Posts Tagged ‘emotionalhealing’

WHEN LYING IS THE BETTER OPTION

Currently there is a commercial on TV where a cheerful woman visits her new neighbor with a homemade pie. She states that she has actually come by not to simply welcome the woman into the neighborhood but to see if in fact she might be weird in some way. The smiling neighbor inquires as to whether she would like to come in and snoop around to see what her new house looks like. The narrator poses the questions, “Wouldn’t it be great if we all said exactly what was on our mind?” While many would agree that honesty is the best policy sometimes lying can be a better alternative.
I am a true believer in honesty and truth. I try to always live my life by these tenets although I’m certain that there are times when I fall horribly short. Like most wives (and husbands), there are times when I want to spare my husband’s feelings and have not always been completely honest with him. When he puts his heart into purchasing a gift for me that he’s excited about or when he builds me something or makes an upgrade to our home, I don’t have the heart to tell him that what he did was not exactly what I was hoping for because I know it would hurt him. And his feelings matter more to me in that moment than honesty. I know he does the same for me as well.

Let me add, too, that in cases of wanting to preserve someone’s feelings, I have mixed thoughts about that. By not being truthful (in a polite and respectful way, of course) we deny the other party the opportunity to grow. When we are able to listen objectively to what others have to say to or about us, we can learn a lot about ourselves that allow for personal improvement. In circumstances such as these, one needs to evaluate each one individually and discern which approach would be most beneficial to the other party.

A child who is too young to fully embrace the severity of their actions may need to be shielded from the blatant truth. Years ago, a friend confided in me that her young child had inadvertently given their family pet a toxic substance to eat, causing the eventual death of the pet. There was no malice on the part of the child, who was very attached to the pet, and due to his highly sensitive personality, the parents decided to spare the child any more angst and possible guilt. In this instance, not being truthful was an act of love and protection.

There are other times when honesty can hurt. People are often blunt and callous in presenting their version of the truth or in making comments showing no regard for the feelings of the other person. And while none of us actually has the ability to hurt another person’s feelings (all feelings are a personal choice derived from our thought process), there are times when even the most prepared are damaged by another person’s comments. Telling someone that they are obnoxious and that no one, including yourself, likes them may be liberating for you to express but is highly insensitive and offensive as well. Rewording it using more thoughtful vernacular or refraining from offering any commentary at all can be an act of consideration for the other person’s feelings.

When you know that in stating truthfully what’s on your mind that it will only agitate the other party who in turn will to seek to retaliate against you, wisdom dictates that silence may be a safer option. Sometimes, keeping the peace in matters that have little significance has far greater benefits than candor.

When a police officer pulls you over for a broken tail light and writes you a ticket, you may become irate but it does not behoove you to speak your mind by telling him/her that they ought to be out catching real criminals rather than wasting your tax dollars stopping law abiding citizens such as yourself. Remaining silent or polite can prevent you from causing further distress to yourself in challenging the officer.
If someone points a gun at you with the intent to cause you bodily harm, that is not be the optimum time to call them a punk. In extreme cases, voicing your truthful opinion could cost you your life. Sometimes silence saves.

I also don’t need to tell my husband every time I’m angry with him or those times when I feel disappointed or disillusioned in our relationship. Many of these issues are based on my own perceptions or expectations and most can be resolved within myself to the extent that they are no longer a problem for me. In other cases, I can make the necessary changes in our interactions that alleviate the unhappiness and improve the quality of our marriage. This is a smart strategy that long-term married couples have mastered.

If I’m angry with my boss, a verbal commentary can not only damage our relationship but can create an uncomfortable work environment as well. In some cases, people are spiteful and expressing the truth can exacerbate the situation making matters worse. Perhaps one is willing to take that chance; in other circumstances the stakes may be too high and the individual is not willing to potentially risk losing their job.

