This was first published on KSL.COM
I have had the great privilege of writing close to 550 LIFEadvice articles over the past 11 years, but this will be the last in the Coach Kim series for KSL.com.
Most of the questions that have been submitted over the years have been about people problems or improving relationships. The following are my last and most important suggestions for understanding each other better and improving our relationships. I hope they help you.
Human behavior is all about seeking safety
You may think human behavior is complicated, but it is actually pretty simple. Most of our behavior, if you take the time to look, can be traced back to a desire for safety and security. Everything we do is driven by either our value system and what we love or by what we fear.
Unfortunately, a lot of our behavior is about fear. We buy new clothes because looking better makes us feel safer and helps us believe we are "good enough." We work hard at our job to gain security. We fight with our spouses because we don't feel safe and are trying to remedy that.
Human beings are constantly seeking safety from two simple foundational fears: the fear of failure and the fear of loss. I have written about these two fears extensively because they are key in our understanding of human behavior.
When you understand how fear of failure and fear of loss affect you, you will start to see yourself and the people around you — especially when they are behaving badly — as scared. People are not jerks, show-offs, gossips, aggressive or territorial; they are just scared human beings whose fear is bringing out their worst behavior.
Seeing human behavior this way will make you more compassionate toward the people around you, and that will improve your relationships.
We look for safety in all the wrong places
Human beings seek safety in the wrong places because we erroneously believe our value must be earned. We believe human value can change day to day, and that some people have more value than other people. We all erroneously believe our value comes from these five places:
The problem is no matter how hard you try to perform, look good, buy nice things or win approval from others, you will always find people out there who still appear to be better than you. This chase to find value will always leave you feeling like you aren't good enough and you still won't feel safe.
You must understand an important truth: You cannot find a sense of safety outside of yourself. A real sense of safety can only come from changing your foundational beliefs and believing that your value is intrinsic and unchangeable. If your value is infinite, you cannot fail nor be "not enough."
See all humans as having the same intrinsic value
Nothing will improve your relationships and your self-esteem faster than choosing to see all humans as having the same value as you. Choose to see life as a classroom, not a test. See it as a safe place where you don't have to earn your value. See it as a place of learning where the universe brings perfect lessons and your value is never in question.
This one change will take half the fear that drives your worst behavior off the table immediately. You will feel safe and good enough in the world and will find it easier to show up with love for the people around you. Changing this belief will require effort, though. You must constantly remind yourself that nothing changes or diminishes your value and that you always have the same value as everyone else.
Forgive everyone and everything
I have written 20 articles and one whole book on forgiveness because I believe it is the most important lesson we are here to learn. If we can't forgive other people, life, God, or ourselves, we will be miserable and scared our whole life.
The way out of this suffering lies in choosing to trust that everything that happens is your perfect classroom journey. Instead of resisting what is, we can choose to trust the universe knows what it's doing. We can see life as a wise teacher who is co-creating with us, bringing us the perfect classroom journey we need in each moment. This mindset creates strength, resiliency and a real sense of security. When you choose to trust the universe, you will also find forgiveness is much easier.
Forgiving others is the key to loving yourself
Every time you judge another person for their mistakes, you are giving power to the idea that value must be earned and people can be "not good enough." If you feed this belief, it will also drive the way you see yourself. If you see others as not good enough or not worthy, you will always see yourself the same way.
The key to loving yourself lies in choosing to love and forgive others. You must allow every human around you to be flawed, make mistakes and have faults, and still have infinite and unchanging worth. When you give every other human infinite value, you will start to accept it for yourself too.
The people you dislike can be the most important teachers in your life. They show you the limits of your love and help you to stretch. If you will work on loving these people as they are, with their faults, it will improve your self-worth and bring a feeling of safety to your life. I promise this works.
See everything that happens as your perfect classroom journey
Choose to believe the classroom of life has one main purpose: to grow you and make you more loving. Every experience in your life is here to stretch your ability to love God, yourself or other people. Every experience that shows up in your life is here to serve you.
Every time something happens, ask yourself this powerful question: "What is this experience here for? Is it here to help me trust God more, help me love myself more, or to love other people at a higher level? There is always one of these three lessons in play.
If you choose to see your life this way, you will experience real gratitude for everything that happens — the good and the bad — and this will make you feel safer in the world. If you want to have more access to your love, just choose to see the universe as on your side and constantly conspiring to serve you. This will make you feel safe and give you the bandwidth to show up for others.
Seek out professional help with your mindset
Having healthy beliefs, healthy thinking skills and tools for processing life is what ultimately creates happiness, success and good relationships. The problem is they don't teach these things in school. So, unless your parents taught them to you, you likely don't have the skills and tools you need to create healthy relationships. You are going to need to seek them out on your own.
Find a professional whose job it is to teach these skills, like a therapist or a life coach. This kind of help makes the work faster and easier. Getting professional help with your mindset, limiting beliefs, negative thinking and people skills is the most important and advantageous thing you could do for yourself and your family. Spend the money and invest in your mental health. It will be the best money you ever spend.
You can do this
For 11 years, I have ended every article with the phrase "you can do this." I did so because I want you to know that you have all the answers inside you. You are innately loving and good. You are meant to grow and learn through whatever is happening to you because that is the purpose of everything. You are, at your core, nothing but love. You were made by love, through love and as love. You are good enough as you are right now. You are right on track in your perfect classroom journey. You have nothing to fear.
You can improve and change things in your life, too. If you don't like the way your life is going, you can change it. You have the power to do this, you might just need a little help. Seek out the help and invest in yourself and your life.
I have loved writing for KSL and I deeply appreciate all the letters you have sent me over the years. I hope my articles have helped you in some way because they have sure helped me. If you want to continue to follow me, you can do that at coachkimgiles.com and claritypointcoaching.com.
Thank you to all my readers for your encouragement, appreciation and feedback!
This was first published on KSL.com
I've heard from quite a few people this week who are stressed about the quarrels and family drama that so often accompany Thanksgiving dinner.
So, here are a few things to think about that might help you experience more love toward your relatives this year.
Who and what are you?
