Is It Ever Okay To Interrupt?

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Interrupting all the time is sure to be one of the top traits of a bad listener. This one is very common and one I am guessing we are all guilty of from time to time.  Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to share something and the person is constantly interrupting?  There are many reasons a person might interrupt you. Some interruptions are valid such as when you are seeking clarification, “Did you say you handed that in ten days ago?”   Interrupting for clarification a time or two can show you are really listening and wanting to make sure you heard the person correctly.  However, even this can be bothersome if the person constantly has to stop and clarify.  If you do this enough the person talking may decide to shut down or may tell you to let them finish their story before you to ask your questions.

However, many interruptions don’t originate from such good intentions.  Often a person interrupts because they are impatient with the story teller, wants to correct them, prefers to argue the point, or they may be so narcissistic that they can’t bear the focus to be on someone else. In working with couples I have witnessed one partner interrupting the other due to impatience. Each of us process information in our own unique way. The one becomes inpatient with the other because he or she isn’t making their point quick enough. Because the other doesn’t communicate as quickly and concisely as you doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong .It just means the person communicates in a more paced and measured way.

Immensely frustrating and even offensive is when you interrupt another because you don’t agree with them and want to get your two cents in before letting that person finish. Being respectful of different viewpoints is imperative for healthy relationships and shows strength of character in the listener.   Debating another’s view when the person is clearly not in need of or interested in a debate is also very rude and inconsiderate. And the “all-consumed with themselves” have little ability to stay present with the others frame of reference any substantial length of time.

If you struggle with interrupting others I encourage you to make a conscious effort to stop or reduce the frequency.  Certainly seeking clarification from time to time is important.  However, try remaining with the person’s story.  Listening is not about agreeing with the person, it’s about respecting their viewpoint.  Remember the person is sharing their perspective, not necessarily yours.  And that is ok!  Also, remain alert to let them finish a thought before you interject.  You can even count to three before you respond to be sure they are done with that part of their sharing. Decreasing interruptions is a good start to becoming a better listener.

Fun listening quote “Of course I’m listening, now what was that you said”?

 

Relaxation Is Just As Important As Working! Agree?

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Many of you are busy with numerous responsibilities during the week; the various work demands that most of you experience. Many of you are working well over forty hours a week. Then there are the multiple demands of family, children, household responsibilities and the like. Does it seem like all you do is go, go, go? And sometimes it is easy to get so used to the adrenalin of doing that you can forget how to relax and slow down.
The need for taking time to relax cannot be emphasized enough. According to Random House Webster’s College Dictionary relax can mean “to release or bring relief from the effects of tension, anxiety, etc.” And, “to become less tense, rigid or firm.” Sound good? Some of you may understand the importance of incorporating a way of relaxing into your life. However I am sure many of you find it too difficult to fit into your busy schedule.
Taking time to relax is the antidote to stress which is known to contribute to disease and general dissatisfaction in life. Relaxing on purpose slows your breathing down which helps relax your body. Your muscles have the opportunity to rest and it is good for your heart. The mental health benefits are ample. Your ability to focus, make decision and even your sleep may improve.
I understand that what is relaxing to each of you may be different. Some enjoy going to the beach, laying out in the sun and reading a book. Others find gardening relaxing. Maybe relaxing for you would be simply taking an hour nap in the middle of the day, or sitting and meditating. Or maybe you would be willing to treat yourself to a massage, facial, pedicure or acupuncture.
Although the demands of all your responsibilities are still lingering, you will be more refreshed, and I believe better equipped to handle the multiple burdens that life has for you. When you allow yourself the gift of relaxation, when you prioritize taking time for even a small amount of relaxation during your day or days off you will greatly benefit.
On your next day off or this weekend, I encourage you to allow yourself to have some genuine down time. Time when your mind is not listing the ten things you need to get done today. Time when you’re not physically moving about doing the many chores that need to get done. Time when you slow down your heart rate, breathing and movement. Time to actually do what is called-relaxing!
I encourage you to remember that you are important, that you matter and to put yourself on your own priority list. If you allow yourself the gift of relaxation this will aid you physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. You are in charge of making relaxation a part of your weekly ritual. Decide you are worth taking time to give your body, mind and spirit a well-deserved rest.

Don’t Succumb To The Darkness!

Beacon of Light
It seems so many people are feeling dissatisfied in their lives. We hear it daily on the many newscasts about individuals making so many negative choices: from dishonesty, to addictions, to murders, to suicides etc. More so, we hear it closer to home, such as in our neighborhoods, workplaces and in our social situations. And, many of you reading this are struggling with general dissatisfaction and discouragement.

When we feel this way we tend to make decisions that hurt us in one way or another. What can we do to feel more satisfied and in control of our lives? Well, for starters, since we cannot control all the external events that occur, let’s start with an aspect we can do something about: ourselves! This is one area you DO have the power to effect positive change!

One area you can have an influence on is your thoughts and attitudes. Be mindful about not allowing yourself to get swallowed up by others negative attitudes. Guard the attitudes you have that serve your good; attitudes that are more focused on positive truths than negative truths. Even during difficult times you have a choice as to how to view the situation.

Same is true for your thoughts. Your thoughts have so much power over your feelings and behaviors that it is critical to stay aware of them. Certainly it is okay to acknowledge the bad event that has occurred and to speak whatever your truth is about it. Then I encourage you to be mindful of your thoughts in general. Remind yourself of the good people you have in your life today and the many good things you have done for others and they have done for you. Put the bad in perspective with the whole. Allowing dark thoughts to overshadow the light will only let the negative win.

