When You Yell, Be Kind!

I challenge you: when in conflict-approach your partner with kindness

One of the most difficult things to do when arguing with your partner is to be kind. Why is it that feelings of defensiveness, anger and blame show their ugly head faster than we can say “hunny you’re pissing me off?”

Time to get honest: Have you ever treated your partner in such  a way that you would be embarrassed to tell others?

WHY Do we do this? Why are we so quick to brand our partner as the enemy?

Psychologically, it is because our brains are wired in a way that pain commands our attention far more than pleasure- this is true for emotional pain as well. When we are hurt or angry, our brain picks up on it faster and with more intensity that when we feel pleasant feelings such as joy and happiness.

Basically, its human nature to be more attuned to the negative emotional we experience and be less connected with positive ones- that’s why its so difficult to reframe and change our approach- especially during times of high emotional intensity -like an argument.

What can you do?

  1. Commit to kindness. It’s more than just a statement-it is an approach to life. Take time to develop this skill and remember you’re human!
  2. Have hope. When we approach others by giving them the benefit of the doubt, it opens us up to having more clear communication during conflict.
  3. Interrupt the cycle by saying/doing something out of the ordinary. Try saying “I love you” during a shouting match or reach out and interlock fingers.

Check out this video for 5 tips on how to approach conflict with kindness:

Val Spiropoulos, LCPC ~ The Centered Life

Let’s Talk About Those Boundaries…

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I have learned that in order to have a healthy and positive self-image, we need to learn how to set personal boundaries. This way, we will be able to tell not only ourselves but others that we have self-respect and self-worth, and will not allow other people to define who we are or what our values are. Being able to have clear personal boundaries is the key to ensure mutually respectful and caring relationships. They allow us to separate ourselves from others, define who we are and allow us to think for ourselves. They help us preserve our integrity and most importantly make us take responsibility for who we are and allow us to execute some aspects of control in our lives.

If you at some point felt uncomfortable by how others were treating you, it may be time to re-examine your boundaries and set new ones. If you think about it, having weaker boundaries will not only make you feel taken for granted, but also may make you feel more vulnerable. Having poor boundaries makes us derive our sense of self from others. No one wants to feel less than, so let’s talk about how to work on resetting your boundaries.

There are many kinds of boundaries, but the main ones I want to mention are: physical, emotional, mental and/or intellectual, energetic, and spiritual.

Physical boundaries define how much space you want between others and you. They help us shape our tolerance for all sorts of touch and affection with others.

Emotional boundaries make us question how we would like others to speak to us and if we can allow others to experience their hurt emotions without having the need to save them. Are we able to allow ourselves to feel sad, angry, hurt or fearful without putting the blame on others?

Mental and/or intellectual boundaries dictate us to respect other people’s beliefs, ideas and preferences even though we may not agree with them. This type of boundary may be challenging if we think we know “best” about something. Remember that your perception may not be someone else’s reality!

Energetic boundaries define what kind of people you want to surround yourself with and what kind of people you want to stay away due to their toxicity. They make us question what sort of situations do you often find yourself in; are they calm, loving and peaceful or chaotic, messy or abusive?

Spiritual boundaries allow us to question our own morale and challenge us to think if we can allow others to have chosen their spiritual life without feeling the need to convince them that they are wrong. They make us think if we can honor our own spiritual or lack of spiritual beliefs and not have to explain or justify ourselves to others.

Now that you have had a chance to examine your boundaries, you may think to yourself: how do I begin to establish healthy personal boundaries in some of the above categories? Here are some of the points I like to focus on when examining boundaries.

  1. One of the most important things is knowing that you not only have the right to have healthy personal boundaries, but you must also take responsibility for how you allow other people to treat you.
  2. Learn how to say “no”. We like to think of ourselves as being nice and wanting to help others and that is okay from time to time. However, if you find yourself trying to accommodate everyone and have been finding yourself being placed at a disadvantage because you have been saying “yes” too many times, you may want to re-examine those situations. I encourage you to start prioritizing your needs and not please others at your own expense.
  3. Trust and believe in yourself. Not only do you know yourself best but you also know what your needs and wants are. With that being said, do not let others make all the decisions for you. Allow yourself to respect your strengths, values, and abilities.
  4. Examine your behaviors and actions and identify those that you find unacceptable. When you feel that your boundaries have been violated, let the other person know that they have crossed the line and made you feel a certain way.

When we experience healthy personal boundaries, not only are we more in touch with ourselves but we also experience increased trust and stability in our relationships. We are able to cope with problems more effectively and can communicate better with others. Healthy personal boundaries help us have a higher self-esteem and self-worth. This means that you can be yourself to a greater extent! It is never too late to work on start working on them!

All my best,

 

Aneta

The Self Appointed “SuperWoman”

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We all know that one woman- the one who is always willing, always ready to help out.

– “My babysitter quit and I have 30 minutes to get to a meeting, can you please help me? –“sure”

– “My car broke down, can you help me shop for another one?” –“yes”

– “Can you help me with my taxes?” – “yes”

Sometimes we call these women mom, and sometimes they’re our besties- I like to call them self-appointed Superwomen.

Self-Appointed Superwomen are amazing, strong and we are lucky to have them- But just like every superhero, even Superwomen have their kryptonite. Saying “yes” in excess can often lead to increased stress, anxiety, resentment and unhealthy relationships.

Self-appointed Superwomen often feel guilt when they say “no”. They may falsely believe that if they don’t help, no one else will. They may have unrealistic expectations of themselves; feeling responsible for the happiness or wellbeing of others. Some may lack the self-worth to prioritize themselves.

Here are some ways to practice saying “no” and to begin to prioritize yourself:

  1. Increase Self-Care- When we begin to prioritize ourselves, we practice self-love and begin to understand that we “can’t pour from an empty cup.” Self Care can be taking a 15 min walk or watching your favorite show- as long as it is something that fills you up.

 

  1. Take the “S” off your Chest (Props Danielle Langford)- Give yourself permission to let go of the responsibility to solve other’s problems. You are not responsible for other people’s happiness or wellbeing.

 

  1. Give yourself time- Instead of saying “yes”; ask “can I think about it?” Then, evaluate if the request is something you can manage. Ask yourself how you feel about completing this task. If you’re feeling resentful or angry- it’s time to say “no”

 

  1. Create healthy and strong boundaries- The toughest people to say “no” to, are the ones we love. Be open about how you’re feeling, let your loved ones know if you feel stressed or overworked. Helpo empower others to resolve their issues instead of relying on you.

 

  1. Be Firm, Be clear and remember, No excuses needed when you say no!

Saying “no” has benefits such as feeling empowered; it can lead to higher levels of self-worth, increase productivity and can help manage stress and anxiety.

Check out The Centered Life Women’s Empowerment Workshop which goes into greater detain on the importance of learning to say no.

Valerie Spiropoulos, LCPC

www.thecenteredlifetherapy.com