Wednesday, December 13, 2017

HOW TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM PUSHING YOUR BUTTONS



We've all blamed others for how we feel at times. "You really make me angry!" "You hurt my feelings!" "You totally embarrassed me!" Most people don't realize that by allowing others to push our buttons and determine how we feel, we actually give away our personal power. Others decide for us how we will feel at any given moment. When I view myself as one without power (the ability to determine my own state of being) I see myself as a victim - one who is incapable of making choices for themselves. I assign that responsibility to another giving the power to determine my level of happiness, joy, love, esteem, despair, misery, rage and so forth.  For me, that is something I am not at all comfortable with. I am a fully functioning adult and am capable of choosing for myself just how happy or miserable I want to be.

Anger progresses in what I refer to as the Three A's of Anger: Annoyed (the mildest form), Anger (more intense), and Aggression (out-of-control hostility and/or violence).Certainly, the mildest form is the easiest to rectify and correct. However, at the onset, many people do not address it and allow their feelings to escalate to the more severe stages. Letting others to bring us to the point where we are deeply upset or out of control is dangerous. Emotions dictate our actions and those who are enraged most typically make really poor choices, the kind that can deeply impact themselves and those around them. Therefore, it is critical that one be acutely aware of what is going on around them at all times, particularly what others are saying and/or doing, so as to monitor and choose their own feelings rather than permit others to dictate them. 

Even though people can behave in an annoying, aggravating, obnoxious, or disrespectful manner, we still have the ability to prevent any and all of them from pushing our buttons and getting us angry. We can accomplish this by considering the following factors: 

First: It is critical to understand that all feelings are the direct result of what we think. All emotions, including anger, come from thoughts. Throughout the day, we have hundreds or possibly thousands of experiences. In each event, we form a corresponding thought.  I look outside my window and think, "My yard needs a lot of work. I hate doing yard work/I'm really looking forward to working outside today. " The phone rings and I say to myself, "That's my son calling from college. I can't wait to hear his voice/I wonder what he wants now, he's always asking for something." My internal dialogue, the voice in my head, AKA my thoughts, generate a particular feeling. I can feel depressed over the condition of my yard or angry that my husband hasn't taken care of it. Or I can look forward to making it look presentable again.  I may be ecstatic over the thought of hearing my child's voice or dread it knowing he only calls asking for money. Either way, I decide how I want to feel. A simple change of thought (internal voice) changes the emotion I experience. Positive thoughts generate positive emotions. Negative begets negative.* The truth about what is occurring is irrelevant. It is only my perception that matters, how I choose to view it. Knowing this simple principle allows me to be the master of my life - I alone dictate what I think and therefore how I'll feel.  My anger, or happiness, is within my choosing. 

Be aware, too, of the labels we place on others for they are judgments and judgments are thoughts. I can label a cranky coworker as difficult and uncooperative (leaving me disgusted and irate) or see them as troubled or unhappy (causing feelings of compassion and understanding to surface). Their behavior can be problematic for me or not, based entirely on what thoughts I form about them.

Secondly: Remain emotionally detached. Many people take personal offense to what others are saying or doing. Few realize that one's behavior (their words or actions) are a reflection of them not you. Behavior is an external expression of what one is dealing with internally. Someone who finds fault with everything about you may be communicating their insecurities or unhappiness which are totally unrelated to you. For example, someone who is disrespectful reveals their judgmentalism, declaring that you are not worthy of reverence by their standards. An angry individual is conveying their hurt, fear or frustration disguised as outrage. They may be unaware of what they are truly feeling and anger is their default emotion with you as their direct target. (This is not acceptable and one can certainly impose boundaries in a situation such as this.)

While first learning how to remain emotionally detached, I recommend envisioning a large clear glass partition between you and the other party. Whatever offenses the other is spewing cannot penetrate the glass and impact you. As with water, their behaviors remain on their side leaving you protected from its effects. Or you can view the entire experience as them being actors on a stage: you are simply an audience to their performance and therefore are not directly impacted by what is transpiring.

One can also adopt the approach of emergency responders in the face of tragedy: they do not react emotionally. They view the situation objectively while keeping their feelings in check so as to best assist those in need. One need not assign a feeling to every event that is occurring. Some things can simply be what they are. Rain is just rain. It doesn't have to evoke a negative feeling. One can easily adjust how they are going to plan their day under their "wetter" circumstances. 

As I mentioned earlier, behavior is an external expression of what one is dealing with internally. This also applies to those feelings we deem positive: one who is cheerful may be expressing their gratitude or joy for the many blessings in their life at that time. Keep in mind that each of us must own our unique actions and feelings. They belong solely to us.