This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your life. It's important because your beliefs about your creation, your nature and your intrinsic worth create the lens through which you see the world. You literally see the world as you see yourself. Every choice, reaction and emotion reveals how you feel about yourself. What is your worst behavior saying about who and what you think you are?
Where does your value come from?
Right now, you subconsciously believe your beliefs, ideas, appearance, property and accomplishments determine your value. You likely believe your value must be earned, which means you also believe some people are better or worse than you. This belief is the reason you might see yourself as not good enough, but these are all just beliefs. They are not facts, which means you can change them any time you want.
You could choose to believe that your value is not tied to anything you have done or achieved. It is not based on how you look or what anyone thinks of you, and your performance and mistakes can't change it. You could choose to believe your value is tied to only one thing: your perfect, irreplaceable, divine creation by God or the universe.
Stop believing you create your own value
You didn't and don't create yourself, nor do you decide or determine your value, nor is it affected by what other people think of you. The only opinion that matters is the one who created us. This higher power gave all humans the same divine, infinite value, which doesn't change and isn't in question (at least you have the option of believing this idea is truth).
Robert Perry in his writing about self-esteem said, "If you were a homeless person without a penny, dirty and disheveled, forgotten by everyone, all of this limitless self-worth would still be yours. It has nothing to do with anything particular to you. In this sense, nothing particular about you matters. Your special talents, your special traits, your special place in the world—none of them can increase your self-worth one bit. It is already infinite. For you are the son (or daughter) of God."
Choosing to see people this way could change everything.
You aren't powerful enough to diminish your value
You could choose to believe that you were created by divine love, through divine love and as divine love, and that your value comes from this alone, is innate inside you and never changes. You could choose to believe your achievements, behavior, intelligence, appearance and popularity have no effect on your Identity or worth. While they might change your extrinsic value as the world sees it, they cannot change your intrinsic worth at all.
This means all your efforts to earn your value through your appearance or performance are futile. Think about this: God, or the universe, did not give you the power to diminish his creation (you) or make it worthless. He didn't give you the power to ruin yourself or discount his creation. Nothing you do or don't do can usurp his valuation of you.
When you start to internalize this truth, you will also begin to gain compassion for the imperfect humans around you. They, just like you, are perfectly created students in the classroom of life and their value is not in question either. They, like you, are here in life school to learn to love themselves and other people at a higher level. They, like you, are struggling with fears that get in the way and create bad behavior.
The way you see other people is the way you see yourself
If you harbor any hate or negative feelings toward any other person, it is a sign to you that you lack love for yourself. If you want to learn to love yourself more, you must stop attacking others and seeing them as worse or less than. The way you love yourself is often a reflection of the way you see other people and vice versa.
The Course in Miracles says, "When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself."
Choose love toward the people who bother you most
This doesn't mean you have to hang out with abusive, hurtful or negative people and spend time with them. You can have healthy boundaries and stand up for yourself, but you can do this from a place of strength, wisdom and love. You can choose to see everyone that God has created as a perfect part of your perfect classroom journey. You can see them as infinitely valuable human souls, even if you don't want to spend time with them.
You could choose to believe that nothing exists in your life that wasn't created to educate and grow you. You could choose to see the people in your life as perfect teachers, whose behavior is always serving you, even when they are driving you crazy. These teachers push your buttons and offend you to give you a chance to practice standing firm in your value, knowing you cannot be diminished, trusting you are here to learn and grow, and choosing love toward yourself and others even when it's hard. This is actually the purpose of everything you experience.
Bad behavior is often a request for love
You might approach family gatherings this year as a chance to work on loving yourself and others more fully. You will do this because you want to increase your love and compassion for yourself. In order to love yourself more, you must stretch the limits of your love and choose to see the humans around you as divinely created, struggling, infinitely valuable students in the classroom of life — just like you.
Choose to see their unloving behavior as a reflection of their lack of love for themselves. They are most likely projecting their lack of love for themselves onto you, though they can't see this. They are probably in fear that they aren't good enough or safe. These fears encourage them to attack others in order to see others as beneath them, get defensive, or show off because they believe they must do these things to be safe. But none of these behaviors is about you.
It helps me to believe that humans are only capable of two things: being loving and requesting love. This means all bad behavior is a request for love. Bad behavior is a sign they aren't OK. People who create family drama and conflict are never the ones with solid self-esteem, inner strength and wisdom. They are the ones who are blinded by fear and need love most, even though they are often the hardest to love.
Use family gatherings as love practice
This year, you might choose someone who you struggle to love and focus on seeing them more accurately. See their divinely bestowed and permanent value (which is the same as yours) and look for the fear that is preventing them from being loving. Are they scared, insecure or hurting? Allow them to be where they are in their unique classroom journey. Choose to see them as doing the best they can with what they know. They just can't see what they can't see. Try to tune into God's love for them and see if you can feel it.
If you must, limit your interactions with these difficult people to protect yourself; that's OK. You can practice loving them from afar, maybe from across the room or from the safety of your own home. Just practice choosing a mindset of love and accuracy toward them and it will still improve your self-esteem and make your holiday more positive and thankful.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
We have all heard the saying "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." But for many, knowing this truth is not helping them change and react to life in a more positive way so they suffer less.
Many of us struggle to change the meanings and stories we apply to the situations in our lives. We keep having the same belief-thoughts and negative ideas that keep making us miserable. These go-to perspectives and beliefs are deeply ingrained, which makes them easy and natural to keep using. Stepping back from situations and choosing a different perspective is hard work.
Here are some things you can learn and do to shift your perspective and change your reactions to what life throws at you.
Nothing means anything
The events, situations or happenings of your life are the facts of your life. For example, someone cuts you off in traffic; your husband forgets your birthday; your child gets a bad grade in school; your mother-in-law says something negative about your parenting; you say the wrong thing and offend someone; your friend doesn't call you back all week; you don't get the promotion you wanted. Events like these happen all day, every day. It's important to understand that by themselves, they don't mean anything.
The problem — or negative feelings about these facts in your life — occurs when you immediately apply meaning or "a story" to the events. Whatever that meaning is, is what makes you miserable. In truth, you have the power to sit back and see what happened as just an actuality, without applying any meaning or story around it, or you can choose a story that serves you and is healthy.
