Each January for the past four years, I have written an article for you with my best advice for a New Year’s resolution, which would make the biggest difference in your life. Here are the links if you’d like to read them:
When the kids mess up the house, if you see it as today's lesson to make you stronger, wiser and more loving, you will handle it much differently than you would if you saw it as just an aggravating event.
When you struggle at work, but you see the challenge as your perfect classroom, you spend less time complaining and more time working to solve the problem.
This idea came from the great Viktor Frankl, who was a prisoner in the concentration camps during World War II. In that horrible situation he found himself pondering on a powerful question, “Is it just random bad luck I am here in this place or is there meaning, purpose and reason in my being here?”
He eventually realized there was no way to know for sure which was truth. That left him with an interesting revelation … we get to and have the power to decide which perspective we want to have.
He also realized that believing things had no reason and were just random bad luck made his suffering worse. But choosing to believe there was meaning and purpose in our experiences and suffering lessened the suffering and made him want to rise to the occasion and turn whatever was happening into a human achievement.
He said, “Suffering ceases to be suffering, the moment it finds meaning.”
You can bring this powerful principle into your life too, so you can suffer less and have more joy. Each day you will be faced with situations, many which will disappoint, frustrate, anger or hurt you. When these show up, you can experience loss and feel cheated, wronged and mistreated by life, you can complain and feel sorry for yourself, or you can choose to trust the universe that though this situation is rough, it is here for your benefit.
You can choose to see the universe as a wise loving teacher, who is constantly conspiring to educate and bless you. You can see life as on your side. Choosing to believe this is truth will completely change how you feel about your life and yourself for the better.
The only other option you have is to resist an experience, be bent out of shape by it, complain about it and refuse to learn from it. This attitude does nothing but magnify the suffering and discourage you. It may also make you less motivated to change and improve. Why work at things if they don't mean anything anyway?
When you choose to see a bad situation as a perfect lesson, you will always come through with more strength, wisdom and love, and you get to choose how you want to live. It is totally up to you.
If you are ready to embrace this idea and have more joy and less suffering this year, join us in a fun, life-changing exercise to record what you learned every day in 2017. Get yourself a fresh journal where you will record the lessons your unique journey provides every day. Each night before bed take a minute and write what your classroom taught you today.
Master coach Nicole Cunningham and I have both committed to this practice this year, and we also plan to leave room on the margins of each page to write the topic of each post so we can flip back through the book and find topics we want to read about again and again.
You could also do this on your Facebook wall, blog or in an electronic file (though don’t make this about showing off to others). Keep this as an exercise about you and your growth, and not about getting validation.
Take some time today and take stock of the ways you were stuck in fear or bad behavior last year, and make 2017 the year you learn your way out of it. I say “learn your way out” because "you can’t do better until you know better."
Make this the year you recruit some outside help and start creating the life you really want. Every coaching client I’ve ever had has said, “I wish I had learned this stuff sooner.” And they could have, but most wait until things get really bad, before they ask for help. Don’t wait.
There are resources and experts all around you that can make changing your life, relationships or results easier and faster. Sometimes we are afraid to seek help because the known (even if it’s bad) seems safer than the unknown. This is why we stay in abusive relationships or continue to put up with an unhealthy marriage or a bad job.
Please hear me on this: The problems in your life are easier and less painful to fix than you think, especially if you have help. You may already have a hunch about what help you need and how to find it, but you aren’t acting on it. Take action.
The universe will always guide you to the answers you need. It gently nudges you and drops hints so you can’t miss the path you are meant to follow. Life just waits for you to be brave enough to choose yourself and grow. It will not force you through your classroom, though it may hit you with a two-by-four, if the gentle nudges aren’t working.
Be honest with yourself today about the ways you may be hiding from growth or avoiding a class you need to take. Are there problems anywhere in your life you are ignoring, distracting yourself from or pretending aren’t there?
Are you keeping yourself busy or self-medicating with work, hobbies, TV, pornography, romance novels, alcohol or other interests, instead of working on fixing your life?
It may be time to admit you don’t know how to fix what is broken. That is the first step to change, and remember it’s not weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength. Ask for help.
There are some great worksheets and tools on our website to help you work through your problems and find solutions. My favorite is the Clarity Questions Worksheet, and you can access it here.
Choose to make 2017 your best year yet in personal growth. Choose to stretch out of your comfort zone, gain some new skills and tools and create a richer life. Making this happen isn’t as scary or as hard as you think.
You may have noticed I end every article I write with the phrase “You can do this.” I end this way because most of us have subconscious belief that says, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard and I’m not good enough” but that’s not truth. You are meant to do this, grow, rise, solve problems and succeed. You can use the power of conscious choice (in every moment) to choose to believe you are safe, on track, ready and perfectly able to succeed in your classroom … whatever it brings.
Make sure you join our mailing list by texting "Claritypoint" to 71441 (and get a free e-book by Kim Giles too) or follow us on social media this year, as we provide you with tips, skills, tools and advice and help you to suffer less and have more joy.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and a corporate trainer. Nicole Cunningham is a master coach for families, parents and teens.
I am constantly asking nicely for my family to help with simple everyday chores, or just get ready for family outings. My family waits for me to wake them up, tell them what to do, and even though I tell them how much time we have, they drag their feet and I find myself loading the car and doing all the work to get there on time by myself. By the time everyone's in the car, I'm stressed and upset and they’re all mad at me for rushing them. If I just leave to be there on time, my husband gets mad at me for leaving him behind, but he lays in bed until right before we have to leave then gets in the shower. I'm left yelling at the kids to help me get everything else ready so we can leave. The kids feel like I make them do all the work their dad should be helping with, but no matter what I say or do, I'm the bad guy all around. Can you help me get my spouse and kids to be responsible?
I can help with this, but you are going to have to be more responsible too if you want to fix this. You have taught your family how to treat you, and you have accidently taught them to be lazy and make you feel guilty about rushing them. Or you may be so controlling that you have created natural resistance against whatever you try to make them do.
You may also be what we call an "Organizer," which is one of 12 psychological inclinations that all humans fit into. (If you want to read more about them, you can on my website.) Organizers have a strong need for order and control, and it can feel, at times, more important than people. If you are like this, you may need to do some work on letting go of control and loss. It may even require some work with a coach or other professional.
You are also going to have to stop shouldering responsibility for everyone’s choices. Right now you are either being a doormat or you are over-controlling, selfish and mean. You are most likely going back and forth between these two states, because you can’t get either one to work.
In order to change this behavior, you must understand the three choices you have in response to other people’s bad behavior. (There is a Boundaries Worksheet on my website that shows these in detail.) Your three options look like this:
It sounds like being on time is important to you and it’s not important to your family. You should have a family meeting and explain that you’ve been trying to make everyone have the same values and needs as you, and that’s not fair. From now on, you are going to do better to honor what they want and you are going to ask them to honor you back.
So, you will be getting up and getting ready and leave on time. If anyone wants to come with you they are welcome to, but you will be leaving at this appointed time and if they aren’t ready (you will go without them) but that’s fine too. You will be happy either way. Make sure they all understand you love and respect them no matter what they choose. Then, you do your thing, and if they are mad that you left without them, that is their choice. They are also totally welcome to get ready earlier next time, and you (again) will love them either way.
If you are going on a trip though and you can’t leave without them, you might let them choose which tasks they would like to own to get things ready and packed and you will be in charge of the rest. Let them know that you plan to leave at a certain time so you will have your stuff ready then. If they aren’t ready at that time, you have made plans to go get a pedicure or sit on the patio with a good book (or choose something that’s a real treat for you) so you will be happy and occupied while you wait for them to get ready.
If your pedicure goes long, they may be waiting for you, but let them know ahead of time this is what they can expect. Whatever you do, don’t go to a place of loss and anger, behave maturely and kindly at all times and have clear expectations ahead of time.
These are examples of healthy, love and strength based boundaries that honor your needs and are also respectful of others.
Make sure you also forgive yourself for being weak or mean in the past. These situations were perfect lessons, and they now give you the chance to look at all your behavior options and see the results each produces, which is very valuable information. Past behavior has nothing to do with your value as a person. Focus on the beautiful lesson this situation is providing you to help you grow, and let the anger go.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Our adult daughter claims we have done more to our son than we have done for her. This is really hurtful to us, because we feel she has not appreciated what we have given her and her family. We have helped them each with different things over the years, but we are retired, in our mid-sixties, and we have bills too. We must watch what we spend. Yet our daughter feels we didn't do enough for her, she keeps bringing up the fact we gave her brother more. We don’t think this is true at all. How do we deal with this jealousy?
Young children are often overly focused on whether things are fair and equal. They cry and complain if their siblings gets more than what they got. Ideally when they are very young is the best time to nip this behavior in the bud.
Recently a friend of mine, Scott Bean, shared a great way to teach this to children. The first time a child complains that their siblings got more ice cream than they got, with empathy and love say, “It sounds like someone is having an appreciation problem. If you don’t appreciate what you get, then we’re sorry, but you don’t get any (and take their ice cream away).
