Riding a Dead Horse

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One of the basic requirements of all living organisms is our innate need to grow plants, animals, vegetables, humans and minerals, if you follow quantum physics research.

Moving at 90 miles an hour
These days, most of us are moving at 90 miles and hour encountering numerous people, places, circumstances and events, guided by to-do lists, held accountable to, and addicted to, electronic leashes, and burdened by overwhelm, stress, fogginess, and confusion.

I recall reading an article recently in which the author talked about how we can maximize our time and I was struck by the last “do and don’t” item on her list; simply, it stated: “And finally, when the horse dies, get off!”

What an interesting piece of advice! Blunt and to the point. So I thought I might tug on your sleeve as well and perhaps suggest taking a minute or two, right here, right now, to consider any dead horses you may be riding.

What’s a “Dead Horse?”
Dead horses are all of the shoulds and shouldn’ts that drive our lives. Often we’re completely unaware of them. These dead horses take the form of self-images that we think we need to live up to, beliefs, habits, “stories” and routines that run our lives; they show up as the relentless demands and expectations we make on ourselves. These dead horses are forever showing up in our jobs, in our lifestyles or in our relationships with friends, co-workers, spouses and partners. And yet, for no apparent reason, we continually find ourselves in states of regret, agitation, anger, irritation, frustration, resentment, defensiveness, sadness and depression as we continue to try and ride our dead horses.

What about you?
Perhaps right here and right now, you are spending precious time and energy trying to resuscitate your dead horses, painfully and frustratingly dragging them along into today, tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. We make ourselves believe that if we just try harder, keep on keeping on, these dead horses will come to life, better than ever. Or, well tell ourselves that if we are less demanding and more accepting, these dead horses will generate renewed energy and live to ride again.

Or perhaps, we wish, we hope, and we pray that a miracle will happen and our dead horses will suddenly become healthy so we can ride off into the sunset. Just like TV fantasies and fairy tales.

Maybe we’re rationalizing that our horse really isn’t dead; that all it needs is some good old R&R. So we reject our reality and distract ourselves from the truth of our situation. And after days, weeks, months and years of resisting, rejecting, and distracting ourselves, we’re still waiting for the dead horse to show some life, and so we wait, and wait, hope and pray…to no avail.

Then, too, there are those of us who try to convince ourselves that life will be grand if we just carry the horse like it will come out of its coma at some point. So, we just haul it around until life comes back into it. We think that if we nurture it, support it, and help it, it will resurrect. Denial.

Unfortunately, all the while, we do know, yet resist admitting, carrying a dead horse on our shoulders is very tiring, exhausting, debilitating, self-sabotaging and counter-productive.

So, as you contemplate your life right here and right now, this may be a wonderful opportunity to be curious about your dead horses. What are the issues you’re facing in your life at home, at work and at play? Are they the same as, or similar to, the dead horses you carried around in 2016, 2015, and/or 2014?

Consider your career, your work, your relationships, your health and appearance, your personal or spiritual development, fun, finances, or your personal space.

What denial looks like
Consider, perhaps, your lifestyle. Having set out with myriad good intentions, believing in what you thought was your vision or purpose, working hard and sacrificing along the way, becoming who you thought you should be, or perhaps even giving up what you wanted or who you wanted to be, telling yourself there’s no going back, no way to extricate yourself from your unhappiness, frustration, discomfort, or stuckness, are you telling yourself a story that if you just stick it out all will be well?

So, staying in denial, and with a false hope, we keep egging our horse(s) on.  We dig in our spurs, but move nowhere. Or, we’re stuck on a plastic horse on a merry-go-round, moving, always engaged in doing, going around in circles, but in reality, going nowhere. People who ride “dead horses” every day know what they have to do when they get up. But, they have no idea where they’re going.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is simply: when the horse dies, get off!

A year from today, your life will be different. Guaranteed, it will be different! Whether it is good different or bad different, is your choice. Much depends on whether the horses you’re riding are healthy, alive, juicy, energetic, purposeful, meaningful and positively supportive – or dead.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • In what areas of your life are you disengaged right now?
  • What are you doing consistently at work or at home that does not support your performance, productivity or profitability, but keep doing it nevertheless?
  • Are you achieving your goals in your life at work, at home or at play? Do you consistently engage in beliefs, thoughts and actions that run counter to effective goal achievement? You do have goals, don’t you?
  • Many folks spend the first half of their life articulating what they’re going to do and the second half explaining why they couldn’t do it? Are you one of those folks?
  • Are you dying a slow death, lacking a vision, direction, meaning in your life, dying a slow death for something you’re not willing to die for?
  • What stories do you keep telling yourself, what “dead horses” do you keep trying to ride, that do not support a healthy life at work, or a healthy family life, or your health in general or your happiness or your friendships?
  • Are you impaired on your job or in your relationships because of a medical, emotional or psychological issue, a “dead horse,” that you refuse to resolve?
  • Will the “dead horses” you are currently riding end up taking you where you really, really, really want to go in your life?
  • Do your “dead horses” reflect the truth of who you really are, or are they carrying an imposter?
  • How much physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy do you spend supporting or trying to resuscitate your” dead horses”?

(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

 

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

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The Truth About Change

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You cannot stay the way you are and change the way you are. Every living organism has to change if it is to grow. That’s true for individual human beings, couples, teams, organizations or even entire societies. But what is it about the growth process that differentiates it from other kinds of processes?

Essentially, change means the letting go of the old and encouraging something new to develop. Something will become something else. We do not end up where we started. The end result is very different or completely different from what we started with.

The implications of change
Each of us has hopes and aspirations. We want to be happier, have a better job or relationship, be free from fear, have nicer things. We all have an agenda.

However, consider that change can also mean that our aims can change. The aims and aspirations you have now belong to the “you” you are now. So, if you change into a new you, that new person might not have the same aspirations or goals.

Of course, this means that if you hold onto those same aspirations and goals, you’ll be the same person. And that means no change, no transformation, no expansion and no growth.

If you honestly want to grow, you must be willing to become somebody who has different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and experiences. You cannot stay the way you are and change the way you are. To change the way you are you have to become a different kind of creature.

