relationship

SELF-AWARENESS — BRAVERY — CONNECTION

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Most of my life I've been a conflict-avoider, sweeping potential disagreements under the proverbial rug. But these days I seem to face contentions head-on, boxing gloves poised and ready. This is good, for the most part--running from conflict rarely solves anything. However, now that I'm not afraid to take on the hard conversations and can bring up the minors before they become majors,  I realize I could use some fighting skills. It seems I'm doing it all wrong -- taking things personally, bringing up past issues that have nothing to do with the present, throwing in hurtful digs, albeit slight and 'hidden' (but not really). I shut down after I speak my peace and am closed-minded and judgmental when the other person expresses their side of things, wounding my dissentient and getting my own feelings hurt in the process.

So I write this article for me. And for any of you who struggle when it comes to conflict resolve.

We've developed bad habits

Of course, we don't make fighting a goal. In a perfect world, we'd tune into our emotions well before conflict arises and use these wise old friends to guide us as we manage our behavior, thwarting tensions before they erupt into battles. But then again, we're human, imperfect and immature and insensitive at times, so it's highly likely disagreements will evolve into fights. Most of us have picked up some poor habits, as early as childhood, and haven't learned there is a better way.

But before we look into acquiring some new fighting skills, let's determine first if your conflict management needs some work. Here are some things you don't want to choose to do when troubles arise:

  • Fail to listen to the other person's point of view with an open mind

  • Instead of seeking to find common ground, fight for your own way or ideas

  • Do most of the talking in disagreements

  • Feel extremely uncomfortable when conflict arises

  • Don't use tact when voicing your concerns, rather, you demean the other person and/or their ideas and/or use crass language to prove your point

  • Say things like "always", "never", and "everyone thinks this way..." (as if you know how everyone else in the world thinks or does things)

  • Bring up the past to prove your point of "Here we go again..."

  • Use put downs and demeaning words, saying things you know you'll regret later

  • View the other person as an adversary or foe because they don't agree with you

  • Think things like, "If only they would change, this could be resolved."

  • Quit and run away before the conflict is resolved

  • Use dishonesty to put an end to the conflict rather than being authentic with your feelings

  • View yourself as more superior, smarter, or 'a better person' because of how the other person is feeling/acting

Which of these best describes your boxing tactics?

It starts with Self-Awareness

Whether you choose one or all of the above when conflict hits, learning a new way of fighting can take some work. As with any behavior, we can make shifts in a new direction, but it's not always easy. But devoting effort to the development of conflict resolve skills will serve us well when the next battle comes along.

“Bravery is the choice to show up and listen to another person, be it a loved one or perceived foe, even when it is uncomfortable, painful, or the last thing you want to do.” ― Alaric Hutchinson

So where do we bad fighters start?

First of all, as with most things -- becoming self-aware is a good initial step. Take note of the poor habits you use when fighting, write them down, and take a hard look at them. Do they serve you well or do they usually escalate the conflict, or cause further avoidance? How do you feel when you act that way? How does it make the other person feel when you act that way? Most likely the things you're writing are not the most positive. It's OK.  Recognizing the need to change often comes from acknowledging the hurt we are causing ourselves and others.

Managing our behavior

Now that you're ready to make some shifts, simply acknowledging bad behaviors is not enough. And just erasing them won't help either.  As with the breaking of any old habit, it's beneficial to have a new toolkit at your disposal full of actions to replace ineffective behaviors.  Here are a few to try:

  • Separate the person from the problem.  Don't let yourself go down the path of "this person is bad, wrong, selfish, etc." because they have a differing opinion.  Fight the desire to label them and instead, focus on the disagreement at hand.

  • Lay down preconceived ideas. It's easy to think you already have everything figured out before the conflict even begins. Be present and ask clarifying questions where needed so you're sure you understand their viewpoint, not your interpretation of their viewpoint.

  • Take a deep breath and slow down.  An overload of feelings can cause an amygdala hijack.  The amygdala is the part of the brain that processes our emotions. Because the emotional processing in our brain happens much more quickly than the rational side, if the amygdala perceives the situation is at a "fight or flight" level of danger, it will trigger a response that shuts down the rational side of our brains, causing us to say and do things we'll regret later. Trust me, this is something to avoid.