There is an infinite number of reasons why something might happen, but you won't see the world of possibilities unless you first acknowledge that nothing means anything without you applying meaning to it. Every time something happens, sit back and say to yourself, "This doesn't mean anything. I must be careful about the meaning I apply to this. It could mean something very different than I think."
You give everything its meaning
Your perspective is everything. It creates how you think, feel and act around everything in your life. It's also important to understand that perspective is flimsy, loose and changeable. You can look at something from one angle and think it means one thing; but if you looked at it from another angle or perspective, it may look and feel totally different.
You have given everything all the meaning it has. You have either consciously or subconsciously applied ideas, assumptions and fears to each actuality, and it is these stories that cause your suffering.
Most of the stories you create come from your fears of failure and loss. You often apply meaning like "I am not good enough" to everything that happens, and this makes things feel more personal than they are. You might be quick to assume whatever happened was a shortcoming or fault in you, or you might have a belief like "I am not safe and can't trust others," which always makes things feel like someone else's fault. The trick is you have to take your thoughts less seriously.
Your thoughts don't mean anything
The subconscious belief-thoughts you adopted in childhood often determine the kind of stories you create. As a child, you might have experienced something that made you think "I am not loved," "I am not good enough," "I am not safe," or "I am not smart"; now you could be applying these belief-thoughts to every situation you encounter.
Watch for a pattern in your stories and see if they all end up in the same place. These could be thoughts like "people always let me down," "I am just not enough," "I am on my own," "no one cares," "people can't be trusted," and "I have to protect myself." The problem is these belief-thoughts are not facts; they are just story options, and there are always many other options that might serve you better.
Here is an exercise to help you find some of your ingrained belief-thoughts:
You are never upset for the reason you thinkYou think you are upset because of the actuality or event. Let's say your spouse said something negative about your cooking, for example. You think you are upset because of their rude, hurtful comment. But what is actually making you upset is the belief-thought that you aren't good enough, which is a belief you may have carried with you since childhood. If you didn't already have this belief-thought, you probably wouldn't be so upset by their comment. It is your belief-thoughts about yourself that drive the stories you apply.
This is not excusing your spouse nor their accountability for being rude, nor am I saying that you should accept and allow abusive behavior. My point is that in everyday situations like this, you will suffer less and give other people less power over you if you understood that you contribute to the problem with your thoughts. In other words, if you recognize that it's your thoughts about what happens that make you upset, you can change the story you are telling yourself and choose a perspective that serves you more.
For example, when your spouse says something negative about your cooking, you might choose a story that says you are bulletproof and what others think or say about your cooking doesn't change your value or diminish you in any way. With this perspective, you can let insults bounce off. You might also choose to address the problem with your spouse, but you will now do that from a strong, loving place — not a hurt, victim place. This will lead to a better conversation.
Everything is a lesson
After 20 years as a master life coach, I have found that my clients do better if they universally apply the belief-thought that everything that happens is a lesson showing up in their life to serve them in some way. This is not a provable fact, of course. There is no source for ultimate truth about why things happen, but we each must choose a belief-thought about the nature of our life journey. If we don't consciously choose one, we will subconsciously choose one.
Try playing with the belief-thought that the universe is on your side and constantly conspiring to serve and grow you. Choose to believe the universe uses everything that happens for your good, and every negative event can be a blessing in disguise to make you stronger, wiser or more loving.
Also, play with the belief that all humans have the same unchanging value and nothing can diminish you. This belief-thought will make you feel safer in the world and change your reactions to everything.
Changing your stories and meanings will take time and work, but you can start today by playing with these new beliefs and applying them to each situation. If you struggle with this because your childhood belief-thoughts are so strong and your reactions too fast when triggered, I recommend seeking a professional coach or counselor to help you shift your beliefs. This can make a huge difference faster than you think.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
After 25 years in the personal development industry, it is my strongly held belief that every human being on the planet struggles with the fear that they might not be good enough, to some degree, every day.
One of the common ways we humans counter that fear is by seeking attention and validation from other people. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can come across as needy and insecure and may cause other people to lose respect for us. It is not the behavior of a strong, confident, balanced person who feels secure about and knows who they are, which is truly who we want to be.
Here are some common behaviors that are signs that you may need some attention or validation from others:
Talking about yourself — a lot
When someone tells a story about something they have done, you feel the need to tell your story — especially if it's a better story. We all do this on occasion, but if you do it often it can be annoying. Instead, try to catch yourself and quietly decide you know your story and that's enough; you don't need to tell it and can allow the other person to shine here.
When you feel a need to talk a great deal about your accomplishments or experiences, this can also signal a need for attention or validation. Sharing what you've done isn't necessarily bad, but doing it often because you need the validation that comes when you are listened to could be a sign that you have a self-esteem problem.
When you feel the desire to tell about an experience, just pause and ask yourself why you want to talk about this out loud. Do you really need to? There is an amazing feeling of strength and wisdom that comes when you have the power to not need to talk about yourself and your accomplishments.
When someone says or does something that isn't accurate or right, you feel the need to correct them and say, "Actually that's not right. The truth is….". Again, this behavior might not be a problem if it happens only rarely; but if you do it all the time, it could come from a subconscious need to feel smarter or more knowledgeable than other people.
When you correct others, you feel better than others and safer in the world. Instead, practice allowing other people to be wrong sometimes. Does it really matter if they don't have their facts right? Would it do any harm to let this be and walk away? Do you really have to say something? Why?
Do you judge other people and gossip about them? Gossip is actually a sign of low self-esteem or the need to see yourself as better than or above others. Your ego thinks if it can point out ways that other people are worse than you, that makes you better and validates your worth.
The truth is, though the ego gets a little boost from judging other people, you will also see yourself as flawed and unworthy as often as you judge others. Instead, catch your desire to comment on others' flaws and choose to practice seeing the goodness in them. This will help you to see your own goodness.
Using social media for attention
Do you post attention or validation-seeking things on social media like "having a terrible day over here" or "worst week ever!" hoping others will ask what's wrong? Maybe you're hoping they will at least leave positive, loving comments.