Giving up “me”
Change means being willing to allow the old ideas and beliefs to die. You cannot change and still be the same.

One of my spiritual teachers uses the process of change that results in a butterfly to illustrate the notion of true and real change. The following is his take. I think it makes sense.

Growth stages
There are several stages in the growth of a butterfly. One of them is a larva which eventually develops and becomes a butterfly. This larva (you) small, big, yellow, black, whatever, says, “I want to grow,” and in your mind, growing means becoming a bigger, happier, more colorful larva.

You don’t think, “I’m going to be something totally different.” You don’t want to be something totally different. You want to be a bigger, more beautiful, more loving larva. It never occurs to you to be something other than a larva. The concept of butterfly never enters your head.

Here’s the problem. If the larva continues to be a larva as it grows, it will feel constricted. It’s getting bigger, it’s growing, but there is something definitely wrong. It keeps complaining, it goes to a therapist. The therapist helps it change a little here, a little there: “No, don’t eat those maple leaves. They will make your indigestion worse.”

It tries one doctor after another. It goes to a chiropractor to get its spine straightened. It goes to a masseuse to help it relax. But it never occurs to the larva that it’s not going to feel better as long as it continues to be a larva.

That’s how everybody actually thinks. Nobody thinks: “I’m a larva who’s going to be something else, something that I have no idea about at all now, and I can’t even think or say what this might be.” A larva can only think of larvae. A larva doesn’t think of butterflies. It sees butterflies around and thinks, “What interesting creatures. Where could they have come from?”

You have your preconceptions, and set of beliefs about change. Maybe you believe that if you grow, if you change, you’ll be more intelligent and have fewer problems and make more money and your stomach won’t hurt as much. Or maybe you believe that growth and change means you’ll be married and have two children, and two cats. And it will be perfect if you and your husband each have a dog. That’s the optimal growth.

So, this person starts working on herself, and after a while, she starts to see that having all those things might not be what growth is really about. So she says, “Okay, one cat, not two. One cat, two dogs, a husband and two children.” And, of course, a house someplace in the country and two vacations a year and continuous love from a few specified people.

If she works on herself for a while, she might be willing to let go of the two dogs. If she is seriously engaged, change she might eventually come to feel the love and security within her own self (essence), viewing the external “goodies” as desirable but not necessary to her contentment.

For your particular larva, changing might mean accepting two cats and a dog but no house in the country. Or you might find out that two cats and one dog won’t do, and you believe that to change you need to have three birds instead. These are examples of how we approach the wish for change with fixed ideas in our heads about what change means.

Perhaps as a child you were interested in machines. Eventually, you graduate from college with a degree in mechanical engineering and find work as an engineer. Maybe after a number of years working as an engineer, you need to become something else in order to grow. Maybe the best thing for you is to be a gardener.

But you say, “No, I have to grow and change and be a mechanical engineer at the same time. I am not going to let go of any of my cats. I’m going to continue to be a mechanical engineer with my two cats and my dog, and with my house, and everything else. Otherwise, I’m not interested.”

So, we see that the most elementary, most external requirement for growth is the willingness to let go of what you believe should happen, what you believe things should be, what you believe will make you happy. Because when you do change, you are no longer the person who thought you knew what you would change into. You will be a different person.

What a butterfly eats is not the same as what a larva eats. The needs of a larva are not the same as the needs of the butterfly. Maybe a larva needs two cats and a dog, and a butterfly does not. So there is a need for an attitude of allowing – allowing things to emerge, to transform – without anticipating how it should happen.

You can direct things only according to the way you are now. You can conceive of the future only according to the blueprints you already know. But real change means that the blueprint will change. The only thing you can do is to be open and allow things just to happen, to allow the butterfly to emerge inside you out of the larva and be a different being.

You might be amazed, saying, “Oh, all this time I thought I had to crawl faster. I didn’t know it was possible to fly.” It is possible to fly, but if you just want to remain a larva, you can learn to crawl a little faster. You can even learn to crawl sideways. But it will never occur to you that you can fly. You see things flying around, but don’t think of flying, because you haven’t got wings.

Usually the particular things you want and the ways you want to experience yourself, are determined by your self-image. Regardless of what you think the image is that you want for yourself or the way of life that you want, what it really means ultimately, if you look at it closely, is that you want particular things because they will give you certain inner sensations, feelings, or perceptions.

The “inside” experience
From the perspective of the inner experience, you want certain stimuli and inner sensations. You may think that you want a house, a dog and a cat, a particular job, so that you can feel a certain way – probably secure or comfortable or fulfilled. You want the inner experiences of the larva – inner stimulation and assurances that you recognize and that you see as a kind of nourishment.

But to allow transformation, you need to be open to the possibility that even what you want in terms of inner stimuli and sensations will change. The kinds of pleasure you valued so much before will not necessarily be relevant to the butterfly.

You might not know about this it happens. You might say, “If I’m going to change, I will feel loving. I will feel love and happiness.”

But maybe the love and happiness you want are not the same love and happiness that a butterfly would feel. Maybe the love and happiness of a butterfly are totally different from what your ideas are about it now.

So in order to change, you need to be willing to change everything about yourself – from your self-image and dreams of what you want all the way through to the things you value and your inner stimuli. Otherwise you’ll stop growing.

And you will discover after a while, after a long process of growth, that some of the deepest and most cherished inner sensations that you can have are the experiences of being yourself, the experience of your true identity.

Eliminating the barriers
The most important step in allowing the process of growth is to acknowledge that anything can happen. You don’t know what it will be. There is no way for you to know the next step. If you try to direct it in any way, you’re just going to stop it. You can only be what you are now and allow the next thing. After all, the core of life is a mystery.

When you experience change, don’t try to hold on to the experience or determine what direction it will take. You just experience it fully and that’s it. Your mind is open for anything to happen.

Of course, this requires a certain trust – a trust that there is such a thing as transformation, that it will be good, that it will be the best thing. Any pre-conceived ideas of how things are going to be will only act as a boundary. The way things are and the way our true nature works cannot be bounded that way.

This trust is not about trusting in anybody; it is not trusting any theory; it is not trusting any authority; it is trusting reality – trusting trust itself. And it will take time for this trust to mature and deepen because when we have more fear we tend not to trust, we tend to stick within our walls. But the more free from fear you become, the more willing you are to let go of those walls.

