Manners: A better way?

What has happened to manners and being polite?  A question so commonly asked today. We need to be polite!   It was driven into many of us as children.   Say ‘please’ ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’.   It all sounds rather good and nice.  The problem was we were trained to do this.  That is ‘do it’ even when we don’t ‘mean it’.  Worse still he had to accept others insincere politeness and act on it!

Being polite and respectful somehow drifted into social correctness and insincerity. Rather than the appropriate respectful use of the phrases, please, thank you and sorry, the deep meaning of them has been lost.   Consideration of others drifted into self-denial and disrespect or worse.  Little white lies, some call it.  In the name of being kind!

 I don’t see how disrespect and insincerity are ‘good’ or ‘nice’ or ‘kind’. Do you?

‘Please’ a respectful request, to me, has almost become a begging.   Worse I have noticed often there is an element of expectation attached to it. I said ‘please’ so you have to do it. Ouch! What happened to the right to say no.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am all for requesting.  Demanding is not a first choice, it too takes away a right of choice. Y et sometimes, when boundaries are broken, a demand actually becomes appropriate.  I just think I don’t need to beg or expect my fulfilment from one particular source.  If you say no, I can ask someone else.

‘Please’ really is about letting the ‘other’ know they have a choice.   So the phrases:    Could you? Would you? Often seems more fitting to me.

‘Thank you’, an automatic couple of words so often empty and lacking a sense of gratitude.   Come on you know what I mean.   They said ‘thank you’ but was it a genuine appreciation or just empty words?

Appreciation radiates a sense of connection and satisfaction that draws one in, so we can do it all again.  That is what is it about.  We want to make a difference.

 Genuine appreciation and gratitude guides us to use our energy where it makes a difference.

Did you like it?   Did it make a difference for you?  If so, say ‘thank you’ with ‘meaning’ and draw that experience in some more.  Acknowledge what you like.  Say thank you with appreciation, so the source knows it wasn’t wasting its time and energy.  Believe me, you will experience more pleasure this way.

‘Oh sorry’, now I can do it all again.  What!  No that’s not what ‘sorry’ is about!  Yet isn’t that a really common practice today?  ‘I said sorry, what more do you want?’

Well actually I don’t like it, so I don’t want it.   I want to experience something different.

A genuine ‘sorry’ is about recognising an inappropriate action and correcting it.

The words are empty if there is no experiential difference for the ‘other’.  Yet this doesn’t mean you have to change for others, to fit in with them all the time. T he trick is understanding what is important to you and being able to let go of what isn’t.  Being creative enough to find ways to meet everyone’s needs when appropriate.  Sometimes this means looking at our priorities and remembering to let go of ‘others’ so they can grow.

It is unfortunate that being polite, intended as respectfully considerate of others, has become a form of social correctness.   This social correctness is what concerns me.   That is when good manners are token empty gestures or requires us to go along with the social norms and commonplace behaviors that reinforce disconnection and lack of authenticity.

The genuine use of requests, appreciation and appropriate behavior adjustment, along with candid caring communication lead to more fulfilment and life satisfaction.  Yet candid communication maybe portrayed as disrespectful, in reality, I think this claim is a means to prevent growth and maintain questionable social practices.

Learn to speak candidly with respectful kindness, and how to develop relationships where you know the other has your best interests at heart and will support you being your self!  And that you will do the same for them.   Let others know what you appreciate and that you are aware they have a right to say No. 

Befriending Your Emotions: I The problem of emotional denial

Our emotions are our friends.  Our best friends, they are undyingly caring about us and doing the very best they can in our best interest.  Emotions let us know what is working for us and what is not. They are based in the aspects of our survival, growth, pleasure, and pain physiology.  They are action requiring neurological process that helps us understand what our needs and preferences are.  Who we are as an individual, and the action we need to take to take care of our self, to move toward growth and life.  Rather than drift, in survival mode, towards death

It is unfortunate that society, predominantly, conditions us to believe that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions.   That we need to stay away from our emotions and be rational.   It is important, they say, not to make the mistake of being emotional! ‘Bad’ emotions are unwelcome and a problem.  While ‘good’ emotions are what we want to experience all the time.   Yet be careful not to express those too much.   So if a bad emotion starts we are taught to deny it and suppress it.   While good emotions are ok, in moderation, or we have an unrealistic expectation that we can have then all the time.

Importantly we are NOT taught how to listen to our emotions, let alone respond to them.   We are not taught we are valuable beings that need to be cared for.   The truth is we are valuable beings that deserve, indeed have the right, to have our needs fulfilled. We need to listen to our emotions.  We need to pay attention to them; they are trying to tell us something important.   They are trying to tell us how to care for our self and how to live a fulfilling life.

Further this disconnection results in the common practices that leave individual’s experiencing them confused, perhaps wondering what is wrong with them, generally leaving them feeling unsafe and alone.   Indeed these practices are so common it is no surprise so many of us are struggling with a sense of not belonging and loneliness.  A critical truth is, is that when we are feeling unsafe we ourselves tend to practice these actions of emotional absurdity.   They are, at least initially, protective behaviors used when we do not know a better way and feel unsafe.

These common practices include:

Lying about one’s feelings

Pretending we aren’t feeling what we clearly are, others can see

Avoiding sensitive subjects

Using language to hide, obscure & skirt critical issues

Claiming to be rational when we are emotional

Pretending to like what we do not

Attacking people who frighten us, without realizing we are full of fear

Stopping forward movement/change (growth) because we are angry or full of grief. Yet no one can speak the truth, for we will claim it is them, not us, because our denial is so strong we project our emotions onto them.

Words spoken say one thing, the body expresses another and often a different action is taken.  At some level we can all see this emotional absurdity, lack of authenticity, it is very confusing and leaves us vulnerable to further harm.  Indeed the control of and disconnection from our emotions is the first step of the harms of controlling relationships.

By disconnecting us from our inner life and confusing us with emotional untruths and training us to be externally directed we provide perfect targets for abusive, controlling relationships and escalating violence.  As a consequence reconnecting with our inner life and befriending our emotions is the first real step in reducing violence in our society. The truth is emotional awareness and empathy are required for our health, our wellbeing, making decisions and quality relationships.

By befriending our emotions we reconnect with our self

and travel the path toward authenticity,

genuine caring relationships and

a fulfilling life.  

Will you choose to travel this path?

 

 

References and further reading:

Asatryan, K. 2016 Stop Being Lonely New World Library

McLaren, K. 2013 Art of Empathy Sounds True

Saying No Appropriately is Powerfully Respectful.

Saying No appropriately is essential.

It is about being respectful and setting clear boundaries.

Many of us have been taught to ‘do the right thing’, ‘put others first’ and ‘to be nice’.  Often the implication and result is we come to believe saying ‘no’ is not ok.  In addition many people expect others to always say Yes!   Perhaps including your self.   Both of these views are not in your or anyone’s best interest!  Not only is it ok to say No, it is vitally important to appropriately say No.

Saying No ‘appropriately’ means knowing what you key priorities are.  It is about knowing, caring and attending to what is right for you, your values and your priorities.    As well as what is not.  By allowing yourself to focus your attention on what is most important, you are practicing self-respect.   That is you don’t have to fulfil others needs all the time.  You matter too.

Saying No doesn’t mean the other have to go without; it just means you won’t fulfil that particular request, perhaps only at that particular time.   You could suggest another way they can get what they are asking for.  By validating them and their request you are acknowledging both your right to say No and theirs to ask.  Being respectful of others is also important.

As is fulfilling your role in a relationship.  However, this does not mean saying ‘no’ is not ok.  Indeed to say yes, inappropriately, that is to fail to say no appropriately, is practicing disrespect for all.   Being respectful to your self is foundational to respecting others.

Saying No appropriately allows clear boundaries to be set.  It clarifies what is important acceptable and not acceptable for you and or the situation.  While allowing your self to be ‘distracted from what is most important’, ‘spread too thin to do justice to anything’ or ‘accepting inappropriate behaviour’ are forms of disrespect.

Identifying, creating time for and standing by what is important to you means you are being powerfully respectful of yourself and sets boundaries for what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in your life.  In essence saying No appropriately is setting boundaries to allow respectful behaviour for all.

Our conditioning to say yes (be nice) is one reason we find it challenging to say No.   Other reasons include concerns the other person will not receive our No well.  They will be upset, or hurt, which could create conflict or damage to the relationship.   The lack of understanding of the value and importance of saying No fuels these misguided ideas. Develop your understanding and apperception for the value of appropriately saying No!

To help you get comfortable with this remember you, indeed everyone, has a right to ask for what you want and who ever has been asked, has a right to say No.  All an appropriate No means is, there is a need to ask someone else and or get creative with the request.