Let them know that in our home we care more about appreciation than fair. Life will never be fair, but we must always be grateful for what we have.
It is your job as a parent to make sure they understand how the world works and it's never going to be fair, but we will each get whatever is the perfect classroom journey for us. (I would let them assume their ice cream is gone for a while, before asking if they are ready to appreciate what they had and give it back.)
Obviously, this won’t work with adult children. With adult children all you can do is be very clear about who is responsible for each part of this appreciation problem and look for the right time to explain that ungrateful and complaining behavior won’t create what they want.
Your main job or responsibility here is to find the right balance (that you feel comfortable with) between helping your adult children on occasion and taking care of yourself. You will know you have struck that balance right when you feel good about what you are giving and don’t resent or regret anything.
If you are feeling “taken from” or unappreciated, then you are probably giving too much. Your gut will know what you feel good about. Also make sure that you aren’t carrying the responsibility for their financial problems. The responsibility for all their needs must stay on their shoulders with an occasional gift of help from you, if really needed, and if you can afford it.
Your other job is to manage your feelings and reactions to their ungrateful behavior. No matter how they behave or what they say, your job is to stay calm, happy, wise and peaceful.
If they are jealous or feel short-changed, that is not your problem or your business. It is not really even about you (though it may feel that way). It is really about their scarcity mentality, fear of loss and insecurity. Ultimately (since they are adults) it is not your problem to fix those — it’s theirs.
You may ask permission on occasion to see if they would be open to an observation. If they are open, you can kindly point out that keeping score and complaining isn’t going to create what they want. It makes people feel unappreciated, which makes them less motivated to help you in the future. Explain to them that wild appreciation for everything you’ve done would work better.
But whether she gets this or not, you are going to keep being fearless, loving, strong and confident that you are doing what you feel good about doing, from a space of wisdom and compassion. All that matters is you feel good about the help you have given — that must be enough.
It is your daughter’s job to work on herself and her scarcity mentality. Fortunately she is in the classroom of life and the universe will keep bringing lessons until she learns how to be happy for others instead of jealous of them, and how to appreciate what she has instead of complaining about what she doesn’t.
Trust the universe to this job.
If your daughter blames you or is angry with you, again that is her problem, not yours. Your job is to stay loving, supportive and kind. Her job is to process disappointment and learn to solve problems on her own. It would be sad if she pulls back from you and gets defensive, but you reacting and feeling offended will only make it worse. Stay loving and happy, and let her process whatever she feels and work through it.
There may be some people who read this article who have jealous feelings themselves. If you struggle with a scarcity mentality, here are a couple of life coaching exercises you can do:
1. Write your feelings on paper and describe them in detail. Instead of trying to stuff these feelings, embrace them fully and feel the pain they create as acutely as possible. Then ask yourself, “What are these feelings here to teach me? What kind of behavior are they encouraging? Why does my sibling’s happiness threaten me? Do their blessings take anything away from me? Does feeling jealous serve me at any level? Does it motivate others to help me? What good do these feelings do? What other options do I have?” Write the answers to these questions on paper.
2. Separate the ego/scarcity/fear part of you that likes jealous feelings from the spirit/abundance/ love part of you that doesn’t want to be here. Which side do you want to let drive your life? Who do you want to be? In every moment, you get to choose your state, and there are only two options. You can live from a place of love, abundance and peace or you can live from fear, scarcity and discontent. How do you want to live? You must consciously make this choice on a daily basis. Write down in detail the kind of person you want to be.
3. Make a written rule against comparing yourself with other people. There is no level where comparing serves you. Make an official policy against it and commit to choosing gratitude instead.
4. Remember life is a package deal and each person's journey comes with some blessings and some trials. If you had another person’s blessings, you would also have their trials. Make a list of all the problems you are grateful you don’t have, this will help you appreciate your life.
5. Carefully choose your thoughts — every thought matters. Choose to think only positive, loving thoughts about yourself and other people. In doing this you are choosing abundance and blessings for yourself. Choose to see the world as abundant and overflowing with enough for all.
6. Choose gratitude for what you have, every minute of every day. Gratitude is one of the most positive emotions you can choose. When you live from a place of gratitude, you are accepting all love and blessings from the universe and opening the door wide to receive more. Also remember, there are many people on the planet who have less and would be terribly jealous of you.
Count every small blessing and embrace gratitude.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.COM
Our son was raised in the LDS faith and he has chosen to go the other direction and be in a same-sex relationship. What can we do as parents in this situation? He has gone so far as to take his name off the records of the church. Can you tell us how to help?
There are some ideas, perspectives and tips, which may help you to experience less fear and more peace around this situation.