Remember when you were a child and your grandmother gave you that awful gift that you absolutely hated? Mom taught you to be polite and thank her. She never encouraged you to be truthful and tell her you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such an ugly sweater. The intent was to be grateful and appreciative of the loving act of an elderly woman and to preserve her feelings. This is compassion and respect at its finest.

Being bluntly honest with another can oftentimes cause them great distress or worry. A husband who faces being laid off from work does not want to add any unnecessary stress to his family so he bends the truth. A child, off to college for the first time, rarely tells their parents everything that occurs on campus. Wanting to ease their parents concerns, they downplay or omit certain events knowing that the parents would only worry and feel helpless in protecting their child. (I’m not recommending this practice in issues of a serious nature.)
When you want to threaten to cause harm to someone or to their property, even if there is no intent to follow through or as a ploy to get them to comply to your demands (manipulation) this can be considered a terroristic threat and possible cause for legal action. It might be best to rethink your comments.

We all have family members who say or do things we do not like. Being angry with them is a normal part of being a family yet it is not imperative that I mention every infraction to them. Making comments when you are angry or upset is a recipe for disaster. Hurtful words cannot be retracted and the damage they cause can last a long time. Sometimes venting with a friend or other family member helps us to release the anger in a safe environment. Once able to process and heal it, the issue has been resolved and the relationship preserved. (Refer to the SWaT Strategy in The Secret Side of Anger)
When my dad developed Alzheimer’s, he often spoke in nonsensical terms. He would recall things that never happened or insist that he wanted things to be done a certain way that were either not possible or not for his own good. Many times, in order to keep him calm, we placated him by agreeing to his demands. Since his disease prevented him from recalling his own requests, we could easily proceed with the necessary actions that benefited him the most. Being honest with those who are not capable of fully comprehending can be frustrating, futile, and distressing for all parties. Appeasement with good intent for all can be a better alternative for everyone.

Keep in mind that I am in favor of being honest with others and expressing my concerns so that issues can be resolved whenever necessary. And that is the key: whenever necessary. It is not always imperative to be truthful with others and in some instances can cause more harm or distress or may simply be unfair to the innocent party. Is it acceptable to express your anger towards telemarketers who disrupt your privacy? Are they not simply trying to earn a living as are you? Yet I know of no one who does not find their practices intrusive and would welcome the opportunity to tell them how they really feel.

Imagine a teacher, frustrated with a student, who wants to shout “What in the world is wrong with you? Are you stupid?” They know that it is not only unprofessional but it may severely hurt or embarrass the child. So they refrain their question, “Are you having difficulty understanding what I’m saying? Is there a better way for me to present this to you?” Swallowing their true feelings protects not only the child but the integrity of their reputation and job.

Consider a father who leaves his young children because he has no interest in being a parent to them. How would it benefit the children to be told the truth? At that age, and perhaps even when they are older, the pain of feeling not wanted or not worthy is excruciating. This can cause severe emotional damage as well as damage to their self-esteem, causing unforeseen and long term consequences that ripple throughout their lives. A kinder more protective approach would be a distorted version of the truth. “You father had some personal issues that prevent him from being in your life at this time” or perhaps “Right now he’s not prepared to be a parent.” On some level, this can protect the child to a certain degree from unnecessary and damaging pain. Remember, one of the functions of love is that it protects.

There is also another form of lying that is acceptable and that is playful lying. Telling children that Santa Clause is real, that the tooth fairy exists, and that the Easter bunny is the one delivering colored eggs on Easter are all harmless and endearing beliefs that add enjoyment and a sense of whimsy to a child’s life. Discovering the truth as they get older has not shown to prove detrimental to any child. For many, their realization of the truth evolves naturally with maturity and while there might be some disappointment, most seem ready to release the myth and embrace reality.
Remember, too, that silence can be a lie of omission. One need not directly relay a falsehood but in their silence there can be an absence of truth.

