This was first published on KSL.COM
I have had the great privilege of writing close to 550 LIFEadvice articles over the past 11 years, but this will be the last in the Coach Kim series for KSL.com.
Most of the questions that have been submitted over the years have been about people problems or improving relationships. The following are my last and most important suggestions for understanding each other better and improving our relationships. I hope they help you.
Human behavior is all about seeking safety
You may think human behavior is complicated, but it is actually pretty simple. Most of our behavior, if you take the time to look, can be traced back to a desire for safety and security. Everything we do is driven by either our value system and what we love or by what we fear.
Unfortunately, a lot of our behavior is about fear. We buy new clothes because looking better makes us feel safer and helps us believe we are "good enough." We work hard at our job to gain security. We fight with our spouses because we don't feel safe and are trying to remedy that.
Human beings are constantly seeking safety from two simple foundational fears: the fear of failure and the fear of loss. I have written about these two fears extensively because they are key in our understanding of human behavior.
When you understand how fear of failure and fear of loss affect you, you will start to see yourself and the people around you — especially when they are behaving badly — as scared. People are not jerks, show-offs, gossips, aggressive or territorial; they are just scared human beings whose fear is bringing out their worst behavior.
Seeing human behavior this way will make you more compassionate toward the people around you, and that will improve your relationships.
We look for safety in all the wrong places
Human beings seek safety in the wrong places because we erroneously believe our value must be earned. We believe human value can change day to day, and that some people have more value than other people. We all erroneously believe our value comes from these five places:
The problem is no matter how hard you try to perform, look good, buy nice things or win approval from others, you will always find people out there who still appear to be better than you. This chase to find value will always leave you feeling like you aren't good enough and you still won't feel safe.
You must understand an important truth: You cannot find a sense of safety outside of yourself. A real sense of safety can only come from changing your foundational beliefs and believing that your value is intrinsic and unchangeable. If your value is infinite, you cannot fail nor be "not enough."
See all humans as having the same intrinsic value
Nothing will improve your relationships and your self-esteem faster than choosing to see all humans as having the same value as you. Choose to see life as a classroom, not a test. See it as a safe place where you don't have to earn your value. See it as a place of learning where the universe brings perfect lessons and your value is never in question.
This one change will take half the fear that drives your worst behavior off the table immediately. You will feel safe and good enough in the world and will find it easier to show up with love for the people around you. Changing this belief will require effort, though. You must constantly remind yourself that nothing changes or diminishes your value and that you always have the same value as everyone else.
Forgive everyone and everything
I have written 20 articles and one whole book on forgiveness because I believe it is the most important lesson we are here to learn. If we can't forgive other people, life, God, or ourselves, we will be miserable and scared our whole life.
The way out of this suffering lies in choosing to trust that everything that happens is your perfect classroom journey. Instead of resisting what is, we can choose to trust the universe knows what it's doing. We can see life as a wise teacher who is co-creating with us, bringing us the perfect classroom journey we need in each moment. This mindset creates strength, resiliency and a real sense of security. When you choose to trust the universe, you will also find forgiveness is much easier.
Forgiving others is the key to loving yourself
Every time you judge another person for their mistakes, you are giving power to the idea that value must be earned and people can be "not good enough." If you feed this belief, it will also drive the way you see yourself. If you see others as not good enough or not worthy, you will always see yourself the same way.
The key to loving yourself lies in choosing to love and forgive others. You must allow every human around you to be flawed, make mistakes and have faults, and still have infinite and unchanging worth. When you give every other human infinite value, you will start to accept it for yourself too.
The people you dislike can be the most important teachers in your life. They show you the limits of your love and help you to stretch. If you will work on loving these people as they are, with their faults, it will improve your self-worth and bring a feeling of safety to your life. I promise this works.
See everything that happens as your perfect classroom journey
Choose to believe the classroom of life has one main purpose: to grow you and make you more loving. Every experience in your life is here to stretch your ability to love God, yourself or other people. Every experience that shows up in your life is here to serve you.
Every time something happens, ask yourself this powerful question: "What is this experience here for? Is it here to help me trust God more, help me love myself more, or to love other people at a higher level? There is always one of these three lessons in play.
If you choose to see your life this way, you will experience real gratitude for everything that happens — the good and the bad — and this will make you feel safer in the world. If you want to have more access to your love, just choose to see the universe as on your side and constantly conspiring to serve you. This will make you feel safe and give you the bandwidth to show up for others.
Seek out professional help with your mindset
Having healthy beliefs, healthy thinking skills and tools for processing life is what ultimately creates happiness, success and good relationships. The problem is they don't teach these things in school. So, unless your parents taught them to you, you likely don't have the skills and tools you need to create healthy relationships. You are going to need to seek them out on your own.
Find a professional whose job it is to teach these skills, like a therapist or a life coach. This kind of help makes the work faster and easier. Getting professional help with your mindset, limiting beliefs, negative thinking and people skills is the most important and advantageous thing you could do for yourself and your family. Spend the money and invest in your mental health. It will be the best money you ever spend.
You can do this
For 11 years, I have ended every article with the phrase "you can do this." I did so because I want you to know that you have all the answers inside you. You are innately loving and good. You are meant to grow and learn through whatever is happening to you because that is the purpose of everything. You are, at your core, nothing but love. You were made by love, through love and as love. You are good enough as you are right now. You are right on track in your perfect classroom journey. You have nothing to fear.
You can improve and change things in your life, too. If you don't like the way your life is going, you can change it. You have the power to do this, you might just need a little help. Seek out the help and invest in yourself and your life.
I have loved writing for KSL and I deeply appreciate all the letters you have sent me over the years. I hope my articles have helped you in some way because they have sure helped me. If you want to continue to follow me, you can do that at coachkimgiles.com and claritypointcoaching.com.
Thank you to all my readers for your encouragement, appreciation and feedback!
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.