This was first published on KSL.COM
A woman recently asked me how she would know if she was out of balance and too critical of other people, or just a very observant and helpful person? I think you just have to ask the people around you and they would be happy to oblige on this one, but here are some signs that you might be overly critical and need to work on that.
Are you overly critical?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do people sometimes lie to you or avoid answering your questions?
If you are someone who is overly critical, the people in your life may not feel safe enough to tell you the truth. They might avoid talking to you at times, or lie to protect themselves from your judgment about what they are doing.
Do people get their feelings hurt when you are just trying to help them?
Overly critical people have a tendency to give unsolicited advice, which can feel more insulting than helpful. You might mean well when you point out what they did wrong or how they could improve, but to a person who battles with the fear of failure, it hurts. If your comments often make people angry or hurt their feelings, you may be overly critical.
Are you extremely opinionated and have a hard time not sharing your ideas?
People who are overly critical are often overly opinionated too. Can you let someone be wrong and not correct them? If not, this is a problem. Practice just listening and asking questions, without sharing your opinion at all. Bite your tongue and allow the conversation to go on without your ideas or input. This can be hard, but it shows maturity and wisdom.
Are you extremely observant?
Do you notice details that others miss? Many overly critical people are also told they are too observant. You might just naturally see what’s wrong before you see what’s right. This is a great skill in certain jobs or fields, but it can be rough in relationships.
Are you picky with high standards?
If you reload the dishwasher because it wasn’t done right, or remake beds because they still have wrinkles, or fix pillows every time you walk past the couch, you might be too particular and your standards might damage connection with others. Again, there are certain careers where being this picky would be a plus, but it can make people feel attacked.
Do you get really bent out of shape when things don’t go your way?
This might happen because you create a lot of expectations and then get attached to them. The truth is, life will rarely meet your expectations. Events rarely go off as planned, and people usually disappoint you. If you are fear-of-loss dominant — meaning you get triggered whenever life isn’t what you wanted it to be — you might be bothered and frustrated a lot, which can lead to criticism.
Do you find other people are quiet and have less to say around you?
People might have learned that communication with you isn’t safe. They may avoid your calls or have fewer comments in conversations. If you want people to speak their truth and be open with you, you have to create a safe place for them to do that.
How to make a change
If you answered yes to many of these questions, your subconscious tendency toward criticism might be a problem. Here are some tips for changing this behavior.
1. Allow people to disagree with you without threat of judgment or argument.
Let others know it’s OK if they don’t agree or don’t want to do it your way. Give them a safe space to tell you their truth without risk of conflict or correction.
2. Ask permission before giving advice.
Ask others, “Would you be open to a suggestion or some advice on how to do that, or would you rather I let you do it on your own?” Give them a safe place to say they aren’t open to advice on this. Whenever you share suggestions without asking permission to do so, it can come off as insulting to other people.
3. Practice not sharing your ideas.
Challenge yourself to sit through a whole conversation and only ask questions and listen with the intent to understand, without saying anything or sharing your ideas at all. Do this on a regular basis with the people you care about most. Even when you need to speak your mind, make sure you have thoroughly listened to their ideas first, and then ask permission before you speak.
4. Be observant without the need to speak about what you see.
Bite your tongue until it bleeds if need be, but let some people or things be wrong. Remember, they are on their own perfect journey, and God and the universe will help them learn what they need to know. You don’t have to do that job yourself.
5. Be less picky and more flexible.
Let the dishwasher be loaded wrong once in a while so you aren’t always making people feel inferior. Your high standards are fine for the work you do but shouldn’t be projected onto others. Having good relationships with people who feel safe with you is much more important.
6. Don’t get bent out of shape when things don’t go your way.
Trust the universe that it knows what it’s doing and however this event or situation goes, it is how it was supposed to go. There are reasons in play you don’t and won’t know anything about. Trust life to deliver what we all need, not what we want, so we can grow.
7. Become a better listener.
Notice how people light up when you are more interested in listening to them than you are in talking. They feel valued, cared about and important. The gift of validation and understanding can be the most loving gift you give to people in your life.
Personal growth happens when we start to consciously see our subconscious tendencies and make powerful choices to override our programming. The first step is awareness, then using choice to force ourselves towards better behavior. If we practice this new behavior enough, it starts to establish new subconscious pathways and our new behavior sticks. Be patient with yourself though, because this process takes time — and progress is more important than perfection.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
For the last eight years, I have given you a new year’s resolution that, in my opinion, would make the greatest positive impact on your life in the upcoming year. (You can read the past 8 years articles here.)