When lying may be the better option:

When it protects the feelings of the other person or prevents them from unnecessary worry; to keep oneself safe in a dangerous situation; to prevent causing any unnecessary duress that could have unexpected consequences for yourself or others; when you need time to reword your version of truth to be more respectful; if silence will preserve an important relationship without causing unforeseen damage at a later date for you or the other party; when remaining silent allows you to work through the issue and resolve it within yourself so that it is not longer a problem for you; when you are at risk for the other person seeking to retaliate against you causing you harm or hardship; when your very life is at risk (remember, in some cases, silence saves); when your statements are threats; when you’re angry and blowing off steam; when lying is whimsical and playful and adds an element of childlike joy.

When it’s not smart to lie:

First and foremost, it is never beneficial to lie to yourself. Total honesty is absolutely essential for your well-being, personal growth, healthy relationships, success, and overall happiness in life. “Denial is not a river in Egypt. It is a black abyss of fear that keeps us imprisoned in false truths and obstructs our chances of achieving personal greatness.” ~Janet Pfeiffer ,United Nations, Oct. 2004 One must be brutally honest in order to be the best version of themselves possible.

Never lie to avoid taking responsibility for your actions and the consequences that accompany it. Grow up and face up.
Never lie to blame another, to get them in trouble, to damage their reputation, or to cause them any kind of harm.
Never relay false information to make yourself look good, to build status, or deceive others about who you really are and/or what you have accomplished or concerning your motive and intent behind an action.
Never lie or exaggerate in order to manipulate others so that they will comply with what you want.
As for lies of omission, remember that silence can indicate an absence of truth. Not coming forth with information that can clear an innocent person unjustly accused or convicted of committing a crime is a lie of omission – allowing a deception to continue as truth. This is morally reprehensible.

Again, let me reiterate that I am a seeker and practitioner of truth yet I do recognize the value in withholding complete honesty in certain situations. Each individual must follow their moral guidelines and assess each situation independently in order to make the best possible decision. Remember, that it is not only the actions that hold merit but also the motive and intent behind them that matters. Keep your heart pure and let kindness be your guide. In that regard you will make righteous choices.

Q “Just because you have a thought does not mean you need to express it nor does it mean you have a right to as well.”
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P~R~E ANGER: PREVENT, REDUCE, ELIMINATE

You’ve heard me say in previous shows that anger is a normal, healthy, and in many cases a useful emotion. While some may believe that the feeling itself is wrong or bad, it’s not. It is the way we choose to express it and use it determines if it becomes a positive force in our lives to bring about beneficial change or a destructive force which makes matters worse for us or for those around us. Anger is nothing more than a warning sign that something is wrong according to our standards and beliefs: something violates our moral code of ethics, perhaps we witness an injustice occurring, or maybe someone or something poses a threat to us or someone else, and so on. Each of these alerts us that we must take appropriate action in order to restore balance, fairness, and safety to those affected. Once we understand the purpose of the anger showing up in our life we can relinquish it and focus 100% of our energy on the solution to whatever the issue is – to correcting that which needs fixing or is not working properly.

But what if I told you that there was a way you could prevent yourself from becoming angry from the get go? Or that you could radically reduce the amount of times you get angry and the severity of it? What if there was a way to completely eliminate anger from your life altogether? But if anger is truly useful, would it even be advantageous to never feel it again? I will tell you that you can do all three: prevent, reduce, and/or eliminate anger from your life without any harmful repercussions. Here’s how P~R~E Anger works:

PREVENT: Like the flu, it makes more sense to prevent getting sick than waiting until you are infected and then seek treatment. The first step in preventing anger from manifesting is to identify your triggers. Keeping in mind that there is a significant difference between root (internal) causes and triggers (outside events or people), awareness is the first key in recognizing those situations or individuals that elicit displeasure in us. Traffic, rude people, stressful situations, political conversation, criticism and so forth can all create feelings within us that are uncomfortable, distressing, and irritating. Therefore, whenever possible, avoid your stimulants. One would never knowingly walk through poison ivy but would circumvent it if given the opportunity. Doing so is both smart and self-loving. Care enough about yourself to only allow into your life that which enriches your life.

