Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities

Rights are the same for everyone.

We all have the same rights, the rights of a human being, of someone who matters.  We all matter.   For instances we all have the right to be heard, the right to have our needs and desires attended to, the right to be safe, to feel safe, the right to make our own choices, the right to equality and empowerment.

These basic rights do not change with a role change.  What changes with a role change are the responsibilities.  Each role has its own responsibilities associated with it.

No one’s rights change when their role changes.

Too often people gain a position of relative power and they think they have gained more rights.  They think their entitlements have changed.  They are wrong, what changes are their responsibilities.  They may think they now have:

The right for more respect:   No!   Respected is earnt, not claimed.

The right to tell others what to do:   No!   Everyone has the right of choice.   Instead often the role change requires more responsibility to inspire and empower.

The right to control:   No!   The role may be to set the goal, the tasks, the standards, and ensure the outcomes.  However with it comes the responsibility to empower and create an enabling environment.   Thus a role’s associated responsibility may include the respectful use of inspiration, empowerment, alignment (get people on board) and accountability (follow through on agreement).

When your role changes what changes is your responsibilities.  

We all have the responsibility to provide required resources, inspiration, empowerment and accountability related to our roles.

We all have the responsibility to develop our skill set for our roles, at the same time we have the right of choice to claim ownership of our responsibilities, effectively our life.

Will you claim your right to take ownership of your role and build your ability to fulfil your responsibilities?  Or will you fall for the idea of a right to control and blame others. Will you attempt to claim the rights you think come with the role?  It’s your choice.  That is a basic right after all.

If you want to practice the art of Respectful Communication and Relationships ask yourself what your responsibilities are for each of your roles and how do you fulfil them. I promise it is not via demanding others do as you want them to.  Demanding what you want builds resistance, resentment and wastes resources.  Inspiring, building mutual purpose and developing the ability to fulfil and enact role purpose within those you are responsible for is far easier and effective.   At the same time it does require having a team that is on board.  This requires clarity of purpose and values.

Act now. The two key first actions:

  1. Get clear on your first choice. Do you want to be a controller or a cooperative empowerer?   Do you want to be part of the new world order where respect is a guiding principle and equality rules?
  2. Get clear on your personal values.  If your not sure how to do this watch out for the next article, it will explain the how and why.


Achieving Respectful Communication and Relationships Part II: The second what continued.

What will it take to achieve Respectful Communication and Relationships?

In the previous post we saw connection and congruence as foundational for Respectful Communication and Relationships.  It was also noted that disconnection is the result of emotional wounds.  While prevention of emotional wounds is best, the ability to live with connection and personal congruence might require the use of some healing techniques.  The total prevention of psychologically wounds, just like physical ones, is not realistic, they happen.

However self-care, not the fluffy ‘oh treat time’ stuff, rather the real deal responses to genuine needs, including self-determination, can go a long way to reducing the incidence and impact of psychological wounds.

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Social Secret 3

Because many of us are not taught how to effectively and respectfully practice genuine self-care, self-care is the third Social Secret for enhancing our ability to practice Respectful Communication and Relationships.   When we are well nourished, rested, feel confident and content our moment-by-moment ability to respectfully communicate and interact is much higher.  Consider how much harder it is when you are low on energy, hungry or in pain. Effective self-care addresses these issues well.

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Social Secret 4

Social secret number four is a little harder to address.  Yet still needs serious consideration.  This secret is about how much our environment influences us and as a consequence our ability to maintain Respectful Communication and Relationships.

I’m talking physical and social environment.

Think about how much easier it is to relax and focus on your companion in a peaceful natural environment than a noisy shopping space or office.   True some of us love the noise, the hectic pace, and the distraction. However consider the impact on the quality of your communication.   Quality communication requires the right kind of space, minimal distraction, often privacy, so you are able to focus on your conversation, your inner self and the other.   You can enjoy both, just be aware of the impact and ensure they quiet spaces as well, especially for important conversations.