  • Listen to understand. Stop thinking about what you're going to say next and tune in to what they're saying, and not saying.  Watch for body language (are they agitated, are they scared, etc.) and attempt to hear what they need/want in this situation, not just what is coming out of their mouth.

  • Before speaking, ask yourself, "Will this help or hurt the situation?"  Sounds simple, but it's very effective! Choose your words carefully and be sure not to throw out insults or put-downs in the heat of the moment.

  • Remind yourself that their way may be a better way. Be curious. Have an open mind and think of the conversation as a way to brainstorm creative new ideas rather than taking offense because they don't agree with you.

“When we aren't curious in conversations we judge, tell, blame and even shame, often without even knowing it, which leads to conflict." -- Kristen Siggins

  • Don't attach judgments about their character because of their opinions. Again, separate out the issue from the person and fight the urge to jump to conclusions about their moral integrity just because you don't like what they're saying.

  • Be aware that the other person is experiencing his/her own set of emotions.  There may be drivers going on that you're not aware of -- past hurts, disappointments, or struggles that the other person is dealing with.  Offer some grace, in the moment, as you seek to understand the why behindhumi their actions or words.

  • Find a way to say something valuing about the other person. Even if you don't agree with them, making the other person feel valued for who they are, in the heat of an argument, can do wonders to diffusing anger and frustration levels. A great sentence starter is, "You know what I like about you?" then fill in the rest with a sincere, kind word.

"A soft answer turns away wrath." -- ancient proverb

  • Remember that the goal here is coming to a solution that works for both parties, not getting your own way. This may mean you have to reach a compromise where both of you give up a little to arrive at a peaceful outcome.

I know, easier said than done. If this list seems daunting, pick just one goal and focus on it for the next few weeks. Talk to a coach or counselor about the areas you struggle most with and seek an outside opinion on how you could begin to make some shifts. Then get out there and practice.

For those of you (us) who have done it all wrong, going back to that person and offering a sincere, "I'm sorry" can do wonders to soften pain of the blows you delivered. It takes humility and courage to admit our errors and ask forgiveness of the other person. They may reject you, scoff at you, or even attempt to continue the fight -- but these three magical words can do as much for your own angry heart as it can the other person.

Unless you live on an uninhabited, deserted island, where you have no contact with others, there will be conflicts on the road ahead. Coming prepared with healthy, helpful tactics will enable both of you to stay standing at the end of each round. Even better, as you work on your own conflict management skills, you may come to realize that it was never a fight at all, but a passionate interaction between two unique and worthy individuals, on the same team, working toward the same goal, each offering the gift of learning something new.

"We meet aliens every day who have something to give us. They come in the form of people with different opinions." -- William Shatner

This article was written by Amy Sargent.

Click HERE to Learn more about her work.

http://the-isei.com/home.aspx

THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF SOLUTION FOCUSED CONVERSATIONS

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Principle 1: Master the courage to question reality.

No plan survives its collision with reality, and reality has a habit of shifting, at work and at home. Markets and economies change, requiring shifts in strategy. People change and forget to tell each other – colleagues, customers, spouses, friends. We are all changing all the time.

Not only do we neglect to share this with others, we are skilled at masking it even to ourselves.

 

Principle 2: Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real.

While many fear “real”, it is the unreal conversations that should scare us to death. Unreal conversations are expensive, for the individual and the organization. No one has to change, but everyone has to have the conversation. When the conversation is real, the change occurs before the conversation is over. You will accomplish your goals in large part by making every conversation you have as real as possible.

 

Principle 3: Be here, prepared to be nowhere else.

Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.

 

Principle 4: Tackle your toughest challenge today.

Burnout doesn’t occur because we’re solving problems, it occurs because we’ve been trying to solve the same problem over and over. The problem named is the problem solved. Identify and then confront the real obstacles in your path. Stay current with the people important to your success and happiness. Travel light, agenda-free.

 

Principle 5: Obey your instincts.

Don’t just trust your instincts – obey them. Your radar screen works perfectly. It’s the operator who is in question. An intelligence agent is sending you messages every day, all day.

Tune in. Pay attention. Share these thoughts with others. What we label as illusion is the scent of something real coming close.

 

Principle 6: Take responsibility for your emotional wake.

For a leader, there is no trivial comment. Something you don’t remember saying may have had a devastating impact on someone who looked to you for guidance and approval. The conversation is not about the relationship; the conversation is the relationship. Learning to deliver the message without the load allows you to speak with clarity, conviction, and compassion.

