Tag Archive: confrontation

Worse or better?

 

I was reminded a few days ago of how we can set ourselves up for making things worse instead of better.  It was a good friend of mine who reminded me: she was upset with a mutual friend, and didn’t know how to let our friend know how upset she was. She “solved” this problem, at least temporarily, by getting a migraine, so that she couldn’t talk this issue over with our friend.

She’d made things worse for herself, instead of better: now she had a debilitating migraine and the necessary conversation was waiting for her to worry about for a while longer.

If you’ve never done this, you’re rare. Most of us find a way to sabotage ourselves, usually subconsciously or unconsciously. If something scares us enough, some of us would rather go through an elective operation than deal with that something.

If you do find yourself going to ridiculous extremes instead of facing something scary here’s three things you can do to help you through it in a better way:

Ground yourself. When I’m anxious, most of my energy is in my chest, somewhere near my throat. When I’m grounded, it’s closer to my belly button; I feel anchored to the ground beneath me. For me, I have come to know what that feels like. I call it “being landed”. Take some time when you’re in a calm space and learn what being grounded feels like for you. Then do whatever it takes to get there when you need to. Meditation, deep breathing, a long walk … whatever works for you. Being anywhere else when you need to do something scary means you’re more likely to screw up. You increase your chance of success when you approach anything difficult from a grounded place.

Get honest. Astonishingly easily, I can fool myself into thinking I am being open and above-board when I’m really not. Especially when I feel hurt. Before addressing a sensitive issue, especially with a friend, make sure you are clear about your part, and don’t begin the talk with any judgments or accusations. Be clear about the issue rather than your opinions.  For instance, if I find myself wanting to point an accusing finger at someone, I know I’m being dishonest with myself, and that, for me, holding off until I no longer feel the need to do this, is the better way.

Open your heart. We are human – you are, I am, everyone is. And as such, we are capable of making mistakes and hurting others.  Going into a confrontation with a generous heart can make the difference between increasing a problem or resolving it. This isn’t the same as being naive, or of shuttering your awareness, or of adopting a “Polyanna” overly objective attitude. I’m guilty of doing that – not wanting to believe that someone I think well of is deliberately being a nuisance – so much easier to find fault in myself. You don’t have to do this to enter a confrontation with an open heart, if you’re grounded, and honest with yourself.

Worse or better? It’s sometimes really hard to go for better. In the end, it’s always worth it.

Our dangerous obsession with perfectionism is getting worse

 

Quote of the Week 

I don’t answer. I shut my eyes and hold my breath and hope whoever it is will think I’m not here and go home.”  ― Jennifer Weiner, Who Do You Love

Announcements 

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co .

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Worse or better?

 

I was reminded a few days ago of how we can set ourselves up for making things worse instead of better.  It was a good friend of mine who reminded me: she was upset with a mutual friend, and didn’t know how to let our friend know how upset she was. She “solved” this problem, at least temporarily, by getting a migraine, so that she couldn’t talk this issue over with our friend.

She’d made things worse for herself, instead of better: now she had a debilitating migraine and the necessary conversation was waiting for her to worry about for a while longer.

If you’ve never done this, you’re rare. Most of us find a way to sabotage ourselves, usually subconsciously or unconsciously. If something scares us enough, some of us would rather go through an elective operation than deal with that something.

If you do find yourself going to ridiculous extremes instead of facing something scary here’s three things you can do to help you through it in a better way:

Ground yourself. When I’m anxious, most of my energy is in my chest, somewhere near my throat. When I’m grounded, it’s closer to my belly button; I feel anchored to the ground beneath me. For me, I have come to know what that feels like. I call it “being landed”. Take some time when you’re in a calm space and learn what being grounded feels like for you. Then do whatever it takes to get there when you need to. Meditation, deep breathing, a long walk … whatever works for you. Being anywhere else when you need to do something scary means you’re more likely to screw up. You increase your chance of success when you approach anything difficult from a grounded place.

Get honest. Astonishingly easily, I can fool myself into thinking I am being open and above-board when I’m really not. Especially when I feel hurt. Before addressing a sensitive issue, especially with a friend, make sure you are clear about your part, and don’t begin the talk with any judgments or accusations. Be clear about the issue rather than your opinions.  For instance, if I find myself wanting to point an accusing finger at someone, I know I’m being dishonest with myself, and that, for me, holding off until I no longer feel the need to do this, is the better way.

