Anger Management – Stop, Look & Listen

The best way to manage anger is to release it from your mind and stop using it as a justification to attack others. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Without loving acts, loving words are meaningless.

Talk is cheap. Talk is easy. Walking the talk? Not so much so. And yet massively more important, critically important to satisfying and sustainable relationships. If you care for someone, it's nice to tell them but more important that you show them in your actions, empathy, and your acts of compassion and consideration. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Admit when you’re wrong. Say you’re sorry.

Regardless of how people treat us, when we do something that is wrong, that is hurtful, that is unloving.... we need to own it. We need to acknowledge it. We need to take responsibility. And we need to apologize, to say we're sorry. And we need to make a sincere effort not to repeat the mistake in the future. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Listen before you think. Think before you speak.

Oftentimes we are thinking of a response to someone before they have even finished talking. This isn't really listening because this does not allow for subtext to be "heard." So your communication is flawed. Best to listen before you think and then think before you speak. Rather than impulsively and recklessly retorting, consider what you want to say and choose your words wisely. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Would You Rather Be Right or Happy?

If you want to insist you're right you may win an argument but you will likely lose the relationship. Better to let most things slide, not insist that others capitulate to your will or your viewpoint, let it be, and watch your relationships thrive.SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Denial Can Be Hazardous To Your Happiness, Health, Relationships & Success

Denial is a unconscious psychological device that people use to avoid dealing with reality, to avoid dealing with facts about themselves that they prefer not to look at or acknowledge. The problem is that when the things we are denying are true they are usually things that are self-sabotaging and get in the way of our happiness, health, relationship success and material success. We need the courage to look at our flaws and our mistakes honestly so that we can change our behaviors and become more effective in all aspects of our lives. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Horses Healing People – A Lesson In Maintaining Boundaries

Equine assisted psychotherapy utilizes horses to generate metaphors that relate to people's lives and emotional issues, and to provide insights and solutions. In a recent personal experience with my horses the message of maintaining boundaries was clearly emphasized and an issue relating to the "identified patient" in a dysfunctional family dynamic was demonstrated as well. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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Dealing With Denial In Yourself And Others

On one level, denial is an unconscious defense mechanism to discharge anxiety. On another level, however, it’s a choice. A mind game we’re playing with ourselves.SCROLL TO WATCH VIDEO

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Setting, Maintaining and Respecting Boundaries

When we fail to set boundaries or set them and fail to maintain them, we make ourselves victims of those who need boundary setting. When we don't set and maintain boundaries, and then complain about the subsequent abuse, we are reinforcing our victimhood and not taking responsibility for what happens to us. When we don't set and maintain boundaries, we need to understand why and to address those issues. When others have set boundaries with us and we do not respect them, regardless of how justified we may believe ourselves to be, we are, nonetheless, victimizers, bullies and abusers. When we don't respect boundaries, we need to understand why and to address those issues. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO

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How To Heal Relationships – What’s Love & Communication Got To Do With It? – Part Two

When our relationships fail it is because we have made choices which are destructive and self-defeating. So caught up in our ego and our need to be right, we are blinded to the truth that love flourishes when we are compassionate, accepting, and forgiving. So what can we do about it?

STOP YELLING & DISENGAGE

When we are yelling at each other we are not effectively communicating. We are not listening to the other person’s point of view. There is no true dialogue. No meeting of the minds. No desire for a meeting of the minds. We are just trying to continually drive home our own point, our own grievance, our own sense of righteousness and our need for retribution. This behavior is not merely a pointless waste of time. It is incredibly destructive to the relationship because basically all we’re doing is attacking and abusing each other. More to the point, we usually end up saying hurtful things we wish we hadn’t said, which turn into resentments, which get lodged in our partner’s heart where it can be very difficult to remove.

Consequently, the best thing to do when we’re yelling at each other is to stop yelling and disengage. We agree that we’re not being productive, that we should table the argument for a while, go our separate ways for a while, give each other some space for a while. We agree to re-engage in the disagreement at a later time when we’ve both cooled off, have had a chance to think about all the issues involved, and are prepared to calmly discuss, mediate and negotiate a peaceful resolution of the problem where both party’s needs will be taken into consideration.

VALIDATE, SOOTHE & COUNTERPOINT

When we are engaged in an argument we oftentimes respond to what we perceive as an attack with an attack. Out partner accuses us of some wrongdoing. We feel it is unjustified and not true. But usually the first thing that comes out of our mouth is: “That’s ridiculous!”… “You’re crazy!”… “There you go again!”… “Calm down!”… “You’re being hysterical!” … “Did you forget to take your medicine?!”… “Are you having your period?!” We engage in all sorts of name-calling, shaming and blaming.

It is all extremely invalidating to the other person. And it usually leads to them being infuriated, them responding with anger, aggression and name calling of their own, and an escalation from a potentially minor issue to World War III.

So here’s what we do: When we feel someone is unfairly accusing us of something, rather than immediately going to the default mode of “the best defense is a good offense,” we take a moment to think before we speak. And then we validate their feelings. We let them know we have listened to what they said. We have heard their complaint. We understand why they perceived the situation the way in which they did.

And then we soothe them as well. We take the time to remind them that we love them. We care about them. It is not our intention to hurt them in any way. Their feelings matter to us.

And then we counterpoint. We express our position, our perspective on what happened.

Here’s an example of the three part process: When our partner accuses us of doing something unloving, we might say, “I can understand why you thought I was being inconsiderate. I want you to know that I care about you and am concerned about your needs and your feelings. In this situation, when I said ________, what you heard was ________, but what I meant was ________. “

By first taking the time to validate and soothe them, they feel respected, they feel they have been heard, and they are much more likely to not get defensive and angry when we challenge their perceptions, and they are much more likely to be in a frame of mind where they can hear our position and calmly discuss and resolve the conflict. By using these two techniques, a great deal of time once spent in emotionally exhausting and physically draining arguments can be re-directed into enjoyable and nurturing experiences which reaffirm our love and our commitment to our partner.

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