 

Principle 7:  Let silence do the heavy lifting.

When there is simply a whole lot of talking going on, conversations can be so empty of meaning they crackle. Memorable conversations include breathing space. Slow down the conversation, so that insight can occur in the space between words and you can discover what the conversation really wants and needs to be about.

 

This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden. 

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

HEALING, GROWTH AND RECOVERY

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HGR emerges from hope:  The belief that recovery and joy is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future - that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.

HGR is person- centered/driven:  Self-determination and self-concepts are the foundations for HGR individuals as they define their own life goals and design their unique path(s). 

HGR occurs via many pathways:  Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds - including trauma experiences - that affects and can determine the pathway(s) to/in the Process of HGR.

HGR is holistic: HGR encompasses an individual's whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

HGR is supported by peers and allies: Mutual support and mutual aid from people, small groups that the person builds. Including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in HGR and in the outcomes.

HGR is supported through relationship and social networks:  An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person's ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change.  

HGR is culturally-based and influenced: Culture and cultural background in all diverse representations - including values, traditions, faith and beliefs. These are keys in determining a person's journey and unique pathway in HGR.  

HGR is supported by addressing traumas: Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical, emotional, mental and spiritually) and trust in the self and others. This helpful to promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration to heal, grow and Recover.   '

HGR involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility:  Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery.  

HGR is based on respect: Community, systems, societal acceptance and appreciation for people are crucial in achieving in the process and living a life with Joy.

This article was written by Rev. Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

TRUST — CONNECTION — HAPPINESS

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Are you someone who builds trust or someone who tears it down?

The ability to build trust is a competency of high emotional intelligence. Being trustworthy means to be ethical when working with and relating to others. It means doing the right thing even when you know no one will find out. When you are a trust builder, others have confidence that your actions are consistent with your words and know that you have their best interest at heart -- not only your own. If you are a trust builder, you demonstrate respect for others’ experiences, understand the hurt that deceitfulness can cause, and bring more value to relationships than pain.

Those who are strong in this competency tend to share information about themselves and don't keep secrets. They treat others consistently and with respect, and maintain high standards of personal integrity. They maintain a lifestyle that they don't have to hide from others. When you hear them talk about something, you know that their actions will match up with their words, and you can count on them to deliver on their promises and commitments.

Those who aren't so strong in this competency aren't able to build open, candid, trusting relationships. They've most likely developed a reputation for lacking integrity, and often make promises that they do not keep. They will do what serves them best even if it means undermining another person to get what they want. They lie about little things, and lie about big things. If you ask them what their values are, you may get the 'deer in the headlights' look, as they often have troubles defining their standards in the name of being 'open-minded' or 'non-judgmental'. They tend to blame others for their mistakes and withhold information to keep them out of 'trouble.'

“Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” --Seth Godin

It's impossible to lead without being able to build trust.  When others begin to doubt you, they will think twice about following you and question whether or not you are worth teaming up with. They will mistrust your ideas and direction, and worry that you may be putting YOUR best interests before their own.

It's true that it takes a long time to build trust but only an instant to destroy it.  One self-centered lie or act of deceit can ruin how others view you for days and months to come.

Why are some trust breakers? For many, the practice of deceit stems from deep-rooted fears…fear of being accepted, fear of being known, fear of punishment, fear of self, fear of being held to expectations, fear of letting others down, fear of being disliked, fear of being an disappointment...the list goes on and on. The thing is, we all have fears. We all want to be liked and accepted and valuable in others' eyes.  But the difference between trust builders and trust breakers is that the trust builders face their fears by understanding that honesty and authenticity are what bring about those results, where trust breakers think dishonesty will get them there. But a life of deceit won't bring about deep, meaningful relationships that we all desire.

“It is true that integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.”  -- Zig Ziglar

Not sure if you're a trust builder or a trust breaker?

Look over these statements, and give yourself a score for each, using this scale: 1= Always, 2=Almost always 3=Occasionally 4=Almost never 5=Never

1.     I share my thoughts, feelings and decision-making rationale.

2.    I am able to establish trusting relationships.

3.    I am open to others' ideas and willing to be influenced by others.

4.    I treat people with respect.

5.    I am able to influence others as a result of talking with them.

6.    I have developed a reputation for integrity.

7.    I treat all people fairly.

8.    I say what I believe rather than what I think people want to hear.

9.    I strive to behave consistently with my expressed beliefs and values.

10.I practice what I preach.

