If you’re stuck in couple communication patterns where you can “predict” what one other will say or do, it likely means it’s time to stop and think with your frontal cortex instead.
While it may be true that what your partner is doing is not working, its’ also true that you only have 100% power to change your part.
To make this work, each partner must own their part. You are not a rock, or an island. You’re interconnected.
But even if only one of you becomes more responsible and aware, the sooner you own your part, the sooner you can access your power to make optimal choices and create great outcomes. And if you put the habit of criticizing to rest for instance, the more likely you will “influence” your partner’s heart to do the same.
After all don’t you already:
“See” and “know” how ineffective it is when your partner uses blame-, shame-, or guilt-inducing comments, or gets stuck on making negative forecasts, focuses on “lack” etc?
See and know how unloving or unloved you “feel” inside when your partner seems to be competing for “who” is right, better, superior, etc.?
So then why would you use the same or similar tactics when you’re arguing, and expect a different response from your partner?
Ask yourself, do you really want the prize of “who’s more hurt, wronged, etc.” on your mantel? What would you gain if the whole world agreed that your partner is to blame or impossible to live with? If you continue to stay on a track that builds a case against your partner, would this finally lead them to give you the love and value you yearn to realize in the relationship?
Keep in mind, like your heart, the key that opens your partner’s heart is feeling loved, valued, appreciated. You’re both wired to keep reaching to feel good about your self and life (i.e., happiness, joy), and thus, absent healthy ways of knowing how to feel good in moments of stress, boredom, etc., your body-mind will subconsciously opt for old tried-and-true “cheap-feel-good” options, which are often a waste of time and energy at best, if not harmful, destructive.
In a sense, you become your thoughts. It’s not just a good idea to become consciously aware of your thoughts. To not do so is like sitting on a million dollars rather than investing in creating ways. The good news is that it’s never too late to change negative patterns. Perhaps the most important take away here is to know you have this power.
Realizing your potential to create happiness and healthy relationships is a living, breathing process that ebbs and flows. The most vital moment at any time in life is always the present one.
If you do not own your happiness, seek to actively grow, to learn what works and what does not (wisdom), to take action accordingly, then you risk approaching your partner with discouraging tactics of criticism, blame, doubts, etc., triggers their deepest fears and doubts. It’s as if you are not there.
If you allow your thoughts or self-talk to keep you worrying about the future or wallowing about past failures or regrets, you cannot be present moment as an observer of your self and your relationship with your partner. It’s as if you are not there.
If you do not know what your partner wants and their reasons, you are at risk of making energy-deflating assumptions or treating your partner as an extension of your self. It’s as if you are not there.
If you do not take actions to consciously support you and your partner to realize what you want, you are at risk of getting stuck in fear-based patterns that activate old emotion-command circuitry in your brain (so old, it takes you back to patterns formed when you were 3 or 5 years old!). Again, it is as if you’re not there.
Realizing your potential as individuals and a couple is less an “outcome” and more an intention to live life fully, to learn, to grow in wisdom and understanding, to realize the amazing built in capabilities you have to stretch your capacity for compassion for your self and your partner.
What does that mean exactly and what is true potential? One thing your potential isn’t is a fixed, static outcome written in stone. Flexibility is a characteristic of creative energy (power); whereas inflexibility is characteristic of destructive power.
Potential can be described as a growing desire to bring into your life and relationship more love, more authenticity, more integrity, more acceptance, more humility, more gratitude, more sense of wellbeing. This is living with the intention for you and your partner to love one another by living to keep reaching for your highest, true potential as individuals and partners.
Ultimately realizing your potential involves cultivating your ability to do the “right” thing, and keep doing the right thing , especially when you do not “feel” like doing so, builds character, strength, courage and also deepens and matures your capacity to love your self, partner and life in a compassionate, wise-and-understanding way.
To do the right thing is to take action accordingly, meaning that it stems from wanting to do so, thus, out of emotions love, joy, caring, thoughtfulness, kindness, instead of emotions of fear, guilt, and shame.
One of the most powerful (and least accessed in relationships) kinds of action is to make clear, action-inspiring requests.
In couple relationships, this often comes “easy” for one partner, and not so easy for the other. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It seems to be nature’s plan to bring together polar opposites on this (and other) dimensions. Nature seems to be interested in your growth, progress, transformation, and loves to challenge you.
Your couple relationship is a top-notch school, you may say, and the curriculum seems custom designed for both of you to stretch or change or modify your approach in the direction of the other.