The desire to post anything about our lives on social media is, at some level, based on the need to get attention, so we all do this one. But, do you need to post pictures of everything you do on social media?
Instead, could you pause and ask yourself why you want to share this picture with the world? Is it inspiring, helpful, interesting or educational? Would friends and family really enjoy seeing this, or is your desire to post about looking cool or getting attention? Just ask yourself, on occasion, if you could just have this experience without the need to show it off.
Discussing your feelings too much
Do you need to mention how you are feeling and/or what you think about most situations? Sometimes wanting to talk about what you are feeling or thinking is healthy; but if you do it almost constantly, you may need the validation that comes when other people listen to you.
If you have the desire to share a thought, pause and ask yourself why you want or need to share it out loud. What would happen if you just kept this one to yourself? Would you survive and be OK if you didn't talk about it? Sometimes you need to share in order to process ideas or emotions; other times you need attention. Which is this one?
A need to look good
Excessively stressing over your outfit and how you look can be a sign of neediness for validation. Do you have to look really good when you see people because you are afraid you aren't good enough and need the validation that comes from knowing you look amazing? I am not saying there is anything wrong with trying to look your best; it's only a problem if you are stressing and in fear about it because you believe your worth as a person is at stake.
Instead, get cleaned up and find a good outfit. But understand that no matter how you look, you have the same value as every other human being. There is nothing gained by looking better than anyone else. Go out there are get them with your love instead.
Giving in hopes of gaining recognition
Doing something nice for another person and needing others to know about it. Instead, when you do an act of service consider doing it in secret and no letting anyone know. Then you will know you are truly doing it for the other person, not for the sense of validation.
Working on your self-esteem
Again, none of the above behaviors is inherently bad. But if they happen a lot, they are a sign of a fear of failure (self-esteem) problem that prevents you from being the highest, best you. Being more consciously aware of the ways you are behaving and why can help you to choose behavior that is love-motivated, not fear-motivated, which is more aligned with the person you want to be.
I wrote an article in March about how to improve your self-esteem in healthy ways. It would be worth reading. Practice those tips to lessen your fear of failure. Then start pausing before you say or do something. Ask yourself: What is motivating or driving this behavior? Why do I need to say this? What would happen if I didn't say or do this?
With time and practice, you can show up as someone who doesn't need anything from others — someone who has more to give.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
Believing your own views are right is a troublesome tendency that we each must watch out for. It shows up as an overattachment to our own ideas and opinions and the tendency to see other perspectives as wrong.
When you get overattached to your opinion, you also tend to look for reinforcement confirming that you are right. It's called confirmation bias and you are drawn to shows, articles and books that confirm your current opinion over things that challenge it. You subconsciously seek this confirmation because it has a positive effect on your self-esteem.
Feeling like you are right doesn't actually increase your value; it just temporarily makes your ego feel better than other people whom you see as wrong.
If people struggle to see value in themselves, they often seek what I call "group self-esteem." They align themselves with a group of people who see themselves as superior to another group, and because they are a member of this superior group they get a little self-esteem boost.
The temporary benefits
But again, thinking you are right is only a temporary ego boost because being right doesn't actually give you more value than the people on the other side. Many people believe their ideas, opinions and beliefs do make them the "good guys" and more valuable than people with different views and beliefs. You can see this happening all around us.
People need to believe that their opinions make them better than others for two reasons:
1. They need the self-esteem boost that comes from feeling superior to others
This often happens when they don't get enough self-esteem from their appearance or performance. So, taking a strong stand on their views becomes their "thing" that sets them apart and makes them feel valuable. These people will talk about and share their views liberally because it reinforces their sense of value. They are overly committed to being right because it makes them feel better.
2. They get a sense of safety from their strong opinions and ideas
Feeling sure about their views gives them a sense of solid ground to stand on. Their opinions and views can make them feel in control and provide some stability. Beliefs can create our sense of security in the world; the problem is that when we rely too heavily on our opinions for security, we can become stubborn and stop learning, growing or experiencing people and ideas outside of those views.
There are some benefits to being overcommitted to being right, but there are also some troublesome consequences from being this way. Here are a few of them:
1. You only see life from your own perspective
You cannot help seeing the world through your own lens — a lens that was created from all your past experiences and knowledge. Yours is a very unique lens, too, because no other person on the planet will ever have your upbringing, your family, and your life experiences. You are literally the only one who can see life through your lens.
This is important to understand because your lens is also not accurate. It is all you know and can see, so it feels accurate, but it is — and will always be — just your perspective. There is an infinite number of other perspectives from which things look totally different. This is why any number of witnesses can watch the same event and see it very differently. This is why witness testimony can be unreliable. People always see the world through their skewed lens.
Recognizing this and understanding that all you can ever see is your own skewed opinion, perspective, and views means being open to honoring and respecting other people's right to see the world from their perspective. It is also all they can see, and from their perspective things will look very different from yours.
There is great wisdom and compassion to be gained when we step out of judgment and our need to be right and experience, listen to and learn from other people's perspectives. If you only watch your perspective's news program and read books that support what you already believe is the truth, you will miss out on the richness of the human experience and all its diversity.
2. You don't learn anything
A funny thing happens when you think you're right in your opinions and views: You stop asking questions and you stop learning. You subconsciously believe you know all there is to know, so you don't care what else is out there. It is only when you are willing to question what you know, and are truly open to being wrong, that you can learn. Wise people know that the more you learn, the more you understand you have more to learn.
There are always going to be more questions than answers. Being willing to question your views and knowledge makes you intelligent, a perpetual student, and ensures you're always growing. True wisdom is always questioning what you think you know.
3. You don't connect with people
If you are overly committed to your own opinions, you will miss opportunities to connect with other people — primarily because they won't share their perspectives with you. They can feel that you aren't open and don't provide a safe place to share, so they will keep their views to themselves.
There are billions of amazing humans out there with interesting stories and experiences, many that are beyond your ability to comprehend. Because you have never experienced life in their shoes, you don't know what they know. The more different they are from you, the harder it can be to cross the divide and connect with them; but when you do, you grow in incalculable ways.