Learning to trust, embracing the attitude of “allowing,” is central to the process of development and growth. You can allow any possibility. Allowing has no restriction. It is the greatest freedom. It is a freedom that does not say it wants to be free from anything. It is a freedom that is just freedom, whether there is a wall or no wall.

[Source, Allowing, Diamond Heart Book 1, Elements of the Real in Man, A. H. Almaas, Diamond Books, Berkeley, CA, 1988]

Questions for self-reflection

  • So, what is change like for you these days? How so?
  • What beliefs do you associate with your own change?
  • What feelings/emotions do you associate with your own change?
  • What feelings/emotions are you resisting or avoiding around your own change? How so?
  • What is your experience with trust/trusting like for you?
  • What was trust/trusting like for you when you were growing up? How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Why Is Gossip Such a Hard Habit to Quit?

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The term “workplace violence”, normally conjures up images of physical harm. But for me there’s another type of workplace violence that is just as, if not more, insidious, threatening and hurtful. That violence is verbal: workplace gossip.

I define gossip as the sort of language that results in another person experiencing pain, suffering or confusion, language that is used when that other person to whom it’s directed is not present.

Over the years, I’ve come across hundreds of workplace situations where gossip was seen as “business as usual,” part and parcel of the culture. And in many cases, the individuals involved would even claim to be “against” gossip. Hmmm.

Yet even after attending formal meetings to explore the “gossip issue,” or after sensitivity training sessions intended to reduce gossiping, or after organizational mandates that “no more gossiping will be tolerated” and even after individuals “signed the pledge” to speak openly and directly and to reduce the “gossip problem,” even after all this, a fair number of people who had apparently committed to change the culture continued to engage in gossiping.

So what is it with gossip? Why is it such a tough habit to quit?

Competing commitments
Consciously or unconsciously, most gossip is fear-based. So someone’s commitment not to gossip can be subsumed by fear, anxiety or concern about who they might become if they stopped gossiping.

For example, “If I were to stop gossiping,”

Who would I be then?
What would I do then (instead of gossiping)?
Would I no longer be “one of the guys/gals?” (the odd one out)
Would anyone still have lunch with me?
Would I lose my friends?
Would folks ostracize me as “spiritual” or some other pejorative?

People who gossip often have a disproportionate need to be seen, acknowledge, liked, wanted or accepted. They need others to feel comfortable around them, and so acquiesce when drawn into gossip. Why?

Gossiping is a protective mechanism
Stopping our self from talking about others can be very challenging, even painful. That’s because many of us have great difficulty being open and authentic or acknowledging our own vulnerability. So, instead, we focus outward.

Gossiping acts as a defense mechanism that diverts attention away from us. By putting the focus on someone else, it means we don’t have to disclose our own feelings or emotions or have to “open up” to others.

Gossiping then becomes a way of not having to reveal anything about ourselves. Most gossipers have lived life behind a mask, putting on false in order to face the world, always needing to protect themselves from showing their authenticity, their vulnerability. They feel frightened and threatened.

Do no harm
The commitment to quit gossiping is not simply a mental or intellectual choice. To behave authentically and sincerely requires an inner intention that emanates from a deep sense of integrity and real desire to do no harm in our lives.

Without this deep personal commitment, or if quitting gossip and doing no harm are perceived as policies or principles imposed on us from outside, gossipers often ten to fall off the gossip wagon. Simply making a mental choice to quit gossip isn’t enough. Like other addictions, it’s not just a mind-over-matter equation. So, at the end of the day (and throughout the day), the commitment not to gossip often dissipates rather quickly.

It’s an inside-out proposition
Unless we’re aware of the nature of our perceptions, our orientation to the world and the people in it, the nature of our judgments of others and the underlying nature of our emotions, we’ll be challenged to resist the urge to gossip.

To free ourselves from the pernicious and insidious effects of gossiping and to free ourselves from inflicting harm upon others, we need to explore and heal the split between our outer and inner selves. Only then can we live honest, sincere and gossip-free lives.

Some Questions for Self-Reflection:   

  • Why do I engage in gossiping or support others who do?
  • What does gossiping get me? How so?
  • Is there another way to get the same result without harming others?
  • Does gossiping align with my personal values around respecting others?
  • Would I repeat gossip I hear or generate directly to the person it’s about?
  • Would I want to be quoted on TV or in the company newsletter?
  • Would I encourage my children to gossip?
  • Would I engage in gossiping it if it were about a relative or personal friend?
  • Am I expressing my authenticity and integrity when I gossip?
  • Do I feel ethical when I’m gossiping? Do I care?
  • Have I ever been the target of gossip? What was that like?
  • What was my experience around gossip when I was growing up?
    —————————————————–
    (c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

    What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

    I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

    I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Collusion, Culture and Bad Management

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In my mind, there are only two reasons (but lots of excuses) why managers behave unethically or inappropriately. Either they are unable to behave ethically or appropriately, or they are unwilling to do so.

The antidote for number one?
Provide requisite, specific knowledge and hands-on experiential training. The follow-up in both the short- and long-term is to check that the message has gotten through and that appropriate behavior is now “business as usual” — and if it isn’t, ensure that the consequences are severe.

The antidote for number two?
Well, that’s a bit more complicated. When someone has the requisite knowledge and skills but still decides to ignore them, what’s going on?

One possibility is the individual has chosen to behave otherwise because they fear that behaving ethically or appropriately will result in some personal loss — be it loss of friendships, loss or prestige, loss of a bonus, loss of control, loss of recognition or loss of security (mentally, physically, emotionally or psychologically), or, perhaps, even the loss of their job.

It’s not unusual for a manager to behave unethically or inappropriately of their own accord when driven, consciously or unconsciously, by these sorts of fears.

Another possibility is that a manager may choose to behave unethically or inappropriately because there is a tacit “unwritten rule” that such behavior is acceptable. This tacit agreement is known as collusion and often exists where there is a culture or subculture of collusion.

Collusion takes hold when two (or more) individuals co-opt their values and ethics to support their own – and others’ – mis-deeds. Allowing another’s collusion, by omission or commission, is a mis-deed! Think enabler.