- For the partner who “easily” makes requests, it may mean they need to tone down the intensity with which they make requests so they sound less like demands, ultimatums to the other.
- For the partner who responds with “I don’t know” when asked what they want, it may mean they need to stop talking themselves out of connecting to what they really want or making requests (to avoid upsetting the other).
- For both partners, it likely means you need to learn to “reimage” the other in your mind, so you “see” and treat the other as loving and loved, valued and appreciated (as you did when you first met!). This is an infinitely more powerful and effective way to restore your relationship – better than criticism, reactive negativity and the like.
To create the life experiences that meet your deepest yearnings means you must develop the ability to ask for what you want, and to listen to understand your partner’s.
Set an intention to become more and more aware of how you choose to use your power in present moments:
- to know and understand what you and your partner want and why
- take action to make life consciously more wonderful for one another This also frees you both to access life-shaping, miracle-making energies inside.
Worth reading! – from Off The Web!
There’s nothing wrong with playing nice and getting along. But people pleasers rely on others’ approval to feel good about themselves. Saying “no” makes them feel guilty or worry that others’ will think they’re selfish, unreasonable, or inconsiderate. And so, in order to feel worthy and accepted, they said yes. And yes. And yes.
But constantly striving for others’ approval while ignoring your needs and well-being takes a toll. Though people pleasers may convince themselves that making others’ happy makes them happy, the self-administered pressure to manage others’ emotionscan be exhausting, anxiety-inducing, and even lead to depression.
Here are five ways to disrupt your people-pleasing. Is that okay with you guys? Because if it’s not, I can change them. Just let me know. Really.
1. Recognize the difference between people-pleasing versus simply being kind and generous.
Are you helping because it makes you feel good? Or because you feel less bad?
If helping out reinforces your values and makes you feel good, go for it.
For example, say you’re asked to head a committee at your kid’s school. If saying yes would underscore your value of contributing to the school community and make you feel happy and satisfied, even if it’s a bit stressful, go for it.
But if saying yes only allows you to avoid guilt, and makes you feel overburdened and resentful, you may be doing it for the wrong reasons. If you say yes simply to feel less bad, less anxious, less guilty, less sorry, it’s probably driven by people-pleasing.
This doesn’t mean you should stop being helpful and thoughtful and caring— it just means you should recognize whether you’re doing something because you actually want to, or because you’ll “feel bad” if you don’t. Recognizing the difference doesn’t make you selfish; it makes you honest.
2. Let your values be the driver of decisions
– not just whether you were asked or not. If the filter that decides whether or not to help out is, “Did someone ask me to do it?”consider changing out that filter. Instead, ask “Is this in line with my values and interests?”
Indeed, a 2013 study by happiness researcher Sonja Lyubormirsky recommended choosing activities related to one’s values and interests in order to maximize happiness. This can absolutely include serving important people in your life, organizations, and causes. Just make sure it doesn’t consist only of activities determined by others.
3. Practice being assertive
Healthy assertiveness can feel like brass-knuckled aggression to the people pleasers among us because the passive end of the spectrum is so cozy and familiar. But there is a long way between passive and truly aggressive. The aggressive among us just go for what they want, regardless of whether or not bystanders are harmed or what bridges are burned.
An assertive person, by contrast, commits to being polite and respectful. If you’re a people pleaser, you never have to leave behind being nice. You simply have to let go of trying to force others’ to be happy by doing whatever is asked of you.
So try increasing your assertiveness bit-by-bit. It will feel wrong to stand up for your needs and rights at first, but try it out.
Warm up by expressing an opinion when someone asks where you want to eat or what movie you want to see. Move on to politely disagreeing with Uncle Albert’s conspiracy theories, but listening respectfully and asking questions about his point of view. Then try saying “no” to a ridiculous request without bending over backwards to explain why. Keep calm and carry on, and eventually it will feel like second nature to meet others’ in the middle.
In sum, passiveness doesn’t respect you; aggression doesn’t respect others. Assertiveness lies in between, walking away from a discussion with respect for others— and yourself—intact.
3. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries doesn’t make you a bad person. You can’t please all people all the time. Unless you’re a box of Thin Mints. Then maybe.
These days, everything is extreme, from politics to weather to ironing. Spend even a couple of minutes on the internet and you’ll find an extreme split between views of the world: from being empathetic and caring to all humanity, or screw everyone and tell them what they can go do to themselves.
