This was first published on KSL.com
I have received many questions from readers about people or behavior that is described as “ego driven”. I want to explain what ego is, how to know when it is driving, and how to tame it and become more authentic, balanced and wise..
Some people think “ego driven” just means you are arrogant or conceited, but ego is actually more encompassing than that. Imagine an apple and the real you is the fleshy white part on the inside, but the skin that you try to keep shiny and free from bruises or nicks is the ego.
Your ego is who you believe you are or the face you show to the world. It is made of what you believe your story is, your image, along with your appearance, and your performance. It is the part of you that you compare to others, seeing them as either better or worse than you. Ego tries to protect the inner you from mistreatment and it is fragile, and behaves reactively to defend you too. Your ego image is always changing and rebuilding itself, trying to be what others would want, and yet it never feels safe or good enough. Your ego sees all people and situations as a threat.
The ego is not the real you though. The part on the inside, called your consciousness, is who you really are. This part has the ability to step back and watch the ego thinking and functioning in your behalf. You can actually step back and watch your ego run your reactions, behaviors and thinking. You can also talk to your ego and tell it to “settle down now or stop being afraid.” Or you can let your ego run wild and watch the emotions, stories and behaviors it is encouraging. Because you can sit back and observe the ego, you know it isn’t you.
Your ego isn’t bad, evii, or something to get rid of. It serves you as its goal is to protect you. The trick is becoming more and more consciously aware of your ego, so you can see when it is serving you and when it’s not.
Whenever your ego is experiencing fear and reacting to a situation with drama, emotion, selfishness, negativity, anger, shame, or control, you need to step back and make sure the rest of you agrees with that response. Your higher self (the real you inside the apple) is the source of peace, truth, and love. When you learn to tune into this part of you, you discover wisdom, compassion, and connection to everyone and everything.
If you wonder, in any moment, if your ego is driving or if you are functioning from your higher self. Ask yourself these questions:
Here is a simple process to check your ego at the door:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after speaker, author and master coach, who works with people and organizations to solve people problems and improve human behavior. Take the Clarity Assessment on her website to discover your own fear triggers.
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
My husband is a wonderful person, however, I think I need some advice. He points out all the things he does and has done all the time. While they are true, I’m puzzled at how he pats himself on the back ALWAYS and says this is what he does, and tells the story of when it happened, etc. He gives himself credit and brags all the time. He often tells these stories to his peers too if the subject surfaces. How healthy is this?
Your sweet spouse may just be suffering from fear of not being good enough — a fear many of us struggle with. He might brag because he needs some validation that he is a good person and has value. When you can see his behavior accurately, you may also see that what he might need is more validation about what a great guy he is. If he is less afraid, then he might brag less often. You are right to think this behavior may not be psychologically healthy.
In a recent study from the University of California at Davis, researchers identified specific personality traits that a psychologically healthy person usually has. The report was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and it asked 214 psychologists to identify the traits that a psychologically healthy person would possess.
They concluded a psychologically healthy person is capable of experiencing, processing and expressing emotions in a healthy way. The study said these people are "straightforward, warm, friendly, genuine, confident in their own abilities, emotionally stable, and fairly resilient to stress."
We can all find areas in that definition that we may need to work on. Your husband may need more confidence, but I believe becoming psychologically healthy can be a lifelong journey for all of us.
Here are 14 simple tips for anyone looking to be more emotionally mature and psychologically healthy:
1. Practice a pause
Try pausing before you respond to any situation. Let go of your first emotional response and ask yourself, “Are there any other options that might produce better results than this first reaction will?" Put your options on paper and think through what each one will create and if that's what you want.
2. Remember that we all have the same value
Work on being less judgmental and remind yourself that everyone is in a different life journey than you are, but that we all have the same intrinsic worth.
3. Practice putting yourself in another person’s shoes
Figure out what they might be afraid of and see how fear may be driving their behavior and what they need to feel safe. If you can give reassurance or validation first to help quiet their fears, then the rest of the interaction might go better.
4. Practice forgiveness
Holding onto anger is only hurting you. When you choose to see another person's offense as part of your perfect classroom and as an experience that's here to serve you or others in the end, forgiveness gets easier. If you let go and send blessings to those who hurt you, you might feel better immediately.
5. Let go of your need to be right
It is very immature to need to win every argument. Practice agreeing to disagree and not needing to have the last word.
