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  • Worry Story...

    Jody and Dawn gossiped a lot about their friends in their group. When recalling their pals' "inadequacies" and "oddities," the two of them laughed heartily. The gang had known each other for years, and for whatever reason, the gossip had persisted. They didn't stop to even consider why they gossiped or the repercussions of gossip. Recently, Jody realized that her pals may also be gossiping and spreading rumors about her. It is easy to project onto others the things we are doing [Blind Spot]. This awful blind spot came out of nowhere and she started making up a “worry story.” She suddenly felt uneasy. Her hands began to tremble, and her cheeks and neck began to blush. She began to believe that they discovered her gossiping and feared she would be expelled from the group. She moved over into her reptilian brain, survival mode, the instinct of fight, flight, or freeze, her mind kept her reeling about whether they liked her. She became somewhat paranoid, deciding that they only liked her because she hosted many of the gatherings. Jody began messaging everyone with funny memes. She would use their replies to judge if she was secure because she wanted to reclaim her place in the group, even if just in her own mind. As she allows these thoughts to ping and bounce, her thinking becomes more and more unsettled. How could she truly know…??? Like Jody, we find ourselves in precarious situations causing our own distress. We make up worry stories that are negative and cloud our thinking even more. Creating these stories in our minds causes us to race from thought to thought, and they don’t do anything to relieve our worries or stressors; now our worry story is producing more stress, and our desire for a sense of calmness doesn’t have a chance. One thought leads to another and another. Then we go off again on another thought ricocheting and bouncing around until we wear ourselves out and become frus­trated, confused, and more anxious. Cognition is no longer present. How do we stop? Being aware that our thinking influ­ences our distress. We must disengage our inner bully; stop, focus, and get control of ourselves—intellect/spiri­tuality up, anxiety down. It is necessary at this time to do all we can do to disengage from our stressful emotions and identify facts and logic rather than hang out in emotional distress. Plus, we learned a valuable lesson on how easy it is for us to get caught up in something and not realize how detrimental it can be until we see it from the other side. Let’s keep exposing the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #success #motivation #inspiration #inthistogether #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #marriagecounseling #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #fridayinspiration #worry #worrying #mindsetmatters #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots

  • The Catalyst

    Missing skills and hidden beliefs are difficult to see yet are often painfully obvious to others. [Blind Spot] Perhaps that lack of skill, that deeply rooted belief, or even that overused strength should be a catalyst to identify cues pertaining to how we show up to others. I remember receiving a request from a man who felt something was off-kilter about his team, but he did not know how to pinpoint it. He was a senior manager, and everyone on his team seemed disjointed, unmotivated, and unhappy. After asking several gently curious questions, I asked if we could speak with the people he worked with to see what he was doing right and well and what he could potentially do better. The report gave us a complete picture of a blind spot that was present—we learned that he was in avoidance mode and not resolving conflict on his team. If a disagreement surfaced in a meeting, he blew it off, “We can address that at a later date, what is pressing on our agenda?” Then he would “forget” to revisit the issue or make light of it implying it was not important. When his department’s performance suffered, he blamed the team’s “personality issues” and they began to resent him and lost respect for his leadership. Ouch!! When he heard “blind spot,” we immediately began to discuss opportunities to address; areas of personal deficit, irritable habits, and lack of emotional maturity that his team saw but he was completely blind. This feedback was a huge eye-opener for him and showed several skill deficits that he began to work on and lean into. He recognized his blind spot and began to see how to manage, identify and resolve conflict within his team. He learned to ask gently curious questions, be a safe listener, and be supportive and mindful when he saw others’ blind spots and could safely address them. “…we have to stay curious about our own blind spots and how to pull those issues into view, and we need to commit to helping the people we serve find their blind spots in a way that’s safe and supportive.” – Brene Brown When blind spots emerge, they force us to confront the unvarnished truth in order to thrive. There is one thing that is true about your blind spot and mine: it’s not what we don’t know; it’s what we don’t know we don’t know that causes us difficulties in our relationships. Uncovering your blind spots is the catalyst to building a better you. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #wednesday #communication #wednesdayvibes #champion #marriageandfamilytherapy #inspiration #changeyourlife #inthistogether

  • You got this, you're a natural!