Open your heart. We are human – you are, I am, everyone is. And as such, we are capable of making mistakes and hurting others.  Going into a confrontation with a generous heart can make the difference between increasing a problem or resolving it. This isn’t the same as being naive, or of shuttering your awareness, or of adopting a “Polyanna” overly objective attitude. I’m guilty of doing that – not wanting to believe that someone I think well of is deliberately being a nuisance – so much easier to find fault in myself. You don’t have to do this to enter a confrontation with an open heart, if you’re grounded, and honest with yourself.

Worse or better? It’s sometimes really hard to go for better. In the end, it’s always worth it.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here. If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co 

Hard talks

 

I’m conflict-averse. How about you? My dear friend, Andy, says he’s conflict-averse, but I don’t know anyone who deals with conflict and confrontation better than he does. When confronted with a conflict, he’s always available, fair-minded, and to the point. And what happens is that the conflict dissappears.

I’m talking about those times when you either keep quiet and sit on something that bothers you, or speak up and bear the consequences.  You might imagine the consequences will be big and painful, and that will keep you quiet. Then feel bad because you didn’t speak up. And, to compound the bad feeling, end up berating yourself for being such a coward.

Sometimes it’s true, the consequences are as bad as you imagine. But not always, and there are ways of mitigating them. It could be that you’re right in what you believe, but not great at effectively managing the confrontation, or being respectful of the other person.

Dr. Deborah Plummer, author of “Some of My Friends re…”, spoke recently at a Psychology gathering on conflict management. She advocates that when the goal is to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion, it might be better to opt for being effective and respectful instead of right.

Here are some of her examples: When the other person is…

  • Racist in some way, she suggests that you approach them with curiosity, looking for common values rather than blaming and shaming;
  • Not well-informed, focus on gathering common facts and testing assumptions (theirs and yours) instead of trying to “educate” them;
  • Being authoritarian, respond as an adult (rational) instead of a child-like (dependent) position, in order to shift the dynamic;
  • Demonstrates bad logic or bad thinking, recognize that you aren’t going to be able to change that, and move on with grace.

With every one of these examples, there is a common factor – maintaining your own inner balance and openness to the other. Once closed, none of us can deal well with conflict.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Stressing out again?

I’ve encountered a few personal issues lately that could, if I let them, stress me out. Dealt successfully with one yesterday, and dealing with the other today.

In the middle of all this, I recall a client asking me how she could help herself cope with a stressful living issue that she couldn’t immediately change. I am constantly learning from my clients, and thought I’d give what we jointly came up with a try.

What stresses me most is confrontation. I don’t like having someone’s finger pointed at me; I don’t like being judged and blamed. Hate it, in fact.

My immediate reaction is anger, even rage. And I don’t like feeling rage … I want the world and everyone in it to be fair, adult, and just.

Well, put that way, I can see that my desire is pure fantasy. Not that the real world is a dark place, but people – me included – can be unfair, dishonest in ways that fool even them, and definitely judgmental.

So, following the advice of that long ago collaboration, here’s what I did:

  • I acknowledged my pain – my worry, my anger and rage – as legitimate and real.  I do this because it’s easy for me to discount my own feelings.
  • Then, I deliberately altered my perspective by taking deep and anchoring breaths, and thinking about all the good things in my life. Those good things make anything else that happens seem a lot less focal.  This exercise effectively puts things into perspective for me – and that’s a good place to be.
  • And now I have a better chance of dealing with the latest issue – even-handedly and with good perspective.

No magic wand. No clever trick. Just self-acknowledgment, making space, and upping my perspective.

Marie Forleo – Stress

Burning the Candle?
If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online programBURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!

Quote of the Week

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.
― David Mamet, Boston Marriage
Announcement
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

Confronting Mirrors

confronting

Have you ever been so committed to an idea or issue or movement that you have a hard time seeing any point of view but your own? I have, and am right now.  I want a particular person to be included at a big event next week because I believe he has something important to contribute. I believe this so much that I’m finding it almost impossible to hear the view of any nay sayers.

How could these people not see what I see? …  It’s so obvious! … I say to myself.

Then at some point I realize that I’ve done nothing but talk to myself, even if I talked to the others who I’m convinced won’t agree with me. Why? Because I’ve filtered what they’re saying and hear only what agrees with my foregone conclusions.

I miss the chance to really hear what they’re saying. It might be that they believe there’s simply no room for an extra person; or that if this person comes then so should their friend. It might even be that they  agree with me. Or that I caught them on a day their dog got lost.

Not missing what is on their minds means I can allow their concerns to register, mirroring back to them what they’re saying, and offering them a chance, in turn, to mirror my concerns back to me.

Confrontation can happen in one of two ways: either to win over the other person, or to take the conversation to a new level. The first is like a one-way mirror; the secnd like a window into each other’s soul.

From Martha Beck: Don’t be the light. Be the window.

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .