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This was first published on ksl.com
I was visiting with a good friend the other day and he finally admitted that his life has been really hard lately and he and his family are going through things I had no idea about. We talked about how often people are pretending to be OK and when you ask how they are they say “fine,” but they really aren’t fine at all. How can you get people to tell you the truth about what they are going through instead of always saying “fine”? Is there a good question I could ask people that would get to the truth and open them up?
It was author Brad Meltzer who said, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” And he is right, especially today, when many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders or health problems. No family is immune from these kinds of serious challenges. You can assume everyone you know has something painful going on that they aren’t telling anyone about.
The reason we keep these challenges to ourselves could be that we fear judgment, criticism and looking bad. Some of us might not want to burden others with our heavy or dirty laundry, and we might not want pity or sympathy either. It just seems wiser and more practical to say we're "good."
If you want another person to open up and confide in you, then you are going to have to create a place that feels safe enough to do that. The other person has to know there will be no judgment and trust that you'll keep what they tell you confidential. They also have to know you won’t try to fix it or give them unsolicited advice, because that may not what they need.
What they might need is validation of their worth despite what they are going through. They may need validation about how tiring and difficult their challenge is and that it makes sense that they're struggling. They also have to know you will listen and not tell them what they should be doing differently.
Before you try to get another human to open up and tell you about their pain, you must be committed to honoring their right to be where they are and letting them know they still have absolute, infinite worth. You have to be prepared to validate without advising, fixing or giving them your take on the issue. In other words, it should stay about them, not about you.
Here's what I'd recommend saying when talking with a friend and have a hunch they aren't fine:
“If I could promise there would be no judgment and only unconditional love and support, would you be open to telling me about the hard stuff you and your family are going through? I promise I will just listen and be here. I’d really love to be that kind of friend to you.”
If they still don’t have anything to say, then that's OK. At least then they know if they ever do want a friend you are there. It sometimes helps if you are willing to open up and talk about some of your personal challenges, especially if you think they might be going through something similar. Your vulnerability and authenticity may encourage them to do the same.
If they do trust you enough to open up, then just listen. Don’t tell your story and how you got through. Don’t agree or disagree with anything they say (that would be making it about you). And don’t give advice or suggestions. One question that might help is, “What is the worst part for you?” When you ask that, you give them permission to go deeper and vocalize the depth of their pain.
If you really feel you can help and have some advice that could make a difference for them, ask for their permission to share it first. You could say something like, “Would you be open to a suggestion or idea around solving this? I don’t want to assume anything or infer that I know better, but if I had one bit of advice would you be open to it, or would it help you more if I just listen and be here?” In other words, give them a safe place to say “no thanks" if they choose.
You can do this.
Visit www.claritypointcoaching.com to learn more about Coach Kim Giles and take the Clarity Assessment, that helps you see where your fears and values are creating good and bad behavior in your life and relationships.
This was first published on KSL.com
I get along with everyone, but there is this one person at work, who doesn’t like me at all, and I literally can’t stand being around her now. Everything I say or do brings a look or comment from her. She is rude, arrogant and tacky. She insults me and makes it very clear she doesn’t like me, and this situation is making work miserable. What do you do when there is one person who doesn’t like you at all, but you have to deal with them every day?
The short answer to this question is don’t let it bug you. Whatever their problem is, it is probably not really about you and it doesn’t mean much that this one human doesn’t like you. You are still the same you with the same infinite value, no matter what one person thinks, but I would like to give you eight suggestions that might help you be less bothered.
1. We are all different and won’t click with everyone
Throughout your life, there will be people who immediately like you and your personalities just click, and also people with whom you don’t click. This is true for all of us all the time, so it’s OK if someone doesn't like you. It’s just a fact of life.
2. Don’t let this person see they are getting to you — by not letting them get to you
They may enjoy this game more if they know it’s bothering you. The most important thing is don’t make the game fun for them. Treat them the same way you treat everyone else and don’t avoid them or antagonize them in any way. Remember, all humans have the exact same value and nothing anyone thinks about you can change yours. If we all have the same value and it can’t change, there is nothing to fear from anyone.
3. Remember what people think of you doesn’t mean anything
Their opinions are just thoughts they created in their heads. They are not necessarily the truth and they have no power unless you give them the power to bother you.