11.I focus on solving problems rather than blaming or hiding.

12.I admit my mistakes.

13.I deliver on promises and commitments.

14.I ask others for their opinions.

15.I listen to people's thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and am able to feel empathy.

16.I solicit feedback about my performance.

17.I acknowledge the contributions and worth of others.

18.When there is a problem, I work directly with those involved to resolve it.

19.I treat people consistently.

20.I follow through on the things I commit to do, even if it's not convenient for me.

Now, add up your scores and see where you land, below:

1-20 - Your ability to build trust is high

21-40 - Your ability to build trust is moderately high

41-60 - Your ability to build trust is moderate

61-80 - Your ability to build trust has room for improvement

81-100 -  Your ability to build trust needs serious improvement

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” --Stephen R. Covey

If your ability to build trust needs some work, take heart. We are talking about behavior--what you do, not who you are. Behaviors can be changed. If you would like to shift from being a trust breaker to a trust builder, here are some developmental tips to try:

  • Team up with an emotional intelligence coach to help you set goals and hold you accountable as you begin this journey.

  • Practice listening to others in a way that allows you to know what's on their minds and in their hearts.

  • Always deliver on your commitments.  No excuses. If you are one who tends to promise then cancel --stop making the promises in the first place. 

  • Be emotionally available to those around you -- share the things in your heart without stretching the truth to make yourself look good.

  • Never knowingly mislead or lie.  If you catch yourself doing it -- stop and admit the truth.  It's so very freeing and you'll find people respect you when you admit it in the moment.

  • Articulate your values to those around you and ask them if your actions match up.

  • Admit your mistakes without blame or shame.

  • Get in the habit of putting others' needs in front of your own.

  • Check to see if what you do in secret matches up to your public persona -- if not, in which arena are you not being true? Then ask yourself why.  Just being aware of the gap is a good start to changing behaviors.

  • Forgive yourself of past mistakes.  If you've spent a lifetime lying, it's never too late to come clean and make a fresh start.  

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you're not sure if you should be honest or not -- keep this in mind:  

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” -- Bo Bennett

Putting aside your patterns of lying, deceiving and hiding, and stepping into the brave new world of integrity will open up the doors of opportunity for stronger, healthier relationships. Yes, it's going to take some work and effort. It may feel uncomfortable to begin to let others truly know you. You may face rejection and at times, disappoint people. But though it's can be a difficult process to shift behaviors, it's worth it. Becoming someone others can trust will help you develop the connection, both at work and in your personal life, that you need and desire. 

This article was written by Amy Sargent.

Click HERE to Learn more about her work.

http://the-isei.com/home.aspx

PHYSICAL — EMOTIONAL — MENTAL and SPIRITUAL SKILLS


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Mindful of Breathing: Mindful breathing involves focused attention on breathing. Notice how you are breathing. Notice slower breathing and fuller breaths. Notice your belly rise and fall as you breathe in and out. When your mind drifts away from your breathing, and it will, simply notice what caught your attention and gently shift your attention back to your breathing. 


Mindful of Sounds: Following mindful breathing, focus your attention on sounds; soft sounds, loud sounds, nearby sounds, distant sounds. Notice your response to sounds. Notice if you are annoyed by a sound or judging a sound; then gently re-direct yourself to listening to sounds without judging. When your attention drifts away to a thought, notice what thoughts you were distracted by, and gently return your attention to sounds.


Meditation: The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to become more aware and accepting of internal processes; thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, cravings, triggers, etc. Meditation is not intended for relaxation. People who are extremely anxious about internal processes or have difficulty sitting still may need to work up to a full session of 20 minutes, beginning with only 2-3 minutes at a time and working on other exercises more at first. The goal is 20 minutes of meditation two times a day. During meditation, if your mind drifts to thoughts about the past or worries about the future, gently re-direct your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation is about staying in the present, not about achieving a heightened state of awareness or bliss (that’s transcendental meditation).


