This was first published on KSL.com
Think of some people in your life that you struggle to get along with, judge, dislike, or who have behaviors that push your buttons or drive you crazy.
These are very important people in your life because they show you things about yourself and your values. They show you parts of yourself that you struggle to love, and they can be amazing teachers if you decide to see them that way.
These people typically bother or annoy you for one of three reasons.
The 4 basic value systems
Intrinsic value system (focus on people)
If this is your dominant value system you highly value relationships, people, personal growth, connection, communication and spirituality. You would rather spend your time connecting and talking with people than anything else. You value the things in the other three categories, but you might undervalue getting tasks done, time efficiency, strict rules, systems, order and structure.
You tend to be bothered by people who are arrogant, selfish, don't listen, get angry, are narcissistic, oblivious, discourteous, unfriendly or are cold or rude to other people. You don't understand people who don't put connecting with people first.
Extrinsic value system (focus on tasks)
If this is your dominant value system you highly value tasks, getting things done, time efficiency, hard work, creation, creativity, discipline, organization and accomplishing goals. You would rather spend your time getting work done or accomplishing goals than anything else.
You also value the things in the other categories, but you might tend to undervalue strict rules, systems, communication, connection and listening to people. You value the people in your life most, but you don't always show it because you are so busy getting tasks done.
You tend to be bothered by people who give unsolicited advice, are bossy, arrogant, critical or controlling, and rule followers, as well as people who don't pay attention, seem entitled, lazy, messy, or consistently late, unorganized or irresponsible. You don't understand people who talk for hours don't get tasks finished.
Extrinsic value system (focus on things)
If this is your dominant value system you highly value material things, quality, beauty, creativity, art, building things, competition, success and being the best at what you do. You would rather spend your time earning and buying things, being creative or productive, or building things.
You also value the things in the other categories, but you might tend to undervalue communication, connection and listening to others, organization, rules, systems and learning things that aren't useful.
You tend to be irritated by or judge people who don't care about appearances, seem lazy or messy, are competitive, don't value success, don't work hard, or are irresponsible or inconsiderate.
Systemic value system (focus on ideas)
If this is your dominant value system you highly value organization, knowledge, learning, systems, rules, processes, principles, values and doing the right things the right way. You have strong moral values and love sharing ideas, teaching and learning. You would rather spend your time learning, creating systems, teaching processes, doing good work, caring for family and doing the right thing.
You also value the things in the other categories, but you might tend to undervalue listening, empathy, acceptance, connection, appearances, material things and creativity. You tend to be irritated by or judge people who act like know-it-alls, have to be right, are overly opinionated, don't listen, interrupt, are oblivious or discourteous, don't pay attention or are careless, lazy, irresponsible or inconsiderate. People who do wrong or who disagree with your moral principles also really bother you.
Importance of the value systems
Understanding what you value and undervalue helps you understand why you are bothered by certain people. You may not realize it, but you subconsciously believe that the way you are (and what you value) is the right way and everyone should be like you. But the world needs people who are different from you; it needs people with different strengths to make everything run.
We need people who place listening to others above getting things done. We also need people who put getting things done first. We need rule followers and we need rule breakers to push limits. There is a place for everyone.
People who are different from you can also provide amazing lessons. They show you the things you need to work on and change because you always judge people who have the same bad behaviors you have but don't like about yourself. These people serve as mirrors for you and they can help you to both forgive yourself and make needed changes.
People you don't like also give you the opportunity to stretch the limits of your love, which helps you learn to love yourself. Your ability to love others with their faults and flaws is tied to your ability to love yourself in spite of your faults and flaws. As you learn to accept and appreciate them, your ability to love yourself improves.
The 4 A's
Below is a 4-step process — The 4 A's — which help you practice accepting both yourself and the people who bother you.
Notice the bad behaviors in yourself and the bad behavior in others that bothers you. What is it really about? Is it tied to your value system? Can you understand why this behavior pushes your buttons? Does this person threaten your sense of safety? You can't work on changing this until you gain awareness around what it is. Write down a list of the people and behaviors that bother you and commit to working on shifting your mindset around them.
Practice honoring and respecting each person's right to be the way they are. They are on their unique, perfect classroom journey, which is very different from yours. We have different value systems, life experiences and personality traits, but we all have the same intrinsic value as every other person on the planet. We all have things we need to change and work on, but we have a right to be where we are in our unique process of growth. Allow every person to be where and who they are, and have tolerance, compassion and respect for them.
This is about accepting these people for their differences, variety, interest, adventure and lessons they provide you. You can embrace the experience of having these interesting (yet challenging) people in your life. You can accept them as perfect teachers in your classroom and even embrace them. As you practice this and truly send love and compassion their way, you will find your capacity to love the darkest parts of yourself will increase. The more you accept others, the more you will accept yourself.