4. Look for projection
Projection happens when someone projects how they feel about themselves onto you. Ask yourself, does this person really not like me, or do they not like themselves and are just projecting those feelings onto me? Is there any chance this person has some fear of failure in play and are afraid they aren’t good enough that they have to subconsciously look for (and focus on) negative feelings toward me to make themselves feel better? People who really like themselves and have healthy self-esteem generally get along with most people. If this person doesn’t get along with everyone, they may not like themselves.
5. Are you triggering their fear of failure?
Is this person afraid they aren’t good enough on some level and is there something about you that triggers this fear in them? Do they struggle with their weight, while you don’t? Do they struggle with writing, while you find it easy and are recognized for it? Is there something about you that makes them feel unsafe or less than? I am not suggesting you play this down or quit being who you are, but if you can see what’s happening accurately you might understand this problem is about their fears about themselves and not about you.
6. Show them you like them
People generally like people who like them and dislike people they think dislike them. So, make an extra effort to show this person you appreciate who they are and what they do. Pay compliments and show them you see their value. Often, this kind, reassuring behavior could turn their reaction to you around fast.
7. Read about the three types of relationships from this article (even though it’s about marriage it applies to all relationships).
See if you can identify the fear issue in play with you and this person. Are they fear of failure or loss dominant and which are you? This can help you to see the relationship in a whole new light.
8. Read this article about the four different value systems and see if you can tell which you have and which they have
Understanding what they value most might help you understand their behavior and why they may react negatively to yours. For example, if they value ideas and principles most while you value people most, then they might think you are too social or too talkative and that might bother them. Or maybe they value tasks most and you value things most. This could mean they don’t like how much you care about something like fashion because they don’t think it’s important at all. Again, you shouldn’t change who you are but you should be aware of what they think is important and honor their right to think that way.
Our values and our fears highly influence who we like and connect with. Understanding another person’s value system and dominant fear will really help you understand their behavior. In my opinion, fears and value are the main drivers of human behavior, and when we get another person at this level we will have more compassion and tolerance for their quirkiness.
Try to appreciate the good in this person and love them despite their quirks. Remember, their ideas and thoughts don’t mean anything or change your value, so there is nothing to fear here.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of www.app.12shapes.com and is a human behavior expert, author and speaker. She provides corporate training on her 12 shapes relationship system and solves your people problems.
We moved to Utah from out of state and we are good Christian people with high standards and values, and like most people outside of Utah we drink coffee and wine. We also use a phrase that apparently is taboo here. We say “Oh my God” quite a bit and never in our lives considered that a swear word. But twice since moving, here my children have been told that’s bad to say that, and this has been very confusing for them because it is so normal at our house. The way they were scolded about their language was very judgmental of my husband and I as parents. We have also have had numerous families tell my children they can’t play with theirs, because we are not Mormon and have wine in our house. We have never had wine in front of their children and we actually don’t drink very often, but really, we’ve never experienced anything like this. My children have good manners and are kind, sweet kids, but they are cast as bad in our neighborhood because we are of a different religion. I am not sure how to handle it? I am shocked that religious people would be so unkind. Do you have any suggestions?
First, we would like to openly apologize to you (on behalf of our state) and say we are so sorry this kind of thing happens here. Please know there are many Utahans, who would never treat you and your family this way and are saddened to know this has been your experience.
As for some advice, you have two options in this situation. You can be angry, bitter, resentful and unkind back, or you can take the high road and demonstrate your beliefs better than they have theirs. Our advice would be to take the high road and treat them with kindness and love anyway. Do this, not because they deserve it, but because it’s the kind of person you want to be.
You might consider killing them with kindness, instead of being unkind back. Take them cookies, shovel their snow or find other ways to demonstrate what love looks like.
Let your children know these people are afraid. They have a fear problem around certain words or actions that make them feel unsafe. If we see their behavior as scared, instead of judgmental and unkind, it’s easier to have compassion for them. They are doing the best they can with what they currently know and see, though ignorance isn’t innocence.
Suggestion for righteous people everywhere:
We would also like to offer some suggestions to you, who find yourselves feeling uncomfortable with people who are different from you, or not of your faith.