Socially is more obvious, communication is low in stressful environments where you free pressured, with over bearing or passive individuals, or individuals you just don’t trust, or keep conflicting with.   The social context and people you are interacting with makes a huge difference in the quality of your communication and relationships.

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Many of us feel powerless to do much about altering our environment, especially the people we interact with.   Yet it is very doable, it’s just a matter of considering and revealing the best way for your situation.

I assert three elements required for Respectful Communication and Relationships that tend to be social secrets because they generally are not recognised as foundational for enhancing the quality of our communication and relationships.

The three elements are congruence, self-care and our environment.  By addressing these three elements our ability to practice Respectful Communication and Relationship will increase and enhance your ability to use and gain value from excellent communication techniques.

What it will take to improve your communication and relationships is to reconnect with your self, practice self-care effectively, create a suitable environment and then implement quality techniques.


Achieving Respectful Communication and Relationships: The second what.

What will it take to achieve Respectful Communication and Relationships?

You could start with learning techniques that reflect the principles and foundations of Respectful Communication and Relationships.  However as so many of you have discovered, techniques, perfectly good techniques, don’t always work.

The number one reason for perfectly good techniques not working is disconnection: disconnection from the other, disconnection from yourself.

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When you lack connection with the other you have monologues not a dialogue.  There is no real communication as you aren’t on the same page.  No one is getting anywhere.

This is why active listening, asking questions and understanding the other are key techniques for communication and relationships improvements.  They can assist create connection when all participants are open to it.

With disconnection within your self there is a lack of congruence. Congruence is when action and thinking align. Your thinking is grounded in your mindset and intention, which strongly influences your action, even when you intentionally attempt to hide your intention or counter your mindset.

Lack of congruence often is detected by others, creating confusion, and or further disconnection.  When you attempt to change your techniques, alone, it could increase incongruence.  This issue is rarely talked about, let alone discussed, thus it is…

Social Secret 2

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Connection is the second social secret to quality communication and relationships.  Congruence is the foundation for connection.

As a consequence what it really takes to enhance the quality of you communication and relationships is self-connection.  With congruence you can action quality techniques in alignment with what you truly want.  This provides lot more powerful communication and empowers quality relationships.

It is an unfortunate part of our social life that many of us have been disconnected from our self.  It could have been via well-intentioned social conditioning, truly blind social conditioning, or traumatic events.  However the disconnection occurred they produce psychological wounds that are just as significant as physical wounds.  Such wounds are a unfortunate parts of life.

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The wonderful thing is we can heal and recover from psychological wounds just as we can from physical ones.  Once we know how.

Provision of knowledge and skills to build a healthy psychological beingness and to heal psychological wounds is not as common as for physical wounds.  But it is available.  Building and healing our psychological self is about reconnecting with our self.  Doing so will allow us to connect more effective with others.   This process is grounded in developing our relationship readiness.

I provide insights and opportunities to practice and thus develop what it takes to experience quality communication and relationships in the form of Respectful Communication and Relationships.  There are other sources too.

Part two of the Second What is next.

Then we’ll look at the Third What and after that specific actions you can take.


Better Communication and Relationships

Do you really want better communication and relationships?

If so, make 2019 the year of better communication and relationships.

To be successful at any goal we need to ask our self three core questions,  the three ‘Whats’.      What is the goal?      What will it take?      What will I do?

What is better communication and relationships?

To achieve our goal of better communication and relationships your first question is what would better communication and relationships look like?

You are likely to have all sorts of details, in mind.  Then again you might not.  If you do these details are important to refine and clarify, as they relate to your values and preferences.  It will assist you find a match for you.  If you do not have any details in mind it’s fine, the next component is a perfect place to start.

With or without value and preference details it is important to consider which of two broad approaches to communication and relationships you desire.  This is foundational to whether your communication and relationships will work or not.  Patricia Evans (1996) describes the two as controlling and cooperating.   Earlier Marshall Rosenberg (1960’s) spoke in terms of violent and non-violent communication.   More recent descriptions are more colorful, such as Sutton’s (2007) ‘assholes’ and ‘accredited assholes’.   While these terms are a ‘good fit’ for disrespectful communicators, I prefer to use the terms Respectful and disrespectful.