When colluding or enabling collusion, we allow ourselves and others to engage in unethical or inappropriate (not to mention potentially self-destructive) behaviors in order to gain acceptance, approval, recognition or security and to feel emotionally and psychologically safe.

Collusion is saying (but not out loud), “I’m going to let you behave the way you want or need to so I can feel good about our relationship even though I know my behavior and your behavior are unethical, inappropriate, self-destructive, and out of integrity.”

Collusion is behavior we commonly associate with “fraud.” Workplace collusion is fraudulent as one is living a lie and supporting another to live his or her lie. Colluding is “fraud” on a deeper level as it relates to who we are and how we conduct our relationships with others. Think integrity.

What Does Collusion Look Like?
In the everyday working world, there are various flavors of collusion. General expressions or behaviors that reflect collusion are: “giving to get,” “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” “going along to get along” and “one hand washing the other.”

We collude when we support and pledge allegiance to an unethical or incompetent leader, manager, supervisor, direct report or co-worker so we both can feel emotionally safe with each other. If I collude, the other(s) will appreciate my support and feel seen and I’ll experience his/her appreciation, which allows me to feel seen and accepted or be “OK” in some way in this unethical and inappropriate (dysfunctional or co-dependent) relationship.

We collude when we share insider information with only a select few so we’ll be viewed as caring about them and they will feel they’re special. When we collude with them, we feel in control, and secure; they feel acknowledged that we chose them. We are being duplicitous, self-deceptive and inappropriate in our actions of giving and receiving. Think narcissist or hypocrite.

We collude when we verbally gang up on a third party through bullying, sarcasm, or gossiping, experiencing a false sense of connection and camaraderie with our co-colluder at the expense of the third party.

We collude when we withhold honest and forthright comments about inappropriate behavior in a feedback session for fear of alienating another whose work we respect. By resisting the truth, and perpetuating another’s false belief that their behavior is acceptable, we “play the game” of mutual respect while perpetuating our phony relationship of mutual “like.”

Why Do We Collude?
Collusion is about lying to protect our oft-fragile egos instead of showing up in integrity. The curiosity is why we collude.

We all experience a degree of deficiency — some more, some less. We all sense we are not “enough” or are lacking in some way. It’s the human condition. However, we have two options in dealing with our sense of lack or deficiency:

1. We can choose to “work” on our colluding to understand it and our underlying motives for colluding, and take conscious steps to effectively reduce and eliminate it so we can show up authentically, in integrity, sincerely and self-responsibly. Or,

2. We can deceive ourselves and ignore, deny, and resist telling the truth, hoping to keep our relationship with our self and with others emotionally intact. We ignore “the elephants in the room,” wearing blinders to what needs to be done said, heard, felt and seen – hoping that denial will “keep the emotional peace” and perpetuate the co-dependent or dysfunctional relationship.

The Basic Problem with Collusion
Collusion is a progressive drug. We need to lie and collude more and more to maintain the false feeling of emotional safety. When we collude, we are ever “vigilant,” fearful with whether we will be “found out.” We are constantly worried and concerned whether our co-colluder(s) will have a “conversion,” fearing we’ll be “outed.”

So colluding is exhausting, requiring an inordinate amount of physical, emotional and psychic energy, continually shoring up relationships that have no true foundation built on trust or truth.

The Antidote for Collusion
Colluding is corrosive to one’ head, heart and soul. The antidote is twofold: to seek understanding of the reasons (excuses) why we refuse to tell our self and others the truth, and then set our intention to tell the truth when often we would rather resist.

Truth-telling requires empathy, compassion, acceptance and courage. Behaving appropriately is freeing – emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically. Behaving ethically and appropriately allows us to show up authentically, honestly and in integrity. Behaving ethically and appropriately is the only way to experience true and real relationships with others.

From a workplace research perspective, meaning, happiness, and true friendship most often appear as the top responses to the research question, “What’s really important to you at work?”

Mary C. Gentile, in “Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right,” says: “One of the most powerful lenses through which to view values in the workplace – and one of the most powerful sources of the strength and confidence to act on those values – is the lens of self knowledge. A knowledge of oneself allows the crafting and embracing of a desired self-image. Managers at all levels in their firms report that a significant enabler of values-based action is the clarity, commitment and courage that is born of acting from our true center, finding alignment between who we already are and what we say and do.”

Think internal coherence and integrity. Most folks say they want to experience “meaning” in their work, to behave appropriately and ethically, and align their life at work in the direction of “True North.” Yet, many of these same folks find themselves conflicted every day — their values, ideals and expectations up against those of the organization.

Simple, but not easy – you can’t collude and expect to find real meaning, real happiness and real relationships at work. Thinking you can is the epitome of collusion and self-deception.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What keeps you from telling the truth at work? Are you afraid to tell the truth? How so?
  • Do you collude? If so, in what ways?
  • Do you find yourself lying and being phony to maintain specific relationships?
  • Do others collude with you, not tell you what they think you need to hear, for fear of how you might react?
  • How do you feel in the moment when you know you are colluding?
  • What’s “right” about colluding? What does colluding get you? Is there another way to get that result without colluding?
  • When and how were you first introduced to the notion of colluding? How old were you? What was going on? How did you feel about that experience?

(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

 

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

When Someone Hits a Raw Nerve

ouch

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

We all know the feeling. You’re in the middle of a conversation – pleasant, collegial, or perhaps serious, but respectful – when all of a sudden, it goes south. Someone hit a nerve.

Everyone has these experiences where, when a nerve is touched, a reaction is triggered. We become vulnerable.

Most of the time, these experiences are not overly sensitive. Even though we do react when triggered, our reaction is but fleeting. But we all have at least one or two places where the rawness is a 10 on a scale of 1-10. OUCH!

Why the ouch?
Psycho-emotionally, our reactivity is most often due to our feeling of being ignored (abandoned, unseen, unheard, dismissed and the like) in some way, shape or form. This reactivity is based on some experience in our past and this earlier “wounding” now leaks out (the OUCH!) when someone in our present life touches that same nerve.