You have a right to say No!

This means others can say No too!

The expectation of a Yes denies the right of choice.

Validation

Validation is key to powerful relationships.

It says:

It is safe to be our self.

Even when we don’t agree, each of us matters and is accepted.

To validate someone is to let them know they matter, that they are accepted for who they are.  It is essential for the building of relationships based in trust, cooperation, a sense of belonging and closeness.  Unfortunately validation is not that common a practice.  Our thoughts, feelings, experiences, and or reality are minimalized or dismissed on a regular bases.  The practice is so integrated into our communication style that we are often unaware, we may even have best intentions, when we practice it.  However the practice of being invalidated has the same impact whether it is done consciously or unconsciously.  

Invalidation leaves one feeling like they don’t matter,

are wrong and don’t belong.

The act of invalidation is so common it is

No wonder so many people struggle with a sense of being wrong and

of not belonging.

Think about it.  How often have you experienced or said, ‘Don’t get upset.’ ‘You don’t want that.’   ‘You are wrong.’  ‘Stop feeling that way.’  ‘Pull yourself togeather.’  ‘Your over reacting.’  ‘Don’t think about it, just do it.’  ‘It could be worse.’   ‘Cheer up.’  ‘Think positive.’  ‘Oh that’s nothing …’  ‘There’s no reason to be upset.’  ‘Your being irrational.’ No doubt you can now think of many more such comments and thus the list could go on.

Yet it is not overly challenging to travel the path to being a validator, rather than an invalidator, transitioning to someone who consciously values, respects and cares for themselves and others.   To do so make the choice to practice validation; to stop objectifying and discarding oneself and others with the use of invalidation.

By validating and respecting yourself you can become

the person you want to be.

Validating others supports the creation of a safe space.

Where trust, closeness and

a sense of belonging can develop.

This results in closer stronger relationships

based in honesty and respect.

How to validate:

The first step is to remember we are all real people, with our own perspectives, thoughts, and feelings.  As a consequence we will have different ideas, needs, preferences and desires; with each of us making our own choices.  This reality is a basic right of life.   This diversity is in fact the beauty of life.  Approaching others with this attitude makes an enormous difference.

Now: Be present, keep your attention in the now, on the individual of interest.  This shows they matter enough for you to be there for them.

In that presence, listen to what they say and acknowledge it.  You don’t have to agree with it.  Just let it be, acknowledge their view, ideas, feelings and choices as theirs.

Also pay attention to their non-verbal communication.  What that is saying about where they are at, then, instead of assuming you know, check in with them and ask for the clarification you need.

Remind them what they are experiencing is ok.   Ideally normalize it, let them know they are not alone, others may have the same experience.

To validate yourself and others is powerfully respectful.  It means you pay attention; act with caring, in best interests, to personal needs and desires.   You drop expectations.  As a result each person knows they matter, as an individual, and that they belong.   In turn we can share more of our self and build closeness in our relationships.

Finally lets remember to be real.  It is massively challenging for most people to stop one practice and instantly take on another.  It is the intention and implementation of validation practices that will make the difference.   Invalidation is likely to still occur. However, if we consider research from Positive Psychology we can take into account the four to one ratio.  That is for each negative incident four positives will counteract it.   So keep the focus on validating whenever you can, including acknowledging each one that occurs.

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are about making changes.

One’s we say we really want,

yet for some reason so often do not achieve.

 The real difficulty in making a change, fulfilling a New Year’s Resolution, is ensuring there is alignment between your resolution and all aspects of yourself.   Without alignment you will be fighting yourself, until you give up.  This process undermines your confidence and personal power.

Successful changes start with alignment.   That is with every aspect of yourself on the same side, just like any team.  Ensuring alignment within you is just like negotiating with any team.   You need to clarify the goal and understand everyone’s perspective of it.   The difference being it’s your innermost team that you are negotiating with.   It is so important to understand that you have these innermost aspects, your values, needs, desires, beliefs and previous decisions.

While some of your innermost aspects are the same for all humans, many more are personal and individual.   You need to be aware of the different aspects, how they impact on each of your goals, intentions, in order to negotiate alignment.   To do that it is essential you take ownership of your life.   Here I am referring to the ability to distinguish your own beliefs, needs and desires, from someone else’s.  That is, those that we have taken on, rather than what we want and accept as our own.

The things you believe you ‘should’ and ‘ought’ to do are those that you have learnt you are suppose to do and want. They are not necessarily what you really want to do.   When this is or could be the situation it is important to examine the aspect and consider if you want to keep or replace it, which might sound easy.   Unfortunately one core belief is we ought to do the ‘right’ thing and what we ‘ought’ and ‘should’ do are presented as the ‘right things’.

 Doing the ‘right’ thing seems like a brilliant idea to me.

Indeed our very survival can depend on us doing the ‘right’ thing.

But what is the ‘right’ thing?  Especially what is the ‘right’ thing for you as an individual?   A second core unfortunate learning many of us we have is the idea that what we, as an individual’, want is ‘wrong’ and or ‘bad’.   As a consequence we prefer to tackle what we ‘ought’ and ‘should’ do because we do have the higher priority to do the ‘right’ thing and survive!

 But what if what we want is not ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’?

 What if it is more that we haven’t found, yet, a ‘right’ way to do it.

 I LOVE the ad in which a little boy was always pushing his sister.   How bad and wrong is that right!  His parents really struggled with the situation; the boy just had such a drive to push his sister, that he kept doing it no matter how much his parents tried to stop him. Then his parents got creative and brought a swing.

The boy pushed and pushed and pushed his sister,

what was initially thought to be bad and wrong.

Yet now everyone was happy!

 

The difference was that his drive,

his desire had been guided in a productive direction,

a way that lead everyone to be happy.

 So I ask: What if the issue for you to have what you really want, to successful achieve your New Year’s Resolution, is simply you haven’t learnt how to be creative enough, or patient enough to explore your desires and their value?   What if what the first step is to give your self permission to go for what you want, in a respectful and caring way?  And listen to your innermost communication so you can set goals and intentions that align all your aspects…

 Happy New Year Everyone!

May 2017 be a year of Expanding Creativity and

Respectful Satisfactions all round!

The Value of Clear Articulation:

One of the reasons enhancing communication skills is so valuable.

Once upon a time, I was deeply loved and I loved that man in return with sooo much of my heart. Yet I was young. My communication skills were poor and at the time I did not know it.   We had a positive relationship seeing each other often and enjoying each others company significantly. Not everything was ideal, as described by society, due to an aspect of his nature. Yet, due to my nature, I was comfortable with what many were not. To me it was just part of who he was.

There came a time when he was going through a rather rough patch, the loss of three he loved as dearly as me, indeed likely more so. Thinking of my acceptance he stated ‘you would accept anything I did’. I knew, instantly in my bones, this was not true. But had no way of articulating it. I needed space to think it through. I got up to move away. He begged me to stay. I could not, nor could I say why. I had no words for what was happening inside of me. The situation spiralled into disaster so fast, so very fast. I do not know how. But our relationship was so broken in the moment it was suddenly over. My inability to clearly speak my truth, at the time, meant there was enormous damage and no way to repair it.

More recently another love breached a boundary such I needed us to be separated. He was so cross, so very cross. Yet I was able to clearly articulate the ‘why’. I do not know if all the damage can be repaired but this time I know I was clear and the choice is his. It is only now that I can see what went wrong that other horrendous time. The pain between the two situations is so different.

In the first it was a pain that ripped me apart to the very core of my being. I was broken, deeply broken. This time I see with clarity the ‘why’, the value in standing by my truth and in being able to speak it. It still hurts. A lot. This hurt is a great sadness rather than a breaking. It is a strengthening that comes from being true to oneself while respecting another.

The key for me is the choice that comes from clarity of my truth and expressing it. In knowing my highest values and living by them. Knowing our truth, our values means we can choose to live by them and articulate them so others can choose to live by them or not. With out this we toss around not understanding our pain or how to reduce it. The pain of not knowing, of tossing around on someone else’s boat is horrendous; I know I have lived it.

As a consequence, I highly recommend that you stop and take the time to identify your core values and truth, so you can live true to yours.

Communication

Communication is key to our success, or otherwise. It is how we share information, make requests, connect with others or push them away.

Effective communication is when we are successful in obtaining our desired outcome.  Thus is the foundation to Personal Power.

On this site effective communication is not only about obtaining ones desires, but doing so in a respectful and cooperative manner.

Importantly communication begins within ourself and the more effectively we understand our own innermost communication, the more likely we will be successful communicators with others.