First published on KSL.com
During the holiday season, our attention is turned towards giving, showing love to the people around us, helping the less fortunate, and trying to create a more peaceful world.
This has had me thinking about how un-peaceful the world feels right now. There is more divisions and distance between us than ever. There is a widening gap between the political parties, racial tension, religious transitions, and more divides around gender and sexuality than ever before. The “us versus them mentality” is stronger than ever.
University of Maryland professor Lilliana Mason recently released a study showing that the political divide between the parties is creating more disdain and even hatred for members of the opposing party than we have ever seen before. She found it wasn’t even the issues that divides us, as much as the political identities of the two groups, and our desire to fit in on one side or the other.
According to the Pew Research Center there has been a spike in the contempt each group has for the other. More than 4 in 10 Democrats and Republicans say the other party’s policies are so misguided that they pose a threat to the nation. This means we are becoming scared of each other, and that fear breeds conflict and hate, not compassion.
The internet has made it easy to access news and commentary that is biased towards our side, which strengthens the animosity towards the other, and throws gasoline on flame of discord.
The problem is, at the subconscious level, our egos like this “us versus them” idea. We like it because when you make the other side the villains and cast them as the bad guys, you cast yourself as the good guys, which can be a subconscious boost to your self-esteem, but this comes at a great cost to our country and communities. Instead of unity, compassion, and tolerance, we create fear, distain, and division.
The real problem behind these problems in our world (terrorism, racism, discrimination, hate, misogyny and prejudice) is a simple, foundational belief we all have. It is simply the belief or idea that human value can change. Let me explain why.
You believe your value as a human being is dependent on your appearance, performance, property and popularity. These things change all the time, so your sense of value changes and goes up and down. Some days you feel good about yourself and others you feel worthless or less than others. Because you believe your value can change, you also believe other people’s value can change, and this means you also believe some humans have “more value” than other humans.
You may not believe this consciously, but the two beliefs go together, and if you believe value can change, you have to believe some people are more valuable or good than others.
Most of this plays out subconsciously though. Think about how you judge, measure and assess everyone you meet, and some of them you see as better as you (and you are intimidated by them) and some you see as less than you (and you might talk down to them).
This simple belief is the real problem behind all the problems on the planet. We see certain groups of people as better or worse than other groups of people, and if we see them as the bad guys we can justify treating them badly.
The terrorists see Americans as the bad, horrible and we see them as horrible violent people. Democrats see Republicans as racist and fascist, while Republicans see Democrats as socialist free loaders. Millennials are disgusted with old views, and older folks see millennials as entitled and lazy.
People who leave their religion see the believers as the clueless, while the believer see them as sinning apostates. People who live on the east side, see the west side neighborhoods as ghetto. The holy war between red and blue football teams further divides our community. There are a million ways we divide ourselves into “us versus them” and as long as we see “them” as the bad guys, we will create discord not peace.
This is where each of us can step in and create real change in our world. We can change this core, foundational belief inside us, and if we all did this, we could change everything.
You can start this by choosing to see all humans value as unchangeable, infinite and absolute. This would mean everyone has the exact same intrinsic worth no matter what party, race, or religion they belong to. This means you can’t earn more value and be better than anyone else. You also can’t lose value and be less than anyone else. You always are the same - no matter what you do.
This is a simple idea, but the affect could be profound. If everyone on the planet chose to stop vilifying the others as bad, and chose to see them as just different, but equal in value, we could make big changes in our community. But you have no control over them, you only have control of you.
So, choose to see all humans as equal in value, starting today. Give up judgment, gossip and the need to put others down to feel better about yourself. Stop seeing the other political party as horrible people, and just see them as scared of different things. Their fears make them concerned about different issues, but they are good people with the exact same value.
There are some “bad” people out there, who wish to do harm others. But, you can still see them as equal in value. These people have usually had a much different life journey, where they have experienced things you haven’t, and some have developed mindsets that come from fear and hate. But if you had had their journey, you might be the same way. You don’t have to trust these people or be friends with them, but if you choose to see their value as the same, you could address them with wisdom not hate.
You start creating peace on earth at home. Make sure you remind yourself daily that your own value doesn’t change. When you have a bad hair day, make a mistake at work, get dumped, or experience a setback remind yourself none of these change your value.
Make sure your spouse and children know their value can’t change. When they drop a glass in the kitchen that shatters and makes a huge mess, quickly remind them that didn’t change their value. Make sure you don’t cast your spouse as the bad one in a fight. Instead see both of you as both good and bad at times, with the exact same value.
The more you talk about this idea and choose it as your truth, the better you will feel. Also refrain from gossip, judging and putting others down. Never speak negatively about people who are different from you politically, racially, economically or spiritually. Make seeing all people as the same, a daily commitment.
Look for similarities not differences, and reach out to people you haven’t been comfortable around, and get to know them. It’s hard to hate people up close.
Find people whose views are different from yours and instead of seeing them as wrong or debating the issues, ask questions and see what you could learn from their perspective. See if you can feel their heart and goodness. If we all reached across the aisle and had more compassion for our neighbors, maybe our leaders would learn to lean in and create compromise too.
Peace on earth beings with you and me.
We can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after coach, author and speaker. She is the president and founder of www.claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes.com She is the author of the books Choosing Clarity, and The People Guidebook.
This was first published on KSl.COM
My wife has a very annoying thing she does all the time. She uses your name (Coach Kim) tons of times in any conversation … not just with me, but everyone. It feels to me and our children that she wants and needs to recommend and correct us all, and it really pushes everyone's buttons. It’s great that she likes your advice column and is learning things, but it’s making life at home worse, not better. What can we do?
Her intentions are good, but trying to fix, advise or help other people when they haven’t asked for the help is insulting. Unfortunately, many people who study personal development find it easier to see the bad behavior in other people than in themselves. Looking in the mirror is rough on your self-worth, while fixing other people makes you feel wise and important. The problem is, though, it feels good; it doesn’t create healthy relationships and can push people away from you.
I am going to give you some advice on how to handle it when someone tries to fix you. Then I’m going to give some suggestions if you are the person who wants to share advice with others, so you can do it without insulting them.
When someone tries to fix you with unsolicited advice:
First, recognize some people who try to "fix" you can be projecting their own issues on you. There is a universal spiritual law of projection that states: "You spot it, you got it." This means we tend to see the very issues we need to work on in other people. So, we have to understand that a lot of the criticism we get from other people can be more about them than it is about us.
I do not recommend pointing this out to them, though, unless you want to create serious conflict, because the thing with projection is they can’t see it. If they could see it, they wouldn’t do it. Instead, just say, "I can understand why you might see it that way."
Then, ask a permission question like, "Would it be OK if I spoke my truth about this advice?" Never share your opinions with anyone unless you respect and honor them enough to ask if they are willing to listen to it first. If they say no, you must respect that.
If they say yes, explain that you appreciate their desire to help you, but unsolicited advice really feels like an insult to you. Ask if they would be willing to ask permission and see if you are open to some advice from Coach Kim before they give it. Ask if they would be willing to do that for you moving forward. If they can do this, it would make you feel respected, honored and validated.
Always ask them to change their behavior next time or in the future. Don’t focus on their past behavior, because they can’t change the past, so it will only make them defensive. Ask if next time they have something Coach Kim said that they really want to share, would they be willing to ask if you are interested first. That would mean a lot to you if they would.
If it continues to happen, don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. Understand that your wife might have fears of failure and loss that drive her behavior. Some people need to advise others to feel safe in the world or feel validated and important. Their need to do this has nothing to do with you. Any of us can be prone to do this when we feel insecure. Let her know you get this and think she is an amazing person who is wise and valuable right now.
When you have some advice you really want to share to help another person:
As I mentioned above: always, always ask permission before you make a suggestion, give advice, tell your story or correct another human being. This is the most important thing you must learn from this article.
If you speak without asking permission, it is insulting and dishonors the other person. Before you say anything (especially before sharing things you have learned from Coach Kim) ask the other person if they might be open to let you share something you learned that has helped you. If they say no, they would rather not hear any more Coach Kim advice, you must honor this and say: “I respect that, no problem.”
You may be someone who gives advice almost subconsciously though, and you might start giving advice before you consciously realize you are doing it. If this is the case, you are going to have to learn to be really mindful and aware. You must watch yourself for this behavior and apologize if you ever find yourself giving unsolicited advice.
It is hard not to share when you find something very valuable, but most people are resistant to learning from information that is pushed on them. They won’t want to read an article if they feel you are trying to fix them. If you really want to have influence and help others, make sure you first validate and praise who they are right now. Make them feel safe, honored and valued.
Then, ask permission to share something that helped you, and if they are open, explain what you learned and how you used it to fix yourself. Don’t assume it will be right for them. Just share your experience and leave it there. If they are interested, let them choose to read it. People are more open to things they choose for themselves.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Our son was raised in the LDS faith and he has chosen to go the other direction and be in a same-sex relationship. What can we do as parents in this situation? He has gone so far as to take his name off the records of the church. Can you tell us how to help?