People pleasers fall into the former category, but worry if they say “no” or otherwise stop trying to make everyone happy, they’ll automatically be dumped in a second. In other words, the self-image of people pleasers hinges on every request. If they say yes, they breathe a sigh of relief—they’re still nice, good people. If they say no, they feel guilty, as if they hurt someone or did something bad. But it takes a lot more than saying “no” to watching your neighbor’s three disrespectful kids, while he watches football, to breaking your moral character.
4. Stop over-apologizing
People pleasers are always sorry. One of my clients joked she should introduce herself with “Hi, my name is Joanna, and I am sorry.”
People pleasers are always sorry.
If you’re a people pleaser, you mean only the best. Over-apologizing feels like it smooths things over and keeps others happy. But it can actually be a wee bit dishonest. Hear me out on this one: apologizing when you did nothing wrong makes it appear as if you were in the wrong. It’s an admission of guilt for a crime you didn’t commit. What’s more, it can make it look like others’ outrageous requests or poorly-thought-out actions were reasonable and justified. Save true contrition for the times you actually screw up (and we all do).
5. To sum it all up, be a people-respecter, not a people pleaser
Never hesitate to do the right thing. When your mother-in-law asks, go shovel her driveway. When your colleague asks, make a donation to get the office cleaning lady a nice Christmas gift. That’s just being respectful. But of all the people you respect, be sure to include yourself.
by: the Savvy Psychologist : 5 Ways to Stop Being a People Pleaser :: Quick and Dirty Tips ™
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Edited for readability
Worth reading – from Off the Web!
Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to keep things in perspective and deal with them.
We all have days, weeks, months and – for some – even years of feeling anxious and uncertain.It’s a vague feeling you can’t quite put your finger on. From the outside, people think you have it all together, but they can’t see what’s going on in your head. Emptiness fills your thoughts and emotions all too often, nagging at you throughout the day. You set goals but they never satisfy your ego. You always feel a day late and a buck short. The search can seem almost endless.
And a question continues to spin in your mind: “Why can’t I just be happy?”
The good news is you don’t have to live like this. There is a better way to view the world that will lead to what you seek. The first step, though, is to stop searching. You will never find happiness by continually looking for it in another time and place. When you focus on the lack of something in your life, what you want will always elude you.
Angel and I often tell our coaching clients they’re doing so much better than they give themselves credit for. Most of us are so busy trying to make something big happen, we forget to pause and appreciate all our little victories.
Rather than dwelling on what’s missing in your life, start looking at what you have. This isn’t just about material possessions; it’s about all the goodness in your life. When you focus on the abundance you already have, the negative feelings that come from lacking something else gradually fade from your conscious. Living isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be enjoyable when you start to see the good instead of focusing on the bad.
Having trouble seeing the goodness? Here’s a list of things you have to smile about – some obvious signs you’re doing just fine in life:
1) You have the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. – If you often worry about what you’re going to do with your life – your career, your family, the next step, etc., be grateful. All details aside, this means you have ambition, passion, drive, and the freedom to make your own decisions.
2) You are courageously walking your own path. – When people argue with you and challenge your decisions, remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.
3) You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them. – How well you play the game of life comes down to the sum of your choices. You know this. Whatever you decide, don’t be the chess piece, be the chess player.
4) You are working hard for people and causes you believe in. – Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is called passion.
5) You are choosing to be happy in your own way. – When you stop chasing everyone else’s definition of happiness, you begin to see that the decision to be happy has been available all along.
6) You see obstacles in front of you because you are not settling. – If you settle for just anything, there wouldn’t be any obstacles in your way, but then you would never know what you are capable of either. Because your obstacles are your opportunities. Obstacles are put in your way to help you determine if what you want is really worth fighting for.
7) You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong enough to accept it and make the best of it.
8) You have come a long way. – Do not judge your failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of your growth process. Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it and use the knowledge you’ve gained. Don’t let it haunt you and hold you back.
9) You haven’t quit and you aren’t planning on it. – People rarely quit over the last thing that happened. Instead they quit a tiny bit each day. Trying to fix the last thing misses the point. Keep this in mind.
10) You do your best to accept what you can’t change. – Moving on is never an easy thing, but if you start accepting things for what they are it’ll be a lot easier. Acceptance is always the key to moving forward and making positive changes that are within your control.
11) You aren’t scared to fail forward. – The biggest difference between wildly successful people and total failures is that successful people fail more often, instead of just once.
12) You haven’t let fear get in your way. – You have to wonder how many people are afraid to die, in part, because they often realize too late that they were afraid to live.
13) You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. – Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be. Remember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.
14) You dare to dream every day. – Dr. King gave the famous “I have a dream” speech not the “I have a plan” speech. It’s our dreams that change the course of history, not just our plans. Keep dreaming.
15) You have a vision for your future. – “Vision” is the ability to talk about your future with such clarity, it’s as if you are talking about your past.
16) You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you. – Keep listening to your intuition, and make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.” Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in.
17) You are doing what you can with what you have. – The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams, right now, to any degree that you already can.
18) You are doing your best to provide value. – No one is entitled to success. To remain successful, you must constantly find new ways to add value. Keep putting your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is one of the great secrets of lasting success.
19) You go out of your way to help people. – Service is not doing what is required of us. Service is doing more than is required of us. Remember, successful people are always looking for ways to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”
20) You aren’t scared to express your love, openly. – Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown. So if you care about someone’s wellbeing, show it. Keep doing little things daily to show the people around you that you care.
21) You continue to make a difference. – Have you ever thought about how much your actions mean to others? Maybe that smile you gave to a stranger today made their bad day better. Maybe that hello you gave to a colleague today made them realize people actually notice them and care. Maybe that money you gave to a homeless man today gave him hope. Maybe spending time with someone special today made them forget their problems for a while. Keep it up.
22) You have enough right now to live comfortably. – You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head. You had a choice of what clothes to wear. You have access to clean drinking water and electricity. You are online right now. You have plenty to be comfortable. Being wealthy is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more.
23) You haven’t let rampant materialism get the best of you. – Our lives are not defined by the things we possess. Our lives are defined by the things we pursue. Make sure what you own, never owns you.
24) You are reasonably healthy. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live.
25) Your relationships are less dramatic than they use to be. – Keep forgoing the drama and ignoring the negativity. Don’t let ignorance stop you from being the best you can be. Just keep doing what you’re doing – being sincere and kind, and promoting what you love, rather than bashing what you hate.
26) You have escaped from some very toxic relationships. – Don’t worry too much about people who don’t worry about you. Know your worth! When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.
27) You know deep down that you are not alone. – Next time you feel all alone, remember, again, that you are not.
28) You have great people in your life who are standing beside you. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. And remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. Don’t take these people for granted. Look around and appreciate them, right now.
29) You have a home. – A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.
Recognizing these little victories in your life on a daily basis can take you from a mindset of wishing you had more, to a mindset of joyful appreciation.
What would you add to the list?
What’s something positive about you and your life situation that you often overlook?
Which of these signs resonate with you?
Which ones did you forget about until now?
Please leave a comment below.
If You Never Give It a Chance, You’ll Never Know How Good It Is – B.G.
Worth Reading – From Off the Web!
Just like a book, life’s an adventure. Sometimes books start out slow and maybe even a little boring. However, to know for sure whether we’ll enjoy what we’re reading or not, we have to be willing to give it a chance. Life is the same way. If at the first sign of difficulty, we give up on ourselves, we will never be able to discover our strength. If we look at life and say, “Well it’s too difficult to get through, so I’m just going to stop trying,” we’ll never be able to learn from our mistakes and we’ll never be able to see the beauty in life.
Let’s say that you start reading a book and at first, you don’t understand it at all. Let’s say that it’s complicated, doesn’t make sense, and it’s difficult to get through. Now, one option is to stop reading altogether. Sure, that may be easy, but imagine what you could be missing out on! Maybe the book just seems complicated at first because you weren’t in the right mindset or maybe part of the book being so exciting and worthwhile is because it’s challenging! Maybe once you grasp the storyline, then only then, will you see how wonderful the story truly is.
Sometimes you have to read a book more than once to really understand it and that’s okay. The same thing goes for life. There are some moments in life that are difficult and we may even make mistakes. While we can’t go back and relive those moments as easily as we can flip back the pages of a book, we can continue to try improving ourselves until things begin to fall into place.
Giving up in life and on ourselves is a huge mistake. We have so many gifts to give and so many opportunities waiting for us. If we don’t begin and continue to try to get through our struggles and live our lives to the fullest, we’ll never be able to experience true happiness. Think about that really good book, TV show, or movie that you love and imagine if you never tried experiencing it. How would you feel? Think about your favorite food or favorite moment in life! If you never tried that type of food or challenged yourself, you’d never have experienced something that you’ve grown to love.
So don’t give up on yourself. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that could mean the world to you!
This post first appeared on The Seeds 4 Life written by B.G.: Life Is Like a Book. If You Never Give It a Chance, You’ll Never Know How Good It Is