We hope you will be open minded and consider you might have some subconscious fear issues that arise when interacting with people who are different from you, and this might trigger behavior that is less than loving.
We all have subconscious biases in play, but that doesn’t excuse unloving behavior. It is always your responsibility to identify your discomfort around certain things or people, and force yourself out of your comfort zone. This is the only way to grow and learn to accept and embrace people, who are different.
We believe this one lesson (loving people who are different from you) is the primary lesson we are on the planet to learn and it is why the universe is filled with diversity. Diversity gives you an opportunity to see “the limits of your love” as they show you the boundaries of your comfort zone and challenge you to learn to love bigger.
If you are uncomfortable around people of a different race, religion, or sexual orientation, people who drink coffee or wine, have tattoos, swear, or have gauged ears or piercings, you need to find some of those people post haste, and spend some time with them. Get to know them. It is simply a matter of choosing to expand your world. You will probably be surprised too, because these people are often the kindest you will ever meet.
We were at a conference recently and saw a transsexual woman sitting alone at a table. Because we haven’t had the opportunity to know many trans people, we could immediately see getting to know this person would be a good stretch for us. We asked if we could join her and had the most amazing time learning about the challenges she faces and feeling of her goodness. You must also do this kind of thing if you want to grow.
We also recommend asking yourself, what does being a righteous person mean to you?
The dictionary defines righteousness as: being morally right or virtuous.
This is definitely a noble pursuit, but that is about one’s own choices and behavior. You get to decide what your values are and what behavior you deem right, but it does not include putting those same values on others. As soon as you do that, you have moved from righteous to self-righteous.
The dictionary defines self-righteous as: believing one is totally correct or morally superior to others.
This is where it all goes wrong. When you believe you are morally superior to another person, you are no longer righteous, in our opinion. It is not right to push your beliefs on other people or scold them for language you have decided not to use. When you do this, it is not defending God’s name, it is making another person or family feel small. You are choosing to see some human beings as having more value (or being more right or better) than others, and this is a problem.
If you want to raise confident, loving, wise children, who grow into mature, kind adults, then teach them to see all human beings as having the same value, no matter the difference in their journeys, language or behavior.
We know you are trying to teach your children your values, which in this case includes the idea that drinking coffee and wine are bad. We understand the fear you have, that children, who don’t see drinking as bad, might be prone to do it. The problem is you are also raising judgmental children, who will miss out on getting to know a large number of amazing people all over the world, because their fear will overpower their ability to love them.
There is a way to explain to children though drinking is against your family’s personal values, it doesn’t make a person who drinks bad or less than you. You can teach the dangers of alcohol, while also teaching them to accept and love those who have different values. There are good kind people all over the world who drink responsibly and live healthy lives. You may also have a child who drinks at some point, and they need to know there is nothing they could do, to separate themselves from your love.
Most of all, make sure you are teaching children to accept and be kind to everyone and the only way to teach this is by example. If you have ever made a neighbor feel judged for being different, don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology. It’s not too late.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I support gay marriage but my spouse is very against it. Every time the topic comes up, which is often, we end up in an argument. At first we agreed to just never talk about it, but that is proving hard to do. We both feel strongly about our position and we get emotional and angry. We really wish we were on the same page on this. It’s driving a wedge in our marriage. I hate that he sees me as wrong and he hates that I see him as homophobic and mean. Do you have any advice on this? What do you do when you fundamentally disagree at a core level with the person you love most?
This question may benefit all of us, because your marriage is just a microcosm of our society right now. Both sides of this issue have strong opinions and emotions are running high. Maybe it would help if we all learned how to appreciate each other, honor our differences, and respect those who disagree with us.
I believe life is a classroom (you hear me say that often) but I believe this classroom was specifically designed to teach us how to love ourselves and other people at a higher level. In order for us to stretch and learn to love at a higher level, God made us all different.
God could have made us all the same race, color, size and sexual orientation, but that would have made accepting each other way too easy. What’s the challenge in that?
Instead people come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, races and sexual orientation. I believe these differences were intentional, they are here for a reason — so we get the opportunity to learn to love those who are different, which is more difficult to do. Differences give us all kinds of challenges to overcome and grow from.
Every experience, issue, difference and disagreement is a lesson to teach you love, though. I believe this is especially true in your marriage. This unique relationship can teach you things you can’t learn anywhere else, because your spouse can push your buttons better than anyone else. Your marriage is your perfect classroom.
On top of that, sexual orientation is a tough difference to process for many people, because they just can’t get their head around it or understand it. These types of differences can also cause us to lump whole groups of people into “them” groups opposed to “us” groups and subconsciously see them as the bad guys or the wrong ones. We literally see “these people” and everyone on “their side” as the enemy at the subconscious level. They are the enemy because either they are wrong or I am. Both can’t be right.
So your question is really, "How do I genuinely love my enemies and those who strongly disagree with me and see me as wrong?"
Here are some things you can do (and we all can do) to stop the fighting and increase our compassion and tolerance for others:
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 life coach and speaker.
This was first published on KSL.COM
How can I teach my children to be kind? I have noticed a tendency to put down, gossip about, or find fault in others. I also have family members who love to judge others and do a lot of joking at others' expense. It's very upsetting to me. What can I do to encourage my family to be kinder?
First, I want you to understand that we all have a subconscious tendency to see people in a negative light, which is at the heart of our unkindness (and our low self-esteem). We do it to ourselves and others.
Without consciously realizing it, you automatically look for differences in everyone, and we are constantly trying to figure out where we fit and how we compare to others. This creates a subconscious tendency to focus on the bad in other people, because if you can find a reason to see them as worse than you, it makes you feel like the good guy, or better and safer (and you have less fear of failure). It doesn’t even matter what the criteria of comparison or division is; we latch onto anything that sets us apart. We look for any difference that makes us feel better, kinder, taller, richer, or more anything than the other people around us. We will even divide ourselves based on our preferences seeing Coke people as better than the Pepsi people, Mac people as smarter than PC people, or mayo people as better than Miracle Whip people. Then, we see these others, whether they cheer for the other college team or look different or act different from us, as the enemy. We also look for others, who are on our side, who validate our worth in their mutual hate for the enemy. Remember, we do this because if we can cast another group as the bad guys that makes us feel like the good guys. This fear-based tendency is the cause of most of the problems on the planet. Most of our wars, racism, prejudice, backbiting and bullying all come from our ego’s need to feel better than other people. This behavior is driven by a deep subconscious core fear of not being good enough that we all have to some degree. We create these divisions to give us a sense of self-worth and make us feel special. The problem is that though this behavior may make you feel better about yourself for a moment, it doesn't last. It doesn't produce real self-worth, and it is literally giving power to the idea that some people are better than others and you must prove your worth, which will create a lifetime of low self-esteem.
If you watch human nature enough you will see low-self esteem and judging and criticizing others always go hand in hand. They create each other, and the more you do one, the more you get the other.
The most important thing you must teach your children is that all human beings have the same intrinsic worth no matter what. We are all unique, divine, irreplaceable, infinitely valuable souls, fighting our way through the classroom of life, scared and struggling most of the time, doing the best we can with what we know. Because life is a classroom, not a test, our value isn't in question though. It is not on the line at all. Our value is infinite and absolute and does not change ever. You must teach your children to see every person on the planet as having the same intrinsic value they do. These people may be in very different classes and in a different place in their unique journey, but their value is the same. Teach your children (and adopt for yourself) this idea as a core belief and it will make your entire life better. You will have more compassion for others and better self-esteem. If you will work on establishing this idea as a core belief in your family and talk about it daily with your children, it will make a profound difference on their kindness. Also, watch for the tendency to compare and divide and use teaching moments to talk about truth and bring compassion to the situation. Here are a few other suggestions for teaching your children to see other people as the same as them:
You will do this even if it's not true. This is not lying, it is seeing the highest best in them before they are even demonstrating it. They have this goodness in their somewhere. This is about seeing the wonderful loving person they have a capacity to be and helping them to see it.
You should only have to say this once or twice and this person will not gossip or be unkind to others in your presence again. They may stop gossiping completely. This will work because people want to live up to our highest opinion of them. If you see them as a kind person, they will want to be that.
People are also more motivated to change themselves when you see good in them than they are when you point out their flaws or mistakes. This technique works with any kind of human behavior you want to change. Just sincerely compliment them in that area often, and you will project them with positivity in that direction.
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 life coach and speaker.
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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.