It might be that your boss ignores you when you’re speaking and want their attention. Or someone chooses to check their phone in the midst of the conversation. Or your partner doesn’t compliment you on the good job you did. Your reaction in these situations is directly related to those times you were ignored or dismissed as a young child and these sensitivities leak out whenever we feel unseen, unheard and unsupported.

What’s interesting, and important, is many of us have become numb to the raw spots we have. What we are aware of more commonly is our reactivity — our shutting down, lashing out, moving away (emotionally, verbally or literally) sadness, or fear.

So we’re all walking around with raw nerves and we engage in this dynamic of rubbing up against one other’s raw spots — unintentionally and unaware, triggering one another over and over with these destructive interpersonal dynamics.

What’s really happening?
When one hits another’s raw nerve, or feels the sting of one’s own nerve being rubbed against, there is a palpable change in “energy.” One or both go “cold,” or shut down in some way. And, one or the other’s reaction is way out of proportion. One may know what just happened and the other hasn’t a clue. “Where did that come from?!” “What just happened here?” we ask, openly or silently. What’s happening is that needs are being ignored and anger and/or fear take over.

The process, which takes place in the blink of an eye, goes like this:

1. We’re triggered by a word, glance, tone of voice, or a new/different emotional tone, etc., which takes over and says, “watch out!”;

2. We have a “somatic” response — feeling of nausea, dizziness, tenseness, tightness, heat or cold, increased heart rate, shallow breathing, increased blood pressure, etc.;

3. Our “mind” tries to make sense of our physiological reactivity and we “move” — toward, away from or against the other — i.e., anger leads to “fight;” shame leads to “flight” (shut down, withdraw, leave); sadness leads us to “let go; etc.”

The antidote to “ouch!”
The way to regain balance, harmony and self-control, and move towards equanimity is to take time, a lot of “conscious” time, to explore what throws us “off” — when we, all of a sudden, feel unsafe, unheard or unseen, leading us to become reactive. Ask yourself:

  • What did the other say or do that triggered my reaction?
  • What sensations did I experience in my body (not only what do I think)?
  • Does this physiological sensation help me to name my experience (a metaphor, for example—I felt like…)?
  • What is my inner dialogue when my being triggered happens? What’s the meaning I come up with?
  • Then, what did I do? What action did I take?

Then, think about your history. Did you experience this raw spot when you were young — with your parents or primary caregivers, siblings, teachers, peers, or others, as you were growing up? Can you see this person from your past now “inside” or as an overlay on the current person who is triggering you? Does the person who is currently triggering you see, i.e., know of, this raw spot of yours?

And, on the other hand, when the roles are reversed, do you know of the other’s raw spots and what you do to irritate them? Have you ever shared this with the other? Or they with you?

The antidote to coming up against others’ raw spots is to be aware of your own raw spots and those of others, share these with those others in a way that allows you to feel safe, yet honest and self-responsible, and then choose behaviors that keep you from behaving in negative ways.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Have you recently experienced hitting another’s raw nerve, or having someone trigger yours? What was that like? Did you resolve it?
  • Have you ever shared your triggers with another — at work, at home, at play in relationship? What was that like for you? For the other?
  • What’s it like for you to experience your vulnerability? Do you ever talk about your deepest fears? What is that like — if you do; if you don’t?
  • Do you ever trigger another willfully to upset them? What does this get you?
  • How did you learn of your triggers? As you look back on your youth, do you see where those around you triggered you?
  • Are you in any relationship where if you weren’t arguing you’d have no communication at all? What’s that like for you?
  • If you look back at your history in relationship, has triggering been a common occurrence? Is it still? Is it OK?
  • What was happening in that moment?
  • What was it (the specific cue-name it) that triggered me?
  • What was it I was feeling (name the feeling, not what you “think”) in the exact moment I was triggered?

—————————————————–
(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

You Know Best

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Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

No-one else knows what’s best for us. And, conversely, we don’t know what’s best for others. So our job, our responsibility is to determine what’s best for ourselves.

“I know exactly what you need.” I know what you should do.” I have the answer for you.” I don’t think you should do this.” “This is what you should be working on, focusing on, or pursuing right now.”

Being disrespectful
Each of these statements is bold, presumptuous, disrespectful and discourteous. These statements (or beliefs, as they often are) separate us from how we operate from a spiritual perspective in all aspects of lives, be it at work, at home and in relationship. Each of us has the ability and capacity to be able to discern our own path and our own way forward through our lives. This is not always easy. Life is often about the struggle and effort that’s sometimes requires us to go inside and rest in this quiet, still place of discovery, the place of right knowing, right understanding and right action.

Advising others, educating others, making decisions for them, plotting and planning their journey and crafting their strategy for moving forward, is not our responsibility, nor should it be. Nor is it their responsibility to direct our journey, to find out path for us.

Self-responsibility
Even if you have some kind of “contract” with another — if they are a friend, relative, coach, or counselor — they don’t know what’s best for us, nor should we trust or expect that they do.

Each of us is responsible for listening to the information that comes to us. It is also our responsibility to consciously sift through and sort out that information, and then “go inside” to weigh the merits of that information, to discern what we think and feel is best for us. Nobody can know that but each of us in our own way.

The way we can support, honor and respect others is to trust that they have their own internal guidance system, their own internal source of wisdom and their own internal capacity to discern what is in their best and highest good and interest, and that they will discover their path through trial and error — living life.

And us? To trust that we, each of us, through discovery in this moment, and the next moment, and the next moment — through the process of living life, making mistakes, taking wrong turns, stumbling and getting up – is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you depend on others to make life choices for you — at work, at home, at play or in relationship? If so, do you know why?
  • Do others rely on you to make life choices and decisions for them? And do you? Why?
  • Is carving out your life’s path fearful, shaky? How so? Does the fear stop you? If so, why?
  • What have you learned about yourself while discovering your own path?
  • How/what did your parents or primary caregivers teach you about depending on them or others for support?
  • Have you even been in a co-dependent (needy) relationship with another — parent, sibling, spouse or partner, coach, counsellor or religious or spiritual guide? What was/is that like for you? What does/did it get you?
  • Do you take time for journaling, reflecting or contemplation on a regular basis? Do you ever practice presence or mindfulness?
  • What’s it like for you to sit in stillness or silence?
  • How do you access your inner guidance or wisdom? Do you believe you have the capacity for inner guidance or wisdom? Do you trust your gut? When do you…when don’t you?