    I want to write about something a little different, another kind of blind spot for you to uncover. It is the blind spot of “natural gifting.” One of the joys of what I do is to assist people to recognize their natural gifts. When I point out these natural gifts I see in them, they don’t think there is anything special about these qualities. They are such a natural part of their personality and character, they just see them as “who they are.” “He or she is a natural…” it’s built-in, hardwired, ingrained, and often taken for granted. [Blind Spot] If something comes that easily, we tend to overlook it or think it must not be valuable. Because it is hidden from us and because it is our nature, we don’t always recognize who we are and how we show up. So often we think that making masterful and worthwhile contributions has to be difficult. If it is hard to achieve or do, it must be worthwhile to pursue and more valuable to others and the world. Sometimes what comes easy, yes, our natural gifts, can produce our greatest contributions. Always searching for our strengths and the most valuable contribution we can make, we struggle, research, train, concentrate, and motivate ourselves primarily to perform tasks that do not come naturally. Don’t take me out of context, there is nothing wrong with working hard and challenging ourselves. However, I think we need to be reminded of the things we do “with our eyes closed.” The things that energize us as we are doing them are often our strengths in nature and gifting—and all too often our blind spots. Let’s all challenge ourselves to do more of the things we are naturally good at, where we feel like we are just being ourselves and can see that our incredible talent comes from within. Look for the blind spots and make a difference…naturally! Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #success #motivation #inspiration #inthistogether #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #marriagecounseling #monday #mondayvibes #mondaymotivationchallenge

  • The Confidence Thief

    I know the importance of reminders and today is a reminder of a blind spot that I see rear its ugly head day after day in my office. SHAME [SHām] NOUN 1. a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior: As I have mentioned, I grew up in West Texas in a family of six children. I was the fifth in line. I was small in stature, and we were not the wealthiest family around. Within the family, there was a lot of teasing, sarcasm, and put-downs. It was not done to purposely cause harm; it was just the normal method of communication. Being unaware of emotional maturity, it was not taught in our family, and this led to the crippling shame monster I would carry for years. I tried everything I could to avoid criticism. I developed denial so I wouldn't have to deal with shame. I tried to show up without any blemishes in situations I faced. My first years of school were difficult because teasing and belittling followed me due to my frailness and perhaps the clothes I wore. I learned to tell jokes and do all I could to feel accepted. I am reminded when I was in the Marine Corps I was taught how to win at all costs. There, being in charge and right worked well. Now I was a contradiction. I was weakened by shame and empowered by control. What a wreck. I stood up when it would have been more acceptable for me to stay seated, and other times, I sat down when I ought to have stood up. Our parents were wonderful and gave us everything they had but could not give what they did not receive. I hold no blame against them. I know they loved us and wanted the best for us. Lacking emotional maturity and training at home, then returning from the warped emotional training I received in the Marines, I was ill-equipped to be married or a dad, but I had a desire to be the best dad and husband I could be. Not understanding the concept of emotional maturity till much later in life, every relationship I had took a hit because of this blind spot. Not until I learned I didn’t have to accept the words of others to feel good about who I was and how I showed up did I start seeing a difference. I find it extremely difficult to see teasing, mocking, belittling, shaming, or bullying because of the negative consequences shame has had on my life. Shame is a confidence thief. It can be the source of a broken spirit that takes a long time to heal and hinders the opportunity of feeling confident. A lack of confidence as a child creates a challenging genesis in life. If it is not overcome, it will continually cripple social connections. I am also regretfully reminded that I have given to others the same treatment that perhaps contributed to their shame. Ouch! That is difficult to admit. Seeing shame’s effects and being reminded of its consequences, I want to do everything in my power to encourage, empower and have a positive influence on other's confidence. Here is a good way to remind ourselves daily, “Am I going to build others up or tear them down today?” My answer… “Today I will focus on catching others doing things right and erasing the effects of the shame monster.” Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #success #motivation #inspiration #inthistogether #resetyourmind #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #marriagecounseling #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #fridayinspiration #Shame

  • Respect.

