Relationship Advice – Tip of the Week

Got Stress in your [tag-tec]Relationship[/tag-tec]?

relationship tension

Do you want to relieve some of the [tag-tec]stress and tension in your relationships[/tag-tec]? If so… Learn the difference between reacting to a situation and responding to it. You might ask, why would this make any difference to me ?

Reacting versus Responding

We say this over and over again, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice. Almost every time I find myself upset, frustrated, or confused about my relationships, if I look close enough, I always discover that I’m reacting unconsciously to something that’s happening in the situation. This unconscious reaction has become a habitual pattern–created from my old negative limiting beliefs. When I discovered that over 50% of all my stress and tension came from the fact that I was reacting rather than responding in situations I was able to start down the path to creating more [tag-tec]happy, healthy satisfying relationships[/tag-tec].

So what’s the difference between reacting in responding…

In the Art of Conscious Connection eCourse, we define reacting, re-enacting past behavior based on my habitual patterns and limiting beliefs, opposed to responding–which we define as, the ability to take respon-sibility for what occurs and make conscious choices about what to do and how we want to act.

How do you begin taking respon-sibility?

The first and easiest step to start practicing responding rather than reacting is to notice how you feel–am I tense, uncomfortable, irritated… As soon as you notice any emotion that is less than enjoyable, STOP and ask yourself these questions: “Am I about to do or say something that I might regret? Is there something I want to consciously do or say in the situation that is different than I was about to do?

You might be surprised at how differently things start to go in your relationships.

As Einstein said, the definition of Insanity is, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Until next time…

with love and a commitment to your happiness


Relationship Advice – Tidbit of the Week

Tag: Personal Growth,Relationship AdviceBeth and Neill

This Weeks Relationship Advice Tidbit

Are you enjoying all your relationships? How would you like some relationship advice that is guaranteed to Help.

We believe the quality of our life is created by the quality of our relationships. Think about it, unless you’ve chosen the life of a solitary monk living in a cave, your life is filled with one relationship after another. Your family and friends, the people you work with, the person that delivers your mail. Even all those momentary relationships you have with salespeople, servers and restaurants, and the clerk in the grocery store. The list goes on and on.

How much more wonderful would your life be, if each time you interacted with another person you both left feeling satisfied?

Are there any you would like to improve? Are you enjoying the relationships you have with your all your family and friends, what about your boss, colleagues or employees. How is your relationship going with your kids?

The Gift Of Presence

If you want to improve, enrich and strengthen your relationships, we suggest the very first step is learning to give the gift of presence. Now, we don’t mean anniversary, birthday or Christmas presents…  The presence that we’re talking about is the gift of listening to the other person without thinking about yourself at all.

“If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening.” ~Marge Piercy

Being present for another person doesn’t mean just hearing their words without you talking. It involves you putting your self aside for a moment so that you can really hear what’s important to the other person. When you give the gift of presence, you’re not only demonstrating to the other person that you care about them, you’re also opening the only door to discovering solutions that will be satisfying for everyone.

So next time you notice yourself starting to defend your position, believing you’re right, thinking that the other person is wrong, or giving the other person advice about how to change, STOP… and try giving the gift of presence. What if you got to lose, except maybe a whole bunch of stress, frustration, and pain.

If you’d like to discover other related relationship advice articles, you can start by reading: “Are You Playing Together So That Everyone Has Fun?”

Committed to your success,

Why People Become Relationship Terrorists

First of all, I dislike using labels such as “terrorist.” Labels such as these tend to dehumanize the person we’re talking about and help perpetuate a culture of “enemy images.” And “enemy images” are the driving force that perpetuates terrorism.

But to unwrap this label, let’s agree that terrorism means: “the systematic use of fear, especially as a means of coercion.” The question that comes to my mind is: How could anyone come to believe that using fear to influence someone else to do what we want is the best strategy? (Just look at the history of the Middle East if you want to see how ineffective this strategy is at truly resolving issues.)