This year being 2020, and the beginning of a new decade, I think it’s a great time for starting fresh and making a change. The goal I recommend you consider this year is to get some professional help to take stock of your subconscious beliefs and learn how to change the beliefs that aren’t serving you.
This will require professional help because it is difficult to see your subconscious patterns and change them on your own. I highly recommend you find a counselor or coach who is trained to do this kind of work. The truth is, you cannot work on yourself alone at the same level you can with someone to help you. It is much easier to see the negative patterns in other people’s behavior than it is to see your own.
A caring, well-trained coach or counselor can give you new tools and skills that will make you more emotionally intelligent and balanced. He or she can help you understand how your programs of fear are driving your behavior and help you change them on a subconscious level.
Trust me: A coach or counselor who can guide you through this process will help you become stronger, wiser and more loving than you ever thought you could be. That is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those you love this year.
To get you started, here is a list of the most common and damaging beliefs that might be causing havoc in your life:
Remember, these are not facts; they are just beliefs. That means you can change them anytime you want to. Sit with each of them a minute and make a note of the beliefs you might have in play.
These beliefs become the lens through which we see ourselves and our world. They filter all our experiences and determine how we feel about ourselves and life. They also drive our behavior — especially negative, unbalanced behavior. These beliefs stop us from being the person we want to be.
Changing your beliefs
Most of these beliefs play out on a subconscious level, though, so you may not be aware of how much they drive your life. But you can become aware, and that is the first step to changing them.
Here is an exercise to help you change some beliefs:
Fears that you aren’t good enough or aren’t safe are the most common beliefs behind bad behavior. Agin, find a professional who can specifically help you change those two beliefs. If you can start feeling safer in the world and better about yourself, it will be a gamechanger that will shift all your relationships for the better.
When you feel safe, you have a full bucket and something to give the people in your life. When you feel unsafe, your entire focus will be on you and finding safety, and you won’t have anything to give.
If your relationships are struggling, your self-esteem is low, you are going through some big life changes, or you are feeling depressed or anxious, care about yourself enough to get some help. Don't spend another day stuck here. There are answers to your questions and changes you can make that will quickly change how you feel and behave. Don't wait and live in fear any longer.
You can do this.
Coach Kim, I am in a very difficult family situation. My mother and her sister have a bad relationship, and my mom feels her sister is toxic and avoids her at family gatherings. I completely respect my mother’s decision; however, she expects me to also not have any relationship with my aunt. She says if I was loyal and loved her, then I wouldn’t have anything to do with my aunt either. This puts me in a hard spot because my aunt has always been kind to me. I don’t like confrontation and I don’t want to ignore her at family gatherings. It’s hard being caught in the middle, and no matter what I do no one wins. Thank you for any advice you can give.
The real question behind your question is: When forced to choose between doing what feels right to you and pleasing someone else (sacrificing yourself to make another person happy), what should you do?
This is a situation we all find ourselves in on a regular basis. It is the reason we need boundaries, or rules to protect us from our tendency to over give.
I’d like to give you a simple procedure to break these situations down and help you make the right choice. If there is another person involved in this situation, take a minute to answer the following questions:
Write down as many possible options as you can think of, then write an ego/fear-driven way to carry out each option and a trust/love way to do each option. Finally, cross out all the ego/fear-driven options.
I will take you through this process in your specific situation.
The fears in play
I think your mom has both fears in play. She is likely having a fear of loss issue because she is trying to protect herself from further mistreatment. She could also have fear of failure in play, which is saying she has to be right about her sister being the bad guy or she will feel inadequate or flawed. These fears cause her ego to step up to protect her.
Whenever we feel hurt or offended, our ego’s job is to create stories that make us feel safer. It often suggests stories that cast the other person as the villain so we can see ourselves as the victim.
Understanding the other person’s behavior as fear-driven will bring compassion into the picture. They aren’t messed up, broken or bad; they are just scared.
Ego tells us to hold onto our anger toward the other person or we won’t be safe; it keeps us in a defensive position and stubbornly insists on staying there to make us feel safe.