Mindful Eating: When eating mindfully, choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Before beginning to eat, look at the food. Notice what it looks like; its shape and size and color, and how it smells. Notice any internal sensations; salivation, hunger, urges before you taste the food. Now take a bite. Notice the taste, texture, and sensations in your mouth. Notice your chewing. Notice urges to swallow. Notice your swallowing. Notice your stomach as you swallow. Continue eating mindfully, noticing sensations in your stomach; feelings of hunger and fullness. Decide when you are finished eating based on when you are no longer hungry. Avoid eating while engaged in other activities, such as watching television, reading, or working. Notice feelings and thoughts associated with eating and urges to eat between meals.


Beginner’s Mind: Pick an object in the room that is familiar to you, then examine it with your beginner’s mind; that is, as if you have never seen the object before. Some people imagine they are an alien from another planet or an alien on another planet, seeing the object for the first time. Notice the shape, weight, texture and color of the object. Try to imagine what the object could be used for. As you continue to examine the object, do you notice anything about it that you may not have noticed before? When you put the object away, reflect on what you learned about the object that you didn’t already know. Consider what would happen if you approached other areas of your life with a beginner’s mind; people, places, objects, situations. How would these other areas of your life be the same or different if you approached them with beginner’s mind? What expectations do you now have that you would not have if you saw them for the first time?


Mindful of Thoughts: Once you are comfortable and have become mindful of your breathing, shift your attention to your thoughts. Become aware of whatever enters your mind. Remember that your purpose is simply to observe the thoughts that are in your mind without judging them. Observe thoughts as they come and go in and out of your awareness without trying to engage them, continue them, stop them or change them. Simply notice them. If you find yourself getting caught up in a thought, notice what caught your attention, then gently re-direct yourself to observing your thoughts. It is normal to get caught up in thoughts. When this happens, return to observing thoughts.


Mindful of Emotions: Begin by getting comfortable and becoming mindful of breathing. Think of an event in the past in which you experienced a particular feeling that you want to get in touch with; happy, sad, glad, scared, upset, angry, proud, embarrassed, etc. Remember the situation and imagine you are in the situation now. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch? Notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up as you remember the situation. Pay particular attention to your feelings. Is there one feeling or more than one? Notice any urges to hold onto or push away your feelings. Respond to these urges with understanding. Notice how your body responds to the feelings. Is there tension anywhere? Sweaty palms? Racing heartbeat? Urge to cry? Urge to run or hide? Urge to fix it or make it go away? Simply be aware of your emotions without judging or trying to get rid of them. Re-direct your attention to just observing your emotions. Notice any changes in your emotions during this exercise. Do they change or stay the same? Get stronger or weaker? Return to mindful breathing before ending this exercise, as it can be a difficult one. This exercise can be done with moderate, less intense feelings at first.


Mindful of Physical Sensations: Physical sensations can be urges, pain, tension, hunger and racing heart. Begin to focus on sensations involved in your body as your body contacts the surface you are sitting or laying on. Notice the parts of your body that are not in contact with the surface. Notice the sensation of air on skin or a sheet touching the skin. Notice the air temperature. Notice any body sensations: urges, cravings, hunger, pain, muscle tension, racing heart, stiffness, cramps, body temperature, etc. Notice any thoughts or judgments you are making about your physical sensations; then gently re-direct your attention to your body sensations. After 5-10 minutes, shift your attention back to the sensations you feel as your body contacts the surface of your chair or bed, then focus on breathing.


Mindfulness in All Activities: We can apply mindfulness to any activity at any time during the day. We can drive mindfully and do household chores mindfully; meaning we are keenly focused on what we are doing at the moment. We can practice mindfulness in the shower, during a walk, in a park, at work, during exercise, in a store, in the Dr’s office, in the waiting room, while dressing, while playing or drawing, etc. When we find feeling of guilt about the past or anxiety about the future creep in, or unwanted thoughts, memories or cravings, we gently re-direct our focus to the here and now.



This article was written by Marc Baisden, MACP, MIN

Click HERE to Learn more about Marc Baisden.

https://www.alignable.com/anchorage-ak/recovery-intervention-services

INSTITUTIONALIZED MINDS AND CONFLICTED LIVING — PART TWO

         

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After the Kinkul has lived in its Kinkul Motel (Remember, Mommies and Daddies don’t know Kinkul Motel is the name for baby), for about two years, baby starts to act differently than before.  It happens when Mommy or Daddy, or someone standing near, shouts “No” to baby and sometimes slaps baby’s hands or bottom, when the Kinkul is driving baby to something Kinkul wants and which is something Mommy and Daddy don’t want baby to have.  The Kinkul doesn’t feel anything, but baby feels a lot of pain and baby doesn’t like pain one bit.  When baby feels pain it lets out a caterwauling cry all by itself.  You don’t like pain either do you?