Well, the best answer I’ve found to this question has to do with how we unwittingly adopt our culture’s beliefs and then unquestioningly act on them. I haven’t seen anyone who explains this more succinctly than this talk given by …

Dan Dennett: On ants, terrorism, and the awesome power of meme

Here’s one of those talks that can change your view of the world forever. Starting with the deceptively simple story of an ant, Dan Dennett unleashes a dazzling sequence of ideas, making a powerful case for the existence of “memes” — a term coined by Richard Dawkins for mental concepts that are literally alive and capable of spreading from brain to brain. On the way, look out for:
+ a powerful one-sentence secret of happiness
+ a compelling insight into terrorists’ motivation
+ a chilling view of Islam
And just when you think you know where the talk’s heading, it dramatically shifts direction and questions some of western culture’s fundamental assumptions.
This Is Unmissable.

After viewing this talk, it’s not hard to understand how a dangerous set of relationship memes has hijacked most of the brains in today’s culture, and why people end up acting the way they do on “dating” and Survivor type reality shows.

Fascinating stuff! What do you think?

Committed to Your Success,
Neill Gibson

Relationship Advice – Simple but Not Always Easy

Tag: Personal Growth,Relationship AdviceNeill Gibson

Black and White Relationship Skills

No, I’m not talking about ethnicity, I’m talking about simplicity. Whenever I’m looking to improve the quality of a relationship, be more productive, or get through my next AFGO, Occam’s razor always seems to apply. “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.”

In this case, I’m talking about the simplest way to interpret what I’m working on. So, for example let’s say, as is so often the case, I’m working on my ability to hear what other people say in ways that are more enjoyable, more accurate, and produce more of the results that we both want.

Does that sound like something you’d like?

I’ve learned that of the simplest possible ways to hear what people are saying is to figure out if they’re saying “I need” or “I’m grateful.” Put it another way, whenever I can remember, I try to hear whatever people say as either “please” or “thank you.”

Is it Please or Thank You?

Sometimes it’s easy to tell which is which: “Would you take the trash out before we leave?” “That was a great dinner!”

It’s pretty obvious which of these is please and which is thank you. It seems much more challenging if we hear someone blaming, criticizing, or excuse making, using statements like:

  • “Idiot! Don’t you know how to drive!”
  • “Why are you wasting time on that?”
  • “You never keep your promises!”
  • “It’s not my fault that …”
  • “I forgot to …”

Again, it’s obvious that these are definitely not “thank you,” so they must be “please.” Unfortunately, they are please said in a suicidal way. Suicidal because saying please in these ways is likely to kill the possibility of getting the underlying needs met.

1. Have Need …  2. Take Aim at Foot …  3. Pull Trigger!

The sad thing is, it seems the more important, urgent, or critical the need is, the more likely people will express it in these suicidal ways. Ways that are likely to trigger the heck out of the people they are actually saying please to.

Most reality TV shows are a great place to watch this in action and to practice identifying which times people are saying please and which times they are saying thank you. Whether you use a reality TV show, or your personal relationships for practice, notice how the more hurt and more angry a person is, the more likely they are to express please in the form of blame, criticism, judgment, excuses, etc.

Kind of sad isn’t it?

What’s the Point of Hearing Please or Thank You?

How does hearing please or thank you help me have conversations that are more enjoyable, more accurate, and produce more of the results that we both want? It helps me remember that any form of blame, criticism, judgment, or excuse is the other person expressing a need. And that the more hurt or angry a person sounds the more desperate they are for help, and scared that the need won’t be met.

And if I’m able to hear a person desperately wanting help with their need, I’m much less likely to be triggered by the suicidal way they’re saying please, and much more likely to find in me the compassion to hear their need and to offer my help.

And giving with joy is the most fun game I’ve found to play so far in my life.

What Happens if You Try Hearing Everything as Please or Thank You?

I’d be interested in hearing what you think about listening to people this way. Even more interested in hearing about your experience if you try it.