Everyone has something to teach you and is making a contribution to your journey. Maybe it lies in causing your problems that you then get the opportunity to work through and solve. Maybe it lies in pushing your buttons so you get to work on patience, flexibility and compassion. Whatever it is, each person is serving you in some way. Work towards feeling grateful and even appreciating them for the role they play in your classroom. You must also work on appreciating your own faults and flaws for the beautiful lessons they provide: They keep you humble, make you less judgmental and give you opportunities to grow.
This doesn't mean you have to be friends, hang out or have relationships with the people who bother you. It just means that you practice seeing them as the lesson they are and appreciating them from afar so you can have more positive feelings than negative ones.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I have written extensively in the past about personality differences and about how we all have a tendency to believe that our way of being is the right way. I've written about different communication styles, different value systems and the different core fears that drive our behaviors to help you understand others and yourself better.
In this article, I want to share personality differences that influence how we show up in our spirituality, religion and faith. We often judge other people when they don't practice religion the way we do. The truth is, no other person will ever have your genes, your parents and your unique life experiences and lessons. So, no other person will view the world, life and spirituality exactly the way you do. We each have the right to be wired our way and see the world from our perspective because we literally can't see it any other way.
We must honor each person's right to be wired the way they are and allow them to be who they are. We must see the value of having different people with different value systems, strengths and weaknesses in our community and choose compassion and gratitude for them over judgment.
As I explain the six spiritual values personality types, understand that you do not fit just one type. You are always a combination of a few — and maybe you even have a little of each — but you will definitely lean a bit toward one or maybe two that dominate the way you practice your faith. As you read about each, think about people you judge because they do faith differently than you do. Remember, there is no absolute truth that says one way of being is inherently better or worse than another. Your value system may tell you that yours is the best, but that is only because you see the world with your value system.
The point in learning about these different types of people is to lessen our judgment, increase our compassion and tolerance, and help us choose love for the people who are different.
The six spiritual values personality types
The enlightenment seeker
These people tend to overvalue personal growth, spirituality and personal spiritual experiences. They often see them as not just the point of life's journey, but as even more important than serving the less fortunate, keeping commandments or being obedient.
Enlightenment seekers take the time to meditate, pray and connect with the divine. They often have amazing spiritual gifts, intuition, visions or dreams. They are always hearing messages and being guided by spirit. They love to share the wisdom they gain and make wonderful teachers or spiritual guides or healers. They serve and give to others this way instead of making casseroles or watching children.
Enlightenment seekers can irritate people who overvalue doctrine, rules, systems or service. Other types don't think they are obedient, service-focused or disciplined enough, but we need people who are like this. We need these seekers to share their spiritual insights and show us how to spiritually connect to the divine.
The servant of the poor
These people tend to overvalue service, especially for people who are struggling, poor, marginalized or in pain. They are highly empathetic and they feel the suffering of others and believe the most important thing one can do is alleviate the suffering of others.
Servants of the poor sacrifice personal time to connect with God, study religion and follow commandments for time to help those who need help today. They find self-esteem, joy and fulfillment in feeding the hungry and showing up for anyone who is down.
Many people assume this way of being is the best value system and the way we should all be, but we also need people who are different from this, who are good at running the systems (churches and religions) and people who take time to have visions and inspired ideas. Servants of the poor can irritate those who see the letter of law as critical because a they will always bend rules to show up for a person.
The do what is righter
These people tend to overvalue the tasks they feel their faith requires of them. They are subconsciously wired to feel their value is connected to their performance and doing all the things God asks. They are obedient (or trying to be), disciplined, and striving to do what is right. This may include a great deal of serving the poor, but it is driven from doing what's right more than feeling the pain of others, like the servant of the poor.
Do what is righters are constantly worried about checking all the boxes, and if they fail to do enough they can be hard on themselves. They also worry about what others think, how they are seen, and they are often people pleasers. Spirituality for these people can be a busy and stressful experience, but they are amazing and productive in all the good they do and how hard they try. They can irritate people who think they are more worried about earning their salvation than they are loving others, but they feel subconscious pressure to earn their value and please God.
The heaven on earth creator
These people believe God means for them to live abundantly and have joy. They strive to create a life of happiness and wealth and then share their blessings with others. They are driven and hard-working but don't much make time for spiritual experiences or studying doctrine. They leave the enlightenment, casserole making, dogmatic ideas and strict obedience to others.
Heaven on earth creators are often very generous and happy to share their wealth with the less fortunate, and without people like this focused on making money and willing to share it, the servants of the poor wouldn't have the means to help others. We need these people and their contributions to make churches, communities and neighborhoods function.
These people can irritate others who fail to see the contributions they make as vital as their own and people who overvalue spirituality and lack balance in their life. Heaven on earth creators understand the importance of balance and they don't let spirituality, religion or faith take over their life. There is nothing wrong with this way of being, but you may think so if you are a type that overvalues spirituality.
The steward of systems
These people are practical, organized and logical. They are the ones who organize and run churches, meditation groups, Bible studies and entire religions. They highly value systems and making organizations function and they understand the need for rules to make this happen. This is something enlightenment seekers, servants of the poor, and heaven on earth creators don't want to do and aren't good at.
Stewards of systems are the ones making plans, creating structure and instituting the policies and procedures needed to make things happen. They are often seen as systemic, letter-of-law and obedience-driven in their practice. They can seem to care more about obedience, repentance, keeping commandments, avoiding sin, and controlling people than they do about love, but that's not necessarily true.
These people see their way of being as loving, because they overvalue the idea that obedience is showing God you love him. They feel God's love for them as they follow the rules. We need these people to be in charge of doctrine, procedures and systems because none of the others want this job.
The knowledge seeker
These people tend to overvalue learning, understanding complex concepts and ideas, doctrine, research and history. They are the great thinkers, writers and seekers of greater knowledge and understanding.
Knowledge seekers love God by seeking to know him and his ways. They spend their spiritual time learning and teaching, and they believe that God wants us to do this. They feel obedient and fulfilled when they are learning and gaining a deeper understanding of God.
These beautiful souls are also needed, though people who undervalue knowledge may be critical of their ways. Knowledge seekers aren't usually as empathetic, giving, spiritual or connected to love as other personality types, but the things they learn and share, serve us all.
For your own spiritual practice: You might want to see the six types in terms of where you are stronger and weaker. Ideally, balance is best and we should strive to be a little of each. If you are deeply entrenched in just one type, you will be overvaluing specific things and undervaluing something else. Could you focus more on areas you undervalue? Would this serve you if you did? Also, acknowledge your strengths and accept those traits and the beauty in them.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
Many of us were taught as children things like "make others happy," "be nice," "be unselfish," and "sacrificing yourself for other people is righteous." We were taught to be afraid of what others think of us and to avoid conflict at all costs.
Were you accidentally or intentionally taught these things as a child?
See if any of the following sound like you:
The following are suggestions for what you can do to start changing yourself to become more authentic and in control of your life.
Don't commit to anything on the spot
Make it your rule that you always say, "Can I check my calendar and get back to you?" Then step back and ask yourself, "Do I really want to do this, or am I saying 'yes' out of guilt, obligation or a fear of rejection or judgment?" If you can say "yes" because you truly want to do it, say "yes." If you are saying "yes" because of fear, you must say "no."
Practice saying 'no'
Look for every opportunity to get more comfortable with saying "no." You are not selfish or a bad person if you occasionally choose your own happiness and possibly disappoint others. Watch for opportunities to show kind assertiveness. Kindly say, "No, I don't want to do that right now. Thanks, though." Practice saying "no" with no explanation about why so the other person can't try to persuade you.
Try saying 'I don't' instead of 'I can't'
When some people hear the words "I can't," they become committed to changing your mind on that. They try to solve the problem for you so you can still do the thing they want you to do. But using the words "I don't" declares a firmer boundary.
Practice saying things like, "I don't have time for that," "I don't do those things," "I don't want to talk about that right now," or "That doesn't work for me." These phrases are more assertive and powerful, yet they can be said with a kind tone.
Learn how to be both strong and loving at the same time
Somewhere in childhood, many of us got the idea that you can either be strong (mean and selfish) or loving (weak and scared), but we can't be both. You will find your power and your courage when you realize you can do both at the same time. You can disagree, but do it with fearless, loving kindness.
I find the trick to finding this place lies in trusting there is nothing to fear. At the end of this interaction, you will still have the same value as every other person and your life will still be your perfect classroom. So, you are basically bulletproof. Focus on your loving kindness for the other person and respond with strength and love.
Learn the trick to strong boundaries
Everyone tells people pleasers to have strong boundaries, but how does one do that? I wrote a previous article on this topic you might want to read. I find the key to good boundaries is knowing what your priorities and values really are so you can say "no" to things that don't match up. If you haven't defined them, you don't know how to make good choices for yourself.
Define what your core priorities and values are
What is most important in your life? Sit down and make a list. You might value things like:
Give yourself permission to be you
It's OK to be different from others and have views they won't agree with. Have a unique style or way of being and do this from a place of trust that no judgment from others can change your value. Consciously choose to not worry about what others think of you. Their ideas have no power and don't mean or do anything.
Get more comfortable with conflict and anger
You may be so afraid of anger that you avoid conflict at all costs — and the costs can be high. To change this, you need a new official policy: "Conflict happens all the time, but it is nothing to fear."
Anger doesn't mean anything except that a human is having some emotions. Those emotions don't mean you aren't good enough or are unsafe. Anger is not something you need to fear.
You can get more comfortable with anger by slowly subjecting yourself to situations where people might get angry and practicing being OK and choosing to feel safe anyway. Do some things like sending back a meal that isn't cooked right, spending a long time at the ATM when people are waiting, saying "no" to someone, asking someone to stop doing something that is annoying you, or purposely not doing something you were asked to do.
Then you get to manage the ensuing conflict or anger with strength and love at the same time. Or instead of creating conflict, just watch out for natural opportunities to practice.
Practice putting your needs first
Putting your needs first may make you feel horribly selfish, but I promise you aren't. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it's wise and healthy. You should have an equal balance between giving to others and taking care of yourself.
Understand that avoiding conflict doesn't promote growth
Most of the growth in relationships happens in times of conflict. Those are the moments when we are asked to become more aware of our behavior, our words or our thinking. We have to stretch and put ourselves in the other person's shoes.
When you avoid all conflict, you avoid the best learning opportunities you are going to get. Try to see each conflict experience as being in your life to serve your growth. Don't avoid it. Jump in and see what you and the other person can learn and how you can become better.
Stop saying 'sorry'
People pleasers apologize way too much. Sometimes they come across as feeling sorry they exist and that their breathing causes any inconvenience to others. You deserve to exist and sometimes cause inconvenience to others, as they will do the same to you.
Your relationships should have give and take, and sometimes you will be the taker. Consciously watch for the desire to say "I'm sorry" and instead say "thank you" for their patience or accommodating you this time.
When you do something that really injures someone, still don't say "sorry." Asking "Could you forgive me?" is much more powerful and means more.
Find activities that increase your courage and confidence
I find that doing adventurous things, challenging myself and accomplishing goals helps me become mentally strong. Even lifting weights and being physically being strong helps me to feel more emotionally strong — there is a correlation between the two types of strength. Become stronger all the time.
Change your belief about your value
People pleasing is a deeply ingrained tendency that comes from a fear of not being good enough. Because you don't see yourself as enough, you believe you need approval from others to give you value. The biggest thing you can do to change this behavior is to choose to see all humans — including yourself — with the same infinite, unchanging value as everyone else. The more you see your value as unchangeable the less validation you should need from others.
Changing this will take practice, effort and time. The first step is recognizing you need to work on this and committing to the work.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I've been working as a people skills expert for 20 years, teaching individuals and organizations to understand human behavior and get along with others. Throughout that time, I've discovered 10 basic people skills that I consider to be the skills every human being could work on to help create healthy relationships.
As you read through these 10 people skills, assess yourself and see where you might need some work.
1. Ability to put yourself in another person's shoes
This is the skill of empathy, which is a skill you can become better at. Recent studies have shown that at least 10% of our capacity for empathy is inherited through our genes; the rest is all about intention and practice. Last week's LIFEadvice article includes many ways to improve your empathy and teach it to your kids.
2. Ability to accept others who are different from you
We all have a tendency to react in judgment when we meet someone who is different from us. We sometimes assume if two things are different, one must be better and one must be worse. This human tendency encourages us to see others as less than us so we can feel better.
You can change this tendency by choosing to see all humans as having the same, infinite value that never changes. Then when you meet someone who is different, you can practice allowing them to be different and still have the same value.
Understand that the world needs all kinds of people, with different views and different ways of functioning in the world. You can choose tolerance, acceptance, allowing and respecting them instead of judging them. It is a wonderful skill that will improve with practice.
3. Ability to stay open, flexible and change your mind or plans
It can be a real problem in your relationships at home and work if you are too controlling, opinionated, inflexible or sure you are right all the time. Watch for needing to make others wrong for you to feel safe in the world and how this negatively affects your connection with others. It is a good practice to stay open and always assume that you might be wrong about everything you know.
Question what you are told and assume there might be things you don't know or another perspective you haven't considered. Be willing to change plans and let go of your expectations, too. Expectations about how things should be can make you too rigid and difficult to work with.
Practice trusting that however things turn out, that must be perfect for some reason and roll with changes in plans without feeling mistreated or taken from. Recognize that you feel loss when things don't go the way you wanted; but if you trust it's perfect then, there is no loss.
4. Ability to know your own worth in any situation
Knowing your own worth in any situation means you don't let situations or other people diminish your value. You can gain this skill by practicing knowing that your intrinsic value can't change and is the same as every other human being's, no matter what happens or what anyone thinks.
You can be bulletproof from low self-esteem issues by just choosing to believe your value can't change. Every time you make a mistake or feel judged or criticized, keep telling yourself "that doesn't change my value." As you practice this, you will find you can walk into any situation and feel safe because your sense of safety comes from inside of you.
5. Ability to regulate your own inner state — from unsafe to safe
Every minute of the day, you are in one of two states: feeling safe, where you are capable of showing up for others, or feeling unsafe, where you feel "not good enough" or not secure and aren't capable of focusing on others. You can and must monitor your inner state and pay attention to where you are. If you start behaving badly or feel un-balanced, you are probably in a fear (unsafe) state.
It is your No. 1 job in life to be responsible for yourself and your behavior. You can choose to make yourself feel safe by choosing to believe your value can't change and that your journey is the perfect classroom for you. Trust the universe is a wise teacher who knows what it's doing, and trust that it only brings situations into your life that will bless you and grow you. This means you have the ability to make yourself feel safe in any moment. Your sense of security in the world can come from you, and it will also make you more capable of giving to others.
6. Ability to understand what's really happening when others are upset
When people are upset, they often channel their anger toward a person — but the angry emotion is not usually about that person. People with good social skills understand this and can see that these people are just scared. It's fear of failure and loss that upsets people, and their upset is always about their own safety.
Most bad behavior is really a request for love or attention. Humans need some validation or reassurance that they are safe and loved. Bad behavior in another person often doesn't make us want to validate or love them, but it is what they need. This is, again, a skill that you get better at with practice.
7. Ability to have a difficult conversation the right way
We all need to know the right way to have a touchy conversation so that both parties feel heard, honored and respected at the end. This means seeing the other person as the same as yourself, setting your feelings aside upfront, asking questions and listening to the other person, then asking permission to speak your feelings and share your view. This process is easy, but remembering to practice it in every conversation is hard.
You might need to have a reminder on your phone to remind you to listen before you talk and to validate other people's right to their opinions. I've written numerous articles on this topic in the past.
8. Ability to listen and validate another person
You need to have some conversations with the people in your life in which all you do is ask questions, listen and honor and respect the other person's right to their feelings. I see this as its own skill because it truly is a specific skill inside of the conversations mentioned above.
Listening is easy for some people who don't like to talk anyway, but for some of us this is really hard and requires diligent intention and practice. You must consciously decide at the beginning of a conversation that you are committed to making the other person feel heard, understood and valued, and that you will listen more than you talk.
The most powerful way to give this to another person is to simply ask lots of questions and listen with the intent to understand them, rather than trying to figure out what you want to say next. Being a master listener is one of the greatest people skills you can develop.
9. Ability to enforce your own and honor others' boundaries
This skill is really about seeing your own value as equal to that of other people. This means your needs are equally important as theirs. It also means honoring your right to have boundaries to protect yourself and make sure your needs are met.
Some of us feel selfish if we make our needs important, but it's not. Putting one's needs first can actually be wise and healthy.
We must also watch for other people enforcing their boundaries and honor their right to make themselves important too.
10. Ability to make hard decisions from a place of love, not fear
Many of us fear making decisions because we fear mistakes and/or missing out on any options. Your ability to listen to your own intuition and know what choice is right for you is a critical life skill you can, again, practice and get better at.
A technique I teach my coaching clients is to write down all of your options. Then, write down a fear-motivated reason to do each option and a love-motivated reason to do each option. This will double your options. The next step is to cross out all the fear-motivated reasons/options and make a choice from the love-motivated ones.
Sit with that choice and feel what your intuition has to say about it. Does it feel right to you? Does it still bother you and make you feel discontented? You are entitled to know the right path on your perfect classroom journey. You have an inner GPS to guide you. If you haven't tuned into yours yet, you just need to start practicing listening and feeling your way through some choices. All the answers you need are inside you.
Working on these skills will help you become you someone who is easy to get along with, resolve conflicts, negotiate and make plans with. You will be more likely to make friends easily and feel happier because you will feel safer and more secure and have more to give others.
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
My spouse and I argue about the same things again and again. It is like we are always having the same fight; we just take breaks of agreeing to disagree in between rounds. We have been to marriage therapy and have learned communication skills, but here we are in the same boat. Can you give us anything different to try?
Many people experience a fight that’s always the same issue again and again. This happens when both of you have dug into your position and keep defending it, and neither of you is open to learning, understanding or changing because that would feel like losing the argument. In an argument, your egos are only interested in protecting, promoting and winning for your side. Ego also wants to be right and have the other person be wrong.
The truth is, until you learn to set ego aside, stop defending yourself and communicate with the purpose of understanding the other person and their perspective, learning something new, or creating new solutions you haven’t thought of before, you are going to be stuck here.
Here are some ways to become more open, more creative and more productive when you argue:
1. Know your value isn't in question
Remember this argument is just a perfect classroom experience and your value isn’t in question, so there is nothing to fear. When you choose to see the fight from the perspective that you are safe and have nothing to fear because your value can’t change and your journey is perfect no matter what happens, you won’t get so defensive. In this place you can actually focus on giving love, understanding and validation to the other person because you don’t need anything. This requires practice.
