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  • My thinking is not your thinking.

    I don’t know about you, but my mind becomes unbridled when I see or hear people say things or do things that I wouldn't. It is easy for me to be judgmental and criticize their decisions. Just the other day, I am sitting at a long traffic light. I have set through three lights already and now I'm about to make the next one when the light turns green. I have almost been patient, waiting for my turn to go. What?! The person in front of me decides to let two cars out of a driveway?! Now I'm stuck for another lengthy light. How rude and inconsiderate? How could they? Don't they know I'm in a hurry. It's easy to question the decisions of others especially if it gets in “my way of thinking.” Perhaps this causes me to feel out of control. Ouch! I have a friend, wink wink, who gets upset when things like this happen, especially when he's in a hurry. Another interesting situation is being in a long line at the grocery store and the person ahead of me is having a very engaging conversation with the checker. As they're being checked out, the story goes on and on. They are enjoying laughter, catching up, having a wonderful time together. Yeah, great for them but I'm holding only three small items and would like to get out so I can get on with my life. Then after the total comes up, the person begins to wonder how they're going to pay for it. Should I use cash or a card? When they finally decide, it takes forever to get the means of payment out and during that process their conversation continues. Wow! Do these people not have any empathy at all? What an interesting thought. Surely, I'm not the only one that's ever felt this way. What about the clothes some wear? Have you ever said to yourself or to another you wouldn't be caught dead wearing those clothes? Perhaps you or someone you know has said, “Her clothes are for teenagers not for the elderly.” These kinds of situations are endless. Oh, if you knew all the things I say to myself. Isn’t it fascinating how different we are and how easy it is to think others should think or do what we would do. What if I just looked at these situations as fascinating and not judgmentally? What if I looked at these situations as, “I'm not in control of what others think and do.” Blind Spot: others don’t think like me; rather than trying to control or be upset, it would be best if I sought self-control. Perhaps my life would be less negative, chaotic, and out of control. What about you? Can you relate to my situation? What will it take to disallow these experiences in life to dominate your thoughts and feelings? I am a work in progress, how about you? Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share, I appreciate your input. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about Myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #marriage #selfempowerment #fridayinspiration #mindset #thinking #MindOfChrist #mindovermatter #empoweryourself #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #humility #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #Friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation

  • Worry the Time Thief

    Worry is on a continuum from mild to chronic and everywhere in between. Worry is that ‘silent thief’ that steals our time and our energy. It has certainly been a characteristic I have continued to work with throughout my life. It is so easy to say don't worry, but remember, anxious people cannot hear facts. Before an anxious person can listen to what we have to offer, we must first emotionally connect with gently curious questions. So many fear acronyms imply that if we stopped worrying, our lives would improve. Wouldn't that be easy? Here are just a few F-E-A-R acronyms: False Evidence Appearing Real Forget Everything And Run Finding Excuses And Reasons Forget Everything And Relax There are many more acronyms and they are all meant to call attention, create calmness and change context for the person who is worried. For example, if my worry is on the lesser end of the continuum, these acronyms are a reminder that can reorient my thinking. If my worry is measured on the continuum at the midpoint or beyond, these acronyms fall short of being able to calm my concern. Worry leads to exaggerated stories of what might occur and what will happen if it does. I call it, “holding a mental picture of what I don’t want to have happen.” I often wonder, “Do I want others not to worry because it makes me uncomfortable when they do.” When I'm around someone who worries, I feel disconnected, distant, uninvolved, and sometimes blamed. I confess, when I'm worrying, others feel that same way. I want to help them so I can feel better. Crazy concept, huh? I remember when my sons first began to drive and had curfews. I recall as the curfew began to get closer to its expiration, I would make up worry stories about their safety. Are they okay? Will they be in before curfew? I wanted to hear the car in the driveway soon. Of course, this was all before cell phones. If curfew passed, my stories would get bigger, and I would think of accidents, legal issues, and all the things that could happen to a young teenager who is new to driving. I became a novelist and wrote chapter after chapter about what may possibly be going on. Oh, the stories I could make up. Was that a siren I just heard? Is it the police or an ambulance? Oh my! Do I need more faith? By the time they returned home, I was irate or quite unwelcoming. I would talk about their irresponsibility and their violation of the rules. My fear and worry were expressed in anger and not discussing what was actually going on with them or me. I presented as repelling and not attracting because my worried, made-up stories were conjecture and not complimentary at all. I questioned their intellect, logic, driving, judgment, and decision-making rather than trusting that they were taking good care of themselves. Logically, my only options were to pray, control myself, and not let worry and fear get the best of me. At this point, if I had heard the words "don't worry," they would have fallen on deaf ears. Self-control and joining with them by utilizing gently curious questions are the key. Without information, I make up what I fear and react as though it is true. This made-up story is usually far from the truth and not a good story. This is where I like to use the four questions that allow me to get more information which reduces my fear, anxiety, stress, and worry. What do I know about my identified worry? (In this case, it is they are not home yet) What do I not know about it? What can I do about it? What can I not do about it? Through these four inquiries, I now arrive at a logical and intelligent conclusion that gives me clarity and reduces my anxiety. Remember, when my anxiety is up, my intellect is down. How do you face your worry questions? Do you become a novelist? Can you see the benefit of gathering known facts to improve your intellect and subdue your anxiety? Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #worry #worryfree #worried #timeflies #anxiety #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts

  • Be Your Hero

    I don't know about you, but when I wake up without an agenda, it's effortless to doddle around, get my coffee, and plant myself in front of the TV. I melt into what someone else decides to fill my mind with. I see the ugly side of the world and call it news. I get drained because I'm helpless to stop the war, shootings, white-collar crimes, DUIs, political polarization, and the like. Hearing interviews where people are asked terrible questions like, "What is it like for your son to be shot?" What is it like to be buried alive in an earthquake, and did you expect to be rescued? I like to guard the privacy of someone in anguish or suffering personal circumstances. It is vital to know what is happening, I usually record the news and quickly review it for available updates and do not use my valuable time watching negative news and meaningless ads. When listening to my writing and speaking mentors, they have a routine that fits them. Getting up at a specific time and implementing things such as prayer, meditation, reading, exercise, and so on allow for more productive use of time. How much time do you have? Are you spending it wisely? What is your purpose? Time is precious. What will you trade your time for today? It is important to remember that we can’t get time back. I want to feel the day's success when I lay my head on my pillow at night. I want to have made a difference and to feel accomplished. I certainly enjoy a change of routine for the weekend, a chance to rest, rejuvenate, and recharge for the upcoming week. For years, I have heard the old saying, "if you want to change something, measure it." I like a written plan to measure each day and record my accomplishments. Consider money, screen time, family fun, worry time, and relationship time. Being intentional and strategic gives me confidence and puts me in a creative frame of mind. To say these words is easy; to read and agree with them is easy; implementation that is challenging. Is life in charge of you? Do others dictate your mood or thinking? Are you in control of your destination? Do you focus on what you cannot change? Writing down my routine and monitoring it daily is the key to my success. I have heard over and over from every one of my mentors to write it down and start slow and easy. Create success along the way and create opportunities to win. Jim Rohn says, "Small steps taken over time create tremendous success." Expecting rapid change is the killer of this concept. Focus on SMALL and OVER-TIME as the key to your success. Be your hero. Watch for the blind spots! Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #bettereveryday #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #marriage #marriagegoals #marriagematters #marriagecounseling #counseling #counselingmatters #mythinking #thinking #hero #beyourownhero #beyourownhealer #mindsetiseverything