Your reactions and behaviors are also critical to overcoming the negative that does occur. When something bad happens whether it be globally; to people you know; or even closer to home, your reactions and behaviors can help counter the bad by bringing in the good. If a violent act has occurred in the world you can teach and model peace and cooperation. Do the opposite. If someone you know has suffered a loss or is experiencing a painful event, be an encouragement. Visit them, bring them a meal, clean their house, do their yard, whatever you can do to show kindness. Remember, only light overcomes darkness. Be part of the light.

As long as humankind has existed bad things have occurred on all levels. Yet, humans have a way of overcoming. Choose to be part of the healing, not part of the divisiveness. Being an encouragement and a source of hope to a few is a wonderful gift to give. Never minimize what your light can do to those who need it. When you bless others you also are blessed.

What Path Is Your Life Following?

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What path is your life following? This question will help you identify the areas in your life that are being fulfilled and going in the direction you want. It will also help you address the areas in your life that you are not happy with or the aspects of your life in which you know you are not living up to your full potential. Only you can decide when you are ready to take responsibility for where you are in life and where you want to be.

It is important to evaluate one’s life. If you do not, then you will just be reacting to what comes your way instead of creating or being proactive in your life.

Identifying the path your life is following encourages reflection on all aspects of your well-being. It is time to focus on and evaluate many components of your life. This especially involves how you feel about yourself and how those feelings, conscious or unconscious, either get in your way or help you. Wisdom comes from reflection, and without it you are just following the path presented instead of creating the path you want.

Identifying where your life is falling short can be difficult, but it is very valuable because only then can you concentrate on what needs to be changed. Maybe you are very successful in your career, but your interpersonal relationships are rocky at best. Maybe you are the one who helps everyone except yourself. Do others view you as very self-confident and secure but you know otherwise?

To get where you want to be you must first know where you are. This is of utmost importance. It is time to come clean with yourself. No one else can help you grow emotionally and spiritually until you are able to identify that you have an emotional or spiritual need. Self-honesty is essential. Pretending to be OK or strong is just that, pretending, and as you know, it is often a lot of work. Why not stop working so hard at being something you’re not and address how you really feel inside and how you can change the areas that need your attention! You are in charge of your own personal growth! Take charge!

What’s Up With My Relationship?

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Life is an interesting journey. It seems the older we get the more twists and turns come along. For many of us finding a partner, a mate, has been our main agenda. In our younger years we assumed we would grow up and meet a wonderful mate, get married and live happily ever after! What has happened?
As we all know from the divorce rate, marriages are not doing well. Couples, whether married or not, are having trouble staying together through the many challenges life brings into their relationships. The story we always imagined for ourselves is not reading the way we had hoped.
What is going on? While there is not enough room in this one blog for me to address all aspects of this problem, I will discuss an issue that I believe has a great impact on our relationship’s success or failure. I often say to clients that the two greatest things we do in life are being a partner and/or being parent, yet there is no training required for either. That is amazing!
The only training we usually have is from our family of origin and our past love relationships. I strongly believe one of the best things we can do for our relationship is to become healthier ourselves prior to getting seriously involved with someone. It would be nice if general relationship skills, such how to communicate non-defensively and how to be a good listener were taught in our school systems! They teach sex education, why not teach some basic relationship skills!
So what about those of us who are already in a committed relationship, divorced, or remarried? It is never too late. Often you need to start with yourself. It’s easy to become very discouraged and negative with our significant other. While many of your complaints may be valid, the only person you have control over is you. Check out your expectations. What are they? Where did they come from? Are they realistic? I remember growing up my favorite fairytale was Cinderella! (That really set me up for failure!) Think about the music you listen to and the message it is sending you about love and what it should be like! These culturally imposed suggestions can have a big impact on your expectations in a relationship.
Often we have many of our own unmet needs. Maybe you never felt loved as a child. Maybe you never felt you were good enough for one of your parents? Consciously or unconsciously we often expect our partner to fill our voids. Often they do initially, but fall short down the road. Address the parts that are about you. Become clear on what your responsibility is to heal within yourself, and what aspects of your relationship need improvement. I understand this is often a fine line but, it is one worth exploring before you make a decision about beginning or ending a relationship.

Ways To Stop Sabotaging Yourself – Tip Three

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I shared previously about taking time to pay attention to your thoughts; your inner dialogue. Tip one involved changing your negative thoughts to more positive and encouraging thoughts. The second way to help you feel more self-directed is to know what you value most and set goals that are in alignment with these values.

Thirdly, pay attention to your behaviors. We have all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” Well, what are your actions saying about you? Do you like what your behaviors are saying? Are your actions in harmony with your values? I am often surprised by how many people never ask their self this question. While it is great to know what is important to you it is equally imperative to have continuity between your values and your behaviors. A key element to stop self-sabotaging is to behave in ways that emerge from your values. If you don’t take responsibility for how you are living your life it will be hard to feel satisfied. You may on occasion (or by accident) feel happy, however, it will usually be short lived. The best way to insure you achieve the greatest satisfaction out of life is to behave intentionally.

Many clients tell me they put their head in the sand to avoid dealing with reality. This may help them avoid some temporary discomfort, however, the long-term suffering tends to be worse than it would have been to just live with their eyes wide open and take the necessary actions required to create the life they want. When your behaviors are not a reflection of your values where is the peace? Where is the happiness? I encourage you to take your head out of the sand and live on purpose!

Trying To Do It All!

What a challenge it is to be the best me in the time I have! Can you relate? Taking responsiblity for where I am and where I want to be! Now that is no small task!