Understanding the other person’s behavior as fear-driven will bring compassion into the picture. They aren’t messed up, broken or bad; they are just scared. This is easy to see, too, because all bad behavior is driven by fear. (If you haven’t seen the truth around this yet, keep looking. It’s there)
When you see your mom is scared of failure and loss, you will also see what she needs: validation and reassurance. Your mom is afraid of mistreatment and afraid of being wrong. Her ego needs you to justify she is right in her anger because that would make her feel safer. If you can reassure her that she is loved, valued and safe in the world, that would help her.
It sounds like you have some fear of loss in play, as well. You don’t want to lose your relationship with your aunt and you don’t want to lose your relationship with your mom, either. You also don’t want to lose your agency and the right to choose behavior that is best for you. This is why the situation is causing you so much angst. You will feel better if you trust the universe will use this situation to bless and grow you, no matter what happens.
You also have every right to choose who you have relationships with, and your mom should honor that, but her fear and ego would feel safer if you would join her in anger. This isn’t fair, but you can understand why it happens. A sense of safety is our most foundational need as human beings. When we don’t feel safe, we are incapable of caring about others. Your mom is struggling to see your needs because fear keeps her overly focused on her own.
Ways to respond
As far as your options in this situation, I can see three (but notice that each option can be done two different ways, so really there are six):
Cross out options 1, 3, and 5 because they are fear-motivated and you shouldn’t make any decision for a fear reason.
Look over the love-motivated options and choose the one you feel the most capable to do or the one that feels right to you. Personally, I think option 2 or 6 are the best.
Executing your response
When you are ready to talk to your mom about this, start by asking her questions about how she is feeling about your aunt. Give her room to make her case and vent all her pain and fear. Do not agree or disagree, just validate her right to be where she is and feel how she feels. Tell her you can understand why she feels this way.
After she feels fully heard, ask if she would be willing to let you explain your decision on your own behavior. Ask her if she would honor your right to feel what you feel too.
Using mostly “I” statements, not “you” statements, explain to your mother that you must honor your truth and choose a love-motivated response to this situation. Explain that you love her, but you can’t reject or give a cold shoulder to other people. Having said that, you would never judge or condemn her for feeling what she is feeling. You honor and respect her right to be where she is, and you hope she can give you the same back.
Then, after you have spoken your truth and honored your own boundary, what she says, does, or thinks about you and your decision is not your problem. If she chooses to be mad at you, keep being loving toward her anyway. Do not let anyone else’s bad behavior stop you from being loving toward them. Stay consistently kind to everyone and, in the end, though her ego might be mad, she will respect your strength and maturity.
You can do this.
In one of your recent articles, you said, "You can usually enforce boundaries in a kind way that won't lead to conflict." My question is, how do you do that? If I try to set a healthy boundary, say no, or do what’s best for me, other people don’t like it and it definitely leads to conflict. How to do it right?
A boundary is a rule to help you love and protect yourself. Boundaries protect you from a tendency to over-give and put others' needs before your own. Many of us struggle with this because it can feel terribly selfish to make our own needs important. But it’s not selfish at all; it’s wise. Wisdom says that you must care about yourself and other people equally or you will soon find yourself empty with nothing to give anyone.
One reason people sometimes get offended by your boundaries is that they feel you don’t care about them. If you can enforce your boundary in a way that makes them feel loved, this is less likely to happen. But, you must understand that the key to doing this is managing your own inner state.
Why your inner state matters
Your inner state matters because others can pick up on your energy, and that greatly influences their reactions to you. To keep things simple, I believe there are only two inner states you can be in (every moment of every day):
The procedure below will help you get into a Trust and Love state before you enforce a boundary. This will be something you must practice, though, because it has to be authentic. You cannot fake your inner state.
If you are defensive, scared of rejection, scared of conflict or scared of the other person’s reaction, they will likely feel your fear could lose respect for you. They might also fear threatened and think they have to defend themselves.
How to exhibit Trust and Love
The method of enforcing boundaries with love all rests on you not being scared to do it. When you show up fearless and loving at the same time, people tend to respect you for your strength and love and are more likely to honor your needs.
Follow these steps to enforce a boundary from a Trust and Love state:
Change isn't easy
If you have felt like a doormat in the past, you may have taught the people around you to expect you to have no needs. They might be so used to this that they will resist when you try to find a healthier balance. You may have to explain to them that you have been too codependent in the past and need to make some changes. While they might not like the changes, they’ll need to prepare for a new, more balanced you.