  • The Sermon

    Jim is a veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, one tour in each country. Since getting out of the military, he has had issues with drugs, alcohol and legal problems from both tours. He was raised in a very modest home with a wonderful mother. I have met his daughters; they are the loveliest young ladies. They love their dad and volunteer with him whenever they can. His income is based on what he receives from the Veterans Administration benefits due to his wounds from the war. Looking at him, you might fear the exterior you see. He is an intimidatingly large man and dresses very humbly. I have been asking him to join our veterans' weekly Transition Plus meeting. He has been reluctant to join any group. Like so many veterans, he doesn't feel that anyone can understand what it's like to be exposed to what he has witnessed and endured. Jim is an example of what I call “cutting himself from the herd.” He is one of the kindest, sweetest warriors I've ever met, and he lives on "Volunteer Rd." That is, he volunteers to help the down and out any way he can. During our last hurricane, he volunteered to help flood victims clean their homes and cut out damaged sheetrock. He helped carry away fallen tree limbs and hauled debris from households out to the curb for city pickup. The recent tornado in our area found him joining with others to help wherever they could. His heart is as big as Dallas, though he has few personal possessions and a meager monthly check he always shares it with others who are less fortunate. (I know he buys his homeless friend a cheeseburger whenever he sees him.) Jim is divorced, maintains a good relationship with his ex-wife and he's very loyal to his mom and his daughters. He could claim to be a victim, and say life is unfair. He could blame his limp on the military and war. What does he do? He faces life like he is one of the wealthiest men around, one who has unlimited resources. By the way, if a veteran needs a ride to the hospital, he is there, providing he has enough gas. Jim is an example for all of us to model our lives. I give thanks to God that I get to know Jim. He is a veteran who has served his country and continues to serve where he can. I call him a true friend. He is who I can choose to be, he preaches as he lives. I would rather see a sermon than hear one. Thanks for your sermon, Jim. How hard would it be to be more like Jim? Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share, I appreciate your input. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about Myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #marriage #selfempowerment #fridayinspiration #mindset #empoweryourself #bayharbourumc #veterans #veteransupport #veteranlife #veteran #growthmindset #humility #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #Friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation

  • How or why?

    I know I need to do these things. Why can't I do what I say I want to do? What is getting in the way? I know it would be good for me, but I have yet to get to it. I want to improve my health, read more books, find a new job, and many other things. If I accomplished these things, life would be more enjoyable for me. This reminds me of two concise anecdotes. Anecdote 1—There are two large 20-story buildings side by side, 15 feet apart with a man on the roof looking across to the other building. There is a 20-foot plank, 1 foot wide on the roof of the building where he is standing. He was asked if he would put the plank across and crawl over to the other building. He replied with a quick, "Heck no." Then he was asked, "If the adjacent building was on fire and your son or daughter was on the rooftop 15 feet from you, would you cross the plank to save them from the fire?” “That is a no-brainer,” he said. Anecdote 2—In a very mountainous country, two warring tribes lived in the same proximity. One lives up on the top of a very high and rugged mountain. The other lives in the valley below. The mountain terrain is so rough that the tribes seldom have any contact. One evening the mountain tribe came down and stole a small girl and took her back to the top of their mountain. The elders of the valley tribe prepared to rescue the young girl early the following day. They waited until daylight to begin the climb with all the ropes and ladders they could carry and started the treacherous climb to rescue the small girl. The terrain was so rugged and challenging that they made it only 500 feet up the 2500-foot slope on the first day. Tired and bewildered, they stopped for the night to rest, eat and prepare for the next day. The second day was worse than the first making it only 400 feet up the mountain. After two days of rugged climbing, they are only 1/3 up the mountain. Again, the group retired from the climb to rest, eat and recharge. The morning broke, and as they began to prepare their ropes and ladders, they saw movement up the mountain. As they stopped to see what was happening, they saw the mother of the small girl coming down the mountain with her stolen daughter in her arms. When you know the why the how becomes easy. What do you want? Why do you want it?Is the why worth the effort to go for it? What do you want to do that still needs to be done? What is holding you back? What is stopping your big dreams? If you genuinely want to accomplish something, ask why you want it. If your why is powerful, the how becomes a no-brainer. A good friend of mine is going through cancer treatment. Why? Because he has a lot of life ahead to live. He is attacking the treatment with a vengeance. Watch for the blind spots! Please comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts

  • What will they say?