———————————————————–

(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Does Self-Help, Help?

self-help

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Who among us has not been on some type of self-help journey at one point or another? Who among us bemoans the fact we’re not experiencing inner peace, balance or harmony in our lives – or that we can’t seem to bring about the change and transformation we’re seeking?

Why self-help doesn’t help.
Many of us will be familiar with the nagging feeling which says, “heck, the more I read, attend lectures, seminars and workshops, meditate and chant, pray and say affirmations, the less I seem to be getting anywhere.”? What’s operating here?

The problem is that much of what is considered to be “self-help” doesn’t result in any real change or transformation. By that I mean the type of change that sees the ‘old you’ die and a ‘new you’ born, that means you’re not the person you used to be, that people you used to know wouldn’t recognize who you are now

Positive thinking, affirmations, willpower, chants, praying, meditating and reading seldom leads to this sort of profound change. That’s because most of what passes for self-help goes no deeper than engaging your mind and (in this case, your spiritual) ego. But real transformation requires a conscious connection with your higher self, not just your intellect – it can’t be realized by thinking and doing alone. It requires the work on a deeper level that you experience when dealing with your unconscious and with the darker forces within you.

Self-awareness is the key.
Self-awareness is the key building block of real change. Self-awareness – and a conscious understanding of who and how you – are forms the basis of becoming “conscious”.

Critically, becoming conscious is not about rationally exploring who you are. Rather, it’s about “not knowing” who you are. It’s about turning inward and exploring yourself from the deeper recesses and dimensions of your being, from the perspective of your unconscious self.

Paradoxically, self-awareness can only arise from an exploration of what you don’t know about yourself.

The truth is you’re more often influenced by what you are unaware of (in yourself) than what you are aware of. True change and transformation cannot evolve from “playing it safe” dealing only with the parts of yourself that you know, or feel safe or comfortable with.

Deeper questions lead to self-awareness.
Do you ever dream about people you dislike or with whom you have a contentious relationship? Do you ever wonder why you take an immediate dislike to someone you’ve never met? Do you ever think about rash judgments you make about people, places, events or circumstances? Do you ever wonder why people trigger your control, recognition or security buttons?

The “rational” person, of course, has all the answers and reasons why. But rather than trying explain these feelings by rationalizing them, if you begin to appreciate what’s operating in your unconscious you can start to understand why you are the way you are.

Often, doing this will reveal the uncomfortable, fearful, resistant or angry parts of yourself that exist on an unconscious level – parts that need to be explored, and worked with, (not suppressed, repressed or denied) if you choose to truly change and transform.

Curiosity
For example, if you become curious about why you need to soothe your anxieties by shopping, eating, drinking or controlling, you may discover that part of you is an insecure child within who feels abandoned, lost or ignored and is searching for safety and security in materialism.

Rationally, many will agree (based on the “self-help” stuff they’ve read or heard), that materialism represents “comfort food” when deeper love, appreciation, or acknowledgement is lacking. But many of these same folks are reluctant to go deeper to explore “why?”. They can’t or won’t tolerate exploring the unconscious addictions that drive them to behave in ways that bring them a false sense of comfort or ways that help them avoid or deny their feelings.

It’s all about the truth
Real self-help is not about dancing around the truth of who you are – with all your fears and the discordant music playing within. It’s about trusting your Innate Intelligence to deal with what’s really “up” with you. That means being open to, aware of and reflective about your subconscious self when your behaviors, thoughts, words and emotions are triggered in your daily life.

When you approach your life with curiosity, without judgment and welcome the truth of your unconscious, you embark on the journey to wholeness and begin to discover who you are in the greater context of healing yourself. This is the real self-help journey of change and transformation.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you consider yourself a “self-help junkie?” If so, how is this working for you? Are you behaving differently? What would those around you say? Honestly.
  • Do you explore your emotions and your darker side? If not, why not?
  • To whom or what are you strongly attracted? What aspects of your subconscious might account for this?
  • Do you feel a strong prejudices or hatred towards someone or something? How so? Why do you think this is happening?
  • Do you ever explore your dreams?
  • Is your experience with self-help more about gathering “information” than authentic, deeper behavior change?
  • How much time and money do you spend on “self-help” a year? Is there a real return on your investment, over and above simply knowing more stuff? Are you honestly be-ing different?
  • How often do you engage in deep self-reflection (not thinking), exploring not “the way I am” but “why am I the way I am?”

 

—————————————————–
(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is – maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Author, heal thyself.

author hel.jpg

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Other people’s behavior – be it that of a mainstream personality, an actor, politician, sports star or corporate executive, or that of someone in our personal circle – is always crossing our radar.

When this happens, many of us are quick to react with a judgment – a knee-jerk judgment that reflects our need to tell that person that not only are they bad or wrong, but also how they should or shouldn’t be behaving. Not only do we critique their values, beliefs, choices and behaviors, but we try to create for them the type of life they should be leading, according to “me”.

Most of us who try to author someone else’s life in this way find it almost impossible to observe others without reacting with observations that are replete with judgments, criticisms, evaluations or other forms of analysis. What’s more, once we have finished judging, we try to take the role of advisor, educator, parent, interferer, explainer, hypothesizer, or fixer.

Author, heal thyself
So what is it about people who seem to need to run other peoples’ lives – either in the here and now or from a distance? What is it about people who seem to want to “help” others but can’t seem to get a handle on their own life or issues? What is it about people who aren’t happy unless they’re authoring someone else’s life?

In a word – control. Most of these folks are to some degree out of control in their own lives and so they gain a false sense of grounding and control by attempting to run others’ lives. Meddling is their fix.

Lacking close scrutiny
On 30th Street in Boulder, CO, you’ll find a sculpture of a man chiselling himself out of a block of stone. He has already carved his head, torso, arms, and thighs. Holding a hammer in his raised right hand, he’s ready to strike a chisel he grasps in his left hand. He is forming his right knee.