If you have been too controlling, critical or selfish in the past, you may need to apologize and promise to do better at honoring others' needs too. You may need to work on letting go of a feeling of loss (Fear state) when you don’t get your way. You should also practice trusting God and the universe that whatever you get is the perfect experience for you, like it or not.
If you are dealing with someone you feel is too controlling, opinionated or selfish and often feels mistreated, he or she will be one of the hardest people to enforce boundaries with. Their fear issues (of not having what they need) may prevent them from honoring your needs, no matter how lovingly you deliver them. These people, because they are overly selfish themselves, feel mistreated if you take care of yourself. You may need to explain why this hasn't been healthy for you and ask them to support you in making changes. If they can't respect your boundaries, accept the possibility that your relationship won't work.
Your lesson in dealing with these people is don’t be affected by their behavior or reaction to your boundaries. If they are going to feel mistreated or get upset, that is their choice; it is your choice not to be there with them. You can stay in a kind, strong, trust and love state, no matter how they respond. If they create conflict, excuse yourself from the conversation until they can discuss it respectfully. Keep working on steps one and two above and don’t let the other person scare you. You are safe even in dealing with conflict. It is just a lesson and your value isn’t affected by anything they do or say.
If a person is unable to honor your boundaries, or if you are still too scared to have any, your relationship with them isn't healthy and you might consider getting some professional help. An expert therapist or coach can give you the skills and tools you need to stay balanced in trust and love.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I went through a horrible divorce many years ago and it made me feel unwanted and unloved. I can’t seem to get past those feelings, and because of that I am not dating or trying to meet anyone. I think it’s a combination of being afraid, thinking I am not good enough, and being afraid of rejection. Is there anything I can do to get past those fears and move on?
There are some things you can do that would help you move forward and feel more courageous about dating. But before we get to that, I want to explain how our past experiences create beliefs, mental rules or policies that dictate our behavior in the future.
This process started when you were a small child and everything you saw or experienced created ideas and beliefs about who you are and how you fit in the world. But it's possible that many of these conclusions may not have been accurate.
It sounds like the divorce also prompted you to make some new beliefs about your value and relationships. You may have drawn conclusions that the rejection meant you aren’t good enough to deserve love. This isn’t a fact, though; it’s just a belief (or a subconscious policy or rule) you may have applied to the event.
The good news is while you can’t go back and change what happened, you can go back and change what it meant. This is where "time travel" comes in. You have the ability to visualize when you went through that experience and choose a different meaning around it. You can also change the beliefs it created.
To change the meaning of some of your past experiences, find some quiet time when you won't be interrupted and follow these steps:
1. Close your eyes and go back to the situation when you created these assumptions or beliefs about your value or your life. Sit in that place for a while and really feel the feelings that show up. What are the exact conclusions you drew at this time? How did you feel because of these conclusions? After you sit with that for a little while, stop and write the conclusions or beliefs down on paper. What meaning did you apply to the event?
2. Look at those beliefs and write down the ways those beliefs have served you or protected you. You may have held onto them because they served you in some way.
3. Now, think about what these beliefs have cost you. Write down all the damage they have done and how they have negatively affected your life.
4. Ask yourself, are these beliefs worth the cost or would you like to change them?
5. If you think your life would be better if you changed these limiting beliefs, what would you like to believe instead? How would you like to feel about yourself? How would you like to feel about your life?
6. If it would serve you to change these beliefs, try applying new meaning to the event in your past and choose new beliefs to draw from it.
Here's how to do this:
8. Take some time to write down how you are going to choose to feel and process present experiences in light of the new meanings around the past that you have chosen.
You may want to repeat this process a few times, because the more you do it the more you will internalize your new chosen beliefs. According to the neuroscientist, Beau Lotto, in his book Deviate, your brain doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. So, when you use visualization and process events in a more healthy way, you actually get the same benefits you would if you had really had the experience that way.
You may also have more courage to start dating if you choose to trust that your value is the same as everyone else’s, whether someone likes you or not, and trust in the universe that the right person will like you when the time is right.
You can do this.
Coach Kim Giles is a master life coach, speaker, and author of three books. Coach Kim offers help and resources that fit any budget. Learn more at www.claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes,com
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.
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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.