Remember; Kinkul does not have a memory but now baby starts to develop one,  Baby remembers when it gets smacked for reaching for one thing and not another.  When Kinkul wants baby to reach for something, baby remembers getting smacked for, baby starts to act independently from the Kinkuls desire.  In a  way, the baby is telling the Kinkul “not now” and for some reason, Kinkul doesn’t bite baby because it didn’t get what it wanted when it wanted it.


Mommy and Daddy think they are training their baby to “behave.”  Doing what your Mommy and Daddy tell you to do when they tell you to do it is behaving.  What baby really learns is if you are bigger and stronger  than the other person and can use force against that person, you can get what you want when you want it.


Something else start to happen to baby and proves the last point is true.  Baby starts saying words and seem to understand the words Mommy and Daddy are saying.  Of course, the Kinkul doesn’t understand words.  Understanding words requires memory and a Kinkul doesn’t have a memory. But words are a powerful force that baby quickly learns to use to get what it and the Kinkul wants when they want it.


We notice the baby begins to want things the Kinkul never thinks about.  When baby plays with other babies and it wants something the other baby has, baby uses force to take it away from the playmate.  Mommy or Daddy blames baby for being selfish and shame baby for being selfish.  But baby doesn’t understand selfish.  Baby is just getting what it wants when it wants it.  Who cares if the other  kid is crying because it doesn’t get what it wants when it wants it.  Besides, baby is bigger and stronger that the other kid so baby is supposed to get what baby wants.


By the time baby gets to be five or six years old, baby can’t tell the difference between what the Kinkul wants and what baby wants.   Its O.K. to talk at home but not O.K. to talk in a place Mommy and Daddy call church.  Or it’s O.K. to spill your drink on the grass but not on the carpet.  Baby has learned it is good if baby does what Mommy and Daddy tell baby to do and bad when baby doesn’t.  Baby doesn’t know what is good or what is bad, except baby gets spanked for one and praised for the other.  Are you confused about what is good and what is bad?


It is hard to learn how to control the Kinkul.  It is especially hard  when Mommy and Daddy are not there to tell you.  But I believe the Kinkul lives with you all of your life.  It seems to me, the secret to a happy life is to learn when the Kinkul is controlling your acts to get what it wants when it wants it or whether you are acting in control of yourself.  Now that you know about your Kinkul, it is easy to see the Kinkul acting in other kids and people of all ages.  When I learned to tell the difference between my wants and the Kinkul’s wants, it became easier and easier to keep Kinkul from biting me by telling it “Not now!”  


When I could tell my acts were to get something I wanted, I was able to think about it and make sure that what I wanted was good for me, helpful to others, considerate of others, and that this was the right time for me to have it.  I’ve never been able to make friends with my Kinkul, but now, maybe it will be easier for you and me to be friends.


I do not present the Kinkul as a fact.  Kinkul is just an allegory for the human condition that I have never heard described in any other term than Original Sin.  All of the grandchildren I’ve told these stories to identified completely with IWWIWWIWI.  Now when they are acting selfishly I tell them, “Looks like your Kinkul is biting you.”  They stop their behavior, they look at me and smile, and then we laugh with each other and they do not return to the selfish behavior-and I like that.


My Kinkul stories are presented here because I submit for your consideration that it is not the concept of Original Sin and the concomitant sin nature of humanity that causes people to have problems with social interaction; rather it is the unchallenged, initially rewarded, and culturally reinforced approval of IWWIWWIWI  and the presumption that is appropriate to use force to get it.


By eliminating the presumption that a child is evil because of the myth of Original Sin a child may be able to be raised without the parent’s righteously playing the blame and shame game. 


We know the blame and shame game produces guilt and low self-esteem in a child.  Maybe society could begin to help children transition from the selfish prompting force of wanting what they want when they want it which is as natural as its skin, to the controlling its compulsive body instincts in a mature manner without blame and shame.


This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.

Lawrence wrote the book: A Cry From The Heart: A Personal Essay

Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.

Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.