Most authors of others’ lives have yet to chisel their own sculpture. Feeling unsafe, insecure, fearful, overwhelmed, lost or confused, their block of granite is incomplete. And to feel some sense of value and worth, they choose to chisel another’s sculpture.

Authoring someone else’s sculpture brings a fake and phony sense of individuality, self-actualization and self-determination. The opposite is the truth. Authors of others’ lives are seldom self-made individuals. They lack self-direction and autonomy, rarely assume self-responsibility for their actions and are poor at self-management.

These authors are often withering on the vine of life, rather than growing and moving forward. Rather than being continuous learners or continual creators of their own life, they take a false sense of pleasure in attempting to tell others how to live. They never take an honest self-inventory. They prefer to judge, evaluate and tell others how to deal with the struggles of life than to know themselves.

Self-authorship
For those who are steeped in authoring others’ lives, perhaps this might be a good time to step back, leave those others alone and focus on your own self-authorship – to chisel your own sculpture.

While chiselling, consider what conscious choices you can make to enhance your personal, professional, relational, and spiritual life. Will your sculpture reflect an honest, sincere and self-responsible effort to take care of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health? Will it address your financial and career health, your living environment, your relationship with your partner, friends and family, colleagues and co-workers?

Will your sculpture reflect your core values, integrity, trustworthiness and authenticity? When people come by to view your sculpture, what is the legacy they’ll see? Will it reflect a finely thought-out, creative, resonating figure, or will it be whole, flat, and untouched because you were too busy obsessed with telling other folks how to chisel their granite blocks?

Finally, remember that everyone is in chapter three of their life. Try as hard as you might, you’ll never, ever know what transpired in another’s chapter one or two – ever. So attempting to author their life without a grasp of those first two chapters, will never work – for you or for them – hard as you try.

That’s a good reason to close the book on other peoples’ lives and author the book of your own.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you tend to “author” others’ lives? Are you continually judging others? How so?
  • Do you feel a need to meddle in others’ lives? If so, where does that get you?
  • Is self-reflection a challenge for you? If so, why? He honest.
  • Would you prefer to evaluate other’s lives rather than your own? If so, why?
  • What one step can you take this week to chisel one small piece of your block?
  • Are you a continuous learner, a “work in progress?”
  • Has your chisel dulled? What can you do to re-sharpen it? Do you have the strength to lift your hammer?
  • Have you stopped chiseling?
  • The ultimate purpose question: Why do you think you’re on the planet?

—————————————————–
(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.  Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Emotionally Intelligent and Emotionally Mature

balance.png

Speaker page,  Facebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

It’s now widely acknowledged that Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a key skill for managers and business leaders and that getting in touch with your emotions and managing them when interacting with others plays a major part in managerial effectiveness.

But despite this awareness, old habits still die hard. Even when an individual has worked to improve their emotional intelligence, they often experience a type of disconnect in real-life situations. They may have learned the concepts of EI at an intellectual level, but they still find it hard to manage their emotions or emotional reactivity and quickly revert to old, self-destructive emotional habits and patterns when certain triggers are pulled.

So why is EI so hard to embrace in our day-to-day lives?

One reason is that many people who worked on their EI have (consciously or unconsciously) failed to deal with the root causes of their emotional reactivity. They haven’t explored the deeper nature of their emotional history. This history of their emotional evolution is a prerequisite to understanding how they “futurize their past” – i.e., how they interpret the present based on their history, experiences and memories.

Without this understanding, it’s very hard to separate our present from our past – “that was then; this is now.” So we’re not able to see the present – people, places, events, circumstance and objects – as “fresh” and unencumbered by our past emotional history. We’re unable to experience the present in a positive, neutral way and so we experience many of life’s events shrouded in a mist of negativity, judgment and fear.

In other words, very few of us actually “process” our emotions. Few of us allow our emotions to just be – watching, witnessing and observing them and asking, “What are you teaching me, about me?”.

Finally, many of us choose to bury our emotions. And we ought to know that when we bury our emotions, we bury them alive. They will return to rear their ugly heads, sooner or later.

Emotional maturity
So instead of focusing on emotional intelligence, perhaps we would be better served by focusing on emotional maturity.

The difference between the two is important. Emotional maturity is not “intellectual” but refers to a higher state of self-awareness – something that lies beyond “intelligence” – where we are guided by our senses, intuition and heart.

Emotional maturity is characterized by five principles:

  1. Every negative emotion we experience is a childhood emotion overlaid on a current person, circumstance, place, event or object.
  2. Emotionally, many adults are 3-4-5-year-old children in adult bodies wearing adult clothes.
  3. No one can make you feel a way you don’t want to feel.
  4. An adult can be emotionally mature and child-like or immature and child-ish. Big difference.
  5. Mindfulness, focus and presence are the keys to emotional maturity

Emotional maturity focuses on our emotional history, beginning with our interactions with our primary caregivers, extended family, teachers, friends, etc. We learn that around the age of seven, our psychological and emotional “programming” is set. Our emotional reactivity (anger, sadness, fear, shame, hurt, guilt, loneliness, etc.) that was triggered early on in life becomes stored in our cells and arises when “related” triggers pop up later in life.

Emotionally intelligent, but emotionally immature
Being emotionally mature means we seldom act out on, or suppress, our emotions.
Emotionally intelligent, but “immature,” adults are often unable to identify or manage their emotions. They usually avoid their emotions by intellectualizing, explaining, analyzing, disagreeing, attacking, flattering, joking, apologizing, evading, going silent, becoming aloof or suspicious, rejecting, criticizing or judging. They often come across as superior, arrogant, stubborn, defiant, hostile, people-pleasing, wishy-washy, phony, resentful, intolerant, self-pitying or victimized.

Because they haven’t explored their emotional development, many of them aren’t aware that they superimpose their childhood emotions on to their adult life. Their past is leaking out in the present.

In contrast, the emotionally mature adult understands that “my emotions are not me, but mine – I’m in control, not my emotions.” So they are more objective are less judgmental. They are better able to detach themselves from triggers that would normally provoke an emotional reaction. They experience states of equanimity, serenity and inner peace. Blaming others is no longer a strategy they use to make themselves feel safe.