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Awareness of and ability to distinguish these two communication and relationship styles is the first social secret to quality communication and relationships.

Respectful Communication and Relationships are based in Principles of: inclusivity, autonomy, caring, empowering, and reciprocity.   With the foundations of kindness, ownership, responsibility and accountability enacted.   These principles and foundations develop trust, which strengthens connection.  Connections being an aspect of interactions, which in turn are relationships.

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If Respectful Communication and Relationships sounds like what you want, read on.   If it’s not what you desire you might as well stop reading now.    See my focus is on Respectful Communication and Relationships.   I’m a promoter and empowerer of more Respectful Communication and Relationships.   I provide information, strategies and opportunities to develop more Respectful Communication and Relationships in our lives, our society.   Thus I will discuss and describe those to empower you in bringing them into your life more.   I also cover disrespectful communication and relationships, however I do so to empower effective protective action of managing them not enacting them.   If that is the approach you wish to develop this may be a blog for you.

It is your choice.

Continue reading “Better Communication and Relationships”

Practicing Respectful Intentional Selection: How to say No Respectfully

Respectful Intentional Selection (RIS) is a way to be both inclusive and selective.  It’s the Powerful way to say NO, without rejection!  What you are really doing is saying YES!   RIS focuses on saying YES to what you want and redirecting away from what you don’t.

To be able to practice RIS successfully you need to be very clear on what you are saying Yes to. Thus it is important to spend some time clarifying your personal values, qualities, especially in relationships, and goals.   What do you want in your life?  Who do you want to be?  What is your current achievement focus?   Clarify what you stand for, your best practices and are currently committed to doing.

This doesn’t have to be perfect nor ridged, refinement and adjustment, as you live life, is part of the process.  However you do need to be comfortable with what you stand for, your best practices, and current commitments.  If not you are likely to doubt yourself.  When in doubted about ones roles and responsibilities others can more easily redirect your actions.  In addition when in doubt you are more likely to be less respectful and say NO as a rejection.

Once you have a fairly clear idea of your values, who you want to be, and your current achievement focus, you’ll know what you are saying Yes to.  As a result, what you are saying No to.   With this step completed it is possible to practice RIS.  This is a key step for preparation for saying No respectfully.

I will briefly describe the process of RIS using an example based on a recent interaction where someone gave feedback that they ‘didn’t like being referred to as a number to a service provider’.   It resulted in them being profoundly disrespected and rejected.  The rejection was not required and naturally significantly hurt the individual. Understanding RIS did help the individual process the rejection.

RIS in action:

When someone asks you to do something

The first step is to

Step 1: Listen carefully to the request

Sometimes this step is difficult, perhaps we don’t have much time or quality listen skills, our ego steps in and ensures we only hear what our ego asserts or we may be triggered and emotions make it very difficult if not impossible for us to hear what is being said.  Still paying proper attention is a choice and is a skill that can be developed and is foundational to being respectful.

Then you

Step 2: Reflect and consider the request.

At this stage you will value from taking

Step 3: Clarification

‘I hear you saying you don’t like being referred to as a number.  Is this correct?’

It is very important to gather accurate information.  Too often inappropriate decisions are made due to misunderstandings, ego or emotionally triggered reactions.

Once you have the required information accurately.

Step 4: A decision is required.  You have three choices: a) you aren’t sure if no is your desired response; b) you know you want to say yes; or c) no is the desired response.  Your next step depends on your decision.

If you decide you are not sure:

Step 5a: Validation with Potential Inclusion.

Is the appropriate response.

‘Yes that sounds like a valid point.  At the same time we find it much easier to refer to our clients as a number; I wonder if there is a way to integrate the two approaches?  Let me consider it and get back to you.   I will get back to you by the end of the week.’

Or you want to say Yes as there is a match to your yes.

Step 5b: Validation and Inclusion

‘Yes that is a valid point.  I believe it will be workable for us to refer to you as a person before asking for your number.  I will instigate the change immediately.’

Or you want to say No, The request doesn’t fit your Yeses.

Step 5c: Clarification with Empowerment and Redirection, based in clearly articulated guidelines.

‘While I hear and accept your view in this space we have made it a policy to use numbers when referring to our clients, it is easier for us.   While I understand your preference it doesn’t work for us and we will not be changing our process.   You can choose to adapt to be referred to by your number and I can support you transition to the change by providing you with your number so you can use it with ease.   Or I can recommend another provider for you. Which would you prefer?’

As you can read not one of these responses provide a Rejective No.   Rejection is not required in respectful interactions.  Listening, validation, clear articulation of what you stand for allows for informed and empowered decision making for all in a respectful manner.  This is RIS.

The keys to powerfully and effectively saying No is to practice RIS via:

  • Clarifying what you stand for, your best practices, and are doing.
  • Listen carefully to and reflect on the request before making your decision.
  • Validate, everyone has a right to his or her perspective and desires.
  • Clearly articulated guidelines of practice and
  • Empowerment with Redirection and Choice.

Practicing RIS provides a powerful way to say No respectfully.   In addition by developing your knowledge and skills in RIS you’ll feel more comfortable with rejection.  Not because rejection is any less hurtful, this is due to our biological nature.  However you’ll be able to successfully reframed ‘rejection’ to ‘Intentional Selection’ with understanding of the challenges of practicing RIS.  This reduces the tendency to personalise the rejection and see it as a poor effort at Intentional Selection or a reaction out of fear.

The Truth About Rejection

Rejection is a process of punishment.  We are biologically wired to suffer deeply from rejection.  This is because it causes harm, even if it is claimed to be to an act of protection.  It is based in fear or intention to harm.   Thus rejection has no place in Respectful Communication or Accountability.

Generally the practice of rejection hides a fear to face ones own shadows, ones personal rejected aspects.  It may also be due to ignorance or immaturity, poor skills and poor accountability processes.

Rejection causes harm to the strong biological drive for connection and acceptance, our need to belong.  It is the opposite of inclusion and empowerment.  Being inclusive does not mean it is necessary to embrace all around us.  This too can be very harmful in numerous ways.

We all have a right to say No!  It is when and how we say no that makes the difference.   The alternative to rejection is Intentional Selection.   Respectful Intentional Selection (RIS) is carried out using validation, clearly articulated guidelines, empowerment and appropriate redirection.

Rejection results in broken trust and shattered relationships, not just between the specific individuals of any specific incident.  The impact of rejection ripples out to others and inward to ones inner self.   For the target rejection wounds ones sense of worth.   For the instigator(s) it wounds the inner connection of self-respect and humane compassion, separating oneself further from the aspect of one’s self that is hidden in the shadows as well as those being rejected.

While witnesses, whether directly or indirectly, experience a wide range of psychological harms can occur.  It includes promotion of fear, one maybe the next target, self worth, strengthening of their shadows and disconnection from their inner self, harm to relationships in general, as well as associated stress which easily leads to physical poor health.

While, RIS results in recognition of acceptance and self worth, as well as empowerment that supports the achievement of an appropriate outcome for all.  Empowerment may mean redirection to a more appropriate source for ones request or support to obtain the required resources or development of appropriate skills.  I repeat the opposite of rejection is not to embrace all.   It is very appropriate to select what one embraces. Respectful Intentional Selection is a powerful alternative or rejection.

Rejection is a form of punishment that causes harm and thus is counter to Respectful Communication.   While the opposite of rejection is inclusion, inclusion does not mean one needs to embrace all.

Respectful Intentional Selection is inclusive whilst the respecting right of choice by empowering the right to say no appropriately. Respectful Intentional Selection means using validation and empowerment or redirection as appropriate and choice, to support respectful outcome for all.


Who’s Ruling Your World? Assholes or Beautiful Souls!

Robert Sutton (2010) officially brought the term Asshole into the business world to describe those I usually refer to as Toxic Individuals.  In his book ‘The No Asshole Rule’ he describes the damage such individuals tend to wreck.  Whether it be at home or at work, Assholes with their domineer and disrespectful ways, cause much harm for others and organisations alike.  Sadly they are increasingly encountered in our society. At the same time there is another kind of individual, those I refer to as Beautiful Souls, who have the opposite effect on others.  Beautiful Souls bring respectful caring to the world. Fortunately we can chose whether we allow Assholes or Beautiful Souls to Rule our World.

In order for us to select who Rules Our World we need to be able to recognise and distinguish Assholes from Beautiful Souls.   Happily it is not hard to do. In order to distinguish them we’ll examine the difference between Assholes and Beautiful Souls in more a detail.  Once we can distinguish them we can select whether Assholes or Beautiful Souls Rule Our World.

Characteristics of Assholes include their overwhelming need to maintain control and they often enjoy observing others suffer.  Indeed they will create situations purely for such enjoyment, without remorse.  They are habitually dishonest, whether it be small twists of truths to serve them or outright lies.  They believe they never make mistakes, thus apologies are not heard from Assholes.  Instead they rapidly and skilfully shift blame for things that go wrong, while easily claiming ownership for others successes.

Due to their selective treatment of others, some people will think a specific Asshole is a wonderful person and find it hard to believe the ‘stories of abusive behaviours’ by that Asshole.  At the same time Assholes persistently leave others, their targets, feeling disrespected and demeaned.  Usually Assholes, at least, believe they have power and or social status over their targets.

On the other hand Beautiful Souls are persistently polite and warm to others, regardless of their social position.  They are those that consistently leave others feeling good, no matter who they are.  Beautiful Souls are respectful, caring, and appreciative which they communicate in their very presence.  In addition they take responsibility for their actions, they are comfortable apologising, are helpful, listen well and are willing to adapt.   When I think of Beautiful Souls I think of Dali Lama.   Beautiful Souls are amazing people who overflow with kindness, authenticity and respect for all.   Unfortunately we don’t see many Dali Lamas in our society.

This shortage of True Beautiful Souls is because as human beings we have a tendency to drop, at least on occasions, into Asshole mode.  This is quite different to True Assholes. Sutton (2010) refers to these individuals as temporary assholes.   Myself I consider them either difficult or challenging individuals.

As Assholes are increasing in number they tend to Rule Our World by default.   To have Beautiful Souls Rule our World requires a conscious choice.  However by selecting Beautiful Souls we increase our health wellbeing and general success in life.  If individual takes on the challenge of being a Beautiful Soul, I refer to them as Beautiful Souls in Training.  And this is where the challenge sets in.  Distinguishing Beautiful Souls from Assholes is quite easy, however in reality we are far more likely to encounter difficult, or challenging individuals and Beautiful Souls in Training than true Beautiful Souls.  Distinguishing them from Assholes is not quite so easy.

Beautiful Souls in Training are those who have consciously chosen to Have Beautiful Souls Rule their World.  They are Skilling Up to improve their self-care, self-awareness, communication and relationships skills so that they are more frequently in Beautiful Soul Mode.  You can recognise Beautiful Souls in Training by their generally Beautiful Soul approach to life.

Beautiful Souls in Training are respectful, open, apologise, express appreciation and usually leave others feeling good about themselves.  However on occasion they slip and demonstrate Asshole behaviours, which they generally regret.  Beautiful Souls in Training realise mistakes are made in the journey of Becoming a Beautiful Soul and accept the slips as part of Becoming A Beautiful Soul.  They do however reflect on how to reduce the slips.  In addition we also have to consider difficult and challenging people.  Those that are not Assholes but at times display Asshole Behaviour without taking on the challenge of Becoming a Beautiful Soul.

Importantly by focusing on the key difference between Assholes and Beautiful Souls, including Beautiful Souls in Training, we can distinguish by the impact they have on others.  Assholes have two effects on others, those they feel worthy see a nice person, while those who are considered below them are left feeling dreadful; while Beautiful Souls leave others, regardless of their status, feeling good about themselves.  And Beautiful Souls in Training are consciously increasing their practice of being a Beautiful Soul thus more frequently than not leave people feeling respected and good about them self.

Now you know the difference between Assholes and Beautiful Souls and the impact they have on others it is time for you to consider Who Rules Your World, Assholes or Beautiful Souls?  If you choose Beautiful Souls you can start by becoming a Beautiful Soul in Training.  This is a foundational choice to make.  We’ll look at this process of Becoming Beautiful a Soul in the next article.

If you enjoyed this and would like to read more similar article please press ‘Like’.

Life was meant to be enjoyed.

Dr Janelle Sheen


Sutton, R. 2010 The No Asshole Rule Piatkus London






The Problem with ‘Toughen Up’

All too commonly to ‘Toughen Up’ is to pretend all is well when it is not. ‘Toughening Up’ is to ignore yourself, to deny yourself, to not respond to how you feel or accept that what you think doesn’t matter. This is to disconnect yourself from yourself. To ‘Toughen Up’ in this way is an act of violence. It is to tear your mind, heart and soul apart.

Often others tell you to ‘Toughen Up’ so acts of violence can continue, especially low-level violence. You know when others are rude, mean, and hurtful or disrespectful. Often you are told to ‘Toughen Up’ so you accept these acts of violence as normal and ok. People that behave in ways designed to hurt or disrespect you are carrying out acts of violence. ‘Toughening Up’ in response to such actions perpetrates such violence.

When someone tells you to ‘Toughen Up’ they might be well intentioned thinking that ‘Toughening Up’ is a form of self-protection and a means to strengthen you. It is not. It is weakening you as it tears you apart and creates disconnection at your core. This results in reduced ability to think clearly and respond, that is chose to act in your own best interests in a healthy and respectful way. Instead you are more likely to react, come from your biological flight fight fawn or freeze nature.

There is a way to become stronger, to protect yourself from the harms of such violence. You could choose acts of self-respect instead. This requires you to ‘Skill Up’. To ‘Skill Up’ with self-respect is to protect your self while maintaining self-connection. This means you need to pay attention to your needs and act on them in a nourishing and protective manner.

To respectfully protect oneself is to stay in touch with what is happening with caring and act on that caring with skill.   True sometimes that means to postpone an act of nourishment. Acts of self-protection may require us to postpone nourishment temporarily; they are not about denying our self that nourishment.

The big difference between ‘Toughening Up’ and ‘Skilling Up’ with respect is the act of paying attention to yourself, to acknowledge your need and to act on it effectively. This requires Respectful Communication, the acknowledgement of your need and do your very best to act on your need. This includes and requires developing ones skills to do so, rather than pretend there is no need. If you’re best in any one moment is not overly successful. That is ok. It just means it is time to repair any harm and develop new skills. That is life.

Acts of Respect requires one to feel capable and considerate, exercise self control, and respond in an empowering way. Acts of disrespect can be either reactive acts or planned acts that disempower for the purpose of gaining control.   They are opposite in the power flow and outcome.