2. Listen to learn
Instead of trying to win, try to understand and learn something you didn’t know before. When ego takes over you only care about being right, being better or getting your way. You are basically selfish and defensive. Instead, try this: Thank your ego for trying to protect you, but tell it you are going to try something new and see if you can learn something about the other person you never knew before.
This will require asking lots of questions, without any agenda other than understanding. If you are sincere about this intention the other person will feel that, and they might actually feel safe enough to really talk to you. Make a commitment to listen for more than just planning what you will say next. Listen with the intention of learning and you will be amazed at how much you didn't know about the other person.
3. Fight as a team
Instead of fighting against each other, make it the two of you — on the same side, as a team — against the problem. Stop trying to convince the other person you are right and pull them to your side. Instead, ask them if the two of you, together, could try to find a new solution.
Get out some paper and brainstorm solutions to this problem. Allow yourselves to bring humor in and get creative. Get online and look for solutions others have recommended. Write down places you could go for help. Don’t stop until you have thought of 50 crazy, creative, new ideas — with none of them being the places you started from.
4. Identify your core fear
In my experience, it’s either fear of failure (not being good enough) or fear of loss (feeling threatened or unsafe in the world). If either you or your partner is fear-of-failure dominant, meaning there is a subconscious tendency toward people-pleasing and insecurity, that person will need a lot of validation around their worth, their performance and their thinking.
If you give a fear-of-failure dominant person a lot of positive feedback, they will feel safer and will be better able to communicate in a productive way. If they feel insulted, criticized or judged, they won’t feel safe with you and will probably stay very defensive.
If either of you is fear-of-loss dominant, meaning you have a subconscious tendency toward feeling mistreated and taken from, that person needs control, reassurance and help making things right, done or clean to feel safe in the world. If you can give a fear-of-loss dominant person these things, they will be better able to communicate in a productive way. This can be a game changer when you get it.
5. Cure the core fear
Become the cure to your partner's core fear every day. If you make sure they feel safe in the world every day — by constantly giving them the kind of validation, praise, help or control they need — they will feel safer with you, which means less defensive and less on edge. It will also mean when you argue, it likely won’t be as tense, scary or mean. If you do this right, your partner will be more likely to support you, too.
6. Learn their values
Figure out what your partner values most. Do they value:
The reason couples have the same fight over and over, is because that one issue is the one that triggers both of your core fears. When your core fears get triggered your very worst behavior comes out, and that usually perfectly triggers even more of your partner's fear. It quickly becomes a vicious cycle.
The couples I work with find the solution is very simple: Become the cure, not the cause, of their fear. Learn how to make them feel safe with you and you can talk through anything.
I also recommend a time-out rule that works like this: If either of you feels they are getting triggered and ego is showing up, you can call time out. You both agree to stop, not say another word, and walk away until you can get balanced and in trust and love again. Then you can continue the discussion. Give that a try.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
Most of the questions readers submit to me are about resolving conflict with other humans. The trick to resolving conflict lies in taking the problem apart, understanding the triggers each person experiences and the bad behavior those triggers might create. This process is what I call an emotional autopsy because it allows you to understand the motivation and emotions underneath the surface that may cause the problem. This also gives you the power to calm the emotions and deal with the actual problem.
Think about the last fight or argument you had with someone and follow my process by asking yourself the questions below. See if you can identify the underlying cause of the conflict and how to resolve it in the future.
1. What event or situation started this conflict or problem?
Can you follow it back to the original issue that may have triggered a negative emotion and made each party behave badly? This issue could stem from something that has been happening for a long time, or something they've experienced their whole life. We're going to call the person who was triggered by something that created the conflict Person A. We'll call the other party Person B.
2. What negative emotion showed up in Person A because of the triggering event?
Did they feel insulted, rejected, unwanted, unimportant, unappreciated, not good enough, controlled, pushed, defensive, protective, or mistreated? Do they have a story about how the situation has made them feel the emotions they've experienced in the past? What is that story?
3. How did Person A behave because of this emotion?
What kind of behavior or language showed up as a result? Did Person A pull back from Person B, try to control them or have walls up to protect themself? Did they get defensive, say something insulting or do something equally triggering to Person B? What does that behavior look like?
4. What negative emotions were triggered in Person B as a result of Person A’s behavior?
How exactly did Person B feel mistreated? Did Person B feel unappreciated, taken from, unwanted or rejected? It's important to identify these emotions and what might be triggering them. If they're ignored for too long, they may continue to cause conflict in Person B in other situations.
5. What kind of bad behavior showed up when Person B reacted to their emotions?
What did Person B’s unbalanced behavior or language look like? Did they try to understand Person A, or did they react just as badly?
6. How might have Person B further triggered Person A?
What emotion might have showed up in Person A now as a result of Person B’s reaction? What might Person A and Person B be feeling at this point? Being clear on this will help you step back and see how the emotions might be driving the conflict more than the original issue.