    I must admit my own judgment, or misjudgment has gotten me into trouble too many times. I developed a false preconception due to bias, prejudice, and stereotyping. I hate it when I am wrong, especially about others. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kevin asked to hear more about respect. I certainly appreciate these requests. I find it easier to relate to these types of inquiries by explaining what it means to me, and for me, it is easier to identify what things are by first looking at what they are not. For instance, disrespect to me, is showing insult, acting rudely, impolitely, or even being aggressive or offensive towards others. On the other hand, respect to me, is accepting others for who they are, even when they’re different from me or they don’t agree with me. I call respect—like trust—the glue that holds relationships together. Sometimes in the beginning respect can come naturally and then sometimes due to obvious differences, it must be earned. Respect is often lost when there are feelings of being judged, belittled, or teased. If I don’t feel safe or trusted in the beginning, respect may be earned with the passage of time. Trust and safety come with respect. I like to think of respect as being able to have a healthy conversation even if we disagree, we can talk openly about who we are and what we stand for. Respect is present in the absence of wanting to be in control and being contentious. Respect is being able to admit mistakes and errors in judgment or actions and show humility. Even though I may experience disrespect from others, this does not give me the right to reciprocate. If I find myself not feeling respected by other people, including family or friends, I must have the courage to let them see the real me by emitting an experience, not by words, that demonstrates who I am. In order to make any type of difference and gain respect, I must show up differently. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees and if someone can't treat me with respect and I don't feel secure with them, I will politely end the relationship with them. All of these are imperative pieces of the “respect puzzle” but a piece that can often be missing is having respect for myself. Respect in any relationship must start with self-respect. I cannot expect someone to treat me with respect if I do not feel good about myself and if I am not treating myself with respect, honor, and dignity. When these principles come together, one clear picture emerges: respect is finding common ground and upholding both my values and others equally. What I think and feel is just as important as what somebody else thinks and feels. You can go beyond what is presented here by thinking creatively about how to be respectful in your own life. I hope this helps address your request, Kevin. Look for the blind spots! Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #success #motivation #inspiration #Respect #respectful #RespectAllFearNone #inthistogether #monday #mondayvibes #mondaymotivation

  • Pride versus Grace

    There are many definitions of pride. In this case, I’m using pride as related to being haughty or arrogant. This could mean that I'm better than you, that what I have is superior to what you have, or that I'm more important than you are, so please step aside. Yes, pride can be related to, I'm proud of my family or my team or my contributions, but I'm talking about pride that relates to arrogance, egoism, and a holier-than-thou attitude. Grace is the opposite. I'm referring to it here as being courteous, showing goodwill, or acting in an attractive or polite manner. Let’s put it to the test. I’m driving in heavy traffic, and someone wants to move into my lane. Do I choose grace or pride? What will my decision be? Probably, if my day is in chaos, I will choose pride. After all, it's my lane and right now I am in control here. If on the other hand I feel good about myself and am having a great day, I will choose grace and let them in. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. She told me a story about her being in a terrible hurry to get home. She found herself behind a driver who was going about 15 mph under the speed limit. She said when she attempted to pass, the driver sped up. Being in a hurry she gassed it and began to pass. The other driver accelerated, making passing impossible. So, she slowed down and moved back into the other lane and the car ahead slowed down again. After floor-boarding her car and passing the other driver, she screeched into the subdivision. The other driver followed her and pulled into her drive, she rolled down her window and the bad words began to fly. After a brief exchange, my friend told her to leave, or she would call the cops. She went inside and began to feel very guilty about having this kind of conflict with another person she didn’t even know. About an hour later she was going back to work and looked down the street to see about four houses down the driver's car parked in the driveway. My friend was still so upset and she decided to stop and apologize to the woman, trying to put grace above her pride. She went to the door and found that the woman was resting and did not want to come down and talk to her. Her husband told my friend that his wife had just returned from the doctor with a serious diagnosis of cancer and was struggling. She was trying to sleep and get herself together before the kids got home and she had mentioned to him what had happened. Embarrassed to the max, my friend slinked back sadly to her car and left. Now the guilt was multiplied 100 times. Isn't it interesting how we may feel so self-righteous and proud of who we are and how important we are and if others get in our way, they must be doing something wrong? How dare they. Do they not know how important I am? Notice how when my friend’s anxiety came down it allowed grace to come forward. Grace gives us an opportunity to clean up some of the nastiness that's created by pride. I don't know about you, but I have probably exercised pride in this manner many times. Now I wonder as I was being so haughty and arrogant in past circumstances, what might have been going on with the other person. What a humbling place to be. Remember we have a choice when we face life circumstances…will we choose pride or grace? Watch for the hot spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #success #motivation #inspiration #inthistogether #monday #mondayvibes #mondaymotivation

  • Silent Killers

    Resentments are the quiet thoughts or feelings we harbor against another person because we consider them responsible for an act of indignation, animosity, or ill will. Susanne and Jeff, you may recall, have been married for about ten years with two children and have grown resentful of one other over time. Resentments surface when we are hurt or offended, and when we try to convey them, there is a refusal to listen. As a result, we go silent. Jeff has been attempting to let Susanne know that her being curt is demeaning to him but when he tries to bring it up, she scoffs and blows him off. So, now his inward conversation becomes, “I'm not going to say anything because that would just cause more trouble.” This act of chivalry is seen by him as "keeping the peace." However, I see it as creating a time bomb that will cause a large explosion in the future. When Jeff says, “I'm not going to say anything because it would cause more problems,” he “feels” he has made the gallant choice. I say that if he does not speak up and allows that resentment to develop, it will eventually blow up. Our anxiety reservoir can only store so much before it finds an explosive release. It is at that point I say we give two dollars’ worth of guff for a nickel’s worth of offense. Resentments can be those things like: I'm not feeling understood, I don't like the way I'm being treated, I don't feel like you listen at all, you frustrate me and I don't know how to tell you. Resentments cause distance and that distance puts our relationships in danger. Resentments create misunderstandings that are subtle and quiet. We feel going silent is supposed to avoid conflict, but I say that doing so just delays the ticking bomb. Resentments create secrets and make it easy to begin to make up stories in our minds about the other. The storyteller then acts out the made-up story about another person as if it were true, and when these long-held resentments are eventually unleashed, the target of the resentment does not comprehend this explosion, but the person who is angry feels entirely justified in doing so. It’s been so loud inside them, but completely silent to the other. This is why resentments must be dealt with as they arise. I like to use the word ‘Ouch’ or ‘Ouch that hurts.’ If I am speaking to someone and they say ‘Ouch’, it helps me understand and appreciate that I have done something offensive and need to correct it. Resentments are silent killers in our relationships. Let’s look for ways to find understanding, connection, and improvement; emotionally healthy relationships are a result of honest, open feedback. Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #success #motivation #inspiration #inthistogether #Friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation

  • An invaluable resource...feedback.

    Happy Wednesday. I want to thank you for joining me on this journey. For the better part of a year, I've been selecting topics to post about and guide us toward discovering and exposing blind spots and building a better you. Wow, the time has flown, and what a pleasure it is to share with you my story, strategies, and principles. I am reaching out to see how things are going and to see if there are any issues, concerns, or challenges you may be facing that you would like additional guidance on how to handle or perceive yourself in a different way. Or it might be wonderful news about your success. I want to continue to be a source of new insight, inspiration, and motivation. I want this to be a space where we can chat about concepts and principles that are life changers, so you can keep building a better you. I would appreciate it if you would take a few moments to share your thoughts, perspectives, and ideas with me so that I can continue to improve and provide relevant content and services. To be sure the sharing is confidential, direct message me, or email me at jerry@jerrydclark.com. Any questions or comments, along and about life's journey would be welcomed. I appreciate your time and want to thank you for sharing. Your feedback is an invaluable resource and I look forward to hearing from you. In this together, Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #success #motivation #inspiration #inthistogether

  • 3x5 Cards

    I was speaking to a woman many years ago before cell phones became so popular. Judy was complaining about a family member (I’ll call her Sandy) who had very caustic mannerisms when she called. Judy stated that Sandy's comments were rude and attacking and that she continued to hold her own and make the conversation uncomfortable. Judy claimed that every time the phone rang, she would wish it wasn't Sandy and that she felt humiliated after the call. I told her about the principle of "3 by 5 cards" and how she should get cards, write the comment or question at the top of the card, and then take her time writing a strategic answer or response below it. Judy did this on as many sayings or situations as she could come up with. Together we strategically prepared her replies. She was to look at every question or comment that she could anticipate Sandy might say. We worked on it for a while, and her instructions were to keep them near the phone so that when Sandy called, she could simply refer to her three-by-five cards. This would put her at ease, and when the caller ID displayed Sandy's name, she would be less hesitant to engage. The idea was to stop the attacks and reply in a way where she felt confident and comfortable about the conversations. Sometimes individuals with this type of communication style are unaware of how challenging it is to interact with them. Judy's task was not to be rude, haughty, or controlling, but to have a conversation in order to save the relationship. The goal is not to outwit or outsmart them, but to have the conversation you want to have rather than the one they want to have, which can be very uncomfortable. An example of this would be Sandy asking if the kids are still causing problems. The answer that Judy and I came up with was a gently curious question such as “How come you ask?” Then Judy’s charge was not to reply anything after Sandy answered but to issue an eloquent grunt such as “Huh or Hum?” in a very gentle response. Judy was then instructed to start the conversation with something she wanted to discuss rather than participate in what Sandy wanted. This can be done very kindly and gently, making Judy feel good about herself during those conversations. This is not easy and requires practicing a kind response and moving to the conversation you would like to have instead of being led by Sandy’s aggressive approach. This principle has been adopted in today's society by using it in any conversation with someone who has a strong opinion or question. Write down what you think they will say, ask, or do and prepare a strategic reply. Another example of this is when Jesus was brought before Pilate and he asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews." Jesus replied, “You say it's true.” —Luke 23:1-4 I have found it important to be purposeful and prepared for these kinds of conversations. When I can anticipate what someone might say or ask and prepare a reply, I'm much more capable of participating in a conversation that engages connection or at least minimizes disconnection. Preparation sets you apart and guides you through intensely difficult communication styles. Look for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #monday #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondayvibes #leadershipdevelopment #relationshiptips #CommunicationSkills #communication #marriageandfamilytherapy #bayharbourumc

  • I call it Rationalize, Minimize and Justify

    People who rationalize minimize and justify are almost impossible to communicate with and do not know it. They can appear self-righteous, unattractive, and totally unaware. (I have been guilty of this, you?) For example, Suzanne and Jeff have been married for 10 years and have two small children. The relationship, like so many, has its ups and downs, but Suzanne seems to be pulling away. She's not feeling as close as she once did and withdraws emotionally from Jeff when she asks him for something and feels unheard. A typical conversation: Suzanne: “You don't hear me.” Jeff: “Yes, I do, I hear you fine. I hear every word you say.” (minimize) Suzanne: “I just don't think you do.” Jeff: “I always listen to you. Perhaps you don't give me credit for anything.” (rationalize) Suzanne: “This is what I'm talking about. Regardless of what I say, you explain it away and I feel unheard, empty, and foolish for even saying what I want from you.” Jeff: “I am a good husband and provider. I don't know why you can't see the good things about me.” (justify) Suzanne: “Forget it.” (yikes) She pulls back further. Emotional closeness and communication are fractured. This kind of poor communication leaves both parties exasperated and the distance grows wider. Suzanne pulls back silently and resentfully. Unless these resentments are resolved or things change considerably, this relationship can easily result in a breakup. This would totally blindside Jeff because he's not aware of his contribution to the distancing of the relationship, but this exchange of words is bitter to Suzanne. Jeff will be completely surprised if she decides to leave under these circumstances. He may even ask the question, “Why didn't you tell me?” The fascinating truth in this conversation is that Jeff could have connected with her by understanding and appreciating her desire for him to interact and engage with her. He could have been the hero, not the goat. Suzanne gave up due to her frustration and is also culpable because the sender of the message is responsible to get the message across. When rationalizing, minimizing, and justifying are permitted to damage communication, this situation can be a very common occurrence. Both made contributions, yet neither is aware of their involvement. Get real, and get feedback, even if it means discovering something upsetting about them or yourself since the effects of this will be far-reaching. At the end of the day, it is worthwhile if your goals include happiness and a healthy, emotionally rewarding relationship. Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #Friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #leadershipdevelopment #relationshiptips #CommunicationSkills #communication #marriageandfamilytherapy #bayharbourumc

  • Poverty—the absence of presence.