This is why people say travel to faraway places changes you. Taking time to get to know people, who are vastly different from you and honoring and respecting their right to their views — even if their views bother or offend you — will help you gain compassion and wisdom. Spending all your time with people who agree with you gets you nowhere.
4. You don't experience love at the highest level
I personally believe — though I am open to being wrong about all of this — that differences are a perfect part of our life's journey because they stretch our ability to love others and ourselves. Differences trigger fears in us and push us out of our comfort zones. Think about some people in your life that you have a hard time loving or even liking. What are the differences that create these feelings? For some reason, your subconscious mind that has decided these behaviors in these people make them unworthy of love at some level.
The problem with letting these feelings go unchecked is that as long as you see their faults as making them unworthy of love, you will also see your own faults — though they may be different ones — as making you unworthy of love. You literally cannot love yourself except as you love your neighbor. If you stay in judgment of them, you will also stay in judgment of yourself. If you want to truly love and accept yourself, you must work on seeing every other human being as equal in value and worthy of compassion. You may never understand their perspective or behavior, but you know that's because you cannot see the world through their lens.
Being open to understanding and learning from other people takes you to a higher level of love and creates a wiser, more open and beautiful way of living. But you cannot get there if you are stuck in your need to be right about your current views.
Opinions vs. morals and values
I also want to say that opinions and views as I have addressed them in this article are different from your morals and values. Morals and values are beautiful choices you make about the rules you want to guide your behavior choices. They are still made from your perspective, but they are the consciously chosen systems to live by. What you want to avoid is pushing your value systems onto others — because they have the right to choose their own — and being closed off to changing your values as you grow and learn.
You could choose to stay open and question everything including your values, your views, and your opinions, and constantly measure them against love. There are so many dimensions to the human experience, and nothing is ever fully black and white, but love for yourself and other people may be a good measure in choosing values that create positive things in your life.
These are, of course, just my perspective and ideas, but I do like the results that are created in my life when I choose to see life as a classroom — purposefully designed to stretch my compassion and ability to love. I also appreciate the comments to my articles that challenge my ideas and premises and I am always open to being wrong.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
We often get so caught up surviving day to day and working down the never-ending to-do list that we forget to relish being alive. You might want to pick one of these things each week and work on it.
Here are some ways to make your life more amazing:
1. Let go of what other people think about you and your choices
You will live in a prison if you make your choices around what other people think. Ask yourself: How could I allow myself to be more true to me and claim the right to live my life?
2. Start fresh every day
Let the past and mistakes from yesterday float away as water under the bridge. They can provide lessons, but they are nothing beyond that. You get a fresh slate every day and the chance to be a new you. Practice giving this to yourself every morning.
3. Stop putting off what you really want to do
Life goes by fast; just ask an older person. You can't wait to start living later. What can you do today to live big now? Stop saving your favorite outfit. Buy those shoes. Plan the trip you really want to take.
4. Create a long bucket list
I recommend to my clients to not stop until there are over 150 things on their bucket list. This way they have to start crossing things off; there are too many items to wait to get started.
5. Don't judge or gossip
Allow every human you meet to be on their unique journey, learning lessons just for them, with the same infinite value as the rest of us. Don't waste time or energy comparing or putting them down to lift yourself up. The more you choose compassion and allow them to be on an equal plane as yourself, the better you will feel about yourself.
6. Forgive everyone — including yourself
Make forgiveness a way of life. Life is too short to hold on to anger. Mistakes are lessons in your classroom journey. That's all. They don't affect our value; human intrinsic value can't change. Also, remember your ability to forgive others is usually tied to your ability to forgive yourself.
7. Distance yourself from negative people and relationships
Don't waste precious hanging onto people who are dishonest, critical or don't add value to your life. You don't have to dislike these people; you just love them ... from afar. Life's too short to let other people take your joy.
8. Help other people
Helping others feels great. Spearhead a humanitarian cause or find a way to volunteer. You get what you give in the world, and the universe will reward you when you serve others.
9. Meet new people and make new friends
Try to connect with a new person every day. Everywhere you go there are amazing people who could enrich your life. Watch the caliber of people you hang out with. Raise the bar and meet people who are living their best lives. It will inspire you.
10. Travel and try new things
Nothing broadens your understanding of yourself and life more than travel. Go somewhere new — even if it's somewhere close by — and meet the people there, eat new foods, and have an adventure.
11. Declutter and minimize
Decide not to make life about things, but having experiences. Get rid of everything that doesn't bring you happiness. Clean your closets and see how little you really need to be happy.
12. Keep learning
Always be open to new ideas and being wrong. Add to your bucket list all the things you'd like to learn and start knocking them off the list, even one a month.
13. Give more than you receive
The idea here is to give more value than you receive in everything you do. Blessings and good fortune follow when you give more and work harder than others.
14. Live in the moment
When you spend "now" worrying about the future, you miss experiences and people that are important today. Be present and don't miss what's in front of you.
15. Let go of your expectations
A lot of the suffering we experience comes from resisting what is. Set goals and intentions, then stay in trust that however things end up, you can learn something from it. Allow the universe to flow and take you places on occasion. Be open to being surprised by something even better than you would have asked for.
16. Have more fun
Let your inner child come out and jump in puddles, walk on curbs, jump cracks, and play whenever you get the chance. Laugh and find things that light your spark.
17. Live in gratitude
Be grateful for everything you have and all the problems you don't have; both of these are important to note.
18. Don't let fear stop you from doing anything
Recognize when you are holding back for a fear reason. Make a list of all the love-motivated reasons to do this thing. Choose to always make a love-motivated choice rather than a fear-driven one
19. Value experiences over things
Save your money for a trip over buying a new car or other expensive item. Give experiences as gifts and spend time with the people you love instead of buying them things.
20. Be yourself and find your joy
Spend some time alone in a place where you can let go of social expectations and just have fun. Make lists of things that make you happy and light you up. Make time to do these things even if — or especially if — others think they are dumb or pointless or that you aren't good at them. What did you like to do as a kid? What activities make you feel fully alive? Make time to bring these into your life in a bigger way.
