How often do you give people the benefit of the doubt?
You might believe there are people or groups of people in your life who ‘don’t deserve it’. We make assumptions. Our brains naturally want to sort and classify all the other humans and we choose to believe generalizations and that allow us to see how we differ on a superficial level.
You might have people in your life where you have assumed you know ‘where they are coming from’ based on past actions or words. Your brain likes to create rules about the other humans, even if those rules are based on our interpretation of their behavior. Offering the benefit of the doubt to those people would mean having to re-think our rules and your brain has an innate resistance to the extra credit work.
Consider the person who cuts you off in traffic or who is driving too slow in the left lane. You assume he is an asshole and that he has no respect. Or that he is too self-centered to care about anyone else.
My husband and I have recently dealt with some issues in one of our businesses. There were some personal conflicts within the partnership and our value in the resolution of the problem, was to act as Switzerland.
Whether you are helping to mediate a situation between other people or whether you are attempting to mediate your own actions, stepping forward with strategy and intention is always wise.
Just for the heck of it, I have compiled a list of 6 things I think are extremely effect for when conflict exists.
1. Strive to have the lowest heart-rate in the room. It isn’t always easy, but it will always help you to see things with more clarity.
2. Listen carefully to what is being said. Be curious instead of judgemental. Seek to discover not only what a person is saying, but also how they are saying it. The trick is to listen without allowing your brain to go to what YOU want to say in response.
Here comes the much-anticipated arrival of the last weeks of 2020.
As we stare into another modified version of yet another annual tradition, I find myself in a new state of anticipation. Not like when we were kids, on our tip-toes, wondering what magical things were to come. More like sitting quietly in my chair, curious as to how it will unfold.
I often reflect on the holidays as a time that would come and go so quickly. Full social calendars, people flying in and flying out. So much hype and anticipation and then poof! It was January.
Well, for those of us who have ever wished it could be different, I present to you the 2020 version of the December holidays.
Neither of our girls are coming home and it might just be the two of us and the cats.
But I did make a list.
All I want for Christmas is patience, understanding and compassion.
I am not sure who delivers, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come with my prime subscription.
Are you getting your emotional needs met in life?
Needs like feeling loved, validated, worthy, important, significant, etc.
I am guessing most of you started thinking about the people in your life who you think are supposed to do that for you.
While it may be a popular theory in the world of relationships, I am not a believer. I think it is our responsibility to take care of our needs. Not our partners, not our kid. Ours and ours alone.
I wonder where we got the idea that it was someone else’s job.
Oh wait. Maybe from society in general. Or our parents? Maybe from movies or books. Possibly from a lot of advice out there from people with more degrees than I have.
So hey – call me a rebel.
In terms of our relationship with our partner, many of us live in a world where we try to focus on their needs, they try to focus on our needs, and inevitably, someone doesn’t get it right. Again.
Holidays are so magical.
Getting together with friends and family.
The uncomfortable political discussions where you want to leap across the table and stuff your napkin in the mouth of your Uncle Jack.
Fun, right? Especially this year.
I have worked with a lot of people lately on the concept of getting triggered, and I think it is an important thing to think about, before you enter the lion’s den.
I believe other people are not responsible for our triggers. And although that flies in the face of the everyone-gets-a-trophy mentality we have created for our kids, I think we have seen enough to know the downside.
When we take responsibility for our triggers then WE have the power to control them and make them go away.
Most triggers feel like a knee-jerk reaction because they were formed by us as toddlers and have been playing in the back of our minds for a long time.
I know there is already a bunch of written work out there about the holidays but alas, I couldn’t resist.
For most of us, the holiday celebrations coming our way in 2020 won’t look like the ones of yesteryear. But does that have to be a bad thing?
What if we just made it okay for things to be new and different? Maybe even radically different.
I understand that people are often challenged by change, but what if instead of resisting, we just embraced it?
What are the emotions that often come up around the holidays?
Yes, there is joy. Yes, there is celebration and togetherness and love and laughter – no doubt.
But what about the other feelings that can creep in. Come on – I can’t be the only person who has also experienced obligation, necessity, responsibility and expectation.
When it comes to the holidays, we often find ourselves doing things for no reason other than it just being the way we have always done it.
I always used to say I was good at forgiving, but forgetting? Yeah, maybe not so much. Sure, there is wisdom in being wary of a person after they have acted in a questionable or unfavorable way towards us. But I now believe being able to let things go is necessary as a part of our emotional well-being.
So often we think if we forgive someone, it means we have somehow condoned their behavior. We hang onto their wrongdoing, so we can hold that person accountable. It feels righteous and we carry it like a torch. We believe justice needs to be served.
So here is my question. Don’t you ever get tired? Tired of telling the story. Tired of working so hard to keep the flame alive. Tired of feeling hard done by. Tired of feeling like the victim of someone else’s actions. Tired of still feeling at their mercy after all this time.
Last year I was involved in a situation where I felt horribly wronged by another person who I am close to.
So many people, when asked, will say their life goal is to be happy. Come to think of it, even the Dali Lama said it, and he is pretty high up the food chain.
It sounds lovely and oh so honorable, but it’s almost as though we have developed an obsessive relationship with it. Happiness can be illusive, and when we pursue it, we are often left feeling full of self judgement. It can make us feel flawed.
So where does happiness come from? We often believe happiness comes as a result of something outside us. Our accomplishments. Relationships. The success of our children. Money. A new house.
The irony of it all is that happiness originates from that mass between our ears and from our hearts. And it is available to each of us, whenever we choose it.
‘Trying’ to be happy can feel inauthentic. Chasing happiness can leave us unfulfilled and miserable. We say things like – this isn’t fair. Or I don’t deserve this.
Would you rather earn a million dollars or win a million dollars?
It can be a challenging question for many but somewhere in the answer is the idea of living in an abundant mentality or one of scarcity.
I often ask the question to my clients and I love the answers I get. Many say they would rather earn it because then if they lost it, they knew they could earn it again. Others were quick to say, ‘win it!”, because of how they thought it would change their life.
But having a lot of money in your bank account does not equal what I think of as abundance. Abundance is a mindset.
I look at my parents. They both were born into rural farming communities in the 20s and the stories I heard were always about humble beginnings and a lot of hard work. Yet they always saw the possibility. My father was a serial entrepreneur, way before that was a thing and I saw businesses take off and businesses fail.