1) Work on your fears of failure and loss. You must work on eliminating your fears, because fear makes you selfish and incapable of love and love is the path to peace in this situation. The following points should help you experience less fear and clearly see what a love based approach could look like.
2) Remember human value is infinite and absolute. We are all irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, infinitely and absolutely valued, divine, children of God — all of us — without exception. We all have the exact same intrinsic worth as everyone else, no matter our beliefs, religion, race, sexual orientation or anything else. This means that your child and his life and choices don’t affect your value or his. You are not a failure and have no reason to experience shame about this. Everything that happens is just a lesson on love, but none of the lessons diminish your value. If you remember this idea you will have less fear of failure (fear that you aren’t good enough).
3) The real point and purpose for our being on this planet is to learn love at a deeper level. Everything God has inspired, created or allowed to be created here is here is meant to teach you, grow you and stretch you past your comfort zone, expanding the limits of your love. God created this universe and all the people in it with many interesting differences (including race, religion, culture, ideology, sexual orientation). Everyone on the planet is here (in the classroom of life) to both learn to love and to teach love. Situations like yours challenge you to stretch beyond the limits of your previous loving abilities, they help you learn love at whole new level.
If you trust the process of your life and see everything as a lesson, you will have less fear of loss. You will accept your journey as your perfect classroom and not resist this experience as much. If you embrace the lesson as a beautiful opportunity to grow, you will find peace.
4) Whatever you do, don’t let fear divide you or push you away from your child. Make sure your love is bigger than your fear. God created all of us the way we are for a reason. Your job (with this now adult child) is to love, be compassionate, open, accepting and kind. This means embracing your son and his partner too, like you would any other child in your home. Spend the same amount of time with them, listen to them, care about them and don’t let the differences get in the way.
If you have trouble with this and your fears of failure or loss overpower you, I highly recommend working with a coach or counselor, who can help you reframe and lessen your fears.
5) Remember love means respect. You can’t have real love without it. When someone has different beliefs than yours, respect means treating them the same way you would treat someone who agrees with you. You must honor their right to believe what they believe and respect their own path to goodness and God.
6) Love means caring for their needs and happiness as much as you care about your own. What your child needs right now is acceptance, support, validation of his worth, and reassurance. Giving him these must be a priority over his meeting your expectations. Trust God that all will be fine in the end, and if it’s not fine - it’s not the end. Trust that the God you believe in is loving and full of grace, wisdom and forgiveness. Trust you have nothing to fear because God is the author of everything.
7) Give up your need to be right. If you insist on taking the stand that your path is right and his is wrong, you will not leave space for a good relationship. You can believe that you are right in your mind — but you must focus outwardly on the beautiful, loving, kind, compassionate, hard working (or whatever other virtues your child has) person your child is. Remember that though he is rejecting your religion, he is not rejecting goodness, love or light. Just because he isn’t on your religion’s definition of the right path, he is still a loving, kind, giving person whom God loves every bit as much as he loves you.
The bottom line is you must lose your fears through trust and love, and make sure your child feels respected, admired, appreciated and wanted every day. If you do this you will also like yourself better too. I promise it will feel right.
Love without condition, listen without intention and care without expectation. This is the way to peace.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.COM
I have a co-worker I’m worried about. She is really down after some major setbacks in her life and she is joking about death in a way that makes me worried she might kill herself. I try to be friendly and supportive, but I don’t know what I should say or do. I can’t find the right words and I don’t want to overstep or offend her. What should I do?
There are 117 people who die by suicide every day in our country. In Utah, we lose one person every 15 hours, and the truth is that almost everyone goes through a time in their life when they think about ending it. This means, it is highly likely there is someone around you right now who is at risk for suicide. If we all understood the signs and how to respond, we could make a meaningful difference.
Research indicates that 80 percent of suicidal people make their intentions known to others beforehand and hope someone will reach out and help. These signals may include making a joke or off-hand comment about suicide. If you pick up on any unusual comment or behavior, you must act on it using the steps below.
You may also want to share this article with friends and family because it would make a huge difference if everyone was educated about what to do if you suspect suicide. This is as important as knowing CPR or any other first aid skill because it can save lives.
Here are some simple steps for what to do if you suspect suicide, from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
There is always uncertainty around the decision to die by suicide, and when someone reaches out in love and support, most people respond and are open to other options for dealing with their pain. If there is someone who cares enough to reach out, there is always hope.
Please don’t ignore the signs — you truly can make a difference.
You can do this.