LEAVE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE THAN YOU FOUND IT

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Steven Hawkins, the Cambridge Scholar, died today. He is a wonderful example of a man who made the right choices and made them work. His mind was strong but his body weak. He suffered from a debilitating illness yet he continued to work. You see, you have to believe in yourself with the same conviction you have to believe in God. If you could ask Jeff Bezos, (Amazon), the Oracle of Omaha, (Warren Buffet), Bill Gates (Microsoft), and the many others who are billionaires what is the one thing they believed in when the moments of doubt had them stalled…they would tell you…they believed in themselves. They all had failures in their career. Think the Edsel, the Ford fiasco, think Zap Mail, the billion dollar FedEx failure, there are many many others that gave doubt to the men in charge. At every time, in everyman’s life, you have to go with your gut and you may be wrong. Think Custer, and his last stand. Studebaker, Packard, Stutz bearcat are examples.

Believe in yourself and you may be wrong. And that is how I think God operates. “Trust in Him with all your might, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths strait.” Not for your glory but for His. Don’t be afraid of failing to get what you intended from your effort. You know that because of your faithfulness in trusting Him, He got from your effort what He wanted for His purposes. God is in the bowling business, He knocks over a lot a pins with one ball.

Don’t let money deceive you. Business is the best game I’ve ever played, and money is just a way to keep score, but there are a lot of unhappy rich men. There are a lot of unhappy poor men. There are a great many things that contribute to happiness. We haven’t done much in adding to Aristotle’s definition that he made in his book Nicomacion Ethics. He said, “Happiness is the only human emotion that is complete in itself. There is nothing that can be added to it.” I’ve often considered that was the reason Thomas Jefferson (a well-read philosophy scholar) included it in the Declaration of Independence... “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

And what about the number one killer of finding your full potential…a girl/boy. The urge to merge is great and having babies is the millstone to hang around your neck. What I say for boys goes for girls. You work to provide food and shelter for your family, period. And debt. You borrow money for personal consumption items and you have sold your soul to the devil. Debt robs you of your freedom of choice. You can’t quit the job and go to school. Make the mortgage payments. And where will you live? Is this job in the place and under the conditions you want to live during your life? What I’m saying here is, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” You don’t get a chance to double back and do over. And time is in short supply.

It is said that without Ruth there would be no Billie Graham. Without Pierre Curie there would be no Madam Curie. Yes, there are those who find the soul mate to help them with their chosen field. And such a relationship is precious as diamonds. I wish I could tell you how to find such a relationship, but I can’t. It takes mutual respect, both as a person and as a professional. It takes a since of humor. It takes a large amount of humility, and compassion. It takes forgiveness and thoughtfulness. And most of all it takes love. A deep abiding gratitude for and appreciation of the object loved. And it must endure over time. The girl or boy you fell in love with at 18 is not the same person at 30, nor 40, nor 50, nor 60. You are floating down the steam of life…together. And it is a hard ride. Leave the World a better place than you found it.


This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.

Originally titled: 4th Message for Millennials

Lawrence wrote the book: A Cry From The Heart: A Personal Essay

Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.

Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.

RELATIONSHIPS AND TRAUMA, PART TWO


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“Trauma and its psychological wounds often destroy relationships, families, and communities, even claiming lives.” - From Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic


Last month, we looked at the ways unresolved trauma affects, or almost “infects” relationships. We examined both the practical and the personal burdens that partners of individuals with unresolved trauma can bear. But what happens when both individuals in a relationship—a family, a marriage, a business partnership—carry wounds from the past?


Yours, Mine and Ours


The challenges in a relationship where both individuals carry unresolved trauma can be illustrated by considering the challenges in blending a step-family. As in a marriage between two individuals with children from other relationships, each individual may bring personal difficulties into the relationship that have nothing to do with their new partner, family member, or loved-one. These painful issues may express themselves in a variety of negative or undesirable symptoms and behaviors.


Each individual in the relationship may have some awareness of their own troubling issues. Each individual may also have some awareness of the emotional difficulties their new partners struggle with. Often, however, such awarenesses are hard to grasp. A great deal of confusion and conflict can arise in the day-to-day give-and-take of relationships when pain from the past is influencing behavior and attitudes in the present.


The confusion only deepens when the third set of challenges arise. To use our illustration, if the painful issues of each individual are the “yours” and “mine” stepchildren of the blended family, the third set of painful challenges will be the “ours” children, or the issues the new couple have with each other. These are the challenges and difficulties which arise precisely because of the nature of being in relationship.