Disrespect is to                                          Respect is to

Disregard                                                      Relinquishes control

Act to disempower                                     Pays attention and                                                                                 validates

Attempts to Control                                   Act to empowering

Disconnects                                                  Connects


Outcome (and often source)

Feel threatened and insecure                 Feel Safe Capable and                                                                              Considered


To ‘Skill Up’ with self-respect is to develop your ability to care for yourself, to pay attention to what is causing pain and act on it in a protective yet not disconnected manner. Some ways to ‘Skill Up’ so you become stronger with self-respect are:

  • Develop and maintain your self connection
    1. Build self awareness and other empathic skills
    2. Implement self care
    3. Be true to your self
      1. Act on your own needs and desires respectfully
  • Develop skills in remaining calm
    1. Meditation
    2. Deep breathing
    3. Releasing stored emotions / triggers
  • Stay curious and exploratory in nature
    1. Continue to learn
    2. Recognise ‘failures’ and ‘mistakes’ as opportunities to grow/ learn
  • Build your self belief and confidence
    1. Implement self accountability
    2. Start small with goals and complete them
    3. Acknowledge and appreciate each of your achievements
    4. Gradually stretch, make your goals more challenging
  • Build your reliability
    1. Speak your truth with kindness
    2. Keep your word
  • Learn to recognise and let go of what you cannot do anything about
    1. Develop your ability to take personal responsibility for your life
    2. Grasp the reality that you can not control anything but yourself
    3. Clearly define your roles and responsibilities and use them to guide your actions
  • Remain hopeful, have a dream that you can realistically move toward
    1. Back to Building Your Self Belief
    2. Remember to do Develop and Maintain your Self Connection

Remember its ok to make mistakes, developing skills is a journey, mistakes are made and they’re for us to learn from.


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Self-Determination for Life Satisfaction

Ok I confess for sooo long I lived for others.  Trying to do the ‘right thing’. Trying to keep others ‘happy’.  Even trying to ‘stay out of trouble’.  Well after many many years I have come to accept: no matter what I do there is no ‘right thing’, its not possible to keep others ‘happy’ nor am I able to ‘stay out of trouble’.  The truth is everyone wants something different and it’s just not possible to please others, especially not all the time.

The truth is the only way anyone is going to truly be happy, with his or her life and relationships, is to be self-determined, to live by their own rules and standards. Each person needs to do this for him or herself.  No I’m not saying to ignore others.  That would be disrespectful and wrong in my book.  Nor am I saying stop caring about others and your impact on them.   That would be a breach of my core values of caring kindness and respect.

What I am saying is, it is essential to know what is important to you, and how to look after yourself.   To choose to live in such a way as to fulfil your needs and desires and trust you will find others who are like-minded.

To empower you to live a Self-Determined life here are five steps to being Self-Determined and experiencing greater Life Satisfaction.

First reveal what is important to you.  And I do mean YOU.  Not what you have been told is important.   You might need to give yourself permission to seek out and reveal what is important to you.  If so go ahead.

Now, how to reveal the things that are important to you?  Well think of the things you enjoy doing, the things that inspire you into action.  The things you do naturally and think nothing of.   These are good indications they are important to you.

Second start discovering ways to have more of these things in your life.  Some maybe easy to achieve, perhaps you love reading (OK I do).  So ensure you get to read often, if not every day.  Oh and what you love reading.   I knew a lad who didn’t want to read at all, he was into learning practical skills.  Yet when provided with the catalogues for the local hardware stores reading became a thing to do.  He didn’t love reading but he did love doing practical tasks and discovering the best tools at the best price, which enabled him to get more tools so, he could do more practical things.  Sometimes we do things we don’t love doing simply because they give us more of what we do love doing.

Other things will not be so easy.  For example I love empowering others.  Facilitating them learning things they want to learn and enabling them to do more of what they want.   This takes more skill and positioning.   So I work on that, knowing I am increasing the chances to do so magnificently.

Third consider the type of person you want to be?  What qualities do you want to uphold?  Perhaps you want to be an explorer?  Yet the very idea is overwhelming.  Ok, so consider something small you could explore.  The local parkland.  The best place to find magnificent coffee or hot chocolate.  Then go do it.  As you build confidence in practicing this activity you will find it easier do it more.   Do you want to be seen as a caring person?  What would that look like how would you enact it.  Do it?  Think of a number of qualities, select one and work on that until it is part of you.  Then choice the next one and continue on.

Fourth consider the type of person you want to hang out with.   Do you want to hang out with people that are supportive kind considerate?  What would these people be like, what actions would they take?  Look for them and spend more time with the people who act this way.   Spend more time with people you enjoy.

Fifth consider your long term desires.  What do you want to be known for?  What are the dream things you’d like to do?  Yet are currently out of reach.  List them and start developing plans for achieving these and then start actioning the plan.  Small steps are still steps.  Often once on your chosen path amazing things happen and you find you achieve your desires sooner than you expect.

Follow these five steps and see what a difference they can make to the quality of your life.  Remember this is not about being disrespectful of others.  It is important to consider others, practice caring kindness while enhancing your life.

It is about being respectful to yourself.

How to do both at the same time???  That is another blog for sure.




Connection for Better Conversations

So when was the last time you had the experience of attempting to talk with someone and feeling that they just were not listening!  You know, the feeling of disconnect.   Perhaps it was obvious their thoughts are else where, or their replies just didn’t relate to what you said.   Maybe you just sense it despite their apparent attention.   Whatever way it happened it didn’t feel so good, did it?

Maybe it was you disconnecting.   I know I did it just the other day.  I was driving along, having a conversation when I needed to pay more attention to the road; as a consequence the conversation lost my attention completely.   ‘Sorry ‘ I said, ‘I had to concentrate on the road’ ‘That’s Ok’ they said, ‘I understand’.   Or as often happens when I arrive home, worn out, unable to provide much attention to the requests then made of me.   ‘Sorry’ I said, ‘right now is not a good time I need to rest a moment’.

Disconnection in conversations is part of life.  Something we need to embrace as a part of reality.  If we don’t we are likely to feel a lot of pain from a sense of rejection.  Perhaps forgetting we do it too.  Whatever reason disconnection occurs it prevents satisfying conversations and effective communication.

The thing is that today, Facebook and phones, computer games and TV shows, not to mention movies, are adding to reasons we are taken away from the important task of conversing.  The natural occurrences of disconnection are escalating, possibly out of control.  The result. Well, increased feelings of isolation, rejection and loneliness.  These not only feel terrible, they also have a detrimental affect on our relationships, as well our physical and psychological health.

So how about we turn the tide?  Increase connection, have better conversations and enhance our relationships and heath as a consequence.  Here are six fairly easy steps we can all take.

  • Set aside time for conversations.

Put aside all distractions and potential distraction for the time.  There is very limited truth to the idea of multitasking.  You can only fully focus on and give proper attention to one thing at a time.  Respectful communication requires proper attention.

  • Smile and use gentle eye contact.

A genuine smile with gentle eye contact supports the provision of a safe space inviting your conversation partner to partake.  Oh and I do mean a genuine smile. You know the ones that come from inside and light up your eyes.

  • Give your conversation partner your full attention.

Focus on being present, in the here and now and being really with them.  This empowers your ability to partake in Respectful Conversation.  Providing full attention intentionally and regularly helps overcome the times you are disconnected due to natural moments of distraction.

  • Listen deeply.

So what are they saying?  And not just their words listen to their tone and observe their actions as well.  What are they saying at these levels?  Remember it is best to enquiry and clarify, than assume you have heard them accurately.  After all we interpret their message and could get it wrong.

  • Respond to what they say, appropriately.

Respond from your heart, not your head. All too often we spend time thinking of what to say rather than listening deeply and responding respectfully.   Thinking about what you are going to say, when they are speaking, draws attention away from them undermining your ability to truly hear them.   Then take the time to consider the kindness of our reply.

  • Enjoy 

Did I mention the importance of relaxing into the moment and enjoying the conversation, the genuine connection with another?   Really this is the first and the last point.  Every moment in between will be so much more effective and valuable if you remember to relax and enjoy the incredible time you are connecting and sharing with another.

Here’s to turning the tide and increasing more daily connection with others in conversations.  It will definitely enhance your communications, relationships and life satisfaction.

Want to learn more?  Practice your communication skills?  Check out my latest events in Melbourne