Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HA-HA SORB APPROACH TO BULLIES

People don't typically want to interact with those they consider to be bullies or tyrants. Yet contrary to popular belief, bullies are not bad people. It's their behaviors that are appalling.  They act out their pain, loneliness, insecurities, and so on in the most offensive and unkind ways. But as I've stated repeatedly, behavior is only an outward expression of one's internal issues. Having said that, many people are hesitant to interact with them, uncertain of the bully's reactions or if they will be safe in doing so. Others label bullies in a very derogatory manner, stating that they are not worth their time and effort. 

With the exception of those times when you or someone else is in imminent danger, there are some steps you can take to reach out and intervene with a bully.
HA-HA SORB Method stands for help, assert, humor, avoid, self-talk, own it, reach out, and befriend. 

H: Help. Whenever we encounter a bully, we have two options regarding offering assistance: we can either go for it or give it. If we witness someone being mistreated, we can intervene if we feel qualified and comfortable doing so and if there is no immediate or severe threat to the self. An approach that is composed, confident, thoughtful, sincere, objective, non-threatening, and understanding can often diffuse the situation, give the bully pause for thought, and can prevent the situation from escalating. In the event the situation is of a more serious nature, one can call for or go for help, enlisting the assistance of those more qualified to intercede. We are called upon by God to be stewards for one another and either approach is a morally righteous one.
Ex: One can, "What's going on here?  Is something wrong/is there a problem? Can I help either of you?"  Or, "You need to stop right now or I'm calling for help."

A: Assert. Bullies, whether adults or children, seek to gain power and control over their targets by instilling fear in them through intimidation, threats, coercion, or manipulation. Any sign of weakness on the part of target affirms that the bully has authority thus enabling them to continue their aggressiveness. Assertive actions send a clear message to the offender, by the target, that they have the confidence and skills necessary to impede their efforts as they remain emotionally unaffected by their demands.
Ex: "I have no interest in arguing with you." "I will not allow this to happen." "What you are doing is unkind/illegal/against company policy and needs to stop right now before matters get worse."

H: Humor. Humor is one of the most powerful tools for deflecting anger, neutralizing aggression, calming tensions, and diffusing a bully. However, there are some caveats. One must be certain that humor is appropriate for the situation and that it is never directed at the other party but only at the self or the circumstances.
Ex: "I can be a dork sometimes!  In fact, my name is listed in the dictionary under 'geek' It says, 'See Janet'." "I can't believe I did that - how embarrassing!"

A: Avoid. If there is someone who you know is a tyrant there is no shame in avoiding them whenever possible. Why put yourself in harm's way or invite drama into your life when a simply change in your course of direction can alleviate any undue stress? In doing so, not only do you protect yourself but you are actually giving an unintended gift to the persecutor by not providing an opportunity for them to misbehave and possibly get in trouble.
Ex: If you know that individual always arrives at work precisely at 8 pm, either arrive slightly beforehand or enter through another doorway.

S: Self-talk. Our internal dialogue is responsible for all of our feelings. What we say to ourselves (our thoughts) determine how we feel and thus how we react or respond. Reminding ourselves that no one is born a bully, that it is a learned behavior and/or a defense mechanism, we can be more compassionate and understanding that this individual is dealing with issues of insecurity or low self-esteem. Their behaviors are an attempt to protect themselves from a perceived threat or to raise their image among their peers. Self-talk will either cause us to be fearful and angry towards them or be more understanding while boosting our self-confidence in how we deal with them.
Ex: "John's not a bad guy. He's a devoted father but seems insecure about his job. I can forgive him, set some boundaries, and find a way to get along with him as best as possible."

O: Own It. If you are being targeted, take ownership for who you are, any mistakes you've made, any imperfections you may have, or for the simple truth about yourself. Doing so illustrates your awareness of truth, ability to feel comfortable and accepting of it, and diffuses the bullies authority over our feelings and response.
Ex: "Yes, I am grossly overweight and I know it puts me at risk for all sorts of health issues. Hopefully one day soon I'll take action to improve my health."

R: Reach Out. This is a difficult step that few are willing to embark upon. Reaching out to the aggressor puts one at risk for rejection, ridicule, retaliation or more. However, it is the first step to breaking down the barriers of fear they are struggling with and hopefully building some level of trust in the relationship. Undeniably challenging, this will  no doubt take time and skillful effort to accomplish. Start small; be consistent; and like water running over a jagged rock and eventually smoothing the stone's sharp edges, in time a level of trust can occur and the offensive behavior will subside.
Ex:  First encounter: "Hi, John." Second: "Hey, John. How's it going?" Third: "John, have you seen Sharon? I need to ask her a question."Fourth: "How was your weekend? Did you see the Yankee's game on Saturday?" (Re: persistence and patience pays huge dividends.)

B: Befriend. As you establish a pleasant, non threatening relationship, the other party begins to see you as someone they can trust. In time, you can be a friend, on a limited basis if you choose, who can be influential in their progression from being an intimidator to a confident, secure, more approachable individual.
Ex: "My wife baked cookies last night. I brought some in for you. Hope you like them." "Can I help you with that project?" "We're having cake for Martha for her birthday. Won't you please join us in the lounge?"

I want to reiterate that bullies are not bad people; they are the product of fear and insecurity.

"Those who are the most difficult to be kind to and befriend are the ones who need it the most."

Many bullies have histories of having been mistreated or abused. What they need more than condemnation and exclusion is understanding, fair guidelines in the relationship, reasonable consequences for their offensive behaviors, and a strong support system. In this way, they can begin to heal their issues, get along better with family and peers, and lead morally upright lives.

"The only way to defeat your adversary is to make him your ally."

Order your copy of Janet Pfeiffer's Award-winning book on bullying: "THE ORCHIDS OF GATEWAY LANE" today! Available only at http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html 

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
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ABCE: ANGER, BOUNDARIES, COMPASSION, ENABLING

No matter who we are or where we go in life, we encounter people who are struggling with personal issues and are not easy to engage with. They can prove challenging to deal for a variety of reasons. Often times, we feel ill-equipped to effectively deal with them. Some, feeling overwhelmed or unprepared, simply disengage and avoid any interaction at all. Others may become defensive or hostile toward them in an attempt to manage them or pressure them to change. Those who feel sympathetic, in an attempt to be supportive, can sometimes become enablers. Yet none of these fully resolves the situation.

Let's take a moment and examine the differences between anger, boundaries, compassion, and enabling  and which are productive choices and why: 

Anger is a normal, healthy, useful emotion if understood and properly channeled. Anger, as are all emotions, is a messenger, a warning, that there is something in our lives that does not meet our standards. It could be a moral issue, personal or social one. Anger alerts us to the fact that something needs our attention in order to rectify it according to our beliefs and preferences. Once the message is received, there is no longer a need for anger. The entirety of our energy and efforts can be channeled into making positive changes. 

Boundaries are the rules and guidelines we establish that create balance in our relationships and keep them healthy. Each party has a right to determine for themselves how they want to be treated, what they will not tolerate, and the consequences others will face should they disregard them. Boundaries can be interpreted as controlling, rigid, demanding or selfish. But in truth, if applied correctly, are an act of self-love as well as one of respect for the other party. All parties determine for themselves how they want to be treated and mature, caring adults will respect each side. 

Compassion is the ability to feel another person's pain and suffering. Similar to empathy, which also identifies and understands the person's feelings and difficulties, compassion also encompasses a strong desire to alleviate their suffering. When we are able to put ourselves in the other person's position and imagine how it would feel if we were experiencing it, we gain a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the incident from the other's perspective and in that regard feel compelled to make matters better. 

Enabling is characterized by making excuses for one's poor behavior as well as engaging in ways that allow the other party to continue their self-destructive behaviors. Enablers sense the other person's pain but are at a loss to alleviate it. They need to make themselves feel some sense of relief by not imposing further hardships on the individual and therefore don't hold them accountable for their actions. Additionally, the troubled person is not challenged to find solutions on their own nor change their behaviors. The enabler takes full ownership for protecting that person, covering up the truth, and being fully responsible for their safety, care, and well-being. They believe that without their efforts the offender would not survive. This is certainly a grandiose way of thinking as they see themselves as saviors and martyrs and the only one capable of helping this person.  
Having said that, people often have difficulty determining which approach to apply when dealing with someone who exhibits disturbing behaviors, particularly those struggling with an unforeseen hardship. Here are some common examples and how each of the ABCE apply.

Scenario 1:
Many parents find themselves with adult children who have moved back home after completing their schooling. Unable to find a job or perhaps unmotivated to do so, they become users, living off the generosity of their parents. The parents absorb all of their expenses while the child fails to pay rent or even help with household chores. "The job market is bad. Bob is searching for a really great job and doesn't want to settle for just anything. He's trying to figure out who he is."  

Clarification /Solution:
The parent may become angry with their child yet feel a continued sense of responsibility for their well-being. Others may feel guilty should they allow themselves to become irate. And still others may bypass anger altogether going directly to compassion instead. It is nearly impossible to seperate our child's emotional pain from becoming ours. From this point, it's easy to progress to making excuses: "The job market is weak - it's not my child's fault that he can't find a good job as an art critic." It's easy to then proceed from compassion to enabling. But in doing so we prevent the child from being challenged to find his way in the world and determine for himself how he must survive on his own. Enabling cripples the child's emotional growth and maturity, keeping them locked into the role of a dependent child.
However, by imposing limits, guidelines, and boundaries, the parent challenges the child to find their own solutions, thus forcing him to take full ownership of his life, tap into his creative genius, and push himself into maturity and independence.  

Scenario 2:
You've been dating your boyfriend for nearly six months and realize that he is very controlling and oftentimes verbally unkind, maybe even abusive. You know his history of having grown up without his father. Being the oldest of four children and having a mother who worked two jobs to support them, he took on a lot of adult responsibilities at a very early age. He had to discipline his younger siblings, telling them what to do and not do. The pressure of raising them left him with little patience so it's not uncommon for him to become irritated, fly off the handle, and say hurtful things.

Clarification /Solution:
Being mistreated by anyone should send up red flags and needs to trigger our anger, warning us that we are in some kind of danger. Our moral code of behavior is being violated and requires immediate attention. While it's perfectly normal and admirable to feel compassion for any person forced to grow up under such unfortunate circumstances, one must take extreme caution not to become an enabler and make excuses for their pain and frustration. Who among us has not had to deal with hurt in our own past? Adults must take ownership and address these issues so as not to perpetrate them on others or continue to suffering themselves.
In this case, setting strong boundaries expressing how you expect to be treated and the consequences for ignoring them, is critical to the safety and well-being of the observer. Failure to  do so could have deadly consequences. 

Compassion is a healthy and vital attribute in all of our relationships. It shows our humanity towards one another, binds us together emotionally, and strengthens and fosters healthy caring relationships.

Enabling is fear-based (that the other party will not be ok without our intervention and protection) and satisfies our own need for grandeur and importance. Viewing oneself as a selfless savior and humanitarian is self-serving and egotistical. The dynamics of the relationship shows a predominant concern for the so-called savior's own emotional peace of mind over the actual welfare of the other party. The offender remains emotionally crippled and dependent on their benefactor, thereby continually reinforcing the guardian's illusion and unhealthy need of being their redeemer.

Boundaries are a healthy act of self-love (making certain one is treated with dignity and respect at all times) and respect for the other person as well, adhering to their preferences as to how they expect to be treated. While not always easy to create or enforce, boundaries are essential to the well-being and longevity of any relationship. Both parties learn to make the necessary sacrifices and accommodations to maintain the relationship (aka compromise), communicate more clearly and honestly, and ultimately value one another more as a result.

Anger, boundaries, and compassion all play a vital role in our long standing relationships. Enabling is a selfish, self-destructive behavior that ultimately wears down the enabler on an emotional, psychological, physical, and sometimes financial level. This is the only behavior of those we've discussed that is always destructive. So whether you're dealing with an alcoholic, drug addict, a family member deep in debt, or a pleasant coworker who is undeniably incompetent,  allow the anger (as a messenger only), set and enforce reasonable and fair boundaries, add an healthy dose of compassion, and eliminate enabling completely. And in doing so, you can have healthy, happy, respectful, and mutually satisfying relationships for a lifetime. 

Love is caring more about the other person's well-being than your own discomfort. Sometimes love means saying "no".

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
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

FORGIVENESS: HOW TO, Part 2



In last week's show, we spoke about why some people choose not to forgive and why it's essential to do so. There are many reasons and two of the biggest are: they feel the person is not deserving of being forgiven; 2. they feel that should they grant pardon, the other party will think the incident was not serious, will not have to be held accountable, or may very well repeat  the offense. Although none of these is true, they are considered by many to be valid reasons. However, as I stated previously, to withhold absolution can have dire consequences for the one who was harmed. 

"Not  forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." (unknown)

The act of exoneration has multiple benefits including freeing one from anger, animosity, bitterness, hatred or thoughts of revenge. It restores inner peace and joy. It reduces the risk of physical and emotional maladies or from interfering with having other healthy relationships. It also keeps the door open for a possible reconciliation of both parties at some point in the future. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it is a gift you give yourself, the gift of serenity.

Assuming you have made the decision to let go of the incident, how do  you proceed? Forgiveness, for many, is not immediate. It is a process of healing emotionally and spiritually and can take some time. Keep in mind: one need not forgive and forget. To forget what has transpired, such as an assault, puts one at risk for the incident to reoccur. Forgive but remember without negative emotions. Keep in mind, too, that while some believe the old adage that time heals all wounds, in truth time heals nothing. It is the act of pardoning that heals.

Here are some steps you can take to let go of the anger and move beyond the incident. 

1. Keep in mind that all of us are human and mistakes, selfish acts, fear, betrayals, disappointments and such are all a normal part of the human experience. One cannot journey through life without ever offending or disappointing others. To forgive means to refrain from judgment and to make allowances for man's imperfections.
2. Change your perception of the person or incident. Life isn't about truth and reality; it is about perception - how we choose to see others or the world. Perception is simply a thought. We choose a thought, either one that is kind or judgmental. So ask  yourself, "Am I being fair in my assessment of this person or incident? Was there a misunderstanding? Am I over reacting to what happened?" Your thoughts create your feelings (refer to T~E~~C~O Magic*). Therefore, all one really needs to do to change how they feel is to change what they are thinking. See the offender through the eyes of kindness, understanding, and fairness.

"Do not judge me until  you have walked a mile in my shoes." - Native American philosophy

3. Realize that every experience that enters your life is a critical part of your life's journey. Each person and situation provides the opportunity for you to fulfill your Divine Destiny and to bring you into closer communion with God. Rather than find fault with or complain about what happened, find its value.  Be grateful for the opportunity to further your spiritual development. Gratitude thwarts anger and bitterness.
4. Pray. Prayer is a powerful form of communication with the Divine. It's like holding on to the hand of a fire fighter as he guides you out of a burning building to safety. Conversation with God provides us with guidance, comfort, and the strength to do God's Will rather than succumbing to our anger or desires, for our need for justice. Our first responsibility is always to abide by the Father's directives, not to surrender to our ego. "Align with the Divine" is a simple but powerful mantra to remind us that we must always respond to life from a spiritual perspective, in a way reflective of God's Love.

Also, it's important to pray for the one who committed the offense. Rather than seeking revenge, pray for their healing, for whoever commits a hateful act upon another is in need of healing not punishment. God's Way is to heal and our way must be His Way. James 5: tells us to "Pray for others so that you may be healed." This is a prayer I recite for those who have betrayed me:

"Heavenly Father, please help _____ to keep their heart and mind open to you today and everyday, allowing you to work through them, with them, and in them, helping them to become the person you created them to be. And help me also to remember every day that what is happening between them and me is not between the two of us. It is always between you and I. Amen."

If necessary, one can also take the following steps towards forgiving:

1. Discuss with the other person what happened and why for the sole purpose of understanding their position. Clear up any misunderstandings. Discuss facts only. Refrain from blame or excuses. Accept responsibility for  your part.
2. Discuss how each person felt. This may be uncomfortable but is necessary to more fully understand the impact this incident has had on both parties.
3. Decide what you both want to happen now. Do you want a reconciliation, a chance to rebuild your relationship, or would it be best to part ways, amicably? What can each party do to accomplish this?
4. Focus on and remember everything good about the person. Remember, thoughts dictate feelings. One act of bad judgment does not erase all the good in someone.
5. Separate the behavior from the individual. Behaviors are not who we are; they are outward expressions of our internal environment and issues. Remind yourself that this person is still a sacred child of God, deserving of love and forgiveness.
6. Detach and let go of all negative feelings. Revisit the incident as an objective observer, not an active participant.
7. Extract the value of the experience. Learn the lessons, be grateful, let go, and move forward.

Keeping in mind that this experience is a process and may take time and effort, how does one know if they have in fact truly forgiven the other party? When the following elements are present:

1. Have you let go of the need to discuss it? It has served its purpose and needs no more of your time or energy.
2. Can you think about the offender without anger or animosity?
3. If you came face-to-face with them, would you feel at ease?
4. Are you at peace with what happened although not necessarily happy about it?
5. Does the thought of the other party suffering for their offense cause you sadness?
6. Can you be grateful for the experience and see how it has actually been a blessing in your life?

Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It is the ultimate act of self-love for it enables you to live in the peace and joy that God intended for you.

Mark 11: 25 "And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins."

I invite you to watch a very powerful video on the importance of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net. 

*T~E~~C~O Magic* in The Secret Side of Anger

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
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+