Be true to your beliefs and values, even if others won't approve. You only get one shot at life and you can't live it for other people. Make a list of things you might be doing to please others or society. Double-check if these things really work for you and are consistent with your value system. Do you dress a certain way because it's socially acceptable? Does it bring you joy? What other changes could you make to live on your own terms?
Be committed to creating some joy every day, even it's a few minutes to watch something funny and laugh. Be in charge of your happiness and responsible for bringing joy into your life every day.
You can do this.
I have recently found several of your articles and have loved them! I think they provide great insight and point of view. I have been trying to find one if you have one regarding "saying no and not feeling guilty." For example, if I get invited to a friend gathering and I respond with "no," but then feel guilty/manipulated into going or being a bad friend afterward. Are there any tips you have regarding it?
The first thing you must do is understand why you feel guilty taking care of yourself and choosing what you want to do. You have every right to make choices that make you happy. Why would you feel guilty for doing that?
5 fear-based beliefs
Most people find they have one or more of the following fear-based, subconscious beliefs. Do these feel like something you might believe?
1. "If I say no, then I am selfish."
You might have a subconscious belief (possibly learned in childhood) that says if you take care of yourself at all, it makes you a selfish, bad person. You may believe good people should sacrifice themselves to make others happy, but this is not true.
The truth is, self-care is wise and healthy, and you must take care of yourself or you will soon have nothing left to give. It is wise to balance taking care of yourself and taking care of others. In order to maintain this balance, you must say no and choose your happiness half the time.
2. "If I disappoint other people, I will be rejected or judged."
You might have experienced this at some point in your life, so you believe this is a rule. The problem is it's not a rule; it's a belief — which means it's not a fact.
Most people can handle hearing "no" without punishing or rejecting you for it. If they do reject you for it, they probably aren't the kind of person you want as a friend. A real friend will support you in doing what's best for you.
It's important to note that you may have taught the people in your life to manipulate you because you always feel guilty when you say no. You may have created these rules of engagement. The good news is that you can change the rules any time you want. You can retrain people in your life to "get over it" when they get disappointed on occasion. You can also say no with love and respect, and most people can handle it and will still love you.
3. "I can't handle confrontation, so it's easier to give in."
This subconscious belief might have come from a bad experience in your past. You may have decided that in most situations, it's safer to sacrifice yourself than risk a fight. The truth is, you can usually enforce boundaries in a kind way that won't lead to conflict.
If you are respectful and kind, yet firm, you can handle these issues with strength and love. If they do turn ugly, you can excuse yourself and refuse to participate until the other person can speak to you with respect. If you have people in your life that cannot handle an occasional "no," that is their problem, not yours. You must maintain a healthy balance and not feel guilty for doing so.
4. "Other people's happiness is more important than mine."
You may have learned as a child that sacrificing yourself or putting your happiness last makes you righteous. This is not true. It actually makes you are acting like a doormat and it makes people lose respect for you. You are the same in importance as everyone else. You have to see yourself as equally important or others won't treat you like you are.
5. "Pleasing other people means they will like and value me."
This is, again, not necessarily true. Sometimes even when you sacrifice for people, it won't make them value or appreciate you. They may even lose respect for you because you don't take care of yourself. They could treat you worse and take your sacrifices for granted.
Occasionally, saying no — especially to the people in your house — means they are more likely to appreciate it when you do say yes.
Which of these fear-based beliefs might be driving your fear of saying no?
Create new beliefs
The incredible thing about finding the faulty beliefs behind your behavior is that you can now change those beliefs. They may be deeply ingrained in your subconscious programming and hard to change, but your conscious mind is stronger and you have the power to choose, in any moment, a different belief that will immediately change how you feel about the situation.
You can write some new beliefs (in your own words) and claim them as your truth moving forward. You might want to put them somewhere you can see them daily and work on consciously choosing them whenever you are tempted to people please.
Here are some new beliefs that might serve you more:
Create new boundaries
You cannot change any behavior until you change the beliefs that are driving it. You can also use your new beliefs to help you write some new boundary rules that apply to specific situations. Write these new boundary rules down on paper, don't just think them. Writing them down makes them more concrete.
Here is an example of great boundary rule:
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — I had a reader write to me recently complaining about a friend who is always talking about the hard things going on in their life. Their question revolved around when it was justified to complain about your life and have a friend listen and show up for you, and when it becomes an issue of playing the victim card to get sympathy love and might not be a positive thing.
Talking about your struggles and woes is not necessarily a problem. For some people, it is the only way they learned to get love. They might subconsciously play the victim card without even realizing it; and when friends listen and show they care, it probably does make them feel cared about, important and loved.
The only problem is that there can be a cost to this behavior that you might not realize you are paying. While friends and family care about you and feel sorry for you, they may also be losing respect for you.
Before I get into how to check yourself and make sure you aren't in an unhealthy victim mentality, let me just say how important it is to have supportive friends and family around you — and to share your difficult experiences with them. Everyone needs that kind of support, and there is no shame whatsoever in talking about your struggles and getting support, help and love from the people in your life.
Your sharing or complaining only becomes a problem if you are sharing for one of the following reasons:
I have a dear friend who is battling cancer, and I love how she shares the challenges and hardships of the experience with me but never misses an opportunity to ask about my life and my challenges too. She never uses the hardship to manipulate others, and she always acknowledges that other people have it worse.
She shares her experience and lets her friends support her, but she has never had a victim mentality. I have to say, though, there are days she is very entitled to a good long pity-party cry — and occasionally she has one, as they are healthy and called for.
Here are some other ways to watch for victim behavior and change it:
Write it down
Write a description (on paper) of what your mindset and behavior would look like if you are playing the victim: How would you show up? How would others see you? What kind of energy would you be putting off?
Write about the payoffs you might get from rehearsing your struggles and stories. Are the payoffs so great they are worth possibly losing the respect of other people? Write about the ways you might be seen as weak, complaining or needy. Are there ways you share your experiences without coming across with these descriptions?