There are some ideas, perspectives and tips, which may help you to experience less fear and more peace around this situation.
1) Work on your fears of failure and loss. You must work on eliminating your fears, because fear makes you selfish and incapable of love and love is the path to peace in this situation. The following points should help you experience less fear and clearly see what a love based approach could look like.
2) Remember human value is infinite and absolute. We are all irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, infinitely and absolutely valued, divine, children of God — all of us — without exception. We all have the exact same intrinsic worth as everyone else, no matter our beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation or anything else. This means that your child and his life and choices don’t affect your value or his. You are not a failure and have no reason to experience shame about this. Everything that happens is just a lesson on love, but none of the lessons diminish your value. If you remember this idea you will have less fear of failure (fear that you aren’t good enough).
3) The real point and purpose for our being on this planet is to learn love at a deeper level. Everything God has inspired, created or allowed to be created here is here is meant to teach you, grow you and stretch you past your comfort zone, expanding the limits of your love. God created this universe and all the people in it with many interesting differences (including race, religion, culture, ideology, sexual orientation). Everyone on the planet is here (in the classroom of life) to both learn to love and to teach love. Situations like yours challenge you to stretch beyond the limits of your previous loving abilities, they help you learn love at whole new level.
If you trust the process of your life and see everything as a lesson, you will have less fear of loss. You will accept your journey as your perfect classroom and not resist this experience as much. If you embrace the lesson as a beautiful opportunity to grow, you will find peace.
4) Whatever you do, don’t let fear divide you or push you away from your child. Make sure your love is bigger than your fear. God created all of us the way we are for a reason. Your job (with this now adult child) is to love, be compassionate, open, accepting and kind. This means embracing your son and his partner too, like you would any other child in your home. Spend the same amount of time with them, listen to them, care about them and don’t let the differences get in the way.
If you have trouble with this and your fears of failure or loss overpower you, I highly recommend working with a coach or counselor, who can help you reframe and lessen your fears.
5) Remember love means respect. You can’t have real love without it. When someone has different beliefs than yours, respect means treating them the same way you would treat someone who agrees with you. You must honor their right to believe what they believe and respect their own path to goodness and God.
6) Love means caring for their needs and happiness as much as you care about your own. What your child needs right now is acceptance, support, validation of his worth, and reassurance. Giving him these must be a priority over his meeting your expectations. Trust God that all will be fine in the end, and if it’s not fine - it’s not the end. Trust that the God you believe in is loving and full of grace, wisdom and forgiveness. Trust you have nothing to fear because God is the author of everything.
7) Give up your need to be right. If you insist on taking the stand that your path is right and his is wrong, you will not leave space for a good relationship. You can believe that you are right in your mind — but you must focus outwardly on the beautiful, loving, kind, compassionate, hard working (or whatever other virtues your child has) person your child is. Remember that though he is rejecting your religion, he is not rejecting goodness, love or light. Just because he isn’t on your religion’s definition of the right path, he is still a loving, kind, giving person whom God loves every bit as much as he loves you.
The bottom line is you must lose your fears through trust and love, and make sure your child feels respected, admired, appreciated and wanted every day. If you do this you will also like yourself better too. I promise it will feel right.
Love without condition, listen without intention and care without expectation. This is the way to peace.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I have a co-worker I’m worried about. She is really down after some major setbacks in her life and she is joking about death in a way that makes me worried she might kill herself. I try to be friendly and supportive, but I don’t know what I should say or do. I can’t find the right words and I don’t want to overstep or offend her. What should I do?
There are 117 people who die by suicide every day in our country. In Utah, we lose one person every 15 hours, and the truth is that almost everyone goes through a time in their life when they think about ending it. This means, it is highly likely there is someone around you right now who is at risk for suicide. If we all understood the signs and how to respond, we could make a meaningful difference.
Research indicates that 80 percent of suicidal people make their intentions known to others beforehand and hope someone will reach out and help. These signals may include making a joke or off-hand comment about suicide. If you pick up on any unusual comment or behavior, you must act on it using the steps below.
You may also want to share this article with friends and family because it would make a huge difference if everyone was educated about what to do if you suspect suicide. This is as important as knowing CPR or any other first aid skill because it can save lives.
Here are some simple steps for what to do if you suspect suicide, from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
There is always uncertainty around the decision to die by suicide, and when someone reaches out in love and support, most people respond and are open to other options for dealing with their pain. If there is someone who cares enough to reach out, there is always hope.
Please don’t ignore the signs — you truly can make a difference.
You can do this.
Read some more great information on suicide prevention on the Crisis Center Website
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.