Granted, there are certain situations and/or people that we cannot easily avoid. Your boss, mother-in-law, unexpected traffic due to heavy volume, construction or accidents, medical emergencies – these are unpredictable or inevitable experiences that for a variety of reasons we must endure. Therefore, if you cannot circumvent your triggers, create a plan of action for when they show up. Know beforehand exactly how you will deal with each should you find yourself in that position. For example, if your boss likes to discuss baseball, knowing that you both support rival teams, and he continually points out how much better his team is than yours (trying to elicit a reaction from you), plan ahead to divert the conversation to another topic, explaining to him that you will not engage in this discussion for the following reasons. Or you can simply refuse to respond when he initiates the conversation or reply with a dispassionate comment. (Ex: simply state, “OK” and move on.)

REDUCE: Since all emotions originate from our thoughts, it is actually quite simple to dramatically reduce the amount of anger we experience along with its frequency, intensity, and duration. In any given situation, we form a thought about what is occurring, how it will impact us or those around us, and how we feel about it. What determines if we are ok with what is happening or not is based on the value we assign to it. Every issue is neutral in origin. It only carries the worth that we give it. If I view rising taxes as necessary to improve the quality of my life, then I am reasonably comfortable with it. However, if I believe politicians are misappropriating funds for their own personal gains, then I become irate. A reassessment of my thought process can alleviate any anguish I am experiencing. “There are many expenses that I’m unaware of that are contributing in part to the rise in my tax bill. Some of these are certainly necessary. Perhaps only a small portion is misused.” In this example, my anger might not completely subside but will be significantly reduced.

Also, a change in one’s perception (thought process) can easily reduce the number of times one becomes upset. Rain on the weekend that interferes with our outdoor plans can easily anger even the most accommodating person. However, rather than view the weather as the culprit to a ruined weekend, one can be grateful that the rain is replenishing the water sheds as well as appreciate the opportunity to engage in a fun indoor activity instead. Our internal dialogue, what we say to ourselves, determines how a situation impacts us. Two people can have the identical experience: one is at peace with it while the other is fuming. The only difference is their perception and willingness to reassess it to find its value. Once a positive value is assigned to a person or experience, anger cannot manifest because the experience or person is seen as an affirmative opportunity or blessing. Consider that when a difference of opinion arises, it can be viewed as annoying, that the other party is attacking my integrity, my level of intelligence or authority. Or, I can view conflict as opportunity to learn new ideas or to find new ways of doing thing better. Same experience, different perception, different emotions.

Take inventory of those issues that trigger your ire. Reassess them for their importance or relevance in your life. This will reduce the frequency. Should anger arise, pay careful attention to your internal dialogue. Change your thoughts, change your words, and your feelings will automatically follow suit. The intensity and duration of your upset will significantly decline.

ELIMINATE: If it were possible to completely eliminate anger, would that be beneficial or not? Before answering that question, let’s examine if it is even probable. Knowing that anger is a symptom of a deeper rooted cause, if we could initially identify the actual emotion we are experiencing before it converts to anger, then yes, we can eliminate it completely. However, this involves constant awareness of our surroundings, what is transpiring, and how we are being affected by it. In that regard, we can monitor how each event is impacting us at various levels from onset to completion. For example, if my best friend and I are discussing our diets, of which we are each subscribed to one radically different from the other’s, and she begins to comment unfavorably about my food choices, my attentiveness to my reaction to her comments immediately dictates that I am offended by her comments as they are attacking my level of intelligence. It is insulting to infer that I am not qualified to determine on my own what works best for me. This upset clearly indicates that I am hurt by her assessment of me. If I immediately address my hurt, and heal that by reminding myself that her comments may actually be her way of expressing her love for me, then I am more comfortable with her advice, thwarting any anger that may arise from my hurt feelings.