That’s not to say that an emotionally mature individual isn’t chid-like. In fact they are often lively, excited, adventurous, joyful, happy and open. But they are also nurturing, supportive, firm, fair, helpful, respectful, self-responsible, non-judgmental, honest, sincere and focused on the well-being of themselves and of others.

The emotionally immature adult, however, is often childish, rather than child-like. They are reactive and throw tantrums. They are fearful, scared, needy, angry, resentful, pushy, bullying, jealous or envious. They can be quiet, withdrawn, defensive, argumentative or grandiose. They can come across as overbearing, micromanaging, controlling, disrespectful, fearful, angry, negative, judgmental, critical, abusive (mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically), dishonest, insincere, narcissistic and focused on the self and the ego.

The most visible quality of emotional maturity is the capacity to be in the moment, to be present while being non-reactive or non-judgmental.
This “being present” supports our true and authentic self to guide us. We intuit “right knowing”, “right understanding” and “right action”. We feel our emotions without “becoming” our emotions. We grasp that the “trigger” for our reactivity may be “outside me”, but the “cause” of my emotions is within me.

So when we’re triggered, we watch, witness and observe but don’t succumb to a childish reaction. We accept our experience as it is. Practicing mindfulness, presence, focus, trust and surrender, we allow our heart and soul to push aside negativity or reactivity and bring what is needed, a considered, emotionally mature response.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you ever feel you need to change the way you respond/react emotionally to others? How so?
  • How do you feel when others challenge or disagree with you, or give you feedback?
  • Do you ever find yourself feeling fearful, angry or anxious? Do you know why?
  • Do you ever feel afraid about exploring your emotions? Why?
  • Do you consider yourself to be emotionally mature? What would others say? Would you ask them?
  • How did you learn about emotions when you were growing up?


—————————————————–
(c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering


It’s all about perspective.

dancing2

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”   Friedrich Nietzsche

Have you ever judged someone as being “off?” (read: negatively different, difficult, stupid, weird, and the like) because their behavior or their be-ing-ness didn’t conform to the way you felt it ought to conform?

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”  How often have you been tone deaf because you refused to gather enough information to possibly help you more fully understand the truth of the reality around you? The fact is there is never – ever – only one correct perspective about anyone or anything.

Understanding this truth supports us to let go of our tendency to judge, categorize and label people as “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong,” etc. Most folks experience pain and suffering because they refuse to let go of their need to definitively judge reality – not only their reality but everyone else’s reality as well.

The truth is folks suffer least when they can accept reality just as it is – without needing to control or manipulate it.

If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.”  Marcus Aurelius

Is the only solution your view of reality?

How often in your daily life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship – do you find yourself in a situation where there’s a conflict, challenge or problem to be tackled and resolved? Or a dilemma that needs to be unbundled, or a conundrum to be clarified, or a story to be heard? And, how often in such circumstances do you dive in with your perspective (read: “my perspective which is the one, single and correct perspective”)? How often do you arrive to save the day?

In reality, how often have you jumped in with two feet and one single perspective only to learn sooner rather than later you missed the mark – i.e., you didn’t grasp the whole story, or the complete picture, or a deeper understanding of the issue?

What’s really underneath our knee-jerk need to jump in is our mind is so accustomed – in a culture of 24-hour sound bites, 140-character Tweets, IPhones, IM, and incessant demands made on our psyche by social media – to shoot from the hip, and offer opinions and judgments on the fly, and, in the process, become wrapped up in our “what-I-feel-is-the correct-perspective” approach to problem solving – i.e., viewing our preconceptions, assumptions, and judgments – as Truth.

“Listen to understand before being understood” is a principle underscored in all “effective listening” literature. Most of us say we “listen.” But, how often do we really, really listen before being understood, before reacting? Honestly?

Media made me do it

In a media-obsessed culture, many of us have become addicted to the need for immediate stimulation and interaction; our brains demand (hyper) activity. So, rather than having cultivated the capacity to exhibit patience and really, really listen, our stimulation-needy brains force us to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, i.e., our perspective – a perspective that is, more often than not, quick, simple – and wrong. Being reactive rather than responsive.

The downside of the “I have the one, quick and correct perspective” is that it usually ameliorates one’s capacity to listen, be empathic, quiet and contemplative in a sustained way in the presence of another or others – especially when the situation calls for deeper reflection and understanding.

Unfortunately, when listening is called for, many of us engage in a knee-jerk reactive response in some way, shape or form – advising, fixing, one-upping, educating, telling, training, hijacking the other’s experience, correcting, and, of course, suggesting an immediate solution, i.e., my perspective.

Unfortunately, when this happens, those across from us often feel unheard, unappreciated, invisible, angry, resentful, frustrated or attacked – anything but listened to. Not a great way to build trust, engender mutual respect, create a container of safety or cultivate conscious, healthy relationships.

The antidote to the “quick fix”

So, the next time you’re in a situation that calls for listening, perhaps don’t be so quick to reassure, give advice, or give your perspective. Rather, practice being present to the person(s) who are speaking, practice empathy to understand the other(s) more completely, breathe deeply, clear your mind and let go of all preconceived judgments and assumptions, listen with your whole being, not just your ears, to others’ feelings and needs.

In other words, in situations that call for listening, be sure you’re not one “who considers those who are dancing to be insane” because you could not hear the music.

Listen for the music.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you feel you’re a good listener? How do you know? What would your co-workers, bosses, friends, spouse, partner or family members say?
  • Have you recently been told you don’t listen? What was it like to hear that?
  • Are you preoccupied with electronic devices?
  • Would folks say you’re often the first to jump in with a suggestion, a solution, an answer, your “perspective” – even when no one may not be asking for it?
  • Do you have a reputation as one who’s always “fixing” saving or rescuing others without their asking?
  • Do you ever feel unheard, unseen, invisible when speaking with others?
  • Do you ever hijack or “one-up” others’ experiences?
  • Would you consider yourself to be a compassionate and empathic person?
  • Do you ever ask others if they feel you understood them, before you claim you did understand them?
  • What one or two ways this week or next can you “listen to understand before being understood?”
  • Do you feel you were consistently “seen” and “heard” as a child?—————————————————–
    (c) 2017, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

    I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

    What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

    I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

    I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering