Archive for May, 2017

11 Ways To Instantly Connect With Anyone!

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

The word “Connection” is popular parlance in our current culture. People use the word connection in a variety of situations. I focus on it here to assist individuals to establish a positive relationship with another person. This is not particularly easy for many people, yet it is a significant need. There is some solid research, such as that by Matthew Lieberman of UCLA, that suggests that being social and connecting with others is as fundamental a human need as food, shelter, and water.  We are hard wired to be social. Lieberman found that when we feel social pain, lack of connection, it impacts the brain in the same area as physical pain. The emptiness and loneliness I get from clients in my office consistently verifies this. Thus, the rationale for this writing.

You might think that connecting in some depth with another is a simple natural act. However, such factors as shyness, self-consciousness, cynicism, pride, competitiveness, jealousy and arrogance are effective blockers to a quality connection. Be aware if any of these pejorative idiosyncrasies are a part of your communication style.

Dr. Travis Bradberry has written a quality article with the above noted title. I will list the eleven ways and add my own commentary.

  1. LEAVE A STRONG FIRST IMPRESSION: Most people decide whether they like you or not within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation justifying their initial reaction. Body language, tone, eye contact, etc… are key factors in making that good first impression.
  2. BE THE FIRST TO VENTURE BEYOND THE SUPERFICIAL: Move beyond the weather as a topic by sharing something a bit personal, something that is meaningful about you – without going on and on about it. Most of the time if you open up the other person will do the same. Superficial vapid banal conversation is boring and doesn’t make for connection.
  3. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS: Search for questions that help you understand what makes the other person tick, without getting too personal. Most people welcome your interest and want to talk about themselves.
  4. LEARN FROM THEM: By asking good questions you are showing an interest in knowing and learning from them. Thus, the other person feels important and more bonded to you.
  5. DON’T MAKE THEM REGRET REMOVING THE MASK: If a person does open up to you, continue to show interest and empathy even if their opinions do not jibe with yours.
  6. LOOK FOR THE GOOD IN THEM: Too often in our culture we look for the weakness in the other person. Thus, you can feel superior and judgmental, which keeps you psychologically safe, but disconnected. This is one of the most important lessons in life that I have learned and I try to do always, both personally and professionally.
  7. SMILE: People naturally mirror the body language of the person they are talking to. People like smiles and the persons that do it!
  8. USE THEIR NAME: Your name is an essential part of your identity and it is a bonding agent when used. Try to hear, remember, and use the other person’s name in conversation.
  9. FOLLOW THE PLATINUM RULE: This goes beyond the “golden rule”. This is about treating people the way THEY want to be treated. This makes the other person feel more comfortable, valued, and more likely to open up.
  10. DON’T MAKE IT A CONTEST: This encounter is not a one-up contest. Two egotistical persons really do not connect at any depth level.
  11. TURN OFF YOUR INNER VOICE: Too often your inner voice, thoughts going on in your head, stop you from really listening to the other person.

So, Respected Reader, if you have the desire to connect with someone beyond the superficial, use these tips. You may already be adept at such interaction, but these lessons can be reminder to use them or a source to expand your repertoire. Quality connections with good people feed the soul and enhance the quality of your life!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”     Socrates

Your Defense Mechanisms Can Get In the Way: Know Them!

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Has anyone said to you, “Why are you so defensive?” Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why am I feeling so defensive?” Defenses exist and there is a reason for them. They protect. Without going into the various reasons for their existence, a matter for another time, I will present some of the more significant ones.

Dr. John Grohol has written an excellent article about defense mechanisms. He states that “they are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. He breaks his list of fifteen into three categories – primitive, less primitive, and mature.

PRIMITIVES:

DENIAL:  The refusal of accept reality, acting as if a painful situation, thought, or feeling did not exist. This is a big one!

REGRESSION: Reversion to an earlier stage of development in the face of unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or impulses.

ACTING OUT: Performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or feelings that the person feels incapable of otherwise expressing.

DISSOCIATION: A person loses track of time or themselves and finds another representation of his/her self in order to continue in the moment.

COMPARTMENTALIZATION: A lesser form of Dissociation, wherein parts of oneself are separated from awareness of other parts and behaving as if one had separate sets of values.

PROJECTION: The misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings, or impulses onto another person who does not have these.

REACTION FORMATION: Converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings, or inpulses into their opposites.

LESS PRIMITIVE:

REPRESSION: Unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings, and impulses.

DISPLACEMENT: Redirecting of thoughts, feelings, and impulses directed at one person or object, but taken out upon another person or object.

INTELLECTUALIZATION: Overemphasis on thinking when confronted with an unacceptable impulse, situation, or behavior without employing any emotions whatsoever.

RATIONALIZATION: Putting something into a different light or offering a different explanation of one’s perceptions or behaviors in the face of changing reality.

