind. … A drifter accepts whatever life throws in his way without making a protest or putting up a fight. He doesn’t know what he wants from life and spends all of his time getting just that.”
The universe doesn’t want you to be too satisfied with the status quo. It wants you to learn and grow and keep changing your life. That is what you are here for.
But too much dissatisfaction is also a problem.
Too much dissatisfaction makes you anxious
You could get caught up in a never-ending pursuit of perfection or getting something else. You may develop the mindset that if you could just get this, or get that thing, or accomplish that goal, and get there, then you would be happy. This leads to a life of stress, controlling others, and pushing everything and everyone to meet your expectations.
This type of action is hard on your relationships because your focus is selfishly on you and getting what you want or need to feel better. This is also a miserable way to live. The problem with too much dissatisfaction is as soon as that goal or task is accomplished, you already need something else.
Finding the sweet spot mindset
You must find the sweet spot in the middle, where you are dissatisfied and driven to keep growing while also feeling satisfied and at peace about where you are now. The key to finding that spot is managing your fear instead of letting it manage you. Here is how:
1. Choose the mindset that your life is the perfect classroom journey for you all the time. Understand that every experience is here to serve you because your purpose for being here is growth. This will help you to set aside any anxiety around things not being done or right. It will eliminate the excessive dissatisfaction behind your anxiety and let you feel more peaceful and content. It will help you let go of your expectations and feel satisfied because where you are is perfectly where you should be at this moment. You can still set goals and strive to change and improve the future, but where you are now is perfect for now.
2. Choose the mindset that your value can’t change. No matter what you do, you will always have the same intrinsic value as every other person on the planet. This means you can take risks, try new things, speak up, stretch yourself and risk failure while at the same time feeling safe. This mindset takes failure off the table. You were drifting because you thought it was safer; with this new mindset, you can take risks and still feel safe. You can engage in the classroom and shoot high without fear.
So, fear, dissatisfaction, and insecurity do serve you, but only in that sweet spot where you push yourself to take risks to grow. At the same time, know your value and your journey are perfect, so fear doesn’t take over and make you anxious. It’s all about balance.
I still believe you can protect yourself from physical danger using wisdom and love for yourself instead of fear, and you will be more motivated by love and passion than fear ever made you. But I will concede that some fear is useful for our evolution and growth because, without it, we wouldn’t get the opportunity to learn to rise above fear and choose trust.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I went through a horrible divorce many years ago and it made me feel unwanted and unloved. I can’t seem to get past those feelings, and because of that I am not dating or trying to meet anyone. I think it’s a combination of being afraid, thinking I am not good enough, and being afraid of rejection. Is there anything I can do to get past those fears and move on?
There are some things you can do that would help you move forward and feel more courageous about dating. But before we get to that, I want to explain how our past experiences create beliefs, mental rules or policies that dictate our behavior in the future.
This process started when you were a small child and everything you saw or experienced created ideas and beliefs about who you are and how you fit in the world. But it's possible that many of these conclusions may not have been accurate.
It sounds like the divorce also prompted you to make some new beliefs about your value and relationships. You may have drawn conclusions that the rejection meant you aren’t good enough to deserve love. This isn’t a fact, though; it’s just a belief (or a subconscious policy or rule) you may have applied to the event.
The good news is while you can’t go back and change what happened, you can go back and change what it meant. This is where "time travel" comes in. You have the ability to visualize when you went through that experience and choose a different meaning around it. You can also change the beliefs it created.
To change the meaning of some of your past experiences, find some quiet time when you won't be interrupted and follow these steps:
1. Close your eyes and go back to the situation when you created these assumptions or beliefs about your value or your life. Sit in that place for a while and really feel the feelings that show up. What are the exact conclusions you drew at this time? How did you feel because of these conclusions? After you sit with that for a little while, stop and write the conclusions or beliefs down on paper. What meaning did you apply to the event?
2. Look at those beliefs and write down the ways those beliefs have served you or protected you. You may have held onto them because they served you in some way.
3. Now, think about what these beliefs have cost you. Write down all the damage they have done and how they have negatively affected your life.
4. Ask yourself, are these beliefs worth the cost or would you like to change them?
5. If you think your life would be better if you changed these limiting beliefs, what would you like to believe instead? How would you like to feel about yourself? How would you like to feel about your life?
6. If it would serve you to change these beliefs, try applying new meaning to the event in your past and choose new beliefs to draw from it.
Here's how to do this:
8. Take some time to write down how you are going to choose to feel and process present experiences in light of the new meanings around the past that you have chosen.
You may want to repeat this process a few times, because the more you do it the more you will internalize your new chosen beliefs. According to the neuroscientist, Beau Lotto, in his book Deviate, your brain doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. So, when you use visualization and process events in a more healthy way, you actually get the same benefits you would if you had really had the experience that way.
You may also have more courage to start dating if you choose to trust that your value is the same as everyone else’s, whether someone likes you or not, and trust in the universe that the right person will like you when the time is right.
You can do this.
Coach Kim Giles is a master life coach, speaker, and author of three books. Coach Kim offers help and resources that fit any budget. Learn more at www.claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes,com
This was first published on ksl.com
In this article, I am going to teach you a simple system I teach my coaching clients to help you find the right course of action every time, no matter the quandary.
To illustrate the process, I'll use an example situation involving your spouse asking you to do something on Saturday that you don’t want to do.
Here are the steps I recommend for finding the right response:
1. Take a minute and make sure you aren’t in a fear state by choosing to trust that you have the same intrinsic, unchangeable value as everyone else on the planet, no matter what you choose. Choose to trust that your life is always your perfect classroom, and everyone else’s perfect classroom, so all involved will learn and grow with whatever you choose. This may lessen the risk involved in making a choice.
2. Write down every response option you can think of. In this example the options may be:
With this example, there could be six options:
5. Choose the love-driven option you feel the most capable of doing.
If there is no way you can do what your spouse wants, as a gift that is freely-given and from a place of love with no resentment, then you shouldn't choose that option. Instead, choose to love yourself enough to choose what you need. This is not selfish. It's still a loving decision.
You cannot choose other people every time, nor are you supposed to. You must love yourself and other people equally, which means sometimes you choose to sacrifice for them and sometimes you choose you. This is healthy, wise and mature. This isn't selfish although you might have a subconscious program that makes you feel guilty if you ever choose you.
If you choose others too much, over-give and neglect your self-care, you may soon find your bucket is empty. Some people might also start to take your sacrifices for granted. They may start to assume this is just how it is: you sacrifice yourself for them all the time. You don’t want to create this.
If you have been giving too much and never choosing to love yourself, you may need to start choosing you.
Some people might not like the change and might even try to make you feel guilty and accuse you of being selfish because they really liked the old you. You will have to push through this, apologize for not honoring your own needs in the past, and remind them that self-care is not selfish, it’s healthy.
The trick to making good decisions is identifying the love-driven options and avoiding the fear-driven ones. Love-driven self-care feels safe and calm and it creates loving feelings towards the other person involved.
With practice, you will get better at seeing the love-driven responses and they will start coming naturally.
You can do this.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.