Thirdly: It is critically important that in order to avoid taking personal offense one needs to fully know and appreciate themselves. Therefore, if your feelings are easily hurt, if you find yourself blaming others for how you feel, take some time and work on building a stronger sense of self. Know  your inherent goodness. Recognize your attributes and strengths that God has blessed you with and develop them to their fullest capacity. Conversely, be willing to identify your weaknesses and flaws. Take full ownership for them rather than hold others accountable. Refrain from blame. Put forth a sincere effort to correct any faulty thinking patters, judgments of others, faults and flaws that you may be ashamed of or that are interfering with the quality of your life. Those attitudes and actions that do not authentically represent who you really are need to be rectified. Openly admit to your shortcomings rather than try to hide or deny them. Realize that while we are all intrinsically perfect creations of a perfect Supreme Being, we are also comprised of a human component that struggles with personal issues and imperfections. Only through our acknowledgement and willingness to grow can be become the confident, self-loving people God created us to be. There is no shame in not liking the way we behave but we can still love our inner beauty as well. 

Being able to disagree with others, listen to criticism or negative comments about ourselves is only possible when one truly knows and loves themselves. Other people's opinions of us do matter: each has value as they serve to help us better know who we are or how we are perceived by the world. (This has a direct impact on our relationships and successes/failures in life.) However, my worth is not dependent on other's opinions of me. God has already predetermined my value and that is my only measure of worth. Other's comments pertaining to my attitudes or behaviors can help me better understand how I am presenting myself to others. In this regard, I may need to reconsider how I treat people and make the necessary adjustments in order to better get along with everyone. This can be incredibly helpful in all of my relationships.

Summary: Remember that you are the master of your life. You have free will and intellect. You and you alone determine whether or not you be will angry or happy. No one can push your buttons and make you angry; no one has the ability to make you feel anything including anger. It's all in your head, or more accurately, your thoughts. 

Q: "Choose your thoughts wisely. They determine the outcome of your life. Remember: Where your mind goes your life follows."

*See TECO Magic in The Secret Side of Anger
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

10 PROLIFIC COMMUNICATE TIPS



It's difficult for a lot of people to communicate with each other effectively. Unless you're a recluse, communication is something we all do every day. Perhaps because I'm a motivational speaker, author, and radio host, I can talk ad infinitum. I actually find it enjoyable and relatively easy. Yet there is a significant difference between talking and communicating: talking requires only one person, communication includes at least one additional person. Although everyone may be speaking the same language, it's not uncommon to become frustrated and angry with each other while dialoguing. 

Communication is a skill most of us were not taught as children. Granted, we've all learned to assemble words in a coherent manner to convey a thought or make a statement. I politely instruct my husband to put the empty ice cream container in the garbage rather than in the sink yet somehow the package consistently needs my assistance in the morning. Either he doesn't hear me (I don't think so) or doesn't understand my request (I seriously doubt that) or he's not interested in granting my request (more likely). 

Misunderstandings and miscommunication can easily lead to frustration and anger. However, being able to converse effectively involves not only a series of well constructed verbal expressions but equally as important are proficient listening skills. Without both, our levels of tolerance decrease significantly while frustration (a root cause of anger) begins to rise, lending itself to angry outbursts. Here are ten skills that will make communication significantly easier and more rewarding.

1. Customize your style. Readjust your level and style of speaking in such a way that the other party can relate to it. I speak differently to my grandchildren than I do to my children. Likewise, my style of conversing is altered when addressing the CEO of AT&T to discuss an upcoming training I'm about to conduct. Know the other party and adjust your style so that they can more easily relate to you and comprehend your message. Use common terms easily recognizable by the majority.

2. Be crystal clear and detail-specific. Carefully choose words and phrases that are easily understood. Itemize and list every detail to every component of the conversation in a clear, organized, and concise manner. There's a news commentator that tries to be clever and poetic. I am always at a loss for what he is saying. I feel confused and frustrated when listening to him. When discussing a contract with a new client, I am extremely attentive while explaining my services in great detail so there is no question as to what I will and will not provide. Miscommunication leads to a host of problems including improperly completed tasks, hurt feelings, frustration and anger, lawsuits, missed opportunities and much more. 

3. Be brief. When I'm with my best friends, Arlene or Michelle, we can talk for hours. With my husband his attention span is significantly shorter.  Each individual has a point at which they lose interest or are unable to process any more information. Be mindful and keep your discussions brief when necessary. This is particularly true during conflict resolution sessions.

4. Non verbal communication speaks volumes. In fact, 85% worth. Make certain your body and mouth are working in harmony with one another. Pay close attention to the other party's non verbal messages as well. Know when they are engaging with you or not. Pay attention to any indication that they are becoming agitated or disconnecting mentally and make the necessary readjustments. 

5. Repeat back to the other person what you think you heard them say. We each hear things through the filters of our life experiences and beliefs. "So, what I heard you say is that you will take the garbage out after you've completed your homework?" In that way, I am allowing the other person the opportunity to correct any misunderstanding immediately. Ask questions to  gain greater clarity if necessary. 

6. Listen with the intent to understand. Too often, while the other person is speaking we are already formulating our response. Carefully digest each word they are saying. Ask questions if necessary to gain further clarity on what they are saying. Pause.  Then thoughtfully respond. 

7. Be a good listener. Too often, communication results in one person talking at the other rather than with. Listening is an art. Communication is a sharing of thoughts, feelings, and needs between all persons involved. Active listening sends a message to the other party that they matter to you; that what they have to say is important; that you value them and the message they want to convey. Be an engaged listener; don't interrupt or disconnect. Pay attention and give them ample time to speak.

8. Always speak with kindness and respect. No one needs to earn respect. It is a God-given birth right bestowed upon each of us. Use both kindness and respect generously. They will serve you well. Practice my exclusive Heart/Brain Communication technique: hear with your ears, think with your brain, and feel with your heart (compassion) before responding.

9. Practice polite honesty. Most people prefer that you be honest with them. However, one can be crude and hurtful with their words or thoughtful and sensitive. Consider how your words may impact the other person. Remember, there are multiple ways of saying the same thing. Carefully consider all options and chose the one that is most respectful. 

10. Disagree with dignity. Very often when individuals discuss issues it is clear that they each hold different opinions. Remember that your role is not to convince the other party to agree with you nor to prove them wrong. Respect them enough to appreciate their different point of view even though you don't share it. Acknowledge their position as equally as valid to them as yours is to you. Then move on.

Communication is a skill we all need to master and when accomplished can make our interactions with others much less stressful and far more rewarding. A few simple techniques can make all the difference in the world. We all have enough stress in our lives. Let's make our conversations with one another a joyful and effortless experience. And throw in a smile for good measure. It regulates your attitude. 


Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"THE 12 YEA'S OF CHRISTMAS: GETTING ALONG WITH FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS"



Is world peace really possible? Maybe, but peace begins within, then extends into the home before it can reach global proportions. Sadly, the holidays, proclaimed the most wonderful time of the year, are more realistically the most stressful, bringing out the worst in people rather than the true spirit of love and generosity.

Most Christian families dream of a traditional Hallmark Christmas: perfectly wrapped gifts hidden beneath an impeccably decorated tree; the aromatic scents of sumptuous food baking in the oven; colored lights that magically twinkle to the sounds of traditional Christmas carols; and family members enjoying the company of loved ones seated around the dining room table. 
 
Yet for many, the most wonderful time of the year is actually comprised of arguing, fighting, stubbornness, resentments, rifts, and personality clashes. The very messages of peace, love and kindness are buried among arrogant egos. Not having a perfect family does not mean families cannot share a joyful holiday season together. People can learn to get along with family members they are not particularly fond of or who are difficult or dramatic. Simply follow my “12 YEA’S OF CHRISTMAS” plan.

  1. Minimize your time together. There is no hard and fast rule stating that we must spend all of our time, or even a full day, with our loved ones. Too much time together can lead to drama: people getting on each other's nerves or increasing the risk that someone may say or do something offensive, thereby setting off a series of heated conflict. Instead of a long drawn-out holiday dinner, plan a 2 hour brunch instead. Less time = less risk.
  2. Be prepared. Plan ahead how you’re going to interact with one another, especially those who may potentially create drama. Going blindly into a possible dramatic situation can leave one feeling unprepared for whatever chaos may ensue. Just as one knows exactly what to do in the event of a kitchen fire, one must also be prepared for any inappropriate behavior from family. The better prepared, the more effective one can be in minimizing any damage and returning the situation to a joyful celebration. If Aunt Harriet criticizes everyone and everything, enlist the aid of other family members to remind her that today is a day of joy and any unfavorable remarks of any kind are momentarily banned.
  3. Focus on the good. Find something about those challenging members that you like, admire or respect or perhaps a fond memory you have of them. Use this as your opening conversation. For those less-than-favorite-but-must-socialize-with family members, remind yourself that every person has something favorable about them. Keeping in mind that thoughts determine our feelings which ultimately dictate how we treat one another, be certain to form an positive thought about the individual before engaging with them. Begin your interaction on an affirmative note: perhaps offer them a compliment. The person who initiates the conversation sets the tone. And remember, every family member has value and adds value to the overall dynamics of the day.
  4. Remind yourself of the message. The  holiday season is about  love (aka kindness). Fill everyone's stockings with kindness. Go out of your way, for just this day, to be kind to everyone, especially those who are the most difficult. Vow to bring out the best in everyone at the gathering.  Put aside your dislike of them as best you can and be the example of true generosity. Feelings and behaviors are contagious and you can be an inspiration for others to follow your lead. Be a leader. Help your grandmother hang up her coat; offer to set or clear the table for the host; spend time taking with your moody nephew.
  5. Refrain from judging and labeling. Every person has personal issues, you and I included. Seperate their behavior from who they are intrinsically (children of God). Their poor conduct s is reflective of whatever is troubling them. Don't take personal offense. Be compassionate and understanding. Look beyond the outward behavior to the intrinsic goodness of who they are. Repeat after me: "They are worried/stressed/hurting but they are my family. Their behavior does not apply to me. Sometimes even I misbehave. Therefore I will respond with compassion."
  6. Practice introspection. Ask yourself, "Why do I allow their behavior to bother me? What is it within me that needs to heal so that this will no longer be an issue for me?"  Only when we look within and question our own reactions and reasons behind them do we have the ability to truly enjoy our family. If my cousin overeats, why is that an issue for me? Once I am able to find the answer to that question, their eating habits will no longer bother me and I am free to simply enjoy their company.
  7. Establish a commonality. Particularly with those who pose the greatest challenge to us, finding common ground provides somewhat of a bond between us. Two women who are mothers, men who share a love of professional sports - these are areas where people can relate to one another, thus providing a deeper understanding of the other. And understanding leads to trust, the very building block for strong relationships. If Aunt Joan made the deserts, tell her you found a great new recipe that you'd like her opinion on.
  8. Avoid sensitive or controversial topics. Use humor whenever necessary to diffuse tension. One can thoughtfully  redirect the conversation should it enter the "danger" zone of a highly volatile topic. "Let's not discuss my credit card debt tonight, Uncle Harry. Let's talk about your last vacation. Was it fun?" Or, the shift can be more discreet. If a sensitive issue comes up, redirect it by saying, "Oh before I forget, I wanted to let you know that next week I have a doctor's appointment and I need someone to watch the kids for me. Is that possible?" From that point, you can easily continue on less controversial matters.
  9. Set limits and boundaries. No one needs to be subjected to offensive or inappropriate behaviors, not matter how understanding or patient they are. If cousin Joe is drinking excessively, one can certainly tell him (politely but firmly) that he has had enough to drink and offer him coffee or a soft drink as an alternative. Keep in mind, that boundaries must be fair and reasonable and only put into place if the so-called offense is serious enough to warrant it.
  10. Practice forgiveness. Forgive the insensitive remarks, mistakes, and lack of finesse. Let things roll off your back. We need not actively address each and every incident that does not meet our standards of appropriate behavior. If someone comments that my dress is unflattering on my body type, I need not make an issue out of it. I can ignore it, let it roll of my back, and chalk it up to a thoughtless comment. To confront the party at that moment could create a scene that could certainly ruin the holiday for myself and others. If necessary, if it is important enough, I can address it at a later date.
  11. Love vicariously. Keep in mind that the person you label difficult is probably loved by someone you love. Treat them kindly out of respect for the other party. Think about how you would feel if your child was behaving badly and others spoke unkindly about him or worse, treated him as such. Would that not be painful for you as well? Even if I may not be fond of my son's wife, he loves her and I love him. Therefore out of love and respect for him, I treat her as if she is special to me, for indirectly she is.
  12. Remember your authentic nature is love. To be anything less than love to anyone else will create conflict and dis-ease within you. Be true to yourself; be gracious, generous, and kind at all times. Remember, too, that karma is always at work. What you send out will be returned to you. But more importantly, you will be judged by God. Be an example of His goodness in this world, especially to your family, for He always repays our kindness.
We all have obnoxious, self-centered, opinionated people in our families, including ourselves. We could choose to avoid them from Nov. to Jan. or we could argue our way through the holidays. However, there is no honor in either. To make a concerted effort to peacefully and lovingly engage with our diverse family members enables us to test our full potential of being the spiritual creations we are; to live our Divine beliefs and practice the true message of the holidays which is love and peace, goodwill to all mankind.  Take the time to incorporate the 12 YEA'S OF CHRISTMAS into your holiday season, regardless of your specific religious beliefs. You can have  harmony in your home for the holidays.

"We cannot be a world at peace until we are first a people of peace." The Secret Side of Anger by Janet Pfeiffer
PEACE ON EARTH. GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN.
Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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