UNDOING: Attempt to take back an unconscious behavior or thought that is unacceptable or hurtful.

MATURE DEFENSE MECHANISMS:

SUBLIMATION: Channeling of unacceptable impulses, thoughts and emotions into more acceptable ones.

COMPENSATION: Process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weakness by emphasizing strengths in other areas.

ASSERTIVENESS: Emphasis of a person’s needs or thoughts in a manner that is respectful, direct and firm.

Respected Reader, did you find some of yours? Which ones? Other peoples? If you need further understanding or examples of the above (space limited me from using examples), use Google.

Once you have identified one or some of your defenses, or have them pointed out to you by another, start the work of determining when and how these defenses came into play. Such an exercise may be painful, but will be rewarding in the end. I have a “homework” that facilitates this process. Defenses can block some painful stuff, but it also blocks some real good stuff as well. Explore what is behind that defensive wall and see!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Divorced Men And Women Reveal Why They Got Divorced: Opportunity To Learn?

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Divorce happens. Too often. It is painful. It should be avoided in most cases. Hindsight often offers clues and insights as to why a marriage did not work. The following is offered in hopes that by reading what divorced people say as to what caused the demise of their marriage, you, Respected Reader, may glean wisdom pertinent to your marriage to be, present relationship, or how to avoid another divorce.

Huffington Post divorce editor, Brittany Wong, asked readers to submit the real reasons why their marriage ended in divorce. The following answers resulted. I add my commentary.

  1. WE DIDN’T SPEAK THE SAME LOVE LANGUAGE: “We are both so different that we didn’t speak each other’s love languages.”(Laura) “Opposites attract”. Yes, to a point, but there needs to be sufficient connecting points that bring a couple together so that their “love language” unites, not separates. What is important to one person may not be very important to the other.
  2. MY EX DIDN’T PRIORITIZE OUR MARRIAGE: “He never made our relationship the most important thing in his life.” (Bren) If I have learned anything over the years doing marriage counseling is that both persons need to make the other number one. This is your life partner. Kids, other people, jobs, etc… are transitory and move on.
  3. A LACK OF TRUST LED TO LACK OF INTIMACY: “We had an ‘open marriage’ and lost that incredibly special foundation of trust and intimacy with each other. We became more like roommates than intimate partners.”(Amy) Trust and respect are the bedrocks for a sold marriage.
  4. WE DIDN’T DISCUSS BIG LIFE DECISIONS WITH EACH OTHER: “We didn’t have the ability to communicate well. … I made independent decisions … .” (Chris) Marriage is a partnership and both persons need to be able to communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully in order to arrive at mutually agreeable decisions.
  5. THERE WAS NO FRIENDSHIP: “We weren’t friends. Everyone and everything was always more important.” (Tamara) A basic core friendship is an enduring need in a relationship that can survive the various challenges that present themselves over the course of time.
  6. I GOT LAZY: “I could have been better. I could have found a way to keep us on track. I could have done more.” (Al). You cannot half ass a marriage. Be prepared to be your best self and give it your best shot – or don’t bother, cuz it ain’t going to work!
  7. MAY SPOUSE LET ME DO ALL THE WORK: “There was no dependability or attention. … I didn’t want to be the diligent strong woman all the time.” (Susan) Here again, marriage is a partnership where each person does his or her fair share after each agreeing as to what the responsibilities are.
  8. THERE WAS NO SENSE OF ADVENTURE: “We never really did anything. The same things got old, and since that is what our marriage consisted of, sadly our marriage started to feel old.” (Chelsie) A couple needs a sense of adventure, something to look forward, something new. This need not be expensive per se, but does have to have some creative, look forward to, energy. Stale and “old” just doesn’t get it.
  9. WE WERE TOO STUBBORN: “Our marriage became a staring contest and neither one of us was blinking. We were locked in stubbornness.”(Bill) Being flexible and able to give in are important traits for staying aligned and not in separate stubborn corners.
  10. WE MARRIED TOO YOUNG: “We were the poster children for marrying too young – the lack of maturity resulted in a tumultuous marriage. … We lacked the tolerance, patience, and understanding that is critical for all healthy adult relationships … .” (Nicole) Age at time of marriage is a very real factor for the durability of a marriage. Lust and fun together at a young age are not enough of a foundation for an enduring marriage.
  11. WE DIDN’T ENVISION THE SAME FUTURE: “One of the biggest qualities that was missing from my marriage was the desire to mutually grow. … Without a shared vision, the journey failed.” (Bill) Here, again, maturity, compatability,  good communication, and awareness of needs/wants are basic qualities needed to determine a shared vision for the future.

Well, Respected Reader, what impact do these voices of the divorced have on you? These are not the only reasons but in my experience they are “right on” to explain the divorce of so many.   “If the shoe fits”!