Examine your past
What stories about your past might you talk about too often? Do you have any beliefs about your life always going bad, or bad things always happening to you? Do you believe, "no one cares about me"; or "no matter how hard I try, things always go wrong"; or "people should let me off the hook for bad behavior because of how bad I have had it in the past"; or "I will never get anywhere no matter how hard I work."
Own any victim stories and beliefs you have and figure out why you might hold onto them. What do they give you when you believe they are true? What do they cost you? Is there something else (more healthy) that you could replace those beliefs with? Rewrite some better beliefs and post them somewhere you see them daily.
Explore letting go
Figure out who you could be if you let go of the victim identity. What would your mindset be? How could you respond to life if you saw yourself as strong, blessed, capable, fortunate and whole? What if you see yourself as a champion instead of a victim? This may take a while to clearly see yourself as a victor, but you can do it.
Write down the qualities and attributes you want to embody. How do you want people to see you? What qualities do you want to be known for? You cannot become something you can't even see. The first step is to get clarity on what you want.
Stop the blame game
Stop blaming others or circumstances for the way you are feeling. You are responsible for how you feel. Emotions do arise that you can't control; but once they arrive, you do have the power to process through them and choose your mindset. (Unless you are suffering from clinical depression or an anxiety disorder, which can make choosing your attitude difficult to impossible to do by yourself. Seek help from a medical professional.)
Most of us do have the power to choose our perspective, and our perspective determines how we feel. If you don't know how to use that power, you may need a counselor or coach to help you learn how. It is a skill and can be taught to most people.
Change your perspective
First, choose gratitude. In the very moment you are dwelling on what's wrong in your life, there are many things you could focus on that are blessings. Your blessings always outweigh the challenges. You may need to start a gratitude journal to help you focus on the good every day.
You can also work to change your perspective about how life and the universe work. Most of us have a subconscious belief that the universe is a dangerous place where we can lose, get hurt, or be cheated and unfairly treated. We see the universe as "against" us, messing with us, and even trying to trip us up. With this perspective, we are always a powerless victim who is blown about by chaos and bad luck.
Instead, you can choose to believe the universe is ultimately on your side. It is a wise teacher, constantly using what happens to create your perfect classroom journey. You could believe that everything that happens is used to grow you and make you stronger, wise and more loving. Things don't happen to you, they happen for you. At least, you could choose this mindset if you wanted to and you would find your outlook would be more positive.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
As a master life coach for the last 20 years, I have discovered some tricks to helping people make meaningful changes that last. Here are some things to keep in mind this month as you think about making changes in 2021.
1. Be honest and open to feedback
Be honest with yourself about what needs to change and be open to objective feedback from others. Sometimes the things you most need to change are the things you can't clearly see in yourself. Asking people who know you well to share what behaviors they see in you that are holding you back, or causing problems, might yield valuable information.
As a coach, I often ask clients if they would be open to an observation about the way they showed up in a situation, or to look at their behavior from a different perspective. Having a caring coach or friend who will be honest about where you are can be a huge help.
It's a powerful practice to ask the people close to you for some feedback on how you can improve or show up for them better. Plan to do this on a regular basis, maybe even weekly.
2. Figure out who you want to be
Figure out who you want to be over what you want to accomplish. The "be" is much more important than the "do."
Think about the different roles you play in your life. What kind of parent, spouse, sibling, aunt or uncle, worker or boss do you want to be? What would it look like to be that kind of person? What would it feel like to be that kind of person? Write your answers to these questions down in detail so you know exactly who you want to be.
The truth is, you cannot do better until you become better. When you focus on who you want to be first, you raise the bar on your behavior and accomplishments get easier.
3. Focus on behaviors and habits that will require change
After you identify who you want to be, focus on the behavior and habits that will need to change. What do you do now that makes you who you are now? What habits would you need to change, or what do you need to start doing or stop doing to become the person you want to be?
Get crystal clear on what these behavior changes are. You may have very ingrained habits that need to change. This process will take time and support, but you can do it.
4. Learn new skills or gain needed tools
Sometimes you cannot change the behavior or habit without first learning some new ways of showing up. You may not be able to change a habit until you learn a new procedure for handling these situations. You might need to learn how to cook healthier meals. You may need new communication skills, a new system for processing emotions in a healthy way, or a new procedure for handling offenses.
This is where some professional help can make a huge difference and help you make changes much faster. When you know better, you can do better.
5. Commit to change
Commit to changing and find a love-motivated reason to keep you committed. Don't change for a fear-motivated reason. Don't lose weight to stop feeling less valuable than other people; lose weight because you love yourself and want to be healthy and strong.
Find a strong love-motivated reason to stay driven toward the goal. Do it for your children so they will have a healthy parent who is active and strong. This will help you stay on task when things get hard or frustrating.
6. Identify goals but focus on now
Clearly identify your long-term goals, but focus on the first step now. What's the next step you need to take toward the long-term goal? What would it look like to make just a 5% improvement this week? A small-step goal means you aren't trying to be perfect now.
If you are going for perfect, you are setting yourself up to fail. Instead, just make a small, realistic change this week. This allows you to experience some success and feel proud of yourself. Set yourself up for a win every week with a realistic next-step goal.
7. Identify the practice that will create the new way of being
The secret to making changes lies in three R's: repetition, reinforcement and reminders. The hardest part of changing is remembering to choose the new behavior instead of letting your old subconscious programming (your autopilot) run. You are programmed to behave the old way, and this behavior will continue until you can interrupt it and choose differently over and over again.
What practice can you repeat daily? What reminders or reinforcement do you need to keep it in the forefront of your mind to choose differently? Many of my clients use reminders on their phone, or they change their wallpaper to something that reminds them to practice the new behavior. This works because they look at their phone so many times a day.
8. Have some accountability
Find a coach, friend or partner who knows what your goal is each week and will supportively hold you to it. The reason coaching is the most effective way to change is because you get to work on small goals with new skills and tools, and you have weekly accountability and support. I have spent 20 years in the personal development field and I haven't found anything that works better than working with a coach.
9. Interact with those you want to emulate
Interact with people who are the kind of people you want to become. Avoid time with people who support your old behavior. They often don't want you to change because they are comfortable with you as you are. Find a crew of people who inspire and lift you to grow and be your best.
It's been said you become the five people you hang out with most. Do you need to find some people who will raise your game?
10. Don't get discouraged if change is slow
Changing behavior is hard, especially when it's driven by subconscious programming you've had since childhood. It's a process and it takes time. This is why I recommend working with a coach or counselor for three to six months, at least.
Lasting change doesn't happen overnight or from reading one book or attending one seminar. Lasting change can only happen when you learn something new and then practice it with consistent, committed effort while consciously choosing a different way of being again and again.
I have seen many people completely change the way they behave, the way they feel about their lives, and the way they show up in relationships — and faster than you'd think possible. In six months' time, your life could look and feel entirely different from how it does today.
Bonus: Get professional help
To make this happen, though, I highly recommend finding a professional of some kind who can help you recognize what you need to change, give you new tools and skills, and support you through the time it takes to practice and work, one small step at a time. There are resources out there no matter your budget. If you need support don't stop looking for resources until you find them.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
The Australia Journal of Psychology found that likable people are more likely to keep their jobs because likable people are easier to work with, are great on teams, and get people to work with them seamlessly. This is just one of many benefits of being more likable. Likable people also tend to have healthier relationships and more opportunities.
Keep in mind you don't want to work on your likability because you need approval or validation from other people to quiet your fear of not being good enough. You want to work on these things to become the best version of yourself.
This effort should be love-driven, not fear-driven. Right now, as you are, you have the same infinite, intrinsic value as every other human on the planet, even if you sometimes show up in a fear state, selfish, insecure or unlikable. Your value is always the same and you are good enough, but the way people react to you may not be creating the life you want.
If you want to become the most caring and likable version of yourself, here are some things you can work on:
1. Make sure you like yourself
Liking yourself is the most important element of being likable. If you don't like being you, you will have nothing to give other people and your low sense of value is something others will pick up on.
You are subconsciously teaching the people around you how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Do you always put yourself last? Do you put yourself down? Do you see yourself as less than other people? If you do, this has to change. You might need to work with a coach or counselor to help you eliminate your fears of not being good enough; they can make this process faster and easier.
2. Show other people that you like them
Everyone likes people who like them, yet we are often so worried about not being liked ourselves that we forget to show others how we feel about them. Make an effort to check up on people, invite them to do things, send notes or texts, and generally be a friend to them.
Also, make sure you remember people's names. There are many tricks to help you get better at this. For example, you can use word associations or rhymes to help you. Every time you use a person's name it instantly makes them feel valued and important.
3. Be sincerely interested in other people and their lives
Whenever you are around other humans ask questions about them and actively listen with the desire to understand, know and care about them. In every conversation, make sure you ask questions and listen more than you talk. This makes other people feel valued and important. If you can make every person you talk to feel valued and important, you will be very likable.
4. Be slow to be offended
If a behavior or comment feels insulting or disregarding toward you, stop and take a step back before reacting.
5. Remind yourself you are safe and have nothing to fear
In every room, you have two options: to feel unsafe and be subconsciously focused on yourself, getting approval, or bring liked; or to feel safe and be focused on others, validating them and making them feel important. You get to consciously choose which state you want to experience.
6. Pay compliments, notice others and validate them
Celebrate other's wins without being jealous. A win for someone else doesn't mean anything about you. There is enough abundance in the world for all of us.
7. Ask others for advice
This is a great way to show people you see their wisdom and expertise, and you value it and them. People love to give advice about what they know, and they will light up when you ask for advice.
8. Always be open to being wrong
Being open to being wrong about whatever you think you know prevents you from getting overly attached to being right — which is a behavior that repels other people fast.
Be teachable, open, curious and willing to take time to understand those who think differently than you. Truly intelligent people are always asking questions and challenging what they know. Likable people are open-minded and not afraid of being wrong.
9. Be reliable
Likable people keep their commitments, follow through, and are responsible and dependable. Do your best to be on time and be someone others can count on. If you can't do something, be honest about that and say no. Don't be afraid you have to commit to something (or everything) to be likable; it's more important to be realistic and only committing to what you really have time to do.
10. Smile and make eye contact
Your body language tells people if you are warm and open or cold and closed off. Practice making relaxed eye contact (don't stare) and smiling more. Be friendly and say "hello," "good morning," or "have a good day" to strangers.
11. Be genuine and don't try to impress
The harder you try to impress others the less impressive it is. Just relax and be you. Don't be attention-seeking or worry about whether others like you. Be interested in them, be friendly and kind, but also just be yourself.
Watch how you behave around people you feel safe with. That is probably the real you. Practice being that real around new people, and even being the same you no matter the environment. It helps to remember that you have the same infinite, intrinsic value no matter how you behave or what anyone thinks, so there is nothing to fear. Just be you.
12. Avoid judging other people and gossiping
If you are quick to judge others or talk behind their backs, you must understand this is causing problems in your life. It is making people feel unsafe with you, and it is preventing you from truly loving yourself. You see, when you see the dark parts of other people as making them unworthy of love or value, you will also subconsciously see your own dark parts as making you unworthy of love and value.
You can literally only love your neighbor as you love yourself and vice versa. So practice giving every person you see unconditional love and unchangeable value no matter their behavior. They are here in a classroom to learn and grow, and they may have many lessons still to come but their value is always the same — and so is yours. Be someone who says only positive things about other people.
13. Practice the 'platinum rule'
The golden rule talks about treating other people the way you want to be treated. The platinum rule goes a little farther and states you should treat others the way THEY want to be treated. This sometimes requires you to ask them how they would like to be treated or get to know them well enough to find out. Never assume they will like what you like. Pay attention to what they value and lean toward. Make sure you show them that you see who they are and allow them to be different from you.
At the end of the day, remember some people still won't like you, and that's OK. We are all very different, and we connect with some people better than others. Each week I hear from readers who love my writing and others who don't like it at all, but I have to remember that my value is the same as every other person's no matter what and keep being authentically me. You can do this, too.
FOR MORE FREE
Coaching is less expensive than you think - If you need help we can find you a coach you can afford.
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.