One can also train themselves to remain emotionally detached from their surroundings. Medical personnel working in a hospital’s ER do so. When a critical patient arrives, they do not allow themselves to become distressed but rather logically assess the situation and apply the proper care. In order to provide critical treatment they must remain emotionally neutral and respond only using their logical, rational brain. This takes great awareness and restraint on their part.

SUMMARY: Is it reasonable to think that any person could be so acutely aware of their inner self that anger would never surface? I believe that we have the potential to do so. But the greater question would be is it advantageous to eliminate anger from our lives entirely? I think not as it is a powerful and important emotion that serves a distinct purpose. Therefore, my recommendation would be to practice preventing and reducing the amount, intensity, and duration of anger in your life. Get to root of it, (hurt, fear, frustration), heal it and the anger never manifests. And in doing so, you will create more space for deeper joy, happiness, and inner peace.

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ABCE: ANGER, BOUNDARIES, COMPASSION, ENABLING

No matter who we are or where we go in life, we encounter people who are struggling with personal issues and are not easy to engage with. They can prove challenging to deal for a variety of reasons. Often times, we feel ill-equipped to effectively deal with them. Some, feeling overwhelmed or unprepared, simply disengage and avoid any interaction at all. Others may become defensive or hostile toward them in an attempt to manage them or pressure them to change. Those who feel sympathetic, in an attempt to be supportive, can sometimes become enablers. Yet none of these fully resolves the situation.

Let’s take a moment and examine the differences between anger, boundaries, compassion, and enabling and which are productive choices and why:
Anger is a normal, healthy, useful emotion if understood and properly channeled. Anger, as are all emotions, is a messenger, a warning, that there is something in our lives that does not meet our standards. It could be a moral issue, personal or social one. Anger alerts us to the fact that something needs our attention in order to rectify it according to our beliefs and preferences. Once the message is received, there is no longer a need for anger. The entirety of our energy and efforts can be channeled into making positive changes.

Boundaries are the rules and guidelines we establish that create balance in our relationships and keep them healthy. Each party has a right to determine for themselves how they want to be treated, what they will not tolerate, and the consequences others will face should they disregard them. Boundaries can be interpreted as controlling, rigid, demanding or selfish. But in truth, if applied correctly, are an act of self-love as well as one of respect for the other party. All parties determine for themselves how they want to be treated and mature, caring adults will respect each side.
Compassion is the ability to feel another person’s pain and suffering. Similar to empathy, which also identifies and understands the person’s feelings and difficulties, compassion also encompasses a strong desire to alleviate their suffering. When we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s position and imagine how it would feel if we were experiencing it, we gain a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the incident from the other’s perspective and in that regard feel compelled to make matters better.

Enabling is characterized by making excuses for one’s poor behavior as well as engaging in ways that allow the other party to continue their self-destructive behaviors. Enablers sense the other person’s pain but are at a loss to alleviate it. They need to make themselves feel some sense of relief by not imposing further hardships on the individual and therefore don’t hold them accountable for their actions. Additionally, the troubled person is not challenged to find solutions on their own nor change their behaviors. The enabler takes full ownership for protecting that person, covering up the truth, and being fully responsible for their safety, care, and well-being. They believe that without their efforts the offender would not survive. This is certainly a grandiose way of thinking as they see themselves as saviors and martyrs and the only one capable of helping this person.

Having said that, people often have difficulty determining which approach to apply when dealing with someone who exhibits disturbing behaviors, particularly those struggling with an unforeseen hardship. Here are some common examples and how each of the ABCE apply.

Scenario 1:
Many parents find themselves with adult children who have moved back home after completing their schooling. Unable to find a job or perhaps unmotivated to do so, they become users, living off the generosity of their parents. The parents absorb all of their expenses while the child fails to pay rent or even help with household chores. “The job market is bad. Bob is searching for a really great job and doesn’t want to settle for just anything. He’s trying to figure out who he is.”