7. What does each person need in this situation?
What could you give the other person that might help quiet the emotion that is causing the conflict? For example, if you know and understand that no one can diminish your value, you may feel less threatened by conflict and can create a safer space for those around you. Then, you may be able to better work through problems by giving the other person involved in the conflict what they need to feel safe and help them want to resolve the issue at hand.
8. Go back to the original emotions that showed up in steps No. 2 and No. 4. Are these emotions that Person A and Person B experience often?
Is it an emotion they've experienced throughout their life and in many different situations? Sometimes, people and situations can trigger certain emotions in people, but they're not the real cause. The real cause may be something that happened in that person's past and certain situations might stir up emotions and reactions in them.
9. What does someone who may carry these emotions around need?
Remember, bad behavior may be a request for love, validation or reassurance. You might not want to validate or love a person who is behaving badly, but if you can see that it isn’t really about you, conflict resolution can get easier. You can't fix another person and you aren't responsible for their behavior, but if you can quiet the negative emotions in them during conflict, then you can more easily deal with the problem at hand. You may also need to enforce boundaries to protect yourself from certain people, and that's OK, too.
If you choose to see life as a classroom, it means every conflict or emotion is part of your classroom journey and is meant to serve you. Knowing this might make some people problems less difficult and increase your capacity to resolve conflict with others. The more you practice this process, the easier it may become to see conflict accurately and resolve people problems more maturely.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after master life coach who is provides coaching and help to anyone struggling with people problems or relationship conflicts. She also trains and certifies life coaches in her system with new classes starting soon.
First published on KSL.COM
In this edition of LIFEadvice I want to explain human behavior in a very simple way so I'm dividing all humans into two general categories: Fear of Failure Dominant people and Fear of Loss Dominant people.
You can decide which you are and what the others around you might be. Understanding their type and yours may help you better understand your relationship dynamics.
Fear of Failure Dominant people
You might be considered people pleasers. You might care too much what others think of you and you may be prone to being too selfless and even sacrificing your own needs to make others happy. You might not speak your truth or address problems often because you don't like conflict. You may also dislike being judged or criticized and might see yourself as less than others at times.
You feel safe in a relationship where you feel validated and aren't experiencing harsh criticism or judgment. If you want to have a successful relationship with a Fear of Failure dominant person, compliment them often and be careful about how you deliver negative feedback. Some of you are more unbalanced (in a fear state) and may have more of these qualities, while others are more balanced (less afraid) and only have minimal people-pleasing tendencies. However, you may still be more this type person than the other.
Fear of Loss Dominant people
You may be strong and opinionated people. You're great at boundaries and taking care of yourself and are more mindful about protecting yourself, your time, your preferences and your views from other people. You may not as much care what others think of you. In an unbalanced (triggered state) you may be selfish, critical or defensive. You're more likely to speak your truth and get what you want and dislike being taken from or mistreated. You may be more prone to notice faults in people or institutions and point them out. You might become arrogant or controlling in an unbalanced state and may accidentally talk down to others. Some of you may be more unbalanced (in a fear state) and possess these qualities to the extreme, while others could be more balanced (less afraid) and only have minimal tendencies. But again, you may still be more this type person than the other.
Can you tell which one you might lean toward? Can you tell which one your significant other, friends or family members might be?
The benefit of understanding these two types of human behaviors lies in knowing what your unbalanced, worst behavior could look like. Then, you can watch for that bad behavior, catch it in action and choose better behavior. Can you own some of the negative behavior tendencies in your type? Can you see they might show up when you feel unsafe, criticized, insulted or mistreated?
Understanding these two types may also help you not take other people’s behavior personally and helps you allow them to be who they are. Here are the three dynamics that might show up in relationships and how to navigate them:
One person is Fear of Failure dominant and the other is Fear of Loss dominant:
The Fear of Failure person might be slightly intimidated or even scared of the Fear of Loss person and their strengths. They might feel threatened by how opinionated and judgmental the Fear of Loss person is. Expect the Fear of Loss person to be critical and opinionated at times and try not to get offended when they disagree with you or say you're doing something wrong. Choose to see they are trying to help you and don’t mean to offend — even when they may seem like a "know-it-all" at times. When they disagree with you or insist on control over a situation, you get to decide how much it means to you to hold your ground. This gives the Fear of Failure person the chance to practice being stronger and having good boundaries. The Fear of Loss person can sometimes teach the Fear of Failure person a lot about strength, confidence and boundaries.
Generally, in these relationships, the Fear of Loss person might make more of the decisions. The Fear of Loss person might make the Fear of Failure person feel safe with validation. The Fear of Failure person might need more verbal validation than a Fear of Loss person would, so it may not occur to them to give that much. But the Fear of Failure person needs to know the good the other person sees in them and may need to hear it often. This will make the Fear of Failure person feel safer and may create more confidence in them.
The Fear of Failure person can make the Fear of Loss person feel safe in the relationship by giving them time and freedom to do the things they love to do. Also, when possible, the Fear of Failure person should let the Fear of Loss person have control over things they don’t care about. Choose your battles on the things that really matter.
Both people are Fear of Loss dominant:
These relationships can sometimes be confrontational because both parties may have strong opinions and preferences, and neither is quick to back down. There can be a lot of conflict and you both must learn to divide your world up and let each person be in control of some things. You will have to choose your battles carefully and learn to compromise. You also need to be aware of the mistreatment triggers each of you may have and avoid them. If both parties are balanced (and have fewer triggers), these relationships can be productive, cooperative and positive. But if one or both parties are unbalanced and easily triggered, then conflict can rule the day, every day.
These people need to work on trusting the journey and seeing every situation as one meant to teach them something. This will help them step back from conflict and figure out how to behave at their best.
Both people are Fear of Failure dominant:
These relationships are usually easy. Both parties tend toward pleasing the other and the only real problem may come up when both are unbalanced and trying to get validation from the other. Because both may have empty buckets and might be focused on getting validation and not giving it, there could be times when no one gets what they need. Both need to work on their own self-esteem and choose to see all humans as having the same exact value if they want this relationship to thrive.
I hope this helps you understand the dynamics in some of your relationships and how you may improve them. If you understand the other person’s fear triggers and how to make them feel safe, then any relationship can thrive.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a human behavior expert and speaker. You can find your dominant fear on the Clarity Assessment or the 12 Shapes Survey.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Hi Coach Kim. I have some family members who love to make fun of others, especially people who are less fortunate, those who are overweight, and those who have disabilities (either mental or physical). They say it is all in fun, but many times, it is cruel. When I talk with them about this, they say I am too sensitive, and now they say that they can't be themselves around me because I judge them. I don’t really like to be around them. It causes me anxiety, but I truly feel family relations are so important for me and my children. I know I can't change other people, but what should I do?
The first thing I want you to understand is why people may judge, gossip or put other people down. They might do this because they're suffering from fear that they aren’t good enough themselves. In order to feel better, they might look for anything negative to point out in other people. If they can stay focused on what is "bad" about others, it might make them feel superior.
When you're around people who are doing this, remember, they may just be insecure about their own value and might act this way to make their egos feel better. That doesn’t excuse it at all, but it helps you understand them and see their behavior accurately.
It's even more important to understand this principle if you have a tendency to judge, gossip about or criticize others. Your subconscious may start judging the people around you before you consciously even realize you're doing it. But when you think about this, it probably isn’t the kind of person you want to be.
If you have this tendency to judge others, watch for it. When you catch yourself doing it, stop and remember that your own insecurity may be driving that behavior. Take a moment to remind yourself that all humans have the same worth and choose to look for some good in the people you're judging instead. Choose to be someone who sees all human beings as having the same value, no matter their appearance or performance.
If you have to be around people that have this tendency and it drives you crazy, as it does our reader, remember that this behavior may come from their insecurities and what they need. They may need validation that they're valuable, appreciated and good enough. This may be the last thing you feel like giving them; you might actually feel like tearing them down. Instead, try just sitting with your feelings toward these people for a minute. Feel your own sense of disgust or disapproval, and be honest with yourself about your negative feelings about them.
Are you seeing these people as bad, less or worse than you? Are you standing in judgment of them or them being judgmental? Are you doing the same thing they're doing? The fact is, we all do it because we may all be insecure about our own value.
Take a minute and ask yourself who are all the people you tend to judge.
There's a reason you judge the people you do. They may trigger some fear in you and judging them as the bad guy may help you resolve that. Here are some examples:
Your family members may be seeing the bad in other people to make themselves feel better. This might anger you because the people who are being judged in this case deserve to be seen accurately and have their value honored. You may not like to hear this, but you, too, are being judgmental. You're judging your family members for judging and criticizing others (which might make you feel a bit superior to them on the subconscious level). Your family members also deserve to be seen accurately and have their value honored. Think of them as works in progress with much more to learn, just like the rest of us.
Remember, we're all students in the classroom of life. We all want to be good people but we all have faults and weaknesses. You may not have this issue exactly like they have, but surely you have others faults — we all do.
The best thing you can do is focus on being the strongest, most wise and loving person you can be today. Put all of your effort into trusting that we all have the same intrinsic worth, though we each have a very unique classroom journey.
We shouldn't judge anyone else as better or worse than us because they aren’t on our same journey. Instead of getting bothered by their bad behavior, focus on making sure you are seeing people accurately and showing up with love and compassion yourself.
You can do this.
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.
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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.