6. Be more flexible
When you don’t get your way or when things go wrong, don’t react from that fear of loss. Whenever you are overly attached to your expectations or a specific outcome, you are setting yourself up to suffer. Be more willing to trust the universe in whatever experience it brings. Every experience in your life is here to serve you in some way. When you see life this way, you suffer less.
7. Choose gratitude
In every moment of your life, there will be things to complain about, but even more to be grateful for. Your mood depends on where you focus, so choose to focus on what’s right in your life more than what’s wrong.
8. Be quick to apologize for any bad behavior
The more real, authentic and vulnerable you are, the better your connections with others might be. Don’t try to look perfect, as it might push people away from you. People want to know you’re flawed and genuine because they feel safer with you if you are.
9. Work on your self-esteem and how you value yourself
This is the most important thing you can do for better relationships because fear of failure can create immature behavior. Choose to see your intrinsic value (and everyone else’s) as unchangeable and equal no matter what happens.
10. Be committed to personal growth
Accept that you will always have more to learn, so try to be open and teachable in every moment. The universe is constantly conspiring to educate you. When you see every experience as a lesson, you show up wiser and more mature.
11. Handle disappointments with grace
Life is going to disappoint you — and often. Get used to it. Choose to trust that there is a reason for every experience and that the universe knows what it’s doing. The less you resist “what is,” the less you might suffer.
12. Be more personally responsible
When you own responsibility for whatever you are experiencing in life, you also own the power to change things. Don't be a victim of circumstance, instead, claim the power to create something different in your life.
13. Be a thinker, not a reactor
Nathaniel Branden wrote an amazing book called "The Psychology of Self-Esteem." In his book, he explains that as human beings we are destined to be thinkers and not instinctive reactors. When we react without thinking, with little awareness of others or from a place of fear, we end up hating ourselves. Branden believes it is only when we gain control of ourselves and our emotions and learn to think through situations rationally that we like ourselves.
14. Understand being upset is a choice
No one can make you feel inferior — you choose your state in every moment. Create a “to be or not to be offended" worksheet if you struggle with getting upset too often. Learn how to find other options for yourself in any upset moment.
Don’t try to work on all of these at one. Start by picking one to work on this week. Set a reminder for yourself whether it's as a wallpaper on your phone or a Post-it note somewhere you look often. If you work on yourself one small piece at a time, you will get where you want to be.
You can do this.
Get Coach Kim's worksheet called "To be or not to be Upset Worksheet" Here. Coach Kim Giles is a human behavior expert and people skills trainer. She is the author or three books and a sought after speaker and coach.
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.
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
I have a constant fear of failure and never being good enough or having enough value. I am a 42 year old man with a good marriage, a good job and great kids and I think about suicide daily. I wouldn’t do it because of how it would affect my kids, but I don’t know what to do or how to make changes in how I feel? How do you get to a point where you can truly believe you don’t have to earn your value and you can’t lose value (as you said in last week’s article)? How do I move beyond the fear of failure and not being good enough?
Self-development experts, therapists, thought leaders and coaches have been trying to crack that code for decades. How do you really get rid of the fear of failure and improve feeling of self-worth? They have tried positive psychology, brain washing affirmations, encouraging accomplishments, make overs, and more, but still most of us struggle with this fear on a daily basis. Some are lucky to be fear of loss dominate, which means they fear mistreatment, worry about things going wrong more than they worry about being inadequate, but even they have some fear of failure in play too.
I offer a different kind of solution, which involves changing the core foundational belief system you use to determine the value of all human beings (including yourself) that is responsible for creating your fear of failure.
You are probably not consciously aware that you have a subconscious system that determines your value, nor are you aware what that system is. So, let’s start there. You most likely picked up a belief system from your parents and the other people around you growing up. I will explain the most common four and you see if one or all of them are happening inside you. Here are the four beliefs:
1) You may have been taught life is a test - This means you must earn your value and prove yourself worthy, maybe even to determine where you go after death. You may have fear around being found good enough for the higher power you believe in and fear his/it's judgment or rejection.
2) You may have been taught your value had to be earned through your appearance, performance, property and the opinions of other people. This means that if your appearance is less attractive than other people, you therefore have less value than them. If you earn less money, lose more games, accomplish less, make less money, get lower grades, live in a smaller house or a worse neighborhood, drive a worse car, have an older phone, wear cheaper clothing, or are less popular, you again have less value. People with lots of friends have more value than those with less. Most of us were taught this belief in some way.