It occurs to me that some of you might be wondering which bucket you’d put “yes” and “no” in. You might be surprised to hear that I never hear people say “no.” But that’s a different blog post. :~)

Until then …

Committed to Your Success,

Neill Gibson

How to Have more Fun Dealing with Hard to Deal with People

Are there people in your life who drive you crazy?

Do you ever have trouble enjoying the time you spend with certain people–even though you may like or even love them? Are there people in your life who you only spend time with when it’s unavoidable?

Everyone we know has certain people in their lives who drive them a little nuts. Often this prevents them from initiating contact, even if these people are family or long time friends.

So what do you do then?

If you’ve ever asked yourself this question then you may want to try a practice we’ve developed that makes spending time with these people a little more enjoyable. The first part of the practice is to remember that everyone is always doing the best that they possibly can.

They’re doing the best they can?

This may sound a little simplistic or even a bit ridiculous, but this practice really does have the power to radically affect your ability to enjoy yourself with these people. And they don’t need to change a bit for this to happen.

However, embracing this practice is much easier said than done. Whether you have a parent who seems to show constant disapproval, a coworker that never stops talking, a cousin who continuously whines about everything that’s wrong in their life, or whoever it is that does whatever they do — the truth is they REALLY are doing the best they can.

How can we know this is true? Well, think about it for a moment. If they are driving you crazy; do you think other people love this behavior? If you are hesitant to be around them; do you think others are eager to be with them? Do they seem genuinely happy while they’re doing whatever it is that bugs you? Does their behavior seem fun for them or effective at helping them get what they truly want? We tend to doubt it.

So if they knew a better way to relate to people — one that they enjoyed more, that they recognized others enjoyed more, and that was more effective at meeting whatever needs motivate their behavior — don’t you think they’d do it that way instead?

They are just trying (unsuccessfully) to be happier.

The first part of the practice we suggest is to see that everything they do is the result of trying to get their needs met or to experience something they value. The problem is that: 1) they just haven’t learned how to get to the core of what is most important to them, and 2) they haven’t yet learned how to behave in ways that help them get what they want.

So, the next time you are with your cousin and he starts complaining and whining about all the problems in his life, first remember he’s doing the best he can. Then, if you want to go a little deeper and have even more fun, you can start applying the second part of the practice, which is playing the Values Guessing Game.

How do you play?

The game is played like this. You start by asking yourself:
“If I was acting like this what would I value that I either want to receive or to contribute in this moment?” Then guess.

Here are a couple of examples.

If your cousin is complaining about his woes in life, and then you ask yourself why you have ever complained to anyone else about anything, you might guess something like, “It sounds like you’d like a little understanding for how hard a time you’re having with this?” Or, “I guess it would be a relief to know that someone cared about how you’re doing these days?” Or maybe, “I wonder if you’d like some support about how to take care of that problem?”

You see, he would probably value the relief he’d get from some understanding, caring, and support. This isn’t mind reading; it’s a guessing game that you play so you can have more fun in the conversation

What if you hear that your mother disapproves of how you’re managing your love life? You ask yourself why you ever offered relationship advice to one of your friends, and then you might guess, “It sounds like you care about me and it’s important to you that I have a happy and successful relationship?” You see, she probably cares and just wants to contribute to you and her disapproving words are the best way she knows how to help you be happy and successful in your relationships.

Being Right or Being Happy?

The guessing game is not about trying to be right;  it’s about trying to connect with them. They’ll let you know whether or not your guess is accurate. And either way they’ll most likely have something else to say, which is just another opportunity to play. And this is not about trying to change the other person; it’s about trying to enjoy yourself more.

We know this may not be the most enjoyable way for you to hear a request for caring and support from someone in need or to receive help for improving your love life. Even so, you’ll be amazed at what can happen when you stop wanting the people in your life to be different than they are, start to recognize they’re simply doing the best they can, and then start playing the Values Guessing Game with them.

Give it a try. We guarantee your time with them will immediately start being more fun for you. (And don’t be surprised if they start seeming a little bit different too.)

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