New Year, new you

What if you were curious, not harsh or judging, with yourself over your motives or choices, as you would be talking with your favorite author, or as gentle with yourself learning new things as you are with your niece or nephew or grand baby?

What if it’s a New Year and you could be your own best friend?   When someone lets you down, or worse betrays you, take time – push the pause button, do three deep breaths and ask yourself “what do I need right now” to feel loved or safe or successful?  Let’s try something NEW, skip the berating and raging or looping, and take some time for self care.

Love heart flower

Maybe to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and strength and mind is taking that time to pause, let God’s unconditional, unfailing love wash over us – as we breathe deeply, in the moment. Then loving others as ourselves could be a creative action, as we have something fresh to offer.

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True Braveheart

The personality Dot is fascinating, as it seems to be the effort of our True Self to have a safe identity out in the world.  Born into families and cultures with values, and certain behaviors and feelings that are affirmed, we as clever little tykes quickly figure how to get our needs met by developing certain identities. Below is a list of common identities we can use:

Common Compensatory Identities

Why is understanding your Acting Identity important?  Because even though you bring the gift of yourself somewhere in the role, there are automatic reactions from the chosen identity that keep you from really connecting to others and feeling the kind of joy we usually reserve for celebrations and special occasions.

For instance, if you are the Angry One you tend to attack and push your energy/opinions forward or if you’re the Easy Going One you may withhold/withdraw and even though these actions keep you safe in the short run, they don’t make for respectful connections that bring the sense of being understood and loved – because your heart is not open.

So a braveheart for the Angry One: take a deep breath (Holy Spirit time) and truly listen, or for the Easy Going One: take a deep breath (equally Holy Spirit time) and put some words out there. True actions open opportunities for true interactions, and love is found in that space between.

Yes, but…

There are people who listen and people who don’t, and then there are the folks who listen and say, “Yes, but…”.  I vote to kick them out of the listeners’ group. It feels like tires spinning on an icy road, there is no traction. You say something, and they don’t disagree, instead they slant the conversation by comparing what you said with something bigger, better or often, someone worse off.  An observant friend commented that even “No, but…” is a more engaging comment, at least they are tracking with you and have something to add.

In any case, you don’t feel listened to and it’s hard to return to the original point. Sometimes the slant is spoken casually, and sometimes with passion because there is hot spot in the topic for the listener.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if the listener would wave a flag?


BEWARE:

This topic = Fireworks!!


I’d like to suggest universal speaking and listening etiquette:

1. Speaker: states topic, opinion or idea without interruption, for up to 3 minutes. (I’ve read where most people can’t listen for more than 17 seconds without interrupting; well my family has broken that record, easily).
2. Listener: summarizes what is said before changing the topic or even asking a follow-up question.
3. Speaker: ‘thanks for listening’ – acknowledge the time/energy spent caring about your thoughts or feelings, this is a gift.

Cutting out the negativity, 30 day challenge

The Zero Negativity Challenge  was mentioned in a previous blog… a 30 day promise of NO negative messages conveyed through words, body language or tone. My family was game, willing to try after a discussion about humor and talking styles.  It builds a safety zone through respect, and encourages self awareness for needs and wants as you learn to ask, and not demand, things from others. This means that the two people, or in our case four, who sign the agreement will let the other know if they feel respect and understanding, and likewise if they hear/see/notice put downs, criticism or dismissive comments.

Zero Neg
True story – our two young adult kids who live at home were both enthusiastic about signing this agreement with us. Thirty days we would all watch what and how we said things to each other. And as our kids and I turned to leave the den, signed agreement in hand, there broke out a discussion that included some criticism regarding a mutual friend accompanied with eye rolling and the works…  after waving the newly signed paper and they quickly added, “this starts tomorrow!” which got quite a laugh from all of us.

It is really difficult to go a day, yet less a month without letting hurt, disappointment or resentment creep in via criticism or sarcasm. This agreement is really a challenge to self regulate, or as the ancient philosopher said “know thyself”. In your day to day, when are you being dishonest and saying Yes to something you really don’t have the energy or motivation to fulfill? When are you past the point of hunger and your blood sugar is wavering or you’re tired and instead of taking a break, you soldier on? Then within moments your voice tone gets snappy or louder or feeling resentful/put out the criticisms or put downs come sliding out because your feel overwhelmed and underappreciated?

Come on, try it. Just for a day – encourage each other and build each other up. It’ll make them wonder what you’re up to. 🙂

What’s in a tone?

Have you ever noticed some of your work skills and talents aren’t rewarded at home like they are in the workplace?  Part of my job as a former therapist, and now as a Life Coach is to analyze, notice patterns and offer suggestions.  Our young adult kids don’t appreciate unsolicited analysis, go figure.  My husband is employed with a large shipping and transportation company, and his ability to cut to the chase, and effectively get tasks done each day gives him a nice paycheck but does not develop his empathy, patience or listening skills.

A good friend of ours is well paid to find potential flaws and risks, but his family doesn’t much appreciate those same skills applied directly to their ideas and opinions.  Another takes care of people, attending to their physical needs with skill and kindness, but as her kids grow up and become more independent she has found that they don’t always welcome that kind of hands on help. They can do it themselves, thank you.

ToneKnob

So how can we remind each other that an effective work skill is not needed in the love and bond of more intimate relationships?  One of the most gracious people you will ever encounter would smile sweetly when her husband directed her or the kids in a bossy voice,  and would say “please don’t use your ‘Boeing tone’ at home”.   What a great reminder, and even though we don’t all work for the world’s largest aerospace company, repeat as needed!

 

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