Clarification /Solution:
The parent may become angry with their child yet feel a continued sense of responsibility for their well-being. Others may feel guilty should they allow themselves to become irate. And still others may bypass anger altogether going directly to compassion instead. It is nearly impossible to seperate our child’s emotional pain from becoming ours. From this point, it’s easy to progress to making excuses: “The job market is weak – it’s not my child’s fault that he can’t find a good job as an art critic.” It’s easy to then proceed from compassion to enabling. But in doing so we prevent the child from being challenged to find his way in the world and determine for himself how he must survive on his own. Enabling cripples the child’s emotional growth and maturity, keeping them locked into the role of a dependent child.
However, by imposing limits, guidelines, and boundaries, the parent challenges the child to find their own solutions, thus forcing him to take full ownership of his life, tap into his creative genius, and push himself into maturity and independence.

Scenario 2:
You’ve been dating your boyfriend for nearly six months and realize that he is very controlling and oftentimes verbally unkind, maybe even abusive. You know his history of having grown up without his father. Being the oldest of four children and having a mother who worked two jobs to support them, he took on a lot of adult responsibilities at a very early age. He had to discipline his younger siblings, telling them what to do and not do. The pressure of raising them left him with little patience so it’s not uncommon for him to become irritated, fly off the handle, and say hurtful things.

Clarification /Solution:
Being mistreated by anyone should send up red flags and needs to trigger our anger, warning us that we are in some kind of danger. Our moral code of behavior is being violated and requires immediate attention. While it’s perfectly normal and admirable to feel compassion for any person forced to grow up under such unfortunate circumstances, one must take extreme caution not to become an enabler and make excuses for their pain and frustration. Who among us has not had to deal with hurt in our own past? Adults must take ownership and address these issues so as not to perpetrate them on others or continue to suffering themselves.
In this case, setting strong boundaries expressing how you expect to be treated and the consequences for ignoring them, is critical to the safety and well-being of the observer. Failure to do so could have deadly consequences.

Compassion is a healthy and vital attribute in all of our relationships. It shows our humanity towards one another, binds us together emotionally, and strengthens and fosters healthy caring relationships.

Enabling is fear-based (that the other party will not be ok without our intervention and protection) and satisfies our own need for grandeur and importance. Viewing oneself as a selfless savior and humanitarian is self-serving and egotistical. The dynamics of the relationship shows a predominant concern for the so-called savior’s own emotional peace of mind over the actual welfare of the other party. The offender remains emotionally crippled and dependent on their benefactor, thereby continually reinforcing the guardian’s illusion and unhealthy need of being their redeemer.

Boundaries are a healthy act of self-love (making certain one is treated with dignity and respect at all times) and respect for the other person as well, adhering to their preferences as to how they expect to be treated. While not always easy to create or enforce, boundaries are essential to the well-being and longevity of any relationship. Both parties learn to make the necessary sacrifices and accommodations to maintain the relationship (aka compromise), communicate more clearly and honestly, and ultimately value one another more as a result.

Anger, boundaries, and compassion all play a vital role in our long standing relationships. Enabling is a selfish, self-destructive behavior that ultimately wears down the enabler on an emotional, psychological, physical, and sometimes financial level. This is the only behavior of those we’ve discussed that is always destructive. So whether you’re dealing with an alcoholic, drug addict, a family member deep in debt, or a pleasant coworker who is undeniably incompetent, allow the anger (as a messenger only), set and enforce reasonable and fair boundaries, add an healthy dose of compassion, and eliminate enabling completely. And in doing so, you can have healthy, happy, respectful, and mutually satisfying relationships for a lifetime.

Love is caring more about the other person’s well-being than your own discomfort. Sometimes love means saying “no”.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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