Read some more great information on suicide prevention on the Crisis Center Website
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
I worry too much and it is draining joy from my life, but I honestly cannot stop. I am really good at thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong with every situation. Even when things are going good, I can think of things to be worried about. My spouse says that I can rain on any parade. How does one turn that off? Do you have some advice?
First, understand that worries are nothing more than perspective. Everything you feel and experience is just perspective and in every situation there are other perspectives you could choose, which could make you feel different. I want you to take your thoughts (worries) less seriously. They are not facts. They are just ideas.
Unfortunately, it sounds like worry has become your autopilot or subconscious default perspective. You can look at anything and immediately see something to fear. This happens so fast, you don’t see the other perspective options available to you. You must slow down and become more mindful. This means stepping back and observing what you are thinking, then consciously deciding if it serves you.
Here are 10 ways to get control over worry and choose a different perspective:
1) Remind yourself worry never robs tomorrow of problems, it only robs today of joy. Studies have shown most of the things you worry about will never happen and the bad things which do happen, are usually out of your control and no amount of worrying could have prevented them. This means that worry is a waste of your time and energy. It does not change the outcome of the future and it does not protect you. It only robs you of your ability to thrive today.
2) If there is something you can do right now, do it. If there is nothing you can do right now, let it go. Choose to be present and focus on where you are. Look for people to serve or love, or action that would make a positive difference in your life. Stay present. George Macdonald said, “No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.” Take everything one moment at a time.
3) There is a difference between worrying and planning. When you have a big project you may need to spend some time thinking about the problems and figuring out how to handle obstacles, but you can do this planning in a state of optimism and trust believing everything will work out for the best or you can do this in a state of fear. Planning and should feel peaceful and wise, while worrying in fear feels anxious and out of control. Choose to plan not worry by choosing optimism.
4) Choose optimism. A state of optimism means trusting the universe that it is a classroom that is always conspiring for your good. Believe things always work out to serve you in the end. You don’t know they will work out, but you don’t know they won’t work out either. Given that it could go either way you might as well choose a positive, optimistic attitude because doubt, fear and worry are less fun and less motivating. Remember, worry saps your energy and leaves you less able to deal with what does happen.
5) Put worries in the worry closet. Don’t let yourself think about problems all day long. Instead set aside some time (maybe an hour late in the day) when you can sit down and process your concerns. When worry shows up during the day, put those worries in a worry closet and lock the door. The worries are still there, but you are not dealing with them right now. Don’t try to stop worrying. This actually keeps you thinking about not thinking about it, which is actually still thinking about it. Just put them in the worry closet until later. When the time comes, open the worry closet and walk inside. Give yourself a specific amount of time to dwell in worry, plan and process all the concerns. Use some of the strategies below to do that.
6) Figure out what is in your control and what’s not. Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. on the right side write down everything that is in your control and on the left everything that is out of your control. You will find the right side list is usually shorter. Decide to take action on those things. The rest is out of your control and does you no good to worry about.
7) Focus on solutions. During your worry closet time, instead of dwelling on your fears, focus on solutions to the problem. Brain storm solutions and don’t stop until you come up with 50. This will push you to stretch your imagination and come up with new ideas. You might want to recruit family or coworkers to brainstorm with you. Two heads are better than one.
8) Uncertainty is part of life and it doesn’t have to scare you. Accept that uncertainty is beautiful part of the adventure of life. Not knowing what tomorrow holds isn’t a bad thing it is just unknown - and the truth is it is just as likely to be good as it is bad. If you put your trust in God and this amazing classroom universe he created, you can walk into each unknown adventure without fear. Trusting God and the universe is the key to peace.
9) Spend time dwelling on positive feelings. Gay Henricks, Phd and author of the book The Big Leap says most of us are subconsciously programmed to sabotage ourselves if too much success and positive change starts to happen. We may think we don’t deserve the good or don’t believe it can happen to us. We may start worrying because it is a feeling we are more used to. Worry is more "in our comfort zone" than accepting the positive is. You should always step back from negative thinking or worry, and check yourself for subconscious self-sabotage. Ask yourself these questions:
What is this worry showing up for?
How could this worry be trying to keep me safe or protect me from something?
What positive thing might be manifesting in my life?
What do I fear about getting this positive thing that could make me push it away or deny it?
What would happen if I embraced the positive?
Instead of dwelling in the worry sit with the positive thoughts about what could go right for a minute. How would it feel to let this positive thing happen and not worry about it or doubt it? Feel the positive feelings and get used to how they feel. Embrace them and believe you deserve good things to happen. Practice accepting positive from the universe.
10) Fear is a choice. You may not believe you have a choice about fear and worry, especially if it has been your autopilot setting most of your life, but you do.
Fear is a choice, and so is peace.
Choose to trust the universe and the process of your life. See life as a wise teacher that is constantly conspiring to serve you, educate you and make you stronger, smarter and more loving every minute of every day. It is on your side and if you trust your higher power and the amazing classroom universe more deeply, you will find there is nothing to fear because there isn't.
There is nothing to fear.
You can do this.
I wish I understood what was wrong with me, and why I cry and get so upset when I feel mistreated or cheated by people or life. For example, if I buy something and it breaks and I try to take it back to the store, but they won't make it right. This situation could make me cry, in the store, which embarrasses my kids. I feel so mistreated it hurts, and I think I'm hoping the person will feel sorry enough for me, and they will treat me better. It's humiliating to admit this, but I often complain and cry about how hard I work and that it does no good, life always goes against me anyway. I complain about my hard lot in life way more than I should. I hate this about myself but don't know how to stop feeling this way. Can you help me?
It sounds like you are suffering from a subconscious victim mentality. Many of us learned as children to use self-pity to get sympathy love. Psychologists tell us the ideas, beliefs or behavior patterns we learn in childhood often become the rules that dictate the way we respond as an adult, even if they are ineffective and immature. Dr. Eric Berne wrote an interesting book back in 1964 called "Games People Play." In it he describes some subconscious psychological behaviors we use to get attention, validation, love or power (getting people to do what we want them to). I wrote a whole article on this last year you might want to read.
The Sympathy Card Game is one of the most popular games people play. This happens when you constantly talk about how bad you have it, how terrible you are, or how no one loves you or cares about you to get validation, love or reassurance from other people. People play this game on social media when they post things like “worst day ever” but they don’t leave an explanation about what happened. They do this because they are subconsciously wanting people to prove they care and ask what happened. This game is a subtle (and very immature) way to get love and attention and brings with it a high cost. You may get sympathy love, but because you are acting weak, you usually lose people's respect. They may give you what you want, but they won't necessarily like you either.
It would serve us all to take a minute and ask ourselves the following questions just to make sure we aren’t subconsciously playing the victim:
You could believe the universe is working for you and conspiring to serve you and educate you at every turn. If you see life this way, then the fear of loss, which is behind self-pity, will disappear. If everything that happens to you, is here to bless and serve you, is it really a loss? Or is it a hidden blessing to make you stronger, wiser or more loving? I explain this perspective shift in more detail in my book "Choosing Clarity," you may want to read it if you need more help with this one.
If you will work on these six things, you can break free from the victim mentality, see your life (accurately) as a classroom and you should cry less.
If you are reading this article while in the middle of suffering through some of life's horrible challenges, please understand this is a process. It is normal to feel like a victim when you have been victimized. You just don't want to live there forever. I strongly recommend working with a professional to help you find peace and joy again.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I support gay marriage but my spouse is very against it. Every time the topic comes up, which is often, we end up in an argument. At first we agreed to just never talk about it, but that is proving hard to do. We both feel strongly about our position and we get emotional and angry. We really wish we were on the same page on this. It’s driving a wedge in our marriage. I hate that he sees me as wrong and he hates that I see him as homophobic and mean. Do you have any advice on this? What do you do when you fundamentally disagree at a core level with the person you love most?
This question may benefit all of us, because your marriage is just a microcosm of our society right now. Both sides of this issue have strong opinions and emotions are running high. Maybe it would help if we all learned how to appreciate each other, honor our differences, and respect those who disagree with us.
I believe life is a classroom (you hear me say that often) but I believe this classroom was specifically designed to teach us how to love ourselves and other people at a higher level. In order for us to stretch and learn to love at a higher level, God made us all different.
God could have made us all the same race, color, size and sexual orientation, but that would have made accepting each other way too easy. What’s the challenge in that?
Instead people come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, races and sexual orientation. I believe these differences were intentional, they are here for a reason — so we get the opportunity to learn to love those who are different, which is more difficult to do. Differences give us all kinds of challenges to overcome and grow from.
Every experience, issue, difference and disagreement is a lesson to teach you love, though. I believe this is especially true in your marriage. This unique relationship can teach you things you can’t learn anywhere else, because your spouse can push your buttons better than anyone else. Your marriage is your perfect classroom.
On top of that, sexual orientation is a tough difference to process for many people, because they just can’t get their head around it or understand it. These types of differences can also cause us to lump whole groups of people into “them” groups opposed to “us” groups and subconsciously see them as the bad guys or the wrong ones. We literally see “these people” and everyone on “their side” as the enemy at the subconscious level. They are the enemy because either they are wrong or I am. Both can’t be right.
So your question is really, "How do I genuinely love my enemies and those who strongly disagree with me and see me as wrong?"
Here are some things you can do (and we all can do) to stop the fighting and increase our compassion and tolerance for others:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach and speaker.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Thank you for your articles. They are very good. My question is in regards to being a stepchild who feels they have been wronged by a stepparent. In my current state, I feel it is not worth the time and work to fix the relationship I have with my stepmother, who was verbally and physically abusive to me when I was younger. To this day, she is very difficult to talk to and openly shows favoritism to her children over me. Being an adult, I no longer fear her, but find that I am angry with her and resent her for how she treated me and still treats me. I avoid her as much as possible when visiting my father. I have tried to talk to her and tried to be her friend, but every conversation I have with her involves her talking nonstop about herself and her children. She is never interested in me or my wife and children. I cannot overcome my angry feelings towards her. My initial thought is to discuss my feelings with my father, but I do not know if this is a good choice. How do you repair relationships like this and is it worth fixing? I would love some advice.
You asked, “Is it worth the effort to fix?” Of course it is. This situation (and every situation in your life) is here as part of your perfect classroom journey so you can stretch, grow and learn from it. I believe it is not only worth it, but it's what you are meant to do.
Though, the “fix” is going to be about changing you, not her. You have no control over her or getting her to behave differently. She also has some serious problems if she abused you as a child, and she is the only one who can fix them. She really needs some professional help to deal with her fear and pain. I know this because it is only hurt people who hurt people.
You can fix this situation by changing how you see it and feel about it. You can stop letting her inability to be kind bother you because it really isn’t about you. When you get this, you will also change the way you act around her and she will probably respond to you in a more positive way.
The first step to changing how you feel is seeing her behavior accurately. It is highly likely she was abused and walked on as a child too. That abuse has created huge fears of inadequacy (failure) and being mistreated (loss) in her. These fears make her selfish and overly focused on protecting herself and getting reassurance and validation.
She was only unkind because she was miserable and scared. That was no excuse, but I want you to see that it wasn't personal. It wasn’t about you. It was about her fears about herself. She took them out on you because you were an easy target. She found that if she focused on being angry with you, it distracted her from dealing with her pain. She just didn’t have the self-esteem or strength to be loving. Her fear and pain made her selfish.
I want you to understand this because seeing her accurately is the first step in forgiving her and you must forgive her if want to stop hurting about this.
You must also understand abusive people serve a role in our classroom. They help make us into the people we are today. They make us strong and they give us the opportunity to learn to love and see our value in ourselves in spite of them. Can you identify any positives that were created in you or your life because of what she did to you? Are you a better father because you don’t want to be like her? Are you stronger because of what you survived? Are you more aware of others and go out of your way to make them feel safe?
When you can see how she served your education and growth, and acted as a teacher in your classroom, you won’t feel as angry. You also won’t see her as evil. You will just see her as a struggling, scared, suffering, student in the classroom of life, just like you. This perspective is one of wisdom, compassion and accuracy, and this should make you feel somewhat better. It should make you more capable of the next step.
Once you see the situation and her accurately you must shower her with kindness. It is the best thing you can do.
If you continue to be offended and avoid her, you are meeting her fear-based, unloving energy with more unloving energy, and that is never going to make things better. Most of us think if we act mad at someone they will feel our unhappy feelings toward them, feel guilty for hurting us and this will motivate them to change, but this doesn’t happen. Instead, they feel our dislike for them and it makes them dislike us even more. The more hurt you act the more they will mistreat you. Love is a better answer.
So, instead of acting hurt and mad, do these four things:
In your email you said, “I cannot overcome my angry feelings towards her.” But this is not true. You can let go and change how you feel. You just haven’t been ready to do it yet. You may subconsciously think you must hold onto your anger to protect yourself. A lot of abused people feel this way, but your anger is hurting you more than it’s protecting you.
I promise seeing her accurately and understanding it’s only hurt people who hurt people will help you to let it go. Being angry doesn’t hold her accountable, it is not revenge, it doesn’t protect you and it doesn’t fix or help the situation in any way. Your angry feelings are causing you to suffer. As you go through the four steps mentioned above you will be choosing trust and love over fear and you can let it go.
You also said “My initial thought is to discuss my feelings with my father, but I do not know if this is a good choice.” I would guess, at some level, your father already knows how you feel. He just doesn’t know what to do about it. He doesn't have the “people skills” to handle this or he would have. I think you are in a better position to change this — with your love — on your own.
There is a great worksheet on my website called "The To Be or Not To Be Offended Worksheet" marked with a yellow star, which may help too.
It will be a process to shift your perspective, but you can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach and speaker.
First published on KSL.COM
I am so unhappy with my current job. I have a boss who blames things on me when problems are his fault. I am hesitant to leave though, because I know there are always problems wherever you work. No job is perfect. Why leave this position if there is going to be another kind of problem at a new job. I think I have issues with not being content anywhere and I always want things to be perfect, which they never are. How can I be more content where I am?
Most of us think what we want in life is peace and security, the elimination of all problems, pains or worries. If we could just get rid of the problems, pains and worries then we would be happy. Because of this belief we are constantly trying to solve the problems, eliminate the pains and head off the worries. In the process of doing those three things, we learn, stretch and grow. Our greatest accomplishments and most important growth happens because of the problems we are trying to eliminate.
Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist and writer, said, “I believe that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experiences and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do.” In the book Moral Knowledge it reads, “Some degree of discontent is necessary to encourage us to engage in the activities of self-realization through which we flourish”
I want you to understand this because life is not about being content and secure. You cannot grow there. You would not discover who you are.
Life is about growth and growth only happens through discontent and problems. You will find challenges wherever you work because that is the nature of life, but you can feel more content in your times of discontent if you see them accurately. If you feel bothered, unhappy or stressed by a situation, these feelings are telling you that it’s time to grow. It is time for some stretching, learning or changing. Pain is a signal that something needs to change.
If you find the same type of problems wherever you go or you keep suffering with discontent over the same types of issues again and again, there are a couple of reasons this may be happening:
You can try to avoid all pains and challenges, but you will find two problems with this. First, it is impossible and second, you will get bored pretty fast. The truth is that we are hard-wired to want challenges in life and to some extent we even seek them out. This is why we willingly participate in sports, push ourselves to run marathons, seek out games of chance and challenge, play with puzzles, mind twisters and video games (the more challenging the better). At a core level we like discontent, challenge and difficulty.
My grandfather is in his 90’s, and he still reads books to keep learning, pushes himself to run and spends time on difficult suduko or other puzzles. Human beings are bored without challenges.
Thomas Edison said, “Restlessness is discontent, and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”
Really successful people are never content for long. As soon as they find themselves content they look for another challenge. Some of you may attract challenging situations into your lives because you really subconsciously desire progress. Maybe you have challenges wherever you work because you are subconsciously desiring growth. Could this be you? Maybe you don’t want peace as much as you want improvement?
Buddha said life is suffering and we suffer because we are discontent with "what is." He encouraged men to stop craving and resisting "what is" and become equanimous with life (this means with equal emotion towards the bad and the good). He encouraged us to understand the real nature of life and embrace periods of discontent with the same emotion that we do periods of peace because they are both here to serve us and they will both pass because no state is permanent. To some this may sound like being content no matter what you get, but it’s more than that. It’s understanding discontent and content are both there to serve you. You must greet all experiences with gratitude and curiosity for the positive they will bring.
What I am suggesting is that you adopt a more positive attitude towards your pains, problems and worries. I realize this is not easy to do, but it is a worthy goal. When you see the classroom of life accurately, you will see that the universe is conspiring to serve you, educate you and bless you, and every experience is facilitating something positive in your life at some level.
I am battling chronic pain right now that isn't particularly fun, but it really is easier to handle when I focus on what this experience is teaching me and work to learn something from it I can use to serve others. I have an amazing friend who is battling Parkinson's disease with an amazingly happy attitude because he sees it as a grand opponent to battle and win.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal...it's a by-product of a life well lived.” Real happiness does not come through peace, security or easy living. It comes as a by-product of service, love, achievement, growth and other virtuous activities. We are happy when we are doing things, accomplishing things, growing, learning, creating, building and living. Yet all these activities are wrought with challenges to overcome and obstacles to navigate. So, I think we could accurately say - happiness comes from problems, pains and worries. Do you follow my logic?
You think that you are seeking contentment, peace, freedom from danger, risk, anxiety and doubt. You think that you want a state of tranquillity all the time, but seeking this may actually push happiness away.
Happiness comes from embracing the whole journey, especially the challenges, because you understand they are all part of the achievement. You will be happy when you focus on growing, becoming, giving and loving God, life, yourself and other people. You will be happy when you see the universe as a wise teacher and trust that every experience is here to serve you. You will experience the whole thing in a more positive way and suffer less.
You will be happier at work if you step back from the problems and focus on what you can learn from them and turn them into achievements. How could this experience make you better, stronger or more loving? If you can get more content with your discontent, you will find joy wherever you are.
You can do this.
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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.