    They were at a large gathering of friends and family. It was a spring outing, the weather was picturesque, there were lots of joyful people visiting and enjoying conversation. Ralph stood up and asked all to be quiet. He wanted to tell them about Robin. It took him a few seconds to gather his composure. He said, “We have been together a long time. I have been blessed with a companion that has stuck with me through thick and thin. She has always taken the best care of me even when I didn’t know she was doing it. Our children could not have asked for a better mom, one who is fair and with great expectations. She was a mentor to us all. I could count on her to have my back and she saved me many times even times where I was totally unaware. She is resourceful in every way.” Wow! What amazing words to hear. It hasn't always been this good between them, but this is what Ralph wanted to portray about Robin. Does the good outweigh the bad? It sounds like this is true for Ralph. Remember, people use their experience of us to find words to talk about us. When we consider the roles we play in our lives, we find that they are numerous. We are spouses, parents, siblings, peers, coworkers, neighbors, employees, employers, and countless others. What script are we writing for them to use? This is a great exercise in self-development. Imagine the things that you would like to hear other people say and then remember we write their script. This is good and bad news. Good that we can use it going forward yet bad that we may have written unpleasant scripts in the past. This allows us to look into the future and provide others with the experience we want them to use to talk about us. It is an unconscious idea that I think needs to be made conscious. It is important to identify the shortcomings, the resentments or things that are preventing the relationship to be in harmony and equally important to keep the compliments and good things spoken. I happened to ask the question last week to a young couple who were having communication problems, “If you were both 95 years old and you had one last parting comment to make to the other, what would you say?” He said, “It has been a great ride.” She said, “I’m glad I met you.” These words were spoken with such love and sincerity that they brought about a much-needed close experience, because the contents of their conversation before were contentious. It caused them to look at each other from a very different perspective. Are you writing the script you want to hear? What do you want to hear as your parting words when you are 95+years old? Watch for the blind spots! Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #bettereveryday #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #marriage #marriagegoals #marriagematters #marriagecounseling #counseling #counselingmatters #mythinking #thinking #mindsetiseverything

  • Good or Bad?

    I can’t appreciate the good when I am focused on the bad. My friends Ralph and Robin were talking about their relationship. Both were majoring on each other’s minuses, that is focusing on the bad stuff. Blaming and rebuttal were pervasive. When one said something negative about the other, it was disregarded and met with an equal or more severe retort. You can see where this is going. Yes, it will end with very hurt feelings. Both will feel misunderstood, unheard, and resent each other even more. Does this sound familiar? The conversation degraded rapidly. The problem with a conversation like this is that it always ends with the "Achilles Heel comment." The showstopper. The statement that causes the emotions to hit a crescendo and the two walk away, with mumbling comments, “You’re a____________.” OUCH! It's a treacherous path to be able to share grievances in a way that leads to closeness. To get someone to hear what they don’t want to hear is sometimes so impossible that we give up. Little do we know that when we give up on this transaction, we are giving up on the relationship. It is so unapparent at the time and yet so predictable. It may take weeks, months, years, or even decades for this to occur. As I have posted before, this is where defensiveness, anger, and attack is spawned, and the crash occurs. Sharing grievances must be controlled so that it doesn’t get lost in the emotions. This is difficult and can sometimes be more effectively conveyed in written form. There must be some kind of buffer that doesn’t allow an automatic emotional response. It is so necessary to be clear about what is desired before this kind of conversation takes place. The more you can talk about yourself, the less charged the conversation will be. In my office, I slow the conversation down. I ask Robin to state one grievance about Ralph. Then I ask Ralph what he heard Robin say. If she thought, he heard her correctly then Ralph would state a grievance he had with Robin. Robin then repeats what she heard him say. If it was correct, she would continue with her next grievance. If Ralph did not think she heard it accurately he would restate it and Robin would say what she heard. This would be repeated until all of the grievances were properly expressed and heard. This is a controlled exercise and should be done under supervision. What makes this process effective is there is no discussion or explanation about a grievance. This is almost impossible without a mediator to keep them on track. The next step is to state what they appreciate about each other. This same process is repeated identifying good things about the other. It continues until all that they appreciate has been stated. It is amazing what happens when we can slow down the conversation so that each can feel heard. I believe two people in a healthy relationship do not want to do or say things that hurt the other. Some grievances are so significant that they cannot be overcome and are fatal to the relationship; however, airing their grievances can strengthen the relationship. It induces a resonant harmony that fuels understanding, joy, freedom, and connection. This shows the importance of identifying and removing the bad so that the good can be shared and appreciated. Are you looking for the good? If not, why not? Is majoring on each other’s minuses working for you and the relationship? Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share, I appreciate your input. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about Myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #marriage #selfempowerment #fridayinspiration #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation

  • I'm Right

    Once again Robin and Ralph find themselves struggling in their relationship. It appears every time there's a discussion, Ralph is in the wrong and feels terrible about himself. He seems to be unable to satisfy Robin, and she always seems to be one step ahead of him. Not being a mind reader, he’s having a terribly hard time keeping up with her thinking. He’s constantly apologizing and attempting to figure out how to live so that he does not cause problems for Robin. Interestingly enough, Robin is having problems with their oldest adult daughter. As a mother she doesn't do things right and it displeases Robin. Nothing that Robin suggests for parenting her grandchildren appears to be good enough for them. She understands that they should have a set schedule for bedtime, meals, electronics, and everything else that comes with being a child. Robins’ frustration keeps her daughter exasperated, she seldom calls and is unavailable when Robin tries to get in touch with her. To add to this, she is perplexed because Ralph comes home late, finds things to do without her on the weekends and she tells him this not healthy for their marriage. Always being “right” in relationships can be deadly to its existence. If one must feel right, the other gets to be wrong. No one likes to lose the preponderance of the time. Self-righteousness is a blind spot that causes us to ignore our own flaws while imposing our own way of thinking and morality on others. This comes off as annoying to others and causes defensiveness. It creates a “holier than thou” inequity. This is an extremely repelling behavior. So how do you deal with being self-righteous? First, you must be able to hear feedback from others. Second, recognize that your conversation is causing others to feel uncomfortable. Thirdly, understand that doing this makes people want to leave your presence. This is not easy to hear and even more difficult to admit and change. Here are a few tips: Study and show empathy. Watch out for being judgmental. Listen intently to others. If you must be assertive, show humility. Identify your own biases. Robin’s desire to help and guide others is not bad. Her life knowledge and wisdom have served her well, but it is upsetting to others when they do not understand the purpose of her comments and advice. Great advise can be discounted if it is not spoken in a gentle and caring manner. When Robin can impart her knowledge and be humble, she will be viewed in a totally different way. The goal for Robin is to be respected for her insight rather than be perceived as someone who spews their expertise on others. Self-righteousness is extremely repelling and is difficult to accept. Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #alwaysright #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #selfrighteous #KnowItAll #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts

  • Reputation Thief

    Ralph and George are talking in the coffee shop about a coworker who has cuts on her wrists. Without any concrete knowledge, they are speculating about what must be happening in her life. Regardless of the reason behind the cutting, she is not portrayed favorably to them. The speculation or stories they are telling themselves become their truths and they will spread these stories whether true or not. Because it is presented as truth now it becomes easy to share their conversation about her with others; sometimes intentional and other times it is just getting caught up in the culture of conversation. Gossip—that casual or unrestrained conversation or report about other people without their knowledge. It is generally derogatory and typically involves information that is unconfirmed. Gossip can spread rapidly and cover a large number of people in a very short time. It can be rumors or facts; either way, they are harmful to those to whom they are about. Gossip is a reputation thief. It can destroy a person’s self-confidence and lead to other mental crisis such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and a host of others. Gossipers ruin reputations, alienate friends, and can produce forms of social aggression. Gossipers can be seen as untrustworthy assassins of character. It is important to remember that the people who spread gossip about others are the ones who will also spread gossip and rumors about you. In the workplace, gossip attracts both notice and attention, as gossipers like the feeling of being frequently sought out for updates. The break room is an incubator for dishing out some juicy negative tidbit about a mutual coworker or leader. It's easy to get sucked into the conversation, and just as fascinating to watch it come to an abrupt halt when someone else enters. Oops! Focusing on private or personal affairs behind another’s back fractures teams trust and productivity and when it becomes unsafe to discuss common problems or issues about specific individuals or groups, private chats or parking lot talk emerge. If this is not addressed by the leadership and authorities, it will be discussed elsewhere, with no resolution and the workplace will continue to fracture. Leadership and authorities must allow a place for feedback so that it prevents their employees from “going underground” to talk about the problems. It is no different in family or social settings. Gossip creates fractures, builds coalitions, and breeds a negative atmosphere. Gossip and rumors are threats and shatter precious relationships. Families need to be sanctuaries where people feel the safest. When insults, ridicule, gossip, bullying, and other disparaging remarks are permitted, it becomes a minefield. So, what do you do with gossip? If it is you, STOP IT! Stand up and do as much as you can to salvage and protect the ones who are not present from these destructive conversations. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” I understand that eliminating gossip appears to be an impossible task, but simple awareness can help reduce its spread. Be the hero not the goat. Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #counselingmatters #mythinking #thinking #mindsetiseverything #gossip #gossipmill #rumors #reputationmatters

  • Tell a fish it's in the water?

    Ralph and Robin were in their kitchen having a discussion. Their emotions began to rise. Robin attempted to explain her point of view and was continually interrupted by Ralph. The more she felt she couldn't express herself because of his interruptions, the more anger she presented. Her demeanor hooked his anger, and the eruption of accusations, fault finding, bringing up the past, and dredging up old wounds resulted in her leaving the room with more hurt and pain than before. The difficulty with telling someone they are angry is like telling a fish it's in the water. (That is if you could say that to a fish.) It is such a blind spot, and the conversation degrades into an unrecognizable mince of words. The original conversation has disappeared, and it is now only about winning a fight. This is more a natural feeling than abnormal because who wants to lose? Amazingly, an angry person doesn't notice when they lean in, speak loudly, act intimidating, use strong words, or try to subdue the other. And it's interesting how bringing up these angry tendencies only provokes greater anger and denial. Anger in relationships represents our automatic survival mechanism. Yes, the fight, flight, or flee mode. None of these work in resolving a disagreement peacefully. If the fly or freeze mode is taken, the argument is pushed into the future and usually erodes into an angry fight that, interestingly enough no one can win. Yes, in an angry fight, everyone loses. I also hate the thought of others, particularly innocent children, becoming collateral damage as a result of hurtful words. When the parents of a family are fractured, the children suffer the most. I have witnessed anger too many times in my office. Protruding veins, wrinkled faces, occasional spatter, and sharp, piercing words appear without the person knowing they are angry. Anger can feel so appropriate at that moment and is not easily ended. The angry person is unaware of the damage and collateral damage it produces. It is only currently perceived as the appropriate way to deal with the situation at that moment. What is not seen is the unappealing and unattractive nature of anger just to prove a point or win an argument. The unseen results of anger are fear, broken trust, distancing, and brokenness. Anger might stem from a lack of control. Carrying too much emotional baggage is another source. Another example is being unaware of one's emotional maturity. Anger is one of the most prominent blind spots I see in relationships. Going out of control to gain control is an oxymoron. So is telling a fish they are in the water. Can you recognize and admit when you become angry? Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share, I appreciate your input. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about Myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #bettereveryday #changeyourlife #marriage #selfempowerment #fridayinspiration #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #friday #fridayvibes #fridaymotivation #angry #anger #angerissues

  • Toxic Shame

    Shame is a deadly feeling or emotion that cripples interpersonal and external relationships. Shame highlights the weak points within. It can be a convenient source of defensiveness as we read on Monday. Shame is what is handed to us by others. Their denigrating comments, or gestures are the source of shame, as are being teased, ridiculed, or put down. It's difficult to accept or understand if you don't experience it, just like so many other emotions. It is likely to hear the comment, “Just get over it, it is not that bad.” Oh, how I wish that would be the answer. Shame cripples the inner self as well as relationships. My first four years of schooling were in a two-room schoolhouse in Tankersley, Texas. It was a small rural school. The first, second and third grades were in one room and the fourth, fifth and sixth were in the other. The West Texas Boy's Ranch was a major source of students. This was a ranch for boys who suffered from family violence or were unable to be a part of their family for various reasons. This concept scared me because I was very dependent on my mom and dad, and I couldn’t imagine living away from them. Man, these boys were rough and tough and to a frail boy like me, it was frightening. They bullied and teased me until emotional survival became paramount in my life. I learned to avoid, wheedle, please, and do whatever was necessary to exist in that environment. I certainly do not blame anyone for the experience, it was just life for me at that time and perhaps I did learn some skills that have helped me over the years. It did cause me to have empathy for these boys, yet it was empathy from afar. When I changed schools, the school was so big it had three fifth grade classes! This put me into another situation that was difficult because these kids were much more affluent and much brighter than I. My desire to be accepted failed due to me trying to cover my shame by being a bit grandiose. I was the only one that didn’t see through it and when I finally did it produced more shame. So, I struggled with not being enough for many years. Again, this is not blaming my past but exposing it, looking to the future and what’s next. How do I get rid of this ingrained negative thought pattern of feeling unworthy? Recognizing and looking for ways of dealing with shame has been the way out for me. Self-talk, identifying the negative story I am telling myself, then acting as if it was true has made me aware of my contribution to self-induced unworthiness. Today I tell myself positive stories as if they are true and it lifts my spirit. Some of the blind spots I have struggled with in my relationships have been anger, defensiveness, rationalization, and turning situations around so that I am not the problem, among other outward behaviors that have pushed others away over the years. Ouch, what a disaster I unknowingly created. Thank God I had the courage to persist until I succeeded. Shame is a toxin that contributes to the demise of relationships. If you're not familiar with it, I recommend doing some research on it. If you suffer from shame, seek professional help to deal with it in a healthy way. This is not a solution for dealing with shame, but rather an opportunity to examine how it contributes to unhealthy relationships. Does shame permeate your relationships? It is a major source of problems in relationships. Watch for the blind spots. Please comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #Shame #changeyourlife #selfempowerment #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #livefulldieempty #LiveFull #thankfulwednesday #WednesdayWisdom #wednesdaymotivation #WednesdayThoughts

  • The Hazard of Defensiveness

    Last week I relayed the story about Ralph and Robin having difficulty expressing themselves in a way that the other could understand and appreciate. Hearing what could be construed as a complaint or fault from the one you love can stimulate the feeling of defensiveness. I see that it can be challenging to identify or acknowledge defensiveness in some circumstances because doing so requires admitting you are wrong or the need for change. The level of defensiveness is related to feelings of self-worth. If I feel unworthy, put down, criticized, or demeaned in any manner and my self-worth is very low, I will react in a very unpleasant way to attempt to overcome the wretched feelings of self-doubt. If I am feeling good about myself, goodness becomes a shield impervious to words of harm. When faced with the prospect of vehemently defending myself, I resort to defensiveness. But what am I protecting? Is it my dignity, pride, or desire to appear favorable? Regardless of the answer, defensiveness works to ward off unwanted negative feelings. I want to disown what I might have done. I may not want to admit irresponsible acts or behaviors that hurt another. Seeing myself as a failure may not be a place I can go. So, it is easier to start a conversation that shifts responsibility to the other and turn it around on them. Attacking the other is an attempt to change the culpability from the person feeling like a victim. If I can get the conversation turned to you, then I am out of the spotlight and don’t have to experience the shame or guilt that damages my self-worth. But in this situation, anger fueled by a loss of self-worth results and the discussion is ended. The results of this kind of conversation also depends on the anger level. It leads to more fractures and unfinished business, which is then added to the already bubbling cauldron of similar discussions and is used as fuel for future arguments. The higher the anger level, the worse the fracture. If defensiveness is the result of poor self-esteem, how is that overcome? The explanation seems easy, but the change is difficult. Again, it depends on the level of unworthiness. The first step may be to acknowledge that there is a problem with unworthiness. It is beneficial to practice saying and hearing good and positive things. Stopping the negative self-talk that keeps this circle in motion often yields fantastic results. This is not a cure for defensiveness. It is an idea, to bring it to the surface, to help identify a blind spot in relationships. Defensiveness can be overcome with conscious determination, acceptance, and strategic intentional focus. Can you accept defensiveness as a possible irritant in your unhealthy relationships? What an unlikely topic—defensiveness! Yet it is one of the hidden and most deadly issues in relationships. Watch for the blind spots. Feel free to comment, like, and share these posts. You can get a copy of my book below. Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't know about myself #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymorning #mondaythoughts #blindspots #beahero #inspiration #lesbrown #counselingworks #mindsetmatters #herosjourney #bettereveryday #mindset #bayharbourumc #growthmindset #emotionalmaturity #resetyourmind #defensiveness #defensive #counselingmatters #mythinking #thinking #mindsetiseverything

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