3) You may have been taught your value is determined by how you compare with others. So, you constantly look at where they are, how they look, and what they do, and your self-esteem goes up and down all day, every day, because it’s based on how you compare to whoever is around you at that time.
4) You may have been taught that winning and being better than others is what matters most. You might be super competitive and your subconscious ego might look for opportunities to put down or gossip about others, because it’s all about being better than them. You might be critical and judgmental of those who are different from you, because if they are different they have to be either better or worse. Your ego feels safer, obviously, if they are worse, so you constantly look for the worse in others and focus on it, because this makes you feel safer.
All of these are just ideas, theories, beliefs and perspectives. They are not truths. They are not facts. There is no provable truth about human value and how to calculate it. It’s all just perspective you choose. Many people with strong religious beliefs will disagree and say they know their perspective is truth, but they can’t prove it. So, in the end you are always choosing a belief system and making it your truth.
The good news is, this means you can choose any belief system you want, because they are all perspective. So, I would recommend choosing a system that makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel safer in the world. Why would you consciously choose anything else
The belief system I recommend is a simple one, though making it your truth takes time and practice. It is simply the belief that all human life has the same value and that value cannot change. Here is how this new belief changes the 4 old ones:
1) Life is not a test to determine your value, it is classroom. In a classroom every experience is a lesson to educate you, but when you make mistakes you can erase and try again, without it effecting your value, like a test would. You can choose to believe repentance, apologies, starting fresh at any time is possible and you can leave the past behind you and move forward with the same value as everyone else. You can believe in a higher power that sent you here to be educated and allows you to repent and not lose your value for a mistake.
2) Your value is based on your uniqueness and your nature as a human soul, two things that never change.This means your value is not based on your appearance, performance, property, or what others think of you. This means on bad hair days you remind yourself appearance doesn’t lessen your value. When you perform badly it’s a lesson, but it doesn’t change your value. When others have nicer things than you have, that doesn’t give them more value than you. No matter what they have or how they look, they still have the same value as everyone else. It also makes you bulletproof from disapproval or criticism, because other people’s opinions can’t change your value – as long as you choose to believe this is true (which you can do if you want to!)
3) How you compare with others, is irrelevant. How they look and what they do doesn’t mean anything about you. If you start to compare yourself, you can stop and choose the truth that all humans have the same value. You have the power to do this in every moment if you want to. But the only moment you have the power of choice in, is this one right now. Fortunately, it is always this moment, so you can always choose it.
4) Giving up judgment and criticism is the path to peace. Your subconscious ego thinks criticizing and judging others and focusing on the bad in them, makes you feel better, but every time you do this you are giving power to the old belief that some humans have more value than others. If you want to feel more confident, you must absolutely give up judgment, gossip and criticism of others. This is the only way to cement the new belief, internalize it and change your self-esteem.
You asked me “How do you truly believe you don’t have to earn your value and you can’t lose value?” The answer is you change the foundational belief about the value of all humans that created the fear in the first place. You give up judgment and allow all the humans around you to have infinite, absolute value and the more you do it, you realize it counts for you too.
Then, you must practice choosing the new system every minute you are consciously aware enough to do it. You also want to teach this belief system and language to your family so everyone is on board to make the change. This should become the language in your home every time someone loses a game, drops a glass and breaks it, or comes home defeated “Well, at least it doesn’t change your value!” If anyone start judging or gossiping, remind them they are giving power to the old system and if they do that, they will always feel not good enough themselves. It takes commitment and repetition to change your foundational beliefs, but if you keep at it – it will work.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the author of the 12 Shapes Relationship System - get the app today, take the quiz, invite friends and learn about your shape at - app.12shapes.com
SALT LAKE CITY — Every few weeks I have KSL readers comment and say something to the effect of, “Coach Kim thinks everything is a fear problem and sometimes people aren’t afraid, they are just selfish or jerks. Why does she think everything is about fear?”
In this article, I would like to address why I see fear in every problem and why seeing human behavior in this way could be helpful.
First, understand my goal in writing this weekly advice column for the last eight years. It is to provide easy, usable advice, skills and tools to help solve people problems and improve relationships and self-esteem. In order for any advice, skills or tools to be usable, they must be simple to understand and easy to do. This is what I aim for.
For over 30 years I’ve been studying human behavior, psychology and personal development. My goal is to take the often complex ideas, theories and therapies down to their essence and make them simple enough to be useful in day-to-day situations. One of my frustrations with psychology is that though factual (and researched) it is not always simple enough to be usable — and if it isn’t usable, it isn’t helpful.