Putting it briefly, two key ingredients in significant relationships are intimacy and dependency. For traumatized individuals, intimacy and dependency are very substantial challenges in themselves. The experience of trauma—whether prolonged developmental trauma or events of shock trauma—frequently, if not always, damages an individual’s ability to trust and feel safe in the world. Healthy intimacy and dependency require some ability to trust, and the willingness to allow that trust to grow and deepen. Individuals must be able to feel some essential element of safety in the relationship and be willing to help create a safe place for their partners and loved-ones.


Often, individuals with unresolved trauma lack the objectivity and awareness to sort out the “yours, mine, and ours” in their relationships. They may find themselves creating unfulfilling, destructive relationships over and over in similar patterns, or their painful pasts may be so overwhelming that they avoid relationships altogether. Competent, effective counseling can help with the sorting-out process to help individuals heal and strengthen their relationships.



By Dr. Peter Bernstein

To read more of his articles, please visit: http://www.bernsteininstitute.com/blog/

*** "This article was written and originally published when Peter Bernstein, PhD was a licensed psychotherapist. His practice has evolved and he is currently a life coach, mentor and consultant."

RELATIONSHIPS AND TRAUMA, PART 1

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Trauma affects, or almost “infects” relationships. The partners of individuals with unresolved trauma bear burdens that can be both practical and personal.

Practical Burdens

The lives of partners of trauma-affected individuals are burdened in practical ways because they must often fill in for their loved-one who is in some way “not there” to help with the daily demands of life. The spectrum of “not there” can range in severity from mild impairment to highly dysfunctional. Not only is the individual “not there” to help, they can add to the partner’s burdens with their trauma-related demands and needs for care. Trauma-affected individuals can have symptoms (including depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, chronic fatigue, panic attacks, physical pain and disease, See Chapter 1: “Understanding Trauma”) which require care or accommodation. They can also have self-destructive behaviors (addictions, infidelity, risk-seeking activities) which result in negative consequences to the relationship.

Personal Burdens

Partners of trauma-affected individuals are also burdened personally within the relationship. Trauma-sufferers often want to avoid their pain by staying numb, isolating themselves, and refusing to be vulnerable. By limiting the amount of relating or connecting they do with their partners, they reduce the level of intimacy in their relationships, which removes the likelihood of having to feel pain. Partners become a “threat” to the traumatized individual’s sense of safety because they challenge the individual’s carefully constructed defenses against feeling.

The story of Brandon, a veteran of the war in Iraq, illustrates the desire for “numbness” shared by many traumatized individuals:

“But when he was home, the numbness began to wear off. He began to feel the emotional and physical pain of his experiences. Without the tools to successfully confront those feelings and learn to interact with his civilian family and friends, the feelings were completely overwhelming. The symptoms of his trauma were so intense that they were unbearable. Many service members, such as Brandon, feel that the only way to find relief is to be numb again.”
From Chapter 7: “A Note to Veterans and Their Loved Ones”

— Click HERE to speak to highly trained and experienced psychologists online. https://onlinetherapies.com

Self-medication through substance abuse is one way trauma-affected individuals attempt to remain numb, with often devastating effects on their relationships. They often turn to drugs and alcohol, I explain in Chapter 7, “because they want to numb symptoms of trauma. These substances keep the feelings and memories at bay. Their symptoms return when the high wears off, however, and the need to alleviate these symptoms creates an addictive pattern. It isn’t accurate to say that they want to abuse drugs and alcohol. Rather, the issue is that they will do anything to feel ‘normal’ again, or at least, comfortably numb.”

Partners of trauma-affected individuals often feel alone and rejected on some level. They may feel they must always tread lightly in their relationships. They may end up feeling helpless and powerless to make a difference in the lives of their suffering loved ones. Trauma-affected individuals often promote these feelings of powerlessness, because they are committed at all costs to maintaining control and protecting themselves from feeling their pain. Instead of cooperating with their partners by working through their traumas in order to have better relationships, they can actively resist and thwart their partner’s compassionate efforts. This conflictual, combative pattern, if it continues, can destroy trust within the relationship.

By Dr. Peter Bernstein

To read more of his articles, please visit: http://www.bernsteininstitute.com/blog/


*** "This article was written and originally published when Peter Bernstein, PhD was a licensed psychotherapist. His practice has evolved and he is currently a life coach, mentor and consultant."