    At times, our lives are busy, and time is in short supply. Many of us live far away from or have strained relationships with spouses, family, and friends and many people feel lonelier and more isolated than ever before. We live in an age of ultra-connection, yet we have an absence of closeness. We can be together, but not close or present. What a contradiction – right? I frequently ask this question, “How do you evaluate your ability to perform your roles in relationships?” I then ask the question, “Could you show up better?” Everyone agrees they could. I think it's a tremendous blind spot. Our relationships could be better and yet, we continue to allow ourselves to fall into what I call, “relationship poverty.” Webster defines poverty as, the state of being extremely poor or inferior in quality or insufficient in amount. Poverty in relationships is invisible and produces a terrible experience. We need relationships to survive. We are made for connection, and it confounds me when relationships go unmaintained. In my practice, I continually address the issues of how self-centeredness, poor communication, money fixation, shattered values, and modern technology have made it very difficult for us to relate, connect, or empathize with each other. This impoverished state of relationships sometimes creates victimhood. I hear this frequently, “I'm in a bad relationship because they….,” and then listen as they blame the other. If we blame, we don't have to change. We get to continue our same, perhaps unhealthy, behavior because it is the others’ fault. Let’s re-think what it will take to shift our relationships from poverty to ordinary and ordinary to exceptional. There have been occasions where I have settled for “relationship poverty” and it allowed me to lag and limp along, causing more heartache and sadness than happiness. What a tragedy. To create something different, I get to focus on myself and stop looking for others to change. I get to look and listen for my blind spots and recognize and expose them so I can improve my relationships. I choose responsibility, not victimhood. If I want others to say great things about me as a spouse, parent, coworker, or employer, I must provide them with an opportunity to do so. Others speak about their experience with us. So, what do I need to do to give them a chance to say what I would like to hear? What do I want people to say about me and the way I show up? Looking at these questions gives me something to work on, how about you? I want to lean into the moments and provide an experience that makes the people in my life feel good about themselves when they are in my presence. I write the script that others use to talk about me. I want to live in relational health and wealth, being present, intentional, and giving to my heart’s content. I want “relational presence” so that the level of “relationship poverty” diffuses as I continue to look for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #communication #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation

  • The Oxymoron.

    I don’t know if you have ever gone out of control to gain control. I have and it was my intention to try to control others or situations in which I had no control. In the TV series, Funniest Home Videos, I am reminded of the man who is trying to start his weed eater. After pulling the rope multiple times and it not starting, he began to bang the weed eater on the concrete, turning it around, hitting the non-compliant engine as hard as he could, and bending and breaking every piece. He then threw it down and stomped away. How embarrassing, especially if the neighbors are watching. [BLIND SPOT] I don’t know if any of you have ever done that, or perhaps you might know someone who has. This is a case in point of allowing emotions to override intellect. Anxiety and intellect compete for the same brain resources. The more anxious I am the less intellectual. The more intellectual I am the less anxious. I view anxiety and intellect as inversely proportionate. When one goes up, the other goes down. Acting out of my anxiety is what I call “the oxymoron.” Going out of control to gain control. If I am calm, strategic, and intentional about starting the weed eater, I will pursue other methods of solving the problem. If I am very uptight and worried about finances, relationships, work, or children, rather than destroy the weed eater, I need to get myself under control by identifying and reducing the major stressors in my life. Being aware that my thinking influences my distress can be very freeing and extinguish anxiety before it gets a hold of my emotions. Resist the oxymoron; seek self-control! Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. PLEASE NOTE: Scroll down to sign up and publish your comments. Click "Sign Up" and log in with "your" email and password. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure it is you and avoid any discrepancies. Once you are signed up you will not have to sign up again, only log in if necessary. It only takes a sec and I want to thank you for your feedback. If you haven't already gotten your copy of my new book, it's available below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #relationshipsuccess #bettereveryday #blindspots #counselingworks #leadershipdevelopment #monday #mondaymotivation #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #bayharbourumc #relationshiptips #marriageandfamilytherapy #mondayvibes

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