My work tries to bring human behavior to its foundational core or “cause” level and make it simple enough to be usable and create real change in behavior. This means breaking it down into the smallest number of moving parts as possible.
I believe you can break all human motivation down into two categories, fear and love. If you look behind everything you do, you can find a fear-motivated or a love-motivated reason to do it. Many modern thought leaders and authors, like David Hawkins, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Elisabeth Kubler Ross and others, teach this same concept, because again, it’s not only true, it’s also simple, useful and helpful.
Elisabeth Kubler Ross says, “There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It's true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it's more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They're opposites. If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
I believe every moment of your life you are functioning in one of these two states. You are either in a balanced, trust and love state (where you feel safe and have access to your love and best behavior) or you are in an unbalanced, fear state (where your worst behavior comes out). This idea is helpful because with only two states it becomes very easy to determine which state you are in.
All you have to learn is how to get from an unbalanced fear state into a balanced trust and love state again and your life becomes much happier. That is what I try to teach my coaching clients to do. If we simplify complex, emotional states and behavior down to their essence, then we can see what they are more accurately and we can behave better.
I also believe there are two core fears, which all bad behavior and negative emotions can be rolled into. This, again, makes bad human behavior easier to understand. The two fears are the fear of failure (fear you might not be good enough) and the fear of loss (fear your life may not be good enough). At first, you may not see how true this is, but when you start looking behind bad behavior to see if feelings of failure or loss are there, you will.
For example, last week one reader commented: “Some people aren’t scared they are just selfish."
If you look behind why someone is selfish, you will see they are afraid that they won’t have or get what they need — which is fear of loss. This fear keeps them focused on making sure they have what they want and need, which is selfish behavior, but could also be labeled as "fear of loss" behavior.
If you are angry because you feel insulted that might not look like a fear problem either, but think about why you are sensitive to feeling insulted. Could it be that you are functioning in a fear of failure state and are already afraid you might not be good enough? Anger often has criticism (failure) or mistreatment (loss) behind it.
People who are arrogant, insecure, easily insulted or can’t handle feedback, may come across as rude, but the reason for all those bad behaviors may be a fear of failure.
People who are controlling, territorial, defensive, bossy, grouchy, mistreated or angry, are functioning in a "fear of loss" state.
You have the option of seeing it that way if you want to. The benefit to identifying bad behavior as coming from fear is that it can create understanding in certain interactions. It also breeds compassion when you see difficult people as scared rather than selfish or rude.
So, you could see and label bad behavior in many different ways, but this system makes it easier and more usable. When you see others in a fear state, you will also know exactly what they need. They need validation and reassurance — something to quiet the fear and make it go away so they can feel safe and become less focused on their own lack or needs and more capable of showing up for you.
But, you are not responsible for their inner state — that is their job and you are in charge of yours. You must be responsible for your fear issues and learn how to get yourself out of fear and balanced again.
You certainly don’t have to like my system or perspective on human behavior or see it as accurate, but I do encourage you to play with it before dismissing it too fast. Anything that is helpful in managing your bad behavior and can help you get along better with others is worth exploring.
We have also developed a 12 Shapes Relationship System that reduces all humanity into 12 types of people (another simplifying strategy to make change easier). The shapes are based on what you fear most and what you value most, which are the real drivers of human behavior. It’s free to take the shape quiz and figure out which fear is a bigger issue for you. The link is below.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the authors of the 12 Shapes Relationship System - get the app today, take the quiz, invite friends and learn about your shape at - app.12shapes.com
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.
I have a hard time controlling my emotions because I feel things deeply. Do you have any advice for helping me calm my reactions and get control of myself? Also, how can I teach my children to get control of themselves so they don’t inherit my bad habit of throwing a fit over things?
I’m so glad you asked this because many of the techniques I teach in these articles involve thinking your way out of reactions.
The problem is when you get upset and triggered into a fear-based reaction, you are functioning in fight-or-flight mode.
Research has shown when people go into fight-or-flight mode, they don’t have access to their frontal lobe, which is the rational, thinking part of the brain. So you are not capable of choosing your way out of these upset reactions — at least until you calm your body down, get out of fight-or-flight and get your frontal lobe back online.
Learning to calm yourself down is a skill everyone needs to learn and teach their children. Children and teens who learn how to calm their nervous system have less anxiety and stress and are more emotionally intelligent, studies have shown. They also have more capacity to choose their mindset in any situation.
It is very normal to get upset and emotional when you feel mistreated, insulted, criticized or threatened, and it’s normal to have strong emotional reactions to these situations. These reactions are kind of like riptides — they are strong and fast, and can pull you into dangerous water — in this case, bad behavior that sabotages your relationships — before you even consciously know what’s happening.
Understanding real riptides can help you learn to escape emotional reactions. A riptide is often misunderstood because it does not pull a swimmer under water — it simply carries the swimmer away from the shore.
Many people who get caught in riptides do not understand this and they try to swim against it. The danger here is they can exhaust themselves and drown.
But if they were educated on how riptides work, they would know they can easily exit the riptide by swimming at an angle to it. If they swim sideways, parallel to the shore, they can easily exit the current and return safely to land, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
Experts recommend this approach if you get caught in a riptide:
1. Don’t fight the current.
2. Stay calm to conserve your energy and think clearly.
3. Think of it like a treadmill — it cannot be turned off, but you can easily step to the side and get off. Swim sideways following the shoreline and when out of the current swim for the shore.
You can calm down your upset emotions the same way. Here is a simple procedure you can practice when experiencing strong emotional reactions to calm yourself down and choose a better response:
1. Don’t fight the feelings of anger or hurt. Just sit with them for a minute and don’t do anything yet. Each emotion is an interesting dimension of the human experience and feeling them can teach you things. Make note of how your ego (the reactive, selfish part of you) wants to respond. Can you feel how much your ego wants to respond with selfishness, defensiveness or anger?
These are strong feelings, but the more you sit in them, you will see they are not your only option. Feeling this upset is a choice. But you can always choose to change the story you are telling yourself around this, see the situation in a different way, and choose a calmer, more mature and unselfish response.
2. Stay calm. Take a step back from the event and do some calming exercises. We recommend learning diaphragmatic breathing or engaging your peripheral vision by focusing on seeing the two sides of the room at the same time. This may sound weird, but you can’t activate your peripheral vision and stay in fight-or-flight at the same time. Read more about why this works in this Panicyl blog post.
3. Think your way through it. Ask yourself, "What am I really upset about? What am I afraid of here? Why do I feel threatened? Am I applying meaning here that may not be accurate? What will happen if I choose to be upset? Is that what I want? Is being upset a choice? Is there any other way I could choose to feel in this moment?"
4. Exit the reactive current. This is where you get to step to the side or exit the reactive current by choosing a mindset that runs parallel to principles of truth — principles that provide solid ground and safety, like the shore. If the fear reaction is the riptide, you can choose thoughts based in trust and love, and you can step right out. Choose to trust these principles of truth instead of embracing fear in any moment:
It will take some work to master this, but you can do it!
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, coaches Kim and Nicole share some ideas for coping with the hardest challenges of life.
I have a very serious illness that no one has ever heard of and I find it extremely devastating and lonely. What can someone like me, in my position, do? I've struggled with this for over 30 years and this is impossibly frustrating and miserable. You have no idea. Do you have any advice for dealing with this?
Many of life’s challenges are impossibly hard and painful. Many of these problems have no answers, solutions or remedies. They are painful and they are going to stay painful for a long time. In this situation, with no escape available, your options are limited. For the most part, all you can do is work on choosing your attitude and mindset inside the challenge.
Vivian Greene said it best: "Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain."
Here are eight suggestions to help you dance in the rain (and find joy and peace) despite an impossibly hard challenge:
1. Accept what is.
"It is your resistance to 'what is' that causes your suffering," Buddha said.(Read more about this concept here.) It is your wishing and wanting things to be different, that is the real cause of your pain. You have created, and attached your happiness to, expectations about how your life should look or feel. The problem is, life rarely meets our expectations, and more often it takes us in a direction we never saw coming.
So, now that you are here, how much time and energy are you going to waste wishing you were somewhere else? All this time and energy is wasted and it might be making you suffer more. You will suffer less, if you stop resisting and choose to accept this path as the right one for you. You are here for a reason and that reason is to serve you (read more below).
2. Trust there is order in the universe and purpose and meaning in everything.
Choose to see the universe as a wise teacher, who knows what it’s doing. Choose to see life as a classroom whose objective is your learning ad growth. This would mean every experience you have is here to facilitate learning and make you smarter, stronger, wiser or more loving in some way. This means things don’t happen to you, they always happen for you.
During times of intense suffering, it is difficult to believe your pain is here for a positive reason and I cannot prove to you it is (though you can’t prove it’s not, either). Choosing to trust there is a purpose in your pain, does make you suffer less. I first learned this from reading about Viktor Frankl, who during intense suffering in the concentration camps of World War II, found if he chose to believe there was meaning in his suffering (that it was here for a reason) he not only suffered less, but also felt motivated to rise and get through in the best possible way. He wrote: “Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.”
If you choose to see the universe as a loving teacher that is on your side and working for you, not against you, and if you choose to believe every experience is therefore the perfect classroom journey for you — you will find more peace and joy in the difficulty. This might be one you have to play with and try before you believe me, but I promise it's truth.
3. Focus on this present moment only.
If you try to process the weight of all the coming years of loneliness or pain, it will crush you. It is too much, too scary and too discouraging. So set that weight down.
Focus only on this present moment or hour. Get through this hour choosing to be as positive and happy as possible. What can you do at this moment for yourself to relieve pain, create joy or just distract yourself?
You have great power in this moment to choose your mindset — it is actually the only time you have the power of choice at all. Use that power to choose loving feelings towards yourself and others. Choose gratitude and count your blessings. No matter how bad things are, there are still things to be grateful for. Choose to create a life of happiness, kindness, service, joy and fun, one moment at a time. Don't worry about what will or won't happen later at all.
4. Find a passion project.
During times suffering we can often find ourselves unproductive, stuck and useless. It helps if you can find a passion project of some kind that makes you feel fulfilled, productive, and accomplished. Even if it is just a journal or blog, a puzzle or a scrapbook. What could you do with your time instead of wallowing? Find something productive you can do.
5. Allow yourself limited pity party time.
It is natural during times of suffering and challenge to feel self-pity, sadness and grief. You should feel and experience these emotions, and not try to suppress them all the time. It is actually important you give yourself time to feel these feelings and have a good pity party or cry every once in a while, just don’t live there.
If you feel these emotions coming up today, give yourself a limited amount of time (like an hour or 30 minutes) to deep dive into the negative emotions and cry if you need to. Giving yourself this time is an important part of the lesson this experience is here to teach you. You will also find you actually feel better after a good cry. It gets some of the pain out so you always feel better after.
6. Lower your expectations.
When you are going through an impossibly hard experience at least half your brain power and energy are being used to process the trauma of the situation. This doesn’t leave you with enough bandwidth for all the other tasks or interests you usually do.
Go easy on yourself and expect less. Give yourself permission to have a messier house or get less done. Be realistic with the energy you have and say no to things you know will wipe you out. Give yourself permission to lower these expectations without any guilt.
7. Give up envy and wishing you had someone else’s life journey.
It is really easy to find yourself in a place of envy when your life is hard. It does seem unfair that other people get lives that seem easier than yours, but dwelling on this does you no good and in fact, will make you feel even worse.
Remember, their journey isn’t over yet and all of us will face some challenges sooner or later. Remember, this journey, though painful, is the right one for your soul, or you wouldn’t be here. Trust the universe knows what it’s doing and that growth is its purpose. There are amazing lessons, knowledge, and strength to be gained from your journey, and though you would rather not go through this or gain them, there will be a benefit down the road.
8. Use this experience and the unique knowledge (on the human condition and suffering) it is giving you, to bless the world in some way.
Your misery can often become your message. If you suffer with chronic illness you could show others how to cope in a positive way. If you are a single mother, you could help newly divorced women handle their new reality with more joy. If you lose a loved one, you can be a resource to others who are suffering grief. There is always a way to use what has happened to you to make a difference in the world.
At some level that is why I write this column every week. My journey has not been an easy one at all. I apparently signed up for many hard classes in the classroom of life, and have experienced suffering on almost every level. I tell you this only because using my challenges to help others, helps me. Most of these articles are full of practical ideas that I have really used to get me through my hard times. When you can make your suffering useful to someone else, it helps.
There is nothing I could write that would take away the pain of your suffering, but I do believe you can lessen it (at least to some degree) by using these eight ideas. Every day is another chance to practice the power of choice, choosing joy, peace, happiness and laughter, and you don’t have to do it perfectly, just keep making progress.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are master life coaches and the owners and founders of Claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes.com - They are sought after authors and speakers on human behavior and healthy relationships.
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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.